The more you specialize, the less you spend your own time learning for the benefit of one client.
In their episode on Project Management, Diane mentioned learning and training time. Carrie asked if Diane ever passes the cost or time for learning along to the client.
Diane said no, and her response was really interesting to me:
My educational development is my responsibility. The client could have hired anyone to do this project for them. When they decided to hire me it was with full faith and confidence that I would deliver it for them, not that it would be a learning opportunity for me.
Whoa. If, as freelancers, we are all supposed to be learning only on our own time, how much time do we end up spending on learning that only benefits one client?
As a generalist doing all sorts of projects, the answer would probably be: a lot of time.
Every time you do something new that you don’t usually do, you are going to spend hours learning about it in order to implement it for the client.
If you most often work on simple marketing websites, and a client wants you to build a membership site, you are going to spend days researching options and learning how to implement it.
Then you’ll spend days fixing things that you didn’t anticipate as issues.
So I realized in listening to this podcast: an extra benefit of specializing and creating a repeatable process is that you don’t have to spend so much of your own time learning new tools or processes.
As an example, if you always work on membership sites, you’re already going to have the knowledge about the platforms and options. You won’t have to spend a ton of time researching for each project. Since you’ve already done it before, you also know how to implement it and what issues and potential problems you can expect.
As a membership site specialist, you would save hours of unpaid learning time compared to someone who’s never done it before.
Isn’t that where we all want to go? Where we can approach our work with confidence and efficiency?
I know that a couple years from now, I’m not going to want to spend days of unpaid time on every project because I’ve jumped from platform to platform and all over the map on deliverables and tools.
I want to get to a place where I have honed expertise in a high-value skill set that makes my clients a great return in less time.
Is it just me?