Many business owners are moving away from traditional brick and mortar shops, and starting to realize the wealth of opportunity that is available online. Here are three common mistakes service-based entrepreneurs make when they launch services into the online space (and what you should do instead).
Many business owners are moving away from traditional brick and mortar shops, and starting to realize the wealth of opportunity that is available online. Not only does creating an online marketplace let you vastly expand your reach, but it also gives you freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world with just a laptop in hand. Ahhh! The dream.
If you have in-demand skills you can teach or services to provide, there is a good chance you can sell them online. But it’s not as easy as slapping a few loose ideas up on your company website and hoping people bite. It’s crucial to make sure your services are packaged in a way that makes it easy for people to say ‘yes’.
Here are three common mistakes service-based entrepreneurs make when they launch services into the online space (and what you should do instead).
MISTAKE #1: Offering too many services.
It can be exciting, when you first start a business, to dream up all the possibilities for what you could offer. So many ideas, so many opportunities to help people (and to make money) – you want to do it all! But one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to offer too much right away.
When you operate an online business, you have just a few seconds to make an impression. People want to be able to glance at your website and determine whether or not you have what they need. When you present too many options, each linking to their own pages (making people jump back and forth on your site), it simply takes too much time and confuses prospective buyers. Then they leave feeling overwhelmed, confused, and likely not to return.
What to do instead:
Start with 1-3 core services, and lay them out neatly and simply on your website. You can expand later once you’re more established, or swap out services based on your customers’ needs. But keep it simple and make it easy for clients to find what they need.
MISTAKE #2: Creating open-ended services with no defined results.
This is commonplace in industries that offer services which have intangible results. Life coaches and health coaches often fall prey to this trap. Because their results differ with each client, they offer packages that require a minimum commitment (e.g. 3 months), but have no defined end date. This is an almost impossible sell.
Think about it – when you’re buying something, you want to know specifically how it will help you and how long it. It’s uncommon to invest large sums of money, on an ongoing basis, for wishy-washy results. It’s like going to your neighborhood dentist and him saying, “I’m not sure how long this will take. Why don’t you come in once a week, for at least 6 weeks, and then we’ll see how it goes. And, by the way, it will be $200 a week.”
In contrast, we’re more likely to visit a dentist who confidently says, “This is going to take 2 visits, and it will cost you $400.” The choice is obvious.
What to do instead:
Even if what you are selling is intangible (or hard to put into a box), decide on an end date for each package. Whether your service runs for one week or 3 months, it’s up to you, as the expert, to direct the client and have them feel confident in their decision to hire you. If you do need to go past your allotted schedule, be sure you have an extended service agreement in place. However, on the initial sale keep it closed ended for an easier sell.
MISTAKE #3: Trying to solve too many problems.
One of the final biggest no-no’s when selling services online is trying to solve too many problems at once with your business. It is tempting to give your clients everything, and solve all of their life’s problems. But if you want to be known for something and develop a following for your particular expertise, you need to focus.
If you have multiple offerings that are too broad, or you’re all over the map with benefit statements, people won’t trust that you are the best person to work with, and they’ll click away.
What to do instead:
Narrow your focus right off the bat – way more than you want to. You will have lots of time in your career to grow and expand, but in a saturated online market the easiest way to get known fast for what you do is to focus on doing one thing really, really well.
Avoid these costly mistakes, and you’ll be living the location independent lifestyle in no time with your business fueling your adventures!
Rebecca Tracey is the head/only honcho over at TheUncagedLife.com. She helps people flaunt what they’ve got and get paid for it like a BOSS, and is a whiz at helping new business owners zoom in on their message, their niche, and their packages. Get her new course on how to create killer packages and services here. Connect with @rebecca_tracey on Twitter.
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