1 Month After Action Report


I burnt the midnight oil trying to work this fishing line. 

I want to share how the last month went, keeping my nose down. One of the cool overarching themes on this blog is I want to share with others what building a business can be like, good or bad.

The After Action Report in numbers:

  • 20 people entered top of funnel (prospectus)
  • 6 people reached out
  • 4 clients began feasibility studies
  • 3 clients showed favorable interest, were sent proposals
  • 1 repeat client gained (thus far)



I decided that I needed to specialize. Why? I can’t compete with wide scope businesses.  I just can’t.  Don’t have the capacity, the skillset.  I will lose every time.

Let’s draw on a force chart example image from Wikipedia:

Assume the graph represents marketable skill sets.

I used to market my skills as a “Web Developer”

In fact I am a “Web Developer” but the category itself is too broad.  I was confusing clients.  I was fishing without anything on the hook.

Now I I’ve chosen my first (and perhaps only) specialization. D3 visualizations.

See, marketing “D3 Visualizations” is a much more narrow focus.  Here’s what it does.

  • Customers have already done some research and are more likely to commit with dollars
  • It’s far easier for me to keep up and improve skills in a small, narrow focus.
  • Customers are likely to pay for these services. This is a direct correlation to you getting better, becoming the authority in times of trouble, Earl Nightingale‘s “The man on the white horse”

As I get better, people will start to consult me, not just hire me.

As Walt Kania puts it on his blog about Freelancing, it is “Better to be the indispensable genius. The only one who can can untangle this knot, or make this particular frog sing”

He goes to describe having a narrow focus quite eloquently:

This freelance thing screams to be practiced narrow and deep

Narrow meaning you stake out your private territory, even if it’s the size of a beach towel, and then own it. You’re not trying to cover all bases, appeal to everyone, do everything. You have your thing.

And deep meaning you dig into your patch of turf until you hit bedrock. Then no generalist can uproot you. You become the best in the hemisphere at what you do. You know more, and do it happier, faster and more elegantly than any freelancer trying to be a twelve-bladed Swiss army knife.

The better you get at a specialization, the easier time you will have.

I’ve just started that journey.

The After Action Report in I’ve learned

  • Freelancing websites like Fiverr.com and Upwork.com take a huge chunk of your hard earned pay.
  • It seems customers cast a net to see who responds most favorably (first, cheapest, most experience).
  • I am spending far too much time on projects, making far too little money.

Adjustments I am making or need to make

  • I need to continue to add even more specialized offerings and improve my conversion rates.
  • I need to organize my administration of these projects (streamline proposals, extract ‘add ons’)
  • I need to take advantage of in site marketing

In short, it doesn’t feel successful, but zooming out, this has been a good first month.

I’ve got to keep at it.  I am just starting to push the snowball.

from Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96208357@N00/108781220


If you have any comments or questions Let me know!

If you’ve experienced this and would like to share, feel free to comment or drop me a line.