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Grow Your Freelance Business by Creating a Productized Service Business

John Brandt

 

Why build a productized service?

It seems like everywhere you look these days, a new productized service business is popping up.

And they’re popping up for good reason. Productized service businesses combine the ease of starting up a service-based business with the predictability of a product-based business.

Software and physical products are great once you get them going – but the amount of time and resources to get them to sustainability can take years and tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars.

Service businesses meanwhile have low startup costs and can get off the ground quickly – but then you’re tied to the demands of your clients whose needs and opinions change on a day-to-day (or hourly) basis.

A productized service gives you all the benefits of repeatable, recurring income while reducing the amount of time it takes to start up. This best-of-both-worlds approach excites entrepreneurs who want to set up fast and freelancers who crave recurring revenue.

For some, the idea of wrapping up your services into one handy, easy-to-purchase product sounds crazy, but so is working 60+ hour weeks!

Listen up. There is a way out of this vicious cycle and its called productization.

Here are the top reasons why you should turn your freelancing gig into a productized service business.

Reason #1: You can kick scope creep to the curb

Remember how seductive freelancing seemed before you started? You get to pick your own hours. You only have to focus on tasks you want to do. You can pick which clients you want to work with and which ones not to.

However, reality eventually sets in and you realize you need to take on almost every client that comes through your theoretical doors to pay off your mortgage — and taking in every client means you need to complete very different tasks for each client. That dream of free time you once had? Poof! Gone.

Building a productized service will help you get back to your original goals.

The main difference between freelancing and owning a productized service business is having a defined scope of what you offer. As a freelancer, your scope can change day-to-day, but as a productized service provider your scope will always stay the same.

You won’t be tempted to promise your clients that you’ll help them with everything under the sun when you have a precisely defined service neatly packaged as a product. They will know exactly what they’re getting when they purchase. And your life will be a lot less stressful.

Reason #2: It is much easier to scale and grow your business

Let’s face it. Freelancing businesses are nearly impossible to scale. Fortunately that is not the case with productized service businesses.

A productized service business will force you to focus on scalability. Which is a much better problem to have than wondering how in the world you’re going to satisfy all of the additional (unpaid) requests from your clients.

We won’t lie – it is going to take some upfront work to set up your product and processes, but once your scalable productized service is built your working life will be so much easier.

Now, your productized service won’t function perfectly on autopilot mode. You’ll still need to monitor and manage your processes, customers, and (eventually) employees, but the workload will be considerably less than when you were personally working with each client.

Reason #3: It can function without you

Free time is back! And this time it won’t come at the expense of a missed mortgage payment. Once you’ve started your scalable productized business (and gotten your first customers) you have officially crossed the imaginary line from freelancer to business owner.

If you want, you can run a productized biz solo, but it is way more fun when other people are doing the work. After you’ve hired your first employees, you can even start planning that vacation you always dreamed about as a freelancer.

But before you go book your plane tickets, you’ll have to spend some time training your employees so they can still do their job without you.

SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) will make or break your ability to unchain your time spent on the business from the amount of money you make. If you’ve documented all of your SOPs so your employees can easily access them, then your vacation will feel like a vacation. If not, it will simply feel like work from another location.

We recommend SweetProcess.  If you want to learn more about all the software we recommend for getting your productized service business off the ground, click here.

Reason #4: No more client proposals!

One of the requirements freelancers routinely face is writing up client proposals for each new client they land. They eat up your time. They’re boring. And they’re repetitive. Well no more!

There’s no need to have client proposals when you’re selling a product with a defined scope. Your customers already know exactly what you’re going to do for them before they buy.

Which not only leads to extra time but will also make your customers happier on average as they know exactly what they’re signing up for.

Reason #5: Get paid upfront

What’s worse than writing up client proposals all day? When you’re cramming a 20-hour project into a 14 hour day because you desperately need the cash.

Another major difference between owning your own business and doing freelance work for clients is you get paid upfront rather than when the job is completed.

Once you find an effective marketing channel for your productized business, you can scale it up and consistently bring in paying customers and create a flywheel of growth.

Reason #6: You only need a handful of clients

How many clients do you need to have right now as a freelancer just to make ends meet? My guess is you could cut that number in half and still be able to pay the bills.

A productized service will allow you to be much pickier in who you let in since you’ll be able to charge more. Naturally, those tire kickers won’t even bother and the prospects who need your solution will be happy to pay you more for solving their problems.

Remember: your customers will pay you for the value you create for them, not how many hours of labor you put in. So don’t undercharge your productized services. If you know it will create a lot of value, charge more!

Reason #7: Make more money

All of the previous reasons allude to the biggest benefit of the productized model — making more money. When you have a product that’s scalable and provides value then you’re bound to make more money and enjoy more time not working (or starting another productized service!).

Plus, you can make additional money by offering some of the highly technical services you (grudgingly) did for your clients as an upsell.

Conclusion

All of the reasons above make the case for why you should ditch your freelance work and instead turn it into a productized service. You will have more free time, more money in your bank account, and less stress in your day to day life.

If you want to start your productized service today, we are opening applications to Jar.  You will get a ticket management system to process your requests, as well as access to Russ Perry (founder of Design Pickle, one of the top productized services businesses) to help you with any hiccups and provide personalized coaching and training. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear when applications are open.

John is the marketing coordinator at Jar. Other than attracting new visitors, John enjoys playing music and going on runs with his chihuahua.

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