Scale a 1 to 1 Web Design Business with Productized Services

Scale a 1 to 1 Web Design Business with Productized Services

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Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

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We’ve always been told that there was really only one way to build a freelance web design business.

Step 1: Learn web design/development skills
Step 2: Find clients
Step 3: As you get better you charge higher and higher prices

Then for the really ambitious, you start an agency and make really big bucks.

Sure, a lot of folks have built a freelance web design or web development businesses that way and they’ve been plenty successful.

The problem is going this route can be pretty intensive AND it can be tough to replicate or create systems around. That means you’ve got to be deeply involved in every part of the process. Not to mention it might take you a while to build skills and really be able to demand higher prices from clients.

But, what if there were a way that you could create a scalable, easily replicable web design business that you could start doing fairly early in your journey as a web designer?

Productizing Your Web Design Services

My guest this week is Brad Hussey and Brad is teaching web designers and developers how to do something called productizing their services.

Productizing is a new way of looking at how you offer your services as a freelancer.

In general it means you take what you’re doing as a freelancer and put it into a package that is:

  • Fixed in outcome
  • Fixed in timeline
  • Fixed in price

That means you aren’t creating custom websites for people or building a custom online strategy. You’re delivering a very real almost tangible outcome to a client who knows exactly what they’re getting when they sign up.

Think about what that means for you as a web designer or developer?

Scope creep? Not an issue.

Endless rounds of revisions? Forget about it.

Projects that never seem to end? No way.

All of those issues are easily solved when you productize your services as a web designer or web developer.

AND, instead of having to be directly involved in every aspect of what happens with your clients you can create systems that you are able to replicate and teach someone else to do flawlessly without you having to be there.

Examples of Productized Services for Web Designers and Web Developers

So, what does this look like exactly?

After all, it’s kind of tough to think about how to offer your services in any other way than the old standard model.

Brad has found over 200 different businesses that have taken there services and turned them into a product. So, thankfully, you’ve got some options.

The most popular one is to provide a day rate to your clients. This is where you take what you do and package it into one day that you spend either working with a client or working on their project.

You might think that’s impossible BUT when you create systems that make sure the client shows up ON THAT DAY with everything that you need to finish a website or a landing page it starts sounding more doable.

Or what about taking one aspect of what you do as a web designer or developer and turning that into a productized service?

For instance, Brad mentions a web developer that takes WordPress site and turns them into a WebFlow site in 2 days. Think about! It’s got a fixed outcome with a fixed timeline and fixed price.

Or there’s what’s known as Unlimited services. This is where a customer signs up for a monthly subscription and offers unlimited designs. Design Pickle is a great example of this productized service.

It might sound crazy to you to offer unlimited designs for a flat fee BUT again think about the systems that you are going to create that allow you to hire other folks to do the work and you can step away from the action as much or as little as you want.

Opportunity for Web Designers and Developers to Productize Their Services

It’s a great time to productize your service as a web designer or developer.

As more and more freelancers join the market pool, productizing your services allows you to differentiate what you have to offer and stand out as a freelancer.

A growing number of freelancers have been able to do that exact thing and are never looking back to the old way of doing things.

Resources for How to Productize Your Services

You’ll Learn

  • How to avoid being a generalist as a web designer so you can make more money
  • What it means to productize your service as a web designer
  • How to create a system to be able to scale quickly
  • How to know when you should eliminate, delegate or automate tasks that you are doing over and over again

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Chris: [00:00:00] We've always been told that there's really only one way to make a successful freelance web design or development business. And that's this, you've got to provide an awesome custom made service to a client for a high price. And doing that often involves a pretty intense amount of efforts that stretches out over quite a few weeks.

But what if there were another way my friends, what if you could build your freelance business in such a way that it could be done quickly and you, the web designer actually didn't even need to be involved in what happens in the day today at all. And you could still earn a lot of money doing it. Well, this week's guest is talking about how he is teaching folks, just like you and me to do just that.

Are you ready? Let's go.

What is up self maters and welcome to another episode of the self-made web designer podcast. This week, we have our first repeat guest and that is somebody who has been a huge part of my growth as a web designer. And his name is Mr. Brad Hussey. The last time that I talked to Brad, he was actually starting a podcast called marketing, honestly.

And if you haven't heard his episodes, yes, there's, there's multiple. We split it up into two parts because it was so good. If you haven't heard his episodes, I want to encourage you to take a listen. But since then, Brad's kind of switched up his focus a little bit and he's helping web designers and developers do something called productizing their services.

And what does that mean? Exactly? Well, Brad is going to explain it a master roughly in a few seconds, but before we dive in, I want to take a second and encourage you to sign up for my newsletter at self-made web designer.com every week, or maybe every other week. Sometimes, you know, life gets busy. I send out really good stuff to your inbox to help you grow your business and build your skills as a weapon designer.

And I even talk about the new course I'm creating for folks just like you. So you don't want to miss out on those announcements. If you want to know more, go to self-made web designer.com and sign up today. All right. Are you ready? To hear from Mr. Brad Hussey about how to productize and systemize your services as a web designer.

So you can scale your business. All right, let's do it. Well, welcome back, Mr. Brad Hussey. How are you, man?

Brad: [00:02:44] I'm doing very well. Thank you. I really appreciate you having me here

Chris: [00:02:46]Yeah. It's, it's been over a year and I had you on kind of one of the early episodes of the podcast. And so you crushed it then, and I'm excited to have you as my first repeat guest.

