Candy store syndrome

If you checked out my latest video (above), you know I have an exciting new client. He’s a solopreneur who’s developed a legal information website that’s drillable down to the zip code. This man is both a crack web coder and an attorney. His product is quality, and it’s been around for over ten years so its long-tail SEO is to-die-for.

I’ve been in deep conversation with him, acting as a sounding board as he sorts out his growth goals and priorities. Essentially, he’s trying to figure out where he should start on the path from Lone Ranger to town sheriff.  I’ve been brought in to oversee the content, but as our conversations have grown broader, so has his interest in having me work on other areas of his business - areas outside my normal service offering. We’ve been talking about strategic planning, setting up a sales organization, process standardization, managing contractors and other stuff.

Sure it's outside my normal service offering. What’s the problem?

I want to do this. It’s what I used to do, and I was good at it, both in my own businesses and as a contract executive. But when I started my practice, I made a commitment to focus on helping micro-clients. This is not that. This website has hundreds of thousands of visitors every month, the revenue stream is indirect but healthy and the playing field is huge. He’s still a solopreneur, but not for long.

It’s working really well for me right now to provide three things in my service offering – content creation and management focused on quality and SEO love, simple websites and day-to-day marketing services. The first I can do for any organization of any size – and I do. After that, my current service offer is truly tailored to small operators, by design.

Here’s my fear. If I dedicate myself to any of these other areas with one client, I’ll be well outside my normal wheelhouse and spending time and energy on opportunity discovery, competitive analysis, managing people and processes – and I’m sure 20 other things that I would love as much as the ones I just mentioned.

Distraction or dream come true?

I’ve got awesome clients and enough space in my life for passion projects with and my bees. Mostly, I can check out when I shut the lid to my laptop. But I also find growth alluring. Is this the precipice? Has this opportunity been sent my way to help me understand what I really want and need? Or would taking on this particular assignment end up distracting me to the detriment of my current clients?

Plus, the biggest question: how much of my uncertainty is based on true self-understanding and how much on fear of failure?

I need to decide soon, even if it’s an interim choice. How do I parse this out? Do I start by evaluating my overall service offer? Or perhaps this process begins with, as has been suggested, giving it a try with a monthly retainer that includes more hours than needed for content and seeing where it goes. Am I overthinking this?

What have you done when confronted with something similar? How did it work out? How would you do it next time? Those are my questions, what are yours?


Cowgirl in Paradise is supported by National Business Furniture, a company that has lots to offer small businesses of all shapes and sizes. The change of seasons has me thinking organization, so I’ve been eying up all kinds of storage solutions, from cabinets to credenzas.


Reader Interactions

No trolls, please.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.