Definitions of terms for solo consultants, experienced freelancers, and professionals selling services.

“They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it’s not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.” — Terry Pratchett

The following glossary is meant to be understood in the context of my coaching program and may not necessarily represent the global definition of these terms in the strictest sense.

Since this document is directed specifically at students, I have used the words “you” and “yours” for clarity in places where I felt the concepts might be too abstract. In virtually all cases, these pronouns can be considered synonymous with “seller” or “vendor.”

NOTE: This is a living document; more links and definitions to come. Thank you to for sharing the initial version of this updated glossary. Jonathan is one of the best consultants and educators I know.



About Page  #

The page that shares your personal brand with people reading your website. This should highlight your background, your experience, and what drew you to your work in this industry. Include:

  • Your personal story
  • Why you work in this industry
  • Your photo
  • Links to interviews you’ve given
  • Contact information

Artifact #

A value-packed piece of content (comment, post, article, deliverable) written in answer to a question posed by someone, often in a Watering Hole. The goals of an Artifact are:

  • Increase your Marketing Surface Area
  • Direct readers to your website
  • Increase your authority
  • Attract prospects
  • Build pre-sale trust with Buyers within your Target Market.

Artifacts are typically shared on Third Party Sites as comments or guest articles. Care must be taken not to appear spammy or self-serving, while also demonstrating your knowledge and providing a path from the Artifact back to your website.

Artifacts can also be specific pages on your site that rank well for specific keywords due to Search Engine Optimization.

Audience #

The people in your target market who are listening to you. (Or: The people who are listening to you who are in your target market).

This is made up of audiences that you have access to and audiences that you own:

  • Facebook fans
  • Twitter followers
  • Email subscribers
  • Webinar attendees
  • Relationships with other people in your market

Authority  #

Your “Two Pounds of Proof” as made up of:

  • Your previous experience
  • Your Artifacts
  • Your published content and materials (like Guest Posts and Podcast Interviews)

Your authority is also the perception that your audience has of you as someone who can offer insight to them based on your expertise.

Benefit #

The positive outcome gained by the client from your product or service. See: Expensive Problem, Outcome, Return On Investment, Value.

Beta Service  #

A new service that you provide for free to a small number (1-3, but perhaps more -Editor) of test clients in exchange for feedback on the service and pricing and testimonials or case studies. See: Testimonial.

Buyer  #

The person who is paying you money for your product or service. Maybe different than the person using your product or service See: End User.

Synonymous with Client in the context of theoretical pricing discussions (e.g., “Value minus Price equals the Buyer’s Profit”).

Synonymous with Economic Buyer in the context of sales and marketing discussions (e.g., “What conference do your buyers attend every year?”).

Call To Action #

A request for someone to take action. Typically used in the context of a button or link of a web page, sales page, in an email message, or an ad. (e.g., “like my Facebook page,” “join my mailing list,” “schedule a call,” “buy my book,” etc.).

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Case Study  #

See: Testimonial

Charm Pricing  #

Psychological pricing based on the theory that prices have a psychological impact. Retail prices are expressed as “odd prices”: a little less than a round number, e.g., $19.99 or £2.98.

In practice, this works best for no- and low-touch offerings in the two- and three-figure range. Low four-figure prices can be okay depending on the context, but once you get to high-touch premium services in the five- or six-figure price range, they’re probably insulting to the buyer.

See: Price Ranges.

Client  #

A business or person who pays you for services. Often conflated with Customer. Sometimes used synonymously with Buyer. See Sales Funnel for more info.

Competitive Advantage  #

Your Competitive Advantage is information or experience that you have in a particular niche or target market that gives you a competitive advantage.

  • Multiple projects in a specific market
  • Time spent working in a market
  • Time spent studying a market
  • Time spent engaging with the market as a vendor/employee/hobbyist

Any advantage (information, experience) that gives you a competitive (‘unfair’) advantage in your ability to reach and speak to a market.

Conceptual Agreement  #

The goal of a value conversation is to reach a conceptual agreement, whereby you and your prospect come to an explicit and mutual understanding of the underlying factors behind their decision to seek your services. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Motivation
  • Desired Outcomes
  • Progress Metrics for the engagement.