So talk a little bit about where you've come from and where you are now. Cause I know when we last talked, you were just starting up a podcast called marketing. Honestly, am I, am I remember correctly? And you're just kind of diving into that, but it seems like things have kind of changed. So, so give us the scope of what your process and progress has looked like.

Brad: [00:03:21] Cool. So yeah, I mean, uh, if any of your listeners who may or may not be familiar with that episode or, you know, some of my work, you know, uh, the marketing honestly show blog was kind of like, um, my way of expressing myself creatively, where I never allowed myself to for a long time. Um, I think it was an important.

Thing for me to commit to, uh, I was at like a bit of a crossroads in my business where I no longer liked what I was doing. Um, you know, uh, doing client work, my education business, you know, doing courses and consulting and, and, uh, design work and things like this. Um, it just kinda started to become about, uh, like I'd financial transaction.

I show up to my job that I've created for myself, do my work, find ways to make more money at it. You know, when I don't get rewarded financially become really emotionally down. Feel like I'm a really good at this and started to like really, I went down a path. Where it just only became about money only became about success, uh, or lack of success.

So if I got, if I won a client, if I close the deal, if I generated a good income day, I'd feel like super, super high on the Hills. And if I had a bad day or if I lost a client or got some bad feedback, I'd be super depressed about it. Um, and I just, like, I started to get really jaded with the whole like entrepreneurship and, um, doing what I was, what I had built over the last, at that, at that time, last year, about eight years.

Um, and so I was like, and I was also starting to get really annoyed with, um, the marketing world where all I started to see, it's kinda like the Baader-Meinhof effect where the more you see something, the more you see it, you know, if you're going to buy a Ford F150 truck, you're thinking about the Ford F150 truck, you literally see everybody has a Ford F150 truck.

So. That's the bottom line Hoff effect. Um, and so it's just like pattern recognition in your brain. And so I didn't like feeling like I was like trying to extract money from people rather than lead with, uh, offering valuable solutions to the right people and turning away the wrong people. And so, um, I started to see like that I didn't what I didn't like about marketing, what I didn't like about sales, or it didn't like about business and all this sort of stuff.

And I started to see people who were taking advantage of people, people who are using, uh, really sketchy marketing tactics. Um, and I started to see it more and I started to find other people who were calling out like bad marketing and sketchy marketing, especially, especially in the, the info marketing online course world, which is a really lucrative area.

E-learning uh, which means like you're going to attract, you're going to attract. Uh, bad apples. So a lot of really good people in it, but there's even more who have malicious intent. And so I started to see that and I didn't like it. I started to be grossed out by the whole thing. And so I just wanted to, I kind of went on this little rant on the side, like I'm going to stop everything I'm doing, create a blog, create a website, exercise, some creative, you know, uh, freedom here and create content and a podcast, which I'd never done at the time on just like.

Talking about bad marking and how you could be a lot more honest as a marketer when it's kind of the crux of your success in business, you have to mark it. So how do we do it without being crappy about it? And so that was marketing honestly. Um, I don't, to be totally honest, maintain it. Like I've created a little body of work, which I'm proud of.

Um, and it's there, but you know, I've kind of come down from that, like, uh, you know, uh, that project, because I think it served its purpose purpose. And, um, I wanted to get back to. Kind of being grateful for what I've built and finding kind of my pocket in this world of business and how I could really be of service to the people I want to be of service to, um, which kind of leads us to, and we had a crazy year where everything got turned upside down in terms of your own life.

In terms of business had a lot of friends and family whose financials picture pictures were just completely flipped. A lot of people were forced to work from home, start businesses. Um, side to all of it. Um, and so when I saw that, like after this marketing, honestly, trying to look at what I'm doing in a different way, then we were all forced to do that.

Look at it in a different way, life and business and how we make money and provide for ourselves. And I went, ah, I got a really good setup. Like I've been working from home for myself. Like I don't really have to worry that much. If I need a little extra cash, I can throttle a few things back. I can get more clients.

I could change the way I offer things. I could dedicate a full day to finding a new opportunity for myself. I have that, I have that luxury because I've really built this up. And, um, and so that's really helped. And so I'm kind of approaching now. Yes. As we're hopefully leaving this, uh, pandemic situation and confining kind of this new, uh, stage of life, I'm, I'm kind of w I'm ready to do something exciting and to be more specific and purposeful what I'm doing.

And I think all of these other side things that I went down really helped to get me where I am, uh, which is what brings me here.

Chris: [00:08:56] Talk about what we want to talk about. Yeah, that's awesome. And I love the progression and what that speaks to most people's journey, because I think that most people have this thought that their journey to be a freelancer or a web designer or web developer is just going to be so linear.

They're going to start out, they're going to take some classes, they're going to start freelancing. And then it's just going to all of a sudden be at the destination. But that is, that is never the situation. And a lot of times, what I find with folks is they get disenchanted along step B, C, D F G on through, until they, they miss the opportunity to make it all the way through.

So, so kudos for kind of sticking with it until you found that good thing. But, but. Talk a little bit about that, because I think that's really interesting what kept you going, because I'm sure you were like, ah, you know, what, if I I'll just go back to doing what I was doing? Cause that's the easiest thing, you know, it's like the, the, the least common denominator that we, the waterfalls down the past of least resistance.

