“Just start a service business”.
Sounds pretty easy, right?
Going from a product-focused to a service-based business is more challenging than I expected.
Here is why:
I do not have an established network in the field I am diving into.
I made two switches at once.
Type of work: Full-time employee
Field of work: Marketing
Type of work: Self-Employed
Field of work: Team Building
Although I read about making a double switch not being recommendable I just went on and did it.
Source: What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career-Changers
Richard N. Bolles
Although, I must say I started working on my self-employment for several months after- and before business hours besides my fulltime-job, so one might argue I made one step at a time.
This leads me to my first learning:
🦓 Other peoples’ experience ≠ Your experience
Stop treating other peoples experiences as an absolute “How to” path.
A big part of the entrepreneurial scene seems to rotate around finding people who have a “success story”, then trying to copy them.
I’m guilty of this mindset myself.
I read a lot of books and listened to podcasts all day long.
Since I stopped reading countless business articles, books and listening to business podcasts I feel I am starting to make progress.
My mind is more focused on things to do relevant to my core business, as I am not constantly faced with another story from a person who has another 5 things he learned on his journey which I should implement this week.
I know it’s kind of funny that I am writing about my experience and practically telling you not to read and listen too much to other people.
A world full of contradictions, isn’t it?
This is actually my second learning.
🐈 Create a strategy and execute, but be willing to adjust at any moment
The first months of being an entrepreneur are really important for discovering and adapting.
When I started out with remotenactive.com I first thought a web-based product is the really important solution.
I wanted to adapt my project from Virtual Team Activities List to Remote ’n Active and thought I can more or less copy & paste the thing and put a price tag on it.
I was wrong.
After talking to potential clients and listening to the software engineer Patrick McKenzie I decided to go into a service-based approach.
Yeah, sorry, I’m once again contradicting myself.
As I said already: stop treating other peoples experiences as an absolute “How to” path.
But why service?
Isn’t it cool to have an app?
The service approach will give me the opportunity to understand the nuances of my clients far better, than just reading online comments, having a couple of calls every other day and then spending countless hours on developing something no one needs.
It took me one month to finally decide to switch, this should have been done much earlier.
Because of the third learning
🦁 Find real clients with your actual problem who are willing to pay
Serial Entrepreneur Pieter Levels
But, here’s a catch:
It really does not make sense to do sales from the perspective of a big corportation.
The main goal of a big corporation is to make money.
The main goal of a startup is to find clients who pay you.
Make them happy and then ideally find others and reach find product market fit.
That is why my sales strategy does not evolve around “hard sales” as in trying to convince potential clients of my service.
I’m searching for people who have the problem and only then do I try to convince them of working with me.
That’s a big difference.
🐶 Concluding thoughts
It feels surreal to a certain degree to see some pieces finally getting together into a picture I am trying to paint since many months.
You really have to keep in mind that creating a startup is an endeavor that does not have a clear path you can step into.
I underestimated the importance of marketing & sales and actually getting out into the field.
Which in a sense is my final learning from my first 3 months.
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