Learning these techniques are great resources to utilize on the playing field. In order to learn what works best for you, take these steps to better hone your niche, speak with prospective clients, and write proposals to help you get started on the right foot!
1. Do the work to get clarity
The first exercise that our Bootcamp participants complete is incredibly enlightening - for them, and for us. To start, everyone lists out their top professional accomplishments and the specific skills they have that enabled them to hit those achievements. While seemingly basic, this exercise opens their minds to their capabilities, and makes it clear what they bring to the table that’s much more specific and tangible than “Operations” or “Product.”
Your goal is to always respond to someone who asks you “what do you do” with a specific line like, “I specialize in launching two sided B2C marketplaces and enabling scale” rather than “I’m great at Operations”
2. Be confident in the value you’re bringing
As you clarify how you tangibly add value to a company or individual, you gain tremendous confidence in yourself. Everyone deals with imposter syndrome; being clear where you add that value to a client, and where you have in the past, goes a long way to overcoming it. This knowledge empowers you to have confidence as you present yourself and ask for what you want, and the clarity to see if the client is a good fit for you. Remember, it’s better to walk away from a bad fit than agree to a bad deal.
3. Clearly articulate this value tangibly (to a client, on Linkedin, etc.)
To successfully align your value to a client’s needs, you need to not only know your specific expertise, but also translate it clearly and concisely to that client -- don’t make them guess what you do! The better job you’ve done at #1, the more clearly that will come across when you’re networking, emailing with a client, or posting on Linkedin. As you do this, the client will realize they’re talking to an impressive, accomplished person, and be excited to work with you.
4. Charge a premium, given you stand out
If you’ve done a good job with #1, you can charge a lot more for your area of speciality. This isn’t 10% more. This is more like 20x more. A great example is designers. You can find a logo designer for $10/hr on Upwork, but the best designers in the world charge $5k for a logo design (yes, really). What’s the difference there? The difference is between a commoditized offering, and a specialized one. If I want a logo that really stands out, I’m likely going to need to pay for it.
For you, where are you the top 3% in the world? If you’re not top in the world, then you need to do a better job with your niche. Get specific. The more specific the better. Don’t think you’re shrinking the pool of companies that need you. You’re not. You’re improving the odds of closing a project 10x. We’ll cover how to set your rate in another post, but for now, come up with a number that you feel good about and defend it. Have confidence in it and what you bring to that company, and don’t agree to a dollar less than your time is worth.
How to use these learnings moving forward?
In closing, with clarity into your skills and past experiences, you can better determine your focus. You can use this focus to ask curious questions in your calls, which in turn validates you and helps your client see your value. Active listening throughout your conversations allows you to show how you can provide value in a genuine way. Use what you’ve learned to build a strong proposal where you outline the deliverables you’ll provide, and that will back-up your high rate.