the most dangerous word in an entrepreneur's vocabulary

The Most Dangerous Word in an Entrepreneur’s Vocabulary

Surely you’ve been here, in my seat. I’m at a folding table, sitting in a metal folding chair. I’m crossing my knees because that’s what ladies do when sitting on a metal folding chair in a dress. Only I keep having to switch knees because the metal is unforgiving and my toes keep falling asleep and getting all kinds of tingly. “Must remember to wear pants next time, I think. And also get back to the gym.”

There it is. Also.

the most dangerous word in an entrepreneur's vocabulary

This is reason numero uno why also is the most dangerous word in solopreneur’s vocabulary. It’s just the beginning of a never-ending task list. A way to stay in stress instead of rising above the second most dangerous word, busy.

Constantly, I remind myself not to work about the task list. It lowers my energy level, just thinking about a list with more than three things on it. Because, really, the list never ends. It just changes.

But that’s not the real reason also is the most dangerous word. The real reason is all about marketing. Branding. Securing your future business. If that sounds like kind of a big deal, multiply it by 27 and then we’ll be talking.

I’ve amassed a few well-worn statements. Get clear to get visible. Stand up to stand out. Create a brand worth talking about. Step one in branding: know your audience.

Know your who and your why, and you’re golden. But this is where it gets tricky and it’s one of the big barriers many of my clients face in their deep branding work.

“I serve busy business women and also stay at home mothers.”
“My best client is an online biz coach and also realtors.”
“30-something lawyers on the partner track and also parents with sick children are my target market.”

Each of those statements share the “also” death knell.

Here’s the deal: your niche doesn’t have room for the also. Choose one or the other. As a brand strategist, I cannot create an effective brand strategy that will magnetize your message to two different segments. Stay at home mothers have very different pain points than busy business women. Their dreams and desires take a different shape. They will respond better to different images, different copy, different messaging as a whole.

I know what you’re thinking. Well, surely those examples don’t work, but MY niche has room for an also. My best clients are ___ and also ____.

Also waters down your brand

You can argue all you want, but when it comes down to it, your brand message will be watered down to the point of boredom or confusion if you try to market to each. Boredom means they’ll pass on you, never to return. Confusion will prevent them from trusting you and definitely stop a sale in its tracks. Either way, you end up losing both sides of that also statement.

You’re still sitting on that metal chair. Maybe it’s even off kilter, one of the legs not quite the same length as the other three. Every time you move, it jolts to one side or the other. When you try to brand in way that includes two different market segments, it’s the same way. You say something that appeals to the online biz coach in a crystal clear way, and you end up repelling the realtor.

The only way also makes sense is if you haven’t clearly defined your niche in the first place. How might that work? Perhaps you’re a health coach that works with overworked 30 somethings. Let’s say you equally serve those lawyers on the partner track and parents with sick children. What is the commonality? Well, I’d hazard a guess that they’re both overworked and stressed out. Your niche is actually overworked and stressed out 30 somethings. It just so happens both lawyers fit the bill.

The key here is that while lawyers make up a number of your clients, it’s not that they’re a lawyer that makes them a good client for you. It’s how many hours they’re putting in at the office, commuting back and forth, and not enough time to prep healthy meals or exercise to relieve stress. The same would be true for parents of sick children as they go back and forth from work to the hospital to home. In each case, the client is so focused on an end goal (making partner, your child beating cancer) that taking time for themselves induces guilt. Or they put it off, thinking there’s time for that later. When they’ve accomplished that goal.

A more clear niche definition will help you brand and market in a way that attracts the best client with that unique pain point you know how to fix. Try saying, I work with overstressed 30-somethings who are putting off their health till later because they feel guilty putting themselves first now. Not only will you get the right client standing up and raising their hands, you’ll end up with a more clear system to help them. You brand to the overstressed and guilty pain point, not to their demographics.

You can’t effectively serve two different segments with the same marketing. When you find a way to speak to one individual, everything else becomes more clear. No longer will you struggle with branding decisions like which photo do I use for this sales page? And since I’m willing to bet the reason you have an answer to their stress is that you’ve been their yourself, the answer is already there. What photo would have spoken to you at that time?

If also is a word you cling to in your ideal market, take a look below the surface. Where are the emotional commonalities that define your best clients? What is the trigger that comes up over and over again? You’ll find your answer. It won’t include also.

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