160 FS A Deep Dive on Positioning Yourself As a Specialist with Philip Morgan

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02:09 - Philip Morgan Introduction

02:30 - Thinking About Positioning and Communicating What You Do

27:08 - Finding Target Markets

35:25 - Acquiring New Skills to Support a New Position

39:00 - Refining Your Positioning

  • Marketing, Publicity 56:07 - Positioning ExercisePicks

Kurt Elster: Email Templates for Freelancers (Jonathan)Expensive Problem: Market Research Cold Email Template (Jonathan)Bryan Harris: How I Made $10,000 in 24-hours With My First Product (Case Study) (Reuven)Jewish guide to visiting China by Reuven Lerner (Reuven)Spark by Readdle (Eric)AmazonSmile (Chuck) Listen to other people’s views (Chuck)Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries (Philip)Rolls MS111 Mic Switch Latching or Momentary Microphone Mute Switch with Passes Phantom Power (Philip)The Consulting Pipeline Podcast (Philip)

Transcript

JONATHAN: Texas versus Uranus. REUVEN: Oooookayyyyyy......[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collection and refund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow]**[This episode is sponsored by Elixir Sips. Elixir Sips is a screencast series that will take you from Elixir newbie to experienced practitioner. If you’re interested in learning Elixir but don’t know where to start, then Elixir Sips is perfect for you. In two short screencasts each week between five and fifteen minutes, Elixir Sips currently consists of over 16 hours of densely packed videos and more than a hundred episodes, and there are more every week. Elixir Sips is brought to you by Josh Adams, expert Rubyist and CTO of a software development consultancy, Isotope Eleven. Elixir Sips, learn Elixir with a pro. Find out more at elixirsips.com] ****[This episode is sponsored by LessAccounting. Let’s face it. There are a lot of things about being an entrepreneur that we all hate. One of the things that I really hate is bookkeeping. LessAccounting has just started a new service where you can get your bookkeeping done for a really low cost each month. If you're interested, go to freelancersshow.com/bookkeeping to go check it out.]****CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 160 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. CHUCK: I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. Quick reminder that I am putting on an online conference for Ruby developers; if you want to come, we are having a bunch of awesome speakers and it is going to be here in a couple of weeks, so you need to go and sign up. You can go and find it at RubyRemoteConf.com. We also have a special guest this week and that is Philip Morgan. PHILIP: Hi folks. CHUCK: Do you want to introduce yourself really quickly? PHILIP:**Love to. My name is Philip Morgan. For a number of years now, I've been helping development shops get more leads. I do that using the things like positioning, content marketing and marketing automation. I wrote a book also [chuckles]. I wrote a book on positioning. It’s called The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms.**CHUCK: Awesome. How do you think about positioning because I hear things like brand and personal brand, and maybe you don't need a brand – you just need a word of mouth; and what you do, what you don’t do – I don’t know. PHILIP: Well, I think about positioning in a pretty concrete terminology. You can certainly think about it in the more abstract ways that it's been defined in various marketing books and so forth, but I really like to simplify down to how you talk about what you do and who you serve and how you might approach that audience and that problem from a unique or different perspective. I just simplify it down to that very simple description. You can get a lot more nuance than that and a lot more complicated than that, but as soon as you open the door to that extra complexity, it becomes super intimidating and super discouraging to try to think about using it as a tool to make your life and business better. CHUCK: How do you start building that position? How do you start thinking about how you communicate what you do? PHILIP:**It is a two-sided equation. Part of it is based in – as a freelancer or maybe someone who owned a small agency, that’s primarily who I’m speaking to. So, someone from General Electric is listening in and wanting advice on how to position a new product line, they should probably go [chuckles] elsewhere for that advice. So I think about it from the perspective of your audience: the freelancer, the small web agency or devshop. As I said, it's a two-sided equation. Part of it is what you're good at and what you have the ability to do well or even do at a mediocre level. I don't want people to think, that if they are just starting out, that positioning is something they can’t use because I think you can use it even though when you are starting out. So that’s one side of the equation and the other side of the equation is what your clients actually need. Both sides of the equation need to be very much based in reality – which you're really good at, which you're really interested in doing, and what your clients really actually need. It’s a process of discovering both of those things and looking for an overlap, and when you find that overlap, you start to – all of a sudden your life changes and – I can go into more depths about what happens but I can promise you certain things get better fast when you find that overlap. That’s how I think about it and that’s the very beginning part of this process. And, I really like to remind people that positioning is a process; it is not a thing were you're going to go away to some personal retreat and then two days later you’ve got it. It is a process. It takes time and effort to identify a positioning that’s really going to work for you.**REUVEN: I read your book and really enjoyed it quite a bit and slowly but surely putting it into practice. I think part of the importance also is it's not enough – positioning is not just I like doing x, thus I will focus on x. It is much more complex that this – thinking about what you want to do but also how that intersects with potential clients – your ideal clients – and finding a happy medium between what you're interested in doing and what your clients are interested in doing and then pitching yourself that way. PHILIP: Right. I think, honestly, the best ways to start is exploring what your clients need because it is very easy for most of us who are coming from some sort of – I got started in freelancing, maybe I fell into it accidentally. The poise most of the scope from that starting point is to become a generalist because it's easiest; it requires the least amount of business skill and marketing savvy and it also seems the safest place to go. From that position of being a generalist, it’s, I think, harder to do an inventory of your own skills and interest and then pick something that you think is going to improve your positioning. It’s harder to do that than it is to simply just start talking to your clients and finding out what you can do for them that they will pay good money for and that has some urgency or some importance to them. It’s for that reason that I think it’s better to really to dive in to what your clients need because at the end of the day, positioning is just like value. When it comes to pricing discussion, you cannot impose value on anybody else.You can’t make them believe that something’s worth more than they believe is worth. In positioning, it’s the same way. You can’t make your clients need a full stack developer if what they need is a specialist in database performance to hand the examples. JONATHAN: That reminds me of something that I constantly mentioned to people I’m coaching on this. And by the way, Philip's book is the very first thing I make everyone read because it does a great job of this in positioning is the foundation of everything that we work on. But there’s that fear that people get – the fear TM – that people get about ‘oh, I don’t want to pigeonhole myself as this thing because I don’t want to get bored’ or maybe ‘I’ll feel like an impostor because I’m actually not the world’s leading expert on this particular specialty’ or – there's a bunch of things that I am sure Philip can bring out. But the thing that I drill into them is that this is a marketing exercise. It’s not a necessarily a skill-building exercise. It’s not necessarily how you're going to spend your day all the time. This is the foundation of all of your marketing. It’s going to make it really easy to attract people that need exactly what you’re selling but you're also going to attract other people and you’re going to have happy customers that give word of mouth to adjacent industries and that sort of things. So, it’s not necessarily – I don’t think it means to be as scary as ‘oh, forever I’m going to be the Rails developer for small dental firms or whatever’. PHILIP: You bring out some important points there Jonathan because it’s not forever. A positioning is something that you can use as long as it suits your larger strategic purposes. Those strategic purposes might be, ‘I want to work less and make the same amount of money’, or ‘I want make more money’, or ‘I want to set myself up over the next five years so that after that period of time, I can do this other thing’. And positioning is a tool that can accomplish all of those larger objectives. It’s not like changing careers when you change your focus. And sometimes very little about the day-to-day operation of your business actually changes with the exception of marketing becomes a lot easier and typically you get a little happier with the– maybe a lot happier with the mix of clients that you’re getting. And again, we can dive into why all of that happens. This may sound like a lot empty promises right now, the folks who are listening or skeptical about this because they’ve tried it and it was hard or they’ve just never heard of it. But it’s not like re-inventing yourself or it can be a very subtle transformation in just how you talk about yourself differently. REUVEN: I can give personal testimonial here. I have been doing consulting for about 20 years now and when people ask me what I did, I’ll be like, ‘well, I have been consulting, and I do development, and I do training, and I do some writing’, and basically, by the end of my description, they had fallen asleep. I decided partly based on various people’s advice and partly based on your book, I said, ‘you know what, I am doing all this training and I love it, and I assume to be good at it. I assume to get more and more work through it’. Why don’t I just focus on that?’ And since I decided a few months ago to really focus just on training, it’s really like magic. It’s like magic; I feel a whole world was opened up. I feel less stress. I feel like I know exactly what I am working on. I can describe to people in a really punchy sentence what I do. They know that’s right for them or not. The number of calls I have gotten has just gone up rather than down as word has gotten around that this is the only thing I do. I never would’ve expected that. PHILIP: Can I ask a couple of questions to you to elucidate some of the details about what that’s actually like to go through that experience? REUVEN: Sure, sure. Please. PHILIP: I’m curious; do you get to do any development anymore? Is the first question. REUVEN: I take, quite honestly, less than I would like. However, I’m trying to set myself up into new goals. I would like a year from now to be, say, teaching 2 weeks out of the month. CHUCK: One thing that – just to give you another example is something that I ran into yesterday. I was talking to one of my neighbors and as Rueven said, ‘I do programming and this and that and the other’ and I had that same conversation. He's like, ‘what are you doing?’ I was like, ‘well, I’m a web developer and I’m also a podcaster’. And I’m not really sure if I want to deliberately focus one way or the other. Is there a strong reason for me to pick one and then introduce myself as a programmer or as a podcaster? PHILIP: There could be. It really depends on –and any consultant is going to say, ‘well, it depends’. Here’s what it depends on: the first thing to think about would be whether you want one of those two; you can think about them even as separate businesses although the – I’m sure they feed into each other. Do you want one or the other of them to grow more so than the other and that would be one reason why you would start to position yourself as just a developer or just a podcaster. The thing to think about would be, ‘do people see those two things being in competition in any way?’ I would be a little surprised, I think, if they did because for most people podcasting is something they do on the side. I know it’s more serious than that for you but that’s another thing to think about is in the mind of your, say, your ideal client or your prospect. Is it confusing at all to them to hear those two things side by side? Or does it seem complimentary to them? That’s a question that’s best to ask by just talking to people and asking for their feedback. And not just people at the grocery store down the street, but people who could potentially be your clients. That’s where I would start; with trying to come up with an answer to that question. The third thing I would ask is, ‘is this harming your ability to get new business, or to actually operate any of those two businesses?’ If it’s not, then it may not be necessary or maybe now is not the right time. As a disclaimer, I always give people ‘positioning is a fantastic tool, it’s extremely powerful and it really is step one in running a serious business. But now is not always the right time to do it and there are some people who manage to make things work really well without it and I am the last person who is going to say you should upset a status quo that you’re really happy with’. JONATHAN: I've got a lot of experience in that transition from working with a bunch of people where they’ve got this generalist practice that they’ve got going, and they, for whatever reason, the light bulb’s come on from them and they realize that maybe it’s that there’s artificial limit on their income because they're billing by the hour, or they’re losing more and more work to Odesk and other offshore types of places. So they know something is wrong and they're not – it’s not as easy to get gigs as it was 5 years ago, even 2 years ago. They're like, ‘how do I transition without crashing the plane?’ It is tricky and it’s scary, especially if the people have a family, have a mortgage. One of the techniques that has been pretty successful that I’ve seen is to create a product or a productized service and you apply the positioning to that thing. Leave your business the way it is and don’t touch anything. And then, either have a new domain or a sub-domain or another page, a particular page on your site that maybe you don’t even link to another site, but you can promote somewhere; that is a highly position for a particular target market, solves a very specific problem for that target market. You're not betting the farm on a massive global overhaul of your entire marketing presence. To try that point is tricky in situations where you can only expose one identity at a time. So you are the barbecue, what do you say when somebody ask you what you do? Or if you’re giving a talk from stage in person –the in-person stuff is a little tricky. It’s tough if the service that you’re doing is off topic from your general business. It is probably best if you’re going to do that – take that approach to have a service that make sense within what you’re doing and then you can tightly position that particular service. As an example, my base business is mobile strategy consultant and I do all kinds of things around that and it’s actually a little too general, in my opinion, but I’ve got this specific service underneath it called mobile retrofit that’s extremely specific specifically for e-commerce stores that make 10 million dollars or more per year. It’s got very specific deliverables or I should say outcomes and you can pick 3 different levels of what you want to do to get the sales lifted it promises. And that’s been really nice, actually. A lot of my coaching students feel like that’s a safer approach, and in fact, Kurt Elster who we've had on the show before did a very similar thing for his Shopify-based website rescues. PHILIP: I think that brings out a really interesting point in that there’s almost no situation where you’re not better off starting small. With some small experiment that you can easily control and therefore get good information from, or like you said, setting up a subsidiary service that has its own identity but is positioned in a way that you are wanting to try out and see how that performs because if you can sell one service that way – I’m also friends with Kurt – that just ate his whole business; that one subsidiary service. It became his new positioning. And I think it completely eliminated the fear and trepidation that anyone in his shoes would’ve felt about just making that change without that supporting data of strong sales and good feedback from clients. JONATHAN:**Kurt’s situation’s really interesting because he has a partner. I’m sure people listening are in a similar situation because the light bulb went on for Kurt, but not so much for the partner. So, how do we get some preliminary data to prove that this is a good idea or validate that this is a good idea? And he [inaudible] his revenue. It obviously ended up being a good idea. Like you said, it took over their entire business and now they’re just going gangbusters.**PHILIP:**My personal story with positioning is also – it’s not like that; it’s a little different. For me, marketing never worked until I figured out a positioning that I could use to be the hinge that all my marketing efforts would swing on. Until I had that, I was making valiant efforts to try to do content marketing and to get clients coming to me rather than doing the kind of things I hated doing which is going to networking events and hoping for the best, and sending out desperate email blasts when works got thin. None of that stuff worked at all until I was – until I had a very – a pretty specific positioning and I was starting to talk about myself as if I was a specialist. Don’t tell anybody, but I wasn’t back then [chuckles]. But I started using that language of ‘I do this one thing and I can get results for you if you have this one kind of problem’. And within 6 months, it went from ineffective marketing to stuff like – you really feel it. I don’t know if you all have had the same experience of doing some marketing and it actually works, but it’s a palpable feeling of – you start seeing email show up in your inbox. [Crosstalk]. Right. It’s just like, ‘whoa, something is different’. It’s really does feel like magic like Reuven was saying.