Have you heard the story of Joshua Bell, the world-renowned violinist who performed in disguise in a Washington D.C. subway station in 2007? Despite his immense talent and $3 million Stradivarius violin, Bell went unnoticed by the majority of commuters rushing by. He managed to make about $30 during his hour-long performance.
At the time Bell performed at prestigious concert halls and venues around the world, with ticket prices reaching several hundreds of dollars.
Mr. Bell was dressed as a regular street performer, baseball cap and hoodie, but did his skill change? Nope. The difference was, in the subway station, he simply didn’t have the same level of prestige and visibility that he would have on a concert stage.
In marketing language, they call this positioning. The position we hold in people’s minds greatly affects the perception and appreciation of our work… not to mention what they’re willing to pay. Context is key!
A designer might be as talented and capable as the biggest award-winning studio in the world, but if their approach to visibility consists of wandering around the car-park of their local Tescos with a cardboard sign… they’re unlikely to get paid well for their services.
Joshua Bell’s subway performance shows how positioning plays a crucial role in how we are received by our audience and the potential money we can earn.
Have you ever thought about what you’re selling?
I find that service-based solopreneurs often believe they’re selling time, or tools, or process. But nobody ever jumped out of bed in the morning to hear about your turn-around time or your photoshop subscription!
But what if you were selling the solution to your ideal clients’ most pressing problems? What if your entire online eco-system resonated with the people you want to serve?
The way that I approach this when I work on positioning with my clients is The Gut-level YES. What if your ideal clients thought “Holy Moly! This what I’ve been looking for” when they find out about you?
What are you selling? Really? And what position do you hold in the mind of your ideal clients?