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Outcomes > hours. I hope to be able to convince you of this by the end of this article.
Why? Because if you’re looking to create more reliable revenue in your business, this question from Abby (and my subsequent reply) will offer some insights for you:
I’ve recently become an independent contractor (just over a year ago) and have been trading time for money. … Now I’m at a point where I’d like to increase my impact and income, and I am stuck on how to deliver this in a different model. How do I move to more of a contract-based model (with the added complication of not having a set of services, but my work right now is more about doing what is necessary/needed). -Abby H
Creating a sustainable business model as a solo service provider that takes your capacity into account, hits your financial goals, and well-serves your clients is both an art and a science. Here are some tips to consider, using Abby’s specific circumstances as inspiration:
· Take the experience you’ve gained serving clients and find the patterns: What are their common needs/pain points/desires? How do you most often show up to help them?
· Consider making packages to support them that don’t hem them in, but are a great fit to support your clients to move from where they are to where they want to be.
· This also supports you in having more consistency in how you show up and more confidence in what you’ll do and in what revenue you can rely on in your business.
· When you package your offering, price for value, not hours. “What is the value of the outcome of this work to my client?” can be a helpful way to think about that (as well as a deeply subjective and sometimes mind-boggling one). A great example: The very true cliche about the electrician you pay who comes over for 10 minutes to clip one wire and you pay $200. You’re not paying them for their 10 minutes. You’re paying for their years of experience and expertise to know which wire to clip. This is the crux of value-based pricing, which will always warrant a better outcome for you than hourly pricing. It will also benefit your clients by not having surprise costs and not feeling tense about the time you’re spending. (Instead, focusing on the outcome derived.) I also find it helpful to look at pricing in a way that’s sustainable for you and your business by starting with your financial goal and reverse-engineering your offerings/packages.
· Packages can be based on the total time spent. (For example: My virtual assistant packages in six-month containers with a maximum amount of hours spent per month, at a flat monthly fee.) They can be based on an outcome derived. They can be based on a combination of both.
· Think of someone’s payment as their investment in their desired future state and an invitation to you to fix or improve that problem and help them create that desired outcome. It’s up to them to decide if what you charge for that is worth it to them or not.
· This will also require a mindset shift on your part to becoming a business owner, not an independent contractor or freelancer. To own your value and expertise in being able to deliver “whatever is needed,” as Abby said.
· People are looking for reliability, consistency, and quality, and it sounds as though Abby brings all of that. Set up a customer experience to reflect that.
Tapping into the right customer experience?
Monitoring and measuring the customer’s experience is what we do. Many times as business owners we rely on what we think is right, or what a hand full of people are telling us. That narrow viewpoint of the customer’s experience could quickly become your demise. Mystery shopping, social media tracking, reputation management, internal audits and market studies are all the avenues we offer to give you actionable information on what direction to take. We’d like the opportunity to collaborate on your next project. Give us a call.
BY DARRAH BRUSTEIN and CARL PHILLIPS