*This is a sneak peak at the second chapter of our new book: SCALE: How freelancers, consultants and single person micro-businesses can scale their business and grow profit*
You feel you need a larger budget – that’s just not true
There’s a Catch 22 when it comes to scaling your business. It usually revolves around money or budget.
“I can’t grow my business because I don’t have the budget to grow. But I’ll never have more money unless I grow”.
That school of thinking that it takes money to make money is old.
“I often hear people say, “It takes money to make money.” This is not true.
-Robert Kiyosaki (https://www.richdad.com/Resources/Rich-Dad-Financial-Education-Blog/april-2013/what-does-it-take-to-get-rich.aspx)
It takes determination, discipline, a willingness to learn and try new things. But most of all it takes time.
When we think of scaling and growing, the archaic Victorian ideal of having more staff, a bigger office and a private jet are what we’ve been conditioned to think of.
Scale and growing your business is not about buying more things. Having more staff and a bigger office aren’t helping you scale. They’re the results of growth.
Scaling your business is about helping more people. That’s all. In your current state, how many people can you help a day? 10? Maybe even 1?
Scaling your business is about looking at your resources, what you know and who you can help. And multiplying the methods and ways you can reach those people and help them.
If you’re smart and dedicated, disciplined and have a plan. Starting to scale your business can be done a few days. It doesn’t need a huge budget but it does require a shift in understanding what your business can deliver.
You have no idea how to scale a grow a consultancy business
Freelancers – we’re covering you in the next section. But you still need to read this as you share common walls.
If you’ve decided that you want to scale and grow your business. That, is more important than knowing how to scale it.
Particularly consultancies. If you’re a consultant, more often than not you’re exchanging your time for money. It can be hard to see how to scale this business. You barely have the time now to talk to customers, what’s it going to be like when you’ve got 100 more customers?
But that’s part of the problem. You don’t know how to scale a consultancy, because you’re focusing on the wrong part of growth.
Growth and scale aren’t in the delivery. It’s about the systems and processes you use to run the business. It’s about the variety of products you have to help people. Growing your business isn’t designed to give you more problems, it should solve more problems otherwise why would we do it?
But if you don’t know to scale, fret not. This entire book is designed to teach you how to scale your business, manage the results and build a smarter business.
Having said all that, the most common objection we heard when researching this book, was “no one else knows what I know and no one else can deliver this”.
If that were true, and I mean REALLY true. This book can’t help you. Let’s be honest. It’s probably pretty unlikely that you developed your own unique and completely new consultation process. You probably learnt a few different skills and exercises from a variety of people.
If what you do CAN only be delivered by you, then how do people remember it and implement it in their life or business? What happens if the advice and exercises you give become a part of their business process? How do they teach it to their new staff or colleagues?
Don’t get trapped thinking that you’re the only person who can deliver results. Because you’re not. Besides, the methods we’ve got for growing a business don’t really rely on getting other people to deliver the work.
You don’t know how to scale and grow a freelance business
Consultants, don’t skip this part. You share a lot of commonalities with freelancers.
“I’m the only designer/developer/chef I trust. I haven’t found results like mine and it’s important to my brand things stay consistent.”
See consultants? You’re not the only ones who think this.
Freelancers, I want to ask you a question. Have you ever looked at other people’s work, in the same marketplace as yours and thought “I’ll never be as good as that. He/she is way better than me”.
We all have. I do it every day. Compare myself to others. It’s human nature. However it you do think that, I can say with utter confidence that you’re a better designer and developer than me. You really are.
And if that’s true, that you do have peers in your network who you think deliver better work than you…why do you believe you’re the only person who can deliver work to your customers?
We call this the “freelancers paradox” – I’m the only one who can do it…but I’m sure there are better people than me out there.
Usually what people mean when they say the above. Is that they can’t afford to hire someone better than them. And even those they can hire, they wouldn’t know how to ensure consistent results.
This is a two part problem, because it highlights that what we really want is consistent results. Which I totally agree with. It’s imperative that your customers get the same experience and results from your business.
It also shows that we feel our only options are to spend money to get other people to help.
