Captain’s log, stardate 20180110
The Emperor Has No Clothes
Sent by Jonathan Stark on January 10th, 2018
Standing out from the crowd is a great way to get noticed by ideal clients. And it’s a great way to justify higher prices.
Being meaningfully different from the undifferentiated masses gives you something to compete on besides prices. You become a category of one. In a sense, a “monopoly of you”.
A couple days ago, I suggested taking a contrarian stance as one way to stand out from the herd. I gave these as examples:
- “Scope creep is fine.”
- “A win-win negotiation is a red flag.”
- “Your publishing schedule is irrelevant.”
- “Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder.”
- “Strategic planning is an oxymoron.”
It’s not enough to just negate a widely accepted assumption just for the sake of it. You have to be able to defend your position.
Here are my defenses of the five contrarian statements above:
- “Scope creep is fine.”—Developers fear scope creep on fixed price projects because they think it will cause them to lose money. But the real problem isn’t scope creep; it’s that developers almost always set fixed prices WAY too low. If you’ve ever done a fixed price project and gotten killed by scope creep, reimagine that same situation but with your fee multiplied by ten.
- “A win-win negotiation is a red flag.”—If you have to look for a win-win arrangement in a negotiation, it means that there is no obvious mutually beneficial engagement. Searching for one will likely lead to low margins on both sides. A mutually beneficial deal should be obvious, or at least easy to find. Your time is probably better spent finding a client (or creating an offering) that is a no-brainer for your ideal clients.
- “Your publishing schedule is irrelevant.”—No matter how many people are glued to your RSS feeds anxiously awaiting your next gem of wisdom, there are vastly more who haven’t even heard of you yet. The majority of people who stumble across your blog posts or your podcast episodes will be doing so long after they were published. They’ll binge through everything and then sign up for your mailing list.
- “Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder.”—Beauty is a platonic ideal, like the concept of a perfect circle. It’s TASTE that is in the eye of the beholder.
- “Strategic planning is an oxymoron.”—Setting a strategy is an exercise in value creation. Planning is an exercise in cost reduction. Strategy is about taking risks. Planning is about minimizing risks. They both have their place, but saying “strategic planning” is like saying “risky risk reduction”.
Before you hit reply and start arguing with me about any of these, recognize that that is exactly the point.
It’s a requirement that the majority of people disagree with your contrarian stance. Otherwise, it’s not contrarian. If everyone agrees with your position, it’s safe. Safe equals boring. And boring equals invisible.
So yes... you will be attacked by people who disagree. But if you have a defensible argument, you can sleep well at night knowing that you’re not a troll and that the haters simply aren’t your ideal clients.
The upside is that you will be loved by the minority of people who get it. The ones who’ve always subconsciously felt just like you do, but had never been able to articulate their feelings. Or never found the courage to speak up about it.
These fans are your ideal clients. And they won’t be the type of folks who try to beat you up on price.
P.S. Only five days left for you to secure a private mentoring spot at last year’s prices. As a member of my daily list, you’re entitled to the 2017 price through January 15th. Just use coupon code VIVALA2017 at checkout here -> https://jonathanstark.com/mentoring