In today's online world starting a service based business can feel like a pretty simple task. However, most people get in and find it's not quite as easy as they think. Maggie and Brittany of Scoop Industries specialize in helping service-based companies grow. They were kind enough to come by and give some tips and tricks for getting your service-based business discovered, and how to put the systems in place to grow!
*Below is an actual transcript from our podcast.
I think in service-based business, it feels like it's really easy money. However, the cash never seems to come quite as easily as you think. What is your advice for getting that first client?
First off, I love this question because I think this is where we kind of think some sort of alchemy is going to happen where we're you know going to set up a Web site and there's going to be a business. But ultimately I think when you're starting out it comes down to three things:
1, If you're going to offer a service, you need to make sure that you have a track record with this, and you didn't just decide last week that you're an expert on whatever the thing is. And that you didn't just hang out a shingle people do business with experts say you need to actually have some experience. I'm not saying you must have your 10,000 hours, but you better know what the heck you're talking about more than having read it in a book.
2. Honestly, the best way when you're first starting out is that one-to-one connection. So if you have worked in an industry for a long time and you've done a little pivot your business reach out to your personal network. It's easy, especially to you. I think if you want to focus more online forget about those people you already know who know people who know people who know people. It's like that old shampoo commercial.
3. Then it's about showing up consistently in online communities and being of service. And when I say being of service I mean actually being of service and being like just a solid human where you are able to show up and serve and answer questions and be present and not have this underlying sleazy agenda. I'm going to help you, but you must opt-in for my thing. I think when people see you actively putting that serve in service, they're much more drawn and interest in working with you. So it really comes down to that one to one connection and figuring out you know where and where we are my people I meet people hanging out on Facebook groups are my people on an online networking event are my people I'm part of my existing network. In trying different ways and kind of staying agile and flexible as you do that instead of getting stuck in what I must do it this one way, and I'm consistently surprised sometimes what works and what doesn't and that's with 15 plus years marketing experience. Sometimes things don't really happen exactly as you think.
And I think for me the hardest thing has always been I mean this is my fourth business now. It should be faster to gain momentum and although it is you still have to start from scratch. I don't want to say the bottom plays but to build your reputation in that. I'm sure and maybe you don't do this, but I'm guessing you see this a lot where people kind of want to take the fast path and skip over a few things to get there.
Oh my gosh. So so true. And this is why Britney and I have this picture we can link it up but it basically, is like here's the steps you're going to take as you grow a business basically from a Web site on the internet. It starts with that you know you're not going to command ten thousand dollars for the package the first time you offer it. Maybe you're going to command a thousand dollars a year get more experience.
But the biggest thing is starting businesses when pivoting business industries is very sobering. And you have to get over your ego, and I've done it. I don't know five, six times now in different iterations, and the reality is that every time you're starting fresh air at zero. You need to be like okay what do we need to do to get from point A to point B.
As a side note, I think you know that comes to a point that we talked to our service based students a lot about is the idea that you still have to be somewhat right. Even though you're doing one-to-one work in it, you're not trying to necessarily build this huge business. So whatever it is you still have to be top of mind for people when it comes to that thing that you operate. So being able to be seen even though you may not know you will be seen by thousands or millions, if that makes sense.
So what is your advice for those people who are just kind of whoa, it's crazy. They're staying alive by keeping up with clients. But you still have to market for future clients and hire people so you're not in this and lots of time for money what's the next step in really helping build this business?
The thing I think of when I think about myself quite frankly, and I think they believe hiring people is going to solve their overwhelm problem. And I think hiring is a very important part of scaling. You may have those certain services where you're going to just need extra hours and extra bodies. But I think before any of that can happen you have you have to create your systems. They don't have to be perfect. And I think a lot of times people think the systems have to be as like really awesome beautifully engineered thing and they completely mapped out. I mean, they can be a list in a notebook. It can be a list in Google Docs or the like that something that is able to be documented outside of your brain is essentially what it needs to be.
You will always refine it over time in fact. We constantly do that. But I think it becomes a thing that people think of as like a nice to have and not need that. And quite frankly if you're going to hire someone you've got to have it. So I was I to tell people who if they're in that sort of like you know barely keeping their head above water or they might even be you know under water is even though it seems like you have no time. You've got to make some time for the systems part of it because if you don't like you're never going to get your head far enough above water to be able to hire someone to grow you know to scale and move on with that.
What's your advice for how much time in your week you should be actually spending doing the one-on-one stuff versus the marketing versus the systems? Do you guys ever have general guidelines you give to people?
