Beyond Custom Work: Brad Hussey Explains How to Productise for Success

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The creative agency realm often grapples with the unpredictable cycle of feast or famine. The solution? Productisation — a strategy that packages services into pre-defined, consistent offerings. This method not only offers clarity in marketing but also secures streamlined operations and safeguards profitability.

Understanding Productisation

Productisation is the process of standardising services into quantifiable products that feature fixed outcomes, scope, timelines, and prices. Shifting from a model heavily reliant on key personnel, agencies can now entice a steady flow of revenue and foster sustainable expansion. The methodology ensures exceptional client experiences and promotes maintainable growth.

The Benefits of Standardised Services

Structured, productised services offer innumerable benefits. They simplify marketing messages, enhance operational efficiency, and preserve the bottom line. Agencies can target distinct customer needs with fixed-price solutions, establish tight operational systems, and cultivate a workforce trained in delivering these standard services proficiently.

Documenting for Scalability

Documentation of systems and processes is indispensable for scalability. It enables delegation and automation, ensuring operations can surge without compromising quality or consistency. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) become the backbone of a productisable and scalable service model.

Pricing Strategies within Productisation

While productising could imply affordability, it can simultaneously command premium pricing. Distinctions between high-end productised services and budget alternatives illustrate how productisation caters to diverse market segments without commoditising the service offering.

Tailoring Services for Market Segments

Productisation doesn't stifle variety. Instead, it encourages segmentation within a market, satisfying various client needs. From smaller, swift services to more extensive offerings, there is an opportunity for upselling without undermining the core service proposition.

Conclusion

Productisation presents itself as a beacon of hope for agencies aiming to escape the hourly billable trap and stride towards a model that guarantees growth, revenue constancy, and operational smoothness. With the tips and strategies outlined, agencies can readily embark on this transformative process, scaling their business while delivering unparalleled client value.

Questions and Answers

Q: What is productisation?
A: Productisation is the strategy of converting services into standardised products with fixed outcomes, scope, timeline, and pricing to facilitate consistent revenue and scale business operations.

Q: How can productisation benefit creative agencies?
A: It provides clarity in marketing, allows for streamlined operations, protects profitability, and helps in providing exceptional client experiences. It also simplifies training and enables the possibility of selling operations as a package.

Q: What should agencies consider when pricing their productised services?
A: Agencies can consider different pricing strategies, from affordable solutions to premium offerings, depending on the target market segments and the perceived value of their productised services.

Q: How can agencies ensure scalability through productisation?
A: By documenting systems and processes, creating standard operating procedures, and focusing on automation and delegation, agencies can scale their productised offerings without compromising quality.

Q: How can an agency handle requests for additional work within a productised service?
A: They can reference the agreed-upon contract to manage expectations or schedule additional work at a premium rate to maintain profitability and foster a respectful partnership with clients.

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 Full Episode Transcription

Rob Da Costa:

Does this sound familiar? 1 month, you're drowning in client work, burning the midnight oil to hit deadlines, then the next month, your pipelines run dry, and you're desperately hustling for new business. This exhausting feast or famine cycle is all too common for creative agencies trapped in the world of custom bespoke services. But what if there was a way to break free from that roller Costa once and for all? So today's episode, I want to introduce you to the concept of productizing your service offerings By packaging your service into standardized repeatable products, you can unlock a path to consistent revenue, sustainable growth, and the freedom to finally work on your business rather than just in it. This episode explores how productizing services can bring clarity to your marketing, streamline operations, and allow you to finally step out from under the shadow of overreliance on a few key people in your agency or a few key clients. You'll learn a proven framework for identifying the right services to package up, crafting compelling marketing that speaks directly to your ideal client's pain points, and setting boundaries to protect your profitability. Now our guide today is Brad Hussey, the founder of Bright Side Studio and the Creative Crew community. Brad has walked this path himself, and he shares his candid insights into productizing his own offerings, including how to get your pricing right, how to manage client scope creep, and avoid commoditizing your services. So if you're ready to break out of the feast or famine cycle, tune in now.

Rob Da Costa:

By the end of the episode, you'll be armed with a practical blueprint for transforming your agency into a finely tuned machine, primed to provide remarkable client experience whilst finally realizing your vision for sustainable growth. So let's get started. I'm Rob Costa, and this is the Agency Accelerator podcast. As someone who has stood in your shoes, having started, grown, and sold my own agency, I know just how it feels in the ups and downs of agency life. So this podcast aims to ease your journey just a little by sharing mine and my guests' experiences and advice as you navigate your way to growing a profitable, sustainable, and enjoyable business. Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to this week's Agency Accelerator podcast. And this week, we are talking all about productizing your service offering, which I think is a really smart thing to do. So we're gonna dig into all of that, and I'm excited to be joined in this discussion with Brad Hussey.

