Do you suffer from feast-or-famine income? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to plan like you were getting paid regularly, but not have to work a J-O-B?
This article will show you how to create a steady recurring revenue instead so that you can count on income coming in!
Business-owning moms often forget about how project work typically gets paid. In chucks, spread unevenly throughout the project. And some payments depend on arbitrary things like when the client finally gives you content for their website.
This leads to some really lean months, where you might be working crazy hours and have zero payments come in. Sure, it’s balanced by fat months where your invoices are finally paid. But often it’s too late at that point to put deposits down or take advantage of a deal that was last month. It’s really frustrating.
And your clients don’t really think about the payment schedule – they’re used to putting payment down at the beginning of a service and the balance at the end. But why? Only because that’s how people tend to charge.
How Did You Decide On Pricing Structure When You Began?
If you’re like most business-owning moms, you started with a pure one on one service. You looked up competitors and arrived at a price. You may have charged 100% at completion.
After getting burned, you did some research to see how others handle payment timing. And you quickly moved to 50% up front and 50% at completion. And while that solved the problem of not covering project expenses, it still left you with a roller coaster of an income that you couldn’t plan on.
Maybe you tried a 50%/30%/20% plan based on milestones. That helped a little bit, right? But still, so much of your payment timing depended on the work the customer was doing (such as approvals, content delivery, 3rd party setups).
Any of these sound like you? And you just hope that you end up getting enough clients staggered at the proper points so that you get cash coming in every month.
But that’s just the nature of service-based businesses, right?
Wrong. It doesn’t have to be.
Now, in the past I wrote an article about ways to keep cash flowing. It’s got some good info, take a read:
7 Ways to Keep Cash Flowing Into Your Business
Oh, and this is also helpful: How to Claw Your Way Out of the Feast or Famine Cycle
But they’re not strong enough.
If you’re a business-owning mom and you want to work less and have an income you can count on each month, you have to plan your products and their delivery around those goals, not put band-aids on an inadequate plan.
How to Craft Your Recurring Revenue Business
The first thing that we need to understand is the difference between products and services for business. Typically, a product can be sold at scale, while a service cannot. (Yes, I know this is a broad generalization!) And a digital product can be sold over and over again without additional production, packaging, shipping costs.
You could also have a hybrid, a productized service. This may look like a service to the client, but it’s sold and delivered like a product, with standard options, standard pricing, and standard delivery.
Business-owning moms jump into 1:1 services when they get started. And I do think they’re a great way to test the waters and nail down your processes.
But once you have a solid offer, you must do 3 things:
- Start charging much more for bespoke, customized services
- Productize your core service offer & its delivery
- Create an offer for a product or productized service that your clients will want month after month
Here’s how to start crafting!
A lot of your revenue needs to come from products if you want to start working fewer hours, and more flexible hours. You’re busy, and time is your priority. So if you want to offer services, you are going to have to do a couple different things. You’re either going to have to outsource a lot of that service, automate a lot of service, or charge premium prices for your time.
You can serve different people at all different price points. You can even offer them the same solution. The variable that determines budget v. premium pricing is the effort level required to implement the solution.
It’s tempting to offer a wide variety of solutions. But that will exponentially increase the amount of time you spend on marketing, delivery, customer service, product updates. Build out a suite for one solution and sell it well before you add more solutions.*
So a smart product suite focuses on one solution, with different delivery methods, requiring variable levels of effort from you and the customer. As the customer puts in more effort to reach the solution, you put in less effort, and the price goes down. As the customer puts in less effort, you put in more effort, and the price goes up.
If you offer a 100% done-for-you service that provides enormous value to your client, the client puts in minimal effort for that solution.
If you offer a book explaining your solution and how to implement it, the result can still provide enormous value, but the client/book customer is going to have to put in a lot of their own effort to achieve it.
*that doesn’t mean that you can’t break out a piece of a larger solution to sell independently at a lower price point. It may seem like it’s a separate solution, but it’s a piece of a core offering.
Hands-free Monthly Recurring Revenue
The most important product for business-owning moms who want a steady income they can count on is a recurring revenue product. A recurring revenue product creates a steady cash flow because it is billed automatically on a fixed period, typically monthly.
A good candidate for a recurring revenue product is something your client will consume or need monthly to support the core solution you offer.
Example: If your core offer is a brand redesign, your clients will need fresh social media graphics and or templates regularly in their brand colors and styles. A monthly package of templates they can customize would be helpful, save them time, and improve their marketing.
The obvious benefit is monthly income coming in. You’ll be able to plan both for your personal income and your business expenses like hiring.
You will also be able to do better planning around your future products and your future offerings. You are going to be able to have more time because you’re going to have the freedom to make better decisions. If you are not scrambling to get that next $100 to meet a business expense, then you can plan longer-term and think a lot more strategically.
And once you’re doing that it kind of loops back around. That gives you more time because you had better thoughts or ideas and better planning. So this is really the key to building the business you really want.
And on top of that, if you set up your recurring revenue product so that you have little to no hands-on work for that monthly income, you free up time to spend with your family. So this is not like a retainer or somebody purchasing 10 hours of your work. You need to be selling something that can be done at scale for many customers or handled entirely by someone else.
So once we have an offer or two, you must create systems around marketing, selling, delivering your products. Systems allow you to hire, train your employees, and automate parts of your process. They also improve your products and services, keep them consistent, and provide known value.
When you have systems in place to run your business, you can schedule your income and know when it should be coming in. This is where you want to be. You want to be able to make projects and plan your life and business around them.
Creating systems frees up space & time in your brain as well. It reduces decision fatigue that plagues many business-owning moms. We’ve made about 8 bazillion decisions before we even start working so any help we can get will deliver huge benefits!
I absolutely wish that I had figured this out a long time ago. Because when you first get started, you’re doing everything yourself. Even if you have no plans to hire or automate, creating systems for yourself will reduce your stress and overwhelm because you’ll know what needs to come next for most of your work.
Would You Like More Time-Managing Tips?
Do you need to save 10+ hours each week just to get a little time with your kids? Learn about the Done by 3:00 Workday coaching program – I’m inviting you (100% no sales pitch) to chat with me for a few minutes to find your next best step to saving time in your business. Click here to schedule!
Take back your afternoons!
You're a business-owning mom, so you use this guide to prioritize your tasks in 2 minutes, and have 41 minutes left to knock out a task.