So what kept you from going back there? Just saying, I'm going to do what I've always done it to finally come to a place where you feel like, no, this is it for me.

Brad: [00:10:07] Okay. Really deep question. I like that. Um, for me, I think a big part of it was, and is looking at like, what's the worst that can happen. Um, and we're all we're, I think we're all pretty afraid of that.

Um, our fear determines a lot of our decisions. Um, and I don't think it's, I think there's an element of that that could be healthy. Um, but I think we actually. We let our fear actually define our actions. Um, and that's not healthy. Uh, and here's why I think why, at least for my case, and probably a number of people will resonate it's because when you're approaching it like that, when you're approaching it based on fear, you know, you're, you're thinking about it from a negative light.

You're thinking, you know, like, ah, I have to do this because what if it can't pay the bills this month? Or, or I hate my boss or I hate that and all these things, and I'm afraid to go back to a normal job or I'm afraid to lose this, what I've built or lose my momentum, or I've been doing this for a really long time.

What if I miss step? And I screw it all up? Am I just a total fraud? I got lucky. Um, and so we're using these things and it's really guiding our decisions, uh, and it makes you panic. It makes you desperate. And when you're, uh, David, um, David C. Baker, I've been reading his book, the business of expertise, actually we listened to it twice back to back.

Um, he says, Not in the book, but on his website, the, the more desperate you get, the more stupid you get. So when you're really desperate, you start making really short-sighted stupid decisions. So even in pressure, when you're under pressure, when things are scary, like if you're an emergency situation and probably a number of people can think about this, if you're in an emergency situation, whatever it is to panic and to be doing crazy things and to do rash things, it can actually be really, really dangerous choice.

You can make really stupid decisions, but anyone who has, who does is in a line of work where emergencies are a part of their job, um, to be calm, to take a deep breath. And so to really focus on the right next step and have a longer site. Is way, way better, um, than to be panic. Okay. I've got to do this quick, do this quick, do this.

Um, because you're because you you're shortsighted and you make dumb decisions when you're desperate. So I'm trying to get at as, um, we use our fears and we, we, we use that to define how we make decisions and I think it is stupid. Um, whereas. When you actually first look at the fear, you know, like, so for me personally, it was, I've been doing this for about 10 years, providing for my family and we've done well because of my focus, um, because of the hard work that my wife and I have put in because of the decisions that we've made, the sacrifices that we've made, like I'm like at the point of no return, whereas this is like my only path kind of thing.

And so I'm like, what's the worst case scenario is that I screw it all up. It no longer works and I can't find opportunities. I can't. And my momentum starts to slow to a point where I need to find an alternative way of generating income. Everybody needs money and I'm no exception. So that, that fear is what if I have to put my tail between my legs and look for a startup, who's just starting with the brave founder and say, Hey, do you have any, uh, design work for a poor old chap who hasn't worked to job in 10 years?

For like a quarter of the pay that I'm used to like, so that for me was like that. So I, I didn't want to look at that, that when you're afraid of something, I didn't want to look at that. Cause I was like, that's the worst. It's like screwing it all up and having to just kind of pound the pavement. Um, and I looked at that and I went, is that, is that so, so bad?

And I go, no, I was like, what's the word? I was like, well, you have to ratchet down spending, you have to change your lifestyle. Um, you have to humble yourself. That's the base thing and, um, and rebuilt. Okay. And I go, well, it's not ideal and I don't want to do that, but I can do that. So why not? Uh, so, so, so then I was like, okay, well that's unlikely to happen.

So, okay. So they took that fear that really made me make panic decisions and turned it into. That's not so bad. And I could handle the worst case scenario that I can imagine right. In this, in this context. So let's get back to work and let's do something. Okay. So, so what changed everything when you were forced to look at all these really bad situations, um, that everybody's been affected by?

I, I went, you know what? Everybody's, life's been turned upside down. Some are fairing way worse. Um, and you know what? I think I can do this. I think I can make a, like, I'm in a new phase here of my business and I'd like to do something that matters and approach it, being humble and knowing that it's okay if you screw up.

But it's unlikely that it's going to happen in the worst case scenario. That's kind of my really philosophical answer.

Chris: [00:15:31] No, that's awesome. I, uh, you being a musician guy, you'll appreciate this. I just, I just recently heard a story of a guy named Robert Finley. Um, who actually grew up as a sharecropper's son.

And so he's got this really amazing story of being a sharecropper's son who then went on to have his own construction company. Um, and from that point, like, as he got older, he started losing his eyesight. And so he had to give up that business. Well, he'd always had a hankering to be a musician, so he started playing anywhere and everywhere that he could.

So eventually, um, the lead singer for the black keys ends up picking him up. And so now he's got this amazing album and is touring all over the world. And, and he said, this one thing that was really interesting. He said, you know, you kind of owe it to yourself to have a pity party, but after that's done, give yourself maybe a couple of weeks and then get back to work because you gotta do it.

You know? And I, and it was inspiring to say like, you know, the worst thing could happen, but if you have confidence in yourself to go, you know what, I'll be able to figure it out no matter what, like, I think that's the thing that really sets the difference and people who end up throwing their hands up and giving up and people who say, I'm going to stick with this.

And if it doesn't work, I'm going to figure something else out because I can figure something else out.

Brad: [00:16:55] Exactly. Exactly. And, and for me, faith takes a big, uh, plays a big role. So, you know, if God closes one door, he's opening another one. And there's no point in trying to force that door open. Cause it's not working anymore.

