Guest Post by Kaitlyn Kessler, The Crown Fox
Starting your business generates a lot of emotions, right? One day you’re so excited and stay up until 3.00 a.m. working, and the next day you’re super nervous and wonder, “Will this even work?”
I’ve got a secret to tell you to help wipe away some of those nerves: you got this.
How can I be so sure? For starters, you’re not going to have any competition.
Creating a signature service (or offering) is the best way to eliminate competition, stand out in your niche, and do exactly what you love for exactly who you love to work for. It’s like your secret ticket to happy town where you’re the mayor making all the decisions.
You know how there are approximately 6,000 articles about funnels? This idea has a funnel too, but it’s much simpler to understand. It’s not a sales funnel, it’s a become-a-unicorn-funnel.
Today I’m going to show you how to take your idea and turn it into a unique offering that sets you apart from anyone else and lets you do the work you love.
THE REALLY BIG SECTION (TOP OF FUNNEL)
We’re going to start here. This funnel is pointing downwards, so the top is actually the largest section. This segment is where you would list everything you’re interested in somehow monetizing. This list is probably based on your skills, interests, past experiences, or other expertise.
I’m basing this on the assumption that you have a general idea of what you are going to be doing (an industry at least) and an idea of a person you want to work with.
In this part of the exercise, do your best to get specific. My list would say things like, “graphic design” but also get into more details: business card design, color theory, font pairings, brand strategy, social media growth, content strategy, branding education, target audiences, etc. If you are a virtual assistant, your top segment might list things like social media management, formatting blog posts, email inbox management, and so on.
There are two rules for this section:
- Don’t limit yourself. Swipe left on thoughts like, “But I can’t do that” or “I’m not really good at that.” Just let loose, daydream about awesome paths you could create, and write them all down.
- Throw away what you think you are going to do before getting started. I don’t mean that literally, like, still list it – but don’t ONLY list it. My list would not just contain ‘branding design’ and yours shouldn’t ONLY list where you think you’re going to end up.
You might be wondering why number 2 is a rule? If you know what you want to do, you know what you want to do, right? Sure. But that’s not the point of this exercise. The point, here, is to explore just how broad your skill base is and eventually we’ll narrow it down in a unique way.
THE SLIGHTLY LESS BIG SECTION (SECOND ROW OF FUNNEL)
Moving into part two of our become-a-unicorn funnel brings us to what will benefit your target client. So in the top are all these things you could offer, but now we are going to start narrowing down to what you should offer.
This is a little bit harder, right? There are probably at least ten things in that top section and I bet you are thinking that you want to offer them all.
Let’s stop right there – you don’t.
We want to get you down to one signature, wham-bam-boom, knock their socks off offering. So it’s time to get eliminating! The best way to do that is to start “cutting off the fat” – the things that maybe you know how to do, but isn’t your happy place or your zone of genius. In my case that means cutting off social media growth and strategy, for example. I can do it, I do it in my own business, but it’s not really my passion and my target audience isn’t going to benefit from me teaching that (because I’m honestly not the best teacher of that). I might blog about my plans for those things, but I’m not going to charge for it!
Here’s what you need to think about during this step: what are you REALLY excited about (even if you don’t see a way to monetize it yet) and what are you ACTUALLY good at – good enough to help someone else with it.
Another way to start trimming the fat is to consider expressed problems and pain points you’ve heard your target client experience and consider what you can actually help them with in an easy and repeatable way. So my audience expresses a pain point in figuring out their “why” for their business and I know I can help solve that issue. But they also express struggle with email marketing – now I know a bit, but am I the best? Probably not. Am I excited about it? Eh. Cut that off.
What should start to formulate is a series of items that seem to be somewhat of a cohesive group based on your interests and the needs of your audience. If you’re a copywriter you’ve maybe cut off things like eBook writing and social media content writing, but you’ve kept things like sales page copy and sales funnel copy. You might notice that 1 to 3 paths start to emerge, which is perfect.
THE LEAST BIG - BUT NOT THE POINT - SECTION (THIRD ROW OF FUNNEL)
At this point we’ve got a few paths developing. Now we’re going to trim down even further by thinking through your unique view or perspective.
People generally fall into two categories here: either you think you are SO UNIQUE and a majestic snowflake (category 1) or you think you are SO NOT UNIQUE and really boring (category 2).
This isn’t an article about infusing your story into your brand (though yes, that’s awesome), this is about infusing your offering with your unique stamp.
So quirky and unique or not, somewhere along the line you mastered a skill that you’re now turning into an offering, right? Think back through that experience – remember the highs and lows and ups and downs and all of that. Your experience there is different to anyone else who is offering something similar and we can pull from that to make your offering unique.
In the segment above this you’ve narrowed down to 1 to 3 paths. Those paths are directions your offering might go (maybe for me it would be branding design, stationery design, or presentation design). I want you to list out or think through specific pieces of information that you consider to be ground-breaking and that you’d want to teach to someone else.
For me, this is where the huge arrow started pointing to branding design. I couldn’t think of anything that felt like my own idea when it came to stationary or presentation, but with branding I knew that I had a conversation ready that would cover things like your target audience and brand vision… things that some people talked about, sure, but something that I had created my own perspective on over the years of learning and practicing.
Now I know, this is NOT easy. It takes time to think through these things and consider everything past clients might have said to you, or past bosses or teachers, etc. You’ve got to mentally review your whole education and practice up until this point that’s set you up to be able to actually do the things you want to do. I don’t expect this to come overnight, and to be honest it takes time to actually perfect your signature offering.
But within this step, one path should start to shine a little brighter than the others and this is what will become your signature offering.
THE POINT OF THE FUNNEL!
We made it! We squeezed and condensed and laid-on-the-bed-and-sucked-it-in (am I the only one who puts on jeans this way? No? Hello?) and we’ve found the golden ticket! Almost!
Well yeah. Now you’ve got to actually package the package. Like, give it a name and a timeline and set the expectations and whatnot.
Within those first two portions of the funnel you should’ve narrowed it down to basically what will be included with the package. Maybe it’s going to be branding design: logos, color palettes, and typography suggestions. Maybe it’s copywriting: sales page copy and sales funnel strategy. Whatever it is, just list it out so you can see what you are including in your signature offering.
Tip: if something seems a little weird and out of place (like if I was doing branding and then suddenly something like inbox management popped up) go ahead and do some final tweaking so that your package makes sense.
Once it’s all out there, go through your actual process for each item and generate a timeline and price point. Remember to price based on what you are actually delivering and solving for the client, not just how many hours it will take you.
Last, develop some awesome name that really hits it home and stands out. Get creative. It doesn’t have to be “I will edit your eBooks package” it can have a catchy name, because this is your SIGNATURE offering. It’s taking on a life of it’s own. It’s going to have a “TM” next to it one day, friend!
Once all of that is done – then you can start advertising it and running your business. But make sure in whatever you do with this signature package that people know why it’s special, why working through your process is special, and why their business will benefit from your abilities (and why there is absolutely no competition).