It's a good mentality to make MORE money tomorrow than you did today.
If you can make an extra $10 in a day, then you’ve smashed your goal. And once you’ve smashed it, the goal is open-ended, so you can still make more than the previous day's income plus $10. Now you shoot for an extra $100 or $1000 next month.
You can set these goals over quarters or even years. “This year I want to make $20k freelancing instead of the $15k I made last year. Then, I can reinvest the extra cash in new equipment or marketing.”
Below are five tips to build revenue growth.
Master Your Craft
You are not going to be able to run a successful service-based business if you lack the desire to master your field. If you got into it just to make money—or to quit doing something else—you’re going to get tired and your willpower is going to run dry.
The road to mastery is brutal and takes loads of hard work. It is, however, a path you begin to appreciate. The closer you think you get towards mastering your craft, the more you realize that mastering something is relative. There is no attainable perfection. You just get a tiny bit better in each iteration. Realizing that you’re meant to enjoy the path and not the destination is the key to mastering life. You can now enjoy the path to mastering any new skill or talent. You’ll have legs that can run forever while your competition wonders how you just keep jogging along.
When your craft becomes a work of art, you will be able to charge more for your services.
When you begin to master your craft, you also dial in your process. You know how long it takes to make a widget or how much correspondence a client will need leading up to a project. You begin to see all of the time and expense costs on a single project.
At this stage, the idea of what your client’s life will look like when they work with you becomes more important than figuring out how much you are charging by the hour. Your time becomes more valuable as your process streamlines. You make fewer mistakes, you get the work done faster, and your client considers hiring you less risky.
Have your clients pay you to learn something. We aren’t excited to do something when we’re not good at it. It’s a self-conscious voice in our head that wants to do only our best. You have to jump in and do it. Take on a paid job you don’t think you know how to do, but one you could figure out. It’s really fun to get paid to do something you had no idea how to do. Now you can more confidently charge for it in the future.
Forums and Communities
Forums have long been a place where like-minded people gather. It was one of the first public uses of the internet. The idea hasn’t changed much, but the avenues to finding forums have expanded. We have many different places to find pockets of people who potentially could use our software, purchase our product, or use our services.
We’re naturally social beings and that’s why we tend to gather in places on the web. You’ll find a younger crowd on Instagram. A more technical and opinionated group on Reddit. And lastly, you’ll find that the biggest and most active group of forums is on Facebook. Facebook groups are designed to connect like-minded people together. Though I prefer the ranking and strict moderating within Reddit, the unfiltered and quick nature of a Facebook community allows for a diverse conversation at a rapid pace.
Look for a community of users that might need your service. If you provide headshots for Iguanas, look for a group of Iguana lovers. Post nice pictures every now and then and people will like and comment. The most important thing to remember is that people can sniff out when you are trying to abuse the community. You can get posts deleted or your account removed from groups if you are going to places saying “BOOK MY SERVICES”. The takeaway here is to be a genuine member of the community. Your best business is going to come from people you treated like people.
There is no reversal to finding communities. Business requires people communicating with each other in order to exist. Isolation will choke your business to death.
Build a Bulletproof Brand
Your brand is your reputation. It will determine how well people respect you before you’ve even had the chance to provide them a quote of service. When you are just getting started in business, your reputation will depend on your professionalism in communication. If you are prompt and organized, you set a precedent that your service will be delivered on time. If you’ve been in business a while and are receiving referrals from word of mouth, the people doing the referring are going to be setting the tone for how your future clients view you.
Be known for something. With Dubsado, people get the message that we are always updating and innovating. It’s something that’s very true; we work our butts off to release new features and have systems built around being productive and bug-free. We also always remind our community that something is around the corner. But sometimes we go a full month where we haven’t released something. Normally this happens when it’s a larger project and we have all of our resources on it. Since we’ve built up the projection of being an industry leader in innovation and new features, customer complaints about missing features are often tempered by the voice in the back of their mind—or even our community of Dubsado users—reminding them, “Dubsado is working on it.”
First impressions are important—everyone knows that. There’s something special that goes on in the brain when meeting someone for the first time. A gate opens up in our minds and suddenly we are extra perceptive. It’s a natural state, like when two dogs first meet each other. You can watch them look at each other, pausing for a second to enter the “judging” stage. Then they wander around each other in circles smelling various things. We function in a similar way, It's how our ancestors assessed if something was going to kill them or not. Today, it determines whether we’re going to like someone or want nothing to do with them.
