Generalist Vs. Specialist

We’re talking about how to make this trend from generalist to specialist.

I take you through a model that I created that shows you the journey from maybe where you’re at right now, progressing all the way up to where you move through specialist and you start to become the CEO of your business.

Giving you a business that you can control and a business that is successful and can continue to scale.

Transcript / MP3

What’s good, everybody. Greg Hickman here with the scalable podcast and in today’s episode I want to talk about how do you make the transition from being a generalist to a specialist and why that is so important for you. If you want to grow your business and make it more scalable and do it a whole lot faster, let’s get a gun for three years. My agency built funnels and automation systems for the biggest names in marketing today since then have transformed that agency into a hyper profitable training and consulting business. While everyone is out there talking about scale like it’s some sort of destination, we’ll be asking the real questions. How do you transform your business into a more scalable model using the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you already have? This podcast is here to give you the answer. Come join me and follow along as I learned, apply and share the strategies I’m using to build my multimillion dollar business. My name is Greg Hickman and welcome to scale up.

All right, my friends, so welcome back. Like I said, we’re going to be talking about how to make this trend from generalist to specialist. And, um, I want to take you through a model that I created that kind of shows you the journey from kind of maybe where you’re at right now, progressing all the way up to where you kind of move through specialist and you start to become the CEO of your business. Write a business that you can control, uh, and something that is successful and can continue to scale right now. But the, I want to kind of talk about why this is important, right? So, uh, if you’re doing done for you services, the problem that you might be facing right now or things like, you know, dealing with scope creep, right? Uh, you sign a contract and then all of a sudden this scope changes and at the end of the day you don’t even make that much money.

It took you a lot of time. Um, or you’re at this position where, um, you’ve kind of exceeded your capacity. Like you can’t take on any more clients even if you wanted to. Uh, thus your revenue is capped at a certain ceiling. And so you could add one or two more clients, but the sacrifice would be probably be working into the evenings or then working, uh, over the weekends just to even have a minute or two to work on your own business instead of working on your client’s business. Right? And if you’re doing that, you know, just adding more hours into your day, that’s not the way to grow to grow your business and you’re probably going to suffer in other areas like in your relationships and your family and how you show up there. And maybe that’s where you’re at right now. When you want to make the change.

Great. We’re going to be talking about that. Um, if you’re doing this work and you’re starting to feel this, you know, one of the things that might be common for you is, you know, each and every client that comes in the door is getting some sort of custom result, right? Um, your custom creating a solution for them and what you end up having is a couple of different types of clients, uh, maybe in different verticals, different industries and they each have their custom outcome. Like you’re doing something different for each and every one of them, which means that every single time you get a new client, your creating a brand new way to solve their unique problem. And that problem, like your solution, your process and solving their problem isn’t really transferrable to the next client. And it’s almost like rinse and repeat. You get a new client, you’re starting from scratch, it’s a clean slate.

You don’t even know what problem they have. You don’t know exactly how you’re going to solve it. And then you create some custom solution. You go back and forth and they, you know, whittle you down on price point and they say, well we don’t want those 10 services. We want those five. So can you charge a little bit less? And now all of a sudden your new client is in control before you ever even signed the contract. And that’s not really the best way to grow your business, at least if you want to become more scalable and have control and, and more freedom in your business. So the possibility on the flip side of that is really comes behind doing two different things and we’re going to dive into that here in just a second. But the kind of this model that I want to share with you is the possibility as you become more of a specialist in what you do and solve the specific problem really starts to lie in behind making two specific decisions.

The first decision is to really simplify and get specific on your avatar. Like what type of client do you serve? If you serve chiropractors, um, agency owners, dentists, you know, financial advisers, uh, you know, Yoga Studios, like if you sort of like all of those different types of verticals, you’re going to have a really difficult time in growing your business because you’re so diluted, right? Any near competitor that focuses on only one of those five or however many I listed is going to be infinitely better than you because they have 100% of their bandwidth capacity and focus on serving that person when you only have a small percentage because you’re trying to serve all these other types of clients. Right? So the first key to making the transition from generalists to specialists is really just that specialize in a particular type of client with a particular type of problem.

