You take pride in your specialty, and for good reason.
Maybe you spend your days in web design, navigating around Wordpress like a pro. Maybe you spend your days creating logos and visual identities for brands. Or maybe you’re a brand strategist that helps people navigate the ins and outs of a big idea. Either way, you’ve worked hard to carve a niche for business, a certain 'je ne sais quoi’ that people know you for, no introduction necessary.
But can what you don’t do hurt you? Can relying solely on your specialty to carry you forward actually look more like resting on your laurels?
Say you’re a web designer with an interested client at the ready. You’ve told them about your process, their deliverables, and your expected timeline for completion. They’re ready to sign, seal, and deliver you a big, juicy check with your name on it.
And then they ask about content.
Can you help me with the content?
“I’m sorry, but I don’t do that."
What’s On Your “Don’t Do” List?
A lot of niche and specialty business owners will solve the half of a problem that they can tackle on their own – design, development, content creation, whatever it may be – but shrug their shoulders and leave their clients to figure out the other half on their own. When it comes to running a business, running away from solving the problem, the full problem, and nothing but the problem can actualize as a serious handicap, both for you and for them.
How do your clients feel when you only offer to help them with half of the problem?
Often, a little bit like you’ve left them holding the bag.
Dealing With Your “Don’t Do” List
This isn’t to say that you need to become an expert, or even proficient, in copywriting if you’re a designer, or logo design if you’re a web developer. You don’t need to give up your specialty to become a generalist just so you can solve everyone’s problems all the time. (No one can.)
You just need to be willing to point them in the right directions and connect them with the right people to help them understand and solve the whole problem, not just the part that comes easily to you.
When clients hire you for your specialty, they’re also hiring you for your expertise and advice. If you’re really dedicated to solving their problems, knowing how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together is important to your work, even if you don’t do it all on your own.
Knowing when to defer to another expert and who to call is the definition of professionalism.
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When you ignore the parts that you can’t do for yourself, you’re prioritizing the comfort of your process over the challenge of problem-solving for the client’s benefit.
Which is really another way of saying that, by putting yourself in a silo, you’re limiting what your clients can accomplish with the work you do for them. Your work isn’t going to be impactful as it could be, even if you do get hired to do the work.
Asking your potential client to prepare ANY piece of the project, whether it’s design or content or another piece of the creative puzzle, is downright paralyzing, so there’s also a chance that they’ll choose to do nothing, and to slump away discouraged rather than do the job halfway with you.
At the end of the day, that’s every creative entrepreneur’s worst nightmare, isn’t it?
The Secret Community in Your “Don’t Do” List
If you work in creative services, you're probably a lot closer to knowing the solution to any given problem than your clients are. You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s no less true: It’s who you know.
Creative work can be very lonely and draining if you're too concerned about “the competition.” A lot of creative entrepreneurs suffer through loneliness and fear of failure because they think that someone else has to lose for them to win.
We see things differently. The conversations that have led to the best partnerships for Lexicontent have all started with our complementary strengths. Those conversations have also been with people that many creative entrepreneurs would consider “competitors.”
But we don't believe in competition, and here's why:
We know that we're more valuable to our clients when we're able to connect them to everyone they need to know to get the job done.
We specialize in content, but because of all of the conversations we've had with people who are better than we are at literally everything else, like branding, or web design, or interactive design, our ability to help our clients understand their options and make smart choices extends far beyond “what we do.” For everything we don’t do, we know someone helpful and trustworthy that we can connect our clients to so they’re able to get the help they need.
Before we're designers, or developers, or writers, we're all people who want to know, appreciate, and be appreciated by like-minded creative people. You don't need to know how to do everything yourself. You just need to know how to connect people who are capable of working together to solve the problem at hand.
If you want to practice on us, click here to head over to our contact page right now and introduce yourself! Tell us about your business, what you're good at, and how you think we can help each other.
We'll be looking forward to hearing all about you!