You've heard this one, right?"There's two types of people in the world. People who believe there's two types of people in the world and people who don't."That joke is funny to me because I believe the world isn't that simple. It's not that binary, despite the joke's simultaneous success and failure at expressing a simple, binary world.That said, below are two sets of questions you might be asking about your business. I suspect that one of the sets will be closer to the questions you are asking about your business.Set 1
- How can I develop a reliable pipeline of future opportunities?
- How can I move beyond commodity-level pricing for my services?
- Referrals seem really random. How can I improve this?
- I don't know what to write about when I'm blogging or doing other forms of content marketing. How can I fix this?
- I don't have a good reason why clients should choose me over other developers with similar skills. What could be a compelling reason for them to choose me?
- I'm sick of running in place just to keep up with the changes in technology. How can I get off this treadmill?
- How can I find complementary service or product providers to trade leads with?
- How can I find a larger audience of clients or just interested parties with which to share my enthusiasm for this specific language, framework, platform, or tech stack?
- I could work with this specific language, framework, platform, or tech stack all day long and all night on weekends! How do I get paid to do that?
- I have a specific change I'd like to create in the world. How do I incorporate that passion into my business?
- I love solving this specific type of problem no matter who for. How do I find more people who will pay me to solve it for them?
- I sometimes call myself the "Red Adair of _____________", and would love to be known worldwide as that kind of specialized problem solver. How do I do this?
- How can I be known worldwide for _______________?
The choice between a vertical or horizontal focus in your business might be as simple as noticing which of these two sets of questions are closer to the questions you are actually asking yourself about the future of your business.Set 1 corresponds to a vertical focus. A focus on a market vertical (Ex: retail, manufacturing, life science, etc.). If you're asking questions like those in Set 1, you probably would be best served by pursuing a vertical market focus.Set 2 corresponds to a horizontal focus. A focus on a technology platform or an evergreen business problem (Ex: Netsuite, Selenium, disruption by Amazon, storing regulated data in the cloud, maintaining and improving legacy code, etc.). If you're asking question like those in Set 2, a horizontal focus might be the best fit for your business.I've worked together with some other authors to put together a book bundle for you. It's 6 books that all work together to help you level up your business, and we'll be offering them as a time-limited, heavily discounted bundle. If you're interested in this offer, send me a note [here](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=More info please about that book bundle).-PP.S. Know a self-employed software developer who might benefit from specialization? Send 'em this free gift! Details here --> /referrals/