Give Up The Funk

As a man over … let’s say, 40 … I have discovered that exercises intended for younger people, no matter how well designed, are potentially harmful.

It all began at the start of the pandemic, as I searched for home-based exercise programs.

That’s when I found Jeff Cavaliere.

Jeff’s a physical therapist (which gave me confidence that he knows what he’s talking about) and the possessor of a physique that looks like someone hit the “enhance” button on Photoshop one too many times.

I have no idea how old he is (I’m guessing, “immortal”), but I soon realized that most of his programs – based on their level of intensity and recommended exercises – are for those born well after the demise of disco.

It didn’t take long for my shoulder pain to arrive.

So, I made one small change in my Google search for exercise programs: I added the phrase “men over 40.”

Big difference.

funk roberts

Now, I was presented with programs specifically intended for middle-aged men, such as the Fit Father ProjectTriCon Training and, my personal favorite, Building Muscle After 40, hosted by a cheerful and impressively-muscled guy named Funk Roberts.

A Narrow Focus Will Help Your Business. Tremendously.

When it comes to coaching professional service firms and solos to talk about their work in a way that is clear and compelling, I spend a lot of time on the concept of “focus.”

Not because it’s hard to understand. Rather, because it’s hard to believe.

After all, it’s a fact that a broad range of offerings for an equally broad range of clients increases the scope of potential projects. Doesn’t that add up to getting hired by more people in more situations?

No. It’s not a lottery where the more tickets you hold the greater your chances of winning.

As my workout program experience demonstrated, narrowing your stated focus is where all the satisfied clients live. Many reasons:

A narrow focus … sets you apart. Getting hired is winner take all – there’s no prize for second place. When Funk Roberts promotes a program specifically targeted to those over 40, he moves ahead of anyone offering programs for all ages.

Even if there is a generic program that would be equally as good, I assume his program is more appropriate for me, simply based on its reduced scope.

A narrow focus … allows you to be specific. If you’re marketing to everyone, you have to keep your words more generalized. If, instead, you select a particular audience, now you can speak to them and their specific needs.

For example, maybe you’ve noticed that every newsletter I write includes, somewhere, the words “professional service firms and solos.” Doesn’t that annoy those who don’t fit into that group? I don’t care – I’m not talking to them; I’m talking to you.

Beyond the marketing, in the program itself, Funk talks about things like total body fitness over muscle mass, avoiding injury, and the importance of taking days off – all things that matter to an older audience. He even speaks differently than one might to a testosterone-brimming 25-year-old, saying things mid-workout like, “Wow, this is harder than I realized!”

A narrow focus … leverages word of mouth. When you select a narrow target audience, you are tapping into a communication channel that already exists. Dentists, yoga instructors, and middle-aged men already speak amongst themselves (I’ve recommended Funk’s programs to several of my similarly-aged friends and relatives).

If, however, your niche is no more specific than “land-based mammals,” your client mix will be largely made up of unrelated one-offs, denying you the benefit of having them spread the word within their existing network.

Bottom line

Professional service firms and solos (there’s that phrase again) often ask for my help in differentiating themselves.

But when I say, “So, what makes you different?”, I’m met with a lot of blank stares or mumbo jumbo of the “We work hard and take good care of our clients” variety.

The way to differentiate yourself in a lasting, meaningful way is not to find better adjectives than the competition in describing your work. It’s to actually be different in reality.

Narrowing your focus – to a particular audience, for a particular need, around a particular service (maybe all three) – will help you stand out and lead to more satisfied and injury-free clients.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Don’t you wish you had as cool a name as Funk Roberts?
  2. Me too.
  3. What clients/markets do you not work with in defining your focus?

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