This Type of Business Will Always Struggle to Scale

If you want to start a service-based business, you can do so with minimal investment.

Take me, for example. I have a home office. Already own a cell phone and computer and most of what I sell is the knowledge I’ve gained over more than a decade of working.

Thanks to the explosion of online businesses, there are also dozens of tools you can take advantage of for free. These are apps like Mailchimp, Acuity Scheduling, Freshbooks, and Zoom.

Because I didn’t have start-up resources, I did—and still do—most of the administrative and operations tasks myself. I wrote all my content, learned how to build and maintain my website, and kept the books.

This DIY method allowed me to show up online as a legitimate business owner without going into debt, keeping all of the profits in the business or in my pocket.

But it also meant I was trading my time for money. If I had the chance to learn it myself or hire someone to do it for me—who was probably an expert already—I chose the former. Why pay someone else, when I could do it myself, I thought, especially when my client roster wasn’t full.

THE ZERO OVERHEAD BUSINESS

I started recognizing a pattern. And I see it now with solopreneurs and family-owned businesses.

As a business owner, I was toiling over my copy, packages, and marketing until I landed a big client.

Once the contract was signed, all of my business to do’s fell by the wayside. I then became become hyper focused on client deliverables until the project was complete.

Then I lifted my head head, took a deep breath, and realized there weren’t any leads left in the pipeline. So I would then shift my focus 180 degrees back to being all in the business trying to fill my books again. And then panic set it.

I couldn’t legitimize paying someone to help out because I needed clients to get money. But then once I had a client, I couldn’t slow enough to onboard a partner.

It was feast or famine and once this cycle starts it’s hard to break, whether you’re just starting out or five years in.

It’s impossible to see your own blind spots

 
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It may seem easier and more financially lucrative to conduct all of your business tasks yourself. But if you choose this route you must recognize you’re operating in a vacuum.

It’s easy to settle into the assumption that we don’t need to set aside money for growth. That we can do it all ourselves. But that’s a dangerous—and lonely—place to be.

I don’t HAVE to go to conferences for my business to be successful, but it does allow me to me see how I relate my business to others.

I don’t HAVE to invest in coaching, but it helps me spot long-held beliefs and behaviors that are holding me back.

I don’t HAVE to invest in a VA, but taking things off my plate that drag me down—like systems and funnels—allows me to create projects I’ve dreamed of for years.

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD

One of the myths I stopped believing in 2018 was that I should only hire people for things I couldn’t do myself.

I know I can learn how to do most of the things I need to do in my business.

I could take a course on how to get leads through Pinterest.

I could develop an automated system taking clients from lead to contract to on-boarding.

And I could find guests for my new podcast, edit each episode, write the show notes, and market it.

But if I’m spending all of my time on these things, adding client work on top becomes either impossible or something I resent because my body and mind are begging for rest.

FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS, SCALE YOUR BUSINESS

You might feel like you’ve lost perspective on what makes your business unique. Or maybe you’ve got so many ideas coming to you that you can’t take action fast enough.

To grow you can’t be stuck here second guessing yourself and perfecting each detail. It’s all about taking action.

You probably won’t be booked out when you first bring on help. And while that’s scary to invest when you aren’t sure it will pay off, it’s normal.

Make a list of the things only you can do in your business. For me, the things I just can’t delegate are:

  • Writing content,

  • Serving my clients,

  • Recording my podcast, and

  • Email.

But there also things I’m happy to pass of to someone else like:

  • Creating marketing graphics,

  • Developing a social media plan,

  • Designing my brand assets, and

  • Editing my sales copy (you just can’t be your own editor!).

For you these lists are going to look different.

The point is you must get clear on the things you will own in your business and those that will be better if you outsource them.

When you invest in your business you’re sending a message that you’re clear on your zone of genius and also value an expert’s touch. After all isn’t that what you’re asking your clients to do when they hire you?

Kim WenselComment