Deepa Sai .

Hello peeps, I need some suggestions and advice. I started my company selling content writing services to individuals and organisations. Later I had quite a few clients (individuals, solopreneurs/homepreneurs/micropreneurs/ small businesses) approach me for content writing. However, they did not have a clue about how to launch a business/ brand and wanted me to help from scratch (business name, logo, branding, marketing offline and online, internal and business documentation). So that led on to doing content strategy, content branding and marketing strategy, social media strategy, blog strategy and then ultimately executing all of these.

I would like to be open and tell you that I am not an expert at the game. I have a confusion on where my company is headed. Clearly people want everything done from ideation to execution. So do I learn marketing, branding analytics and give that as a package? Is it possible for a solopreneur to do that or should I direct them to a proper digital marketing company to handle everything and I just look after the written content? Plus, if I were to start doing the package, where do I start learning? I do not want to waste time learning too much...just enough so I can help these small brands...later when they grow big I think they will automatically seek an agency.

Originally Posted Here
14 Comments

Shaju Nair

Don’t try to do everything on your own. Collaborate with others and generate margin for yourself.

Deepa Sai

I will work towards collaboration, thank you! :)

Namit Oberoy

Deepa, you need to charge separately for all these services. They need to be dissected with clear metrics and performance milestones, and you need to account your fees for every deliverable in advance of the project as well as charge for discovery of client issues (formulating problem statements). If somehow some scope cannot be envisaged in advance, which is quite commonplace, your contract needs to reflect a mechanism so that the client has to place a variation order to get any additional work done by you. From what you have mentioned, I think there's a huge scope creep issue which may end up distressing you and cost you huge amount of fees and time.

Namit Oberoy

Also, I would suggest following The Futur / Chris Do on YouTube. They have a series of excellent videos on managing and handling clients and ensuring such problems are mitigated.

And if you need help making sure your contracts account for such contingencies and are fair to you on scope and consideration, I can help if you still need assistance.

Deepa Sai

Hi Namit, I would need your help once I redesign my strategy and services. I will get in touch with you once I have the required documents in place. I will check out those videos on YouTube as well. Thank you so much.

Mayur Kulkarni

Clients do have a tendency to put everything on others. It is neither fair to you nor them. Sticking to a niche will be better for everyone involved. Another benefit of having a niche is, you can collaborate with others. Say, if someone shares leads with me in my niche, I'll be half to return the favor!

Namit Oberoy

I agree.

Inculcating a habit of saying "No" to work outside your niche can do wonders for your business.

Deepa Sai

I agree with the both of you. Plain old content writing is no more a niche unfortunately. However, providing content strategy, branding and marketing as a package for individuals and small businesses, I think, is a niche. What do you think. I have turned down certain projects that involved technical writing. I am just unable to say no to some clients who have no clue how to go about promoting their work and getting businesses but they are exceptionally talented. These are usually homepreneurs or sole proprietors.

Mayur Kulkarni

Five years ago, we started with building basic websites. But along the way, we learned various things such as Android development, eCommerce websites, different technologies, digital marketing, SEO. And we started providing these services. We hired competent people in each stream when projects started to pour in and so this planned expansion to other things have worked. But while doing this we've said NO to many things too. So I guess it's up to you what you feel is right for your business, what you feel comfortable with etc. But one thing is for sure, it needs to be planned not ad hoc.

Deepa Sai

Completely agree. That's why I am constantly refining my services from day one.

Nikhil Jain

Collaborate! If needed right partners, let me know. I know few folks who are good to partner with!

I started doing same thing and it never worked out alone. If want to grow bigger and better focus on Collaboration too but be aware of parasitic Collaboration and Collab with those who are better than you.

Deepa Sai

I am going to look at collaboration with freelancers, yes. I also wanted to lead my company using the gig economy strategy, helping remote workers and freelancers because I started off like that this year after saying "no" to corporate jobs. But, yes I would like to collaborate. If I could get more clarity on how, it would be great. Thank you..

Mansi Rastogi

This is a classic shift from being a freelancer to entrepreneur. Deepa, first decide if that's the shift you want to do. Not everyone is built for it. I hated it when it first happened to me. And I was clueless that it was happening. It's the shift from being an executor to manager. If you don't like managing people, this may not be something you want. It requires a completely different skillset. Also, I know some amazing freelancers and writers who are killing it in their own fields so NO, that's not a dead field if you find your positioning.

Having said that if you do like it, it's a steep learning curve and you will need at least 1 or 2 years to settle into the role well. I am a brand strategist for 17 years and have been running my branding & design agency for the last decade. I have gone through all of the stages that you are at and now moving to the next phase in my business - Growing it. Hit me up if you need insight or clarity. I'd be happy to share my experience. Hopefully it will save you some time. Good luck.

Saurabh Kanwar

While running my agency, i learnt that it was terribly hard to keep offering services that had a lot of competition. Profits always suffered, and even when i did well, i was replaced. The real growth happened when 1. I found a super-speciality and in some cases domain expertise 2. I was part of the business growth target than being a vendor. With this, i grew as the client grew, my work was respected more, and i got paid better. There is a lot of good advice on this thread, but you must first be clear about a) Where you want to be, and why; b) discovering what ingredients you have for a 'special sauce'; c) Finding the right partners and collaborators. I would be happy to talk this through

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