consultant http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7201/all en-US 10 Business Owners Who Turned Services into Products http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-business-owners-who-turned-services-into-products <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-business-owners-who-turned-services-into-products" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-business-owners-who-turned-services-into-pr...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/10-business-owners-who-turned-services-into-products" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014715462Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Offering a service can be the easiest way to start a new business, but many business owners who focus first on services find their businesses evolving. One path that evolution can take is offering a product.</p> <p>While a product usually takes more work at the beginning of the process, it can be a logical choice for many companies. Products can help increase the prices of services that a given company offers, create an easier entry point for prospective customers, or even generate an entirely independent income stream. The following ten business owners developed products from their services for a whole host of different reasons.</p> <p><strong>Live Comedy Act into CDs/DVDs</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.nainan.com/" target="_blank">Dan Nainan</a> has taken numerous turns in his career, starting as an engineer with Intel. He took a comedy class, got into stand up and since then has sold thousands of CDs and DVDs.</p> <p><strong>RFID Installation to a Social Media Product</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.odinrfid.com/" target="_blank">ODIN</a> provides services and, now, products centered around RFIDs. Patrick Sweeny explains their transition: &quot;ODIN handled health care and asset tracking projects, until a special client wanted some social media in the mix. The result is a software and hardware solution available off the shelf.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Marketing Services to a How-To Manual</strong></p> <p>Suzanne Meyer is the founder of <a href="http://www.thewelcomecommittee.net/" target="_blank">the Welcome Committee</a>, and has taken her expertise as a word-of-mouth marketer from service to product. She specializes in local clients and got many requests for franchises. Meyer chose to create a product (a &quot;how to&quot; instructional guide and blueprint) for marketers interested in offering similar services, rather than franchising.</p> <p><strong>Consulting into Downloads</strong></p> <p>Meredith Keller has transformed her expertise as a coach and consultant for small businesses at <a href="http://smallerbox.net/" target="_blank">Smaller Box</a> into a product that she can sell. Her consulting rates were not always in reach for all potential clients, but Keller produced a series of downloadable files on the subject areas she regularly gets asked about.</p> <p><strong>Professional Organizing to a Self-Guided Organization Program</strong></p> <p><a href="http://9minutestoanorganizedoffice.com/" target="_blank">Jessica Chapman</a>&rsquo;s organizing abilities aren&rsquo;t just available as a service. She developed a self-guided training program that can help her target market get organized on their own.</p> <p><strong>Social Media Consulting to Facebook Apps</strong></p> <p>As the co-owner of a social media marketing firm, <a href="http://www.movementstrategy.com/" target="_blank">Movement Strategy</a>, Jason Mitchell has helped create products that make it easier for his clients to manage campaigns and for his company to implement ideas. Where the company previously focused on custom social media solutions, they&rsquo;ve put together specific Facebook applications they can sell, including the popular Facebook Picture Upload Contest Application.</p> <p><strong>Web Design into Software</strong></p> <p>Matt Certo&rsquo;s company, <a href="http://www.websolvers.com/" target="_blank">WebSolvers</a>, started out as a web design firm. Since then, the company has developed to self-service software applications that help his clients, without requiring the company to work more hours.</p> <p><strong>Business Consultant into a Membership Site</strong></p> <p>Kerri Salls is known as a consultant, but that isn&rsquo;t all she does. She has transformed the program she offers to clients into a membership site, <a href="http://howtoachieveyourgoals.com" target="_blank">Goal Achiever's Club</a>, available for a monthly fee.</p> <p><strong>Travel Marketing to DIY Guides</strong></p> <p>Andy Hayes has built a reputation and a business by being &quot;that travel guy&quot; &mdash; and he&rsquo;s built products to match up with his services, too. He offers <a href="http://www.travelonlinepartners.com/resources/by-product-line/" target="_blank">DIY guides for travel marketing</a> that offer his knowledge to companies that want to do the work themselves.