I recently received an email, similar to ones I have received in the past, it went something like this:
“I just wanted to let you know, I was recently laid-off from my job at ABC Company and decided to start my own writing business. I’ll be providing services like copy writing, content strategizing, social media marketing, and web design.
I’d appreciate any referrals you can send my way.”
What’s wrong with this email?
Is it a poor way to ask for referrals? Yes!
But that’s not what bothers me the most about this email, and the many I’ve received like it.
Most people who send the emails are good at one of the items on their list and typically only have experience with one of those items.
So when they add all of the other things that are seemingly related, it’s frustrating, because I know they don’t have the skills or knowledge necessary to succeed.
Most small business owners have this issue. They think they need to take on a bunch of services to make enough money. However, over the years, as a small business owner, I discovered that less is more.
Here is my best advice, “Focus on what you’re good at and find good partners to handle the rest.”
Partner with somebody who offers a service or has a skill-set that complements yours.
Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking, ‘the more you partner, the less you profit’.
But that’s not true.
If you’re focusing on what you’re good at, you’re able to perform a great service, provide even better customer service or support and charge a premium.
If you’re spending most of your time trying to learn how to perform these new services, that you’re not experienced with, how are you going to become the go to person for the service you’re really good at?
It’s been proven that when you’re new at something or don’t really have the right skill-set, you don’t charge enough money and when you’re living paycheck to paycheck you’re not likely to perform well.
Maybe I need to be more clear.
If you’re a writer and you’ve never developed a website before, does it really make sense to start offering web design as a service, no matter how easy WordPress makes it seem?
Speaking from experience:
When I started my business I didn’t intend to offer website development as a service. In fact, I didn’t intend to offer any services other than consulting. I wanted to consult small business owners and help them start using blogging to market and grow their businesses.
However, the first person that contacted me needed a website, and I needed a paycheck, so I assured them they had called the right person.
I spent the next several weeks trying to develop a website and finally I was able to deliver a very poor website.
And eventually (2 years later) I became a website development shop that offered a lot of other services related to internet marketing.
And to be completely transparent. The only reason I was able to achieve success, for 5 of my 6 years in business, was because the first year I could afford to fail.
I spent the first year as a business owner learning everything I could about internet marketing and website development.
Looking back, I should have told that first client I could get his website taken care of, and used a skilled partner to actually get it done.
If you’re a writer, learn everything you can about writing great copy, developing awesome content strategies and sharing on social media.
Don’t waste your time trying to build a website.
Don’t take this the wrong way:
I’m not saying you shouldn’t develop yourself and learn new skills, just don’t start performing those new services until after you’ve developed the skill and can truly deliver a great result.
If you’ve read this and you’re feeling a little defensive or upset, you’re probably feeling a little guilty because I’ve disproved your situation.
But don’t take it personal. I’m only interested in helping you become more successful.
Your turn: Share your thoughts. Leave a comment. Ask your questions.