This term was coined by Alan Weiss.

Conversations With Customers  #

The single most valuable activity you can be engaging. If you’re suffering from decision paralysis in your business, Conversations With Customers is incredibly valuable to understand what step to take.

Spend more time talking with your customers.

See: Market Research

Conversion  #

An executed call to action. Typically used in the context of someone opting in to an email list, visiting a page, or making a purchase.

ConvertKit  #

Email marketing automation software.,

Cost  #

The least amount of money a seller will accept for a product or service.

CTA  #

See: Call To Action.

Customer  #

A person or business who has purchased one of your products. Often conflated with Client.

Decision Maker  #

The person who decides whether or not they want to hire you. Preferably the same person as the economic buyer.

Example: The Chief Marketing Officer is the decision maker (deciding to hire you) but they need to get budgetary approval from the Chief Executive Officer who is the Economic Buyer.

Deliverable  #

Materials or artifacts prepared by you as part of the engagement. These are often supporting documents that help provide direction or clarity for the client and, as such, may have a very high Emotional Value to the client.

Deliverables are your smarts applied to a particular question or in search of a specific solution. They should be carefully negotiated. Focus on selling only high value, profitable deliverables.

Demographic Market  #

A market segment defined by personal attributes or beliefs of an individual (e.g., soccer moms, Asian Americans, billionaire philanthropists, migraine sufferers, atheists, etc.).

A Demographic Market is a market defined by want and need. These are people googling for “How do I stop a migraine?!” at 3 am in the morning.

Picking a Demographic Market as your Target Market or Niche has challenges. Demographic markets can be more challenging to reach with your marketing.

Demographic Specialization  #

Niching Down Your Marketing on a specific Demographic Market.

Desired Outcome  #

See: Objective.

Diagnosis  #

Assessment of a business’s current situation, underlying goals, and desired outcomes.

Perform a diagnosis before prescribing a course of action.

Professionals have a moral obligation to do a diagnosis prior to prescribing action. Failure to do so would be considered incompetent.

A diagnosis most commonly takes the form of a Roadmapping Sessions

See: Self-Diagnosis.

Discipline  #

What you do.

Your craft, specialty, or job title.


  • Web Developer
  • Web Designer
  • Copywriter
  • SEO Marketer

Drip  #

Email marketing automation software.,

Economic Buyer  #

The person who controls the money in the client organization.

Preferably (but not necessarily) the same person as the decision maker.

Example: The Chief Marketing Officer is the decision maker (deciding to hire you) but they need to get budgetary approval from the Chief Executive Officer who is the Economic Buyer.

Effective Hourly Rate  #

The dollar amount obtained by dividing a fixed bid price by the number of hours worked.

EHR  #

See: Effective Hourly Rate

Emotional Value  #

The non-monetary sources of value of a project to a client. The value of a project is the sum of the monetary value and emotional value of a project.

Emotional Value is often squishy and doesn’t have an exact number associated with it.

Engagement  #

Can be used two ways:

  1. As a synonym for a project or other collaboration between you and your client, or
  2. as a measure of audience interaction (e.g., “my audience is much more engaged now that I’m spending more time on my Facebook page”)

Expensive Problem  #

A painful issue that a business is experiencing and aware of. Potentially the answer an owner would give to a question like, “What keeps you up at night?”

This is determined through Market Research and Conversations With Customers.

Fixed Bid  #

A pricing model in which the sellers (i.e., you) provide a single, specific price for an entire project.

Typically, this price is based on the seller’s costs (e.g., time and materials). Can also be combined with Value Anchoring for a price that isn’t based on seller’s costs.

Compare to Hourly Billing, Week Sprints, and Value Pricing.

Funnel  #

See: Sales Funnel.

Gatekeeper  #

A person who blocks your access to the Economic Buyer. Often an administrative or executive assistant who has been hired to protect the Economic Buyer from being pestered.

Treat all gatekeepers with respect.

Avoid gatekeepers by calling the Economic Buyer outside of normal business hours or contacting them in a nonstandard way (See: Lumpy Mail).

Generalist  #

A person who markets themselves as capable of doing many different types of work for many different types of clients (aka “Jack of all Trades”).

Contrast with Specialist and Consultant.

