At a certain point, I realized that it got harder to close sales. A lot harder. I was watching other people — people with less experience, people who provided crap service — get more clients and earn more money. About six times more money.
I was incredulous. How could this be happening? Was something wrong with me?
The silver lining to this terrible time was a major wake up call. I realized that one of my problems was that I wasn’t selling anything in particular. My secret motto had been “I’ll learn to do anything for anyone if you want to pay me to do it.” And it was a powerful learning experience for a while — I now have experience doing design and marketing in many different industries, for different client needs, using different technologies. I learned how to code, how to style, how to start.
Yet I was spending so much energy on spreading my network, doing things here and there for different clients to build my reputation, and generally expanding my skills in every direction, that I created an impossible decision scenario for potential clients. Because I was selling everything, I was selling nothing. How could I expect anyone to make a buying decision when there wasn’t anything concrete to buy? Who can properly assess whether “I’ll do anything” is a good fit for them?
It’s silly to reflect on this because if I were my own client, I would have zeroed in on this lack of focus a long time ago. I would have demanded an articulation of unique value, would have made this the very first item on my to-do list. But, of course, it’s always easier to process a situation from the outside, and I was hopelessly entrenched in my own ineffective practice.
The good news is that I’ve had a thrilling few months of thinking about this problem, and I’m finally getting to a point of clarity. I finally have a narrow service offer, a concrete model, and a mission I can articulate. I finally know exactly what I need to do to build the kind of business I’m proud to run.
This summer is going to be awesome.
I’m currently looking for a few contacts:
- Small businesses that are pretty darn great at marketing and design. I’d love to interview you to learn about and share your story.
- Small businesses that are looking for help with marketing and have been in business for at least a year—I am currently offering an hour of free consulting in exchange for an in-depth interview in which you help me understand your processes and challenges.
- Small businesses that are looking for someone to help them build brand value over the long term. (hint: hire me!)
Please contact me if you think you can help me out with any of the above.