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What color is you ocean?

Is your business a “me too,”? Are you one of thousands of Graphic Designers, Photographers, Success Coaches, Wellness Mentors, Money Attraction Gurus and PR Specialist?

 

Picture the client as a fish floating peacefully in the ocean. Other businesses with the exact same specialty as you are sharks. There are a lot of them, and they sense lunch is on the way. In a very short time, your competition is locked on your perfect client and a blood bath ensues. Private messages on Facebook. Fancy email marketing. Flashy websites. Before you know it, you’re getting this message:

 

“I’m not looking to take on another coach at this time,” and all you said to the client was “Good morning.” There’s blood in the water and its a red, red, ocean. You lose.

 

Here’s how to jump out of the salty red swarm and into fresher, bluer waters.

  1. Check in with the YOU that you used to be. 

  2. Position your previous experiences into a potential win for clients

  3. Do some good old fashioned comparison shopping

Your first line of preparation to find a blue ocean is your early years.

Check in with the YOU that you used to be. 

Somewhere before you went off into career-world, there was a moment when you knew what you wanted and who you were. You held a core belief, realistic or not, that delighted and moved you daily. By finding that core belief, you as a solo entrepreneur can position yourself as separate and different from all the other, “Me too,” businesses.

Example:

When my family took the deep dive into entrepreneurship twenty years ago, we headed to the library to check out books on business. While it felt great to say we were making positive steps toward running a successfully business, the reality was, the books didn’t have anything to do with the way we ran our business. The business guides of the time were full of theory and best practices that just didn’t fit the tiny, one-man fence-building company that we were running. 

Without a contractor’s license, my father couldn’t even BID on larger jobs, and it suddenly felt like there was a rival fence company on every corner, all with full crews, dazzling shiny trucks, huge marketing budgets and leads on all the best client sources. We were in a red ocean.

What led us out of the ocean was a childhood love that my father had for mathematics, art and engineering. Standing 6 foot 8, he was strong, fast and he had an artistic flair for creating aesthetically appealing fences with laser-straight lines, regardless of the slope or roll of the ground where the fence stood. Because he was a one-man-show, his overhead was lower, his set up and cleanup times were faster and he was able to respond to last-minute requests without having to coordinate a large crew. He gained a reputation for being fast, loyal, and dependable - all traits closely aligned with the brand symbol - The Siberian Husky dog.

Our business shifted into a blue ocean with our a website, without social media and with no marketing budget to speak of. We bought a magnetic sign for the truck door and the rest was history.

Position your previous experiences into a potential win for clients

Often when we launch into the new territory of starting a new business, we present ourselves as if WE were new, instead of the business. We look to our left and our right and we do what any reasonable person would do: We copy. For solopreneurs with a long history in a specific filed, this is a great way to take aim and shoot yourself in the foot.

Our former jobs came with a circle of associates, a skill set and a set of experiences that can’t be copied, but oh please for the love of all that’ good SPARE us your cold resume-bulled list of accomplishments.

As an audience, clients need to understand how each one of your accomplishments impacts their bottom line.

Example:

I have a strong back ground in both Classical Education and Military Intelligence. Oh gee how exciting. Those facts alone are meaningless.

*Morpheus moment*

What if I told you that my background in classical education allows me to pin point strategies that will allow you to learn faster, execute with more skill and persuade more people to buy your products?

What if I told you that my background in military intelligence allows me to break down complex problems into actionable reports so that you know EXACTLY what steps are available to you and the pros and cons of each option?

What if I told you that I offer 90-day sessions that will allow you to unplug from the world of gurus and courses and begin to formulate a strategy that fits YOU as a solopreneur?

If you take the blue pill, you return to your life of struggling to figure out where your next client is coming from. If you take the red pill, I offer you a free S. W. O. T. analysis and show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

A bit more compelling than a list of accomplishments, right?

Do some good old fashioned comparison shopping

Lastly, just plain do what your mama told you, by way of Barry Gordy and Smokey Robinson: Shop around. Create a graph and compare the heck out of your competitors side-by-side on paper. What are there similarities? How are they different? Who’s your biggest competition? What is NO ONE offering that you can provide?

There’s a PDF comparing the attributes of coaches in my free Busy Person’s Guide to Choosing a Coach course, feel free to use that PDF as a template for taking an in-depth look at your competition to find your way into the big, blue ocean of landing your perfect clients.

 

By the way though, I’m serious about offering you a free Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats analysis for your business. You can set up that process here, Neo.

 

Finding your ticket to the big blue can mean the difference between needing to hire an assistant to manage all the incoming client calls and wondering who took all the fish.

 

Get to a blue ocean. Its nicer here.

 

-Written by T. A.

T. A. Somers is the Professional Tall Person and Strategist behind T. A. Tells, providing personal and business development strategies for solo entrepreneurs.  She blogs about personal development at: TaTells.com and live streams every weekday on Periscope and Facebook Live. Follow her on Twitter @TaTells and Google+

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