Sara learned that being a generalist meant that every time she took on some sort of new task or service, it was slow to figure out and she wasn’t always billing hourly so that burden fell on her to ramp up as fast as possible.
When she took on services or clients that were similar, she had already done all the learning and education. She was in a better position to sell form and market herself because she had experience in it. Completing the work was faster too because she already had some process to work through.
Back in 2015, she sent out an email to her team with the benefits of specializing:
- More efficient
- Produced better work
- Easier to market
- Positioned as an expert
- Strong negotiating position
And then away they went.
[clickToTweet tweet="'I finally feel like I'm selling something where I can say I have more knowledge than the other person you're talking to.' via @sara11d" quote="'I finally feel like I'm selling something where I can say I have more knowledge than the other person you're talking to.'" theme="style3"]
Sara went through a lot of the struggles and emotions a lot of entrepreneurs go through and very much felt on her own island. But she found that by publishing her journey on YouTube, that there was a community that was also going through the same thing.
Sara now has that position in the market where she can say that she’s really confident in what she does, she’s really good at it, and it’s unlikely that you are going to find someone who’s better at this specific thing. She never felt that as a generalist web designer.
Episode Take Away
If you’ve ever thought about specializing your business or services, what questions did you ask yourself? We dive deep into what Sara did. I would encourage you to download the Freelancer’s Framework which I’ll link up in the show notes. This will help you start the journey by reflecting on your current business. Then as Sara shared in her number piece of advice, ask yourself “what moves can you make and what decision can you make tomorrow that moves you into a more specialist position?”
Jason Resnick: 00:01 And welcome to live in the feast. I’m Jason Resnick, and for the past decade I’ve been helping businesses translate their goals into online success as a freelance web developer. In order for me to accomplish my why as a freelancer, I needed to live in the feast. Now I’m turning the tables around so you as the freelancer can do the same and build a sustainable business to achieve success so that you can ultimately live the kind of life you know why there are so many emotions involved in business, especially when it comes down to your business. Pivoting or changing, holding these vulnerabilities and these things we fear close to our chest is commonplace. You don’t see too many people blogging about what they fear in their business. It’s really because we want to show that as business owners, we are in command. Sara Dunn a web agency owner decided that her business needed more focus on one particular type of client because she saw that her company became much more efficient and profitable when they worked on similar projects or clients that they had already produced something for. Sara wanted to niche down, but she wasn’t sure what the process was, what to look for, or how to handle all of the feelings and emotions that came along with it.
Jason Resnick: 01:29 When we recorded this it was exactly one year to the day she started down this journey. In that time she figured out her niche landed multiple clients and has seen her agency grow. If you’ve ever thought about specializing your business or services, what questions did you ask for yourself? Go ahead and tweet me @rezzz and let me know if you’re in the process or you have already specialized, I would encourage you to download the freelancers framework, which I’ll link up in the show notes. This will help you start the journey are reflecting on your current business.
Jason Resnick: 02:09 This episode is sponsored by Feast. Feast is the roadmap and community building. Freelancers like you looking to take their business to the next level. You didn’t become a freelancer and start your own business because you wanted to work more, right, want better clients, command higher prices, build recurring revenue so you can stay out of the famine for good feast will help you focus and remain accountable through coaching calls, community and exclusive mastermind group and tons of resources and tactics that worked for today’s market. Head over to [inaudible] to check it out and while you’re there, take a look and grab the free lesson and the KPI spreadsheet which I use to track my own content marketing. So let’s dive in with and live
Jason Resnick: 03:00 in the feast.
Jason Resnick: 03:05 Howdy folks? So this season is all about marketing yourself as a freelancer. No doubt you’ve heard that you need to specialize or niche or niche down, whatever term it is that you use in the world and stop taking on every single project. Well today I’m honored and excited to be bringing on to the show someone who’s going through this process and she’s documented it night. She’s recording videos and at the time of this recording it’s actually one year to the day of a very first video, so I’m so excited to have that, that milestone, right. I’m Sara Dunn. I mean she’s been documenting this story on Youtube and if you haven’t checked it out, definitely check it out and I’ll add the link in the show notes, but she specializing her web agency and sharing it for all the world to see. Sara, welcome.
