When you’re worried about offering ‘too many’ different services.
This week Frankie Tortora and Steve Folland have a chat in response to a question from copywriter and freelancing mentor Laura Smith. She says:
“Hey Frankie and Steve,
Can you help me figure this out?
I’m a freelance copywriter that has worked with a lot of small business owners on their content. The more I worked with them, the more I realised I really liked the extra conversations they were having with me about how to start a business. So much so, I launched a mentoring programme for new freelancers. So far so good.
So at this point, I already I have two different things to focus my marketing on — copywriting and mentoring.
BUT. The more mentoring I do, the more things it uncovers that people find really helpful — mostly how to review your business and create strategy — and I’m really enjoying it. So, I’d like to offer more specific sessions around this kind of thing but I’m concerned I’d be spreading my services too far and my audience won’t be able to easily recognise what I actually offer (which would be three different things by now, if you’re counting).
Can I successfully offer these new business sessions without compromising my existing copywriting services? Is there even time in the day? Is it possible that my brain just hates me?
Help! Oh, and there’s a 7 month old who doesn’t sleep in the picture too. Obviously!
Take note dear listener! We might swear a bit. This one’s for the parents. To be enjoyed at your desk or once the kiddos are in bed.
Here’s what was said in this episode:
Comments on the previous episode:
[00:01:33] – Frankie
Hello, you’re listening to the Doing It For The Kids podcast, where we swear a bit too much and talk a bit too fast about freelance life with kids in the mix. I’m Frankie, and this is Steve.
[00:01:57] – Steve
Yes, each episode we take a question from the Doing it For The Kids community, do our best to answer it, but we start each episode by looking back at the last episode. In the last episode we were talking about…
[00:02:11] – Frankie
…about the madness that is, having a full-time employed job and being full-time freelance at the same time.
[00:02:17] – Steve
Penny Brazier got in touch, Penny says:
“Just to back up Frankie’s comment about telling people you work with what you’re doing. At my old in-house job, somebody from the design team left to go freelance after side hustling for years. Nobody knew and everyone was so surprised and impressed. So when I left, I made sure everybody knew. And doing that did result in work later.
Plant those seeds! You never know which might grow.”
[00:02:46] – Frankie
And Rachel Brown makes an excellent point. She says:
“Use your annual leave if you haven’t already. Make sure you get all of your allowance booked in for your employed job. They are literally contractually obliged to pay you to not work! So make the most of it and try and have some downtime.”
[00:03:03] – Steve
Such a good point.
[00:03:04] – Frankie
“If it all gets a bit much, look into your company’s policy on things like wellbeing — days where you can take a day off, no-questions-asked, to sort out your head. And if you need to tap into other free benefits that provide avenues of support — like employee assistance helplines, counseling, healthcare, etc. — use those too.”
Our answer to this week's question:
[00:05:54] – Steve
Episode 82 and we have a question from Laura Smith, at Ella Street Communications.
“Hey, Frankie and Steve, can you help me figure this out?
I’m a freelance copywriter that has worked with a lot of small business owners on their content. The more I worked with them, the more I realised I really liked the extra conversations they were having with me about how to start a business. So much so, I launched a mentoring program for new freelancers. So far, so good.
So at this point, I already have two different things to focus my marketing on: copywriting and mentoring. But the more mentoring I do, the more things it uncovers that people find really helpful. Mostly how to review your business and create strategy. And I’m really enjoying it. So I’d like to offer more specific sessions around this kind of thing, but I’m concerned I’d be spreading my services too far and my audience won’t be able to easily recognise what I actually offer (which would be three different things by now, if you’re counting).
Can I successfully offer these new business sessions without compromising my existing copywriting services? Is there even time in the day? Is it possible that my brain just hates me? Help!
Oh, and there’s a seven month old who doesn’t sleep in the picture too, obviously.
[00:07:16] – Steve
They have an older child as well as a seven month old.
