On the Topic of “Variety”

When you ask people in our industry why they started their businesses, one of the top reasons they’ll give is to have a lifestyle that allows for more free/quality time for family or taking care of loved ones.

So it always surprises me that these same folks end up creating practices and operating conditions that allow them to do anything but that.

One of the problems is that they resist the idea of narrowing down their focus to a specific target market.

(Note: A target market is simply an industry/field/profession that you cater your administrative support to. For example, financial advisors or attorneys or coaches or speakers…

It’s so crazy because it’s the one thing that will make everything in their businesses easier and more profitable — in terms of money and time — in marketing and running a successful administrative support practice.

One of the rationalizations I always hear is some variation of the theme, “But I like lots of variety; I’ll get bored if I do the same thing all the time.”

This is when I know I’m dealing with a newbie and/or someone who has no clients.

Because when you have clients, particularly in a specific target market where you specialize in supporting their particular industry, the LAST thing you are is bored. That’s because the more you specialize in supporting a specific target market, the more interesting the work is, the more you can uncover more meaningful and valuable work to do for clients, and the more kinds of work/ways there are for you to support them.

These newbies/people with no clients mistakenly think that in order to have variety, they have to have all these different kinds of clients.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that per se.

But what happens in having all these widely varying kinds of clients is that they have to shift so many mental gears in doing the work, that it actually make the work more difficult, more time-consuming and keeps them from making more money.

So my question is always this:

What’s the point of “variety” if you’re working yourself to the bone trying to scrape together a living at this and that while never have any time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?

Because I have news for ya: spreading yourself all over the map in an effort to have “variety” is going to keep you from creating the kind of administrative support business that comes with more ease, more time and more freedom to spend with friends and family and live and enjoy your life.

None of us wants to be bored or unchallenged in our work. And if you choose the right target market, you won’t be.

You will have lots of interesting work and variety and experiences within a target market. Because one of the things that a target market should be is one where you have an affinity for and enjoyment of the kinds of people and work that is involved.

If you choose a target market on that basis,  variety will never be an issue.

Another benefit to focusing on a target market is that you get really good at doing the kinds of work that that market really needs. In the process of that, it allows you to become the go-to expert.

Not only will that make your business easier to run, thus allowing you more freedom and time away from the work, but you can also command higher fees.

When you command higher fees, you don’t have to work with as many clients to make what need/want to make.

When you have a clearly defined target market, it gives you direction. You can better study your market, talk to its needs and frame your offering in ways that are the most resonate and attractive specifically to it.

Your efforts are more focused and more effective as a consequence. You’ll be able to build your practice more quickly and easily.

Some people worry that focusing on a target market will exclude other markets.

But here’s the thing: it’s not going to.

The irony is that the kind of clarity that grows out of extreme focus only makes you more attractive to all kinds of other markets besides the one you’ve chosen to “speak” to.

Your message becomes more differentiated and more attractive and compelling.

And even if it was true, what would it matter if other markets were turned away if you were already getting all the clients you needed and more within your target market?

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