Sara Dunn: 03:58 Hi, thanks so much. I’m so glad to be here on this very special day.
Jason Resnick: 04:03 Excited to have you here. So for those that don’t know who you are, who are you and what do you do?
Sara Dunn: 04:11 Well, I’m Sara Dunn. I run a web agency based in southwest Michigan and I’ve done that for about five years now and in the last year or so I’ve been working really hard to specialize my agency and figuring out who our ideal client is, who we want to work with and see if we can’t position ourselves in our marketing as experts in something super specific. So I have a tiny team of four people and we’re all remote so I work from home is a story that’s very familiar to a lot of your listeners and I’m just ready to take my business and my marketing to the next level. So excited to share that with you today too.
Jason Resnick: 04:53 Awesome. Great. So before we get into what’s going on today, why did you start your own business in the first place?
Sara Dunn: 05:03 That’s a great question. I’ve actually never worked in a super traditional job other than an internship at a big fortune 500’s web team. And I think I just always knew I wanted to do my own thing. Um, I just took a test that told me that I am a competitive achiever by personality. So the whole idea of working in corporate and trying to climb the ladder and wait to be noticed in order to get a promotion just never really appealed to me. So I knew I wanted to do my own thing and create my own destiny. I didn’t always know that that would be in technology or on the web, but I eventually got started because I started designing websites as a hobby for myself, for friends and I discovered that people would pay me money to do it and my hobby just kind of creeped up to become more and more of my days and I realized that it was something I really enjoyed doing. I was willing to do it for free, but people were willing to pay me so I might as well make a business out of it. So this business in particular, I was definitely looking for the right career at the time, but um, it wasn’t something that I always knew I wanted to do. It just kind of happened to me.
Jason Resnick: 06:27 How long were you , I guess making websites professionally. In other words, getting paid to do this
Sara Dunn: 06:31 About five years. So when I started it was, I had no formal training. I actually went to college for international business and had a minor in marketing. So it was just me and doing theme customization on WordPress, doing the design and the browser mostly and doing the development and customization is myself and that’s how I started about five years ago, so I like to say I was just a girl with a cellphone and a laptop who wanted to run a business and I figured it out really slowly over time, but I always took it very seriously and knew that I wanted to create a real business and not just a job for myself. So I was really happy to grow it fairly consistently in land, some big contracts early and have a pretty successful business fairly soon after I started. So it’s been great and I’ve really enjoyed it, but in the last year, so it’s been time to take it to the next level.
Jason Resnick: 07:29 We’ll dive a little deeper into specializing in the importance of that. But what was that tipping point? I mean, I know that series on youtube, you kind of go into a little bit about that. You saw that when you did several projects have the same type or same industry or similar spaces, you found that you became more efficient and that was a signal to you to be making your business better. So what did you measure for efficiency and specifically I guess along the lines of how did you know you were actually becoming more efficient when you did multiple projects at the same time?
Sara Dunn: 08:16 That’s a great question and that is something that I mentioned my first video that when we did similar projects in the past, it was always more efficient to complete them. So in less time. I think it’s important to know that when I got started doing this I thought I kind of had to say yes to everything. So if there was a local business owner that said, oh Sara, you do websites while, can you also do my social media and can you help me maybe figure out how to send an email newsletter? I was like, yeah, sure, why not? You’ll pay me for that. OK, cool. Then I’ll do it. And every time I took on some sort of new task or new service, it was so slow to figure it out and I wasn’t always building billing, hourly billing, flat rate. So all of that time for learning fell on me.
