Uncovering Your Strengths and Applying Them to Your Business

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, once posted in his blog about the power of combining two strengths or passions into a new job description.

His idea was that there are lots of people who do public relations, copywriting, marketing consulting — you name it — and who do it well. But if you’re good at one of those things and you combine it with something else you’re passionate or knowledgeable about, like event planning, social media, or the healthcare industry, suddenly you have a skill set that way fewer people share. It sets you apart.

Really he’s talking about defining a niche, but in a slightly different way. He looks at combining your strengths into a unique job description or a Mission Statement.

When it comes to succeeding as a freelance professional, understanding your strengths is critically important. Knowing your weaknesses plays a big role, too.

But nearly everybody has a blind spot when it comes to defining their strengths and weaknesses. You might be aware of some, but totally oblivious to others.

So, your first step before you can really figure out your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) as a web writer is to get a good handle on your own strengths.

But how to do you do that?

Three Ways to Identify Your Strengths

Like I said, people have blind spots about their strengths. Sometimes you may think you’re really good at something, when in reality, you struggle with it. Other times, you’re amazing at something and don’t even know it.

So, with that in mind, you can use these three strategies to get an objective (somewhat) idea of your true strengths as a web writer.

First, note what comes easily. During the next week, whenever you find yourself losing track of time while you’re working because you’re just in the zone — that amazing place where everything is easy and the work you’re doing is brilliant — take note of the type of work you’re doing and the subject matter. Keep a running list and record multiples. If you have three times during the week where you’re working on leads and this happens, add “working on leads” to your list three times.

As normal, well-adjusted human beings, we tend to overlook what comes easily to us. We think it must come easily to everyone. That’s not the case. When something comes as naturally to you as breathing, chances are, it’s a strength.

Next, pay attention to your distractions. When you’re doing research for an article on the latest and greatest social media networking strategies and 15 minutes later, you realize you’re reading an article on parenting tips for toddlers, take note. Again, during this week, make a list. What pulls you away from the task at hand without you really realizing that you’re losing your focus? You may discover a passion or two that you hadn’t really acknowledged, and a passion can be turned into a strength in short order. It’s easy to become an expert on a topic you love.

Finally, ask your clients, your colleagues, and your friends. Do a poll on your strengths among the people you work with and who are closest to you. Find out what your clients like best about working with you. Ask your colleagues — fellow web writers or people you’ve worked with in the past — what they think your most valuable skills are. Ask your friends what they picture you doing as a career if you could do anything at all. You’ll find out that people have some very different ideas of your strengths than you do … and since they speak from experience with you, they are probably right.

Putting It All Together

At this point, it’s time to review all the information you’ve gathered. Everything on your lists is a potential strength. The next step is to think about ways you can leverage what you’ve learned and use it to help you succeed in bigger ways as a web writer. You can use this information in several ways.

In Your Marketing: Take what you’ve learned and use it to redefine your Mission Statement and to rewrite the About Me page on your website. Update your LinkedIn profile. Freshen your promotional materials.

To Establish an Ideal Client: Based on what you’ve learned, it may be clear that you’ll enjoy working in some industries more than others. Marketing yourself to a niche sets you up to work with more of your ideal clients and to set higher fees.

To Outsource: You may discover that you have a clear penchant for certain aspects of your work and less so for others. Based on that, you might consider hiring a Virtual Assistant and outsourcing some of your least-favorite tasks. This frees up your time to focus on the things you find most satisfying — and can often increase your average hourly earnings.

To Specialize: Once you realize your strengths in terms of an industry or a specialty, you can begin putting some focus into sharpening your knowledge and skills in that area, knowing that the return on your investment will be more satisfaction with what you’re doing and the ability to charge higher fees.

A Word About Weaknesses

During this process, you’ll also find areas that you struggle in. It’s important to evaluate these, too.

Weaknesses typically fall into two categories:

Those That Matter: These provide you a huge opportunity. When you improve an important weakness — like your level of responsiveness with your clients — you stand to gain a lot in terms of success. So note these and make a plan to work on them.

Those That Don’t: If you’re always late on your billing because you hate creating invoices, this isn’t something that you need to invest a lot of time on improving. Instead, look for alternatives … like working with a Virtual Assistant.

Evaluating your strengths and weaknesses with your eyes wide open can reveal new opportunities for you to build even more success and satisfaction into your business.

This article, Uncover Your Strengths and Use Them to Grow Your Business, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

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Published: July 31, 2013

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