Growth  #

Increasing profits.

It’s important to point out that many things are mistaken for growth:

  • Hiring more employees
  • Increasing gross revenue
  • Capturing more market share

And so on.

These are growth tactics, and may lead to growth, but could just as easily lead to decay.

Here’s a fitness analogy via Jonathan Stark:

Regular weightlifting will probably lead to muscle growth but it is not synonymous with muscle growth.

A number of factors could prevent weightlifting from resulting in muscle growth.

When your bicep is bigger today than it was yesterday, that is growth.

See: Outcome

High-Touch  #

A sales process or service delivery that requires a lot of direct attention and time from you (i.e., the seller).

Typical with custom projects or proposals. See: Products, which require the minimum of direct attention and time from you.

Home Page  #

The top-level, front page of your website hierarchy. Not necessarily a landing page or sales page, but should be.

Horizontal Specialization  #

Niching Down on a skill, tool, or platform that can be applied to a very broad range of client types. e.g., responsive web design, iOS development, MySQL administration. See: Platform Specialization.

Hourly Billing  #

The practice of charging clients by the hour for your services.

In the context of a consulting project, the process typically goes like this:

  • You provide the client with an estimate that includes your hourly rate and the number of hours you expect it to take to complete the work.
  • The client approves the estimate, and you begin working.
  • You track your hours as you do the work and invoice the client in arrears on a periodic basis (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).

Compare to Daily Billing, Fixed Bid, and Value Pricing.

Inbound Marketing  #

Engaging in activities that will attract leads at the start and then ongoing, in a passive manner.

  • Guest blogging
  • Appearing on podcasts
  • Speaking at conferences

The desired outcome of inbound marketing is to encourage prospective clients to reach out to you (i.e., the opposite of Outbound Marketing).

See: Marketing, Outbound Marketing.

Independent Business (Independent Consultant, Independent Consulting Business)  #

A consulting business operated by a principal who is also the owner. Occasionally (or often, depending) aided by a small (~1-3 person) support staff.

Different from ‘Agency,’ as that has a larger support staff and additional contractors/employees filling ‘more than support’ roles.

Different from ‘Info Product Business,’ as that is focused on the sale of informational / educational products, not consulting services (though the businesses can look very similar from the outside).

Initial Service Offering  #

The first offering in your product/service ladder that a new customer purchases.

For services, this is typically a type of roadmapping offering as an ISO.

JFS  #

Acronym for “Just Fucking Ship” by Amy Hoy.,

Landing Page  #

A standalone web page distinct from your main website that has been designed for a single focused objective with a clear Call To Action.

Your landing page should have no navigation or other distractions. This is to limit the options available to your visitors, helping to guide them toward your intended conversion goal.

Landing Pages are often used for Sales Pages.

Laser-Focused Positioning Statement (LFPS)  #

A two sentence message that tells people what your business is, how they will benefit from it, and how it is different than others.

It is typically not used verbatim in marketing materials, but rather as a guide for crafting various types of messaging (e.g., marketing tagline, slogan, slack answer, etc.).

An LFPS takes the following form:

I’m a [DISCIPLINE] who helps [TARGET MARKET] with [EXPENSIVE PROBLEM]. Unlike my competitors, [UNIQUE DIFFERENCE].

NOTE: This LFPS was heavily inspired by the lovely and talented Dan Janal: Fool-Proof Positioning Statement.

See: Marketing Tagline, Slack Answer.

Lead  #

A person who is in your Target Market but has not been qualified yet as a Prospect. See: Sales Funnel.

Lead Magnet  #

Something you offer for free in an effort to persuade people to subscribe to your mailing list or to build trust with your leads.

Typical examples are:

  • Whitepapers
  • Reports
  • Cheatsheets
  • Email courses
  • Interviews

And so on.

Leverage  #

An effort multiplier when it comes to making money or building authority.

For example, a pre-recorded video course that is continually market has more leverage to make you money than a custom development project.


The one-time effort it takes to create the course will continue to generate sales income in the future. All it will take is additional marketing effort. Compare with the one-time payment for project work.

See: Passive Income

LOE  #

Acronym for Level Of Effort.

