I’ve decided to get clear about what I do.
For years, the unofficial feedback I get from people is, “I’m not entirely sure what it is you do, Caelan – but I know it has something to do with computers!”
I’ve heard this so many times, so consistently over the years, it’s been disheartening. For a while, I tried to solve this by getting more descriptive about my work.
I would explain the mechanics of sales funnels, or describe some of the media management I do for my clients, but it just confuses things.
So I’ve decided to retract my answer to the ‘what do you do?’ question to my areas of strongest mastery:
I’m a WordPress website designer.
Most times, that is what people hire me for, after all – making beautiful websites.
I also happen to really like making sales funnels, and I have the skills to assemble all the platforms and pieces required to monitor and optimize the digital progression that people go through from stranger into customer.
But introducing myself that way doesn’t work, for two reasons: first, people don’t get it; second, I haven’t yet logged my 10,000 hours in that specialized field. I also do work on designing education portals, and creating online courses, and segment-defining parallel intake funnels, because I really like doing it, and I’m building up to my 10,000 hours of mastery as a digital marketer.
Branding myself as a digital marketer, though, it hasn’t gotten me any traction yet.
When I went to a networking event recently, I introduced myself as a WordPress website designer, and there was no confusion. People knew what I did, immediately, and wanted to know more specifics.
I’ve been leading with specifics, instead of leading with my general field of mastery, and I think this has been my mistake.
Over the past two years, I’ve been pivoting, pivoting, pivoting my brands, to get to greater clarity and simplicity. As I’ve done so, I’ve been surprised to notice what is being stripped away, and what has happened to stick around.
Like many scanners / multiplexers / multipotentialites, I don’t have a single field of mastery, because I’m always studying and learning something new.
One of my favorite ex-clients said this to me last week:
“You don’t ever see your superpower, because you think just anyone can do it. But they can’t. You’re a writer and a WordPress designer, and that’s really rare.”
This gave me a newfound appreciation for my own overlap of skills, and got me thinking of catchy new job titles – visual storyteller, blogging expert, content designer – but then I’m reminded what one of my old copywriting teachers told me, handing down an entire lesson in a phrase – “Clarity trumps cleverness.”
I’ve seen this proven, time and time again, in subject line analytics. The slightly complicated, elegantly clever phrase, it just doesn’t get clicked nearly as much as the clear, concise sentence fragment.
Most times, people hire me for my skills as a WordPress website designer. My additional skills of copywriting, sales strategy, and curriculum development are bells and whistles that make me more appealing, but they are not my area of maximum impact. The professional function that I most strongly fulfill, and the area where I have the most profitable expertise, is in WordPress web design.
So today, I’m prancing around to all of my social profiles and changing my bio and taglines to reflect this new clarity of profession.
I’m a WordPress website designer. I’m also a writer, and a digital marketer, and I run my own agency – but that’s all secondary. When people ask me, ‘What do you do?’ I now reply with ‘web designer,’ and everyone gets it.