Sara Dunn: 09:05 And so I was spending a lot of time delivering services that were new to me that took a lot of time to deliver and didn’t make a lot of money. So I realized when I took on services or clients that were similar, I had already done all of the learning for that service. I had a better position to sell from and to market from because I had experience in it. And to actually completing the work took less time because I already had some of a process for it and had kind of gone through some of the, the hair pulling and the, the trying to figure things out and had at least figured out how to make it work once. So every time I did something similar, I realized that it was just faster. I was more efficient. My team was more efficient in things that we had done before. And that was one of the reasons that I really wanted to specialize in stop saying yes to everything and taking on new services all the time, but I just didn’t really know what the right thing was.
Jason Resnick: 10:08 Sure. Literally track hours and dollars and profit margins and things like that. Or was it just kind of more of a gut feeling that you were becoming more efficient?
Sara Dunn: 10:19 It’s actually both. I’ve always been pretty big on time tracking and project profitability and figuring those things out. So I did have some time-tracking tools so I could look through and go how long did this task take, how long did this project take? But part of it was also just kind of monitoring my own level of frustration and figuring things out and just realizing how much easier things where the second time, the third time, the fourth time, the fifth time that I did them. So it was a little bit quantitative, but also just kind of the feeling.
Jason Resnick: 10:54 Sure. Yeah. I think a lot of figuring things out as we go. You know, what I was taught how to make a website through email because I was cutting my economics class in college, right? Like it was a long distance learning class, like it was the most boring two hour tv show that you’ve ever seen in your entire life and was like, I’m not doing this and let’s sitting watching this TV. And I was just like, I’m going to go up to the computer lab and my friend was taking. And this is the late nineties at this point. Right? So that’s the early, early stages. And my friend was, he was learning how to make a website and he was teaching me like HTML over email and I was building a website while I was doing who knew that this will be my career. Right. So it’s just, I mean that’s what it really is.
Jason Resnick: 11:51 It’s, it’s also figuring things out. Um, we might have a mentor or somebody that can guide us in a direction or have a feedback loop against kind of thing. But a lot of times it just falls on us. Right? Like you have an agency, you have a small team right? Myself, I’m a solo business owner, um, but you know, ultimately it comes down to let’s see where this might take us, but then we have to kind of make sure that we’re always on that straight track so that we don’t veer off. As you started to explore this specialization, how did you overcome like, you know, meandering too far from the track? I mean, especially if you have people that essentially you’re responsible for
Sara Dunn: 12:39 happened fairly naturally because I realized eventually what types of work that I didn’t really enjoy doing and that weren’t a good fit for our team. So when I got more comfortable that there was actually more work out in the world, if I said no to a certain job, I kind of naturally started going, you know what? I don’t really enjoy blogs particularly. Um, you know, that was just one thing that we didn’t do a lot of. So I started referring out different jobs if they came in, if someone wanted a blog, same thing with ecommerce, that wasn’t really our deal. And eventually I realized that, you know, what, product marketing wasn’t really our ideal. We should focus on services because I love driving leads for service based businesses, so up till that point that was the easy part of my specializing. Those were things that I realized really naturally and just got brave enough to say no to, especially when I found some people that I was willing to refer out to. So I didn’t feel bad about saying no to it, but that was as far as I really was able to get in a natural way in the path of specializing was just saying, you know, I know we liked doing websites for service based businesses and that was where I kind of got stuck about a year ago and didn’t really know how to go any further.
Jason Resnick: 14:06 Did your team on this route?
Sara Dunn: 14:10 Yeah. You know, I wrote an email, actually think it was like May of 2015, so like a really long time ago I wrote an email to my team as part of a regular monthly newsletter to them that I do that just talked about my thoughts about specializing at the time and how I could see some benefit to it. And it was something that I was going to think about and think about pursuing and I didn’t really have anything concrete. It was just kind of my thoughts on paper about the advantages that I could perceive about specializing. So including some things like the fact that we were more efficient and produced a better work when we did similar work to projects done in the past or the fact that it would be a lot easier for us to market if we knew exactly who our target clients were and the services we could offer in finally.
Sara Dunn: 15:03 Also the fact that we really weren’t positioned in the markets as experts in anything. So we didn’t have a really strong negotiating position in any sort of project negotiation because we were just kind of a plain vanilla everything digital marketing agency, like a lot of other people that are prospects might have been interviewing. So I did tell my team about specializing and why I was thinking about it. But as I started exploring things, I did kind of do it on my own. There was a little bit of hesitation from my designer, bless her heart. She’s very much creative and she’s like, well, you know, if we only focus on one kind of client, that doesn’t sound very interesting creatively. So I’ve continued as we’ve made the specializing transition to have some unique work for her. Keep variety in her life. But yeah, most of the um, decision to specialize in the things that I explore and were really something that I did myself and a blessed my team for having patience with me and letting me kind of go down this path.
Jason Resnick: 16:28 Did you have mastermind group or somebody that you could bounce ideas off of. You know, Philip Morgan’s positioning manual. You read. I read that to be able to bounce an idea off of someone that.
Sara Dunn: 16:58 It’s such a good question because I had a little bit of kind of a sounding board, but what I really wanted was for someone to say, I’ve specialized in my web agency and here’s exactly how I did it. And that just didn’t really seem to exist. I think it was a little bit of a crutch at the time. Wanting someone else to have a thought out process for exactly what I should do. And I’m kind of glad that I got to forge my own path, but I think what was most frustrating to me with the information on the Internet was that it was all like really quick advice. Like, Oh, you’re not getting enough leads while you should specialize in a certain kind of client.
Sara Dunn: 17:37 And then everything becomes easier. And I’m like, OK, well I want to do that, but I think you’re making this sound way too simple. Everything that I’ve found online just really seemed to gloss over the fact specializing a business. It just kind of like your baby feels very emotional and I’ve felt like nobody was really giving enough credit to the emotion and the decision and the, the fear that comes up when you talk about specializing in one very specific way and cutting off the rest of the market. So there wasn’t like a certain content resource or a certain person that I really felt like was a mentor in the process. And not that I didn’t have anyone to talk to. So I’ve been involved in a women’s entrepreneurship mastermind group for about three years. And when I told them they’re all in different industries, so not other web professionals.
Sara Dunn: 18:33 I masterminded with a productivity consultant and a speaking coach and a sales consultant and all of them were kind of like, well, are you, are you sure you really need to specialize? Like they actually had a lot of fear for me. Oh, is this Sara being crazy? Will she ever find another client? So to be honest, one of the reasons I was so frustrated when I started this process to try to figure out a specialty is because I felt really alone. I didn’t feel like anyone else was going through this. I, I hadn’t heard of anyone else that was like, Hey, this is really scary. And so I felt very much like I was on this generalist island and everyone else was happy to be generalists and everybody other than them was already a specialist. And it was easy for them to figure out what their specialty.
Sara Dunn: 19:21 And I’m like, I’m somewhere in the middle. I would like to be over there, but I’m over here and nobody understands me. Since then, through actually doing the videos, I found out that’s totally not true, but in that very first video, I talk about how I feel kind of alone and I’m going like, does anybody out there feel this way? Anybody at all? Um, and thankfully so many people have sent me a youtube comments, private emails, twitter replies, twitter direct messages. I got my first instagram direct message about this just today, and people saying, oh my gosh, I’m totally where you were a year ago. So frustrated with my plain vanilla business and knowing I need to specialize, but really not knowing what to specialize in. And even that to me has been such a wonderful part of putting the work into doing weekly videos for the last year. It’s made it all worth it. It has been some work in some time, but just to create a community of people who feel understood has been such an amazing outcome that I wasn’t actually anticipating at all.