The truth is that yes, it does take time to ensure reliability and consistency with results. It’s not going to happen overnight. On the other hand, your own results might not be that consistent either. What if we could develop a system to make sure that everyone delivered the same level of work AND you had more time to work on your business?
Sounds good to me.
Fear of giving up (or taking) control
Here’s the real scary part. I know full well why there are excuses on growing and scaling. At its core, we’re usually afraid of control.
Humans crave routine and control. Even over small aspects of their life. Not everyone wants to become a tyrannical dictatorial overlord (although I personally wouldn’t pass up the opportunity). But we do all have control over certain aspects of our lives and business.
The idea of letting other people have control over that seems terrifying.
On the other hand, the thought of having to take more control and more ownership of a business. That’s equally scary.
Maybe you don’t think you want the stress of more responsibilities. Or maybe you feel no one else can “quite get it right, just how you do it”.
Both are untrue. Scaling and growing your business, is NOT the Industrial Age idea of being a big boss manager man, sat behind a Cheltenham desk. It’s about giving you more breathing room and autonomy in your business so you have more time and resources.
Scale and growth is also not designed for micro-managers. Every micro-manager I’ve ever worked with, has always said “I’m not a micro-manager”.
One manager I had used to constantly refer to himself as “a hands off kind of guy”. He would always be inspiring us to take ownership of tasks, to grow our own experiences.
Yet when you presented a solution to him, or a series of ideas. He ended up having his own and we’d do those. Utterly demoralising.
The reason he was never happy, is because he failed to provide details and specifics on the results he wanted. So therefor, when people came to him with their idea of “ownership of a task”. He’d always be thinking “yeah but that’s not how I’d own it…”
People unwilling to give up control, are so inclined because they’re not willing to explore the systems, results and process behind what they’re giving up control of.
If I just threw over a web design project to some bod on a freelancing site, without any details, of course the results will suck. If I document and set a path that I need people to follow, the results become a lot more consistent.
No examples of what to change
It can be hard to even think what you need to change, when you don’t know what your options are.
Where do you even start? New products? New systems or payment methods? How much does that all cost?
For me, and the rest of the team at Sell Your Service. It always starts with the question “what results does the customer want?”
What results does your audience want? What do your customers want to change and do?
If you’re a social media traffic consultant, would it make sense to help your customers get more traffic from social media? Then let’s start there.
We’ll work backwards from the product. Looking at scaling our audience, money and profit management and managing outsourced labour.
By the end of this book, your problem won’t be thinking of what to change. It’ll be deciding from all your ideas, what’s the most important to change.
No idea on HOW to make those changes
Of course it’s all well and good knowing that you need to change the payment process. Or you need a new online course. But how are you going to make those changes?
It’s tough knowing that you’re going to have to learn a lot again. It’s exhausting making mistakes and growing your business. This book is specifically designed and written to alleviate some of pain. But we know the effort of change and learning is hard work.
We’re going to provide examples of what to change and how businesses need to create those changes. It’s not always about large flashy products and services. It might be as simple as streamlining your blog conversion process.
If we don’t know how to deliver a change, in this book, specifically designed to help people scale a freelancer or single person consultancy, then we’ll know someone who can.
Don’t let HOW stop you from exploring a better business and life.
Funds seem to dry up before you can use them to invest
One of the most frustrating aspects of growing a business, is the funds. We’ve already explored why having no funds isn’t necessarily a roadblock in growth. However there are realities that some projects will require fiscal injections.
There are usually one of two scenarios played out. First, any income is quickly eaten up by bills and other expenses. There doesn’t seem to be anything left to put into future projects.
We’ll cover profit and money management later, demonstrating the reasons you’ve got no money to invest. It’s easier than you might think too. It’s not about scrounging or buying cheap.
Second, you’re concerned that growth based projects need subscriptions to other services and products. But if you’re barely scraping by now, how are you going to be able to afford repeat payments for new products?
The answer to this lies in pricing. Your price to cost model needs to be able to cover the products you’re using or offering to customers.
We’ll cover this later too.
You’re not going to go into debt for this growth. It’s designed to help scale your business and make it profitable.