**CHUCK: We've talked quite a bit about focusing or niching down or whatever you want to call it. The trick is that I pick a niche, but then we’re talking about positioning; so how do I communicate what I actually do, or are they the same thing – niching down and doing that communication stuff? PHILIP:**Niching down is not the same as positioning. You could position yourself as a generalist. I want to approach this from an analogy which is super simplistic analogy. Walmart which may not – I don’t know – is Walmart everywhere? Jonathan, you would know [chuckles]. Are they everywhere in the world or is that more of a US based company?**JONATHAN:**I've never seen one outside of the US. It must be a [crosstalk] probably all of North America. Oh yeah, they have it in China.**PHILIP:**Apologies to listeners who’ve not heard of Walmart. It substitute whatever store in your locality; it’s a huge chain and sells everything from groceries and fruit to oil for your car to decor for your house. I’m sure there’s some word for that type of store but I’m not just thinking of it. It’s a big box store that sells a broad range of stuff. The Walmart is a store that has positioned themselves,and that’s a great – to me, a great illustration of the fact that when you position yourself you may not be positioning yourself as a specialist. You can go to a store like Walmart and get pretty much anything and in that way they’re a lot like the generalist web developer who says ‘Wordpress , Joomla, e-commerce made from scratch websites, I can do all that stuff for you. And I’ll do a little SEO, and I can even do branding for you’. And when someone makes that claim about what they can do, they are positioning themselves as a generalist and they’re saying, ‘I can solve a wide variety of problems.’ What your mind does in response to that is not that different than when you see a Walmart because what you perceive about the contents of that giant store are that they're low price and low quality. There is an alternative to that and that alternative is a specialist shop. For clothing, it would be the boutique store where the prices are going to be higher, the perceived quality is going to be higher. In every line of product, you could find the specialist luggage store that only sells high-end luggage and the specialist cosmetics store that only sells high-end cosmetics. So you can also position yourself – [crosstalk].REUVEN:[Inaudible] analogy.**PHILIP: Oh thanks. I didn’t know if it would work or not. But you can position yourself as the Walmart or as a boutique supplier of high-end whatever, and both are positioning. So, Chuck, to answer your question, positioning does not imply or doesn’t mean that you have to niche down. But when you start to position yourself as a specialist, a couple of things happen. People have an easier time remembering what it is exactly you do. You stop becoming a web guy or a geek or a programmer. And you start becoming the solution to a specific type of problem, and for some reason that becomes a lot more memorable. The second thing is that your marketing tends to become dramatically more effective because all of a sudden you made a claim that you can solve some problem that, for the right type of client, is a really compelling problem that they’ll spend significant money to get a solution for. When you start marketing around that very tight focus, it just becomes so much easier. If you’re into content marketing, you know what kind of blog articles to write or what kind of screencast to record. Or even if you are doing a niche podcast to support your marketing, you know what the topic of the podcast should be. If you’re doing outbound marketing, you know who to go after because you know – hopefully know who has that problem. That was a little bit of a rambling response but those are some of the things to think about when you think about niching versus positioning and maybe combining the two which I think is the most powerful way to do it. CHUCK: I just want to clarify a little bit because we were talking about both and I wasn’t sure what the line was. But I’d be really curious to hear Reuven’s experience then with positioning himself, and what you would recommend if, say, somebody else decided they want to position themselves as a trainer guy for Python or whatever. REUVEN:**Which no else should do, by the way.[Laughter].**CHUCK:**Terrible idea, right? [Crosstalk]**PHILIP: That'd be great. So I had some questions. You said you’ve been – recently been through this process of beginning to position yourself and you’re actually pretty well into it. I was curious, do you get to program anymore? If you do, has that changed? If not, do you miss? What’s the path been like? REUVEN:**Yes. I’m doing much less development than I used to; it’s true. And I do miss that, and I am a little frustrated by that. At the same time, I am dealing with that in two different ways. Number one, as part of my training curriculum, I’m exploring things that I’ve always just wanted to have fun trying out. So I’m actually satisfying, at least, my intellectual curiosity to some degree even more because questions that my students ask and questions that I have that I can just go off and research and then write about it on my blog which only helps myself and helps my training. But the other development– actually, large mini development projects – I’m hoping, within the next year, to get to the point where I’ll be working on a number of products. It would have to do with training or SaaS products. But those are things that I’m going to drive as opposed to hanging my clients dry which, quite frankly, makes me happier because it means they won’t be calling me up in the middle of the night – why this is not working or why is that not working – it’ll all be [inaudible] for me. So I’ll still get to develop but I’ll be the one deciding what and how and in what way.**PHILIP: Oh, that’s interesting. Have you gotten any pushback from clients who are confused by the change or any other kind of pushback? REUVEN: No, but it’s been this gradual thing. Over the last few years, I’ve been doing more and more training until I finally realized a few months ago I should just accept the reality of that I’m doing a lot of training and I’m enjoying it and people keep asking me to do it, and I should just position myself this way, and then not have people call me up to do development work and say, ‘I don’t have any time for you’. I have one big client – I have some that works for me who does day-to-day development. I told my big client who’s based in the US for whom I do development; I said, ‘listen guys, you're going to see my website change. You're going to see my positioning change. I’m also going to have something that says I work with certain specific clients, and you are one of those. You are the primary one of those’. So I have to massage them in advance just in case they would get worried, but I don’t think they're worried. PHILIP: What’s the biggest personal fear you face as a part of making this transition? REUVEN:**I knew that there would be enough work because it’s actually a lot of training work out there, it would seem; at least on the technologies that I’m training in. I think, to some degree, I was worried that I wouldn’t get to do enough development, and I’m still a little nervous about that, but again, I’m trying to look forward 6 months a year from now so that I will be able to do the development – have the upside but [inaudible] the downside of it.**JONATHAN: Mm-hm. I've got a question about – Phillip, you said that talking to perspective customers is the best way to ferret out there the problems that are keeping them up at night, and hopefully, that there's an overlap with those problems that they have and your skill set so that you can create maybe a product or a service for them that would alleviate those pains. But how do you find the target market? You need to pick people to talk to, how do you find them? PHILIP: Well, I guess there's two parts to that question, at least the way I’m understanding. One is ‘how do you scope or how do you identify maybe the type of industry vertical or the type of job position you're going after’, and then the second part would be ‘how do you physically get in front of those people or virtually get in front of them so that you can actually ask them a question’. JONATHAN: Yes. Exactly. PHILIP: Is it one or both of those? JONATHAN: The first one is actually the one I was thinking of which is – I was lucky that when things came along – the stuff that I do, I just knew that I loved it. I knew I wanted to do it. There are tons of people out there who are just like, ‘I don’t know. I’m just a full stack web developer. I can do anything, so I don’t really care who my target market is’. When you're talking to people like that, how do you help them through the process of picking one so that they can niche down on something if it seems like that’s the right thing for them to do? PHILIP:**Yeah. I