Working as a Generalist Complementary Practitioner
New practitioners often start out working as generalists while they find their niche. Being a generalist can work if you’re already established and successful. Many practitioners argue to work as generalists but unfortunately, it’s often not the best long-term strategy.
What is a generalist complementary practitioner?
A generalist offers their services to anyone who can benefit without identifying themselves as a specialist in a specific area. In the medical world, you would be a General Practitioner (GP) working with the general public, rather than a consultant specialising in a particular field of expertise.
There are advantages to be a generalist:
- You will have a broader set of skills across a range of different issues
- It will help you understand other problems your clients may present with
- You will be able to see the bigger picture
- There is more scope to learn about different things
The disadvantages of being a generalist
Having the potential to work with anyone may feel like an obvious choice. It gives you a much a bigger target audience than someone who limits themselves to a niche. Unfortunately, the reality is very different, offering to help everyone will make your marketing invisible.
You won’t stand out amongst the plethora of other practitioners and disciplines. It will be difficult to articulate the benefits of working with you instead of a specialist.
Authority will be hard to build as a generalist and can lead to lost opportunities such as speaking at conferences or being interviewed. It’s harder to charge top rates if you’re a generalist and you may find yourself labelled as a Jack of all trades.
The intersection between generalist and specialist
Unless your discipline is well known and understood by the general population, you may struggle to survive as a generalist. There is an intersection between being a generalist and specialising and this is where the magic happens. This is where you are an expert, but you can help with other things.
This is where your niche comes in. Generalists often fear picking a niche because they’re scared of missing out on potential clients. Instead, they try and be all things to all people but end up with empty diaries.
Picking a niche focuses your marketing and doesn’t stop you working with anyone. Your niche is who you write your marketing message to in order to let you know you can help them. Having a niche simply focuses your marketing activities and helps you to become known for helping people in specific ways.
Start with a niche and you’ll find other people start to come to see you from outside of your niche, once you are known.
Your business, your choice
The choice is yours if you want to work as a generalist, it’s your business and you make the rules. Picking a niche is likely to bring you faster results from your marketing because people are actively sourcing help for their problems. If you are a generalist and you’re struggling to find clients, I urge you to reconsider choosing a niche. Read my article on picking your niche.
If you struggle with picking your niche, contact me for a chat to find out