26. Thank You A rising tide lifts all boats. Our mission is to raise the tide of self-employed communication and creative services professionals. connect. grow. thrive. www.IASECP.com
Notes de l'éditeur
How I came to these 10 principles Years as a CPA, consultant, teacher and business advisor People would come in trying to figure out why they could not make any money. Slowly I gathered clues from the many customers I served. I could see that some people did really well and some did not. One major difference was focus. I have finally determined this principle: If you want to make a living doing what you love, you must give it your complete focus and attention. You cannot be distracted doing several things. That is not to say you cannot have multiple channels to sell your work, but you must be focused on only one thing.
I find many creatives approach the market from a shot gun approach. I do not know what they will like or buy so I will offer a little bit of everything.
I was astounded to learn how many creatives have more than one career or job. Yet I know, that success comes not when you skip across the surface like a stone, but when you dig deeply into your craft and pursue it diligently and deeply to become the best at whatever you do.
If I am a potential customer, and I hear you say that you design jewelry and that you also make chocolates to sell at the farmers market and that this does not work well so you work part time in an insurance office, I, as the potential jewelry customer, think, oh, they must not be very good at their craft. I can offer a low price for their work.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to focus. Turn away from the shotgun approach and begin to develop a laser approach- going right for what you are good at and what you want. This gives you purpose, confidence and self esteem. It also gives you a very powerful approach to your supporters and referral sources.
I laid out the exercise so that you can rate the various jobs you have on a scale of 1-5 Try scoring your various jobs. See what happens. Follow Eds story
Really think about this. Voice over artist who teaches speech Actress/performer who supports herself with bookkeeping Artist who runs an entrepreneurial support group Rate yourself on talent, passion, current money, future growth.
Ed the river guide who is also a painter Afraid to commit to guiding The IT professional who has an IT business and also installs closets
If you say to someone, I am opening my graphic design business. Please send me customer, you think, sure, she wants to cut into my market. Or, wow, how can I refer my friends or contacts to someone just starting out or well, maybe I will send them that client who is so hard to get along with and never pays their bills. What if instead you said, I am gearing up my graphic design business. I am focusing on high end hotels and spas as my target customer base. So please share my name if you have clients in that area needing service.
When I had my CPA firm, before I started to specialize in small business, I lost clients who wanted someone to do audits, or high end tax returns because I came across as, oh sure we can do that, we do it all. What I learned was that by telling people I could do everything, they could see instantly that I was probably not very expert at any of it. If you have determined that you are going to focus on your voice over career, say no possible jobs that come up in speech training. In fact, say to people, I am focusing my career on voice over work, not speech training. Here are two referrals for speech training who I know will do a good job for you. What happens? People get interested in what you said, they remember you and the person who received your referrals may refer you to voice over jobs.
A niche is like the pinnacle of focus. This is where you make yourself really special!
You have chosen a focus, but you are still a generalist. For awhile that may be ok while you try out various things- find out what you really like, and what you are really good at.
But once you have found an area you really like, divest yourself of other things and narrow your focus into a niche.
Becoming a specialist will make you more money. When you can make yourself the “go-to” expert, two things happen- people will wait for you and you can charge more money. Technology makes it possible for those who are seeking your narrow expertise to find you.
This is a process of analysis and deep thinking. You have many, many choices. Choose the path that will make you the most money and give you the most satisfaction.
Ann has been a client for 7 years. We have worked slowly and step by step to find and declare her niche. Now that she has found it she is solidifying it. She is writing articles for journals. She is bidding only on the jobs that fit her niche, she even sold her power tools. She is finding ways to bid on jobs in other states. Finding a niche allows you to BE the business- in other words make money without hiring others and creating a business infrastructure. You do need help- but you outsource the help instead of creating a bureaucracy to support your organization.
It is hard to stand out in the spot light and be seen. It is hard to take a stand and say I am really good at this. It is hard to let go of things that are not right for you- we always have a secret fear that maybe if we just tried harder it would work- even tho it is not really what we are good at or really what we want to do.
Being in business is always competitive Once you have developed your niche, however, you do not have to compete the same way, but you do need to be aware of what is happening And, you always have to know what is happening in your segment of the market. If you are going to be the expert, you have to stay up to date on what is happening