Low-Touch  #

A sales process or service delivery that requires little direct attention from you (i.e., the seller). Typical with packaged services, productized services, productized consulting, and products.

See: Passive Income

Lumpy Mail  #

A form of direct mail where you send a lumpy package (e.g., containing a book) to a recipient. The odd shape/size of the package makes it more likely to be opened.

Marketing  #

Things you do to make people in your target market aware of you and your products and services. This includes examples like:

  • Knowing your target market
  • Having a Laser Focused Positioning Statement
  • Guest blogging
  • Appearing on podcasts
  • Speaking at conferences
  • Advertising on Facebook
  • Cold emailing/calling
  • Building referral partnerships.

The goal of marketing is to create leads.

See: Lead, Passive Income, Prospect, Sales, Sales Funnel, Inbound Marketing, Outbound Marketing.

Marketing Surface Area  #

The combined impact that the marketing you do and artifacts you generate have in getting you in front of prospects in your target market.

See: Two Pounds of Proof

Market Research  #

The process of researching your target market. The goal of market research is to understand how to reach your target market, how to make your positioning more niched, and/or what problems your target market is experiencing.

Maxim of The Day Job  #

A Day Job (W2 Position) is a fine thing to accept when you need it. There is no fear of ‘going back’ by accepting a day job or W2 position when you need it to generate income.

If you decide to take a day job, for all you know it will be a position you end up loving and couldn’t imagine leaving. Or, you leave after a year or two, with a stronger network and full bank account.

Maxim of Follow-Up  #

You should always follow-up. How valuable could your message be if you’re only willing to share it once?

Maxim of Profit  #

Your #1 goal as an independent business should be to make a profit.

Profit can be increased by increasing revenue or decreasing costs. There is a finite amount to which you can decrease costs, so I recommend focusing on increasing revenue instead.

‘Nar  #

Slang for webinar (e.g., “I have to finish my slides for the nar tomorrow”).

Niche  #

A specialized but profitable corner of your target market.


  • Your target market is Shopify Stores
  • Your niche is Women’s Fashion Stores

See: Target Market

Niching Down  #

Moving from a generalist position (e.g., full-stack web developer) to a more specialized position (e.g., Shopify consultant).

This involves:

  • Picking a target market
  • Researching the target market
  • Deciding on if you’re marketing to a specific corner of your target market or the market at large
  • Beginning marketing activities to your niche

See: Target Market, Positioning

Niching Down Your Marketing  #

The most efficient way to explore a new market for your business:

  1. Pick a new target market
  2. Have conversations with 10 people in that target market (See: Market Research)
  3. Identify an expensive problem through your conversations with customers
  4. Develop an Initial Service Offering for this target market based on your expensive problem
  5. Niche your marketing to this new target market, promoting your new Initial Service Offering, testing the market

No-Touch  #

A sales process and product delivery that requires no direct attention from you (i.e., the seller).

Typical with information products or educational products.

See: Passive Income, Products

Objective  #

The desired outcome a client wants to move towards.

For example, the rebels had the objective of “Destroy the Death Star.” The Bothans had the objective of “Secure the plans.

See: Strategy, Tactics.

Offering  #

Something you sell (i.e., a product or service).

Outbound Marketing  #

Engaging in marketing efforts to create leads by stimulating conversations with prospects in need of your help:

  • Advertising
  • Promotions
  • Cold Emails
  • Lumpy Mail
  • Cold Calling

See: Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Outreach.

Outcome  #

The state that you’ll help the client move towards through the project at hand. This is determined by a Diagnosis and tempered by your insight and expertise into the Problem Space.

Outreach  #

Stimulating a conversation with a someone from whom you want to build a relationship.

Packaged Service  #

A fixed-scope, high-touch service that you offer at a published price. It’s fundamentally a service, but with product-like benefits that allow you to optimize the packaging, pricing, marketing, sales, delivery, and follow-up.


A Packaged Service is defined by:

  • Fixed, public scope
  • Fixed, public timeline
  • Fixed, public deliverables

The price may or may not be fixed or public. Most often, if the price is not public, a price anchor (“Pricing starts at $15,000”) will be used.

Passive Income  #

A well-marketed myth.