There's nothing for you on the other side, but it's because you need to be drawing your attention over here in an area that you would never have realized. So not a new opportunity.

Chris: [00:17:14] So we'll talk a little bit about the, the new thing that you're kind of doing. Cause I'm, I'm very interested in this. Uh, we talked a little bit before.

It's kind of been, there's been a lot of folks who've come and, um, chatted with me about this, this different idea when it comes to web designers and how they're offering their services. So explain a little bit of what you're doing these days.

Brad: [00:17:33] Yeah. Okay. So what I'm doing right now is basically I'm really trying to focus on helping creative business owners, which generally tends to be, uh, web designers, you know, designers of some sort, uh, graphic designers or designers, UX designers, and developers, people who build websites, design websites, you know, that's, that's my area.

I've been doing this for a long time. I know that area. I was educated in that area. I work in that area and I help people in that area. So the creative, um, professional, uh, on, on the internet. So, um, I've been really focused on helping that person. Focus in an, in a really radical way so that they can stop playing the generalist game and just giving them permission to stop being a generalist.

Stop, trying to be everything to everybody because it's not working. It doesn't work. I see it time and time again. Um, whereas if you focus on an area and, and specialize, and in the case of where I'm getting at here is productize yourself, productize your services. Then you can really commit to something.

Then you can really invest in a certain group of people or a certain outcome, a certain, uh, insight into an industry or a horizontal or vertical. And you can really focus and become a deep expert in that area and offer a solution or a set of solutions for that niche. And just go all in on it because I'll have students say, well, you know, if I, if I'm just a generalist, like I get to, you know, I got a smattering of clients that come through and there's no pattern.

Um, if I specialize in an area, then I'm turning away a whole bunch of clients. And then I say, well, why, why have you joined me in, you know, in this case, like my community, uh, my, my coaching program, the business of like, for the business of web design and such, is it because like, you're not quite where you want to be, like, you're not really making a full-time living or it's feast and famine, you know, up and down, like day in, day out.

And it's usually the case. It's not, it's not sustainable. Like, well, can I submit that? The reason why it's not sustainable is because you're a generalist and you haven't, you're not actually that remarkable. No offense. Can we make you remarkable? You can't do it by being, you know, knowing a little bit about everything, huh?

Right. So I'm helping the creative business owner who wants to be a business owner, the freelancer who wants to transition into entrepreneurship and run their own little firm, solo agency, bigger agency to productize, to find their area and to productize. And that's what I'm all about.

Chris: [00:20:17] So explain that a little bit, because somebody who's never heard that word or unfamiliar with, it might have a hard time understanding what it is that that actually was.

What does, what does it mean to productize your service or your services as a web designer? Yeah.

Brad: [00:20:31] Okay. So, uh, the word is weird and it's a little bit jargony, but I like to lean further into the jargon in that case because it's interesting. Um, and, um, It forces people to say, well, what is that? If you know what it is, you know what it is.

And I don't have to define the word for you. I can just convince you that you should be doing it. But for other people like, well, what in the world is that word? And why would I need to do that thing? I'm like, okay, well, let's dig into that. So productizing your services is not what people, a lot of people think productizing is like creating a product, creating a template, create, let's say you're a web graphic designer.

Um, productizing your services is not creating like a template for a logo or, you know, a, um, a branding template that you can copy and paste for your own clients or a proposal template that you can copy and paste. Or if you're a web designer, a WordPress developer, it's not creating a WordPress theme and selling it on theme forest, that's not productizing your services, that's creating a product.

Sure. And there's, uh, there's a ton of value in doing that, but that's not what this does. Um, so there's a spectrum. Called the, um, service commodity continuum. I'm pretty sure that's what it is on one far end. It's the services where it's highly customized. It's highly one-to-one. It's like think plumbers, think web designers doing custom websites that they, for a client they've never met before in an area they've never done anything before it's landscaping.

Um, you know, it's these sorts of things really. Um, service-based, it's, one-to-one, it's personalized. It's customized going to the dentist, you know, like these are services on the far other end, we've got commodities, which are like gold, you know, you buy, uh, just like an asset, a thing, you know, like a mug. I have this, you know, I have a tea bag in here.

You know, these are. These are products or, uh, a theme, a WordPress theme on, you know, or a web flow theme, or, you know, a series of a Figma templates for you designers. Um, that's a product now in the middle of that is literally a productized service it's somewhere in that scale. And all it means is taking the services that you offer and your expertise and creating an offer that is fixed in outcome, fixed in timeline and fixed in price.

So kind of like a product. So when I bought this mug, I mean, I, this was a gift, but imagine I bought this mug, it's the same mug. So I wanted a nice mug with a mountain on it. Um, that holds my beverage of choice and the price is the same. The outcome is the same. The only variable is that I bought it versus you bought it.

You can buy the same thing. Anyone could buy the same thing who wants that the target audience for this mug buys this mug. That's a product there's no service involved. Um, so think about your, your bet. You're taking a little bit from the product world, the commodity world, so to speak, and you're taking your services and you're putting it into something really repeatable.

And the key is scalable because with services, I always ask my, uh, my students who joined my productized bootcamp, which is helping them productize their services. What would happen if by like, let's say Wednesday night, I had a blog post or your website or something for your, you know, your web design services was picked up on Reddit or hacker news or indie hackers or startup story, or any of these really great places that have a lot of eyeballs and have a lot of influence, let's say a big influential blogger posts your, your site and said, I found this company and they're amazing, you know, the Tim Ferriss effect, whatever Tim Ferriss says, everybody buys.

