You’re an entrepreneur. A business owner.
For some of us, that’s an exhilarating feeling. Firing up our Mac in the morning makes us come ALIVE: We’ve found our core, our purpose, and happily serve our 1 square inch of the market.
For others, leaving the safe waters of business as usual to explore the wild open sea of purpose and possibility is scarier than a visit to the dentist when you KNOW it’ll be the drill for you today.
What Penguins and Your Freelance Business Have in Common:
Technically speaking, penguins could be seen as “generalists” as far as habitat goes. They live on land and in the water. But have you ever seen a penguin on land? Sure, they’re super cute in their little tuxedo suits. But have you watched them try to get around? They waddle. They do eventually get where they’re going, but it’s So. Much. Work.
These dedicated little guys struggle to get from their hunting grounds to their colony, struggle to breed successfully, struggle to raise their young on meals they’ve carried for HUNDREDS of miles of hard-core terrain, struggle to keep their chicks fed and safe from arctic winters or the African sun, struggle to climb cliffs and cross snow and icy plains to wander between family and ocean. They sit out blizzards, with their heads tucked in, losing half their body weight while, balanced on their feet and warmed by their plush tummy, their egg grows into a new penguin.
Have you ever seen the incredible transformation when a penguin dives into the ocean? The waddly, tuxedo-suited little cutie is suddenly sleek. Streamlined. Fast. The star of the show.
This is very clearly the penguin’s element, their intended habitat.
They outdive seals, they outmaneuver orcas (any parallels to translation agencies and bottom feeders are purely coincidental).
Biz “generalists” without a niche or too broad a niche know a thing or two about waddling.
Enough clients to get by, but the ones that feel like a good fit are few and far between.
Working for clients where a job is just a job, you’re like a penguin on land. You do the work. You get through the projects, and you get paid. You pay your dues. You find yourself checking your progress on that mind-numbing 6,000-word file every 20 minutes, wondering when it’s finally going to be over. And the next project. And the next.
And then one of them rare gems crosses your path — a client who’s a perfect fit.
Working with them makes you come ALIVE.
You work week seems shorter. Hours fly by. Interaction with the client is a joy for both sides. You create a win-win situation.
They love your work and the value you bring to their table. You love working with them and enjoy pampering them, your expertise and passion add value to the project at hand. Everything just clicks. You’re gliding.
Perfect. Business. Bliss.
This is how you go 1 inch wide, 1 mile deep, how you turn your purpose into piles of value you bring to the world and a healthy bottom line for you:
Find the smallest viable audience to cater to.
Perfect your craft to serve them to the max of your abilities.
Assemble key skills to attract your dream clients.
Prune your client list.
Grow up your business, step by step, until every day, every project, feels like the perfect underwater-glide of a penguin.
What’s YOUR 1 square inch?

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