Passive Income is simply a business model that’s centered around selling informational/educational products to your audience. The effort is focused primarily on marketing, customer support, and product development.

There is no such thing as truly passive income, with a few ‘Roll a 100 on a 100 sided die’ exceptions. You will always be working on and in your business.

Payment  #

Money received for a project. Payment should be received, in full, in advance of you scheduling a project on your calendar.

Perceived Value  #

See: Value.

Pigeonholing Yourself  #

See: Niching Down.

Pipeline  #

The number of people in your Sales Funnel. (e.g., We have 40 qualified leads in our sales funnel that we’re following up with.)

See: Scheduled Work

Platform Specialization  #

A subset of Horizontal Specialization that targets a tool or platform that your ideal buyer was involved in choosing.

Niching Down on Shopify, WordPress, or Salesforce are examples of Platform Specializations because your buyer almost certainly was involved in choosing the technology in question.

Niching Down on tools like Photoshop, JavaScript, or MySQL are not Platform Specializations because they buyer probably didn’t directly or consciously choose them.

See: Positioning, Specialization

Pleasing Shareholders  #

As you’re an independent business, the majority shareholder is you.

The actions you take in your business should be to the maximum benefit of your shareholders. (That is, you).

As Jeff Bezos put it in the ’97 Shareholders Report for Amazon:

“Because of our emphasis on the long-term, we may make decisions and weigh tradeoffs differently than some companies… We will continue to make investment decisions in light of long-term market leadership considerations rather than short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions…We aren’t so bold as to claim that the above is the ‘right’ investment philosophy, but it’s ours, and we would be remiss if we weren’t clear in the approach we have taken and will continue to take.”

Emphasis added.

As you are the majority shareholder, keep what Bezos shared in mind.

You need to make investments decisions (where you spend your money/time in your business) with an eye on long-term market considerations, not short-term profitability.

That means focusing on your physical and mental health and happiness over short-term income gains.

Work smarter, not harder.

Make sure that you’re practicing self-care.

Enjoy breaks when you have them.

Know when to say “This is enough, let’s stay like this.”

Do less.

Podcast Interview  #

Appearing as a guest expert on a podcast that reaches people in your target market or niche. One of the most efficient ways to reach your target market. See the book “Podcast Outreach”:

Positioning  #

A marketing technique used to make your business more memorable.

For service providers, this is done by focusing your marketing message on a particular facet of your business, on a specific target market, or both.

The best book on positioning is The Positioning Manual by Philipe Morgan (

Accomplished, in part, by developing a Laser Focused Positioning Statement

See: Specialization, LFPS

Presentation  #

A lecture-style event delivered live in person (e.g., conference session, workshop, keynote presentation) or over the internet (e.g., webinar). A recording of such event may be referred to as a preso for short, but really it is a recording of a presentation – e.g., “Here’s a link to a recording of my presentation at SXSW.”

Previous Experience  #

See: Competitive Advantage

Price  #

The amount of money exchanged between Buyer and Seller.

A price is typically known to the buyer in advance of making his or her purchase decision.

A notable exception to this is hourly billing wherein the buyer makes the purchase decision on the basis of an estimate.

Price Range  #

The range of prices that a buyer will pay for a project and that the seller will accept. Can be modeled as:

V > P > C


  • V = Value of project to the client
  • P = Price range
  • C = Cost to the Seller to deliver the project

Your price for the project falls in between the Value and Cost (charge more than it costs you).

Products  #

Books or courses that you make once and sell ongoing.

A great example of a high-value, high-leverage, low-touch artifact.

See: Passive Income, Leverage

Product Ladder  #

A series of offerings priced in a graduated “order of magnitude” fashion (e.g., $10, $100, $1,000, $10,000).

The idea of the product ladder is to make it easy to turn prospects into customers regardless of the level of trust you have engendered with them.

In other words, people who have just heard of you will most likely enter at the bottom rung of your ladder (e.g., $10).

Assuming that they benefit from that purchase, they will have increased trust and be more likely to move up the ladder.

Also referred to as ‘Product Orbit,’ ‘Service Ladder,’ or ‘Service Orbit.’

See: Initial Service Offering, Information Products

Productized Service  #

A Packaged Service sold as a product (potentially a ‘Software as a Service-like’ product) and scaled with the help of a staff.

