The Jimmy Buffett Approach to Career Management

career management
The Jimmy Buffet approach to career management

For those old enough to remember Jimmy Buffett, but are unfamiliar with him, most would probably think he’s a washed up musician from the 70s who should probably be making either the local festival concert circuit or appearances on reality TV shows.  In reality, he’s going almost as strong as he ever has.  He had big hits in the 70s including “Margaritaville” and “Come Monday”, which still get radio airplay.  But at the age of 64 he shows no sign of slowing down.

His music is not for all tastes.  It’s never been labeled accurately.  Some call it country – and he has performed some true country music – but it’s more of a Caribbean sound with the steel drums and nautical themes.  He is famous for songs about sitting on the beach and drinking Margaritas and other Caribbean drinks.  He maintains a public persona of a free-wheeling barefoot beach bum.

Smart branding for career management

In reality, he’s a shrewd businessman who is a case study in personal branding and marketing.  In addition to his music, which allows him still to fill outdoor concert venues all over the nation, he owns restaurant chains, a line of foods, and liquor and beer brands among his many entrepreneurial endeavors.  He’s written three #1 best-selling books and is one of only eight authors to have reached No. 1 for both fiction and non-fiction.

It’s an irony that for an artist whose music hasn’t been precisely labeled, he’s so accomplished at personal branding.  If you know his music at all, you immediately think of sunny beaches and flip-flops.  So how does he do it?

A special passion

First and foremost, he has a passion for what he does.  If you ever watch him on the stage, he’s having as much fun as anyone in the amphitheater.  That gives him the energy and stamina to do the grueling concert tours and continue turning out new products branded around his songs.

Know your market to target your brand

Secondly, he knows his market.  He knows as well as anyone that his music is similar to black licorice in that some people (known as “Parrotheads”) really love it while others despise it.  He also knows that he’ll never be mistaken for Jimi Hendrix or Bono.  But there is a large market that buys his music, visits his restaurants and purchases the high-end products with his name on them.  He’s found his niche and serves it well.  It serves him well too.  With an estimated worth of about $400 million, he may not be worth as much as the more famous Warren Buffett (no relation), but he’s doing pretty well for himself.

See my related post: Can Happiness Lead To Success?

So how are you addressing your market?  Do you have a passion for what you do?  Have you identified your market niche and served it well?  When people hear your name, is there something they immediately think of?  Buffett has proven to us that you don’t have to be Lady Gaga or Bon Jovi to develop and serve a significant niche market.

I took off for a weekend last month  Just to try and recall the whole year All of the faces and all of the places Wonderin’ where they all disappeared I didn’t ponder the question too long I was hungry and went out for a bite Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum And we wound up drinkin’ all night

–         Jimmy Buffet, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
Critical Consulting Skill: Flexibility
As I’ve pointed out in this blog before, one of the things I’ve always liked about consulting is the variety.  You generally work on a project for a few months ...
READ MORE
Are You A Rule Follower?
I’ve been working since the age of 12 when I became a busboy at an Italian restaurant in my hometown.  I still remember my dad dropping me off on my ...
READ MORE
Consulting: Embracing the Change
We often hear that the only thing that stays constant is change.  But if that’s so, why are people so averse to change?  Just listen to the nervous gossip that ...
READ MORE
Removal from a Client Project
It happens every once in a while.  A consultant is working with their project team and sometime during the project, the account manager speaks with the consultant and informs them ...
READ MORE
How to Differentiate with Your Personal Brand
There is a lot of talk today about personal branding.  The tools available are plentiful.  Social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the up-and-coming Quora allow you to ...
READ MORE
Consulting Skill: Adaptability
Kodak was once a dominant player in the photography industry leading all players in the film and camera market by a seemingly insurmountable lead.  As digital photography – which they ...
READ MORE
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given to a Consultant
We see evidence of status all over the work place.  The boss in the corner office; larger, more comfortable chairs for management; and cubicles by the window for people with ...
READ MORE
My 5 Biggest Surprises from Consulting
I started as a Consultant right out of college.  I interviewed with several of the top firms but my grades weren’t good enough – and I probably interviewed horribly – ...
READ MORE
The Best Route to Success – Incremental Gains
I remember an old cartoon of a reporter asking a famous star, "How do you account for your overnight success?" To which the star responded, "Twenty years of hard work." In ...
READ MORE
The Difficult Client Types
I've worked in very few organizations that didn’t have a jerk or two walking around.  Over the years I’ve learned to deal with them. In the one situation where the jerk was ...
READ MORE
Critical Consulting Skill: Flexibility
Are You A Rule Follower?
Consulting: Embracing the Change
Removal from a Client Project
How to Differentiate with Your Personal Brand
Consulting Skill: Adaptability
A High Status Workspace is Not Usually Given
My 5 Biggest Surprises from Consulting
The Best Route to Success – Incremental Gains
The Difficult Client Types