My clients are a multi-talented lot and I don’t think they/we are all that unusual. Lots of people are multi-faceted with many apparently disparate strengths and experience gathered over a career and a life.
What ties it all together, what’s the unifying theme? You! You’re everything, in this context.
I have a lovely client who is interested in dogs, textiles and personal development and this week we came to see that the thread (pardon the pun) which draws them all together is her.
I’m interested in cats, business, money, writing, coaching and mentoring, and living part-time on an island in the Caribbean called St Martin. The thread which brings them all together is me.
You could be interested in a handful of different things and want to bring them all to market simultaneously and offer them all to your potential clients simultaneously and while that is desirable from your point of view, perhaps, it’s just confusing for them. So my client isn’t going to start three businesses, one about dogs, one about textiles and one about personal development, because that’s too much for one woman. But if she can just see how they all fit together and what they share in common, then she can build a life which expresses all the different parts of her via her business as well as in other ways in her lovely life.
Over the years, your tribe will come to understand the beautiful, complex work of art that you are with all your experience and interests and how that delicious unique combination can help them. But we have to be careful how we bring that heady and eclectic mix to market. One piece at a time, Sweet Jesus.
Your readers and clients are already busy and, to some extent, in overwhelm. So don’t throw the whole wonderful kaleidoscope at them at once. That’s why choosing a niche is recommended, not as a way of limiting you but as a way of making it easy for your clients to pigeon-hole you in the early days, just until they “get” you in all your glory.
Don’t think of it as a creative strait-jacket, rather more as a shop doorway. Don’t show them your whole cornucopia of gifts at once, entice them into your shop and let them mooch around, getting to know your different facets one at a time. Tantalise.
If you are a coach or a consultant or you offer some form of service to your clients, all the things you love can help them choose you as their preferred supplier. They might pick you as their coach because they also love the seaside and they read on your blog that you do too. They might pick you as their consultant because you have some random thing in common, like the same sort of dog, or a mutual love for vintage or the films of Woody Allen. Life’s just like that. Magical, isn’t it?
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 2006 memoir Eat Pray Love, followed it up in 2013 with The Signature of All Things, a novel unlike anything else she’d ever written. That’s OK. With a success like the first you can carry your fan base with you. She’s award-winning now at both fiction and non-fiction. See how this works? She didn’t try to publish both books simultaneously.
Your job is to create your own equivalent of Eat Pray Love, your first iteration, which includes one valuable core offering with tempting flashes of flavour which hint at all that is wonderful about you, all that comes with hiring you. But it doesn’t confuse. A confused customer will go off and buy from someone who makes it simpler.
People like to buy from people they feel comfortable with, so seek first to establish rapport. You are unique, you’re everything. Just don’t foist it all onto us at once. There’s plenty of time. Slow down. Reveal some new angle one bite at a time. Tempt us into your story. Lead with one major offering and in a few years when we trust you in that capacity, it’s alright to offer us something else. In fact, it’s more than alright. If you get that first bit right, we’ll be beating a veritable path to your door and gagging for it.