In short, if you’re tired of getting undercut on price and not being able to charge the rates you think you’re worth, the solution to your problem likely comes back to specializing — or rather, your lack of a speciality.
Josh Strebel, CEO of Page.ly, wrote a great post about sauce thickening. His analogy to sauce thickening is exactly what most business owners don’t want to hear.
You don’t want to hear me tell you that you need to pick a specialty and relentlessly drive towards it for months — or even years — and then you’ll begin reaping the rewards. Even when I tell you I’ve spent 2 years working on e-commerce and membership sites, or that I’ve been writing about business here for 2+ years, and I’ve only recently begun to see the awesome benefits.
You don’t want to hear about a plan for 1400 days to become a WordPress ninja.
You don’t want to hear that it’s going to take work, because work is hard and what you’re looking for is success next week.
Success is a process
Yes, you’re going to see people ‘jumping into’ your chosen scene. I’ve totally been guilty of it and I have to continually remind myself I don’t know how long others worked and toiled before being ‘discovered’.
Your success is a process too. Today, start thinking about the projects you’ve most enjoyed — look at them all and find the common threads. Start narrowing your focus to those projects.
Start writing some content directed at your prospects, answering their questions about projects similar to the ones you’ve most enjoyed and which were the most profitable. Even if you only put out one 200-word post a week, do it.
If writing isn’t your thing then record a 5-minute video and put it on YouTube.
Relentlessly tighten down your specialty and keep telling everyone that’s what you do. Focus your content on that ever-narrowing specialization.
Most of your peers (unfortunately that includes many of you reading this) aren’t going to stick to it, so in 6 to 12 months they’ll have a whole new crop of people specializing in the same thing as you, but you’ll be the only one that’s been around for 6–12 months.
Stick with it, and you’ll be in the 1% that’s been around for 24 months, and that’s when things really start to get exciting.
Specializing isn’t scary
You may feel it’s scary to hang your hat on one thing, but it’s not. I do membership and e-commerce sites and I work with WordPress. That means currently I work only with WordPress, but if WordPress died tomorrow all the e-commerce conversion and membership on-boarding principles would be exactly the same for another software platform.
I’d still be an e-commerce and membership specialist and I’d still be able to provide huge value to clients — I just wouldn’t be working with WordPress.
Far from being a limitation, specializing helps me survive past WordPress, because at some point something else will come along.
If you’re up for some work then start today. Start specializing and keep at it, and you’ll see the results once things have thickened.