Over the last couple weeks, I have been sharing a few things that I’ve been afraid to tell you. Last week, I talked about how much I am loving my work right now, but the third thing that I’m afraid to tell you might be… a little bit less sunshine and roses.
I’ve been afraid to tell you that specializing my business has felt a little bit like starting over.
I wish I could tell you that specializing has felt really natural and really easy, but at times over the last year, pursuing this specialized branch of my business has felt almost like creating an entirely new business.
I’ve had to work hard to understand my market, build my website, start new social media accounts, determine fair pricing, work on my sales script, define my offerings, market to a new audience, develop content, gain exposure, and connect with influencers.
It’s like starting over, but with more business experience. This is especially true in my case, because I chose a niche that I really didn’t have a lot of experience in (which doesn’t make it the wrong choice, just a steeper learning curve).
So despite how much fun I’ve been having, it really has been a challenge. Some days I have felt like I don’t know anything, and that I’m totally just making it up.
It’s scary to sit here and recommend to people who are probably fairly successful in their own web and freelance businesses that a good path forward might be completely starting over. I feel like anyone who feels the pull to become more of an expert should feel encouraged to try this, not daunted by the challenge. But I don’t want to sugarcoat anything.
Just now, about one year in, I am feeling like this is a business that I know something about. I’ve iterated. I’ve done similar projects within my niche many times, and I’m starting to reach a level where I feel like I can raise prices or be even more selective in my clients, but it’s taken a whole year.
If you want to specialize, you probably won’t start out on day one as an ultimate expert in your industry or service. You’ll probably need to study your market, figure out how to get clients, and develop new processes. Don’t let starting over scare you away.