This isn’t a demand that you should be a specialist instead of a generalist. However, if you are someone who wants to be paid well – more than 90% of other people trying to make money by sharing their experience – then you’ll want to consider the insights shared in this Sunday Letter to Solopreneurs.
First, let me expand on a post I recently shared in the Facebook group.
What has become simple and obvious to me, that which has added tremendous value to my life, is also the product or service that countless people are looking for.
Why? Because they want that same simplicity and value for their life, but the path to get there is not yet simple and obvious to them.
Sure, they can fumble around in the dark, as I did, and eventually get there in 5 years. Or, I can take what I’ve learned in those 5 years, and help them accomplish the same value in 1 year.
The only question is: How valuable is that help for them; to save 4 years of struggle, pain, and frustration, and spend one year with me in a state of supportive, joyful, and rapid progress?
I am sharing this again because I believe it makes an excellent and important point. The solopreneur journey, at least as I teach it, is simply to help people make more rapid and meaningful progress than they would make on their own.
The more clearly defined the progress (problem to solution) is and the overall benefits it has, the more valuable it will appear in the eyes of the potential client. The more valuable it is to the client, the more they are willing to pay for it.
The highest value I can offer to other people is found by looking at the most significant value I have received in my life. The value I received is because I went through a process of learning something, overcoming a challenge, and/or moving beyond my comfort zone. It wasn’t easy, but the reward was worth it.
Also, in every case, I needed help. I required support in some way, even if that support was scouring the internet for resources to help guide me. If I was paying attention, I was filtering out a bunch of nonsense to find whatever was directly helpful. I was doing research on how to solve a specific problem.
The obvious conclusion here is that people end up paying me for the research I’ve already done, so they can save hours, days, months, or years and reach the solution faster or more efficiently if they are short on time.
Specialist vs. Generalist
As it relates to a heart-based solopreneur, a specialist is someone who offers a narrow range of services or products specifically tailored to solving a unique and painful problem. They have a deep understanding of their craft and can provide specialized solutions to their clients.
On the other hand, a generalist offers a broad range of services or products and is often seen as someone who helps different kinds of people deal with general human problems. While they may have an understanding of many different areas, they may not have the same level of expertise as a specialist. Ultimately, the decision to be a specialist or generalist depends on the individual’s goals and the needs of their audience.
However, there is also a middle ground here, where we might call someone a specialized generalist. I would say that this person solves many different problems for a specific type of person (a specialized target audience) who is still looking for a specific or well-defined outcome.
For illustrative purposes, for every 100 generalists, there are 5 specialists. Simple rules of supply and demand will dictate that the specialist will be paid more.
Here’s a good example:
What’s the difference between a specialized tennis coach and a general tennis coach? Well, firstly, there are way more general tennis coaches than there are specialized tennis coaches.
The general tennis coach helps many types of people get better at playing tennis. The reward of their support is making small steps of improvement, so you can enjoy and understand the game of tennis.
The specialized tennis coach doesn’t just work with anyone, and the reward they offer for the support they offer is a more well-defined objective that carries a lot of value for the student.
Look at these two statements:
Generalist: I help people who want to learn how to play tennis in a more enjoyable way.
Specialist: I help tennis players who are preparing for competition on a national stage and need to improve both their tennis skills and mental focus.
Who will be paid more? Obviously, the specialist.
For the specialist, the potential outcome or prize the student receives is much more valuable than just “enjoying tennis and improving your skills.” The outcome is more targeted towards a life or death situation, an important win, or a devastating loss, something deeply important to the student.
This is something to consider when crafting your message and offering. How clearly defined is the outcome, and how significant is that outcome/value to your target audience? Furthermore, how can you help them see how critical it is when maybe they don’t even realize it yet?
The Price Always Goes Up
For the specialist, to gain access to their time and attention, the price always goes up. For the generalist, the price always goes down.
The generalist will have lots of competition, just as there are more and more people wanting to be generalized life coaches. If I am, as a customer, looking for a generalized life coach or therapist, I’m going to consider and compare prices. The generalist will have to compete with many other generalists, and the way they most often do that is by competing on price. This is why you also see so many sales and discounts; they are competing with others who are offering the same thing.
“When you are offering something that’s super valuable and nobody else is offering it, who are you competing with?”
Reduce your competition by creating a market of one. Craft and communicate an opportunity that people can’t find anywhere else, while providing the specific solution they are looking for.
The inspiration for this topic came from a discussion in the telegram group for the Solopreneur Group Training Program.
Here is something I wrote there:
The question here, for me, is how to differentiate yourself from the millions of other coaches who are offering standard methodologies for helping people. I also anticipate the GPT era will replace a lot of those coaches in 3 years.
My prediction is that people will be seeking specialists, combined with a desire for real human connection.
The help I, personally, look for, the kind I’m willing to pay big bucks for, is for someone who has already done the thing I want to do.
Generalist, in my opinion, will have to compete in their pricing, which will result in lowering their rate. Specialists don’t do that.
Put it this way: with my particular skill sets, and the way I approach the solopreneur business combined with self inquiry and a heart of devotional service, I’m confident that my offering is incredibly unique.
I’m a specialist, for a very specific type of human being looking to solve a very specific type of problem. For illustration purposes, there are 10,000 people in the world who would really like my specific type of help. This demand, drives my price up.
If I just want “therapy,” I’ll shop around and compare prices.
When my ideal customer comes around, they only want to work with me, I’m their first choice because they want the specific experience I have.