And we’ll actually have an upcoming episode where I’ll share kind of a framework and a methodology that I learned that really changed our business. But we’ll, we’ll get to that here in an upcoming episode. Um, but that’s the first thing. It’s like really simplifying the Avatar. And I know many of you are going to sit there and say, but then it’s harder, uh, because the pool, like the pool that I’m fishing in is smaller. But the reality is when you do that, especially in the beginning, your focus becomes so clear and narrow that you know how to serve them, uh, how to market to them. Really get inside their head and that’ll allow you to serve many of them more effectively and you’ll see the speed in which you can grow, accelerate. And the second thing, so the first one is, is to simplify your Avatar, your perfect.

And then the second is to narrow down your deliverables. Right? Now your product might be you just saying the words. Yes. Hey, can you also do this? Yes. Um, hey, this is our problem. Can you help us? Yes. If your product and your service and the is the word yes, you’re, you’re, again, you’re having that kind of hamster wheel of you’re starting over from scratch each and every time. So we really need to narrow down your deliverables and sell an outcome. Right? So let’s jump into this model that I want to share with you and we’re gonna dive into kind of the four stages that I see in this progression from generalist to specialist and really onward up into CEO. So if you’re just listening along, um, what I want you to envision here is a triangle a with kind of broken up into four, four levels, right?

And at the bottom level, uh, that, that level would be red. Okay. And in that level is what I call the scavenger. So if you’re just getting started in your business, um, you might be in this scavenger state, which, um, to me, we’re going to look at each of these levels through three specific lenses. And let’s look at those three specific lenses. So we’re going to first look at, um, profitability, right? Um, we’re going to look at profit, then s will equal systems, you know, what are your systems look like? And then, um, your products, right? Your products and services. So for each level of this growth, we’re going to look at what your profit looks like, what your systems look like, and what your products and services look like. So at the bottom of this triangle in the past, who are seven figure CEO, and again, the seven figure is, you know, depending upon what your destination is, what number you’re trying to reach in order to build a scalable business, these are the, this is the progression that many of you are going to go through.

So when we look at this scavenger state, right? When we’re in this status, when we look at things like, uh, our, our profit, uh, were most likely losing money, right? So maybe that’s you right now, maybe you’re in a position where you’re losing money. If we look at systems, there are none. Everything is manual. And when it comes to products and services, you have no real clarity on what it is you served or what it is you deliver. How, what do you sell, right? You’re just kind of doing whatever the market needs you’re looking for. You know, any sort of client AppPulse, someone that will give you money, right? And so you’ll kind of be in this position where, okay, well how do we move up to the next level where, uh, we actually see the next level be generalist, right? Um, now you can have a fairly successful business, um, as a generalist, depending upon what success means to you.

Meaning, we’ve, we’ve had clients that have come to us that, you know, if by success you look at just revenue, like we’ve had million dollar businesses come to us, but they have almost zero profit and the owner is still struggling doing all of the work. Um, but because they do everything right, so you can have high revenue businesses and still be struggling if you’re a generalist. Right? Um, but often times in this, if you’re a service provider, you know, you get that first client and then you know, you get, you get the first couple of clients, they’re not always the same. We were in that same boat. But if you want to keep growing, you’re going to have to start to, like I said, narrow down on your Avatar and your deliverables to really start to make that transition into special specialist. Right? So, um, what happens and how do you go from scavenger to generalist will really, what I’ve found is that the main differentiator is that, you know, there’s no clarity, right?

So to go from the bottom of the triangle, up one level into from scavenger into generalists, we really need to get clarity, right? Clarity on, on what it is we’re selling and who it is we’re serving, right? To clarity on the specialized Avatar, uh, you know, a little bit closer and what it is we’re actually selling. And the kind of making this leap over up, up one level two going like is really about making that escape, right? And the thing that I’ve found is you have to commit to selling, right? You’re not necessarily going to know x, you know what the next stage is going to look like. You just need to go out there and start getting clients, collecting money, doing the work, uh, and you know, kind of focusing on what it is you can do. Uh, you know, to just keep money coming in the door, right?