So one of the things especially I like to think is that if you aren't spending any time on this, even like it's three hours on a Monday. You don't want it to be where you don't work on marketing and systems, and then they creep up over time as your business grows. So what at first was on Monday afternoons, and then it was all day Monday, and then it was Mondays and Fridays. So you don't really start to pay attention as the business grows where you need to spend more time working on the business and not just in the business because the challenge, I think, is when you run a services business you spend all your time working with clients like we were talking about a minute ago.
Then you poke your head up, and you're like oh my business is really a mess because I haven't been paying attention to anything else but my clients. You should never like as much as you need to serve your clients and do an amazing job. You shouldn't be doing those things to the detriment of your own business.
It's that idea of starting small. And obviously, it's going to be a little different if you are a solo show versus if you've had some help. I think the one thing that I know was a little bit of a surprise for me as we brought on more help is that when you bring on more help you're going to be spending a lot more time on the business because you want to make sure that you're continuing to grow. You've got a healthy pipeline, and that you've got business development action in the back burner and actually at the front of everything that you're doing for the contractors, there's a point in place. I think it's it does vary quite a bit.
What are some great ideas of marketing tactics that you've seen work really well for service-based businesses? I know there's probably going to be a thousand but maybe your top two to three free favorite tactics of what you see work well for the companies you've worked with.
So one of my favorites is that if you're doing one-to-one work, is let's say you're the type of business where you're doing a lot of one-to-one sessions and you have nurture funnels. So when people opt-in for your e-mail list there's a path that takes them through the process of getting to know you getting to know you and getting to know you, getting to like you, and getting to trust you and then you're inviting them into a free consult.
A lot of people kind of bristle at this, and they're like oh what like why are you building an email list and not engaging with people like someone is excited. Don't just send them an email and say good luck see you later. They need to have this opportunity to explore your content, know what you're all about, and how you can help them and then you know honestly offering a concept strategically in a couple of e-mails. It's not pushy. It's an invitation, and if you position it that way you're going to feel really good about it. It's no different from if you're sitting with someone at a cocktail party chatting with them and they're like oh what do you do and they're really interested, and you extend them an invitation to say hey why don't we hop on the phone and talk about this.
I think it's such a simple thing, and it's very much overlooked because we tend to think things like auto-responders or even email marketing to some degree is something for a bigger business or that's further along. And I'm not saying you must have a list of thousands and thousands and thousands but why don't you use what you have and really make the most of it.
I think one of the other things, is that not only is the work really well, and this probably goes a little counterintuitive to what people think of as traditional marketing tactics, but basically this idea of getting your clients to market for you. So after you get those initial few clients, even if you're at the very beginning when you've got one or two or three or you know five or whatever at the end really building this is something that I think most there are very few people we talk to that nail this out the gate. So if you're at this point and you want to get ahead of the game do this but build you're basically operating so that you're asking people for referrals and introductions. This goes beyond just a testimonial. I think people are oh yeah we got my testimony. It's more about like OK I really like working with you.
If you like working with someone, sending them a note at the end of your work or towards the end of your work saying I really enjoyed working with you. Then ask are there any other people who are in your network that might be you know beneficial. How many services or even if it's just an introduction. That one seems a little bit hard even if it's like I'd love to connect with more people like you, would you might do a couple of introductions, and I'll take it over from there. And those things I mean they sound so silly and simple, but they have a huge impact.
It's so simple, but I think we have this idea that we just think if people love working with us they're going to automatically go out and sing our praises. It's not that they don't want to. It's not that they're not happy. They just you know they don't think of it right. I mean if somebody asked them, 'hey do you know somebody who does this.' Who you suggest they would all days. You don't tell you. But when you put that in their mind just to make them think a little bit about who would be a great referral then they're there they're happy to help you but you just can't expect them to know.
And sometimes people don't. I mean this is something I tell my clients all the time. Sometimes people don't know that you are always looking for clients. When someone successful outwardly we think oh well they're all booked up. And the reality is if you're going to bring me an amazing client on a silver platter.
They don't fully understand what you do and this is especially true for developers or people who tend to do a bit more of what happened behind the scenes kind of stuff because you know you may have totally saved someone's disaster, you may have helped them. They just know that you rocked it at what you do, and that's what it comes to. People just don't know how to explain what it is that you do.
Let's talk about that bridge of getting out of that one on one because it's not you know unless you're an agency and that's all you want to do and just hire people. How do you begin bridging that gap to build you know the first course the product whatever you want to call it to start leveraging your name?
