How to Find Your Focus

 

Command the Fees You Deserve

 

Lesson Info

How to Find Your Focus

So lesson eighteen howto find your focus. So the question here is that in addition to your favorite clients, you need to find other people who need what you have to offer. And if you learn anything from this course, I want you to learn that focus is the key to success, and focus also happens to be one of the most problematic areas for many creative professionals, right and focus. What is it? It's structure it's narrowing your options, it's saying no to certain things so that you can say yes to others and focus really does make your life simpler. It makes it easier. It makes you feel that scattered. It makes things just much more calm. And the thing about focus that I've learned is that you become competent at something specific, whether it's a target market or a a service that you offer but the more you do it for the same kinds of clients, the more competent you feel and therefore imposter syndrome disappears completely because, you know you can do it, and then you become confident, ob...

viously, and you project that confidence, and people trust you and they can't help but say, I really need this person to help me, right, so it's a it's, a continuum. But it's so important and it really does start with focus, so if you've been resisting focus and in the back of your head, you know, I know I need to focus I just can't figure out where to focus now actually what we're going to go over is five different ways to focus because when I say focus it's not just one way it's not just one thing it's there are many different ways to focus and I want to emphasize it's a process you start moving in a particular focus direction moving toward narrowing, as I mentioned in session one I've been doing this for twenty eight years and the first ten I wasn't focused at all I didn't work with many creative nationals I worked with exterminators and I even had someone who sold those portable john's contact me as if I could help them market that and I said no because that I definitely couldn't dio right but you have to start by saying no to all of these things that you know you're not going to be competent at and really focus on the things that you are going to be competent at that the world wants because the other key when it comes to focus and and how you find clients is not what do I want? Who do I wantto work with? But what does the world need that I can provide and if you're responsive to that world to those people then that's where you're going to find the work so the answer to had his one find clients is what does the world need that you can provide all right so do you really have to focus? I hear this a lot of little whiny often sometimes actually and here's what I say no you don't have to right it's your life it's your business you could do whatever the heck you want but if you don't you will be a blur in the eyes of your prospects right? If you say I can do anything for anyone you will not be specific they won't know howto categorize you and they do need to pigeonhole you a lot of creative people say I don't want to be pigeonholed I say go ahead pigeonhole yourself don't let them pigeonhole you you be general yourself according to what work you want to do and what the world needs otherwise you will be a blur in the eyes of your market do I really have to know? But if you don't you won't know where to find your best prospects you'll be going toe all sorts of events you'll be taking whatever comes along if you don't focus, you won't know who to say no to do I really have to focus no, but if you don't you won't know what to say on your web site or in your email newsletter right because you have to be talking to someone specific do I really have to focus no but if you don't hear you won't know what to write in your e mails that you won't know what to block about you won't know what the podcast about you won't be able to do social media because you won't know who you're talking to have I convinced you to focus excellent eso here's a new idea I have let's see if it's clear focus is bringing something to the front right as I said it's not black and white it's not focus on this for those designers out there and people who use design software you've seen this bring to front when I used to do my own newsletter way back when and I knew how to use quark express I learned I had never seen this phrase bring two front before and now I know what it means but the idea is that you bring your focus to the front so that people see it and everything else is kind of in the background right it doesn't disappear you don't have to make it go any where is just that you have to show people what you want them to see you have to show them your messaging your positioning your focus otherwise they won't know what to focus on is that clear? All right, we're going to bring your focus to the front so I want to share five different ways to focus, and I have examples of each of these also, and in the workbook, I have links to the examples of the screen shots that I'm showing, so the first one is the most obvious and it's the one we've been talking a little bit about already, which is a vertical focus, which is a focus on a particular industry sector, and I showed in session one the home page of stone soup, creative, and so I'm showing it here again as an example of a vertical focus, and so, she says, were stone soup, a brand strategy consultancy for nonprofits, foundations and educational institutions. So this is what she's bringing to the front, right that's what she has focused on it's, a vertical industry focus it's a couple different industries rights, he's not necessarily saying just this one, but they're related, and so it makes sense that they would be together all right, here's an example from we're creative, this is amy, we're and her focus is also vertical but similarly expansive, she says getting good, org's noticed, and the tagline is, we love working with good people, nonprofit organizations with good causes and for profit companies with good intentions, so she was struggling with I like working with nonprofits. But there are some four profits I don't want to alienate so this is her strategy and solution for basically saying if you have good intentions and are for profit, then you fit into our focus all right? So where you can be really creative with your focus with the way you think about your focus but it takes some time and you have to be not concrete about it all right? And then here's another example this is kind of the narrowest of the vertical focuses that I'm talking about this is gorman three sixty, which is jim gorman, another client of mine and you can see from his home page that he focuses on the aviation industry right? And he says a few favorite examples of creative work for some of my aviation and general advertising clients and