Lately it seems I’m in the right forest, but focusing on the wrong type of tree. I’m in a very crowded genre with my professional life – social media technology and consulting. I prefer to think bigger and put myself in the genre of digital social communications, but I digress. It wasn’t this way when I started out. Everyone and their mother (and the cashier at the corner store) considers themselves a social media expert if they have even just a tiny bit of experience using Twitter, writing a blog, or watching YouTube videos. Sadly I feel it has tainted what it means to successfully offer and execute these services and programs to clients. To add to this, legitimate and robust offerings have come to market (namely agencies or consulting firms with a payroll full of employees) that have many more resources than I do as a solopreneur. You can be the best tree in the forest, but if you get crowded out by bigger trees, you loose your ability to stand out.
Right now I feel like I’m in a forest when I used to be in a field. It’s time to uproot to a new field full of new growth that needs my help. No worries, it’s still within my core competency of social and digital media, but I finally realize I’m not focusing on a tight enough audience. A tighter niche. One where they aren’t getting a whole lot of help from people that genuinely care about their results. A group of people that have loved me for a long time and valued my services. A group of people I’ve helped for decades but never thought to shift focus to professionally.
About a year ago I decided to once again pivot my business and not work with as many companies with their social media strategy and ongoing implementation plans. (I do still have a handful of top-tier, well paying clients – I’m not completely crazy!) Now, my talent and passions have evolved elsewhere. The expertise I have and the services I provide are more about business processes and objectives than anything else, only conducted via online digital communications platforms. That manifests itself to look like marketing and public relations to many, but my ultimate goal is to get more businesses to get more business. What I love to do more than anything is create creative solutions using a mix of technology, community, and education. I think it’s finally time to explore making myself available to the very people that have wanted my services for a long time.
So, about that forest and the tree. By now you have heard the saying that the more niche you are in your business, the more business you will have. (If you’ve not heard it before – now you have.) I came to the realization over this past weekend that I have been chasing the wrong niche. I’m also reading “The Pumpkin Plan” from Mike Michalowicz (*affiliate) and I know that has a lot to do with my epiphany. When you, as a professional or a business, offer an amazing product but have trouble convincing others that it is worth paying for – you are barking up the wrong tree. Of course you could have a horrible service or product, but I’m going to go on the assumption you are amazing. What I need to do was pay attention to the people screaming in my peripheral vision telling me that they need me. It’s not that my talent, value, or services are absolutely second to none and trendsetting (nice ego Lynette!) – it was that I just needed to shift my focus a degree to the side. Right forest, wrong tree. All I needed to do was listen to the people that said they needed me most. Sounds simple, hua? Not when you are laser focused someplace else.
My focus is now clearer, goals now in sight, and my outcome more predictable. Not too many more ‘spoilers’ now, but I thought that sharing my thoughts along the way might help inspire you to make a shift for yourself.