Offering a service is one of the fastest ways to get a new business off the ground. As long as you have skills that will be of use to potential clients, you can start freelancing or consulting with minimal startup costs. However, selling services is associated with particular challenges.
Calculating your efforts per hour can put prospects off because they don’t know how long a particular project can take. Also, when you offer project estimates, you will often discover you underestimated how long it will take to complete the project, especially if you keep going to and fro with the client.
Instead, take another look at the services you offer and see if you can integrate them into products. This provides an opportunity to smooth your pricing and sales strategies.
Better still, creating service-based products will make it easier for your business to grow because your revenue is less tied to the number of hours you can actually work. In this article, we’ll look at why you should turn your services into products and look at exactly those who do it successfully.
A product is just a service, properly packaged
There are endless ways to recombine different services for the benefit of your customers. At the simplest level, products are just an approach to selling the end results of a bundle of services, be it physical services or a system of processes to approach a particular situation.
There are more than a few examples of how an experienced service provider can create software that does at least some of the work necessary to perform a particular service for a customer. However, it is entirely possible to offer non-software-based products as well. Some other options are:
- Training prospects to do at least some of your work to speed up working with you.
- Create a system to ensure that users get consistent results.
- Bundle-related products that your customers need in the course of your collaboration.
Mridu Parikh, a professional organizer, and coach used to only offer home organization services. She was able to set up an online workshop that teaches simplification and organization. She has converted her service experience into this information product.
The online program is very different from working with an organizer at your home: students can follow the program at their own pace and still have the opportunity to ask questions via an interactive discussion forum.
For Parikh, the idea of offering an online course was a natural extension of their self-image: “After many online courses (marketing and business development) I realized that I too can reach and influence a larger market.”
Myscha Theriault shifted her instruction and training of her clients to a subscription model and predicted a shift in the market in which she was active: “The market has moved towards an a la carte situation in terms of the study guide and curriculum versus a full-on postponed comprehensive subscription preference, ”notes Theriault.
While both Parikh and Theriault provided tools for their clients to carry out projects with less guidance and effectively shift their business model from providing services to providing information products, they went about this process very differently.
Creating a service is like creating other businesses
In order to develop a new product – even if you repackage knowledge or services you have already acquired – you have to ask at least a little about your competition. If possible, testing what you want to offer is also incredibly valuable. Doing business is a simple truth: you have to know what you are getting into.
Parikh did both:
I have looked for other online organizing workshops and training programs to see what is available in this room. I also bought an online workshop to see the quality, format, and delivery experience. Before creating my program, I did some local workshops (in person) to check interest and get feedback on my information. This research was invaluable as it set the direction for my online material.
Theriault has a special talent for identifying underserved markets. Instead of doing too much new research, she could use her experience. She had already created a niche specializing in international teaching and her time in the field saw the need for specific teaching materials.
“I knew from experience how hard it was to find children’s literature from under-represented countries, and I knew it was even more difficult to find teaching material for the few books that exist,”.she explains.
Theriault felt the need to create teaching materials for her own students, which she worked through so that she already had a finished product. She saw the opportunity and went for it. “I noticed that other educators always wanted to borrow my files. That was pretty much all of the product testings I needed. “
However, Theriault had to consider some new business models, including selling through third-party platforms. this effort has paid off. The move to a new business model of sales via a third-party platform significantly increased Theriault’s sales. She assumes a conservative estimate that increases her monthly sales by 200 percent.
Another benefit is that the approach lowers your costs.
“It has also completely reduced the overhead cost of product hosting because I can publish the content on various distribution platforms.”Theriault points out
Part of the dramatic increase in sales was Theriault’s ability to enter new markets. “If the curriculum is offered electronically, I can reach more teachers and clients than I could ever do if I were still working in the classroom. I was also able to access the homeschooling market. “
Thanks to a fresh approach, Theriault also has opportunities to explore new opportunities, despite having given up some of her more traditional teaching and tutoring services:
This happened organically. I spoke to an international business partner in the Middle East a few weeks ago and he asked what new things I had tried over the past year. I mentioned that I had put all of these materials that I had developed years ago together as a la carte textbooks. He said he forgot that I was a teacher since I was in travel and financial writing for so long. Then he said he wanted to open an international school and I would help him set it up and do the recruiting for him. That was enough to make me think about adding advisory services to my list of “products” in the near future.Theriault
What options are there for the packaging of your services? Check out the websites where you could sell your parcel services as products. Analyze the market and determine the odds, then trade like Theriault.
Different approaches attract different audiences
Packaging your services is a different approach than before, and you have the potential to open up new markets for your business.
Your new product offering may appeal to new audiences who are interested in your services but are looking for a different experience than your previous core customer base. This requires some marketing experimentation.
While Parikh still has access to her original clients, her online course appeals to buyers who may not be willing to take home a professional organizer:
“… I think I reach out to more working mothers who lack flexibility. There a professional comes to her home during the week and they look for solutions that fit their schedule. “
You can create all sorts of configurations that include both service elements and product elements in the packages you make available to your customers: take into account their needs and your preferences to find the best solution.
In fact, Parikh offers three different packages based on their online workshop: the workshop itself, the workshop with two face-to-face counseling sessions, and the workshop with four face-to-face counseling sessions. The approach allows her to set different price points as well as different service levels for customers who may want to go alone and for those who want more detailed advice.
Consider what your tiered approach might look like, as in the following example model:
- Core Offering: This could be an e-book, guide, online interactive course, etc.
- Core offer Plus X: Here you bundle a comprehensive package offer so that you can add an additional service or additional benefit to your core offer. This could be a wider range of information, e.g. the inclusion of a video bundle.
- Core Offer Plus X Plus Y: This would be your largest bundle offer. One possibility is to be personally active here and offer advice or something special, as well as an expansion of your mid-tier offer.
Take a look at your services and think about how you can bundle them into one information product. Which market can you open up? Are you thinking about which package you can put together for your core offer? Then scale that offering with each tiered option.
Map your product path
As a service provider, you are an expert in your field. Just like Parikh knows how the home organization is incredibly well organized and Theriault found a niche in international education, you probably had at least a few ideas on how to come up with tools that would make your job easier, if not different products of which the Customers could benefit from working with me.
The difficulty is almost always in devising the time and resources to grow the products you envision: writing an info product, starting up app development, or making physical widgets all require resources that you may not already have available.
Create a functioning roadmap. This is the only way to keep your services up and running.
Plan your project in a working order. Take some time each week to do this project. Pack your minimally usable product first while you run tests that show you are on the right track. Build it with critical feedback from your target audience.
Put your experience to work for you.
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