get that too where, from the outside, it looks to me like someone has just a wonderful diversity of things that they enjoy doing and it almost feels unfair to ask them to turn down the volume on any of those because they enjoy it all, and I really understand that. I’ll be completely honest; I try to scare people in that position a little bit. I try to get them to think about the future, like ‘what’s the future in that?’ because I think that helps people – at least people who think like me – get a little more real about these things, like, ‘hmm, can I really turn that into a career that is going to sustain me, and can I supply a retirement fund doing this thing the same way, and can I support my parents in their old age?’ or just whatever it is. So I start with a reality check: is that really a sustainable way to proceed? And that’s not really mean. I’m trying to help people see the bigger picture which is that every – doctors, they choose – there is a general practice doctor, but the big money is in specialization. And so they're willing to do that; they're willing to specialize on one part of the body or one type of procedure or what-have-you. So it’s not foreign to do that. I think it’s just something that affects freelancers a little bit more than other professions because it’s such a –this is not a negative or [inaudible] thing at all. It’s just such a made-up job. You just figure out what you want to do and find some clients and you're in business, baby. So the other thing I do is I try to get folks to catalog their successes: what has worked really well, not just from an objective perspective of ‘where did you make the most money’, or ‘where was the client most happy’, but also from a personal perspective. And I guess the other thing I get people to do is I say, ‘write this stuff down’ because when it’s on paper, you can, at least, distance yourself just a tiny bit from it and it stops becoming such a question of who you are as a person and it gets a little more objective. And from there, honestly, it is just a process of elimination. Not that it’s that easy, but it’s not as easy as just writing a line through stuff that you’ve written down on paper, but procedurally, it’s really – it’s that. And then the last thing I’ll say on that question, Jonathan, is that some people will resist this to the last breath.**JONATHAN:**I've had people cry going through this exercise because it’s so tied to their identity [inaudible] just so scared.**PHILIP: I guess I liked to get people to imagine themselves 10, 20, 30 years down the road: from the starting point of being a generalist, how do you get to the point where you have what you want out of your career? Usually, at some point, being a jack of all trades and getting to dabble in 5 or 10 different technologies throughout the course of a week stops becoming as satisfying as it used to be. And what becomes more satisfying is knowing that you can provide for your family. I really help people don’t read into this that I’m criticizing freelancing at all. I’m essentially a freelancer myself. I hope that they don’t feel like I’m being over harsh on being a generalist – everybody starts there but I really do think it’s a part of a natural progression to pick a few things and become really good at those things so that you can charge a premium rate. JONATHAN: I've totally drunk the Kool-Aid on this a long time ago but I was really nodding my head at your approach to having people look long term because I find that it’s the younger folks I work with who have the worst time imagining specializing. They're just like, ‘I just love JavaScript. I just want to read JavaScript all day long.’ and I’m like, ‘ok, but it’s going to be really hard to find people that want you to do that if you can’t explain to them the benefit of you writing the JavaScript’. PHILIP: Yeah. It really seems like it’s going to take the fun out of things to specialize, and –. JONATHAN: It’s almost like a ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ type of moment, and that what upsets people. REUVEN:**Two things on this [inaudible]. First of all, I remember years ago, I remember explicitly putting on my website something about ‘how you know those other web developing companies, they specialize in one technology. Huh, we know that different technologies are good for different tasks and so we’re going to try different things – the thing that’s appropriate for you.’ So I was running around crazy trying to learn all these different technologies all the time so if people called me up and said, ‘hey, can you do x, y, z?’ I would say, ‘oh, yes. I could do x, y, z’. In specializing, I was able to – granted it’s the training, but I’m also training in specific technologies that I can, deep in my understanding, answer questions more easily and come off more of an expert. So it’s good for everyone.**PHILIP: I’m curious if training became less stressful for you when you decided to focus more of a bigger proportion of your time and energy on it. REUVEN: I don’t know. It was never that stressful for me. I think though – you know what became more stressful – really, I think I mentioned it a little bit earlier but it was really just frustrating for me always dealing with many of my development clients where there would be issues of scope, there would be issues of payment, there would be issues of deadline, there would be issues of – all sorts of little issues and sometimes big issues. I discovered when I do training, all of that just goes out the window. I’m like, ‘why am I stressing myself out with something that – I’m just not good as estimating; I don’t enjoy it. And here’s this other thing that’s staring me in the face that I enjoy that I’m good at; why don’t I just do that? So I don’t think I was stressed about that at all. I think I was a little worried about ‘would there really be enough work?’ but it became very clear to me when I was scheduled 6 months in advance, mostly fully booked, maybe that’s not going to be such an issue. I’ll just mention one other quick thing. The way that high schools work in Israel – you must have to choose a major and so I'm going through this with my 14-year old daughter who’s finishing ninth grade now, so she’ll be starting tenth grade high school. She’s like, ‘well, I don’t know what I want to specialize in’, and I told her, basically, ‘well, first of all, a part of growing up is making trade-offs and making these choices. And second of all, it’s not permanent. Even if you major, as it were in high school one thing, you can always do something else.’ Philip, you’ve mentioned that both in your book and here and other places. Let’s say you position yourself to do x. No one’s stopping you from, in another year, position yourself to do y. You're nut stuck with it forever. It’s a bit of an experiment, and it will probably change over time. PHILIP:**Yeah. And acquiring the new skills to support a new position, unless it’s drastically different like I’m going from web development to brain surgery, is not that hard. Actually, it tends to be fun because if you're changing your position, that could be for a variety of reasons. A lot of times, it’s because you feel like you’ve really explored that old position. You’ve become an expert and maybe there's – you need a new challenge. That’s, I think, perfectly fine. It’s actually fun to evolve over time and your positioning can evolve with you. And it’s very rare that someone is going to discount your new positioning because you actually had an old position. There's no safety in just being vague to give yourself the future ability to be vague in a different way. That doesn’t really do anything. You're just vague and it’ll define, but anyway - [crosstalk].**JONATHAN:**We always call it soggy positioning [crosstalk].**PHILIP: That does not protect you against anything. JONATHAN: I had a fear about when I launched coaching, it was a very different service than my mobile strategy stuff. I had it on my original website and I was like, ‘this is awkward. I have to move it off this site’. I started a new site, and that made me feel a lot better because I could go – depending on where I was; if I was at a conference for web developers, I could – my called action, if you will, my links would point to expensiveproblem.com, but if I was at a place where I was trying to – maybe I was at a restaurant conference, an IT conference for restaurants, I could say, ‘you guys want to go to jonathanstark.com because it’s where the mobile stuff is’. But I still had my Twitter account, and it was like ‘what do I share on the Twitter account?’ I was nervous that I’m going to start sharing these business development type of links on Twitter and all of the strategy people are going to be like, ‘what’s this crap?’ and vice versa. No one cares. I have way more followers now than I did before I did it. It doesn’t matter; at least on Twitter. PHILIP:**Isn't that interesting? That’s just a general part of the – I don’t know. It’s part of the human condition: feeling like other people cares much about us as we care about ourselves [chuckles].