"The easiest way to be at the top of your field is to choose a very small field."
- Simone Giertz
Okay, so, Simone was actually making a joke (I think) because she had just been explaining how she had carved a niche for herself as an inventor of useless machines. Yes, I would think that's a very small field and it's quite possible that she dominates it.
But when I heard her say that on the TED Radio Hour as she was discussing the topic of joy, it immediately caught my ear.
"By God, she's right," I thought. And in many ways she had just succinctly said what I say to my clients all the time: You can't be an expert in everything. If you try, you won't be an expert in anything. At least in the beginning.
Of course, no one wants to think that way, right? We all want to believe that we have it in us to take over whatever world we're hoping to conquer. I, personally, would love to be the next Seth Godin, spouting profound marketing ideas to thousands of people who can't wait to hear what I'm going to come up with next.
But like most successful people, Seth Godin didn't start out as SETH GODIN; he spent his early years launching his own business out of his house just as I am (although I don't think my years are as early as his were). From there, he chose to follow his passion of inspiring others - and the rest is history.
Barbara Corcoran wasn't always BARBARA CORCORAN. Tim Ferriss didn't always work a 4-hour week. Michael Kitces had to start somewhere. Almost every industry guru began with a small business and a dream, applied what they learned, and expanded their audience.
Let's give this a try.
Let's face it. Maintaining a larger field is a lot of work. I know because a few years ago I moved from a large property to a yard the size of a postage stamp. I've never been happier. But in terms of your business, if you're working toward an expanded reach, you better be prepared for the work that comes with it.
I find that most independent business owners are completely overwhelmed when it comes to marketing and outreach; they don't even know where to begin. But I think that's because they're thinking of that bigger field - they're looking at all that acreage and they're exhausted before they even start.
But what if your goal for the week was to reach ONE PERSON - just one meaningful connection with a potential client? One comment on social media from someone you know is completely engaged or an email from someone who received your newsletter saying, "Thanks! This really helped me a lot!"
How do I reach just ONE PERSON?
One of the best ways of doing that is becoming an expert in your own, personal, can't-be-reproduced-field - a field that starts out so small that you are the ONLY person who can provide resources to your idea client. You can't even think of someone you can refer your ideal client to (not that you'd want to) because you really are the only person who can solve their problem.
I'm somewhat in that situation now. I've niched myself to the point where I really don't have a referral partner who could take on overflow because I'm the only one who does what I do the way that I do it. And, because I've done that...I have overflow. I have a waiting list. My field is tiny. But I'm definitely the expert.
How about you?
1. Are there ways you can craft your marketing efforts to try and reach that ONE PERSON?
2. Think about your business in terms of the tiniest of fields - what does that mean?
3. How can you become the absolute expert in a field of your making that can't be reproduced?