And then that company either scales or goes out of business. So what would happen if your business 10 X over night, you had 10 times the clients, 10 times the phone calls, 10 times everything, what would happen? And I look at their faces and it's like looking at, um, complete, um, panic. They are, they're not ready.

There's no way. If I had 10 times the clients, you know, you might think like, Ooh, if I'm making 50 K a year, that means I'm making 500 K a year. Wow. I'm so rich now. Uh, but you have 10 times the clients, you have 10 times what you're used to right now, the phone calls, the proposals, the estimates, the project management, the back and forth, the bug fixes everything.

Are you equipped to do that? The answer is always, always, always, no, because it would be a nightmare and because it's not scalable and because you haven't defined an outcome for somebody specific for a specific problem. Now, if you have a productized service, let's use, this example is a really good business.

Um, uh, I mean, I, I have a list of about 250 productized services. I keep a running list. Anytime I come across a good productized service, I put it on my list because I think it's great for me to know. I also share examples. Um, If you're a WordPress developer, or let's say you're a web flow, you know, developer, if you want to call it that you build a web flow sites, but you also know WordPress.

You could just say I'm a lead flow expert. Hire me for your web flow projects. It's super vague. You know, there's nothing really that remarkable, same thing with WordPress. I build WordPress websites for small businesses. It's not remarkable, nobody cares. Um, now, if you were to say, I convert your WordPress website to web flow in 24 hours, book your time.

It's this much money. We have three spots available starting next month. All of these boxes are being checked off scarcity. It's a productized service as a fixed outcome, fixed timeline and a fixed price. And it self-selects the audience. So if I have a Joomla site and I like it. I'm not going to buy your service.

I'm not your target audience. If I have a WordPress website and I don't like the experience, it's frustrating. It's bloated, it's slow. And I like the flexibility and the creativity and modernizing with web flow. I'm going to look at that and go, oh, that'd be really good. I can see a tangible outcome. I could see a tangible price.

I could budget for it immediately. And I could decide on the spot emotionally, whether or not that's for me, if I do, as soon as I get on the call, all that person has to do all that agency has to do whoever they are is just accept me as a client, ask a couple of questions, make sure I'm right and say, all right, would you like to get started?

We have a spot on third week of July, but yeah. Okay. How do I start? It's like we just accept full payment. We don't do deposits. We settle everything up right away. And then you got some homework to do. I go, let's make it happen. So that if that company, which has actually as a company, um, Had 10 X the business overnight, they would do probably do a little scrambling because now they've got more, more services to fulfill.

Cause there is, you know, hours that go into it, all they would have to do is improve their systems a bit. They'd find where things were a little bit creaky, probably take on one or two contractors in the meantime to fulfill on services. And then if this was their new level and they were doing, let's say instead of 5k a month, they're doing 50 K a month.

Okay, well now you got the budget to bring on a full-time team to fulfill your services. And now you can reinvest that and maintain that or grow it, you know, standardize it even more. You can make it happen. And that's the difference between a customized service where you just build any site and the client just happens to want web flow, you know, that's you responding to demand looking around digital door knocking versus having.

And established digital, uh, place storefront. Let's call it where people line up your people who want that outcome and that benefit. And they know they know who you're for, what you do, and they know that they need that. Then you can line that up and have them line up and then you get to select who comes in.

And that just has a snowball effect. And that's, that's the difference between customized service. And a productized service.

Chris: [00:29:26] One of the questions that just kind of comes to my head is, you know, for there there's two options, right? When you talk about texting a business, you, you can either do like what you're saying, you can productize it.

You can make create systems where everything's much more efficient. The other option is the supply and demand curve, where you just crank up your price and say, I was charging $2,000. There's so much demand. It's 20 K. You want to work with me? You got 20 K you know, so for the folks who are listening, who they've never imagined themselves outside of being just a solo freelancer or solo entrepreneur, are, is there another option or is this the best route?

Like how, how do you navigate that in helping somebody to make the decision is productizing the right call for me.

Brad: [00:30:12] Awesome. Okay. So I will differentiate between productizing and, uh, charging a premium for a specialty for a line of expertise. So they are kind of like venturing down a path to get. So there's a generalist who just does anything for everybody.

It's not remarkable. And it's hard to market. Who do you market to? What is it? What do you really do? It's not, it's not an asset. You've entered on the path of, you know, I'm going to be a business owner now, and I have a solution to a problem. And let's say you go down that those few steps, but then you split off this productizing, which is in the vein of specializing because you got to choose your people.

You got to choose your outcome. You got to be a specialist in some way. Thing was productizing is you don't really charge a premium for it. You could, but you don't generally chart. Let's say you wouldn't WordPress to web flow in 24 hours. Unless there was so much demand. It was insane. You know, you're not going to charge 20 K for that.

You're going to charge a flat fee of something pretty reasonable that someone who is early stage, who's got a lower budget, likes the outcome. They're confident in that. There's a market for it. They're going to pay 2000, 3,004,000, but they're not going to pay that premium because you're not giving, you're giving them kind of what you're giving everybody else in a way, because they're buying a product ties to service.