Jason Resnick: 20:48 once before in the early two thousands when everything collapsed. The anonymous itself. Um, I was working for a consulting firm that grew way too fast because of the .com explosion. Um, but then when all those dot coms, you know, basically who went under the, you know, this consulting firm subsequently had to downsize and I was part of that and you know, at the first time I was like, Hey, I can make a website, I could run a business, you know, like I equated to that and I learned pretty quickly it was a little over a year I had to go get a full-time job. But then in 2010 I struck out again and I went on my own and I was like, look, I’m, I learned my lessons from the first time. The whole time I was kind of prepping the business, all the other things of the business, you know, the admin work, the marketing and all that other kind of thing that I failed to do on the first go around.
Jason Resnick: 21:40 And so it was like a year and a half in, two years in, I was like, I hit this wall again and I’m like, why am I on this hamster wheel? Like, I don’t get this, and I told my fiance at the time, I said, look, I think, I think I’m at a point where I got to go get a job because I can’t do this, I’m going to get burned out. And I, you know, I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel. I’m always chasing that next thing, you know. And shoes was, yeah, she said to me like, look, I know that’s not what you want to do and you know, you’re not going to be happy doing that and it’s not something that, you know, in your head you’ve always wanted to, you know, do your own thing. And that was kind of like the kick in the butt that I needed.
Jason Resnick: 22:19 Right? Like I was like, oh, this woman wants, you know, she’s supporting me a hundred and 10 percent. Like, you know, not everybody would say that. They’d be like, all right, well get a job, you know. So that was like, all right, well then I gotta figure this out like what’s going on here? Right. So, you know, I felt like you, I was like, I know I need to do this thing, like I can’t be the general web developer like that. And that’s what I was. I mean I was doing php, ruby on rails, I was all over the map, right? And I was like, I got to specialize in some way so that I’m not on this constant hamster wheel. I need to become that expert, how do I do this? And like, you couldn’t find anything. And I was like, but there are there specialties like I see them, they exist.
Jason Resnick: 23:04 How did they get there? You know? So everybody’s business is different, right? Like you were saying like it’s like your baby, right? Like there’s an emotional attachment to it, right? Like, it’s very different. So the way that I went about finally figuring out what my specialty was may not be the same path that somebody else’s, you know, I feel like that’s such a, such a personal thing, but there’s no real how to do it. But to have that support system, to have that like, hey look, can I just bounce some ideas off of you? And like where did you go to, you know, find x or how did you come at decision? Why like to have that
Jason Resnick: 23:45 support system there? Um, I think that’s, that, that’s, that’s where it is. That’s where the gold is. So
Sara Dunn: 23:53 I’m really glad you said that about the process is specialized being so personal and I think I’m just starting to realize that. So I thought that there must be some formula out there, like there must be a certain way that you figure out your neesh. And I did try to buy as many resources as I could. So I read I’m Philip Morgan’s consulting manual and Pia Silva has a great book called Badass, your brand that I read and did a review on. Then I started Philips can the positioning course and I went through some of those exercises and I was just like trying to analyze this to death. Like there’s gotta be this decision Matrix and I’m going to rank some things and then whatever ranks the highest is going to be my specialty, but there were worksheets and Philip’s got great worksheets.
Sara Dunn: 24:48 They just didn’t work for me to be honest. I wanted to be so passionate about whatever I specialized in and I think that that’s also personally I think other people can be really fulfilled by just saying, Hey, I know there’s money in this industry and I know I’m good at the surface so that’s what I’m going to do and it’ll be fine. But I wanted to be like so excited about whatever I chose that I would do it for free. I wanted to have that feeling like I have on some projects that are just so fun and exciting. And if I didn’t have that feeling, I just couldn’t move forward with it. Which is one of the reasons I think I was so stuck. Um, my videos actually, I started, my first video was just about I’m going to try to find my niche and here’s what’s coming next and here’s how I feel.
