Fermented Peppers and long-term skills.

If you need to make a great cake, you could try a recipe. Taste the results, determine what you like and don’t and try again. For the time it takes you can try a few different options in a day. In a few days, you could develop your own “Ultimate Chocolate Cake” recipe if you wanted to.

The same statement becomes less true with art forms where the outcomes take significantly longer to realize. I was talking to a friend that makes salsa with fermented peppers. Some of them take 3-6 months to ferment. If you needed a great recipe for fermented peppers, it’s not likely you’re going to run experiments for 3-6 months to find it. Then another 3-6 month experiment for any tweaks. It would take years. Instead, you’ll find an authority and defer to their expertise and recipes.

It’s possible that you can sell the consulting equivalent of making a cake recipe, but it’s much more likely for fermented peppers.

This post isn’t about food, that’s just the metaphor. If you want to find opportunities as a consultant it’s best to focus on areas with the following attributes:

  • Little reusability of the skill gained by someone doing the work themselves.
  • Long timeframes needed to successfully gain the skillset.
  • Risk that is mitigated by experience. (Fermentation could breed the wrong bacterias and make you sick if not careful.