[00:07:18] – Frankie
They do, yeah. I love that she just throws the baby who doesn’t sleep in there. Like it’s just life. It’s just casual. We just roll with that one, don’t we?
[00:07:30] – Steve
Okay. I’ll tell you my sort of headline gut feeling on this: You have your copywriting services and then you have your helping freelancer services. You’re already doing both those things and it seems to be working.
So really adding more strings to the helping freelancers thing shouldn’t detract from the copywriting thing because it already exists. There’s already two sides to this business. All you’re simply doing is adding more to the freelance helping bit.
[00:08:03] – Frankie
[00:08:03] – Steve
So I don’t see why it should detract from your copywriting services?
[00:08:08] – Frankie
Yeah, I agree with you in that Laura is presenting it as three things, but I don’t see it as three things.
[00:08:14] – Steve
[00:08:15] – Frankie
I see it as the copywriting, and then the mentoring or whatever you want to call it — the business advice side. These new business sessions about strategy would sit under that second thing. It wouldn’t be a third thing. It would just be an additional branch to the mentoring bit.
[00:08:36] – Steve
It’s like the drop down menu on your website.
[00:08:40] – Frankie
[00:08:41] – Steve
You have the ‘copyrighting’ button and all the different services that come with copywriting. Because it’s not just one thing, is it? And similarly, you’ve got the ‘I help freelancers’ drop down menu. Click on that and it’s got one-on-one mentoring, business sessions, group sessions, whatever it is.
[00:08:56] – Frankie
She hasn’t asked this, but is it okay to have those two things under one website? I mean, you do, don’t you? You’ve got a million different things under stevefolland.com?
[00:09:06] – Steve
Well, this is the thing though, because she’s not asking that. It already sounds like it works. Ultimately, people want to work with Laura the copywriter. They like Laura, they’re following her online. Other people, however, are going, ‘Oh, I like Laura the Copywriter so much, I want to learn from her and get advice from her’. I feel like it’s better promoting it just as, ‘This is what Laura does — this is my brand, this is what Ella Street Communications do’.
[00:09:33] – Frankie
It’s true, the name works for both. That’s a nice little package and can all sit on one website under one name.
[00:09:42] – Steve
Another thing you can do, which I was checking out recently, is a new thing from Calendly, which probably means other people do it as well or will do soon.
So Calendly now have this routing feature. It lets you ask questions and then based on the answers of the questions, it feeds you to different pages, different meetings that you can book, different things that you can buy because you can pay through Calendly… See what I mean?
So you could say, ‘Are you a copywriter? Are you a freelancer?’ And then you go, ‘Oh, I’m after freelancing help’. And then you click on that and you go, ‘Oh, okay, which stage of your business are you at?’ Or ‘Do you want one on one support?’ Or maybe it’s, ‘Do you want to buy a thing?’ You can route people through your own website.
You can also use a service like Calendly, so that — and yes, we’ll come back to the fact that you don’t feel like you have bandwidth — but using tools like that should hopefully make it easy for people to be directed towards what will help them quickly, as well as not taking up too much of your time.
[00:10:40] – Frankie
I like that idea. Like those old school quizzes in teenage magazines.
[00:10:43] – Steve
Choose your own adventure!
[00:10:45] – Frankie
[00:10:46] – Steve
Also, Laura, I think what you’re doing sounds like a good idea. As in, you’re listening to the people that you’re helping and recognising new ways that you can help them. And of course, one of the easiest ways to sell is to sell to your existing customers.
[00:11:03] – Frankie
They trust you.
[00:11:04] – Steve
You’ve helped somebody at this stage, now you’re offering them another thing further down the line. And I often think this about my Being Freelance course. It’s for new freelancers and I think, ‘Oh, well, what about those people who took it a year ago? How can I help them now? What would they be needing now?’
As in, they’ve already invested in you once, they’ve already seen how you help them, and now you’re going to help them some more. Sounds like a great idea.
[00:11:28] – Frankie
I think it’s fine. And your audience can easily recognise what you offer as long as you lay it out in a logical way on your website.
