After running a business for a while, complacency can settle in. Business operations, marketing and production run on autopilot. While it can feel like an accomplishment to reach coasting status, that’s the moment to dig deep and use your extra energy and time to refine processes that impact productivity and your bottom line, if you want to see business growth.
Never Stop Learning
A few years ago, an editor reached out to me about creating editorial calendars for two of her content marketing clients, with the promise for more if I had the time and enjoyed the work. The projects paid more than writing articles for the same company, and they offered a mental break from composing and empowered me to exceed my daily financial goal. There was just one problem: I’d never created an editorial calendar before.
I could have easily dismissed the query, saying I didn’t offer that service, and push forward with my full schedule of writing assignments. Instead, I asked more questions about the project and conducted some research on past calendars. After a few emails, I felt confident in my ability to complete this type of project. So, I accepted. Two clients turned into four, and those projects lasted for years, which made a significant impact on my annual income.
By being proactive, learning something new, altering my preset daily writing schedule and engaging with the needs of my customer, I successfully added another service to my freelance writing business and instantly boosted my income.
Making It Work
Of course, this shift in my usual process required some quick thinking and juggling on my part. I still had a full calendar of writing assignments with looming deadlines to meet, in addition to taking on the new editorial calendars.
I use Google Calendar to map out each workday, from invoicing clients and marketing my services to creating rough drafts and completing edit requests. I started moving the scheduling boxes around, like a game of Tetris, until I carved out room to complete these new projects. To manage my hours effectively, I tightened up the time I gave to routine tasks, like checking email and replying to comments on social media, and worked later on weekdays. If I needed to meet deadlines, I logged a few hours at my desk on Saturday afternoons while my husband went to work.
Fast-forward a few weeks and those higher paying projects were getting spots on my Google Calendar during my usual working hours. A few of the writing assignments diminished over time, but that was okay. They were replaced with a new service that yielded a higher profit margin.
The key takeaway? Listen to what your customers want and need. Although you may not offer it at this moment, could you? Business growth is reliant on your ability to evolve with your industry and provide what your customer base needs. You can’t be afraid to alter your original path, products or services to solve new problems for your customers and create new revenue streams. It’s a willingness to accept and implement change that ultimately sparks and nurtures business growth.