</p> <p><strong>Ebook Consulting to Ebook Templates</strong></p> <p>Kelly Kingman&rsquo;s ebook expertise helped her work with clients, but also gave her the opportunity to build <a href="http://stickyebooks.com/ebookevolution/" target="_blank">Ebook Evolution</a>, a product that includes templates, guides, and all the other tools someone needs to create an ebook. She partnered with another service provider, Pamela Wilson, to get the job done.</p> <p>If your business is service oriented, take a close look at your offerings. Is there something you <em>do </em>that can be turned into a <em>thing </em>people might buy? You may not end up with game-changing products such as those noted here. At the least, the exercise will give you a new perspective on your business. And it might help you create an intriguing value-ad or maketing giveaway that results in more demand for the services you provide.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-business-owners-who-turned-services-into-products">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-helpful-tools-to-manage-your-small-business">6 Helpful Tools to Manage Your Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center consultant product marketing service business service marketing small business Sat, 16 Jul 2011 19:25:22 +0000 Thursday Bram 582506 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Freelance: The Top 10 Tips http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bizwoman.jpg" alt="business woman" title="business woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you made your move: you&rsquo;re finally out on your own, earning a living on your terms.</p> <p>No more commuting, no more answering to middle-management and say goodbye to bad office coffee. <em>You&rsquo;re</em> the boss&hellip; and the salesperson, bookkeeper, janitor and receptionist; you&rsquo;ll have to do your work and, in most cases, handle the other aspects of your budding business that &ndash; up until now &ndash; were handled by a co-worker at your last salaried position.</p> <p>Congratulations, you&rsquo;re now a freelancer, contractor, consultant, etc.</p> <p>As a small business owner there will be various tasks for which you&rsquo;ll be responsible and can seem overwhelming, at times. But, there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to make your time worth more. And that value can be measured by a combination of money and self-satisfaction:</p> <h3>Stay Organized</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll need tools for communication, tracking your money, writing invoices and managing your projects. One of the most comprehensive lists I&rsquo;ve found that&rsquo;s chock full of useful software is <a title="Freelancer's Toolkit" target="_blank" href="http://www.cogniview.com/convert-pdf-to-excel/post/the-freelancers-toolset-100-web-apps-for-everything-you-will-possibly-need/">The Freelancer&rsquo;s Toolset</a>. Peruse the list but don&rsquo;t feel you need every item; simplicity is best, so choose only what you need or you&rsquo;ll just make more work for yourself playing with all the cool stuff;</p> <h3>Kill The Distractions</h3> <p>There will <em>always</em> be something you&rsquo;ll think of to avoid starting a project, calling a client or doing paperwork. Even if you have a home-office, temptation lurks in every open newspaper, unkempt garden or messy garage.</p> <p>And besides seemingly productive tasks like rearranging your sock drawer or alphabetizing your canned goods, the Internet will &ndash;if you let it &ndash; pull you in and drag you down. Your friends over at iMyTubeBlogFace will have to wait&hellip; you&rsquo;re on the clock;</p> <h3>Set Aside Time For Specific Tasks</h3> <p>In a way, this is part of staying organized <em>and</em> killing distractions: you restrict your time for certain tasks.</p> <p>Throughout the course of the day it&rsquo;ll be tempting to send or reply to every email every few minutes, or chat with either friends or clients on the phone. But you are at a real job, even if you&rsquo;re still wearing pj&rsquo;s (yes, I&rsquo;m talkin&rsquo; to you).</p> <p>Unless it&rsquo;s really important, most phone calls and email exchanges can wait until you have time to devote to them when you&rsquo;ve completed your task. Constant interruption, spread out over small intervals over a workday, can add up to a lot of lost productivity and late evenings working to catch up;</p> <h3>Networking</h3> <p>I think everyone understands the indisputable value of this: no one knows you&rsquo;re there unless you tell them you are. Join your business&rsquo;s professional organization and attend some functions; also, sites like <a title="Ning" target="_blank" href="http://www.ning.com/">Ning</a> and <a title="LinkedIn" target="_blank" href="http://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a> are just a couple of many online resources for making contacts.