I appreciate there’s a bit of a challenge with social media. If you’re talking about both under one account, maybe you want to look at working with a designer, for example, on having, like, sub-brands so that it’s visually identifiable which bit of your business you’re talking about when. Because I don’t feel like you need to separate those two things out, and often that’s more confusing for people if you have two separate accounts for two parts of your business.
I would argue Ella Street is like the headline brand and then you’ve got these two elements to what you do. But, yeah, how to communicate that to your audience is going to be key.
But you’re a copywriter, so, you know, if anyone can work that out, it’s you! But I appreciate there’s a challenge there to not allow those channels — and your marketing beyond your website — to feel a bit muddied. It needs to feel crystal clear, like, what it is you do and for whom.
[00:12:28] – Frankie
And I feel like the other half of this question is like, ‘I’ve got a baby who doesn’t sleep’ and she doesn’t say, but an older child as well. ‘Do I really want to be taking more on now? On a personal level? Never mind what my clients feel about it? Is this too much for my business to do?’ I mean, only she can answer that. Right?
[00:12:48] – Steve
Yeah, very true.
What I would say is that it sounds as if this kind of work lights you up — you’re enjoying doing it, and so sometimes that can change the way we perceive things. I mean, yes, okay, time is sort of fixed, but there’s a flexibility to time. It’s a weird one.
[00:13:06] – Frankie
Is there? Have you got some magic sauce that I don’t know about? Because I’d love some of that.
[00:13:11] – Steve
I feel like if you really enjoy doing something, somehow you find the time.
[00:13:14] – Frankie
It’s true, I mean look at us and this podcast!
[00:13:19] – Steve
Right! But also, Laura, you can choose what to spend your time on, so you can say, ‘I’m going to allow this number of slots for mentoring, this number of slots for this thing, and I will only take on certain amount of blogging clients’. Basically, you can manage your time. So, yes, it’s taking on another thing — but maybe that just means you do less of another thing for now? And then one day when you have a bit more time, you can do all of them a bit more.
[00:15:19] – Frankie
Funny you should say that because that’s literally what I was about to say: Is there a sub-question here that she hasn’t said, which is, ‘I’m afraid of the balance tipping more towards the mentoring than the copywriting’. Is she afraid of her business shifting towards this? I don’t know. I might be totally wrong.
[00:15:47] – Steve
[00:15:47] – Frankie
Maybe part of the resistance to taking on an extra mentoring thing is she’ll be doing less of the copywriting. And that’s historically what she’s done that’s tied to her identity as a freelancer that’s comfortable and safe, right? And is expanding the mentoring side of it a bit scary, maybe? I don’t know. But also, as you say, she clearly enjoys it in a different way to the copywriting.
[00:16:13] – Steve
But, yeah, I mean, keep both things going, but choose how you spend your time.
[00:16:19] – Frankie
And if the point of this exercise is to be given permission to lean into the mentoring stuff, if that’s what you want to do — Laura, go for it!
[00:16:25] – Steve
Yeah. And you never know, Laura, you might find that you are mentoring people who you think you might work well with, and then you could outsource some excess copywriting gigs to them.
[00:16:40] – Frankie
Did he say outsource? I thought we’d got through this episode without it!
Who’s got a bingo card? Ding. Ding.
[00:16:48] – Frankie
Also, from what I’ve seen of Laura on the Internet, everything she touches is gold. So I imagine the mentoring stuff is going to be a massive success.
[00:16:56] – Steve
Also, can I just say, given that this is Doing It For The Kids and we’re talking about running our businesses alongside our kids, I flippin’ love the photos that Laura has on her website of her and her daughter. As in, her elder daughter, like, working together. Honestly, you should take a look if you’ve not seen it before — Ella Street Communications.
[00:17:18] – Frankie
And she talks really openly about working alongside her kids on LinkedIn all the time. We’ve talked a lot in these episodes about whether you should hide the fact that you’re looking after small people while running a business. And she’s the opposite of that. She celebrates it. It’s great!