Make more revenue for your service based business
If you have expertise in particular area, there are lots of different ways to sell it
I bet you want to make more money, don’t you? Of course, we all do.
The thing about being a service is that we all get trapped into the trading money for hours. Most people focus on just two choices. Work more hours or increase your prices. Well, there’s only so many hours you can work in a day, and price increases can be a good thing to do if you feel your services are in high demand and you are fully booked, but it can be tricky.
The hours for money model means you can never earn any more than the hours you have.
Let’s say you are a consultant of some kind, and you currently charge a daily rate for your services. So for the sake of making the sums simple, you charge £500 a day x 5 days a week = £2500 a week. Not a bad whack you may be thinking, but the point here is that you’ve reached the maximum you can ever earn with that model.
Ideas for adding revenue where you’re not just trading time for money
I’ve outlined a few thoughts that could help you take what you already have in your business and turn it into additional revenue streams. I’m not saying that these things will work for everyone, and they all need time or money investment to get set up, but once you’re up and running, they all have the potential to increase your increase your bank balance. Hopefully, this list will give you something to think about.
1. Adopt a value pricing model.
This means that instead of working out how many hours it will take you to do the job and multiplying by your hourly rate, you create a package of your services, and you price it according to the value of the results you will deliver to the client. This can be tricky to get right, and you need to be confident in your abilities to perform. This article in the Harvard Business Review will give you more insight into this.
2. Register on clarity.fm
This is a site where people pay for expert advice. You create a profile, fill in things you are an expert on, set a price and you’re off. Like all things it will take time to build up. You a put a link from Clarity onto your website to let people know they can pick your brains for say, half an hour, and you can get paid for it. You can get details here.
3. Share your expertise with others
Do you have any professional skills that you could teach? Consider creating a workshop that solves a common problem that your customers face. Start by pitching your idea to your local Chamber of Commerce or professional association. I do this with a couple of local Chambers. They market the course to their members, and we split the profit 50/50. If you’ve got a popular topic, you could earn double your standard daily rate.
4. Teach your course online
If your classroom course proves popular, take that content and turn it into an online course. It does take a fair bit of effort and some investment to make it happen, but once it is done, it’s passive income. There are loads of great systems that make this easy such as Teachable, Thinkific or Coursecraft.
5. Offer yourself as a speaker
If you’ve got a lot of experience in a specialist area, and have built up a good track record and reputation in your field, people will be prepared to pay you to share your pearls of wisdom to their audience. Universities, schools, corporate events, professional association events and conference organisers always need good speakers. About 15 years ago I was asked to take part in a Master Class at Lancaster University. They didn't offer any money, and I didn't ask, I figured it would be a good networking opportunity. While there, I discovered that the other speakers were all being paid. Why did they get paid? They asked for a fee and got it. A lesson I've never forgotten.
Since then I’ve done loads of these, and about 90% of them will pay me a reasonable fee plus expenses (including the British Association of Alpaca Farmers, which was bizarre, but lucrative). I have a repertoire of different talks that only take an hour or so of prep time to tailor to the audience. I turn up, talk, do a Q&A, and I’m done. Again, it takes a bit of hustle to get this going, but it can be worth the effort, and it adds credibility to your reputation.
6. Write a book
Nowadays we can all publish our own books. In fairness, unless you’re the next Dan Brown (heaven help us all), books don’t bring in a massive amount of income, but after you’ve written the book, the revenue that comes in is passive, and you don’t have to do anything else. And it's good for your reputation.
7. Become an affiliate for products and services that are relevant to your website visitors
I know this has a bit of sleazy reputation, but providing you stick to things that you genuinely believe in, it could work for you. For example, if you re a personal trainer, you might recommend nutritional supplements that you consider to be good quality. If you are a business coach, you might suggest some books, CDs that you think your clients would benefit from. You can sign up to become an affiliate of the products and services you rate highly and you get a unique link. Then if a visitor to your site purchases via your link you get a commission. It might only be small drips, but you don’t have to lift a finger to benefit. You can read more about it here.
If you would like to reach people who would love to work with you, but who are not at the stage where they can afford your services, you could create a membership option where you do something like a live webinar coaching session in exchange for a relatively small fee each month. So if you are are an HR consultant, you could do a membership that offers downloadable templates and a monthly webinar with advice on everyday HR problems for say, £50 a month. 100 members could net you an extra £60k a year! In fairness, it’s hard work to get that many members, but even if you don’t make that amount, it’s something that you could giveaway to add value to a service package to sweeten a contract.
This graphic designer has set up a little resource library of design templates and charges $6.99 a month. Pure passive revenue.
I have 25+ years of marketing experience to sell, and here are all the different ways I make money from it
- Consulting services: So these include copywriting, content marketing, and marketing strategy work. This is still the bulk of my revenue and has the highest price because it involves all my time in making things happen. But I try to look at value-based package deals where possible.
- Workshops - I run some 1-day classroom workshops. Some are a flat fee, but others are on a shared profit basis, that on average, double my daily consulting rate.
- Accredited courses- I got myself accredited so I can offer people courses that give them a nationally recognised qualification and/or CPD points. I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get it, and it’s taken about 18 months of hard work to get this revenue stream into profit, but now it’s very worthwhile.
- Speaking engagements- I couldn't retire and become a full-time speaker, but over the year I'd say it pays for the leasing and running of my car, which is not to be sniffed at.
- Online courses: I’m going through the process of turning my classroom workshops into online courses. I already have the content, and I know the topics were well received, so the heavy lifting has already been done. And I have the flexibility to offer accredited as well as non-accredited versions. I've already got people booked on to my Digital Marketing for Beginners course which starts in a couple of weeks.
- 1-2-1 Marketing Coaching - I do individual marketing coaching sessions where people are buying time, but all I have to do is offer advice based on my many years in the marketing business, and produce a follow-up report, and the job is done.
- Graduate boot camps - This doesn’t appear on my website. I still have contacts and a good reputation in the PR agency world. Many years ago I created a Graduate Bootcamp training programme where I put new graduates in creative agencies through their paces for a week. The return on investment to the agency is that the new recruits can do meaningful ‘billable work’ the following week. I don't advertise it, but it still sells.
So that’s seven revenue streams selling the same thing. Food for thought isn’t it?
That’s it for this week.
The action for you this week is to look at what you know, and think about the value you add - how else could you sell it?
Let me know what you come up with.