Working in a service-based business requires a large investment from us—both in time as well as in energy. While speaking with Rachel Rodgers, a business lawyer-turned-business coach, about this topic, she had an interesting suggestion for entrepreneurs (especially female) looking for a change:
“Download your expertise that you have, turn that into a DIY process, and make it accessible to people.” In other words, find a way to turn your service into a sellable product.
In today’s quick interview recap, I want to explore Ms. Rodgers’ suggestion for how to successfully build a product to supplement your services.
Rachel Rodgers’ Realistic Take on Service-Based Business
Rachel Rodgers is the CEO and founding attorney at Rodgers Collective. She also happens to be a wildly successful creator of her own business product called Small Business Bodyguard. So, if there’s anyone who understands what’s involved in the process of creating, launching, and protecting a product, Rodgers is it.
Having previously worked as an intellectual property lawyer, Rodgers began to feel disillusioned with the numbers of people she had to turn away from her services due to affordability concerns. That is ultimately what drove her to make a change.
“I decided to create a product that took them through the entire process that I go through with my clients,” Rodgers explained. This product was a DIY guide that enabled entrepreneurs to guide themselves through the same process, and for much less money than her intellectual property services would have cost.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts to note about Rodgers is her insistence that traditional service-based businesses and the products created for them do not have to be vanilla and boring. Why is this relevant? Well, because the initial launch of her product was a self-proclaimed boring “flop.” It was only when she created a new version that infused her fun and entertaining personality into it that people began to respond well to it.
Her firm now generates about 40% of their income from the Small Business Bodyguard.
Rachel Rodgers’ Recommendations for Creating Products for Your Business
“This is a great way to generate revenue for your business that doesn’t require your time,” Rodgers told me. When you think about it, it makes sense. For those of us who manage service-based businesses, there’s a lot to coordinate in terms of time and effort. But with a singular product? That is not really the case.
So, how does Rodgers recommend entrepreneurs go about converting their services into a product?
“I would start with your fee menu,” she said. “I would look at that and see how that can turn into a product.”
At the end of the day, it is about understanding who your clients are, what they need, and how to create a product that can lower their costs of doing business with you. And because you are still providing them with assistance (albeit, indirectly), your product has the potential to be a huge revenue generator in the long run.
Think about it: You have saved them time, money, and effort, so while you won’t make a huge profit from it, you will earn your clients’ trust and loyalty. Once they get to a point where they can afford to pay more money, guess who they will turn to for help? Your product is also a great way to allow people on the fence to test out your expertise and services for a lower cost and commitment.
For Rodgers, it took about two months’ time to write the Small Business Bodyguard. The key to the quick turnaround on her product? She blocked off time each week to work on it and stuck to that commitment. She also said that outsourcing the technical component to someone else helped save her time.
“You have to invest in the growth of your business. If you can fast-track your success, then why not?” This was actually a mistake that Rodgers made in the first iteration of her product. Because she tried to do it on her own, didn’t focus on creating a “real” product that sounded like her and that clients could connect with, and hadn’t hired the help she needed, it took longer to get her product to launch. Once she sorted those kinks out, however, that is when she found her groove.
“I am a big fan of launching [a product] the same way that movie trailers come out and musicians talk about their new album before it drops.”
In other words, she hustled for weeks ahead of time, trying to drum up interest. She constantly talked about the new product, the creation process, and even solicited clients for advice and feedback. She created a pre-launch mailing list and also paid for Facebook ads where she knew she could reach the right audience.