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From the perspective of someone who needs to put food on the table, the idea of telling a prospect "no I can't do that" is scary as hell.
Especially when the request is something you can figure out how to deliver.
Why would any sane person turn down work?
To explain, let me tell you a story one of my client's relayed to me about why he chose me over a number of other consultants.
Here's what he said:
"I've met with half a dozen consultants over the past few months and not a single one of them ever told me 'no'. They all promised they could deliver everything I asked for -- website, copy, design, traffic, conversion, strategy -- I got the feeling most would have given me a massage if I asked. You were the only one who drew a line in the sand and said 'this is what I specialise in, this is what I can do for you, and these are the pieces you'll need to get elsewhere'. It was a refreshing change and gave me confidence you would deliver."
He went on to say how the biggest challenge he has in hiring consultants is finding people who can actually deliver what they promise.
And is it any wonder?
When you're offering such a wide range of services and taking on projects covering this much scope it only takes one or two things to go slightly off track and the whole project gets derailed.
For example, the project I worked on with this client the collateral we ended up with included:
Over 100 pages of market research data.
New branding including designs, slogans, and market focus.
A website with 20+ pages of content.
60+ high quality authority-building articles.
5 face-to-camera videos.
2 landing pages.
A four-stage sales funnel combining 8 different Active Campaign automations with over a dozen emails, multiple phone scripts, and internal processes.
Plus Facebook, Adwords, and local search campaigns.
Few agencies are world-class at all of these things. Fewer individuals are competent at even half of them.
So why do so many people try selling projects like this to prospective clients?
Sure the initial fees are nice, but the stress and headaches that go along with these complex projects are rarely worth it. And it's notoriously difficult to deliver on all of the promises. In the long run you're almost always better off working on a larger number of simpler projects.
In this case we had four different agencies / freelancers working on this project.
I positioned myself as the lead agency and got the lions share of the upside while doing 20% of the workload and dealing with none of the headaches.
Know what you're good at.
Niche until it hurts.
Then draw a line in the sand.