Why I’m Still Running a Service Business and Have No Plan to Stop
Who I am today is very different than who I was a year ago. And while the human condition is such that we’re usually focusing on getting better, 2018 was the kind of year that forced me to reassess my entire life.
Personally, my life was turned upside down with the death of a parent, quickly followed by major illness for the surviving parent and everything that’s part and parcel of that. Then, my business partner of 2.5 years left the business completely unexpectedly.
With all of that came trauma, anxiety, and stress that I definitely did NOT have on my vision board for 2018. So when I say I reassessed, this was a little (okay a lot) more than some introspection and soul searching.
I experienced a major existential WTF in most areas of my life and my business was no exception.
Through all of that, I came to some major realizations about the two businesses I run, and what’s really important to me. Entrepreneurship hasn’t been so much a choice for me for the last 14 years but a vocation. I literally can’t imagine not running a business, so knowing I was all in on being my own boss, I needed to dig into if these were the businesses I wanted to keep running.
I played with different scenarios because we’ve reached the point where Small Business Boss is well past being a viable business separate from the agency. We could very easily stop serving clients and just focus on the mastermind and membership. The revenue is there, and I know we could easily grow it with more time and energy invested on a full-time basis.
But here’s the thing. That’s not what I wanted to do. Working with clients is a huge part of who I am, and it makes everything we do at Small Business Boss stronger.
In a world where people abandon doing the thing they teach as quickly as they can to make “passive” income, running an agency gives me a perspective and mastery of a client-based business that’s unparalleled.
However, mastery is only one of the reasons I’m wholly committed to a services business. Here are a few others:
Want to become irrelevant quickly? Then stop doing the thing you’re teaching! As obvious as this may seem, it’s incredibly common in the online world.
How can you trust the guidance or mentorship of someone who’s not done the thing you need help within the last year? At that point, you’re dealing with theory — not what really and truly works.
For me to have integrity with the members of the Double It Mastermind and the Small Business Boss community in general, I need to remain relevant. I can provide input on a proposal as I wrote 10 of my own last month, or share what I’m doing in a given month to generate leads.
Business evolves and changes quickly. What worked to find clients two years ago isn’t necessarily working today, so why would I teach that? (And let’s not even talk about how icky I’d feel if I did
At the risk of sounding like an old-timer, I’ve already done the recession thing in my career. Twice. And it’s not pretty.
A recession is inevitable, and it will in no uncertain terms force a market correction in the online world. I know that seems bleak, but the first thing to go in budgets will be non-essentials, like fluffy online courses or programs.
In the last recession, I was freelancing for corporate clients. While it was scary, I made it work because these companies still needed marketing help, and they didn’t have the money for full-time resources. I believe the same will be true when the next recession rolls around, and I don’t want to tie my income to a bubble that’s going to burst.
Running a service business is the ultimate in simplicity. It’s about finding a client, booking that client, and serving that client. No big old marketing budget needed or the necessity to build a massive audience.
Running a service business is the fastest path to cash and can be managed in a way to minimize overhead while ensuring profitability.
Plus, I’ve done the launch model thing, and for me, I’d rather be able to make $10k, $20k or more after one conversation and writing a proposal than having to woo hundreds or thousands of people to generate that revenue.
The fact is, I’m great at new business development. I love serving clients and the relationships we build in the process. So why would I waste those skills in pursuit of something that’s supposedly easier?
Service businesses make the world go round, so if you’re entertaining the idea of abandoning working with clients for something else, I’d challenge you to ask yourself why.
If it’s to make more money or make things simpler, I want you to know you CAN do that in a service business despite what conventional online business wisdom may say. You just need to find a path ahead that works for you.