The debate among freelancers on which pays more -being a generalist or specialist- doesn’t seem to be ending soon.
And no, I’m not here to speak against one party. Because obviously, the people who swear by these polarities have had it work for them.
I’m only here to fuel the debate.
Not between you and another freelancer this time, just you and yourself.
This is someone who has knowledge on different aspects of a system.
The generalist can work almost anything- has an idea of how every job should go, the process, the outcome, etc.
For example, the generalist copywriter can write a landing page for a course, a white paper for a PR company,
a B2C copy for an agency.
This could be your go-to person for most jobs because they probably can handle anything right?
But this is not always the case.
The specialist is your guy for high intensity jobs.
The one where you need the expertise of the expert.
This guy is niche specific, and has what we call a laser-focused approach to work.
If I knew a copywriter who specialized in web copy, she would be my go-to person for any copy I want on my website.
Some say that this is the best approach to freelancing, while the others say it’s better to do a bit of everything.
What do you think?
- The Laser Focused Approach
The Urban Dictionary describes laser focus as paying attention to a single concept, while shutting out everything else.
It is being niche specific, and doubling down on the chosen niche- in order to reach the state of near perfection.
This approach to your business, will indeed help you get to that point of being called a specialist.
That, my friend, is not an easy tag to come by. Wear it proudly.
I mean, it’s easy to say
“oh, I’d rather do a bit of web copy, and whitepapers; some sales letters here and some blog posts there.”
Doesn’t it mean more income after all?
Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not always the case.
Using the laser focus to sharpen your skills to the point of perfection, is often the better option for a freelancer.
It gives you the edge over the generalist guy who can do a bit of everything.
- Why Should You Try Being A Specialist?
First off, I’m just going to say that the points I’m going to outline below, will have an effect on your income.
No, don’t panic. It’s the good one I mean.
1. Clients LOVE specialists:
You should see when I’m speaking to a client, and outlining the steps I’m going to take to solve a problem.
I often come off as this knowledgeable person who knows what’s what.
This is because I have already made it clear to said client, that so-so is the only kind of job I take on.
This assures the client that they have made the right decision in hiring you.
At this point, they really do not care if you charge more than the average because you’re an expert in your field.
2. In Constant Demand
Specialists in various niches are in constant demand.
Some guy will always need a script writer in FinTech,
another will always need a writer for Landing pages,
an agency somewhere will need a SQL Database Server.
So why not?
As a specialist, you are always needed in the market for knowing what you know. And it’s like a dream, your name is rolling off clients’ tongues as a recommendation.
If you always deliver top notch work, then that’s a plus for you.
3. Less Competition
Contrary to what the dear ol’ generalists think, there is lesssss competition in the market when you’re a specialist.
See the way I emphasised that. Lesssss.
This is due to the fact that potential clients, are more attracted to specialists.
In their minds, it’s this way.
“Why exactly should I pick a jack of all trades when this guy has skills tailored to suit my needs?”
It would seem like an ego thing but it’s not.
Less Competition equals, higher demand. This in turn can reflect in your income.
4. Higher Rates
I was going to leave this at three points in favor of the specialists but I thought, no.
Specialists can, and should charge better hourly rates.
Don’t ask me why.
You’re a specialist. Why not act like it?
Since you got that laser focused thing going on, then you’d most likely transfer all that energy to your client’s job.
In a way, you under promise and over deliver.
The most beautiful thing about the whole freelancing journey is that you have the power of choice.
You can choose who you work with.
You choose what you charge for an hour’s work.
You decide if a client and pay is worth it.
You got the power. Act like it.
Despite all I’ve listed above, it makes no sense if you do a crappy job.
Nobody will hire a freelancer who claims to be specialist but performs poorly on gigs.
Therefore, if we’re going to try this laser focused approach, then apply it in perfecting your skills.
You can do it!
By the end of the week, I’ll be publishing the second part of this topic.
Remember I said, both sides of the coin are profitable.
In the meantime, do leave a comment and let me know what you think.