I have two pieces of conflicting information that are applicable to my business life right now. It’s time for Rock-em Sock-em Information.
Representing the blue robot is this blog post from Tim Ferris author of the 4-Hour Workweek (which incidentally is a great read and comes highly recommended). His post gives this post gives five reasons to be a jack-of-all-trades.
Representing the red robot is a small book I picked up at a conference titled Positioning Yourself: Defining Who You Want to Be by David C. Baker founder and principal of ReCourses Inc. specifically within this book there is an excerpt titled Specialization as a means of attracting clients.
The conflict comes in the form of deciding whether to keep my design firm position as a generalist, meaning designing for print and interactive media and whatever comes my way, or positioning my firm as a specialist solely in interactive media. . My background and skills are certainly in line with the ideals of being a jack-of-all-trades. I do enjoy reading and learning about a variety of things simultaneously. I agree with Tim’s blog post about “diversity of intellectual playgrounds,” and “boredom is failure.” And he makes a qualification in that last point, “over-specialization” guarantees boredom (more on this later). I love art, design and technology and have been immersed within them for the better part of 16 years. I love the intellectual stimulation that comes from the variety.
To reinforce this I went to an AIGA studio tour last night hosted by AIGASB at Studio 2050 with founder Glen Derbyshire. It was a really interesting tour. Glen spoke about the many “re-inventions” he has gone through during his career as a photographer, graphic designer and now in the role of ‘producer.’ Glen thrives on the variety of challenges that come his way. Interesting that I find myself at a point of re-invention with my business. Ah, but the conflicting information…
So now to the excerpt Specialization as a means of attracting clients by David C. Baker. David asserts that the key to attracting the best client is to position your firm the way they (the clients) want to see it. One needs to highlight the key points that are critical in the initial decision making process. Clients want to know that you specialize in what they need. But if you say “I am a plumber, an electrician, and a carpenter” and another guy says “I only do plumbing with 20 years experience” you most likely will pick the specialist. The catch is that by declaring that you are a specialist you will turn away clients and projects that could be fun to work on? Most likely, but by ‘being’ a specialist you may attract more work–more profitable work. And that is where I would like to head.
My thought about the conflict resolves itself this way. I will define my company as a specialist in interactive media. However, I will not turn away any type of traditional graphic design (i.e. ‘print’ work) should it come my way.
It appears as if neither of the robots got their heads popped off. We’ll call this a stalemate.
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