I work with so many smart, multi-talented people.
Many have been in business a long time, or have developed deep, rich craft and expertise in multiple areas.
While it is great to have so many options for offerings when building a business, it is critical to be very deliberate about your desired audience, and offerings, at distinct phases in your body of work.
If you try to cram all of your ingredients (my term from Body of Work that includes skills, strengths, talents, experience and scars) into one messaging recipe, it will taste confusing and awful.
Here is how to get clear about sending a super clear signal to your market about the work you do, so the right kinds of clients see it and come search you out.
1. What problems do you want to solve?
Audience expert Susan Baier has forever shaped my thinking about avatars and audiences. Instead of thinking demographics (I work with women, aged 35-55!) and job titles (I am The Brand Awesomeitizer!), think problems. The more clearly you can describe the (no more than 3) problems you solve at this stage of your body of work, the easier it will be for people to immediately identify themselves and want to work with you.
The other day, I was sitting with a visiting friend and he said “Tell me more about who you work with so I can refer clients.” So I told him using the problem “I work with successful entrepreneurs with lots of opportunities who are ready to scale but are overwhelmed with how to do it.” He said “Oh my goodness, I think that is me!”
We started working together right away.
2. Why you?
It can be kind of depressing when you finally figure out your new thing, then go on Google and find there are 22 other, seemingly super qualified smart people who are doing it too.
I choose to see that as market validation that it is a big problem that people are willing to pay to solve.
To find your place in that marketplace, you must clearly define why your particular skills, lived experience, vibe, approach, etc, is the perfect match for the kind of clients you like to work with. Bring this out in your stories, and in the specific type of advice and content you create and share in your marketing.
3. Why now?
If you have been doing work for a very long time, likely you do it very well. But just because you can do it does not mean that you love to do it anymore, or that it is deeply meaningful to you.
It is wise to periodically re-evaluate what you are doing and make sure that it still feels meaningful, impactful and energizing.
I recently re-focused my services on areas that blend big parts of my body of work and expertise: scaling businesses (that meshes the 10 years of consulting I spent scaling businesses in Silicon Valley with 14 years of early stage startup work), creating licensing and certification programs (that blends 25 years as a training and development expert with 14 years as a small business thought leader and creator of prolific piles of intellectual property), and brand and community building (community building was actually my major in college, and I have been doing it in multiple ways for over 30 years. It is also the topic of my next book).
Blending these ingredients together in this way at this time feels energizing, empowering and fresh. It will also let me work with new people that did not resonate with my past services because they did not see themselves in the problems I was solving.
Does this mean you have to forever close the door on past niches?
For the right clients, or at times when you need to even out cash flow, you can still choose to work in areas that you are not actively promoting. Just be careful not to dilute a clear message with a big mish-mash of all the services you can deliver. This will cloud the signal and make it hard for your ideal clients to discover you are the perfect person for them, right now.
I believe there are perfect clients just waiting for your clear solution to their problem.
Help them find you by telling them clearly what you do, and scrubbing all your public profiles to make sure they reflect this new messaging.
I can’t wait to see a big line at your door. 🙂