The first impression is going to imprint in your customers’ minds with a stain of permanence. Don’t mess up your initial contact with a client. Instead, utilize this effect to make it undeniable that, "This company means business" or, “This person’s customer service is amazing!”
Many people get into freelancing because they are good at something. It's not long before they fantasize about making $1M in revenue in their first year of business, and how good it’s going to feel when they finally get to tell the boss at their day job to eff-off. The urgency created by dreaming about the future could ruin your reputation if you rush into a market too soon
When you run into something you don’t understand, you’ll wish that you had waited and truly gotten the education you need.
Self Worth / Confidence
"Believe in yourself" is fluffy self-help advice, but there’s no other way to put it. You will NEVER believe in yourself as much as you should. Self-awareness is something we’ll always need to work on, but the more we practice it the more we are capable of anything.
Confident people go much further in life than self doubters. I’ve seen some truly dumb people accomplish things. Hear me out: Because they are dumb, they can’t think through all of the obstacles in their way. They don’t experience the anxiety from what they are facing because they don’t fully understand it or appreciate it. That’s why, when they go after their mission, they accomplish it. They don’t think about what’s on the other side of a closed door, they simply open it with confidence.
We pick up how confident someone is from non-verbal cues. Even someone’s writing can create an air of confidence. When you find the sweet spot between self-deprecating humility and being cocky, people will have greater respect for your efforts. Even though they might not always book with you purely because of your confidence, your own self-worth will be a pedestal upon which they place—and judge—your work. It can make a solid foundation from which you can present your message.
Beware of being too confident in an area where you haven’t earned it. If you pretend to be confident in something you don’t know or can’t readily learn, you will appear to your clients as a liar and deceiver. Even though you may have honest intentions in appearing confident, make sure you have the follow through to back it up with execution.
Patience / Delayed Gratification
There are some businesses that appear to be an overnight success. Yet, almost every time I thought a business took off really fast, it was only because I—and a bulk of other customers—had only heard of them recently.
Companies like Intercom have been around since 2012. People that see a company’s vision early on will take note of what they are doing and will actually help the company spread their mission by word of mouth and feedback to the application. These early customers are the best kind of investors. They give value to the business not only through paying their fees, but also by believing in something before it’s a smash hit. By the time the company is a smash hit and everyone knows about it, the new people coming on think it was both quick and easy. In reality, the company worked their ass off to get to where they are, waited for the right opportunities, and made good decisions over a span of years.
Patience is a major key to your life success, and our current ability to be patient often reflects our ability to be patient in childhood. There are many studies on delayed gratification. For example, the Marshmallow Test conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in the late 1960’s:
Children were placed in a room by themselves with a single marshmallow on a plate in front of them. They could have one now, or wait 15 minutes and have two. The study followed up over the following 10-15 years with both sets of children: the ones that ate the single marshmallow and the ones that waited to receive 2. The children that waited for 2 marshmallows developed the following over time: better coping skills, higher SAT scores, lower BMI, lower divorce rates, and lower rates of addiction. The children that were able to wait were identified as those that had been taught strategies for patience and dealing with temptation.
However, sometimes people wait around gloating that they are patient people when in reality they are lazy. Life isn’t going to hand success to you. Real hard work and determination are needed to be applied in conjunction with patience.
There are times where you need to stop being patient and attack with everything you have. Embrace that feeling of lacking something in your life. Don’t wait around for that void in your gut to fill itself up. Find a hobby, passion, or profession that you enjoy doing. Don’t stop. Let the fact that life is short motivate you to get as much done in a day as possible.
The best advice isn't necessarily tied to direct action. Long term investments are always more fruitful than some get rich quick scheme. Same goes for ideas. At your business, challenge each other to be honest with yourselves, your communities, and your businesses about your abilities, your motivations, and your willingness.
If you go for your goal with only dollar signs in your eyes, hitting each growth opportunity on your journey will only feel like a nuisance. In reality, these are our greatest opportunities to become something more than what we are. Those growth opportunities make us the type of entrepreneurs who can handle not only keeping our eyes on providing real value, but also making lots of money too.
Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t make sacrifices in quality that will hurt you 3 years from now if it means an extra buck tomorrow. Put in the hard, unavoidable work. Practice, fail, practice again, and master these 5 ideas. You’ll be on your way to revenue goals and so much more.