</p> <p>Hopefully, you haven&rsquo;t burned any bridges so keep in touch with ex- coworkers and, if appropriate, vendors. Contacting clients of your last employer, though, probably isn&rsquo;t a great idea; your relationship with your ex-employer may prove to be more valuable in the long run;</p> <h3>Define Your Terms</h3> <p>You are a business, and, among other parameters that you&rsquo;ve established, you have fees, you keep reasonable business hours and you have payment terms that keep you self-employed. Prices are (and should be) negotiable, time is flexible; but getting paid is neither of these.</p> <p>Be fair with your clients, both with your prices for your service and with the time you spend working with them; but you need to get paid, and on terms you decide. Your clients should respect this or you won&rsquo;t be in business for very long;</p> <h3>Outsource</h3> <p>There may be times that, to successfully complete a project, you might need to enlist the help of someone with an expertise that you don&rsquo;t possess. In fact, sometimes the growth of a successful business is not measured by the hours you put in doing the labor, but by how you delegate work and manage various aspects of your project that can be handled by someone else;</p> <h3>Work <em>With</em> Your Client, Not <em>For</em> Your Client</h3> <p>Think of your relationship with your client as a partnership: you are an extension of their business, applying your particular skill to help them achieve their goal. You might be designing their web site, writing the copy for their annual report or handling their public relations; your goals should be their goals, because your success depends on their success;</p> <h3>Fire Your Client</h3> <p>A controversial statement? Maybe. But consider this: if you devote a lot of your time and effort to a client that has high demands but is never satisfied, what have you accomplished? I had a client that called me almost daily and, it seemed, gave me a lot of work. But at the end of the year, after having devoted myself to try and meet their expectations, I did a breakout of how much I earned per job from this client: it was far less than what I thought, and the reality was that it was only a few small- to medium-sized jobs I worked on, although it felt like much more when I considered the time I put in.</p> <p>If you are spending a lot of unproductive (and unprofitable) time trying to please a client, it&rsquo;s probably best for you both if you part company;</p> <h3>Do Your Work, Then Step Back&hellip;</h3> <p>&hellip; the only path to serenity. Wise words from <a title="Tao Te Ching" target="_blank" href="http://www.mindfully.org/Tao-Te-Ching-Lao-tzu.htm">Lao-tzu</a> . If you&rsquo;re passionate about your work, sometimes it can eclipse the reason you work and why you went out on your own: to have a different <em>lifestyle</em>. I&rsquo;ve worked weekends, nights and even some holidays because sometimes there are unexpected circumstances that require you to make a sacrifice now and then to get the job done, and get it done right.</p> <p>But no one says you have to work 14-hour days, 6-7 days a week; it defeats the purpose of quitting a salaried job to become an entrepreneur. Don&rsquo;t feel guilty if you take some time off;</p> <h3>And The Last Guideline Is&hellip;</h3> <p>&hellip;up to you.</p> <p><em>You</em> decide what&rsquo;s important, how you want to work and how you plan on meeting expectations &ndash; both your own and your client&rsquo;s.</p> <p>You started on your own for a reason; keep that reason in mind when you fill in this last guideline you plan to follow &ndash; it might be the most valuable one of all.</p> <h3><em>Other Resources:</em></h3> <p><a title="SBA" target="_blank" href="http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html">SBA Small Business Planner</a> <br /> <a title="Determine your rate" target="_blank" href="http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/">Determine Your Rate</a> <br /> <a title="Startup Journal" target="_blank" href="http://www.startupjournal.com/">Startup Journal</a> <em> (from the Wall Street Journal)</em><br /> <a title="CentralDesktop" target="_blank" href="http://centraldesktop.com/">CentralDesktop</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ed-oreilly">Ed O&#039;Reilly</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-freelance-the-top-10-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-i-learned-about-money-after-i-went-freelance">7 Things I Learned About Money After I Went Freelance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship consultant contractor entrepreneur freelance Fri, 27 Jul 2007 07:57:00 +0000 Ed O'Reilly 910 at http://www.wisebread.com