Fail is a pretty strong word, but that’s what I want to talk about today. Failing as a service-based solopreneur.
If you’re on the other side of a few clients in your business, you may have had a few different experiences. Some clients may have moved on happily and grateful. Others you may have felt like you failed when they moved on.
And that’s stressful to have clients leave and feel like you weren’t enough for them. Or you never met their expectations. Or you weren’t clear with what you offered and were never able to find your groove with that client.
I want to share 5 fast ways to fail as a service-based solopreneur.
1. Don’t meet with your client regularly.
If you don’t have a time set aside every week to communicate with your client, then you will fail. You don’t have to have long drawn out conversations with them. Meeting with them may look like a 20 minute phone call or an email or better yet a face-to-face meeting. Your client wants to know you’re there and that you know what is going on. Customer service in this industry is huge and having your client feel like you’re accessible is something that will never go out of style.
2. Expecting them to have it all together.
Anytime you’re in a service-based industry, processes and procedures are necessary for any service you are offering. If the client already has processes built into their business and you are there to maintain those processes, then great! Communicate that to your client that you are simply following what they’ve asked and make sure that is what they are expecting from you. If you’re creating a system from scratch, recognize that and communicate it to your client. Let’s say you’re a graphic designer. If someone hires you to create new graphics for them, but they don’t know what colors, texts or fonts they want and you have to create a brand board from scratch, that is completely different than using what they have and running with it.
As you put things into place, let them know of the new procedures and ask them to follow up on their end if there is something you need from them.
If you go in and they don’t have a system set up, be sure to let them know if you are capable of setting up that system or not instead of fumbling through and wondering what should be done. (This would be a great additional revenue stream – setting up systems for a client and then walking away once you’ve trained the processer on what to do)
You want to feel valued as a service-provider. Especially if it’s just you working, you may realize you don’t have that much overhead so why charge a lot? Sister. You need to charge for your time in addition to your expenses. If you know a project is going to take you 40 hours, charging $400 means you’re making $10 an hour. That’s barely minimum wage and you are worth more than that. Set your prices higher so that you feel valued and while you’re working on their behalf, you’re not also worried or looking for more work because you can’t cover your bills. Fewer clients with larger ticket items and stellar customer service is something that I wish I stuck with from the beginning of my business.
4. Not having your own processes in place.
If you don’t have any internal processes in your business that you follow and refine, you’re bound to fail. This means, what do you do when you onboard a client? What questions do you ask? How do you decide what to charge them? Your client may come to you asking for one thing, but you need to be a professional and look through what their business is and know what they really need. Remember, they’re coming to you for advice. Don’t be afraid to tell them you are not right for what they’re looking for or kindly tell them that they need more help than they think. Also have a way to offer those higher services if you’re wanting to add that onto your work load. Having your own processes in place in your business will help you feel more professional and competent as you work with new clients.
5. Taking on too much too fast.
Say a client come to you and asks for you to offer a service you don’t offer because you don’t know how to do it. Some would say ‘take on the client! Learn and grow!’ But if you’re not comfortable doing it. Say no. If you’re stressed just thinking about it, say not now. Do some research, find out what it really entails and then decide if you’re willing to offer it as a service. You may lose a client this way, but that’s ok. There is plenty of work out there and you don’t have to serve everybody.
Failing as a service-based solopreneur can be devastating. However, failure is inevitable in business I think. You can’t have all sunshine and no rain because then you’re in a desert. If you’ve failed before, know that the opposite of these things will help tremendously. Meet with your client regularly. Don’t expect them to have it all together. Charge more. Have your own processes in place. Take clients on slowly.
You’re not a failure even if some of your actions are failures. Get back up. Learn your lesson. And try again.
Maybe you’re in this place now where you don’t know what to do in your service-based business. Maybe it seems overwhelming and you need advice from someone a few steps ahead of you. I get it. The advice I’ve gotten from people a few steps ahead of me is invaluable and what’s kept me motivated and moving forward wisely. That’s why I want to offer my advice to you. You can book a 45 minutes strategy session with me where we talk about your business, specific problems you’re having and I give you possible solutions to those problems. My role is to give you ideas and you as the CEO get to take the ones you want and implement those and leave the others behind. No judgment if you don’t take all of my advice. Go to lydiagmiller.com/consulting to book your session. I release my available hours monthly, so space is limited and once it’s gone I won’t open hours until the next month.
I can’t wait to hear from you soon!