If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed a few buttons have disappeared off my site. Those that say ‘work with me’ and ‘services’ got the boot a couple of months ago because I’ve decided to focus on teaching for a while. It seems like a lot of designers have done this and I tried to hold out, but when one too many clients disappear / call me an idiot / fight to have their terrible ideas added to my beautiful design, I kinda got over it.
Teaching is something I’ve realized I have a major passion for and I love helping my students accomplish things. Creating products makes me feel more financially stable because I’m no longer depending on someone else for a big chunk of my monthly income. Yes, I’m still dependent on students and customers to buy my products, but one course refund is a much smaller piece of the pie than half my income for the month disappearing with a flakey client.
So if you’re starting to feel the itch to move away from working one-on-one and are hoping to create products so you can help lots of people at once, this post is for you! Here’s how to make the transition from a service-based business to a product-based business.
Start creating your first product now
Like today. You probably side hustled your way into your freelance business and now it’s time to side hustle your way out of it. By creating your first product before you make the switch you’ll be able to nail down your product creation and launch process, learn how to properly market a product, gauge what your audience is interested in buying, and have a realistic idea of how much income you can earn each month. Your starter product can be an ebook, a mini course, a video workshop, a workbook, etc. Just create something simple that you can sell. (Mine was an ebook, it was mediocre, which is why it’s not available anymore, but it got me started.)
Do the math
How many products do you need to sell each month in order to make the same amount or more than you make with 1:1 clients? Test different price points. What if your starter course is $97 and then you create two more courses that help students level up? What if you create three courses that are all $197 that cover your three main topics? What if you create six ebooks, each for $29? Products are fun when the options are endless, but don’t let that be your reason for procrastinating. Pick a scenario and go with it – you can always adjust later.
Make a plan
Yeah, I’m back telling you to make a plan again. Is this getting old yet??
The best way to feel confident about a business decision and execute it with any amount of ease and success is to figure out what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. This means deciding when you’ll officially finish your last client project, when you’ll transition your website, and when your first, second and third products will launch. Planning in advance also means you can let any long-term clients know they’ve got until a certain date to finish their sessions and give them some references for other people to work with.
I stopped taking clients about five months before I took all that stuff off my website. I mentally made the switch, but I was still anxious to pull the plug online. Once I did (without saying anything to anyone), I felt SO MUCH better.
Reduce the number of clients you take / the time commitment of the services you offer
You don’t have to slam the doors in perspective client’s faces in order to move toward a product-based business. It’s less stressful and more financially responsible to either cut back on the number of clients you take or cut back on your hours. For example: If you’re a designer, you could move from taking on 8-week-long website projects to offering tech support services and smaller design projects instead. You could also transition to taking consulting clients for a while so you’re Skyping an hour or two each day and have the rest of the time to write lessons or record video.
Know that it doesn’t happen overnight
I launched my first product about three years ago. It could have gone faster had I started creating products with the intention of moving away from client work, but I was just making stuff to make stuff. Depending on how quickly you’re able to produce products and how well they take off, you could make the transition in six months or a year. The big question is – how much hustle do you have?