Cause we don’t want to continue to lose money. So in the generalist level, when we really commit to selling, we’re getting a little bit more clarity. When we look at that profit, uh, lens, again, we’re kind of in that feast and famine zone, right? Some months are good, some months are bad. Uh, but it is what it is. Right? And then if we look at systems, well, they’re really all consuming. And what I mean by that is we get a lot of agencies that we talked to and you know, they’re like, all right, we’re designing slps and we’re going to have a standard operating procedure for everything that we do. And the problem is that they never do the same thing frequently enough to benefit from having the documentation in the first place. Right? Because like we said, each and every time they get a new client, what they’re delivering is new.

So they have all this great documentation that they’ve spent a lot of time on creating that they’re not even really using this. It’s really wasteful. And really that’s because your product is you saying the word yes, right? Like yes is the product. Yes. Equals your product or service. And so like we want make that trend start making that transition. Right. So scavenger, you’re kind of taking anything that you can, getting a little bit of clarity on like, hey, this is what I’m doing. Uh, and now you’re maybe doing that for a wide variety of clients and you, you know, you’re starting to see more money. It’s a little bit up, more up and down. Um, you’re trying to create systems, but it’s kind of all consuming and you want to move to the next level, right? And so the next level up is where we start to become a specialist, right?

And, uh, you know, when we look at specialists, so in the generalist zone, what we’re kind of doing here is, uh, you know, this is more about survival, right? Like generalist is survival specialists. We’re starting to feel successful, right? We’re starting to feel successful. And at the specialist stage, this is when we look at the profit layer, right? This is where you’re going to start to see predictable profit. And you start to see that because you’re selling the same thing, uh, to the same type of client. And you’re starting to build a rhythm and momentum of adding x number of clients per month or paying you x dollars because you’re on, you know, there’s some sort of retainer or a monthly recurring revenue system that is having them the money come in. So you’re starting to get some predictability in, in your profits. And when it comes to systems, this is where we start to, does start designing self managing systems.

Now I’m depending upon who you are and where you’re at in your business. This might be a little bit confusing, but self managing systems, um, really at this stage the self managing systems are going to be um, around, you know, sales and marketing. Uh, that’s like where most of your kind of predictability in your systems lie. Like a lot of our clients come in and they’re really looking to build out the automated sales system, right? So that when they do get a client, they can focus on fulfillment. But sales and marketing won’t stop, right? If you’re in a client based business and agency right now, when you get new clients, typically your sales and marketing stop. So as we start specializing, we want to start designing systems first around sales, a little structure around fulfillment, and then also start working on our systems around marketing, right?

So that’s where our system is start to be focused. And uh, lastly are, uh, from a products we have products as solutions, right? Products as solution. So at the specialist level, uh, through the three lenses we’re looking at predictable profit, self managing systems around, um, sales delivery and fulfillment or Sarah sales delivery and marketing. And our products were actually selling outcomes. We’re selling solutions versus hey, here’s a service menu of things that we can do. Which one works for you? Right? When you start getting into the specialism, you’re going to start to see some momentum, right? And when it comes to, uh, look, you can be at a specialist zone. And what we’ve seen is a lot of people are very happy being in this specialist zone. Um, and that’s where they want to stay. And that’s why right here we have, you know, the division between you know, specialists and this top, the top part of the pyramid where we have, you know, now you’re a CEO, right?

So again, looking at this pyramid from the hallway of scavenger on the bottom generalist, the next level, then specialist, and at the tippy top of the pyramid, the fourth section is CEO. Now in order to go from like specialist to CEO, you need to kind of say to yourself, look like, I need to kind of go beyond this good enough line, right? You’ll maybe you’re doing some consistent revenue. Uh, you’re kind of maybe getting comfortable there, but if you want to keep growing and be able to step out of your business and have other people start to run it and all of that great stuff, you need to kind of transition into the CEO role. And so, um, this is where the making the jump from specialist to CEO is really comes down to letting go, right? So you got to start letting go of things.

