A lot of talk and not much action?
Last Saturday at WordCamp Grand Rapids, something magical happened.
Someone I didn’t know came up to me in the lunch line and told me he had been watching a few of my videos since meeting me at WordCamp Jackson.
I almost dropped my taco.
Someone watched my video? How fun! I thought I was making videos for an empty room!
But when I asked what he thought, he burst my bubble:
“It’s been interesting watching how you continue to justify your decision to yourself about specializing.”
Maybe not really the feedback I was hoping for? I’m really not trying to make a whole video series about this to justify specializing to myself.
So, let’s do some summarizing. I honestly, 100% know that I’ve made progress in my business, so it’s time for a progress report.
5 Months In: My Specializing Progress Report
It’s been five months since I started my video series and blogging about this topic.
I’ve naturally started specializing a little bit by turning down work I don’t really enjoy and outside my agency’s areas of expertise. This has been both strange and very, very valuable.
Just through cutting out small projects and projects we aren’t interested in, I’ve been able to focus a lot more on what I do want. I’ve spent more time marketing, learning, and on outreach.
Landing Bigger Projects
The result: we’ve landed several much bigger projects in the last few months than we ever have before.
One of our most recent projects is actually about three times the cost of our average project last year.
What do I attribute that to? Being more focused and really believing in how great we are at the things that we do really well.
Yeah, But That Market Vertical Thing
Ok, ok—Have I declared what our actual specialty is?
Have I made big changes to our agency website to reflect a specific focus or problem that we’re solving?
Have we chosen an industry vertical?
Nope. But I don’t think that is a sign of no progress.
Did I think I would get farther than this by now? Probably.
But I didn’t want to fixate on a specific deadline and force myself into a decision that I wasn’t ready to make.
In the last month or so, I’ve been ready finally to rip off the Band-Aid and try to make a decision.
My next action step is taking Philip Morgan’s Positioning Course to try to get more clarity around how I should vet and choose an industry vertical and expensive problem to focus on. I have started the course, but I’m only through Lesson One, so I don’t have a lot of feedback just yet.
What I do want to give you are a couple key takeaways from what I’ve learned so far from this progress report.
5 Months In: Key Takeaways
Choosing A Specialty Doesn’t Have To Happen Overnight
You don’t have to wake up one morning as a do-it-all generalist, declare a specialty by afternoon, and say no to everything else by 5 o’clock.
I’ve been able to practice my “Saying No” skills by just turning down small projects and work we don’t really want first.
I’ve gone from saying yes to 90% of opportunities to saying yes to maybe only 40% of what comes our way. For me, that’s been a really natural and less intimidating way to focus.
It Doesn’t Get Any Less Scary
I’m honestly absolutely paralyzed by the idea of choosing, declaring, and pursuing a specific market vertical.
As much as I believe in it, I don’t blame the guy at WordCamp who talked about my justification. I really do want to keep gathering data and making sure that this is the right choice.
I think that Philip Morgan’s course is my last step in gathering data before I’m ready to move forward with something and just give it a shot.
And thus ends this progress report. I haven’t specialized perfectly just yet, but I feel like I’m making really serious progress toward something great. I apologize if I just keep rambling on about how great specializing is without doing it 100%. Decisions coming soon…