You started a business for two reasons, you wanted the freedom of creating your own schedule, and you wanted to make money.
However, once you’ve tasted the success of landing your first client, and your second client, (and even your third, fourth and fifth), the novelty of being self-employed has worn off and now you’re working 90 hours a week for 15 different bosses (your clients) and a reeeeally crabby direct manager (yourself).
You haven’t created a lifestyle business, you’ve created a J-O-B.
You’re smart, creative, relate well with people, and you’ve already overcome some so many challenges to get this far.
You choose the amount of money you want to make in your business by the way you structure your service offerings.
Solopreneurs and business owners are at serious risk of burnout because of all of the tasks they are managing. From sales to project management, client tasks and personal marketing, it’s no wonder that most business close their doors after three years or less.
There are four main ways you can save you business (and your sanity).
- Sales Funnels
- Systems and Automation
- Passive Income
If you implement one or all of these strategies, you’ll be able to get back to loving your business, while working less hours and making more money.
Getting a sales funnel in place will save you TONS of time in the long run (although, I’m the first to admit, it takes a lot of time and focus to get set up – but, it’s totally worth it!).
When you’re creating a sales funnel for your business, it’s best to start with your final offer first. Brainstorm your ultimate goal of what you’d like to sell without any effort (services, a group consulting or coaching offer, or online course). Start by thinking of what problems you could solve for your customers – are there questions that you get asked over and over again? Do your clients have issues trying to DIY easy items (tasks that you’re not interested in doing for them)? If you can answer one of their needs or solve a problem for your clients, you know you’ve got a winning idea.
Then think of supplemental information that would help build up your authority towards being an expert in that final offer.
- Mini Course
- Video Series
- Tips, Tricks or Checklists
- Swipe Files
- Trial Offers of Your Services
- Case Studies
Systems and Automation
When I first started my marketing agency, I was all over the place. I’m not making any excuses, but as a creative and marketer, I’d much rather do the fun stuff, like designing or working with my people, than focus on my systems. Ugh.
But it’s a necessary evil if you want a functioning business with happy customers.
Not to mention, once your systems and automation are in place, it’s a lot easier to outsource.
To create systems in my business, I started by taking notes on everything I did. I took an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (one for each of my clients), and created a list of everything I complete for them on a monthly basis. I am more of a pencil and paper type of person when it comes to jotting down notes and brainstorming, but then I transferred all of my notes into a calendar template using the Trello app. I was able to keep myself organized and scheduled, and I did a lot better meeting deadlines and over-delivering for my clients.
Automation is another huge piece. Using social media planning tools (to which the social media managers out there will attest!) can be a huge time savings for you. I sit down at the end of each month and plan out a month of content for the following month. This includes blog posts, social media posts, and live marketing/sales items and more. If you follow weekly themes, it helps cement in your clients’ brains everything you can do for them versus jumping around to a different subject every single post.
You can also use tools to send your monthly invoices (especially easy if you have your clients set up on a monthly retainer).
Automate everything you can in your business, and you’ll save tons of time and money, even if you have to invest in some additional tools.
There comes a time in every business when its owner is ready to take a step back and focus on the that bring them the most joy in their business. If there’s a task that you find yourself constantly putting off, consider hiring an outside contractor or specialist to manage it. This could be something like scheduling your social media posts or sending out your invoices.
Depending on your industry, there are a number of ways you can outsource your work, including:
- A contractor in the same industry
- Student Interns (Please pay them!)
- Hiring Overseas Help
- Hire a VA
Outsourcing your work can be challenging for a couple different reasons. For one, you’ve put a ton of time and effort into your business, and it’s scary to hand over some responsibility to someone else. I’m a total control freak, so allowing someone else to step in and help was really scary for me. You also have to be super organized, have your systems in place, and be able to give directions well. The person to whom you outsource also makes a huge impact on your success, so make sure to interview and follow your instincts.
My personal favorite way to save your sanity in your business:
Create Passive Income
Every single service-based business can create passive income.
- Retainer Based Packages (I can honestly say this is the #1 reason for my business’ success thus far.)
- Group Programs (Teach what you know. You’re an expert in your craft, so you can either educate a group of potential clients, or help a fellow business owner who is a few steps behind your current standing.)
- Courses (Online courses are huge right now and gaining popularity. Everyone has something to teach, and you’re no different.)
- Membership Sites (What kind of content is your client looking to receive on a monthly basis? Create a membership site and watch the dollars add up.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a lifestyle business, and a brand you fully enjoy. Thanks so much for reading!