So you know I this is one of my most favorite things and I think that this is where people kind of missed the boat with a service based business because what we tend to do is we like I haven't kind of done with one-to-one. I'm not making enough money. Instead of looking at what we have been really optimizing it and finding a way to charge a higher price streamline the process put less of us into it. What we do is we actually skip to a course, when really there's a step in between which is a product type service. And I mean I know from my own personal experience creating a service that's what enabled me to double my income in a year because I was charging a premium price for something that didn't take a lot of time was built on a very specific signature method. Ultimately, that becomes something that gets taught in to a course later on. It lets me prove my result get results prove my system.
Then essentially charge a price that I wouldn't be able to charge otherwise. And ultimately position me for that group program down the line. So I think what you want to really do is if you're currently doing services you're like I eventually want to move out of one to one, or I am looking for ways to luxury really go back and look at what you're doing. That is something that pretty much only you can do or you have a certain way of doing it that you can use that as a stepping stone instead of just trying to go from freelancing and turn things. And now I'm going to teach you how to do X, Y, or Z. And because the reality is as much as we use the term passive income there's nothing passive income having creative courses.
I mean just dollars in late hours in labor of love, and I think because we see these stories, and I'm not saying these people are full of baloney. We see these stories of oh I made a million dollars in my first course like the big infomercial star, and it says results not typical because that's not the reality for the majority of people who are going to launch their first course. You're going to launch your course probably nine times and iterate it and go through it. And you know I think there's a lot of ways to get the same result with less effort using a product service.
Can you give a good example of the productized service?
Yeah. So great product or service I can give an example of what we offer which is called The Story Distillery. It's something I've done for the last two years, and it's essentially a storytelling framework that I walk through with clients but because it's got this magical special thing. It's something that people come to us for. It's an hour of my time on the phone a couple of hours on the back-end and it is way more profitable than anything else I'm likely going to do. If I was charging you an hourly rate because there's a really high perceived value, and I've positioned it that I've shared the results. It's based on like a system I've actually you know documented in proven out time and time again. So when someone's really confused about their message or don't know how to share their story, there are two things.
First, it's a very customized solution for their problem. Second, it's something that just for me it's it's like a product because it sells itself, and they're like yeah I want to do this. I mean and then I just have to invest that you know really strategic systematize amount of time into it to get them a really great result.
Your number one reason you want to have a productized service so that you don't have to have an awkward sales conversation because instead of having this thing we do well. You're able to say we do a, b, c, and d. Here's the expected result. Here's the cost. Are you In or out?
So you've got the systems in place of your one on one. You've got the marketing place of your one-on-one that you've created. I love the in between and that bridge to a product. When you create that product service how does that change the email funnels the marketing and the stuff that you do in helping to build that, or does it change at all?
So it can. Right. So it's going to depend on a couple of things one is going to depend on what it is that your product service is right. So if it's something the price point lies. So that's something that's still a little bit higher sell that fifteen hundred dollars or more it's probably going to take a little bit more. If it's something that's maybe you're on a $500 mark or even a little under that's going to take a little less time in terms of like in a funnel. So it's still the same kind of idea as the notion that I can talk about any of our conversation in terms of when someone comes in your world especially if it's for a specific thing around that. So this is what you really want to do is a lot your product or service you don't already have a an opt-in or a freebie or a lead magnet that directly correlates to what it is that you that you're doing are offering you that service you want to make that and that can usually be like a first piece of that or something that it should be really easy to create quite frankly. But that's going to make that gap really easy to bridge for people. So it may raise our hand essentially say yes I want this very thing are saying you're interested in it that's when you're going to start that sort of you know it's a nurture a slash sales funnel sort of hybrid. But it basically, like Maggie said, you're getting to know like and trust you and then you want to either offer them like a console. Or the beauty of this is that when you get over a concept, you can actually link them to the thing. Right so a lot of times and you start with service that it's more like I can help you that's going on the follow and then I'll tell you how I can help you with a product or service it's more like here's what here's how I can help you. If you want to make sure it's right let's get on the phone so it's like they're pre-screening or pre-qualifying which goes to that whole you know easier systematize hour you know that line you know. I think it's going to change a little bit. But it's not going to be drastically different unless your price point a lot lower your price is a lot lower. You probably should be able to sell a lot more straight from the phone but then you're sort of losing some of the leverage. Are the leveraged up or any other kind of disaster?
We have this amazing sold out signature service worksheet which I will give you the link for if anyone wants it: (You can find it here --> http://scoopindustries.com/signatureservice)
If you want to find out more about Scoop Industries, and how they can help you build your service based business, make sure you check them out at: Scoop Industries.
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