Mindshare Radio

Kevin C. Whelan

A podcast helping independent marketing professionals sell their expertise (not their hands).

193. Two ways to think about positioning
Jul 29 2022
193. Two ways to think about positioning
This post originally appeared at can think about niching in a lot of ways.In many cases, the tighter you go, the easier it can be to sell what you offer. People are swimming in options, they want specific when they can get it.So there are two angles to consider when deciding on how specific you should go with your business.1. You can get specific about who you serveThe more specific your target market, the broader your focus can be in terms of what you help people with—while still being credible.If I help multi-location coworking spaces do better marketing, that's a specific target market and a fairly broad way of helping them. It can be reasoned that you can have rare knowledge about marketing in a way that is uniquely applied to multi-location coworking spaces.If I said I help anyone do better marketing at scale, you can begin to see where the skepticism may come in.2. You can get specific about the problem you solveWhen you're highly specific about the problem you solve, it makes sense that you could solve it credibly for a wide range of industries.For example, I could say I help people sell their expertise through membership programs. And that could be a reasonably credible positioning given the specificity of the problem being solved.I don't need to say "I help faith-based dog groomers sell membership programs." The market would be too small. And the same skills or lessons could be applied to far greater contexts.And this is what strategy is all about.There's no perfect way to position your consulting business. Specificity helps—but how you apply specificity is where the hard choices are made.So what trade-offs are you making? How are you being specific about either what you do or who you do it for?As they say, hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.
180. How narrowly should you niche when starting out as a consultant?
Apr 22 2022
180. How narrowly should you niche when starting out as a consultant?
Mindshare community member, Jack, had a great question about how narrow to go with your niche when just starting out as a new consultant.Here's the gist of his question:I'm currently in-house at what would probably be classed as a B2B manufacturer. The plan is to step into strategy/advisory within the next 6 months.So with my current experience, I see it as an easy step to niche further into B2B - helping B2B manufacturers grow by transforming their marketing. However, the company I work for is actually a manufacturer/service provider in the fire safety space. As a result a lot of my experience is how to target, position, market etc to a pretty specific ICP. So my options would/could be:1) General B2B2) Manufacturers3) Fire Safety & Security companies (B2B focussed but not all will be manufacturers)Some of my thoughts on 3 come of the back of going to a big fire safety expo recently—there are a lot of companies with bad websites/branding spending a lot of money on their marketing!I'm just concerned I could narrow myself too much.As always, any thoughts are greatly received. This is a great question that I answered in the community but wanted to give greater nuance to with a long-form audio recording.The question really is: how niche do you go when leaving a job and starting a consulting practice?In this episode, I talk about factors like:The amount of runway you haveThe size of the marketAccess to the target market in your networkWhat things you're credible atThe benefits of staying broader at firstAlignment of your niche with your genuine interests And general strategies for transitioning out of a job and into consulting with less riskIf you're thinking of making the leap from employment to consulting and aren't sure how niche to go, this episode is for you.—k
178. The relationship between hourly and commodity work
Apr 18 2022
178. The relationship between hourly and commodity work
On a long drive today, I re-listened to some of the book, The Passion Economy, by Adam Davidson.It spoke to me the first time I read it. It's about craftsmanship in your business and working on something you're passionate about.It's about the power of building small-scale, high-quality work instead of mass-produced commodity work that can be scaled infinitely.The book has a lot of great rules, quotes, and stories. I'll share one quote that came up because it fits so well into how we price our work.Here's the quote:“I recently hired a lawyer who told me that he would not charge me by the hour but would, instead, agree to a fixed fee for the work we were going to do together. He explained that charging by the hour contradicted his core values of serving his clients; it would create an incentive for him to spend more time even if it wasn’t strictly necessary. Or, on the other hand, he might choose to rush some work to save me some money. He preferred not to think about time at all but, instead, to focus on providing me with the greatest service. I found this comforting.”— The Passion Economy: Nine Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century by Adam DavidsonSelling by the hour often doesn't feel good for either party, nor is it always aligned with the best interests of your clients.The incentive structure is broken.I've noticed hourly is most often the best option when you're doing commodity work, like website support or odd design tasks, for example.I'm not bashing hourly work or these kinds of support roles. They may be necessary to grow and/or sustain your business. They can be profitable.But I am pointing to the fact that hourly work—when it is required—is closest to commodity work and therefore should come with an orange flag.The longer you do commodity work, the harder it will be to do great work.