The reason why that's valuable is because it's scalable now, the other split off and you don't have to do one or the other. You can kind of use both in tandem and it's in a sense you have your product, high service, it's scalable. It's one thing. This is what you do. Do you need a little bit more from me?

Do you need, you actually need custom strategy, more insight and an expertise. That's gonna take your, um, your marketing strategy to a new level, or maybe you're like, whatever that is. Like, if there's a bigger, more premium version of your offer, that's specializing. That's your expertise. And that ideally is something very high value.

The outcome for the client is incredibly valuable. That's a premium and it has to be so, but you can't just say like, okay, I just build websites for small businesses. I usually charge 1500. If I magically charge $20,000, all of a sudden eyes are going to be on me. They're going to say what necessitates a $20,000 price tag for.

Chris: [00:32:35] Yeah, no, that's good. That's, that's a good differentiation. And I think in think that's helpful. Um, you, you mentioned you've got a running list of, you know, 200, you, you kinda mentioned one, the WordPress, the web flow, what are, what are some other ideas for folks who are just trying to think, how, how does, how can I do this?

Like what can I do to take the things that I know how to do and put this into a product I service.

Brad: [00:32:54] Yeah. Awesome. Okay. So lots of the sky's the limit and I put three people through an exercise to come up with ideas for their productized services. It just takes a little thinking. And once you start getting in the flow of idea generation, it starts to come naturally.

And then it's easier to tap into that and go like, oh, that's a good story. That's a good idea. Or a new, you write these down. So some other ideas are really popular. One that's kind of coming on the scene, uh, lately is, um, uh, packaging, your day rates as a productized service freelancers have been charging day rates ever since freelancing has been freelancing.

You can charge hourly, you could charge daily, weekly, monthly. We usually call that retainers. Um, but packaging day rates into its own product, high service. What makes it a productized service? It's got a specific outcome or a fixed outcome, a fixed deadline and a fixed price. So instead of just saying I'm a web designer and my rate is a thousand dollars a day, there's no value in the client for that.

But if you say, hire me for a day and I will. In my case, which I have experimented with day rates to good amount of success. Um, I will build your online course funnel. So course funnels for creators using convert kit. I charge that by the day. And so you booked me for the day, it's a flat fee of 1500 bucks and it's very productized.

It's the same outcome. It's the same process. It's systemized you book it. You agree, you book your time. I show up and do the work. You get your thing we're moving on. So that would be a productized service packaging, a day rate as something that's actually outcome focused. Um, other things would be, um, doing like a unlimited service.

Now this is this, one's a little hard for people to grasp, and it is more challenging, but offering an unlimited service for your business. So let's say like unlimited graphic design for a certain person, unlimited copywriting for e-commerce, you know, let's say unlimited. Sales copywriting for Shopify sites or, you know, and then what they do is say, we, you will book us for it.

Usually it's, it's a monthly fee subscription and it would generally be a premium. So this might be the exception to a premium price for product high service. So let's say a thousand to $2,000 a month and you do an unlimited offering. So you need to provide some scope and say, you know, there's a certain turnaround time and we can only work on one task at a time.

So if you submit five tasks, I can't get five tasks done in 48 hours unless you've got the team to do it. So every task from the point of entry, we're turning around in 48 hours or something like that, and you can just keep doing it. It doesn't matter how many you could do one, you can do a hundred and you can do revisions.

It doesn't matter. What you're paying for is just here. Take care of it. Just take care of it. Here's another thing to take care of it when you get to it, I just know it's going to be done cause I'm, I that's what I've invested in. So that could be. WordPress security. It could be copywriting could be blog, post writing.

It could be email course writing. It could be graphic design for founders. It could be anything. You just have to get a little creative. Um, that would be another example of a productized service example. Here's one more that I really like, um, for graphic designers, brand designers, logo designers, there's a, there's a service that, um, it's called predesign by old black studio.

And I'll share the link with you as well. I love these guys. I want to talk to them sometime to see what got them, the idea. Maybe you can actually, um, they, uh, do branding and visual identity for startups in the pre-revenue stage, super specific positioning and their product I service is they'll design the logo and visual identity.

Give you the package in five days for 2000 euros because they're over in Bulgaria and. They've found. It seems from the outside that they found a particular niche in early stage startups who need professional logo, branding, typography, pitch, decks, things like that. There's a certain set of things that they always need, but they don't have 50 K, which is what you would pay generally for that at a professional level.

So what do they do? They go to Upwork, they put it together themselves. It's scrappy. It's not very good. It's not professional. It's not cohesive. What these guys do is they streamline the process. So fine tuned that they can do it for two K there's really specific constraints in a certain amount of time.

And you book your time and they only have a limited space for it. And so then they will, whenever they get a new client, they go, ah, okay, uh, we need you three to take this account. You know, the process it's the same every time. And that would be brilliant productized service. So they rates these like it's again, it's fixed outcome, fixed timeline, fixed price for a horizontal or vertical.

Chris: [00:37:56] Yeah. I like that. I think that gives a real clear picture of just how much opportunity that there is with doing something like this. Um, you know, and I'm, I'm sure, you know, like you've said, you've got a running list of 200 different ideas, so I'm sure there's more, but, uh, there's one thing you mentioned that I've been doing a lot of work around and, and in my own life and you know, in, in the podcast and the blog, and then, you know, I've got a full-time day job as well.