Sara Dunn: 25:39 And then I continued to make a video every week and it’s probably like 15 videos of me going, hey, I tried this thing and it didn’t work either or here’s this really interesting exercise I tried, I still don’t have a nish and I’m not sure anyone even washed those. And if they did they probably weren’t interesting, but I was like, I’m going to turn this camera on and talk to it every week even if I haven’t figured it out. And I really didn’t think it would take so long. But I think that there’s still value in sharing that journey and sharing my perspective on how I wanted to feel when I chose to specialize. So you’re right, it is such a personal decision and the process is very personal to you and what makes people make that decision. So I’m out there going, hey, if this is hard, I get it. This really isn’t as easy as it sounds
Jason Resnick: 26:43 So a year into this now, what are you actually doing?
Sara Dunn: 26:44 OK, sure. So it was actually about last October, so a few months ago that I was just like, OK, still doing this thing, still making these videos still don’t have a specialty. And I went to a women in big business conference and I met someone who really changed everything for me. She is a wedding planner in Chicago and she’s a great entrepreneur and someone that I really enjoy and as soon as we met and I told her that I did web design and search engine optimization, she said, oh my gosh, will you look at my website? I had a website redesign about six months ago and I used to be on page one of Google for Chicago wedding planner and now I’m on page nine and it is a disaster and my inquiries have dried up and I don’t know what to do and will you just look at it and let me know what you think?
Sara Dunn: 27:39 And it took me all of a minute, two minutes looking at the site to realize that her web designer knew nothing about Seo and had just totally messed it up for her. And the more I looked around in the wedding industry, the more I realized that all of the website and marketing services sold to the wedding industry are all about the creative and I think that’s really a disservice to the industry because marketing, any business is not just about what it looks like and whether the design is good. If you don’t know anything about the technical part of digital marketing and have website design, you’re really doing a disservice to your clients. And so I saw that as a big hole in the wedding market and I immediately felt this really strong desire to help this market. And it was the first time I latched onto a certain type of work and a certain type of client and said, these are my people and I want to help them no matter what. And so I probably a month later I made a video that said I’m too scared to tell you what my niche is. And then the next week I said, OK, I’ve got it and I’m going to tell you I’m going to do search engine optimization for wedding professionals. And so that’s where I am now and it’s been really fun.
Jason Resnick: 29:02 It goes back, right? Like that, that gut feeling, you kind of figure things out and happen stance. Like I know in one of your videos it was the, you know, you had talked about, I think somebody said like, right, you felt that like even you mentioned like, you know, you wanted to be able to love what you do to be able to be able to find that it finds you sometimes.
Sara Dunn: 29:31 Yeah. You know, in that video that I was making, it was a little bit different. I’d heard from a couple people who said, oh, you know, I kinda did this project with a certain of client and then I did another one and those type of clients just kept coming to me. So my niece just happened to me and I was like, I wish that would just happen to me. That would be awesome. But yesterday I got a call from a concrete company and today I have a call with an accounting firm. So my clients are all over the map. So it’d be awesome at the same client of client would just keep calling me and I didn’t have to figure it out. So that was what I really meant by the niche just happening to people and I wish that would’ve happened, but even though I reached that inflection point where I connected with the right person, I think because I was actively seeking and open to the idea of finding a specialty, I think that’s why it occurred to me that that was a direction that I should go in and if I had just been continuing in a generalist mindset going, oh well this is one project that I’m doing and tomorrow I’ll do something different.
Sara Dunn: 30:38 I never thought to declare that as a nice or actively pursue other clients in this same industry. I would’ve just again went onto tomorrow and waited to see what kind of referral came in. So even though this amazing person came to me, I think the idea of specializing, I’m was still something I was working hard at and that’s the reason that it happened.
Jason Resnick: 31:02 Yeah, I think that’s a good point because you do have to be open and receptive to that. Have read books and said, look, you know, just be open to it and see what the book says to me. I’m available and make yourself open to things, you know, sometimes he’s enlightening just in, in and of itself. Um, so now that you have a few months with certain niche, now I mean, what’s, what’s it look like? I mean is, is things, are things easier for you or is it marketing easier? Is the language easier? You still kind of, you know, these still get those general inquiries coming through. I mean w, what’s it look like now?