Rob Da Costa:

Brad is the founder of Bright Side Studios, a web agency based out of Alberta in Canada. He's a designer, creator, and educator, and he also runs the Creative Crew, a community that empowers design agencies to grow their agency, amplify their creativity, and connect with top professionals. So welcome, Brad. That sounds like a lot of stuff, so it must keep you really busy.

Brad Hussey:

Yes. Well, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. And, yeah, you're you're right. When you hear it kind of put out there, you're like, woah. It's a lot going on there. Yes.

Brad Hussey:

You know, I've been doing it for a long time, so there's always like a moving piece. You know, there's always something steady, but then something comes in, something goes out, a new thing comes in. So I'm kinda used to, I guess, you might say juggling, you know, a few pieces at a time.

Rob Da Costa:

Yeah. Absolutely. So today, we are talking all about productizing and systemizing services. So they become repeatable and, most importantly, scalable. And we break away from that overreliance on a few key people in our agency. And this sounds like an aspiration that many agencies would or should have. So can we kick this discussion off by just explaining what you mean by productizing a service offering and sharing some of the key benefits of taking that approach? 

Rob Da Costa:

Now let me just put a pause on here and jump in quickly to introduce you to our free bimonthly 45-minute agency workshops. These sessions are packed with value, focusing on the critical challenges you, as an agency owner, might face. From defining a clear niche to setting the right pricing, from preventing feast or famine to team building, we've got you covered. Each workshop includes an in-depth exploration of the week's topic along with a q and a session to address your pressing concerns. And remember, these are providing you value with no sales pitches. So head over to dacostacoaching.co.uk/agency-accelerator-live-events/. That's agency accelerator live events and save your seat. Okay. Back to today's topic.

Brad Hussey:

Of course. Yeah. So the productizing right now, there's a little bit of, I would say, confusion. Maybe just on design Twitter or design x, whatever we might call it right now at this point in time. Productizing is when essentially your service offering is almost like you could just pick it off a shelf. It's not custom. It's not bespoke. It's not, something that you get on a call with the client for and then you work through the problems.

Brad Hussey:

You do the Socratic line of questioning. Why this? Why that? Why this? You don't do any of that. There's no custom price. There's no custom timeline. It's literally or it's actually not literally. It's figuratively a product off the shelf. You walk into your virtual design shop and the customer identifies with the problem that you're putting on the little billboard or on the little sign and goes, yep, I have that problem. That looks like the solution.

Brad Hussey:

Okay. It's this much and this is when I can have it. And they take it off the shelf. Just like if you were to walk into a shop and buy a product for a certain need at that exact time. So definition you might say a productized service is a service offering that is fixed in outcome, fixed in scope, fixed in timeline, and fixed in price. Some of those can wiggle. I've done productized services and worked with other folks who have a productised service where maybe the price varies a little bit or maybe, you know, the scope of the project is a little bit different. And I even have a productized service where, you know, it's marketed as 1 and done.

Brad Hussey:

But based on a 15-minute call with the customer who's already ready to buy, I go, you know what? Let's tweak this a little bit. And it's and it works. So you're not, you know, you don't have to just abide by exactly all those fixed rules, but that's kind of the rule of thumb fixed in outcome and scope, timeline, and price. And the further away you get from that, the less productized it is. And there are also different types of productized services. We can get into that as well. But here's where the confusion lies, I think. A lot of designers now think that productising yourself means offering an unlimited subscription agency.

Brad Hussey:

An unlimited subscription service. So this is like the design joys, you know, the design pickles, the, you know, the unlimited video editing services, the unlimited design, unlimited coding, whatever whatever whatever. Where it's a subscription and you can have unlimited tasks, and they'll work on it 1 by 1. That is a type of productizing. But productizing doesn't mean it's a subscription offering. In fact, most productized services are literally one price off the shelf, you know. There's your product with the specific outcome. And so that's what a productized service is.

Brad Hussey:

One piece I just realized that I might not have said clearly is the other fixed part is who the customer is. So it could be and we can get into examples a little later too, but maybe you only do websites for a certain type of website. Let's call it, you know, a WordPress website, could be a Webflow website, could be a Wix Studio site. Maybe you use a platform and you say, in 1 week, we'll build a Wix studio site for, lumber companies, and lumber distributors. And that's it. And it's 5 grand in 1 week, and that's it. You know, just like that. And the systems are tight.

Brad Hussey:

The operations are tight. You could train your staff on it. You could sell the operation because it comes with an operating manual. That's productized.

