Your Burning Questions Answered
When it comes to running a service business there are so many different elements of what we do. And that means that while I publish a new episode nearly every week of the year, there are so many questions that I don’t get to answer.
Over the last year, I’ve had a lot of fun answering questions over on Instagram, so for something a little different, I wanted to bring those questions to the podcast. In this episode, I’m tackling your burning questions.
Buckle up, we’ve got a lot to cover.
How do you be authentic on social media?
Honestly, this is a great question as I think so many times the way we’re “taught” to do social media imposes all these rules that prevent us from actually being authentic.
For me, one of the most helpful things I’ve done is established clear lines of what I do and don’t share on social, and have three specific themes I focus on. That way, I can show up without worrying about too much and just be myself. The more I’ve focused on staying in my own lane, and just being me, the more fun I’ve had with it.
How do you deal with procrastination?
Confession: I’m a master procrastinator. I work well with deadlines and under pressure, so many times I cut it super close to the line, so I may not be the best person to ask for this advice.
One thing I’ve had to learn is that procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. For creative work, it’s actually my way of doing the creative part of the process and letting it percolate so I can get into the zone.
The other thing that’s been helpful is not being so hard on myself about it. Rarely is my procrastination a problem –– it’s typically about my unrealistic expectations.
How do you build an intimate, but not large community?
I love this question as knowing who’s in my community by name and knowing them as people is really important to me. I’ve done that by focusing on individual people, building trust and showing up as much as possible. My goal is a small and mighty community, not one with 1000s as that’s not fun to me.
What do you do when you’re ethically conflicted about the client but need the money?
This is a tricky one as it comes down to what the ethical conflict is rooted in. There’s a big difference between something you’re not a fan of, and something that’s truly counter to your values.
I’ve definitely been in this situation and it always comes down to if it’s a dealbreaker for me or not, and truthfully, how much I need the money. If it’s a dealbreaker, it’s a no for me no matter what. If it’s a grey area, or if I need the money I may consider it within certain parameters. The key is always ensuring that you’re going to be able to live with the decision, because there’s nothing worse than having regret because you did it for the money.
Is it normal to feel like you want to give up on your business?
Oh hell yes. This is so very normal. There are still days every so often that I want to set it on fire and walk away. Try to figure out if it’s a pattern and there’s something you can fix or change, or a moment in time where you’re having a bad day.
How do you talk about technical concepts with clients?
Less is more. Too much tech talk and you’ll lose people. I like to focus more on the high level so they understand what’s involved and WHY it’s important. For example, if you’re doing a sales page set up, they need to know that it’s not just design and dev (and that there’s a difference) and then also integrating the sales cart and potentially other items.
Remember, a client can always ask for more info, but the details can easily confuse them and leave them feeling overwhelmed.
How do you package things to speak to your would-be clients?
Packaging is one of my all-time favorite topics, and it’s something I’ve talked about a ton here on the podcast.
I go into detail on how to create packages in an August 2018 episode that will help you get started. Plus, if you sign up for the Small Business Boss Vault, there’s a workbook in there that can help.
A related question I got about this was about offering “higher-end” services in an ethical way. This really comes down to your target market, the pricing norms and what you offer. If you’re looking for help with pricing, there’s also a pricing guide and calculator over in the vault.
How do you get organized and create systems for ongoing services?
If you offer the same systems over and over, you can start to get organized by creating checklists of what’s involved in delivering each service. Once you have standard checklists in place, you’ll have what you need to get tighter project management processes going, which has a domino effect where you can manage timelines and deliver in a much more efficient way.
From there, I’d document each step in the process so you have a standard operating procedure. If you’re solo right now, that may seem like a lot of work, so take it in bite-sized chunks. Having those systems in place before you hire helps save time now, and when you do hire it will make things so much easier.
Finally, create a central hub for everything as it can help free up mental bandwidth and ensure you’re not wasting time. We use Notion to have all our templates, systems and more all in a single location. That’s our second brain instead of searching Google Drive and our project management system, Basecamp 2.
How do you fire clients?
This is a tough one as it’s a situation that can vary wildly. I’ve personally had some horrible client breakups where it had to be done swiftly, and others which were the relationship coming to a natural conclusion.
The biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the years is to keep it clear and classy. The clearer you can be on the timeline for the wrap up, and the transition plan the better. That said less is always more. When things need to wrap up, I find it best to not get into the nitty gritty details, and over explain.
What’s the most essential or first hire?
For a service business, my favorite first hire is someone who can take work off your plate and is billable. That way they’re helping you free up time and they’re generating revenue.
So many times, I see people hiring a VA thinking that’s the most logical hire and then they end up creating work for them to do. If you’re not sure who to hire, start tracking everything you’re doing and seeing what you need to get off your plate.
How do you get clients without FB Groups? How do I build a consistent timeline?
Listen, I know so many celebrity entrepreneurs focus on Facebook Group as a way to get clients, but that’s only one very limited strategy. And it only works for certain types of businesses, in certain situations.
The gold standard for most service providers in terms of finding clients, regardless of who they serve, are referrals. So if you’re not proactively asking for referrals, start there.
Speaking of proactive, the best way to get clients consistently is to stop waiting for them to come to you. Much of what’s taught about finding clients by celebrity entrepreneurs is focused on much more passive methods that require you reach a wide audience. I’m a big fan of targeted, specific strategies that help you find clients by building a relationship.
In the SBB Vault, there’s a guide called the Client Booking Map that can give you some ideas to get started.
That’s it for this episode. Next week we’ll be talking about what you need to know about those income claims made by celebrity entrepreneurs.