Sara Dunn: 31:54 Sure. So since this is a marketing focus season, let’s talk a little bit about that kind of the comparison of marketing as a generalist versus a specialist. So when I was a generalist, marketing was really hard because I didn’t really know who I was talking to and so I tried to do content marketing and everyone said, well you should blog and share your authority on a regular basis. So I wrote really general blog posts that I think we’re so broad trying to connect with everyone that nobody found them very interesting. So on the marketing side, it is so much easier now to figure out what content to write that would actually be interesting. I’ve been able to dial this niche in this industry down into an ideal client persona that I think about when I’m actually planning out content. So what I’ve done in my business and in my specialty is create an entirely separate super focused micro-site is what I’m calling it and it’s all about Seo services for wedding professionals.
Sara Dunn: 33:04 And there’s a couple of reasons for this. I’m having the separate site. The first one was just because it reduce the perceived risk for me. So I kept my generalist web agency site up exactly as it was just so I always had that to fall back on. Just felt way too risky to me to take over my existing website and say, nevermind generalist web work. I’m only focusing on wedding professionals now. Um, so I have a separate site because it made me feel good. And also because whenever someone lands on my specialist site and starts reading it, all of the messaging is targeted to them. It is all about Seo for wedding professionals. The way I talk about Meta descriptions is written for a creative person and specifically has examples of wedding industry, blog posts and how you’d write a meta-description for that. So it’s just so much more compelling and the results as far as response and followers and email subscribers has been just immense because people know when they read a piece of content from me it will apply to them or has a much higher probability of applying to them.
Sara Dunn: 34:20 So for years I had an email signup form on my generalist agency site and it was one of those that just said subscribe to our newsletter for small business marketing tips. And of course, no one signed up for that. That sounds awful. I don’t want a newsletter about small business marketing tips either. And I find marketing interesting. So, um, I think literally like zero real subscribers to that in the five years that I did generalist work. And I’m already in just a few months of putting out fairly regular content on my specialist site. I’ve already got I think, I think 28 subscribers and no, we’re not talking about like crazy online marketing. Let me write a course about it kind of numbers, but this is significantly more than I ever got being a generalist and I’m really just picking up speed within this industry. Just did my first Webinar, a free webinar about it yesterday. So the fact to me that 28 people are willing to listen to me every other week when I send them a blog post. That is just a game changer. So the marketing for specialized services is really truly so much easier and more compelling and more useful.
Jason Resnick: 35:42 People are so much more of a higher quality of lead to you than somebody that’s just looking for marketing tips.
Sara Dunn: 35:50 Oh, absolutely. I know that they’re right within my target client and I can nurture them into becoming a client over time as opposed to your. I am talking to anybody and hopefully I offer what you need and maybe I don’t. Um, so yeah, I think they are getting so much more value out of it.
Jason Resnick: 36:10 Yeah, that’s great. That’s awesome to hear because I think what happens is, is that, you know, like we were talking about how do you get to that island? No, but once you add that island, you’re like, how come you’re not over here? It’s like, it’s like this enlightenment that happens, right? Because it’s, it goes a long way in that like, hey, everything else does become easier. Like you, you know, who you’re talking to, you’re not talking to an audience that’s in like a theater, you’re talking to like a specific kind of person and to be able to have that messaging down Pat, right? Like, I mean, I’m sure you still probably working on the messaging and all that stuff, but over time all of that stuff interacting with sales, you know, even working on projects, supporting, you know, past clients, those kinds of things. That messaging starts to really become natural language of your business. And once that becomes, you know, the natural course of business selling, I mean you’ve already sold them before they even come to your, you know, before they even reach out to you.