Rob Da Costa:

Yeah. So good. Such an interesting sort of thought-provoking approach, which I'm sure lots of our listeners won't necessarily have thought about. Just share I mean, I know the answer is kinda obvious, but just share some of the advantages of an agency going down this productization route.

Brad Hussey:

So the advantage would be the immense clarity you experience, first of all. When you know who your customers is, and exactly what they suffer with. I always like to use the word suffer, in that context because a lot of the time we'll use these we'll dance around. Oh, what's the problem you're solving? You're like, look, my itchy back can be a problem, but I can scratch it up against the door jam and I could scratch my own itch. So that's a problem. Suffering is like having a gash or an open wound that needs to be, at need requires emergent care and you need some help immediately. Else, you know, you'll have, some serious issues on your hands in short order. So that's why I say, you know, you know who your customer is intimately.

Brad Hussey:

You know what they suffer with and you know what's going to help them. And so that clarity is just crazy. When you get on a call with somebody and they just don't fit in that box, you can politely send them on their way, send them to a referral. Maybe you have a partnered agency where you go, hey. I get a lot of these folks. They're not for me but let's work out a deal here or I'll just keep sending you leads. However, you wanna do it. It's up to you.

Brad Hussey:

Or maybe you're an agency where you do bespoke work but you have a productized kind of arm to the agency where it almost feeds into your bespoke work. And you go, oh. Oh, yeah. This isn't gonna be a good fit for you but let's talk about this offering over here. And so the advantages there are massive. The other advantage Rob benefits rather is the the clarity you get with your marketing. Most agencies, freelancers, small studios, and you know, creative entrepreneurs, they just they're so unclear about their marketing. You know, muddy positioning is a phrase that I've heard where your positioning is kinda muddy.

Brad Hussey:

You don't really know. It's neither here nor there. But when you have a productized service and you know all of these levers that are very clear and laid out Your copywriting becomes clear. You know, the way you communicate the offering is clear. The problems and the issues, the words, the phrases, all of this stuff becomes so clear because you're in the head of the customer. In fact, you might have even interviewed some of your customers for market research and asked them certain questions. Hey. What brings you to the situation where you start to look where you start to look for these solutions?

Brad Hussey:

Oh, well, you know, I tried out this tool and this happened, and then I inevitably got across this roadblock. And so then I start hunting around. I start googling and doing this, and you go, oh, interesting. 3 other customers said that exact thing. Maybe I can use that in my storytelling, and in my marketing, and in my emails, ads and you'll get statements coming back from the customer or the client where they say, it sounds like you're in my head. Like, well because I am. That's exactly what I am in your head. Because I know so many of you and you've all said the same thing and this is the solution to it.

Brad Hussey:

It becomes so much easier to market and to sell because the customer comes to you on the call not with their guard up. They're literally just wanting to know when can we start and can you really help me with this? And that's it. And it's just a matter of oh, we can start in 2 weeks. We need to book you in. I take a deposit or I take payment in full because maybe it's a more approachable payment And it's just it's so much easier. Now Yeah. Singing its praises here, there's there's obviously downsides, but these are some massive advantages.

Rob Da Costa:

Yeah. Let me just dig into a couple of them before we talk about some of the downsides. So anyone who's listened to me, on this podcast for a few years knows that I am a massive fan of having a clear niche, and Brad has just really banged the drum for that because it makes you look different. You can create marketing messages that are not just cliches, but also that, like you say, resonate with your clients. I mean, don't we all want to have that situation where a client says, oh my god? You read my mind. That's exactly what's going on for me. I just wanna say another thing.

Rob Da Costa:

One of the most popular, blogs I ever wrote years ago was this blog that said, are you selling painkillers or vitamin pills? And it's kind of what you just said, Brad, just coached in a slightly different way because I see too many people trying to sell vitamin pills to clients who need painkillers because they've got a headache today. And what they really need is a painkiller for their headache. They don't need a vitamin pill that might stop the headache coming in the future. But too many people are selling vitamin pills and what they need to be selling is a pain killer, but they can't do that. They don't understand their clients. So this is another really great reason why we all have a clear niche or a clear niche. Talk to me. I've got a few thoughts about some of the downsides of this but talk to me about what are some of the potential downsides.

Rob Da Costa:

And I guess another question just to throw in there is at what stage in an agency's evolution should they start thinking about productization?