**JONATHAN: Reuven was talking earlier about massaging his existing clients as if his existing clients are still going to his website, which I doubt. They probably won’t even see it. CHUCK: Yeah. Well, the other thing is that I found that everyone else’s problems always look better than mine from the outside and my problems always look way worse from the inside. So when I’m looking at this and I’m going, ‘if I change my positioning, oh my goodness, the world’s going to end.’ But when Jonathan did it, it’s like, ‘yeah, but that's Jonathan. It’s like no big deal’. PHILIP:**Right. It’s not like your clients or your prospects are going back to your website every week to see what’s new. [Crosstalk]. I have a casual collection of data from my own website and maybe 10% of people are repeat visitors and the rest who get on my list or otherwise give me some paper trail of their history on my website or people who are just [inaudible] who saw an opt-in and said, ‘great’. In other words, people are not stalking you to see what you're up to most of the time.**CHUCK:**I want to change topics a little bit here. We had a promise to deep dive on this and we've talked a lot about how to get in, how to position yourself as a specialist, and how to specialize. My question is let’s say that I want to specialize in an e-commerce platform. It could be [inaudible], it could be Shopify. Kurt’s done this. I've done a little bit of this, but then I backed off and did something else. But let’s say that that’s the direction that you want to go. How do you know if your positioning is working? Once you know how positioning is working, how do you continue to refine it so that you get better and better leads?**PHILIP:**That's a great question. Positioning is a process that has 99 problems but knowing if it’s working is not one of those. The thing that you have to keep in mind, though, is that there's a time delay for the echo to come back to you that it is working. So it’s a really good question. What you have to have is some amount of patience and maybe, as we've discussed a little earlier, some small ways to validate that it’s a good positioning. So, those two things will carry you through that delay, and the delay’s usually 3-6 months. I imagine it could be longer but if you're not getting a really resounding echo that this is working 6 months in, then something is not right. Maybe you’ve chosen a positioning that does not resonate with anybody. Maybe you're not getting your message in front of the right people or something else is off. What it feels like when it works and you know is – what Jonathan was hinting out, what I was hinting out earlier – unsolicited request for your thoughts on some subject; invitations to appear on podcast or other speaking-based then used to discuss whatever it is that you’ve positioned yourself as. I suppose if you position yourself and did no marketing at all other than change your website and change how you talk to people who you normally talk to, these things may not happen, but if you just put even the smallest amount of marketing effort behind your positioning, you tend to get just a huge echo back when it works. Again, there's probably possible to undermine yourself in other ways like to change your positioning and have a very scattered message on your website. So maybe you're going from a generalist to a specialist type positioning but you don’t [inaudible] your website and it’s talking about a generalist web developer value proposition then you're undermining your attempts to position yourself as a specialist. But other than that, you know if it’s working. I know Eric and Jonathan, and now, Reuven have all started down this road or bend down this road for some period of time. I just love to hear from you guys – how did you know it was working?**ERIC: I was going to say one big test that I've sought was I knew someone a very little; we might’ve chatted once or twice in IRC, an online chat – Twitter would be a good parallel. We've chatted once or twice there, and he was asked, ‘hey, do you know someone that knows Redmine?’ and he referred work to me. So it’s not just you're getting work referred to you but you're getting work referred to you through a loose connection. You're known as the person for x and so everyone that even knows what x is knows to refer what work to you. That’s basically the Litmus test I found. JONATHAN:**I've got a great example, I think, which is that past coaching student position himself – he's a total developer but he was also very interested in email marketing and marketing automation and business growth hacking – all that stuff. He’s a young guy in Silicon Valley. He positioned himself as helping private college counselors get more clients. He had a college counselor help him get into Brown, Ivy League school and got him great financial aid, etcetera, etcetera. He’s really happy with the person that he worked with. So when we were working together, it was one of the things that came up on his potential target markets because it was something that he thought was an important thing that more and more people had access to; more and more people know about because it was so beneficial to him. So, you said it before, I said it before, there's no other way to describe it other than it’s like magic. You start talking about this thing, and now, he let me know after the fact – recently, he let me know that he’s been just – when people say, ‘hey Dave, nice to meet you. What do you do?’ he would say, ‘oh, I'm a private college counselor. I help private college counselors get more clients’. He’s been tracking it because he’s a maniac for numbers. He’s been tracking it, and 1 out of 10 people but he says that to know someone who’s a private college counselor and then introduces them. And that’s just pure word of mouth, not online marketing, not mailing lists – none of that; just telling a cab driver, ‘oh yeah, I help private college counselors get more business’, ‘oh, I know someone’, ‘here’s my email address, here’s my card’; just total IRL, not online. It’s insane because it – I’m starting to think that the magic is that word of mouth becomes incredibly frictionless. It’s like what Eric just said. The word of mouth becomes really frictionless because you’ve now occupied this pigeonhole in the person you're speaking with in their mind. You're now that guy. And you could be [inaudible] it up. But they're like, ‘wow, this person must be an expert’.**PHILIP: Yeah. That’s one of the things that is part of the classical definition of positioning is it’s how you occupy a certain position, literally, within someone’s mind and their mental bookshelf of all the things that are out there in the world. You’ve got to find an empty place or a place that you can slide into, and that’s why it’s not just coming up with what you like doing, but really, connecting with the spot within people’s mind. And when you get specific, it gets a hundred times easier to do that. JONATHAN:**Right. If he just said he was [inaudible] developer. I don’t know who to recommend him to. I couldn’t even begin to think who in my list of thousands of contacts is using [inaudible], but I would be able to think of someone who’s a college counselor or people who might’ve used one. So it just makes the six degrees of separation thing – it makes it start to work for you.**REUVEN:**I guess earlier this week, I was in touch with a colleague here in Israel. And we don’t really compete. He’s a consultant, I’m a consultant, he does mostly [inaudible] types of things. We were in touch because I heard about someone who might be able to use his skills because when they said, ‘hey, do you know someone who’s a Linux kernel expert?’ I was like, ‘yeah, that’s what this guy does.’ And when I emailed him, he said, ‘oh, what are you up to?’ I said, ‘well, now I’m doing training’, and I thought in Ruby and [inaudible]. He was like, ‘oh, great. If I know someone who needs that, I will definitely recommend you.’ Being able to have that punchy specific sentence that puts you in that space in the person’s mind, it makes all the difference. I know from asking people ‘where did you hear about me’ that people have been doing exactly what you guys [inaudible]. There's a lot of word of mouth going on that I’m not even aware of because this is how people see me and it’s just going to grow and help over time.**PHILIP: In terms of getting publicity for your business, there's a threshold that you have to get over before people will want you on their podcast or want you to speak at their conference. And very seldom is it’s something – some generalist who gets those kinds of invitations. I think it’s for the reason we've been discussing. It’s just a lot harder to mentally slot a generalist into a particular slot in your mind. When you think of Ruby on Rails, who do you think of? Do you think of a handful of people who are very prominent within that sector? So those are the people who are going to be on the shortlist to get invited to speak about – speak to audiences who care about Ruby on Rails. JONATHAN: Yeah. Like Eric, in my mind, is still positioned as a Redmine guy. PHILIP:**Sorry, Eric. [Laughter].**ERIC:**Oh, I mean – I don’t know [crosstalk].REUVEN:[Inaudible] how easy it is to change positioning.