How to Become a Fishmonger

If you look beyond professional qualifications, job titles, categories or industries, you will see that so much of what you’ve learned in the past —personally, professionally, in business—are actually transferrable skills and a tremendous help as you move forward with your new venture. Often these skills are overlooked and, with your more obvious talents, you can take them for granted and not realize how valuable they may prove to be. This is especially true when you decide to “leave your old life behind” and start a whole new venture, of any kind.

A great practical example was a client of mine. He was a butcher by trade who created new types of sausages as a hobby. He was creative, had culinary and commercial savvy and had been successful working for other people. He decided to start working for himself and, always full of new ideas, saw there were unexplored opportunities in the fresh fish business, even if he knew nothing about fish. Yet, because of his sausage-making hobby and his work in the meat business, he knew how to develop a new product, produce it and sell it. Instead of crafting his own fish product, he found out what the market wanted and where there were gaps. He soon came across the demand by the catering industry for uniform, pre-sliced, artificially smoked salmon.

He experimented and learned from scratch where to find the best fish and traveled to countries of which he had never heard before to buy it. He researched and found the best fish processors to manufacture his product, the people who should sell his product and the consumers who would buy it.

And with a little help from me he learned very quickly how to run a real company, raise money and manage people. It didn’t matter either whether I knew the ins and outs of the fish industry; my asset was knowledge of building a business and helping put people in the launch position.

The secret to my client’s success: every time a question arose, his answer began, “That reminds me when I….” At first glance, his past experience could be written off as irrelevant, when, in fact, his extensive work history proved to be incredibly valuable to his new venture in a very practical way. My fishmonger friend reminded me of the link between the problems a new endeavor brings and solutions hidden in our own past experiences. Look closer and everything you need is already in your toolbox. Use your own experience, whichever way you gained it, be it personally, professionally or in business. The adventure may be new; you are not. You are the same person, just doing something different.