When it comes to a breadth of experience, skills, and knowledge, no one can beat a Generalist. You’ve got a lifetime of insight and understanding that comes from being a keen, curious, and educated observer. You’re an out-of-the box thinker with long-ranging vision, and you have a knack for quickly identifying the solutions that elude everyone else. Your tagline is, “I can help with that”—and because you have such a collection of high-level and varied experiences, you actually can! Generalists tend to have a varied career path and a long list of degrees and certifications, and are star pupils at seminars on a range of topics.
Your superpower is your ability to zero in on the core of a problem and offer a solution that actually works. The combination of your experience, credentials, and love of learning means that you can instantly see the big picture and home in on an answer, and you don’t hesitate to jump in the trenches and get to work. What’s more, you’re genuinely dedicated to helping people, and you derive your career satisfaction from being a key part of the success of others.
However, your strength, when not harnessed correctly, can also be your downfall. Because of your wide skill set and desire to help, you try to be too many things to too many people. When you meet potential clients, you end up talking at length about the huge range of services you can provide, identifying valuable solutions to the problems they mention. The result is that they take your free advice, but when it comes time to actually hire someone to implement it, they pass you over—they’re unsure of what your core skills are, and thus consider your knowledge wide but not deep. So they turn to a specialist to execute the solution you’ve introduced them to.
The key is to stop trying to pitch yourself as a jack-of-all-trades. You do indeed have a wealth of competencies, and clients can benefit from them all. But trying to explain every single thing you do confuses clients and detracts from your credibility. Ask yourself, which skills are your primary strengths? What do you enjoy the most, and what provides the best results and outcomes for your clients? What is your ideal client’s unmet need? That’s your “tip-of-the-sword” offering—the core outcomes you provide—and that’s all you should initially discuss with prospective clients.
Once you identify this focus, and market yourself to the niche that it best serves, you’ll be seen as a specialist who provides unique value. Then, when you’ve landed the client and they’re thrilled with the results you’ve provided, you can introduce them to the other skills you offer, securing yourself a long-term customer. They’ll be amazed at your never-ending value and wonder how they ever got along without you. Yes, it would be nice if they could understand that from the beginning, but that’s just not how a customer’s mind works. You’ve got to be the niche specialist first.
Your impressive range of experience and knowledge, combined with your talent for quick and capable problem-solving, means that your clients have hit the jackpot. You’re adept at handling everything they need—and everything they don’t yet know they need. But don’t make the mistake of trying to communicate all of your abilities at one shot—you can’t download a lifetime of experience in a 5-minute sales pitch or a few pages on your website. Focus on the tip-of-the sword offering that portrays you as a specialist expert serving a unique niche, and educate clients on your full array of skills over time (and on their dime).