We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Sick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance seems to be an elusive goal for many people. Some even go so far as to say that it is a myth. I believe that for each of us, we measure the balance differently depending on what we value. The calculations may take into consideration career goals, family obligations, hobbies, fitness, social events, arts & theatre and the list goes on. I have friends who have retired and some of them wonder how they ever had time for a job! Most people are looking for a mix of experiences in life. Time with family, time for friends, time for self, relationships, travel and passions. If you hate your work, no level of free time and outside activities can compensate for the imbalance you have in your work life. During much of my corporate marketing career, I spend a great deal of time on planes and staying in hotels. I also followed jobs to eight different cities in three states and moved cross country three times. I also had four children during that time and don’t even want to remember how many school events, youth sport games and family milestones that I missed. Work life balance was severely out of whack while I was climbing the corporate ladder. Becoming an independent consultant was not a decision made without a lot of consideration but my goal was to get more control of my time and to cut back on business travel. I did trade off some nice perks like a cadillac health plan, 401K match, company car and stock options – all of which were highly desirable early in my career. While my income has had it’s ups and downs over the last 17 years of being an independent marketing consultant, I did find that I had more control over my calendar and the types of client personalities that I chose to work with.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment. Having decades of experience across different industries is eye opening about the possibilities that businesses have to create winning competitive strategies. Having spent a few decades working for large, publicly traded companies was eye opening both in terms of the ability to make an impact but also for some people to stay under the radar for years of marginal performance. Having the opportunity to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing and advertising invariable comes with the realization that you may have wasted tens of millions of dollars on campaigns that did not perform or under perform. If you survive and advance in the corporate world. you also have the opportunity to learn from mistakes and better forecast outcomes of proposed marketing expenditures. This insight is something that my clients benefit from which may be more elusive with consultants with less real world experience. One learning that I have shared is the realization that homework doesn’t stop when you graduate from school. Understanding business and life, particularly in marketing with changing consumer behavior, requires a commitment to lifelong learning and time spent analyzing and understanding the insights available from business results in the past. My company, Sick Performance Concepts LLC, has a strong focus on helping clients make fact based decisions. With the web analytics available today for free, access to actual consumer behavior is more relevant and actionable than the data I was able to access with million dollar research budgets in the past.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Living in San Diego is paradise for people who have lived just about anywhere else in the country or the world. There are miles of beaches, parks, open spaces and trails that may take a lifetime to visit them all. The topography of a series of coastal lagoons and mesas has also prevented the Los Angelization of San Diego with high density and gridlock. In the Carmel Valley/Del Mar area where I live and work, there are enough restaurants, beaches and open spaces to keep a resident or visitor busy. With Torrey Pines, UCSD, University City, La Jolla, Solana Beach and Encinitas in the surrounding neighborhoods, there is also plenty more to do and see even if you were never to venture further away to Little Italy, Balboa Park, Mission Beach or Downtown. I have spent many pleasant afternoons bodysurfing on my Surf-Grip (www.Surf-Grip.com) in from of the Poseidon Restaurant in Del Mar and then also have had food and drink at the Poseidon for many glorious sunsets.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The primary enablers who were critical to helping me escape from the corporate treadmill have been the clients of the over one hundred companies that have engaged me to help them dial up their marketing. The vast majority of my business has come from referrals and not only have clients referred me to other companies but a number of them have engaged me to support them at multiple companies.