You got to start delegating, right? And the CEO’s zone is where you start to find, you know, controlling. So in generalists, we’re in survival specialists, we’re starting to feel successful and we hit to this CEO, we’re like, we’re controlling this ship, right? Like we’re making moves, we’re moving this thing, we’re moving our team and all that. So at the CEO level, you know what his profit look like. Well it’s not just predictable but it’s amplified. You know, we have amplified profits, right? And then when it comes to systems, they’re not just self managing, it’s self correcting.

And when it comes to your products, you now have multiple, you know, likely multiple revenue streams. You have some front end offers, you have some backend offers, you have some recurring revenue, things like that that allow you to grow, right? So there are these different levels and those again, those three, those three layers are lenses that we look at. We’ve been looking through profit systems and products. We have amplified products, self correcting systems, and then multiple revenue streams. Like self correcting to me means like the team who’s operating the systems and kind of helping the systems move. You know, move efficiently, that doesn’t always boil back up to me as the CEO. Like there’s people in sales and marketing and delivery and client success that are kind of being notified that something’s broken and then they’re able to go and make those decisions and move on behalf of the business because our goals are clear.

We all know where we’re going together as a team. So this is where you really start to half hour start having to let go and delegate things to different people. Self managing and self correcting when it comes to systems, right? Systems are kind of powered by people too, right? When I think of an automated business, as long as you, the owner aren’t doing it, it’s automated, right? And so, um, you know, systems might be a combination of people, process, automation, you know, different pieces of technology, right? But your team is going to be able to self correct a lot of these things. And this is the journey that we’ve been on. Um, we’ve kind of been moving up this pyramid ourselves and the pyramid, a lot of our clients are moving up as well. And really we want to focus on, again, that profitability because revenue sounds great, but you can have a really good business and as the owner still not be paying yourself.

Like if we’re in this and we want to have the life and be able to support our families and our communities and all that stuff, like as the owner, you got to be making sure you’re making the money and keeping some money so that you can keep growing your business, right? So, uh, these are the kind of four levels that we have as we’re trying to evolve from, you know, early stage business into the, the CEO of our business, right? The CEO’s, we’ll call it seven figure journey to scalable business journey. Um, moving from generalist to specialist. And again, the two things that you really need to start thinking about to start making that transition from generalist to specialist so that eventually you can move to CEO is to simplify down your, your avatar. Who are you serving and narrow down your deliverables. What are you selling?

What’s the outcome? Selling an outcome and not just selling the word yes, right? Because your model is greater than your menu. So hope you guys found this, uh, episode valuable, uh, in order to kind of design a business that serves you and not the other way around. We want to really start moving towards, uh, being that specialist if we’re not already. And if you are already in that specialist zone, it’s time to start designing the systems around you, to remove yourself from the areas where you might be the bottleneck so that you can start upleveling and start acting as CEO of your business. Right? Really, guys, the difference that I see between entrepreneurs and CEOs, CEOs have systems in place and they

disown on them. And that’s why we help our clients really start to do that. So really start looking at your business through these three lenses. Understand where you’re at in this journey and the things that need to focus on as you make this transition from generalist to specialist. So, uh, again, if you found this episode valuable, we would love a rating and review in Itunes, make her way on over there. And, uh, if you’re watching on Youtube, make sure you’re making sure you’re subscribing to that channel so you don’t miss any episodes that come out every single week, two times a week. And, uh, thank you guys. Love what you guys, uh, are what you’re sharing so far on these, on these episodes. We really appreciate you and we’re having a great time kicking this show off. I know it’s early, but we’ve got a long ways to go, and so make sure you’re subscribed on all channels and we’ll keep rocking it out. Take care of.


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