Well, it’s turkey mating season here in Sonoma County. Here’s a quick pic out the front door of my house of some male turkeys doing their best to look appealing for their desired mates:In honor of turkey mating season, what better time to open registration for all three workshops that comprise Specialization School?Allow me to explain…There’s actually no causal relationship between turkey mating season and me opening registration for these workshops.Just like at times in your business there’s been no relationship between revenue today and the business development activities you may or may not have carried out 3 to 6 months ago.In fact, that might be the unifying theme of the three workshops in Specialization School. They’re meant to help you gain control of your business:Specializing, so that you can immediately begin addressing the marketing inefficiencies that so often plague generalist freelancers and eventually develop uniquely valuable expertise that attracts desirable clients.Understanding your ideal client’s needs better, so that you can immediately begin connecting and building trust with them more effectively and eventually move up the value chain to more impactful, profitable work.Using outbound marketing, so you can immediately begin taking control of demand for your services so that you reduce the chances of suffering yet another feast/famine cycle in your business.Specialization School is new, but it’s the formalization of years of experience working with hundreds of self-employed software developers. My focus is helping generalist developers make a good decision about how to specialize and then start generating leads the way specialists do: by using compelling, valuable expertise to attract prospective clients who are willing to pay a premium price and let you lead the engagement. Sort of like the kind of relationship someone just diagnosed with a brain tumor would have with a brain surgeon they really trusted. That’s analogous to the kind of relationship I want my client’s clients to have with them.Specialization School is the best combination I’ve got of information, diagnostic tools, and structured step-by-step process to help you become a business that attracts great clients with valuable, specialized expertise.This does not happen overnight.For most people, it’s a multi-year evolution of their business that starts with a decision: “I will specialize in ______________”. That’s where Workshop 1: Decision Making gets you. It helps you analyze your current situation and, from there, decide where your best options for specialization lie.Sometimes, due to a combination of… well, let’s be honest… hating all your previous clients and a risk profile that allows you to be comfortable with risk and actually tolerate a false start or two, the best option might be to focus on a type of client you have little or no experience with.That’s where Workshop 2: Deepening Market Insight comes into play. For those who would like to better understand the prospects they are trying to connect and build trust with, this workshop guides you through a 3-month long deep market research process.There’s almost nothing proprietary about what I teach you in this workshop. In fact, if you read Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez, check out Kai Davis’ materials on outreach, and Google anything you can find about “pre-marketing” and listen to my podcast interview with Olivier Lambert, you’ll have all the information I’ll teach you in this workshop.And even after doing that little bit of learning, if you’re anything like 70% of the people I’ve seen try this process, you’ll turn into a walking pile of excuses for why you’re not actually doing it. You’ll have all of the information and yet be stymied by the reality of speaking to strangers.And then if you continue to not take action, you’ll be stuck. Because often the insight you need into your market is locked away inside the heads of people with budget to spend and problems to solve and nobody to talk to about them. They’d be fired or worse if they wrote about them in public online. Their friends or romantic partner are either sick to death of hearing about this stuff or simply don’t understand it.When a curious, attentive technologist with nothing to sell shows up in the right way, they’ll talk. Not 100% of the time, not even 50% of the time, but often enough to give you insight that you can use to more easily connect and build trust with these kinds of prospects.That’s the goal of Workshop 2: Deepening Market Insight. It’s a 3-month long workshop because, quite frankly, it involves lots of stuff–specifically the outreach to strangers–that can go wrong or take longer than planned. So it’s a longer workshop to mitigate against these risks.It’s designed to avoid thrusting you into a stressful situation (interviewing strangers) with no preparation. We’ll use role-playing practice sessions to gradually increase your comfort with the parts of this process that generally scare the pants off most people.Maybe you already have good insight into the market you are focusing on because you’ve been working in the market for a while. If so, that’s great! In that case you’d skip Workshop 2 of Specialization School. It’s an optional part of the curriculum, meant only for those who have made a decision about where to specialize but want more insight into their market’s needs.Moving on from that point, if you wanted to start mastering the most basic, controllable form of lead generation available to you, you’d start an outbound lead generation practice (I call it a “practice” because it’s something you would do regularly, just like if you wanted to get better at playing an instrument you’d practice that regularly).And if you needed help with learning and practicing the basics of outbound lead generation, you might take Specialization School Workshop 3: Basic Lead Generation.As with Workshop 2, there’s no secret or proprietary information here. Companies like Lead Cookie and Mailshake are pumping out very high quality content marketing that basically describes 100% of the process we’ll use in Workshop 3.The real value of Workshop 3 is threefold: having a process you can just follow without having to invent it yourself, never having to face a blank sheet of paper, and progressive skill-building. The real world has a nasty habit of dumping you in the “deep end” on your first try, which is great for learning in a hurry, but not great for learning in a less stressful way. In this workshop we’ll do things the less stressful way. :)As a specialist developing economically valuable expertise, you should eventually grow out of the need for outbound marketing, perhaps as soon as within the first 2 years as a specialist. In fact at some point outbound marketing will become incompatible with your status as an expert. (Think back to the trusted brain surgeon example.) But until it does, it’s a valuable skill because it puts you much more in control of your new business development than you are if you rely solely on luck, repeat work, referrals, and inbound inquiries.So there you go. The core of Specialization School are those three workshops, and hopefully that gives you a basic idea of what they’re about.Registration for any of the Specialization School workshops opens today and closes on April 22.If you think one of these workshops might be a good fit for you, just schedule a brief call with me to make sure we both agree you’re likely to get ROI on it: https://calendly.com/philipmorgan/20m-call-to-check-for-workshop-fitThe description and schedule of workshops is always available at http://specializationschool.com#schedule-P
Insight for Indie Consultants
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