The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants

"I wish I'd written this book."

-Blair Enns, Author of "The Win Without Pitching Manifesto"

"Many people write about positioning, a smaller number really understand it, and then there’s Philip. While you might craft the perfect positioning by applying the principles in this book, you will certainly learn how to develop and test hypotheses in the future. Essentially you’ll learn how to learn, and that’s the best positioning there is."

-David C. Baker, author of "The Business of Expertise"

Specialize without fear; increase visibility, momentum, impact, and profit

Learn how to:

  • Choose the right beachhead for your business
  • Minimize the risk of specializing
  • Choose which of the 5 ways of specialization best fits your business
  • Earn more visibility and trust for your specialized business

Specialization is challenging because it's mysterious

Everybody says you should specialize, but the decision feels like guessing, or it feels risky. You can see the benefits for others (their value proposition is so clear!), but can’t see how to get your business there.

  • If you want to understand how specialization works before diving in
  • If you benefit from a systematic approach
  • If you don’t know how to choose a specialization
  • If you don’t know what to do once you’ve specialized…

...then The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants is for you.

Specializing your indie consulting business has obvious benefits (visibility, momentum, impact, and profit) and non-obvious obstacles (fear, ineffective approach to deciding). This book uses a systematic approach to help you navigate those obstacles.

In guiding hundreds of business owners through this process of specializing, I’ve observed 3 patterns that describe how they make the decision. We tend to do one of the following:

  1. Leverage a head start.
  2. Pursue an interest in serving a particular kind of business or solving a particular kind of problem.
  3. Pursue an entrepreneurial thesis.

A head start is some relative advantage that you possess. Building on an advantage is a specialization accelerant and a risk reducer.

Head starts generally take the form of one or more of these advantages:

  • A significant depth or quality of access, or large number of connections, to a target market.
  • A significant amount of credibility in a market vertical or within a certain audience.
  • A significant depth of expertise in some area.
  • A significant depth of insight into a target market’s needs or business realities.
  • A significant ability to earn trust from prospects or clients.

You can specialize without any particular head start, but if you ignore a significant head start, you’re making more work for yourself. You might decide to do this for good reasons, but understand what you’re giving up by ignoring that head start.

In The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants, you’ll learn:

  • What marketing actually is (for indie consultants, not product companies)
  • How specialization and positioning relate to marketing
  • The benefits and the risks of specializing in a platform
  • What marketing infrastructure helps you earn new visibility
  • The way fundamental marketing labor relates to specialization
  • How to choose the right beachhead for your business
  • How to navigate the risk of specializing
  • The tradeoffs in the 5 ways of specializing
  • The valuable opportunity that being bad at marketing presents

The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants can be read in a weekend, or a few hours if you power through it. Illustrated with visualizations of the important concepts and models introduced through the book's readable, friendly text, this book helps you become your own "positioning consultant" and make the critical strategy decision that unlocks a more successful version of your business.

Your best clients lie ahead of you. You don't need to be smarter, more extroverted, or more confident. You need to make one simple-but-challenging decision about how exactly to focus your businessThe Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants is the best tool to help you make this decision and find your best clients.

What this book is not:

A "one weird trick" book. Specialization is simply deciding to focus your business in a way that makes your expertise more valuable to clients. This book will help you make a great specialization decision, but it can't make that decision for you. Your courage and insight into your market's needs are what's required of you; this book amplifies your courage and insight by helping you think about specializing in a strategic way.

A book that uses a fake formal tone. I wrote this book to sound like a real person speaking, not like a professor or arrogant knowitall. The book also won't waste your time with irrelevant case studies or dumb stories. It's casual but concise.

Over-promising marketing BS. Specialization is powerful, but it's not a miracle. It's a force multiplier, but you still have to supply the force that specialization multiplies. Totally ordinary people can do this!

A "business card book". I want you to read this book and get everything you need to successfully specialize without outside help. This book is not a thinly-disguised sales pitch for my services.

Buy e-book directly from the author ($9)

Buy from Amazon (Kindle, paperback, hardcover)

Sample Chapters


The review below alerted me to some errors in my book layout. I responded by hiring a professional book designer to completely re-do the layout. The errors described by this reviewer are no longer present in any version of the book. The reviewer also critiques some writing choices I made. I think those critiques are baseless, but check out the sample and decide for yourself!

Buy e-book directly from the author ($9)

Buy from Amazon (Kindle, paperback, hardcover)

Sample Chapters

(I hope this book's pricing maximizes accessibility and skin-in-the-game, but if $9 USD is a barrier for you, then I've made sure libgen has an option.)