Sara Dunn: 37:27 It’s also so much more compelling in the sales process. So I was talking to a prospect last week and she was actively looking for an seo company to work with and she’s a wedding planner. And she said, well, you know, I’ve got a meeting with a local agency here too. And I was able to say, you know what, I’ve worked with other wedding planners. You don’t have to explain to me the difference between the kind of bride you want and the kind of ride you don’t. I, I am learning how they are searching and I’ve done this before. And she’s like, Oh, you know, this is what I finally feel like I’m selling something where I can say I have more knowledge than the other person you’re talking to. And as someone who is a competitive achiever, you know, I do want that position in the market where I can say I’m really confident in what I do and I’m really good at it and it’s unlikely that you’re going to find someone who’s better at this very specific thing. And I never felt like I could say that as a generalist web designer, I, I know the websites we create great. But um, you know, they could go pay a bigger agency a lot more money and get a better website than what we can make. But in this very specific place in the very specific market, I now feel like we have a much more special position. So that’s been really fun to in the sales process
Jason Resnick: 38:58 journey and even documenting it. First of all, thank you for putting it out there. Like being vulnerable, telling it like it is what you’re saying. You know, the ups and downs and all of this stuff. Because I think if, if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking about going down this road and I think we both encourage you to do this and go check out our youtube series on this because you know, it’s, you’re not alone, you’re not alone in this. Um, feel free to reach out to me on twitter. I don’t have a youtube channel or nothing, but I’ll, I’ll definitely try to help in any way that I can and I’ll probably just link you up to videos. But um, this has been awesome. So thank you for doing that. And yeah, thanks for, thanks for being here. But before I let you go, what’s your number one piece of advice for any freelancer that’s looking to live in the feast?
Sara Dunn: 39:54 Obviously I am a big cheerleader for specializes and just having the confidence to realize what kind of projects you really like. I’m not saying you have to choose a hyper specific service in a very specific industry tomorrow, but is there a kind of project you can think of that you really don’t enjoy as much as others that you aren’t as good at, that you don’t think maybe you get the best results? Maybe that’s something you start referring out tomorrow and I promise you that there is other work that’s coming that is a better fit for you. If you can say no to work you don’t actually like and you can get a little bit more specific in your marketing messaging about who you help and what you do. Every little incremental move you can make towards doing better work and more specific work gives you a more special place in the market and a bit more of a marketing upper hand on others. So my number one tip is not to specialize in niche down as tightly as possible, as soon as possible. It’s what moves can you make and what decision can you make tomorrow that moves you into a more specialist position?
Jason Resnick: 41:07 Perfect. Thank you very much, sir, for being here and giving us such an awesome show. I know that people are getting a ton of value out of it and definitely the action items for sure. Ah, where can people reach out and say thanks for this?
Sara Dunn: 41:26 Um, I am most active talking to others on twitter. My handle there is @sara11d and all of my videos and all of my accompanying blog posts for each video in each week. Is it sara-dunn.com. I would love a comment there. I’m just always so encouraged when I hear from someone else that says, I get how you’re feeling or I appreciate knowing someone else is going through this, so please feel free to reach out through the contact form there or send me a message on twitter and I’d love to help you or at least encourage you in any way that I can.
Jason Resnick: 42:03 Awesome. Great. And I’ll put all of those links in the show notes. As always, everyone. Thank you for listening. And until next time, it’s your time to live in the feast.
Season 2: Marketing
More episodes in this season:
S02 E00 - Marketing For Freelacers
S02 E02 - Rise of the Youpreneur with Chris Ducker
S02 E01 - The Future of Sales and Marketing with Chris Marr
S02 E03 - How to work with agencies as a freelancer with Lee Jackson
S02 E04 - How to build a service from the ground up with Ruben Gamez
S02 E05 - How to increase the number of leads and clients with Brennan Dunn
S02 E06 - How to specialize your business with Sara Dunn
S02 E07 - How to close a deal as a freelancer
S02 E08 - Step by Step Guide to Specialization