Project  #

A collaborative enterprise between you (Seller) and the client (Buyer) that is designed to achieve a particular aim.

Proposal  #

An outline of the situation the client is in, the solution that you recommend, and the specifics of the project. You can find a template for your proposals at

Prospect  #

A person who is likely to buy from you but has not done so yet. See Sales Funnel for more info.

Quote  #

Two separate meanings:

  • A fixed-price proposal for a project
  • A press mention quoting you

Referrable Moment  #

A Referrable Moment (RM) has occurred when someone you’re talking to is inspired to mentally run through the list of people they know and successfully comes up with one or more who they should introduce you to for business reasons. This will typically be in response to the listener’s first exposure to your CPA or LFPS. RMs are most likely to occur in your audience if you have adopted a Vertical Specialization or a Demographic Specialization (e.g., “I help dentists” or “I help people who suffer from migraines”). RMs are unlikely to occur in your audience if you have adopted a Horizontal Specialization (e.g., “I help people who need QuickBooks integration”).

Relationships  #

The thing that your business is actually built around.

See: Conversations With Customers, Market Research, Why Conversations

Retainer  #

A specific type of packaged service where you offer your clients access to your expertise on a subscription basis. Retainers are typically monthly but sometimes quarterly or even annually.

A client asks you a question over an agreed upon channel (e.g., phone, email, Basecamp, Slack, etc.) and you answer within an agreed upon time frame (e.g., “within 90 minutes for requests made during business hours, next business day for after-hours requests”).

Think of it as a hotline to your brain.

NOTE: Not to be confused with a typical legal retainer or a maintenance contract, which are really just pre-payment for blocks of hours.

Return On Investment  #

The client’s profit, typically measured in financial terms.

Calculated by subtracting the price paid for a product or service from the value of the outcome.

Ideally, ROI is positive but can be negative. Positive ROI can be thought of as a benefit.

Roadmap  #

A plan to get the client moving from their current state towards their desired state. See:

ROI  #

See Return On Investment.

Sales  #

The things you do to convert a lead into a prospect, and hopefully into a client. See: Marketing, Sales Funnel.

Sales Safari  #

A term coined by Amy Hoy for doing research on your target market by spending time researching their conversations (‘lurking’) in their online “watering holes.”

The concept is to observe your prey in its natural habitat rather than doing focus groups or interviews.

It’s a good approach if your target hangs out online, but many don’t. It’s an ideal approach for researching an info product. Sales Safari Video Reference »

Sales Funnel  #

A system or process for turning a Lead into a Client. This process would look something like:

  1. Engaging in marketing activities to attract Leads
  2. Receive a Lead via email
  3. Have an Initial Conversation
  4. Reach Conceptual Agreement on the Project
  5. Lead is now a Prospect
  6. Submit a Project Proposal or Quote
  7. Prospect approves the Project
  8. Prospect is now a Client
  9. You schedule time for the Project on your calendar

Sales Page  #

A specific type of Landing Page. The conversion goal is to persuade the visitor to make a purchase. See Landing Page for more info.

Self-Diagnosis  #

Clients often come to consultants with a self-prescribed course of action based on an unstated self-diagnosis.

It is the responsibility of the consultant to validate the client’s desired course of action prior to any engagement.

Doing otherwise would be unethical and is grounds for losing the right to practice in other professions (e.g., medical, legal).

See: Diagnosis

Scheduled Work  #

Work that has been paid for and has been booked on your calendar. (e.g., “my calendar is full through the end of this year”).

See: Advanced Payment, Pipeline

Slack Answer   #

A succinct and conversational version of your LFPS. The name comes from the common scenario of joining a new Slack and someone asking, “So, what do you do?” (Commonly referred to as “Cocktail Party Answer”)

Slogan  #

See: Tagline.

Social Proof  #

Endorsements (tacit or otherwise) of your work from third parties. For example:

  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Client lists
  • Podcast interviews
  • Artifacts

Specialist  #

Someone who markets themselves as having a sharply focused area of expertise in solving a specific Expensive Problem.

The area of expertise is typically defined by the overlap of the specialist’s Discipline and the needs of the specialist’s Target Market (Expensive Problem/Desired Outcome).