Brad Hussey:

I think that I mean, if things are going well I mean, this might be an argument to do it anyway. So maybe that anytime is a good answer here, Rob, you know, to have some sort of sticky point of view here, maybe I'll say, if you're things are running smooth and it's not as urgent for you to change things up and you have no desire to, then maybe you don't need to even consider it. But I find when you're when your operation isn't, let's say, running as smoothly, maybe your lead intake and your pipeline is drying up and you get those feast-famine cycles a little too often, you know, there's a dissonance and you just go like, I don't because something's not quite clicking. Maybe, just maybe, carving out some of that time, you know, some of your resources. So if you have an agency with team members, perfect. You know, use the resources that you have. If you're a solo operator, then use your own time and talent, you know, and block out your schedule appropriately so that you could carve out some time and reinvest some of this towards productizing. And what that might Da, if you have that lack of clarity, if things aren't coming smoothly, if the lead pipeline is not kind of filling up like you want it to, productizing might just give you kind of like a moment and a clarity with your Costa.

Brad Hussey:

So maybe you have a bespoke agency where you do all of the work, all the clients, all the stuff. And you like a particular area. We go, you know, I really like to know I'm gonna use this example of hardwood lumber agencies because I actually talked to a member of mine in the community in our community where he was a bespoke agency. But he has this background in the hardwood lumber industry. So not just lumber in general and not softwood because softwood is very different from hardwood and anyone in the lumber industry knows that very intimately, you know. You don't sell softwood lumber to a, you know, a hardwood lumber company. So anyway, he was like, I'm going to niche down and I'm gonna try this out. It's like only doing marketing and branding and websites for the Harder Lumber Industry.

Brad Hussey:

Sounds so strangely specific and it is. And it's done nothing but wonders for his business. So worst case scenario, he tries it out, gets a few clients, learns more about those customers, you know, stretches his mind a bit, tries some new things, maybe makes a little extra cash, and then realizes, I'm gonna go back. You know. I have the clarity I need now. Let's go all in back on the bespoke work. Or when this is what happened in his case, it blew up and he's like, I don't do bespoke work anymore. In fact, we're renaming the agency and we only do this hyper niche.

Brad Hussey:

In his case, it's not entirely productized but it's so focused on the niche that his standard operating procedures are almost as if it's productized. You know, he's doing video work, websites, marketing, you know, and it's all all in the same platform. He uses Wix Studio as well at previously Editor X. And so it's all so clear and there's an instruction manual that comes with it. And so the worst case scenario, you stretch yourself, you get you you learn a little bit about your customers and yourself and you go back to the way it was and you try some new things. Best case, you realize I don't know why I didn't do this a year earlier. And so that that's kind of like, you know, might be a good indication if you feel a bit of dissonance and you kinda wanna try something different, consider carving out some resources to productize something. Choose a type of customer, a customer archetype, research, interview some of your past customers and, you know, maybe some people outside of it and try to determine a specific problem that they have.

Brad Hussey:

That's the thing. Target a specific problem, you know, that's suffering, And determine what is something that I can offer that's fixed in timeline, fixed in scope, fixed in price for that person and that problem. And you might realize it's a brand refresh or you might realize it's a, you know, a logo and brand startup package for, you know, early-stage startups. Or you might realize it's a 1 week, brand intensive where you walk through the strategy and it's 1 week and it's very scheduled and regimented. You might realize it's one of the things I do is a one-day email marketing funnel refresh in ConvertKit. So your email marketing is all over the place, you know, and it's for creators, content creators, and experts. And I know all their problems. I talk about it.

Brad Hussey:

I am one myself. I'm in communities. I know everything they say so whenever someone gets on the call with me, I know it's virtually a guaranteed sale. And I go one Da, refresh their entire ConvertKit with full systems. This comes with, operating procedures and training, and it's just like set it and forget it. And so that, you know, that's I kind of got off track there a little bit. I can get really passionate about this.

Rob Da Costa:

That's all good stuff. It's really interesting. Yeah. All good stuff.

Brad Hussey:

To bring it back online though, like, you know, when you feel like you need to change something up or you want to try and experiment, productizing is a really great way of doing it because as I said, 3 times now. Worst case, go back to what you're doing. You've learned a thing. Best case, you realize you should have done it a year or 2 sooner.

Rob Da Costa:

Yeah. And and you're always gonna have a lot of benefits from that because the discipline of productization means you're documenting your systems and your processes. And, of course, the massive advantage of all of that is scalability. Like, how many agencies do you speak to where the owner says to you, I feel really stressed. That feels really lonely running this business. Everyone's looking at me for all the answers. I wish other people would take more responsibility, would be empowered. And in a way, they're their own worst enemy because they probably haven't spent time trying to get out of their head what they do intuitively so that other people can do it.

