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How hard is it to relaunch and grow your business when you’ve specialised?

That’s like asking how long a piece of string is. I’m not sure I entirely know the answer, all I do know is that the hard work starts here. I’m also beginning to realise how those old feelings of imposter syndrome and pretender-to-the-crown vibes are starting to rear their ugly heads once more. It’s going to take some steely eyed focus and self-belief to take me through the coming months.

By the end of last summer I was feeling adrift and isolated from my business.

Covid had left me operating at limited capacity and I knew for certain things had to change, so I invested my time working on my business so it would look much different to how it had looked back then - and hopefully be a lot healthier in the future.

My business needed fine-tuning and a different approach, so I took a step back for a while, kept myself around still, so people didn’t think I’d vanished completely and looked at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of my business. I also worked with a coach which was a completely new and worthwhile experience.

I decided to niche in an area I’d already worked in before (bios)....

…and knew that for me, there was no other niche area I wished to pursue as much as this one. If I was going to specialise in something then it had to be that one something I’d really enjoy doing all the time.

I’ll admit that I didn’t realise how stressful I’d find a relaunch when I’d decided on a niche area and to specialise in bios.

My niche area is in keynote speakers, innovators and thought leaders with a story to tell and the other is non-fiction authors who run a business who’ve written a book. Either of these two can be referred to as niche or specialist area, but for now I’m going to use niche to refer to the type of client I serve and specialist to refer to the deliverable e.g. in this case bios.

What I realised from speaking to coaches, and from personal experience, is that speaking about yourself is the hardest thing of all, it’s much easier to talk about other people than it is to talk about yourself. With this in mind I knew there were people out there who would benefit from my services.

Also, once a business owner has written a book, or a thought leader or innovator has created a talking piece, they may be reluctant to write about themselves purely from the fact that they’re tired, worn out and don’t have the stomach for the marketing bit. That is, the bit that’s really important.

Who better to hand it over to than someone who’s a marketing and bio expert?

Be that as it may, I was still concerned about how I was narrowing my audience down, plus the fact I was increasing my services and offering them as packages rather than one offs. Offering a single about page as a one off service was what had pushed my business off track before and had made me increase my services to include web copy.

I knew that if I was going to make it a success this time I’d need to offer tailored packages designed for my target market.

I still offer other things within those packages e.g. emails, social media posts, video scripts, PR templates, back of book bios, but their focus will be centred around the brand story, the bio, the centre of what the client wants them to focus on.

Having read How to Grow Your Business After Specializing I felt the advice given by Eman Ismail was on-the-money. From this point forward I need to become my own client - in that when writing my own web copy I’ve had to treat myself like a client, doing all the research and the creating focussed targeted copy for my site. Building my own business back up means treating myself like one of my clients, like I’m the best and deserving of excellent treatment, the kind of treatment I’d give to my best client. I have to treat my business like it really matters and devote time to it, not like it’s something I have to fit in as a last resort.

This also means that for at least one or two days a week, I’m going to have to dedicate time to creating content for my website, social media and to my list, and to training and self-improvement. That way my clients get the very best of me.

The second thing Email advises on in the Copyhackers tutorial is to control the narrative. You’re going to be hearing a lot about what I do, what I offer and what the value is to the client. I won't talk about anything else, because I’m an expert, and I’ll only continue to be an expert if I do this thing and talk about it until everyone sees me as the go-to-expert.

You won’t find me talking about much else unless it’s in relation to this. I’m going to write my own podcast and media intros to speaking events (much like I will for my clients) so people will know what I talk about so I control the narrative, not them. That way it’s clear from the onset.

Streamlining your services is something else that’s focused on in the Copyhackers tutorial and it’s what I’m going to be doing from this point forward. Hopefully, I’ll avoid projects I resent or do work I hate doing. I’ll be working with less clients but doing more work I love, earning more but working less hours, and as a result providing quality work.

Also my list.

I’ve created an email list (you can subscribe at the bottom of this page). I’ll be writing to a list of people who are interested in my packages, in what I have to say. It’ll take time to build but I think it’s worth it. Social media is fine, but you can lose your place in it very quickly. All it takes is for one platform to go down, or the algorithm to change. Another minor irritation is that posting to social media is constantly giving out an endless stream of free advice and guidance that somehow never pays off. You get engagement, you get some leads, but by creating a list of interested people you write exclusively too each week, you have something that will sustain you when the social media platforms are no longer available. It’ll take time and hard work but it’ll pay off in the end I believe.

However, social media, email lists, blog posting, podcasts, speaking events, they can all work in tandem, but I don’t want to rely on any one of them exclusively.

Yes, the imposter syndrome monster has reared its head and I’m feeling that sense of fear from doing something new, something that could go wrong, but ultimately is the right thing to do for me in the long-term.

Relaunching has been a bitch, I’ve held on to it for so long now, terrified of letting it go into the world, like a mother sending a child to school for the first time, but from what I’ve learnt from others in a similar position, is that it’s never perfect, there’s always going to be teething problems or minor changes that need to be made. It’s evolving constantly and it’s good enough as it is. It'll be hard but great fun and I'm so glad to have you on this journey with me!

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