See: Vertical Specialization, Horizontal Specialization, Platform Specialization, Demographic Specialization.

Squeeze Page  #

A specific type of Landing Page where the conversion goal is to persuade the visitor to subscribe to a mailing list.

See: Landing Page

Strategy  #

A concise, high-level approach for reaching an objective using various tactics.

For example:

“Take the Empire off guard by sending an absurdly small force to exploit a critical vulnerability.”

See: Objective, Tactics.

Street Cred  #

Evidence of expertise. Some kind of irrefutable proof that you know what you’re talking about.

The more impressive the evidence, the more credible your claims of expertise.

The better your street cred, the easier it is to build trust with people in your target market.

For example, Stephen King’s street cred as a writer would instantly make him trustworthy as a writing coach.

Tactics  #

Specific, individual steps used to execute a Strategy and reach an Objective.

For example:

Send 3 small squadrons of x-wings. Get close to the surface of the space station and head for the exhaust port. Stay deep in the approach trench to avoid surface guns. Once the TIE fighters show up, have two x-wings flank the leader and defend against enemy fire…”

See: Objective, Strategy.

Tagline  #

A memorable, succinct, and descriptive version of your LFPS for use in places like your LinkedIn profile or About Page of your website.

It is typically expressed in written form, but could also be spoken in certain business contexts (e.g., as you’re being introduced prior to being interviewed on a podcast or walking on-stage to present at a conference).

Synonymous with slogan.

Philip Morgan shares this on minimalistic positioning statements:

Lately I’ve really been focusing on using positioning statements that are absolutely minimalistic. Not even complete sentences! Doing this strips things down to essentials and gets rid of the temptation to wordsmith too early.

If we apply that approach to “I am a hypnotherapist that works with women who desire to reduce weight and improve life. Unlike my competitors, clients see real change that lasts.” we get some options like (but not limited to) the following:

  • Weight loss hypnotherapy for women that actually works.
  • I help women actually lose weight using hypnotherapy.
  • Hypnotherapy for female weight loss
  • Hypnotherapy that helps women lose at least 20 pounds.

Notice that I’ve focused only on weight loss, and I’ve ditched the “and improve life.” I always try to go for the more specific, relevant claim, or focus on the more specific, painful problem. Sometimes that involves not talking about some aspect of what you do in order to focus on the singular aspect that is most powerful.

After you “workshop” the core value proposition using a super simple format for the statement, then you can turn it into a sentence. Or not. You don’t really need to. You can just have a “headline” version you might use in print, and a more wordy, conversational version you’d use IRL.

Target Market  #

A specific group of people who you specialize in serving.

Typically this group will be defined in terms of a vertical market (e.g., quick service restaurants, cosmetic dentistry, ski resorts), but could be a demographic (e.g., soccer moms, Asian Americans, billionaire philanthropists), or a horizontal technology (e.g., businesses who have mission critical dependencies on WordPress, Shopify, Heroku, etc).

A rough test for determining the viability a potential target market is whether or not there is a conference that is attended by buyers from this group.

See: Vertical Market, Demographic Market.

TBA  #

Acronym for the book “The Brain Audit” by Sean D’Souza.

Teardown  #

Constructive criticism of a web page, email message, sales letter, or another marketing piece.

A teardown can’t be done properly without knowing the desired outcome of the marketing piece.

Tesla Option  #

Slang term for your most premium offering. Typically your highest price, highest profit, highest touch, custom service.

Testimonial  #

Kind words from a client about your product or service. Used in your marketing materials to build trust with members of your Target Market.

TPM  #

Acronym for “The Positioning Manual” by Philip Morgan.

Two Pounds of Proof  #

A large amount of social proof that demonstrates why YOU are the most qualified consultant. This is made up of:

  • Your testimonials
  • Interviews you’ve given
  • Artifacts you’ve created
  • Books you’ve written
  • Talks you’ve given
  • Letters of recommendation

And so on.

Your goal should be to assemble your Two Pounds of Proof for your business in such a way that it can easily be shared with a prospect.

Unique Difference  #

Component of an LFPS meant to make you stand out from your competition. Your primary differentiator.

