One of the best perks of being a business owner is you get to craft your own job title.
You can replace “CEO” with anything else you want and stand out from your competitors.
Having read similar advice in Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid, I created my own job title and description. It’s a simple process but not necessarily easy.
Using my experience as a guide, here’s some advice for creating your own job title and description.
Finding Your Greatest Strength
“Don’t be fungible. Have a distinctive expertise or perspective.” – Larry Summers, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury
When crafting your job title, Port recommends starting by figuring out your greatest strength. I knew I possessed many gifts and talents, but I didn’t have a clue which one to use to define myself.
In this case, Port suggests turning to friends and family—the people who know you best—and asking them to tell you the first three words that come to mind when they think of you.
I used Facebook to conduct a poll asking people for the first three words that came to mind when they thought of me.
Once I had 15-20 responses, I saw that the word most often associated with me was “creative” or “creativity.”
And that rang true for me. Everything I was passionate about doing and everything I enjoyed doing was some kind of creative exercise.
I knew, then, that I could specialize in being creative.
Crafting Your Creative Business Owner Title
The trick now was to put the title together with a word to describe how I planned on using my creativity to help my target audience. How, exactly, was I going to serve them?
The answer to that was easier to see.
People routinely come to me for advice on a variety of problems and issues. They do so because I have a gift for seeing the big picture. I point out details they’ve overlooked and I help them overcome obstacles.
I decided that the word “consultant” best described the method of my delivery.
And so I became the “Creativity Consultant.”
But What Does It Mean?
I had a nifty title and that was fantastic—until someone asked me what it meant.
I didn’t know how to describe the work of a Creativity Consultant!
Sure, my title was catchy, but it was meaningless until I could put it into words that would help people understand how what I did was useful to them.
As Danny Iny wrote in, Seth Godin Was Wrong: The Trouble with “Remarkable:You’ve got to do better than just remarkable… you need to be remarkably useful.Click To Tweet
I had figured out a way to be remarkable, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to be remarkably useful.
Finding My Market
Most of the time, the first product that a startup brings to market won’t meet the market need. In the best cases, it will take a few revisions to get the product/market fit right. In the worst cases, the product will be way off base, and a complete re-think is required. – David Skok, Why Startups Fail
If my business efforts failed, it was because I didn’t start by finding my market. Without knowing my market, I couldn’t figure out what they needed. And I couldn’t create an offer for them that would be worth paying good money to receive.
Going back to Michael Port’s advice, decide who it is you wanted to serve. Whose concerns do you best understand? Who would it excite you to think about working with?
The answer became clear when I thought about my priorities in life, about what mattered most to me, and who shared those values.
My specific market is creative entrepreneurs. These are the people I understand best and whose struggles I share.
How Does That Help?
You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. – Zig Ziglar
Having my market defined was half the battle. But I still wasn’t clear on how my creativity could help creative entrepreneurs with their struggle to build successful businesses.
The connection between my title and the services I offer didn’t become clear to me until a few years later.
Working with an author, we looked at her book to find potential products she could build from it with little extra effort on her part. Our goal was to help her transform her book into the foundation of a very successful business.
As I worked on the project, I had an epiphany. I realized what I was doing to help this author was not only something I was good at, but it was also something valuable to the market I served.
Who wouldn’t pay $500 if they knew it would help them make $500,000 or more?
The Value of Your Title
William B. Dodds and Kent B. Monroe conducted a study in 1985 on the relationship between brands and perceived value. They demonstrated that the perceived value of a product has a direct influence on what and whether a consumer is willing to pay for it.
For your chosen title to be meaningful, you need to explain its value to your market in terms of dollars and cents.
What will they receive from you that justifies the money they spend with you?
With an audience clearly in mind, I knew that one of their biggest needs was help in figuring out how to bring in a steady stream of revenue from the things they create.
Most of these products are paintings or handcrafted pottery. It takes time and labor to produce each piece. These items are not things that can be mass manufactured without ruining the value.
The number of people, however, able to sell their pieces for thousands of dollars are very few, which leads to most creative entrepreneurs struggling to make ends meet, hence the stereotype of the “starving artist.”
There was a clear need for someone with the right talents and skills to help them overcome that obstacle.
Most of them were stuck in jobs they didn’t want because they didn’t know how to support themselves with their skills. And the stress of working in jobs that weren’t the right fit for their unique skills and talents led to medical and therapy bills adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
Health problems associated with job-related anxiety account for more deaths each year than Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes. – Gillian B. White: “The Alarming, Long-Term Consequences of Workplace Stress” The Atlantic
Yet, I knew there were ways I could help these creative entrepreneurs break out of the mold and earn more from every piece they produced.
I helped them spot possible products that could be developed from a single effort with the potential to bring in tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars with relatively little initial investment. By helping them find these products that could be created once and sold multiple times, I was helping them go beyond making a living to making a life for themselves and their families.
I now knew the real value my title had to offer and was ready to put together a pitch statement.
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Creating the Pitch Statement
In the spring of 2015, Microsoft released a research study called “Attention Spans,” where it cited a statistic that the human attention span was just 8 seconds long.
That means you have exactly 8 seconds to catch hold of a prospect’s attention before they move on to something else.
This is why pitch statements are so popular.
They explain the big idea in a very short amount of time, but business owners often struggle to create them.
How do you take the big idea behind your business and condense it into a single sentence?Once you know the value you offer a prospect, creating your pitch statement becomes simple.Click To Tweet
Creating a pitch statement is similar in many ways to writing a book blurb. You identify:
- what you do
- who you do it for
- how you do it differently from anyone else doing it
- how that helps your prospect achieve the success they desire
My pitch statement ended up being:
“I help creative entrepreneurs make more money by showing them how to use what they already know and do it in different ways.”
Testing and Refining
Once you have your pitch statement, test it.
Choose a social media outlet and join a group that caters to your target audience. If you’re using Twitter, research an appropriate hashtag to use. Then put your pitch statement out there.
Refine it based on how people respond to it. If they don’t respond at all, you know you need to work on it. You’ll know you have it right when people ask you to tell them more about what you do.
Improving Your Marketing
When I first started my business, I didn’t know how to market my work because I didn’t know how to describe what I did.
Neither did I know how to price my work because I didn’t know what value it offered. Once I had my business owner title in place, knew the people that needed what I had to offer, and was able to craft my pitch statement—suddenly marketing became easier.
I could explain what I did and what that was worth in dollars and cents to the people I wanted to serve. It was short and easy-to-digest but memorable because it was unique.
My confidence increased and because my marketing statement was keyed to my market, the responses I received improved.
Share Your Pitch
Don’t let this be just another article you’ve read. Put what you’ve learned into action.To achieve massive results you must take massive action. Click To Tweet
You won’t know how good you are until you put yourself out there!
What business owner title do you give yourself? And what is your pitch statement? Share in the comments and we’ll give you feedback!
Updated by Lexi Rodrigo on March 31, 2018.
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