**ERIC: Yeah. That’s what we've been saying. It’s easy to tell when it works because I basically said I’m not going to be doing it except for a few select top choice clients 3 years ago now. I’m still getting leads to this day; people wanting to work with me. And a lot of them I turned down because it’s not the – that’s all of my ideal client profile but there's one or two here and there that are going to be like, ‘oh yeah, you actually fit’. Reason they all want to pick you up – I did a lot of the work and it started paying off as a position and I haven’t moved into another position enough to actually push that old one away. JONATHAN: Yeah, like our friend Nick Disabato. When I first met him, it was through an AB testing service that he had launched. And I think he’s turned it downplay it now because he’s really more of an interaction design person and he wants to be – I think he’s actually trying to go a little bit more general, to tell you the truth, because he's got plenty of work. He’s not in a position where he needs more leads so he can soften his marketing a little. But still, when somebody needs AB testing, he’s the first person that comes to mind even though he doesn’t want to do it anymore. Potential follow-up book to the positioning manual: the un-positioning manual. PHILIP:**The de-positioning manual [laughter].**JONATHAN: The detox positioning. REUVEN:**How to get out of that profitable niche and position that you’ve managed to work yourself into [chuckles].**JONATHAN: Yeah. It does beg the question: what are the motivations to abandon a killer position that you have in people’s minds. I suppose that’s a topic for another show. And it’s also not a problem that probably most people are listening at or experiencing. PHILIP: Well, if you have that problem, you're usually, in my experience, in a position of strength. You’ve got a good pipeline. You can afford – in other words, you cannot really afford to think about making it a transition that might cause you some revenue in the short term or otherwise be an inconvenience. When you're moving from being a generalist to a specialist, you're generally in an entirely different position where you're not as on top of things as you might be if you're more of a specialist. REUVEN: Let me ask you, Philip. Let’s assume someone says yes, this positioning thing – this specializing thing – totally the right thing to do, it’s great. And then, I make a mistake. This is part of the fear that you talked about in the book, and it’s possible that even after going through the whole process, they go through the positioning and it doesn’t work out. So should they just keep – should they change position completely? Should they just try to evolve it to be something different? What do they do if it doesn’t work? PHILIP:**I've been through this. My first attempts at positioning were – I would not say half-hearted; they were sincere, they just didn’t go far enough. And that’s one of the things that can happen. It is so rare that I ever hear anybody I’m working with on their positioning tell me, ‘I’m going to become x’ and I’m just shocked at how specific it is. That almost never happens because of all these fears and self-preservation instinct. We just don’t go far enough usually on the first try and that’s what happened to me is – I’ll embarrass myself here – I had a tagline for a while that was ‘mark marketing for geeks and creatives’. And that was really my first attempt to positioning myself more specifically than a generalist position was to say, ‘I’m just going to focus – I’m going to provide marketing services for this very broad category of business owners.’ And surprise, surprise, it didn’t really resonate even though it was clever and catchy because a) no business owner really identifies in that made-up category and b) it just wasn’t specific enough. So that’s one reason why you might try this and it might not work. I’m not saying you have to, in terms of American football, make a touchdown in one play. You don’t have to go all the way to an extremely focused specialist position. But you do have to get off the couch and go to the living room, at least, or go to the bedroom from the living room. You’ve got to get over a certain threshold where you're really not a generalist anymore. If you are like me and you have a surprisingly high tolerance for risk and let’s say you just say, ‘one day, I’m going to try this and I’m going to rewrite my website this weekend, and I’m just going to try this new positioning without doing any testing to validate it’ and it turns out to be a dud, then you're going against best practices by doing that. I guess you just dust yourself off and either retreat to a generalist position or try again, maybe with a little more research to back up your next effort. I am really honestly trying to think of anyone who’s ever told me – and I on Twitter, I occasionally ask people to contact me if they’ve tried focusing and it did not work. I just don’t have that many stories to draw from and I know that makes me seem biased or a fan boy or something but I don’t know what to say to that because it seems to never happen in my experience.**JONATHAN: I've never had anybody pick a positioning that was too specific. Ever. It’s not even close. I was afraid – recently, I was afraid that I had someone who did havea positioning that was too specific and it turned out to be – it turned out to be that there was 500 million dollar market globally for what he was this insanely focused positioning statement. PHILIP: Are you able to give an example so people can really mentally sink their teeth into that, Jonathan? ERIC: I can give one. JONATHAN: Ok, good. ERIC:**This is actually my previous employer so when I was actually had a job. They were a small software company. We’ll say 20-30 people. They created software for delivery and routing companies. Think of like UPS, FedEx, the software the runs in their handhelds and tells them where they're going next but not the large ones. We’re talking about [inaudible] pop bottled water delivery, natural gas delivery, small shops and that company’s been in business for about how long. They had at least half a dozen mobile apps before mobile apps were a thing. This is before 3G. And they were profitable there – big and all that but that was the position they took because they positioned themselves as they make software to solve routing problems for small, medium companies. You think it’s a very tiny market and then when you drill into it, just the old bottled water focus – they focused on a couple of different industries – just the bottled water, it has its own trade magazines. It has I don’t know how many national conventions. It’s a huge market just there and I didn’t realize that until I dig into it and started – because I was doing a lot of the webs, so if I dug into ‘what’s this industry’, it’s just like this 12 people that do it in the US. Now it’s thousands and thousands of companies. But it’s like even that is – for a solo person, you could be completely full time working on stuff just in that one part of the industry. I guess that the employee – 20 or 30 people is like 5 or 6 devs. Decent company.**PHILIP:**I just interviewed a woman who teaches people who make handmade soap how to run their handmade soap making business more effectively. Not that I’m trying to prove a case here but cherry picking [inaudible] cases, but that’s a great example of a niche of a niche. And she’s expanding. She now hired her husband. It’s amazing how much you reduce competition when you focus on a niche.**JONATHAN: I have a past client that did absolutely nothing but review invoices for work done on forklifts and they had a million dollar business with – at the time, I think it was about 7 employees. All they did was review invoices, and they would say, ‘this invoice is too high or this invoice is fair’. That's it. PHILIP: Wow. Yeah. It’s amazing. JONATHAN: Yeah. And they’ve been in business for decades and making crazy of money. PHILIP: I think the take-away here is that you're very unlikely to fail in your attempts to position yourself by going too specific. You're much more likely, I think, to fail by holding back and not going far enough. I don’t want to encourage people to put their business on the line on a gamble but if you do some research, you can really, I think, support and pre-validate that position before you try it out. JONATHAN: Can we drill into that? I know we’re running – it’s getting long in the show, but that – it would be great to have – give people an exercise that they could do on their own. Maybe they’ve got an idea about a niche that they're familiar with, or maybe they grew up around because their parents did this as a business. How do you do that research? How do you find out if there's a conference for forklift company – people who own forklifts? Or like Eric’s example, how do you find out that there's a market there? PHILIP:**Ok. I’m going to detail a plan that’s just one of maybe 3 or 5 or even 10 ways you could approach this but I like the idea of what’s – let’s get down to [inaudible] about how you might do this. I would start by doing some Google searches and what you're going to be doing is building – you need to build two things and then you need to do some stuff that might be a little bit uncomfortable. Those two things you need to build are a list – a prospecting list – and this is going to be very familiar to sales people. You're going to have to, I’m sorry, get off your butt and get out and not – maybe not physically but at least virtually talk to some people. The other thing you need to build is an offer that you can put in front of them. Let me break that down further. You would build the prospecting list and there's a number of things you could bring together to build that: some Google searches for companies in the market that you're going after. I would search, as Jonathan mentioned, for conferences or trade shows. I would also search for – and the Google syntax query to make this happen is probably more information than people need right now but you can format your searches to reject the garbage results and give you what you're wanting.