Value  #

The combination of the emotional value and monetary value of a project to a client. IOW: What a given product or service is worth to a given buyer.

This is a purely subjective measure; different buyers will value the identical product or service differently. Furthermore, buyers will usually be unable to assign a dollar amount to a value if asked.

However, they can usually react to a dollar amount suggested by the seller as “worth it” or “not worth it.”

Not the maximum amount of money that a buyer would pay for a project.


  • You are willing to pay up to $45 for a $50 gift card in a silent auction
  • It’s worth $50 to you
  • But you don’t want to pay more than $45 because you want to feel like you’re getting a deal

Value Anchoring  #

Using the value of a project to a client as a price anchor in your quote or proposal. Unlike Value Pricing, the quote or proposal is often for a Fixed Bid or Sprint Billing.

Value Conversation  #

See Why Conversation.

Value Billing  #

A common misnomer for Value Pricing. Billing is that act of invoicing a client in arrears for work done.

It’s technically possible to bill for value after the fact, but it’s virtually unheard of.

See: Value Anchoring, Value Pricing, Value Pricing Folley

Value Pricing Folley  #

The folly of attempting to Value Price a project before having the necessary business skills to understand the value of the outcomes of the project.

See: Value Anchoring

Value Pricing  #

A form of Fixed Bid pricing in which the price is based on the value to the buyer instead of the seller’s cost.

Compare to Value Billing, Fixed Bid, and Hourly Billing.

VBF  #

Acronym for “Value-Based Fees” by Alan Weiss.

Vertical Market  #

A vertical market (or simply “vertical”) is a market in which vendors offer goods and services specific to an industry, trade, profession, or another group of customers with specialized needs.

Typical examples of buyers in a vertical market would be:

  • Quick service restaurants
  • Ski resorts
  • Pet shelters
  • Auto repair shops

and so on.

Technically, vertical market buyers could also be people like soccer moms, Asian Americans, or billionaire philanthropists because these are also groups who have specialized needs. However, the accepted approach is to prefer to use the term “demographic” to apply to segmentation that is not industry specific.

See: Target Market, Demographic Market

Vertical Specialization  #

Picking a Vertical Market as your Target Market.

Watering Hole  #

A place where Economic Buyers from your Target Market discuss business matters. Could be online or offline:

  • Conferences
  • Professional associations
  • Meet-ups
  • Industry periodicals
  • Podcasts
  • Facebook groups
  • LinkedIn groups
  • subreddits
  • private forums

Watering Holes are a great place to do market research and drop Answer Bombs.

Week Sprints  #

Offering your services at a fixed price for a week-long sprint.

You and the client mutually agree on a price for the week and a scope for the week.

The client pays in advance.

You work on the agreed-upon scope for that week.

At the end of the week, you have a retrospective conversation with the client on what was accomplished and what was learned.

A superior alternative to hourly billing that’s easier (and more accessible) than Value Pricing. Can also be implemented as Day Sprints.

Why Conversation  #

A line of questioning used in a sales meeting to uncover the prospect’s root motivation for the proposed engagement. It is called the “Why Conversation” because you ask a series of Why questions in an attempt to talk the client out of hiring you. There are three categories of Why question:

  • Why this?
  • Why now?
  • Why me?

Here are some sample lines for each category:

Why this?

  • Why not just leave things the way they are?
  • Why not use an off-the-shelf solution?
  • Why embark on such a costly and/or risky project?

Why now?

  • Why do you need to tackle this now?
  • Why not keep an eye on this for six months and decide then?
  • Why have you waited so long to address this issue?

Why me?

  • Why not handle this internally?
  • Why not outsource to an overseas team?
  • Why not hire some junior contractors?

Having a Why Conversation forces the prospect to articulate their reasons for doing this project now and with you. It will give you a rough idea of the perceived value of the proposed engagement in the client’s mind. You can use this value as the basis for a value-priced quote.

See: “The 15-Minute Guide to Why Conversations”:

WOM  #

Acronym for “word of mouth.”

‘You’ Focused Language  #

Language in your messaging, marketing, and communication that focuses on the current situation, desired outcomes, and benefits to your lead/prospect/colleague, not your personal benefit.