#345: How to Be a Generalist AND Specialist at the Same Time

I’ve heard this argument hundreds of times:  

“I don’t have a specific target market, Ed. I’m a generalist who works with all kinds of businesses. So I’m having a really hard time narrowing things down, and I’m not convinced I should.” 

When I ask them about their motivation for continuing to do things this way, I typically get a response along the lines of, “I want variety in my work. I don’t want to be writing for just one industry.” 

And that right there is the crux of the problem. Most people who view themselves as generalists use the “work and client variety” justification. 

I don’t blame them. I want variety too! But that’s a logical fallacy.  

There’s a way to have your cake and eat it, too. But you have to look at this challenge differently.  

In this week’s (short) podcast episode, I explain how to do that. And how to arrive at a well-defined target market that works for you AND keeps things open and flexible for unexpected opportunities. 

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Key Topics and Bullets: 

  • Misconception that being a generalist provides work variety
  • The misconception that being a generalist allows for variety in work
  • The fallacy that being a generalist has to include working with different industries
  • Tightly focused work still allows for plenty of variety
  • Getting specific about whom to pursue, not just whom to accept
  • More focused, efficient, and effective marketing outreach
  • Being able to accept opportunities not squarely in the target market
  • Efficient and cost-effective marketing outreach
  • The target market does not have to be limited to an industry
  • Examples of successful professionals with non-industry target markets
  • Analyzing past clients for common attributes rather than industry
  • Looking for common threads among past better clients
  • Finding other shared factors beyond the industry
  • Detail-oriented work to find non-industry-related target market attributes

By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business: 

1. Grab a free copy of my book. 

It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here   

2. Get my Business-Building Toolkit.

Too many freelancers lack a critical set of business skills that would enable them to earn more in less time doing work they love for better clients. I’ve taught these skills to my coaching clients for years. And now I’ve packaged it in a way that will enable you to start getting results FAST. — Learn More   

3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just hit reply and put “Case Study” in the subject line. 

4. Work with me privately.

If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.