You can’t make people happy
Why pleasing everyone will always equal pleasing no one.
We've all heard it before: Jack of all trades, master of none.
No one really wants to fall into that category, yet many times we feel forced into it because we don’t think we have enough to offer. I’ve fallen into this trap myself.
Before I became my own boss, I would constantly see job postings looking for designers who did it all: video, coding, photography, SEO, social media marketing, copywriting, editing, and more, all for the low price of $12 an hour. This isn't new by the way- people have always looked for "unicorns", but I want to take this a step further.
Are you applying this jack-of-all-trades approach to your own business?
By not specializing, you don't reach the people who are already looking for you. You are so afraid of turning people away that you never say anything beyond the blasé and generic.
I think the reason for this is validation. The more you look for external validation, the more you become a flat, 2D talking head, losing passion for the people behind the business. I don’t know about you, but I didn't leave the corporate arena to just take any client that was willing to pay me. I left because I wanted more, and I wanted to define what success actually meant for me.
It's hard being specific and specialized. It makes you stand out, and standing out means that you're drawing attention to yourself. It means that you are putting yourself out there to be judged and dismissed by potential clients (who wouldn’t be a great fit, but that can still be hard).
But by declaring yourself the expert in your specific niche, you are actually reaching out to the people who want what you're offering. The best part? People who don't want what you do, WILL KNOW THAT INSTANTLY. Sure, you might turn someone away, but that client would not have brought joy and growth to your business anyway. And if you hadn’t Been specific up front, that realization was probably going to happen after you met up, had a consultation, and wasted your time.
It took me way too long to realize that my time is an asset. When my schedule was empty, and I was lifting up every metaphorical rock to find clients, my time was an afterthought- I had more than enough. But I realized that I have to protect my time. Not only so I can continue to offer my personal best, but so I can take care of myself, and keep building my relationships with friends, family, wife, and our two pups.
I've had to turn some clients away, but I now know WHY. The clients I turn away are ones that I could never serve fully, they are looking for something other than what I offer.
There are a lot of things I don't do. And while I could let fear step in, and scare me into trying to learn a little bit of everything listed above (which I've tried, and been terrible at many times), I'd rather be EXACTLY what someone needs for that specific project.
I know these things about myself, and I've accepted that: 1. I may not know all the things, but I know awesome friends who do, and I can send work their way. Plus, they are more likely to send work my way when someone needs what I actually do. 2. I'm not living in fear of not being enough.