when he came to me he was actually laid off from a big ad agent see and he wasn't sure if he could make a business on his own. This was about three years ago and he came to me and he said, you know, can I make this work? And I said, well, it depends what you want to focus on and he said, well, I love aviation, I'm a pilot, I've done some work on the side for in the aviation industry, but I don't know if there's enough work there for me and I said you're one person, right? Yes, there's plenty of work there for you if you focus on it and he wasn't sure, but sure enough, actually now, three years later, he has seven people working for him. There is so much work in the aviation industry that he has been able to go after and his tagline, I really loved that too at the top. Do you really need an ad agency or do just need somebody who can think like one right? So he's saying that's another way of saying I bring big agency experience but not the costs but he's not saying we're cheap, right? Don't you just need someone who thinks like a big ad agency in one simple line that's a great line he's a writer all right, so that's all examples of vertical focus one example of ways away to focus the second way to focus is a horizontal focus, so that is a focus on a medium or a discipline, and this is often easier for creative professionals to think about because it's what you do, so for example, it could be web design. Web design is a horizontal focus. The problem with it is that then you still have to figure out who you're going to do it for you can't just do it for anybody and everybody a black and white photography is another example of the horizontal focus or direct response writing a particular type of writing white paper writing, annual report writing and then you have to go find the people who need it. So again, from a marketing perspective, that kind of focus is not helpful, but it's possible, it just means you're going to put a lot more effort into where are you going to find the people who need web design or black and white photography? Who are they? That means that your favorite client form needs to be filled out much more specifically so that you can go looking for those people all right? Here's an example of that, uh, this is horizontal in the sensitive design and development. So it's one service for any type of company. She this is kitty sank so on actually, she basically says four companies of the digital kind which I like because that's general enough to not be alienating certain types of companies but also specific enough to say, this is who I'm looking for. All right, so that's the second type of focus, the third type of focus and here's a place where you really can get creative it's the umbrella focus where you identify a common denominator or a common idea, or a through line amongst the different types of companies and industries that you like to work with you're pointing to justin how come transformation exactly that's what I was talking about so the transformation umbrella what would come under the transformation umbrella yoga you said what else thought leaders you've talked about I mean conservationists people that are looking to create change you know, for animals are you know, uh, environment um so the way you come up with your umbrella this definitely is creative, but it takes some thought to figure out what it's going to be, but the way you come up with it is you look at all of your examples your samples, the work that you've done and you see what is the through line amongst all of them and sometimes it's hard for you to see it yourself. I do this with clients and I can see things that they don't see, but I'll show you an example actually, of ah client of mine stephanie he line who I'm sure is watching. So hello stephanie, a strategic design studio and her tagline, as you can see is invigorating health care and wellness organizations so it's health care related but it also includes wellness so she can work with yoga studios she can work with hospitals, you can work with health systems, she can work with medical device companies, write anything that falls under that umbrella the next one is to be a specialist in a particular technology so this is a little narrower than the horizontal focus where the horizontal was a particular service I'm going deeper and saying a particular technology drew people jundullah wordpress this is specific especially to software and technology obviously but the problem is you still have to figure out who needs that technology so actually have ah, former client who with a specialist in julia and so we were trying to figure out where can she find people who need julia but you know a lot of software companies have events that they put on or they have user groups or meet ups or online forums where people are asking questions about that particular software so that's one way to find your actual prospects if you're a specialist in a particular technology all right here's an example ah client of mine also laura foley she calls herself the cheater of death by power point power point is her technology that she specializes in and uh she could do anything related to power point she does training she does mentoring she does actual presentations she could do workshops right? But she has positioned herself as the designer who knows power point so that's one example and she's built a whole you know, empire essentially that serves her and her needs well just based on that and I think one of the thing that's also interesting about that choice is that so many designers hate power point that the territory was wide open to her nobody else wanted it if you can find a territory that nobody else wants you're golden I've heard scientists say that actually if you can find a species that no one else has found yet, then it's yours ok and the fifth way to focus I actually think this is one of the best ways because uh this relates to the way your prospects often think about what they need. It is the way you work when you focus and emphasize bring to front a service or a particular aspect of your process or the fact that you're reliable or responsive, right and that's what uh as you might have noticed when I showed you whole brain creative, the positioning statement is where to go to get it done in that positioning statement you don't know what it is and you don't know what the services are, but if you want to get something done this is the person who's saying she'll do it for you. So can you think about maybe in the chat room? Can people think about what is the way they work, which your client would relate to, which would probably be the pain points of your prospect and client? I need someone I can rely on? I don't know the difference between high quality and low quality, but I need someone who's, not a flake and if you present yourself as I'm not a flake, then also, that is a way to focus, and you