Last year, I had a long-time client doubly “should” on me saying 1.) I should create a discounted web design and web marketing package offering and 2.) I should make his niche my niche. He wasn’t trying to get a discount- he suggested this because he wanted to refer his clients to a quality web marketing partner on terms that worked best for his clientele. His heart was totally in the right place. Yes, the niche I helped him build a multi-million dollar business in is a niche I could rock, and yes, there are “riches in the niches”….but hell no, I was not going to come up with a lower-quality service package to get more people in the door. I loved this particular client, not his niche. My self-management mantra kicked in.
The reason I have loved working for this client for almost a decade (geez, time flies) is because he is a passionate professional, not because of the industry he is in. I remember how amazing it felt to be so clear on why this request did not work for me. I don’t want high-quantity “meh” work. I love the custom detail that we put into the web marketing work we do for passionate professionals! I thanked him for the suggestion and reminded him that the reason I am so good at what I do is because I can be the “Robin” to superhero “Batmans” like him and all the other amazing professionals I have the privilege to serve!
Anybody can produce a product or service. Take french fries for instance. Fast food fries are designed to be consistent and cheap. I enjoy cheap fries every now and then (if I am on a road trip and am super hungry), but I don’t value the high-volume model. If someone asks me for a place to go to get great fries, fast food joints are never places I will say “Oh, you have to go to ____). Quality always trumps quantity. Experience is everything.
The older I get, however, the less I am willing to settle – as a consumer, but also as a maker.
I LOVE to love my work. I love people, serving people, creating for people, solving problems for people. You can’t do custom, craft, detail work in high volume operations in the same way you can if you go gourmet. I love fine food and I looooove fine web marketing.
This double “shoulding” conversation was a game changer for me last year in my business. It really solidified who I am, what I want and what I stand for. This client (who I adore) offered me an “in” to serve hundreds of people in a niche that I have one heck of a success story to tell (and sell) in. It could have been big money honey. But as a lifestyle business owner, my work is not just what I do, but whom I do it for. To me, success is not just defined by income, it is defined by my experience as a maker and the experience I help create for my clients…and the clients they are attracting.
Being clear on who I am, what I do and whom I serve is the best marketing and business asset that I will ever have. It steers me professionally and helps me attract clients that I love (and that my team loves).
Life is short (or worse, it could be really, really, really long)
Don’t settle for crappy fries -you will get professionally fried faster than you think.