And that's creating systems that allow you to scale. And so I I'd love to kind of focus in on that. If any of that, like, this is just selfish. Like I want to hear what you're teaching, how you're teaching people so I can do it for myself. But you know, there's so many questions that come from productizing.

So taking that example earlier of. WordPress to web flow, you know, there's the question of like, okay, well now I've got to teach my client. They need to prep some, they need, they need to have some stuff available. Cause I'm not doing it all for them. I'm not taking their hand and walk them through, this is your messaging.

And then we got to do your photo shoot, and then we need to find a good branding. Like, no, they need to have done all of that stuff. And I'm sure that takes some processes or it's going to be a nightmare. You know, you're going to get people who showed up for the day that they signed up for and they have nothing, you know?

Um, so, so what does that look like? How do you coach, and, and I'm excited to hear about what you're doing with coaching folks through all this, but how do you, how do you coach folks to systematize and automate the processes, uh, in their businesses?

Brad: [00:39:26] Uh, good question. So a rule of thumb, uh, I would say is if you do it more than once, whatever it is, whatever task you do that happens more than once.

It's an indication that you're probably doing it a lot and that it's something that you should be finding a way to. I like to use the methodology, I call it E D a eliminate delegate automate. And so one is this necessary? Like, is this a necessary step? Is it really adding value? Is it, or is it just like I do it because it sounds nice or somebody else did it and I copied it from them or is it even worth, what am I took it out?

What happened? What's the worst case scenario. Going back to the beginning of our conversation. If I took this out, what's the worst case scenario. Maybe it's the whole deal falls through. And actually this is the linchpin for the success of the project. Okay. Don't take that out. But if it's like, oh, I mean, the client is saved a little bit of homework.

I don't have to do that really annoying thing and nothing bad would happen. In fact, we'd probably make it more valuable. Take it out. So that's the first step. Second step. Is delegate now delegate or automate. So here's the, if this, then that sort of situation, if this next task let's say, uh, responding to let's do client, uh, client communication back and forth for meetings and such does a human need to do that.

So it's past the eliminate. You're like, no, I need to do client meetings. It's very important for the success of the project. Okay. Does a human need to do that? If the answer is no, then go to automate. Okay. So, uh, back and forth, scheduling meetings, Calendly, um, you can book me. There's a ton of tools out there.

I use Calendly and it saves you a ton of time. If you've not done that yet, do it now, all the back and forth setting times and emails and stuff. Just eliminate that or not eliminate rather, but automate that with software, like Calendly, um, back to the question, let's say another thing. Does this need to be done by a human let's say the actual client call.

So you've scheduled it and the actual discovery call to kick off the project. Well, you can't do AI or a robot to do that. And even if you could, the client would probably rather talk to a human and it is necessary. So, okay. A human needs to do that. Next question. Does that human need to be you because what if you had 10 X, the clients do you need to now do 15 minute calls?

If you're the expert who guides the project, do you bury yourself in 10, 15 minute calls? You know, every week or maybe every other day, you'd never get anything done. So do you really need to be the one doing the calls? Okay. Maybe you have, you hire a contractor at first until they prove themselves. And then you bring them on full-time who is your project manager, project manager.

You're your customer, happiness agent, whatever you want to call them, give them that role. And then they'll do it better than you could because that's their expertise. So EDA is my formula for looking at these things objectively. The problem with like independent professionals, independent creative professionals is that we don't look one step further.

We go, okay, new client. I'm so happy. That was nice. I got that little surge of income and my confidence is up. Okay. What's next? What's next? What's next? Oh yeah. Proposal. Send that proposal. Um, okay. We'll send it over. Uh, we'd probably do a call. Okay. Let's find my link. Uh, look at my calendar. Okay. Let's do this.

And then you're always starting from zero. Every single time. You've built nothing. You built no systems, no processes, nothing. So that needs to change. This moment, whether you have zero clients or a hundred clients, and you need to look at everything you're doing. So if you want write down every task you do for like a week in your work week and see where your patterns are, what do you do twice?

What do you do three times? Okay. EDA that. And then you create those systems. You document it. If it's automation, find the tool, build it in. So that next time that situation comes up and your client goes, Hey, what time can we do our discovery call you just boom, pop in your Calendly link. And you never have to do that again.

You just saved yourself hours over the course of a few months or more. Um, all these situations, let's say you hire somebody to do project management. What's your system? Like what, what are the questions? What do you need from them? Do you need to set up photography stuff? Do you need to set up, you know, a brand discovery?

Do you need to do all these sorts of things? If you repeat it, which you do because you get similar clients every time. Automate that process or systemize it, write the instructions for somebody else to do it so that you can get somebody else to do it. It shouldn't be you unless it has to be. You. So that's what I would say for kind of like your first, like your one-on-one you're like systemizing your business, your creative business, one oh one.

Chris: [00:44:24] So it's eliminating, it's delegating or it's automating. And then it sounds like another key component of that is creating, creating the documentation, creating the systems, creating the manual or the workbooks so that when you do bring on other people, it's not a knowledge transfer that you've got to recreate it.

Every time you sit down with a new person that you've brought on as a contractor employee or whatever, you just go, here's the documentation. You can even have a course that they're going through. Um, that kind of outlines the process. I know there's a lot of companies that right now that are, um, kind of gamifying the onboarding process for, for new employees, which is kind of a cool thing.

Um, so that, so that's another part of it is, is bringing kind of some documentation into it.