Rob Da Costa:

And therefore, of course, nobody ever does it well enough. So I think even if you don't go down the full productization route, the process of or the discipline of documenting your systems and processes, the things that you do to win a client, to onboard them, to deliver your service, to off-board them is so absolutely crucial. Right? So you're gonna get that benefit anyway.

Brad Hussey:

Absolutely. And that's going ahead.

Rob Da Costa:

No. No. Sorry. You finished the thought.

Brad Hussey:

I was just gonna say when you said, you know, documenting it, it made me think like if productizing you see everything through a different lens. And if you do the same thing twice, that means it needs to be documented and put into a standard operating procedure. It could be automated. It could be delegated. It could be removed. Maybe you're doing something that's not necessary. Get rid of it. Make it really lean or you go that somebody else can do that, you know, or a software or AI or an automation can do that.

Brad Hussey:

So document it. Document it. If you do it twice that means it's repeated enough that it should be Da. So that you could remove yourself and make yourself completely redundant.

Rob Da Costa:

Yeah. There's I like that. That's a good quote to take from the show. If you do something twice, then you need to document it and look at ways of automating and scaling and, getting it off your plate, basically. So let's talk about one of the, well, kind of sort of elephants in the room as far as I can see, which is the danger of commoditizing your service by productizing and how on earth you get your pricing right. So, you know, if let's say I'm a web design agency and I've been selling, web, designs somewhere between, say, £250,000. Now I'm commoditizing this service, so I'm gonna be selling it for maybe £10,000. I don't know.

Rob Da Costa:

That's probably a bad example, but how 8. So 2 questions really. How do we go about pricing it? And b, how do we not look like a very commoditized service, which then looks like he's whoever's the cheapest is who the client's gonna buy?

Brad Hussey:

Yeah. Yeah. So that's a really great question. And what I love about productizing is that you can kind of make your own rules. So a common thought, and this isn't wrong, in fact, it's the trend, is that productizing is more affordable. That's generally how it works, you know, a product off the shelf. You know, if you needed medicine, you know, headache medicine and you go you're gonna go to the pharmacy and you're gonna buy it. It's, you know, here in Canada things are expensive.

Brad Hussey:

So it's, you know, it's $20. But if you were to go to the pharmacist and be like, listen. I have a headache. How can you help me? And the pharmacist goes, you know what? I've got all this knowledge and experience. I'm gonna I'm gonna concoct something for you. It's gonna take a few days and I'll make something custom for you, but it's gonna cost you like $500 bucks because, you know, I'm taking all this time and effort and energy and resources, you know. It's gonna necessarily cost more versus the product off the shelf. Now, what if you walked into the pharmacy and saw that the headache medicine was $500? You're gonna go, what? This doesn't make any sense.

Brad Hussey:

And when there's a $20 one right here or, you know, a no-name non-brand version for 15. I'm just gonna get that. So, necessarily, productizing tends to be more affordable. It makes more sense that way. But sometimes, you can flip that and make it so that it is actually not at all affordable, in that sense. Because the example I'm thinking of is There are 2 examples here and I'll I wanna make sure I get back onto the main question here because like I said, can I go on a bit of a tangent? Designjoy.co. It's run by Brett and, I interviewed him in my community a while back and he's kind of a hot topic in the design world because he's a one-man, $1,200,000 Da. And he does unlimited design services.

Brad Hussey:

There are a lot of people who don't believe that he's doing it legitimately and there are a lot of people who are angry at his success. I've talked to the guy, you know, I've talked to other people who've talked to the guy who knows him personally and I think what he's doing is fully normal, fully fully legitimate. He's just a machine. Most people can't be like him because they put themselves in his shoes and they go for I think it's $5,000 and he has some clients who pay $2,000 still per month for as many tasks as you could throw at him. He'll just keep working through them. And he's constantly working and they're like, you can't do it. There's no way. I'd be so stressed so therefore you're you're not telling the truth.

Brad Hussey:

Like look, the reason why he's making 1,200,000 with 20, 30 clients constantly and has this huge name in design Twitter and you don't is because he's just doing it. And he's able to do it and you're worried that you're not able to do it. That doesn't mean you're lesser than. It just means that that's not you're not able to do that like him. There's some people who are just excelling. The best runners, the best athletes, the best business people. You know, you're like, how Da they do that? It looks because they're made different and they know that and they're doing that. He knows that.

Brad Hussey:

He knows that he's a bit of a machine and he plays that up. Still human and struggles, I'm sure, with stress and time management. But his service is $5,000 a month. Now a direct competitor, an unlimited design agency would be off-menu design by Hunter Hammonds and Sahil Bloom and they charge $15,000 a month. Similar thing. Now the difference is anybody can hire DesignJoy. Only certain people hire off the menu. Different markets, different pools, different expectations.

