Why service professionals struggle when they start a business

I’m always inspired when another service-based business launches! Over the years, I’ve met hundreds of people from my workshops, and I am always motivated by people’s desire to claim their destiny, meaning:

  • No more office politics
  • They control who and what projects they work with
  • They determine what they get paid

Now, professional service businesses usually do their homework when they launch. They will come prepared with things like:

  • Their legal registration (i., LLC vs. sole proprietorship and business address)
  • A website or landing page
  • Social media accounts and/or some marketing

They usually land a few clients: Friends. Family. Former colleagues.

But after a few months, challenges often set in when they are trying to find more clients in their network. Their list is tapped out, and there are no new recommendations, so the marketing marathon begins:

  • Networking events
  • Conferences
  • Online groups
  • Social media
  • Paid ads

But the results are … crickets. A lot of proposals. A lot of “that’s too expensive.” A lot of “if only I had money.”


Because the biggest thing that many service professionals miss is this:

You have to speak so your prospects can hear themselves


You have to become a master at speaking the same language as your prospects. And that usually isn’t the same thing that makes an employer giddy in an interview.

Your prospects have questions like:

  1. How is this going to save me time?
  2. How is this going to save me money?
  3. Does it fulfill a need that I have? (vs. what I should do?)

Just because your company used to have a full-time marketing person who could read and edit copy and help you before you launched every social media post to ensure the brand was consistent doesn’t mean that your customers are willing to pay for this service.

So, I recommend that you go deeper than just offering your service.

Especially if you were good at your craft.

Even if you have a ton of LinkedIn recommendations or a large network, you need to understand why your service is a MUST.

Not a “nice thing to have.”

Not “maybe next month.”

But a must.

How do you do that?

Speak like your clients.

Tell them what problem you solve.

And why youand only youare the one to solve it.

Here is an example:

I was coaching a small group of service-based entrepreneurs who came from brand-name employers, graduated from top schools, and had a high level of expertise. They were starting companies in their areas of experience, such as the following:

  • Graphic design
  • Home design
  • Accounting
  • Public relations
  • Catering

They were all rock stars but often missed the magic that gets clients excited and ready to buy.

So, we started exploring their stories:

  • Their past experiences that demonstrated what made them different
  • The examples where they were honored for their work and achievements
  • The recommendations that showed that they were at the top of their game

And here is how their pitches shifted.

  • From “I am an interior designer” to “My last client was featured in a top-ranked home decor magazine”
  • From ”I offer accounting services” to”I help businesses earn more profit”
  • From “I am a WordPress person” to “My last client gained five new signups on her website within 24 hours”

The group started focusing more on the problems of their clients and less on their experience, which is a hard thing to do when you have 10+ years in your industry.

It requires that you are:

  • Listening closely to what people need and why they buy
  • Sharing why they would benefit from working with you
  • Learning how to communicate so that your prospects can determine the value of working with you vs. someoneelse
  • Create processes to make it easier to pitch

These are not skills that most service professionals possess. And I’d like to tell you in my best infomercial voice that “In 5 Easy Steps, You Can Go From Zero to 6 Figures.”

It’s not that simple, but take the steps. Keep taking small, consistent steps. Get a coach, mentor, or advisor to work with you.

There will be a learning curve, but it can be conquered. You didn’t know everything on your first day of work, and look how well you navigated that terrain. Challenge yourself to find the best resources that can support you along the journey.

I believe in you. And I believe in your ideas. Keep doing the work, and you’ll reach the next level!

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