**JONATHAN: An example wouldn’t hurt. Let’s say I’m looking for people who run a farm – a farmer; I’m looking for farmers. PHILIP: Ok. What are you thinking is the problem you're going to solve for them just to give that one step of detail? JONATHAN: I want to help them manage their irrigation with software. PHILIP: Ok. Is there anything of geographical focus or are we talking of farmers anywhere in the world? JONATHAN: Europe. PHILIP: Ok. Is there any particular crop that they're growing? JONATHAN: No. PHILIP: Ok. JONATHAN: Ok. I’ll give you one, though. I’ll give you one – barley. PHILIP:**Ok. Great. That makes it a lot easier. And that's why I asked those questions. Farmers in Europe. I would do Google searches for barley farms, barley growers, several different keyword variation. I would start building a list of farms, websites, and contact – any contact information you can get. I would look for conventions that cater to barley farmers. I would look for who sponsors those conventions and I would add the sponsors to my list. And I would also do some web searches for barley farmer forums or private email list and try to get into those email lists. I would look on Linkedin or anybody with a job title [chuckles] of Farm Owner. I'm probably not using exactly the right terms because I’m not familiar with the barley farming industry but I would be – look at these very easily available data sources to build a prospecting list. I would – just arbitrarily, I would try to get to 50 names that I really know what’s going on in that industry or are in that industry. The also conference organizers can be a great source of information –.**JONATHAN: Oh, that's a good one. PHILIP:**Because they tend to be super-duper connected with the industry for which they are organizing a conference. Even if they're not a barley farmer, they probably know a lot of barley farmers. And they were getting beyond the level of casual internet research here but the biggest source of gold you could probably find would be the volunteer for the next barley farmers’ conference because you all of a sudden have access to names that would be very valuable for research purposes and maybe business development purposes. The second thing I would do is build an offer. The offer could be something informational. You could build something that is a paid offer. But if the offer’s even smaller than that, then it’s just, ‘hey, I’m going to put together this guide about how barley farmers can address common irrigation challenges using software’, that could be relevant. It needs to be focused on solving a problem and it needs to be focused on that audience. The third step is simply to contact those people and be least needy [chuckles]. The least ‘I need you to give me something away’, and the most – you want to position yourself as ‘I've created this thing that has great value for you and I just like to give it to you for free. Can I give it to you?’ And that may involve them joining a list. It may involve you just emailing it to them and you’ve created an opening from which you can start to test your positioning. So that’s one way to do it.**JONATHAN: That’s gold. That is like a step-by-step guide for anybody who can just – all you need to do to, dear listener, is to replace European barley farmer who has problems with irrigation with whatever you're potential target market in expensive problem are and you can just go to town. One thing that I want – I just wanted to – while you were saying it, I want to add the part about the cold outreach to those people can be very uncomfortable, as you mentioned. PHILIP: For sure. JONATHAN: If you're viewing it as you're trying to sell them or you're trying to trick them, or you're spamming them but if you flip that around and you think you’ve created this thing that can make their lives better and you're going to give it to them for free, this is going to sound totally grandiose. I think it helps allay that spam fear by saying you’ve created this free resource that will make their lives, and at a larger scale, the world in general, a better place. And you owe it to them to let them know that it exists so they can take advantage of it. If you can change that – it’s like an internal change that needs to happen, and all of a sudden you're like, ‘oh, I’m serving this market. I’m not trying to syphon money off of this market. I’m trying to serve this market. I owe it to them to let them know about this ebook that I wrote that they can download for free’. And it’s not like – it just changes the whole – I think it changes the whole emotional equation. PHILIP:**It’s huge. It’s really – it’s the way that introverts like me – shy and retiring types like me – I sound – maybe I sound good on the podcast [chuckles] but I’m really pretty shy in real life. It’s the way that people like us can – it’s just very powerful, as you mentioned. It changes that dynamic so you don’t have to feel bad about reaching out to people and “interrupting their day”. The other thing I would add is if your get intimidated thinking about it, you're probably thinking about building something too big. You're probably thinking, ‘I need to write an ebook’ and what you need to do is write a two-page decently formatted PDF that solves an even smaller problem. Don’t put barriers in your own way is what I’m trying to say. If this idea’s appealing to you or if you see the benefits of it, cut scope until [chuckles] you can ship it.**JONATHAN: Totally. CHUCK: Such great advice. ERIC: Well, in an even – take that one more step and instead of doing the two-page thing, make your giveaway like you’ll get on the phone and give them a free 30-minute consultation; custom-advised based on what they tell you. That cost you nothing to make upfront. Takes you half an hour and you get half an hour to talk to a potential customer. CHUCK: Yup. You're going to get as much information out of that as there. PHILIP: And that’s the whole goal is to give first before you ask for anything. So yeah, that’s one thing you can just begin implementing. I think, tomorrow, if you're trying to pave the way for a safer transition to a new positioning. CHUCK: Very cool. Is there anything else that we should go over though with positioning that we haven’t even discussed yet? PHILIP: I think we've covered a lot of the things about it that are important and common place. I don’t see any major, high level issues we haven’t touched on. CHUCK: Alright. Well, let’s go ahead and do picks then. Jonathan, do you want to start us off with picks? JONATHAN:**Sure, I would love to. Kurt Elster’s name has come up a couple of times on the episode and that reminded me that he recently published a book of email templates for handling sticky situations. It’s like Email Templates for Freelancers type of book. It’s an ebook that you can get – I believe it’s on Gumroad. It has things like ready-to-use emails for things like qualifying leads, scheduling a call, onboarding surveying clients, etcetera, etcetera. I assume that most people are like – maybe where you spend a painfully large portion of your day basically emailing people for one thing or another. And this book will give you ready-to-use templates that handle a lot of these trickier types of emails –things that have a called action or a prospecting type of function. So I definitely recommend that. On the same topic, I recently posted on the Expensive Problem blog about how to send a cold call to someone to get them talking about what problems they need solved are. So basically, it’s like you're in a situation where maybe you're just starting out or you're still a full time employee somewhere – there’ll be two employee –and you're thinking about hanging out your own shingle and you want to do positioning stuff. You get it, you understand what Philip’s talking about here and you really – you don’t want to be a generalist for [inaudible]. But you don’t have a ton of connections in a lot of different markets and maybe you're not sure what you want to do. So the best thing you can possibly do is talk to perspective customers, but how do you do that? So I posted a template that you can use to send to, say, 50 names on a list; it’s not spam, every single one of them will be customized single person email. But it is a template where you can fill out the information and send on this email to maximize your chances of getting on the phone with them for 10, 15 minutes, and you can say, ‘hey, what’s keeping you up at night? What are the 3 things on your To Do list that have been there for a year, etcetera, etcetera’. Those are my two picks.