Are you building a cookie cutter business?

Are you serving up the same old products and services people as everyone else in your field?

Clients tell me all the time that they feel suffocated by professional titles that don’t quite fit. Their mission is wider than that and their approach is unconventional.

Yet when I look at their products and services, they’re often dishing up the same old offerings as everyone else. They’re doing things the way they are usually done, because they can’t see another way. It’s as if they are walking around with blinkers on.

I get it, because I did it myself. When I first launched my online biz, I looked around the web and tried to squash myself into the copywriter box. I shared writing tips and structures and templates. I offered all kinds of bespoke copywriting solutions. Do you write sales pages? Sure! What about autoresponders? Absolutely.

Now I could – and still can – do all of those things. But what I really love doing and where my natural gift lies, is working 1:1 with you to draw out your core message. It’s the gentle questioning that draws out your gifts, defines the transformation you deliver and reflects it back to you in one compelling package.

I know that getting clear on your core message is a fundamental precursor to creating great copy that sounds like you. And I know it’s hard for you to do it on your own – because it’s hard for me to do it for myself.

These principles are foundational to my work. But until recently, I’d tried to squash the messaging into my copywriting packages. I’d tried to make it part of my intake process, not a standalone solution. The way that I work might be different, but I was offering it to the market in the same way as everyone else.

When I first got the idea to package up my Start with the Heart sessions separately, and offer them not just as a standalone option, but as a prerequisite to further copywriting work, I felt a lot of fear. What would it look like? Would anyone be interested? What on earth would I call it? No one else seemed to be doing this, so could it really work?

I soon realised there were actually big advantages to working this way. By bundling the messaging work into the copywriting, I had not allowed my clients to value it independently, nor was I valuing it enough myself. It wasn’t even listed as a deliverable on my copywriting contract, making it challenging to dedicate sufficient time and energy to this process. Where are you not valuing aspects of your work?

I had also been forcing my clients to go all or nothing when it came to a big task, like writing a website – and that can be a hard call to make. Now, my clients can engage me at a relatively modest price point for this initial session. We get to try each other on for size and figure out how we work together. And whether or not we decide to continue our relationship, my client gets something incredibly valuable to take away. How could you provide more flexibility for your clients?

Better still, new clients are appearing from nowhere, and each one says something like “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.” Take note of that – just because no one is currently filling the need, doesn’t mean that need doesn’t exist.

If you’ve fallen into the trap of doing things the expected way, here’s how you can design your own solutions from scratch:

  1. Start with a blank slate – When you start creating your products or services, resist the urge to look at others in your field. It’s so important, as Marie Forleo puts it, to “create before you compare.” Keep your mind clear and open as to the possibilities.
  1. Focus on your customers’ needs first – Talk to your customers, send out a survey or go back to old customer intake forms, emails or anywhere else you’ve collected your customer intel. What are they struggling with? How does that impact on her life? If she could have anything she wanted, what would be her ideal solution? Then brainstorm as many ideas as possible to meet those needs, even if they seem crazy.
  1. Consider what’s missing in your industry. What are people looking for, that others in the market place are simply not providing?

A great place to start is to look at the reviews for books, products and services in your field, on amazon.com or Yelp. Don’t read the good reviews, read the poor ones, the 1 and 2 stars.

Ask yourself, what are people looking for that they cannot find? What needs do they have that remain unsatisfied? How were their expectations not met by this book, product or service? Then think about how you could fill that gap. Again, brainstorm as many solutions as possible.

  1. Consider where you do your best work. This is a vital piece, because when you do your best work, you’re going to create amazing results for your clients – and results lead to referrals.

Perhaps, like me, there are a load of different things you could offer your clients. That doesn’t mean you should do all of them. Think about the way you love to work, where you get the best results and then figure out how to bring that into the services you offer.

  1. Once you’ve come up with an idea, test it out. There’s no substitute for talking to people. Ask some trusted clients for feedback. Would this appeal to them? Would it have helped them? What else would they like to see included in such an offer?

Ask your clients if they know anyone who would be keen to give it a try. Many of you will have read about my month of free sessions, back when I first started my online business. While I know that approach is not going to be possible for everyone, consider whether there is a way to offer some free trial sessions on a less monumental scale. You could keep it to a handful, or offer 15-minute taster sessions. Either way, make sure you ask for feedback and testimonials too.

  1. Just get it out there. Stop waiting for the cute name or the right price to pop into your head. It ain’t gonna happen by forcing it and the wonderful thing about the online world is that nothing is carved in stone. You can try it, tweak it, rename it, reprice it – whatever. But you can’t do anything until it’s out there.

If you need help aligning your offerings with your core message, click here to book your FREE 20 minute mini session.

 Did this blog resonate with you? If so I’d love to hear about it. What’s your challenge with creating packages that align with your mission?

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