Profile PicturePhilip Morgan

The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants

Philip Morgan

Specialize without fear; increase visibility, momentum, impact, and profit

Learn how to:

  • Choose the right beachhead for your business
  • Minimize the risk of specializing
  • Choose which of the 5 ways of specialization best fits your business
  • Earn more visibility and trust for your specialized business

Specialization is challenging because it's mysterious

Everybody says you should specialize, but the decision feels like guessing, or it feels risky. You can see the benefits for others (their value proposition is so clear!), but can’t see how to get your business there.

  • If you want to understand how specialization works before diving in
  • If you benefit from a systematic approach
  • If you don’t know how to choose a specialization
  • If you don’t know what to do once you’ve specialized…

...then The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants is for you.

Specializing your indie consulting business has obvious benefits (visibility, momentum, impact, and profit) and non-obvious obstacles (fear, ineffective approach to deciding). This book uses a systematic approach to help you navigate those obstacles.

In guiding hundreds of business owners through this process of specializing, I’ve observed 3 patterns that describe how they make the decision. We tend to do one of the following:

  1. Leverage a head start.
  2. Pursue an interest in serving a particular kind of business or solving a particular kind of problem.
  3. Pursue an entrepreneurial thesis.

A head start is some relative advantage that you possess. Building on an advantage is a specialization accelerant and a risk reducer.

Head starts generally take the form of one or more of these advantages:

  • A significant depth or quality of access, or large number of connections, to a target market.
  • A significant amount of credibility in a market vertical or within a certain audience.
  • A significant depth of expertise in some area.
  • A significant depth of insight into a target market’s needs or business realities.
  • A significant ability to earn trust from prospects or clients.

You can specialize without any particular head start, but if you ignore a significant head start, you’re making more work for yourself. You might decide to do this for good reasons, but understand what you’re giving up by ignoring that head start.

In The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants, you’ll learn:

  • What marketing actually is (for indie consultants, not product companies)
  • How specialization and positioning relate to marketing
  • The benefits and the risks of specializing in a platform
  • What marketing infrastructure helps you earn new visibility
  • The way fundamental marketing labor relates to specialization
  • How to choose the right beachhead for your business
  • How to navigate the risk of specializing
  • The tradeoffs in the 5 ways of specializing
  • The valuable opportunity that being bad at marketing presents

The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants can be read in a weekend, or a few hours if you power through it. Illustrated with visualizations of the important concepts and models introduced through the book's readable, friendly text, this book helps you become your own "positioning consultant" and make the critical strategy decision that unlocks a more successful version of your business.

Your best clients lie ahead of you. You don't need to be smarter, more extroverted, or more confident. You need to make one simple-but-challenging decision about how exactly to focus your business. The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants is the best tool to help you make this decision and find your best clients.

What this book is not:

A "one weird trick" book. Specialization is simply deciding to focus your business in a way that makes your expertise more valuable to clients. This book will help you make a great specialization decision, but it can't make that decision for you. Your courage and insight into your market's needs are what's required of you; this book amplifies your courage and insight by helping you think about specializing in a strategic way.

A book that uses a fake formal tone. I wrote this book to sound like a real person speaking, not like a professor or arrogant knowitall. The book also won't waste your time with irrelevant case studies or dumb stories. It's casual but concise.

Over-promising marketing BS. Specialization is powerful, but it's not a miracle. It's a force multiplier, but you still have to supply the force that specialization multiplies. Totally ordinary people can do this!

A "business card book" I want you to read this book and get everything you need to successfully specialize without outside help. This book is not a thinly-disguised sales pitch for my services.

When you buy The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants via Gumroad, you'll get DRM-free MOBI, EPUB, and PDF versions of the book, an occasional email asking you to review it on (with fun landscape photographs of Taos, NM attached), and the eternal flame of the author's appreciation for your support of his work.

"There are many folks who believe they understand positioning, and then there's a smaller number who actually do. And then there's Philip. He's not going to just pronounce the answer to your question about business strategy, but help you do the work and test the hypotheses so that you learn during that process. Philip is the master of meaningful exploration, but once you've landed on the right choice for yourself, you'll keep leaning on those same habits--developed during the process--to be a better advisor to your clients. Your rate of learning will increase exponentially, because Philip is an absolute positioning expert. It's not as if the fog will lift suddenly when you absorb this book; it's more about teaching yourself how the fog lifts, and you keep seeing things more and more clearly in your practice."

- David C. Baker, Author of "The Business of Expertise"

"I've bought your book "The positioning manual for indie consultant" and, even if I'm not a consultant (but a software developer), I want to become one. That's the best resource I've ever seen on the subject, without fluff and straight to the point. Nice work! My hope is to go straight in a specialty without being the generalist-freelancer-coding-machine-without-impact (did that for too long as an employee)." 
- Matthieu Cneude

"I wish I'd written this book."
-Blair Enns, Author of "The Win Without Pitching Manifesto"

"I greatly enjoyed reading the book and also shared the book summary with our team at Varasi. We are a boutique consultancy and not the Indie consultant that the book targets. The book though, speaks to all those of us who believe in the power of focus and positioning ; and in developing and communicating unique points of view.

The thesis of the book:

1. Marketing is earning visibility and trust for your service offerings, business, or thinking
2. Without specialization, getting better at earning visibility and trust is an excessively difficult, unfocused slog.

Philip comes across to me as some one who has thought through deeply the systematic approaches to earning trust. This is a book that is a distillation of practical lessons, learnt through experimentation and deep analysis. Better still, the author shares his methods he used that led him to the conclusions he makes. And prescribes his own methods as an ‘apprenticeship in service of your future value as an expert’.

Well done !"
- Ramana Metlapalli

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The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants