The Five Ps

The “Five Ps” that we cover in my coaching program are:

These are areas of focus that interrelate, but are not necessarily sequential. Following is an overview of each topic area:


On the surface, positioning is a marketing tool. But I think it’s more than that. To me, positioning is the foundation of everything you do. The starting point. Without positioning, you are adrift on the ocean. You can position your entire business or you can position individual products and services. But the crux of the matter is that you need to be able to concisely articulate a value proposition to a target market.


To attract more and better clients, you need to become a recognized authority. You do this by publishing. This could take the form of blog posts, newspaper articles, magazine columns, white papers, reports, open-source software, podcasts, webinars, screencasts, etc. These pieces of content need to consist of original work, research, or insight (i.e., you need CREATE something, not just curate the thoughts of others). They will need to be at least couple hundred words long (or at least five minutes long, in the case of audio/video). You need to publish them (or updates to them, in the case of OSS) at least weekly.


If you do ad hoc work for clients, you need to write custom proposals. A proposal is a document that will consist of a cover letter, a description of the client’s current situation (i.e., the problem or opportunity), three incremental options that you offer to create value in response to the situation, a list of risks and assumptions, a description of your unique qualifications, and pricing terms. Proposals should be focused on outcomes, not deliverables, and as such they are typically no more than 5-6 pages regardless of the size of the engagement.


Products includes low-touch items like ebooks, workbooks, traditional books, videos, and self-paced training. Products also includes productized services - i.e., a high-touch, fixed scope service that you offer at a set price. Your entire collection of products and productized services will slot into a sequence that I call a “Product Ladder” where - at it’s most basic - the prices will increase by roughly 10x at each rung. For example, $10 for an ebook, $100 for a teleconference, $1k for a roadmapping session, $10k for a two-day workshop, $100k for an annual retainer.


First and foremost within pricing, we take steps to break the “money for time” habit by transitioning from hourly billing to value pricing. This can be quite difficult for most people, so I have identified three ways to ease the transition: 1. add a value priced option to a standard hourly estimate, 2. value price a small preliminary chunk of a standard hourly project, and 3. create a productized service. In addition to value pricing, we cover various psychological aspects of pricing like charm pricing, pricing curves, price points, anchoring, fairness, and so on.

NOTE: See the student glossary for additional definitions.

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