Brad: [00:45:07] Yep, exactly. And this is what. Is a crucial step for productizing. So if you do that and you just still do customized services, sure. You'll be better off. You'll have a more streamlined professional experience for everyone.

Great. But this is crucial, like a linchpin. If you don't actually do this for your product high service, it's not actually productized. You're just, I don't know. I don't know what you'd call it because here's a, I call it a litmus test for if it's really productized. You almost can almost imagine like a little game show.

Like, is it productized? And so this would be kind of like, you'd ask this question and, but one of the questions that I've asked, one of the tests is could you sell the business? So could you transfer that asset? Let's say you, Chris built a productized service where you created a very specific outcome with a fixed timeline and a fixed price for a certain, uh, positioning.

So a certain industry or demographic, you know, Let's say you did that. If I go Chris, that looks, that business looks really successful and I really like it. And I just so happened to have a little bit of capital that I built up over the few years. I'd like to acquire that from you to just transfer it to me.

And I'd like to take it over because I have the team to scale it. Or I just, I could see myself busy and myself in that project and growing it and really loving it. Can I give you $250,000 for that business? Let's say that happened. Could you then with confidence go. Sure. I literally just need to hand you the manual, the instructions, you know, the assets and you know, like do some signing and everything like that, but it's there.

The lead generation strategy is there. The onboarding strategy is there everything's dialed in the process. These are there. What happens when you get a client? What happens when a complaint comes in? What happens when this situation happens? It's all packaged in like a box. Here's the thing, Brad. Thank you.

I will take your money. You take the business and you carry it on and get your return on. That can not happen. If the answer is an absolute, no, then it's not productized or you haven't done your work to productize it. If it's a little muddy, that's, that's a valid answer too. But then you could see like, why is it muddy?

Why couldn't I just transfer it to somebody now you don't have to sell it. In fact, you might not even want to at all, but could you, could I buy your productized service and then take it over? And it wouldn't. It would be the same, if not better, because I have fresh eyes and more passion to take it over. If not, why?

Chris: [00:47:44] I I'd love to. I'd love to just hear about it. If somebody is interested in, in taking what they're doing as a web designer, developer, whatever, and turning it into a productized service and you kind of helping them with that journey, what would that look like?

Brad: [00:47:59] Yeah. Okay. So in the very least you can just follow me, uh, on my site, Brad house dossier, I send an email probably every day, um, about productizing your services specializing kind of in that vein.

Um, but if you're actually most interested in productizing yourself and going that path and in an accelerated fashion, learning the process of coming up with ideas, validating those ideas, building out the model, and then. Build out the systems and start getting customers. I put together a bootcamp, it's a four week bootcamp and I go through the process.

I call it cause it sounds fun. Um, the service scale method, because I love service serving anyone here in the client business who likes it. Service is at the core what we do and we love it, but it's not scalable the way that the old way. So how do we serve at scale? And so to me, that's teaching you how to productize your value.

And so in the bootcamp, I walk you through a method. It's four weeks. We do a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday call, uh, with a small group of people. It's a cohort based class and it's real time with a real group of people. It's really organic. That follows a methodology that takes you from coming up with a good idea, validating that idea, determining the.

Tangibles like what's the model. Is it unlimited? Is it subscription? Is it day rates? Is it, you know, um, is it, this is it, this who's the niche, you know, what's the outcome price tangibles. We figured that out in real time, build out the MVP or Mbps, minimum viable productized service. You got a page up, you got a promise, you got an outcome, you got an offer.

And then you start going out and trying to get clients. And now you have the framework to use an, any new idea that you have of which you will have many until the right one really resonates and really lands. And so that's what it is that I'm doing. And I've been, uh, I'm in cohort two, right? Uh, almost right now.

So starting on May 31st, um, Monday, May 31st is the beginning of cohort two. So registration is open right now until May 30th. Um, if you miss that window, if it's not going to work right now, Um, we will be doing cohort three. Um, the, the schedule is to be determined, but it'll be sometime in the late summer.

Um, but that's what we're doing right now. And we're, it's a small group of people helping you productize.

Chris: [00:50:27] Yeah, I like that. So if you are interested in your listening, you have a few days to sign up, get all the information that you need, maybe connect with Brad and, and go through this cohort. I can, I can vouch for his courses.

I can vouch for his teaching. He has helped me greatly. So I, I wouldn't, I wouldn't say that you should do this unless I know firsthand just how valuable it's going to be. So we're going to leave links for that in the show notes and on this web. It says webpage. So Brad, thank you so much for being on the podcast with us and we'll have you back again.

We'll just do it. We'll say a year now. We'll we'll set another one up. I love it. Awesome, man. Thank you, man. That episode was jam packed with so much good stuff. Brad has so much wisdom. It just kind of just flows out of him. And I'm just so grateful to have had him not once, but two times on the self-made web designer podcast.

And I want to encourage you to check him out and what he is doing to help people like you and me. Product ties and systemize their services as web designers and developers. And there's going to be links in the show notes and on this episode's webpage. So you can learn more about what Brad is doing, but sign up quickly because his next cohort is starting in less than a week.

So you're going to want to check it out and then dear future. All right, next week, we've got another awesome episode for you coming straight to your mobile device or computer wherever you're listening to the self-made web designer podcast these days, but until then, keep on growing and building yourself as a self Mader.

And don't forget if you don't quit, you win.

a worker on a manufacturing line to illustrate a web designer productizing their services

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Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

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