Your core genius is your definitive sweet spot as a service based solopreneur.
It's your secret sauce.
Your key differentiator.
The thing that makes you particularly perfect at what you do.
In our highly competitive world, in which there seem to be few truly unique services out there, it's the people who've tapped into their core genius that are able to confidently create and promote their offers, attract more of the right people with their message, and sell their work with minimal effort.
Your core genius is the sum of your unique traits, skills, knowledge and experiences -- applied to serving the desires and challenges of others. So when we talk about defining it, we're looking at 2 major factors, which are equally important in establishing the value of what you bring to the table:
1) Who you are
2) Who your people are
Now let's walk through each of the 7 steps:
STEP 1. Define the attributes that are quintessentially "you"
As a service provider, you're putting the best of what you have to offer and who you are out into the world. The people who will want to build a meaningful working relationship with you will be looking at both.
It's not always easy to see ourselves objectively, but one great way to get a glimpse at what makes you quintessentially you is to take a personality quiz. There are hundreds of them out there, but only 2 that I've personally found to be most useful -- both in understanding myself/choices better and understanding how others see me:
Check both of these out and let me know what you've discovered about yourself!
STEP 2. Define how you work and serve best
Another part of knowing yourself is understanding when you're most present and "into" what you're doing. When I decided to completely pivot my business in 2014, it was hinged on the fact that I serve best when I can just use my ideas and have meaningful conversations to help people solve problems. I had spent over 3 years, drudging through implementation-driven work (and feeling really miserable about it), before I stumbled on this discovery. But by then I was completely burned out and needed to take a few months to refocus my energy before I could move forward.
Defining how you work and serve best is important for 3 very crucial reasons:
Spend a moment to reflect on the times when you've felt most empowered, have been most "on", and when people have gained the most value from something you've said or done for them (that also made you feel good). Find the common thread among those experiences and try to sum it up in a sentence or two.
STEP 3. Define the experiences that have shaped your expertise
Contrary to what many people may believe, having a formal education is not the only thing that qualifies you to be an expert at something. Every single experience in your life -- whether significant or not -- has played a role in shaping who you are, what you believe and what you know. This fact alone makes your core genius incredibly unique, because no one else in the entire universe has experienced what you have in the same way that you have. Now, that should make you feel pretty damn special.
So, what are some of the experiences that have impacted your expertise and beliefs? Consider, for example, the sequence of events that led to you choosing entrepreneurship as your path to freedom. Describe what you've experienced since starting your business that has refined your understanding and expertise. These experiences qualify you to teach, share and use what you know to serve others.
STEP 4. Define who your people are
If you've been reading this blog over the last few months, you'll notice that I rarely mention the term "ideal client". That's because the people who pay to work with you are not the only ones you need to be connecting with in your business. In fact, "your people" fall into 4 distinct categories -- each of which are essential to your business (we'll dive more into this in a future conversation, but will stick to the general group for this particular one).
Part of defining your core genius is knowing who benefits most from what you have to offer and what their priorities are right now. When you understand their concerns, pain points and even their interests, you're able to have meaningful conversations and engage with them on human level.
It's not always obvious how much we actually know about our people; and in many cases, we don't have to look much further than our own mirrors for the answers. But do some digging to get really solid on who your people are. Start with your favorite client (or someone you're dying to work with) and take note of what's happening in their business and/or life right now. Pay particular attention to what they're trying to accomplish, what takes up a lot of their time or attention, what they talk about the most and who they follow like a groupie.
STEP 5. Define the one outcome you help your people accomplish in their business or life
I know you may be thinking, "RM, I help people with quite a few things, so I can't define just one." But hear me out: no matter where your people are in their lives and/or business right now, there is one specific outcome that all of them are coming to you to help them accomplish.
Take my friend and colleague, Kathryn Brown, for instance. Kathryn is a productivity coach, who helps busy women entrepreneurs create better balance in their work so that it doesn't take over their lives. At the core of her work, though (and her true expertise), is that she empowers her people to identify their inherent strengths and creative motivations, around which to form practices and habits that make them more effective in business. So, some of her people may come to her looking for better systems for their business, some for productivity advice, and others for work-life balance solutions. But the single outcome they all accomplish from working with Kathryn is having practices and habits for being more effective.
Another way to look at this is to consider where your people are now (or where they'll end up), after they've gone through a session, program or project with you. Pinpoint what they're now "equipped" with that makes them capable of moving forward with their life or business.
STEP 6. Define the challenges that you address for your people
Have you ever paid attention to how many companies boast services or products that will help you "grow your business"? The solutions themselves tend to be vastly different, yet all of them would have you believe that theirs is the end-all that you must invest in (or else). So how do you filter their promises to know which is the right fit for you? You look at what they specialize in. You find out if their solutions are designed specifically for your company of "0-10 employees". You look for case studies or testimonials from other customers or clients that resonate with your own particular needs. And, especially when it's a one-to-one service, you find out what the providers' experience is with your particular business or industry.
That's because you know that the better they understand what your challenges and needs are, the more likely it is that they can really help you accomplish what you want, and the more valuable their solution will be to you (ROI for the win!).
You get where I'm going with this.
STEP 7. Define your approach to helping your people address their challenges
The final step to defining your core genius is knowing your approach. In other words, it's defining your method, or style, for helping them work through their challenges to accomplish the outcomes they want. This is what shapes the way you relate to your people in your service.
Some possible approaches include: teaching, training, mentoring/coaching, planning and implementing. Your approach might even be a mix of these. So try to distill down on the top 2-3 that resonate the most with you.
Over to you ...
What did you uncover about your core genius? How are you using, or planning to use, this awareness to bring value to your people through your services?
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