Brad Hussey:

And, you know, Designjoy might make widgets and icons for a startup that's gonna go bankrupt next month or, you know, maybe a big software company that's gonna get acquired by Microsoft, you know, at some point down the line. Whereas off the menu, the premium price, they're generally only working with high-end brands, reputable companies, you know. Their list is on their website and you can see who they've worked with. It's just a different calibre. And they have different expectations and there's also a different style, you know, so they're productized using an unlimited subscription model. They don't use that term. In fact, I interviewed Hunter as well. He says I hate the term unlimited.

Brad Hussey:

It's not. It just means you can give us a task and we'll work on it one at a time. Unlimited is false, but a lot of people use that term. So it's, you know, an on-demand Netflix style, you know, subscription. You can keep watching as much as you want. You can keep submitting as much as you want and they, you know, they're productized, but one's budget and one's premium. So to come back on cannibalizing your offer and maybe negatively affecting it, it doesn't have to. Off menu does custom work and it's probably 30 to 50 grand or 100 grand.

Brad Hussey:

I don't know why they don't really advertise those prices. But I imagine there. I've worked at agencies too. Whereas, sometimes, a productized service can be less. So I think what you need to do is assume that you're going to productize and make it a budget price. Generally, the right direction. What you'd need to do to ensure you're not cannibalizing your offer is to not look at your bespoke offer and go, you know what? I build custom websites, you know, for whoever needs them and it comes with a social media strategy in a brand package, you know, let's say that that's what you do. And we charge $20, you know, for that.

Brad Hussey:

Don't say I'll offer that faster for $5 because then people will go, well, I get the same thing faster for a quarter of the price. Why would I bother doing your bespoke work? That's the wrong direction. That's truly cannibalizing your work and unless you can make up for it in volume of sales, you're actually going to negatively affect your business. What it really needs to do is basically be 2 separate mindsets, 2 separate segments of the market. So if I were to think of my productized service there it's I call it done in one day. It's just my clever little name I threw together because it gets done in one day. But it's your Convertkit account. I said give me one day with your Convertkit account and you'll be you'll be the one that your competitors want to funnel hack.

Brad Hussey:

And what I do is it's in one day. It's really quick. It's expedited. It's fast. You know, they have a survey they fill out and so I get it done really quickly. And that costs like $25100. Now if I offered that same service for $10,000, but I just spread it out over, like, a week and made it sloppy and slow, they're always gonna want the expedited cheaper version. But what I would actually Da, and I don't offer this, but if I offered a more full-fledged version for let's say $20,000 I would first go This is a different market within the same niche.

Brad Hussey:

So let's say it's creators. You know, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, people who sell courses, memberships, like, these are the people. There's a group of people who can't afford $20,000 right now because they can't see the ROI. They know the value of getting out of their own way and getting their ConvertKit funnels working so they can make more sales. That's my productized offering for 25100. That's those people. So I talk to them. I talk to them in the marketing.

Brad Hussey:

I interview them. I try to make sure I'm dialling it in for them. The people who are at a different league and they're doing 500,000, 1,000,000, 2,000,000, 5,000,000, like where they have a team like they have an operation. That's a different different marketing, different messaging, different needs, different pain points. They're not funnel hacking. They're not reading blogs. They're not downloading lead magnets and analyzing them. Like they're so beyond that that it's not even funny.

Brad Hussey:

So if I'm trying to be like, you Costa stop funnel hacking. They're like, right. I don't do So what what's your point? Like, it's not it's so it's a different market, but it's still a creator. So I would go, what do they struggle with? And I talk to them and I find out and I go, maybe it's a more white glove, hands-on management where they can trust me managing their email marketing operations and their messaging and any time they've got Maybe it's an unlimited, you know, subscription where I go for, you know, 8,500 a month. Cancel anytime. I'm your go-to, fractional email marketing, officer.

Rob Da Costa:

Sure. Sure.

Brad Hussey:

And me and my team of 2 or 3 are always ready to make sure that anything you need you got a promo coming out, There's a change. Convertkit did a huge change recently because of Gmail and Yahoo's like, you know, policy changes. They needed to do a whole bunch. I could be like, I'll take care of it. I'll take care of it. Take care of it. And if I got 3 or 4 clients paying me $85100 a month Yeah. Then you're laughing.

Brad Hussey:

Right? So it's really about making sure you're not cannibalizing the segment of the market where just you're creating a more attractive, cheaper, faster offer. It's who needs that and give them something that, you know, eases a short, eases something a little smaller. One more example I can think of is, that they could also lead into your bigger services. So I have a repeat client who's purchased 2 done in one-day services. Because at that time, hey. I'm doing a launch. I'm doing a course launch. It's happening next week.

