Starting a service-based business has never been easier thanks to the internet.
Having said that, the main issue is how to develop it strategically in such a way that you have a regular income but are not working 20 hours a day one week, and none the next week. A steady flow of leads, projects, and recurring or passive income can help you boost your profits and still maintain a work-life balance.
There are several main considerations when it comes to growing your business. Here are four to think about as you formulate your growth strategy.
1. Marketing Your Services Like a Business
From the moment you start your service-based business, you will have to look for clients and projects, and then set time aside to do them well in order to get happy customers, good reviews, and hopefully repeat customers who will be glad to keep using your service. These are the main ingredients of a successful business.
When you are first starting out, you will have to contact prospective clients, look for work on freelance websites, and more. You will need to learn about what makes a good proposal that you should apply for, and the right clients to work for.
It can be tempting to try for every project when you are first starting out, but some can be more trouble than they are worth. You also hope you will get nice clients who will give you a good review that you can use as a marketing tool, but not everyone is reasonable and difficult clients can really drain your energy.
When in doubt, decide what is best for your business.
2. Building Relationships
It will take time, but ideally, you will eventually get to a point where the business comes to you, and you can pick and choose your projects. Itís all about building relationships with clients and making yourself a valuable part of their team.
This means being reliable, hitting all your deadlines, and communicating well. You should be responsive via your communication methods of choice, such as email or phone. If you are working on a long project that will take more than a couple of weeks, do your client the courtesy of giving them updates every so often to reassure them that you are on track.
If anything unexpected happens, inform them sooner rather than later. Better to let them know the project might be a day or two late because you are sick with flu and ask them if it is okay for them to wait than to just assume.
3. Billing for Your Services
You can charge on a per-project basis, or consider offering a package of service for a fixed fee each month. For example, if you are ghostwriting an eBook for a client, it makes sense to charge a flat fee. If you are helping someone upload content to and maintain their WordPress site, a monthly fee might be a better option. You can then create invoices in PayPal and get paid easily.
Bill what your services are worth. Don’t discount yourself!
4. Positioning Yourself as a Specialist/Expert
You can make a good deal of money as a generalist, such as a virtual assistant willing to do a range of tasks, but there can be more money and prestige in specializing. For example, you might specialize in creating PowerPoint presentations or managing WordPress accounts.
You can also boost your expertise in your niche or industry by writing eBooks, presenting webinars, and so on. These can all be lead magnets for getting people on your list and willing to try your services.
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