**CHUCK: Alright. Reuven, what are your picks? REUVEN: Ok. So I got two picks this week. The first is the Videofruit blog by Bryan Harris. It has all sorts of great stuff on there about products and launching and everything. Recently, he had this really, really long and really detailed and really excellent blog post entitled How I Made $10,000 in 24hours With My First Product, which of course, sounds great but he goes over exactly what he did and how he went through it little by little. His 3 basic things are first of all, create a product that you're readers are desperate to buy, and then validate it, and then launch. Of course, the launching is the part that we’re all good at, it’s the getting people ready and making sure that people really want this product – that's harder to do. So anyway, I’m still reading through it and I'm still thinking about how I want to use a lot of this information. He has a ton of really good advice in there, and I definitely recommend it to people interested in launching things. And speaking of launching things and speaking of niche products, this will probably be interesting to maybe – maybe on a good day, 1% of the people listening to this podcast but I’ll tell you about it anyway. As many podcast listeners know, I’ve gone to China many times. I’m also Jewish and I keep Kosher, and I keep the Sabbath.So I've gotten a growing number of questions from people in a similar religious vein saying, ‘hey, you have gone to China. What can I do?’ And the last month, I got a whole bunch of questions about it. So I finally wrote an email to one of them and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, I said, ‘hey, this is actually an ebook’. And sure enough, I have launched the ebook called the Jewish Guide to Visiting China. It’s about 45 pages or so. It has all sorts of links and phone numbers and suggestions and so forth. So, you too can write an ebook in a few days and start to sell it. And then ignore all the advice I just told you – the Videofruit blog had that I just followed. But anyway, I’ll put a link to that on the show notes, and I’d be happy to get feedback on people on that. Anyway, that’s it for this week. CHUCK: Alright. Eric, what are your picks? ERIC:I have basically – like Jonathan said, I'm always in email always doing stuff. And I absolutely hate the email app on Apple phones. And for I don’t know how long I've been trying to figure out get some email to work or a good workflow for it. The one that I've been using is basically [inaudible], like you would just – your emails would disappear; they're not deleted but they just don’t show up anymore. And so recently, I ran Linux. I've been running Linux for years. I actually even tried Microsoft Outlook for the phone. That’s how desperate I was getting but I actually found an app called Spark which other than two things, it’s perfect for my email. It has some kind of categorizing – here’s the newsletters, here’s important stuff, here’s stuff you pinned- lots of customizations that you can figure out a good workflow. And it’s very, very fast at [inaudible]. If you just have to go through a hundred emails really quick. I think it’s free. I got one of those free. It’s really nice. The only downside that I found is: one, there's no iPad version. I think they are considering it but it literally just launched. And two, at least for me, I like to turn images off on email just to save bandwidth and not just deal with all the tracking stuff all the time, and that’s not an option at this point. But other than that, I had no problems, no crashing. It works with – I use iMap on Racks space but I’m supposed to support Gmail and a whole lot of other stuff too. So, that’s my pick.CHUCK: Nice. I just use the Gmail app because I use Google apps. And then I think it’s awesome. So I’ll go ahead and pick that. I’m also going to pick smile.amazon.com. You can pick a charity and whenever you buy stuff on there, they send money to charity. So, I picked the Wounded Warrior Project. They have a whole bunch of other ones on there. So whatever charity you think lines up with what you're doing, I figured from buying stuff on Amazon, I may as well get them to send some money to somebody that doing good things. One other thing and this is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately, and it came mostly out of – so I’m going to a podcasting conference and they announced their keynotes. And one of the keynotes is by a fairly well-known radio personality who mostly talks about politics in the United States. So, of course, there was all kinds of blowback because people are fairly partisan and if they're not on my side, then I hate them. I realized that there's a lot that you can learn from people you don’t necessarily agree with. So, I just want to encourage people to go out there and talk to people you don’t agree with, see what you can learn from them, see how they challenge the way you think – all of this is really helpful and really healthy. I've done this a bunch with people that I've gotten to know over the last few months. It’s either helped me confirm the way I think or made me think about whether or not I have good reasons and good thought processes behind what I’m thinking and the way that I approach the world. So, that’s kind of a ramble-y pick, but that’s my pick. Philip, what are your picks? PHILIP:Ok, I’m going to pick 3 things. The concept of positioning has been around since at least the late 60’s as – like a thing that had a name that was revolutionary at that time, so I’m late to the party in talking [chuckling] about positioning but that’s ok because it’s a super timeless concept. So my first pick is the book called Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. It is by Al Ries and Jack Trout. I think it was published in the early 70’s. so it’s going to be – it’s going to feel dated, and some of the concepts are not super applicable to professional services because a lot of the examples are about big mega companies like General Electric and Palmolive and these big, big brands where really only one brand can occupy a particular position. In the world that we all live in, that’s not really true. Multiple freelancers could easily occupy the same position, and maybe never even hear of each other throughout the course of their career. So keep that in mind, the advice in this book is incredible. Pick number two is the Rolls MS111 microphone switch which is a switch you can use to mute your microphone if it uses a XLR cable. So that’s not really applicable to USB microphones, and for that, I think there are software mic mute switches. But if you do any level of podcasting and don’t like hearing yourself cough into the microphone [chuckles], this switch is great. My third pick is a thing that I made. I made it a podcast that I launched recently. It’s called The Consulting Pipeline Podcast. The Consulting Pipeline Podcast talks about positioning. So far, that’s about all I talk about but I’m going to transition into a focus on content marketing after I get another 10 or so episodes added. Even right now, there's about, I think, 10 or 11 episodes that you can download and binge listen to if you're into that. So that’s The Consulting Pipeline Podcast and the website as you might guess, is consultingpipelinepodcast.com. So, those are my picks.CHUCK: Awesome. Are there any other ways so people can get a hold of you or follow what you're doing? PHILIP: They can come for a visit in Sebasta, California but if that’s a little more than they're up for, they can check me out online at philipmorganconsuting.com. There's just one Allen Philip. The thing that I really – I love talking about positioning; it’s probably obvious. So I've created a positioning crash course. It’s a free six-part course that you can sign up for, and it’s really got a lot of the same stuff that’s in my book. It just doesn’t go into as much depth but I think it’s a really good way for people to find out if positioning is going to be helpful to them, if it’s right for them, if now’s the right time, and there's a bit.ly link for that: bit.ly/positioningcrashcourse. All one word. CHUCK:Alright. Well, thank you for coming and thanks for all of the insight. It might take me months to implement all the stuff that you talked about in an hour and a half, [Chuckles] But yeah, we really appreciate it and we’ll catch everyone next week.[This episode is sponsored by DevMountain. DevMountain is a coding school with the best, world-class learning experience you can find. DevMountain is a 12-week full time development course. With only 25 spots available, each cohort fills quickly. As a student, you’ll be assigned an individual mentor to help answer questions when you get stuck and make sure you are getting the most out of the class. Tuition includes 24-hour access to campus and free housing for our out-of-state applicants. In only 12 weeks, you’ll have your own app in the App store. Learn to code, it’s time! Go to devmountain.com/freelancers. Listeners to the Freelancers Show will get a special $250 off when they use the coupon code FREELANCERS at checkout.]**[This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You've been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it's hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They're a small shop with experience shipping big products. They're smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at MadGlory.com or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. 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