Brad Hussey:

My other, my other guy kind of ghosted me and I really need your help. Great. I can come in. In and out, we'll be you'll be done, You'll be ready. You can even have a break over the weekend before you launch on Monday. That's perfectly done in one day. Did it. It was so great.

Brad Hussey:

He came back. He was like, look, I'm actually gonna do another course launch for the same product in a couple of months. Can we get that, like, booked in? Perfect. No problem. So we do that. That happens and he goes, you know what? Is there any way I can work with you that's not like a one-off just like real quick, you know, where you come in and fix the problem, get in, get out, almost like Navy Seal style? Get in, fix it, get out. Like, can you stick around and help me? Great.

Brad Hussey:

So that's a different journey where I go, yeah. So actually, what I'm you know, I could do branding. Your website, you know, your social strategy, of course, your email. We can kinda revisit and kinda do certain things but we can do a holistic part here. All your landing pages are all over the place. You're using this. You're using this, this, this, this. Your consistency is off.

Brad Hussey:

You know, if your market is like this market, they're not gonna see you consistently with whatever you're throwing out there. I could put all that together for you. Here's what that's gonna Costa, and that's a premium price. Sure.

Rob Da Costa:

It

Brad Hussey:

doesn't cannibalize at all. It actually feeds into higher-end offerings.

Rob Da Costa:

That's a great, a great way if you've worked out the value chain of, you know, your offering. I think one of the things I always say to my clients is if you want to be a profitable business, then you need to be aligned across 4 areas. And those areas are the market that you serve, your product offering, your price, and the service levels. And if you've got them aligned so let's always use arrows to explain this. So if I was gonna target the, lower-end market with a lower-end, very bespoke product, very little service level, and a lower price, then I'm still gonna be very profitable. And I always use airlines as my example because in Europe, Ryanair, which is the butt of many jokes, is way more profitable than British Airways because they're very clear about their alignment across those four areas. And I think that's kind of what you're saying. Like, if you're gonna have a productized service, make sure that those other areas are really aligned to that service so that you can be profitable.

Rob Da Costa:

That leads me to my last question, I think before we wrap this up, and we could talk for ages on this. But let's say you've got a service that's costing £5,000 or $5,000 and you're you've got a very prescriptive way of onboarding the client and understanding what they need. But then the client starts trying to change the goalpost and says, hey. Can you just do this? Can you just do that? How when we've got product type service, how do we manage that? Or does that then lead to a more bespoke service because of what they're asking for?

Brad Hussey:

Yeah. So there's, I think, one of three directions to go. The first one would be you don't have confidence and you're unsure how to handle that and you just say yes. And then you fall back into old ways. You fall back into the freelancer mindset, you know, where you don't wanna upset the client, you know, and you just kinda end up being a task rabbit. That's the wrong way. So don't do that. Then the client won't respect you.

Brad Hussey:

Like, you'll go from being the authority, the expert who's helping them really quickly to becoming their pet. Where you're just, oh, can you do this? Can you do this? Can you do and you're just a hired hand? It's like it's it's ugly really fast. So don't do that. So getting that out of the way, the other two remaining options are to say no and reference your scope, your contract, and your sales page. That's the thing. Is this with your marketing or your sales page? You could be unapologetic about what you do and what you don't do. Put it in the contract as well which is also templatized.

Brad Hussey:

Like, it's the same for everybody. It's not custom because it's you bought it off the shelf. You read the label on the inside and you go, oh. Oh, you've got the headache medicine thinking it's gonna solve, like, your, you know, backache. You know, it's a bad example, but that you're like, I don't do that. You know, you gotta go and buy that. You can be unapologetic and professional about it, and I had to do that a number of times. Clients slip back into old ways with old freelancers, and they go, you know what? While you're in there, could you actually just do this? And I go, nope.

Brad Hussey:

I can't do that actually. That's outside of the scope of this. If you want this done in one Da, I like it, I'm not a freelancer doing that. Here's what we can do though. And so this goes into the 3rd option. So the second option is to say no and cite your contract, your sales page, and the scope, and just be professional about it. Can't do that. It's actually gonna negatively affect the outcome.

Brad Hussey:

Oh, okay. Yeah. Sure. I appreciate that. Yep. You're the professional. Apologize. That and it's great.

Brad Hussey:

They respect you more and then you teach them how to behave with you. And it's great. Now the third option is can't do that actually, but here's what we can do. Let's finish this up. Let's make a list of all these extra things that you're looking to do. We're gonna put that list together and we'll book another Da. Unless it's less we'll book a half day. So for me, my product is offered as a one-day intensive but I have this option where clients will inevitably have a whole laundry list of things.

