Being an Expert Means Getting Daringly Narrow

11-Sep-2013

We know that there are lots of exercises out there for profiling your potential customers. We’ve seen some really great ones that get seriously in depth – from what kind of car your potential customer drives, to what kind of breakfast cereal they eat, to what keeps them up at night.

So we’re not diving quite so super-deep into “profiling” who your dream customer is in a psychological, socioeconomical or any other consumer-researchy-sense – 1.) because it’s not our own specific expertise, and 2.) getting really targeted about the ins and outs of your demographic honestly starts to sound suspiciously close to target market research.  We’re assuming you’re a creative entrepreneur – not a corporation. That means you’re not engaging in traditional advertising and we don’t recommend it. 

When you’re a creative entrepreneur, running your own small independent business, the one big advantage you have over those businesses who do have the bucks to do all that kind of research above – is that you don’t need to. Because unlike them, you are more directly, genuinely, and authentically connected to who your customer is.  You are probably conjuring them up in your mind right now. It’s not rocket science.  For you, the solopreneur, it’s not that hard to identify your dream customers and “make them real” in your mind and mind’s eye. 

What’s hard is actually sticking to your guns, and putting out there through your branding, messaging and conversations at large – that this specific dream customer is who you are for. Because everyone’s fear is then, “well, what about all the other people (and money!) I’m turning away?”  

Kathleen here, and these few paragraphs above are actually from our Dream Customer Braid ECourse, in a section where Tara gets serious about creatives getting narrow.  Our course goes on to share videos and exercises to help you get more specialized with your business model to attract those dream customers. But I wanted to share a few immediate tips right now – experiments, let’s say, with getting narrow.

Experiment With Getting Narrow

Here are a few ways to get daringly narrow, without getting too uncomfortable, when it comes to getting specific about what you offer and for whom: 

1. Just pretend. 
That’s right. Take an hour to pretend like you’re going to get super niched. Role-play what it would be like to say no to all the pain in the ass clients you take on for too little money. And then pretend what it would be like to launch a very specific offering to a very specific audience. If you start to get scared, and you should if you’re getting super narrow, remember that it’s just pretend. Be sure you’re capturing your ideas on paper (I know you’ve got more than a few notebooks lying around that you could take notes in). Nobody has to see it and you can always burn it afterwards.

Though, if you have a trusted partner, peer, mentor, or coach that you can pretend out loud with even better. There is a manifesting kind of power in fantasizing out loud. Tara and I brainstorm out loud about narrowing in on our own dream customer (and exactly who that is) all the time – it’s our way of “leaning into it”. 

After you’re done pretending to be an expert, I propose you take 10% of what you uncovered and start applying it to your business model now. You might try an experimental offering or product launch which leads us to tip #2...

2. Do an extra credit launch. 
The trap most creatives fall into is they want to completely restructure their business model when they have a new idea. But that approach is exhausting, expensive, and overwhelming. So instead try designing and developing a digital product, limited-time offering, or packaged service that is exactly what you want to be doing. Set boundaries, time limits, and define specific tactics or deliverables. This product or service launch should be something you really WANT to do and at a price you feel is fair. Make it available  to your dream customer by being very explicit and even exclusive as to who and who is not a good fit. 

Remember! This is just extra credit – don’t spend more than a week of your time developing this product and know that it doesn’t have to be perfect for release. Your livelihood doesn’t depend on it and you are completely unattached to the success (or failure) of this offering. The idea is to create and launch an experimental extra credit concept as quickly as possible. If it’s a success – great! You’re now on your way to doing more of what you love for dream customers you have impact for. If it’s a failure then brainstorm three things you would do differently next time. Tweak and relaunch. 

Some of our extra credit launches at Braid have included a workshop, a mastermind group, and a coaching for creatives offering. Some of them were more successful than others but each and every one of them has helped us really hone in on our own expertise and creative trajectory. 

3. Share more of what you want. 
This one is pretty obvious but it’s easy to forget to share more of what you want. Do a blog post about how your expertise really impacted and helped a dreamy customer. Edit your portfolio to only include the kind of work you want more of (regardless of how much those other jobs paid you). When you do what you love your enthusiasm will be contagious. It will draw dream customers with cash your way.

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Understanding your dream customer, and being able to speak and sell to them with authenticity and confidence – is about knowing yourself. It’s not only about being clear on your purpose but getting specific about what you deliver and who it’s actually going to help the most. This is what it means to be an expert. 

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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