How to position yourself as a specialist (and leave the generalists in the dust)

Let me ask you a question: if you needed surgery would you seek out the best specialist you could afford, or would you go with the nearest general practitioner?

Me too!

Your ideal clients are no different.  During my 15 year career as a rep for top-level art directors, copywriters and fashion illustrators, I learned that high-quality clients will hire the most qualified person to solve their unique problem, and are willing to pay top-dollar for their services.  

It was my job was to position each creative professional on my roster as specialists within their field, uniquely qualified to solve the problems their ideal clients had.

Not sure how to position yourself more effectively to those juicy clients with the budgets to match?  The first (and most important) step is: 

identify what makes you unique and how that is of value to your ideal clients.

Whether you know it or not, we are all born with a unique gift or talent. No exceptions! Whether you’re a photographer, graphic designer or video producer, your unique talent or specialty is how you create positive transformation in the lives of others. And when you identify your talent and share it with your ideal clients, you can’t help but achieve the fulfillment and success that you wish for. 


But here’s the thing, most freelancers and creative entrepreneurs resist positioning themselves as a specialist because they worry they will lose perfectly good clients in doing so.  As a result, they are seen as a generalist and continue to get the last minute, small budget gigs that keep their business and income small.

If this sounds familiar, don’t feel bad. It’s not your fault and you are definitely not alone.  Most of us didn’t embark on creative entrepreneurship or freelancing with an MBA under our belt and are kind of winging it.  And that’s OK…for a while. But if you want to start landing those juicy projects (with budgets to match), you need to indentify what you are uniquely equipped to offer. This will help you:

  • Re-connect with what you love to do
  • Articulate what you do confidently, clearly and effectively
  • Build your business around your specialty, including:  the clients you serve, what services you offer, how you price them and how you engage with your audience.

If you’re ready to leave the generalists in your dust and start playing a bigger game, here are 6 questions that will help you identify what makes you unique.

  1. What elements of your work do you enjoy the most? 
  2. What do you love to do the most? (Note this isn’t the same as number 1. Examples might include gardening, theatre or amateur photography) 
  3. What do people come to you for? (If people are always seeking you out for something specific, it’s an indicator or where they see your greatest value or talent)
  4. What problems do you solve? (We tend to describe our business in terms of what we do and what our process is.  Try articulating what you do in terms of what problems you solve instead)
  5. What do you offer that others do not? (You might initially blank on this, but I promise that there’s something different about the way you approach a creative problem. Stick with it and write down anything that comes to mind)
  6. What would you do all day for free? (chances are, this is your unique gift and passion)

Your answers will get you closer to identifying the gift you have to share with the world. 

Want to take a deeper dive into defining what makes you unique and how to turn that into a profitable business or career. Watch this space for details about my upcoming free training on November 5th and I’ll share all!

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