As a business owner at any level in your business, you are constantly pulled to make decisions on what you or your business “does” for your client. It is often easy to take on “work” which might fit your skill set, but doesn’t make sense for your actual business. Taking work may help your bottom line in the short term, but is detrimental to your business in the long run.
I often see talented individuals who are AWESOME at their core skill set sometimes take on work that really has nothing to do with their business. An example would be a photographer who also builds websites in their “on the side.” While building websites might help keep one “afloat,” it doesn’t really mesh with their core business. They are doing a disservice to their business, and frankly, their clients.
On one hand, the photography business might start to dwindle as they actively pursue website clients – when they are working on other things, they tend to take your eye off the ball. The thing that they do to keep their finances afloat takes away opportunity to grow their business by marketing to their target audience. That work also takes away from actually serving their core clients – they can’t do a shoot because their time is otherwise allocated. And on the other hand, if they are building websites, those clients expect cutting edge websites and functionality – something one can only do by devoting time and energy to honing their craft and constantly educating themselves. Again – more time that can only be devoted in so many areas of business.
While in the short term, being a “I can do that TOO!” business person makes you fantastic HUSTLER, in the long run, it starts to eat away at what you have time for and what you love doing. It is ok to want to straddle the line if you want to move away from photography and move into website development. But if you are straddling the line of both just for income, you will lose in the end.
So what about those grey areas – photographers who also edit for other photographers, or create social media images and graphic design. How do you know what makes sense for your business? Here are key questions to ask yourself when you are thinking of “taking work” or adding to your repertoire:
- Is This In Line With My Business Plan? Your business plan should clearly state what services or products you offer and how they fit into your business and your mission. There is NOTHING WRONG with adding to your service line, but you should gut check with your goals to be sure you are staying on course with what you set out to do as a business. If it doesn’t, you need to figure out if this departure from your business plan is where you want to take your business long term.
- Why Do I Want This Work? If you are just looking to get “paid” that is the WRONG way to add on services or products to your business. I know, we all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but at the end of the day, just wanting to make money is the absolute easiest way to get off course. You risk alienating your current client base, pissing off a whole new client base, and keeping yourself up till midnight trying to do something SO SIMPLE that you are totally out of your depth on and took money for.
So if the answer is “no” to #1, and “I need money” to #2, what then? You are trying to take work because you need to get paid. Which means that you aren’t getting paid well enough in your actual business. That brings a whole other issue to the table – what do you do about THAT?
While it is never a good situation to be in, it is an excellent opportunity to review your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan. Are you charging enough? Are you offering services people honestly want? How are you attracting new clients? Have you been putting energy into your craft and letting people know what you do? All of these things are better uses of energy, and at the end of the day will help you long term grow your business.
If you feel like your business plan and marketing plan need help (or are non-existent!), let’s chat. If you find yourself looking for “any work” every day, you are doing it wrong! Fill out the form below to learn more about our business consulting services and see what your business can be!