Brad Hussey:

And instead of me being the guy who just goes and does it at any time, I take control of it and I go looks like you gave me a list about 6 things over the past, you know, bit when we were working on this project. How about you take a little bit of time and put a massive list together and we'll knock it out in one Da. And because you're a repeat Costa, instead of 25100, we'll do it for 22. And I'll get it all done in a day. In fact, throw more on the list. I can handle more, you know. We'll make sure it's done. And they're happy.

Brad Hussey:

They get their laundry list done. But for me, it's condensed in an area. It's quickly done, and it's all batched in one area. So you can turn it into an opportunity to charge more, to repeat business with the client, to teach them, and to train them how to respectfully, work with you. And you could also obviously say, sure. We'll do those things, but it's hourly. And so we'll just do work on it. After this, we'll work on an hourly basis, and I'll get that stuff done for you.

Brad Hussey:

Could be an income opportunity.

Rob Da Costa:

Good advice. Why is it that, this isn't this is more rhetorical question for both of us. But why is it that so many people are scared of saying no? I mean, you know, they all wait they run this belief that if I say no, the client will hate me and leave me and fire me and none of forgetting I'll never work again. This is sort of the story they tell themselves in their heads. And I think the other thing that makes me smile is that when clients say, oh, can you just? While you're at it, can you just? They have no concept of how long that can you just are gonna take. And often in their head, it's 5 minutes, but it's probably more like 5 hours. So That's so true. We have to build these respectful relationships, these partnership relationships with our clients and pushing back professionally is certainly one of the ways of doing it.

Rob Da Costa:

And as you said, if you just say yes, the clients are gonna keep throwing more at you, and they're never gonna respect you. And they're probably gonna complain about things that you've done. So good advice. The 3 points are really good advice from Brad there. Brad, that's a topic for the whole servicing conversations topic for another podcast episode, but, let's just wrap today up, by asking you the question I asked all my guests, which is if you could go back in time and give your younger self just starting out in business a piece advice, what would it

Brad Hussey:

be? Okay. I think what I would say is Trust your gut. Honestly, I think trust your gut. Yeah, because when I started, it was really nerve-wracking. I had a lot of outside advice like, don't do that. You should work at an agency for longer before you know how to do this yourself. And my gut was like, I think I could do it. And I was saying that for a long time.

Brad Hussey:

But to me, there's a lot of like, I don't know if maybe that's me being young and immature and selfish, but like, I think my gut was like my conscience being like, no. No. No. You can you can do this. Like, worst case scenario, go get a job, man. Like, go get another job. There are always opportunities to be found. Yeah.

Brad Hussey:

But just like, trust your gut and see where that takes you. And I think that would have given me a little bit extra of, like, oh, okay. I think I am okay. Let's ride this out a little more until you start getting positive signals. Trust your gut.

Rob Da Costa:

Good one. Nice and simple. It's interesting. I often ask my guests a follow-up question, which is, would your younger self listen to your advice? And most people say they wouldn't, but I got a suspicion that if you were saying to your younger self, trust your gut, your younger self may well listen to that. Because that's a really good bit of advice. It's funny. I don't know how it is in Canada, but in Europe, we kind of get our gut instinct beaten out of us at school because we're taught to, you know, learn by rote and all the rest of it. And yet, our gut instinct is so important.

Rob Da Costa:

I was talking to a client the other day who's they're going through some recruitment at the moment, and I've, you know, they need they need a process, but I said you have to listen to your gut instinct as well because that's your safety mechanism. That's the thing when you can't quite put your finger on why someone isn't a good fit, even though they're answering the questions really well, you need to listen to your gut instinct because it's probably gonna manifest later on down the road and cause you loads Rob. So, good advice. Now, Brad, if people wanted to find out more about you or reach out to you, where would they go?

Brad Hussey:

Yes. So the best place that you can, reach out and connect with me is through my community. That's where I spend most of my time. I'm I'm always there engaging with people guiding people along and creating programming and content. So that's creativecrewcommunity.com. And so I'm in there all the time. You can reach out, Da. You'll see me everywhere.

Brad Hussey:

Second to that would be probably on Twitter or Instagram. And that's just @BradHussey.

Rob Da Costa:

Fantastic. We will let's list all of those links in the show notes. Just wanna say, thank you so much for joining us today. Such an interesting conversation. I really hope it's inspired some people at the very least to start looking at which parts of their business they can systemize and eventually productize as well. So thanks for joining us and sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us today.

Brad Hussey:

Thank you, Rob.

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