Whether you’re a coach, a designer, a developer, a health practitioner, a consultant, whatever: if YOU are providing some sort of service to your customers, your business has some unique strengths… as well as some unique challenges.
The strengths are obvious: You’re able to provide incredible value to the clients you serve. You can put your heart and soul into creating an incredible customer experience for each and every one of them. And you’re likely to be working smack-bang in your zone of genius.
The challenges aren’t quite as obvious, and only rear their heads after you’ve been in business for a little while. The biggest one being this:
WHEN YOU’RE A SERVICE PROVIDER (OF WHATEVER SORT – COACH, CONSULTANT, WHATEVER), IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO SCALE YOUR BUSINESS AND MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE.
… Unless you adjust a few key points about your business model and mindset, that is. But we’ll get to that shortly. Let’s start at the beginning…
Why is having a straight-up service-based business risky?
Tell me, Lovely – What happens if you get sick?
If your kid gets sick?
If you go on holidays?
If something happens to someone you love and you’re out of action for a while?
If these events would mean that you wouldn’t be earning any money, you’ve got yourself a problem. It means that YOU are your business – and without you, the wheels stop turning completely.
Now, I don’t list all these scenarios to stress you out, rather to make you think about it now, while they’re not an issue. (Remember that old saying from former US President J.F.K.? ‘The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining’. #Word.)
So let’s dig a little deeper into the problem, before we identify the solutions.
>> When YOU are your business… you’ve got no room for leeway.
As a one-woman service-providing show, you’ve got very little wiggle room.
Business is all fine and dandy when you’re feeling good and slogging away, but it’s very difficult for you to deal with the unexpected.
>> When YOU are your business… it’s hard to leverage your time and energy.
When you provide a service, the way you earn more money is by working harder and longer.
Sure, you can charge more for your work. But there’s always a limit to what the market will pay (and what you feel comfortable with). So at a certain point, the only way to earn more is to work more – and with only 24 hours in a day, and a million competing priorities, we all know that that means that your income is naturally capped by (1) The amount of time you have available, and (2) Your own energy levels.
>> When YOU are your business… you can’t scale.
If your only source of income is your service, you can only work with so many people at once. Growth and expansion beyond a certain point simply isn’t possible.
>> When YOU are your business… it’s a recipe for burnout.
It’s no secret that adrenal fatigue, stress, depression, isolation, anxiety, and burnout are very real issues in the entrepreneurial community – and particularly so amongst service providers.
Because you’re always having to push yourself harder and longer to earn more, you’re at real risk of exhausting your business’s only asset… you.
Okay, so we’ve identified the problem… What’s the solution?
Now, lest you think I’m criticising service providers, let me tell you: I’m not. I spent a long time in my own business as a coach, I have a whole crew of talented craftspeople on my team, and every single day, I see incredible service providers all over the globe doing mind-blowing things and changing the world.
So let’s be clear: the point of this article is not to criticise anyone’s business model.
THE REAL POINT IS TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TALENT AND ENERGY, SO THAT YOU CAN CONTINUE SHARING YOUR GIFTS WITH THE WORLD IN A WAY THAT’S REWARDING, THAT DOESN’T BURN YOU OUT, AND THAT ALLOWS YOU TO MAKE THE MOST IMPACT POSSIBLE.
Luckily, there IS an answer to all of the above problems: Remove yourself from parts of your business.
I don’t mean you need to train someone else up to do all your coaching, designing, or whatever service it is that you provide. (Although, of course, some people do do this very successfully.)
What I mean is getting a little bit savvy about your business model, and making some adjustments, so that you alone aren’t the sole brick on which the entire wall rests.
I want to help you make yourself a little less indispensable, so that you’ve got a lot more freedom and WAY more scope for growth and earnings.
Here’s how to do it:
>> Think like a CEO
This can be a big shift for people used to working “in” their business, as opposed to “on” it.
A CEO’s job is to make tough decisions – they must set aside emotion and personal preference to make choices for the benefit of the company and the shareholders. Rather than getting bogged down in the day-to-day, their role is to think strategically – growing sales, increasing value, identifying opportunities, building on competitive advantages, and planning for the future.
Action Step: Schedule time this week for a ‘CEO Strategy Session’. If possible, take yourself out to a cute café (you’re worthy of being wined and dined and sit there for a minimum of one hour, pondering these five questions:
- What have I/we been doing well as a business?
- Where are we hitting a wall?
- What work are we doing that’s not paying off?
- How can we increase our impact?
- How can we think bigger?
Print out the worksheet for this post – or simply grab your journal – and pour your thoughts onto the page. Try not to edit, censor, or judge yourself – often the best insights come after 53 mediocre ones!
>> Outsource as much as possible
If you’re the only person who knows how to do everything, you’re making a choice to keep your business small.
It’s totally fine if that’s what you want, but if you ever want to grow, know that outsourcing and delegation are key components of this. (And let me tell you: every big-time biz lady you idolise online has a waaaaaay bigger team behind them than you’d expect – VA’s, PA’s, copywriters, online business managers, designers, marketers, ad experts, PR consultants, whiz-bang developers… the list goes on!)
Action Step: Create instant training manuals for your team members by capturing video footage of your computer screen as your complete a task. (Software like Camtasia is perfect for this.) Just plug in your microphone, press record, and verbalise each step as you do it. When you’re done, upload the file to a designated folder in Dropbox or Google Drive and voilà – an instant step-by-step guide for anyone you hire.
You can create these videos for anything – how you manage your inbox, process your invoices, maintain your website… the sky’s the limit.
The other cool thing about this process is that it’s something you can start doing right now – even if you’re not quite ready to hire help yet. That way, the second you are ready, you’ve already got a vault of highly valuable training resources on hand and your new hires can hit the ground running.
>> Create alternative streams of income that leverage your time and energy.
This is the biggie – and the one that will have the most impact on your bottom line. It’s also the best way to ensure that even if you can’t perform your service for some reason (say, due to sickness or injury) you’ve still got money coming into your account.
Leveraged income streams don’t only transform your business; they also transform your mindset. A common sentiment that’s repeated again and again by our e-Course Launch Formula students is this: ‘Even though I was earning money before, it wasn’t until I woke up one morning and saw that money had landed in my account while I was asleep that I finally felt like a real entrepreneur.’
Of course, there are many options for alternative income streams that leverage your time and energy: you could publish an eBook, sell a product, run a mastermind, start a workshop… the choices are endless.
But my own personal favourite – and the one that helped me hit six-figures in my first 18 months of business, and that’s helping me grow ever closer to seven-figures – is creating and running an e-Course.
Now I know what you’re thinking – doesn’t it still take work to create, launch, and manage an e-Course?
Deciding which option is best for your business is up to you, but you can read more about leveraged income here.
Action step: Download the worksheet (or grab your journal) and answer the following questions:
- How do you currently feel in your business with regards to your time and energy?
- How would it feel to wake up in the morning and find money in your account from a leveraged source of income?
- What types of leveraged income streams would be most suitable for your business?
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It’s full of insightful questions to help you to take action, like, now!
If you’re a service provider of any sort – or even just someone who knows that they’re not making the most of their time and energy – I hope that this article has inspired you to think outside the (business) box and ponder how you can make your biz more sustainable and scalable.
If you want to create an e-Course and finally scale your business and leverage your time click here.