Just because it is easy for you does not make it easy.
I have come to realize that many things that come naturally to me, other people find quite difficult.
For example, one night over dinner a friend of mine told me that although his services business was doing very well, he did not have a website. This hurt my marketing heart. So, over appetizers we talked about his business focus and unique selling points and by dessert I had sketched out the navigation structure and theme for his new website on a scrap piece of paper. In hindsight, this was likely a very boring dinner for our spouses who thought we were there to have fun, not to work.
But for me this was fun! And easy.
My friend told me later that I had gotten more done in an hour than he had been able to accomplish in months with a consultant. I was surprised by his gratitude because to me “anyone could do that”. But the truth is, they couldn’t. What seemed easy to me had been overwhelming for him.
All of us have unique talents. The key is to recognize which ones you have that the other person doesn’t have.
Start by asking yourself:
What do I do as a hobby?
What do my friends ask me to do for free “because you are so good at it”?
What topics do I read about?
What projects are the first to get crossed off my to do list?
This can help you to identify your strengths.
There are two areas where I think it is important to pay attention to this.
I am a big fan of project based billing. Nobody needs to know the number of hours it takes me to complete a project, especially a creative project. For example, writing a case study. I like to write Dynamics ERP case studies. I’ve written dozens of them, I know the lingo and the key points to emphasize.
It might take me 10 hours for the project or it might take me only 1 hour. As long as I produce a high quality finished project, it shouldn’t matter to my client because the result is the same. They are paying me for the result, not for my time.
It is easy to undervalue your services if it is for something that is easy for you. It is important to ask yourself if the client would be able to produce the same result on their own. If it would be difficult for them, then it has value to them. Your talent is valuable.
For billing, having this expertise can be used to your advantage.
It is harder when you talk about delegating.
If something is easy for you, I bet you will have a harder time explaining the process to someone else. It just seems obvious. “You know, you just do it, it won’t take that long.” It is like my mother telling me how to bake her famous apple crisp: “You just put in a little of this until it looks right.” Really?
It has taken me a while to learn that if I want someone else to do something the way that I do it, I need to explain the exact steps one by one and then be patient if they ask questions. I need to realize that it will likely take them much longer than it would take me.
So, unless I am willing to be patient, a better strategy is to keep the “easy” tasks, like writing, for myself then delegate the other work that is hard for me, but right up someone else’s alley. In my case, that would be anything having to do with math.
In a nutshell, this is my advice. Find something that is easy for you yet valued by others. Feel proud of your talent. Then charge a lot for it.
By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing
Follow me on Twitter: @AnyaCWMktg