will attract the people who need that, who need what you offer. It looks to me like other than the first one the article one, all the other ones kind of nina little vertical focus did as well, and it almost seems like a combination of two is is a good way to go. Thank you so much because that's a perfect segue way as I'm saying that the narrow or the better. But we were looking at jill lynn design yesterday, and she is a horizontal and vertical is a combination of the two right she's saying I make websites that's, a focus on a service for creative businesses and that's, a focus on and so, yes, the narrow, where the better the you. I think I want people to definitely have a vertical aspect to their focus because that's, what makes the marketing possible and easy, but you can be creative in the way that you think about focus, all right before we move on to the exercise. Think of the last you've stumped the audience because they really are thinking about this very carefully in the st timothy's saying I'm drawing blanks on this topic, which means I need to spend time digging into why I'm drawing those blanks and krista's saying yes it's the same here so I think this is an area you've really struck the people have to start focusing on which they haven't necessarily considered yet yes, and I would also emphasize the point that we can't always do this for ourselves. We can't see our work clearly enough to see what the through line is or what the need is or what the focus should be so it's kind of a perfect opportunity if you want to take advantage of my free mentoring session because I can talk about it with you and look with you at your examples to see what the through line might be all right, so the exercise is, uh links to all the examples that I shown that I have shown are in the workbook but the question is which of the five ways too focused is most appealing or applicable to your situation and what's the first action you can take to move away from being all over the place, which is the opposite of focused zane what would you say? Um I would say like the first action that I can take away would be by figuring out what my strengths are right and figuring out what my domain expertise is and like my background kind off, figure out what my competitive advantages compared to the other professionals in my field. So coming up, maybe about how you work also process, so probably coming out with, like, a statement like that because of my background and, you know, product management, building up better than most other professionals in the other fields, positioning my back, resisting myself away now, what's interesting. You were the one in session one saying, I don't want to brag, right? And you just put on the table, here's how I'm better than and I would frankly never say I'm better than anyone hears what I bring to the table. Yeah, okay, here's, what I've done not in relation to anyone, they will make that distinction, okay? Raina, what about you? Well, I don't think I need much more focused vertical, okay, but I really like the idea of the way you work relating to your prospects. Pain point on guy. I don't know exactly what aspect of that I want to focus on, but I think that's really powerful, and that would be a good a way for me to make the focus a little more narrow, excellent. Beautiful you have something to think about, and then maybe tomorrow, when we come back in session three, you'll have some more thoughts, you don't have to have an answer, right? But just a little bit more progress toward that. Justin, um, well, I think a few things are coming together when I'm looking at this around the way you work on dh, I'm I'm kind of getting specific here, like, hearing from you, about the power of your consultations, you're free consultations, and then my strength of kind of helping people, people don't know what they know you said yesterday, and like thinking about how can I do a thirty minute consultation with somebody to help kind of could help them bring out what they know to then be like, you can create, you know, revenue and out of this knowledge, so yeah, it's it's specified your specific, but but that's kind of what's happening in my head. Yeah, and I think the idea of essentially creating a space where you can help them and extract what the ideas are that they don't know they have that could be very powerful. Excellent. All right, take a l t media say, right now, four or five, clearly what they need to foot to focus on, but christa is saying, I feel like I'm not all over the place. My client is fairly to find a present, but I am very intrigued by the umbrella idea, and I feel I should spend much more time focusing on that. And I think a lot of people are off expressing that. But so few people don't really understand the young brother idea. And she was saying that maybe we just clarify that briefly, this seems to be a thing that people, they they want to explore more, but they're not quite understanding the print. Okay, here's another example, then, um, I have a client who's umbrella idea is any company that helps people live better. If your company helps people live better, then I can help you. And so there are lots of different examples of what would come under that. I have another example actually another client who focuses on what they call enthusiast brands. We specialize in enthusiast brands. And what that means is any brand or type of company whose customers, our enthusiastic and passionate we specialize in that kind of marketing, right? So it could be education. It could be travel, it could be sports. Anything falls under that idea of enthusiast brands. I think that's very helpful. Thanks, felice and hopes is already saying, well, my umbrella, I know it is communicating about complexity

Class Description

Earn more money for the work you love to do – let Ilise Benun show you how in the complete guide to marketing, pricing, and booking freelance work: Command the Fees You Deserve.

Ilise has built a career advising the independently employed. She has authored 7 guidebooks for creative entrepreneurs and runs the popular online freelance resource, The Marketing Mentor. In Command the Fees You Deserve, she will teach you how to land clients who value your services and stop the self-defeating cycle of taking whatever comes along. Ilise will share:

  • Inspiring ideas for finding and approaching clients
  • Step-by-step instructions on pricing and proposals
  • Tips for keeping clients happy and projects on track

You’ll learn how to identify quality prospects, deal with problem clients, and structure your marketing to avoid the feast or famine cycle of freelance work.

Command the Fees You Deserve will help you enjoy greater stability and security by finding the right niche, marketing and pricing your work, and sifting good clients from bad ones.

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