In the last 2 weeks I’ve been out and about, firstly speaking at the Learning Professionals Gymn, http://lpgym.wordpress.com, then running my own Trainer Talk Live Event http://trainertalklive.wordpress.com and finally presenting a workshop at Training Zone Live 2010 http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/live
On each occasion the subject of specialisation has come up, either in the session itself or in conversations with trainers over coffee (or in my case – tea!) The one thing that has really struck me is just how many freelance trainers are reluctant to specialise.
Yes, they can see it makes good business sense to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. Yes, they can see that having a niche would provide a focus for their marketing activity. Yes, they can see that they could build a reputation for one thing and attract clients directly to them. And they also know and appreciate that they could charge more.
The one thing that seems to be getting in the way of doing it is fear.
Fear that if they say ‘I do this’ they can no longer say ‘I can do that’
Fear that if they focus on only one thing it will cut them off from a whole load of other things that they could potentially say yes to.
And the fear that they will be limiting their income as a result.
I can understand that when work is harder to come by you might want to dip your fingers in as many pies as possible.
But let me tell you a little story that might change your mind.
Just recently I was approached by a training company with a request for a trainer who could run workshops on Networking Skills. This was a great opportunity, not only did it pay well but it had great potential to develop into a long term partnership. Predictably, we had an overwhelming response. Despite the fact that we specified you had to have specific experience in running this type of workshop within a particular industry sector we still got almost 200 applications from trainers who said they could deliver.
When I last spoke to the provider she told me that she was still wading through CV’s but would definitely be talking to one person that really stood out from the rest. He was a trainer who specialised in running Networking workshops. That was all he did. And it was all he had been doing for the last 10 years.
I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions!