Do You Have Slash Syndrome?
Writer / Free Thinker / Artist / Dog Lover / Visionary / Photographer / Everything but the kitchen sink
You know these people. Maybe you’re one yourself. I know I was.
They can’t pin themselves down to one title so they slash the heck of everything they are.
Human - slash - Thought Leader - slash - Aspiring Robot - slash - Fuzzy-sock wearer
They don’t do anything well enough to make it a business.
They go wide and not deep.
Slash Syndrome is the inability to excel in and advertise yourself as a single business that specializes in one thing.
Slash Syndrome effects us all.
We are multi-talented beings and it seems wrong to pigeonhole ourselves into a single talent. And while I’m a decent singer, eat vegan food and have a great sense of style, none of those things are relevant to my business. Advertising that I also do personal shopping would confuse clients and water down my message.
I’m guilty of having Slash Syndrome in the past. I thought by giving myself all these titles like Entrepreneur and Web Designer I would seem better or more important. But it has the opposite effect. It confuses people. Plus, I looked ridiculous.
It’s up to you to choose the one thing that you want to sell and only market that.
When you say you do 10 jobs, it makes me question your competency at all of them. Not to mention, it’s hard to remember. No matter what you think, no one spends the time memorizing all of your skills. Either you are different enough to be remembered, or you are not.
How do you create a memorable tag line?
On LinkedIn, stay away from titles like “Illustrator” or “Developer”. Instead, write a sentence about how you help.
It provides context, is different and holds someone’s attention.
- “I build your online business so you can travel the world " <--- that's mine!
- “I fill your empty yoga studio with students”
- “Imagine knowing EXACTLY how profitable you are”
Stay away from abstract titles that sound fancy and vague like “Change Maker” or “Making You Awesome”.
If you are going to make up a title, like Concept Concierge™, make sure it is self-explanatory.
And don’t get me started on “Thought Leader”. If you label yourself a thought leader, it’s probably because you’re obsessed with being viewed as a leader instead of actually being one. Focus on the tangible benefits clients get from working with you. If your ideas are that revolutionary then people will naturally follow along.
If you have your own solo business, you are an entrepreneur. It goes without saying, so no need to add “Entrepreneur” to your title. Everyone calls themselves an “Entrepreneur” these days, it doesn’t mean they are.
The guy with just a business card that has a @gmail.com email and social icons begging you to “Follow me!” is less of an entrepreneur than a sophisticated solopreneur turned Tycoon who has a brand complete with a website, business cards, stand-out LinkedIn profile and unmistakable packaged services.
Exception to this rule: if you need to be found by your title on LinkedIn because you get clients who search for a service, using your literal title like “Freelance Marketing Consultant” then keep it. It makes sense... for now. As soon as you craft your five star business you should change it. Because do you know how many people have that exact title? Over 300,000. Trying to make an impression with that headline is a doomed mission.
Does recovering from Slash Syndrome mean you should only be good at one thing?
Absolutely not. You should pursue areas of interest and hobbies with the vigor of a child. It will help you in your business and keep you sane.
The reason why you should stick with one thing in business is so your audience doesn’t get confused. One thing doesn’t mean one skill. I took conceptualizing, web design, copywriting and technical acumen and packaged it into my business of building online service businesses for sophisticated solopreneurs.
I’m not just a web designer or just a business strategist. I’m a Concept Concierge™. I’m the girl who builds your business from A to Z so you can take on clients immediately.
I still like to karaoke, read business books and doodle. I still excel at personal styling. I have earned a PhD in beach-going. I can tell you every vegan brand of skincare at Target and which celebrities are cruelty-free.
One of my talents isn’t more important than another- but some of them are more profitable. This is why I’m a Concept Concierge, and not a Clean Beauty Concierge.
So if you have the skills to juggle 3 puppies and market pet products, you are going to sell yourself as a pet product marketer and save your juggling for the next party you’re invited to. It doesn’t diminish your juggling capabilities, but it does make you memorable and easy to understand.
I can’t scroll 2 seconds on LinkedIn without seeing someone exhibiting Slash Syndrome. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to ask them “Are you good at anything?!”
Offering every service under the sun indicates you’re not good at any of it.
I just can’t take a yoga instructor / life coach / lawyer seriously. Do they teach yoga to their stressed out clients while they coach them and handle their divorce?
If you have multiple profitable skills that can’t be combined into a single business, give each idea the time and space to flourish or fail. It’s difficult to truly evaluate the progress of an idea unless it is your only focus. It deserves your full attention, because being a little bit of this and a little bit of that doesn’t further along anything. You’re just spinning your wheels and doing tricks for the "Freelance Circus".
Pick one five star business idea and give it your all for a few months. Phrase it in a memorable way and you will be remembered.
Keeping it relevant isn’t just good marketing, it’s good business. That’s how you become known for one thing and earn the respect of your peers and customers.
So slash your Slash Syndrome and join the elite with the power of ONE.