Whenever I hit up Amazon and do a search for starting a business and being your own boss, I always get a headache from excessive eye-rolling. As a founder of three start-ups, two that were financial successes and one, shall we say, a successful education, many of these books piss me off. Their authors claim they can help people get started with a business. But for many, the exact opposite…
6 Ways to Make More Money as a Small Team
Modern ways of communication have made it easier than ever to get out there and start making a living. You can now sit behind your laptop and work for clients thousands of miles away without worrying about finding local work.
At the same time, this means that there is more competition than ever. The borders are open and now you have to worry about being competitive with other companies not just from your country, but from the entire world.
So, if you have a small team and you want to break into the global market and make more money, what options do you have? Here are a few things you can do.
It’s the age-old question: should you be a Jack of all trades or devote yourself to a very specific micro-niche? While both have their pros and cons, niching down is generally the better option if you want to make more money with your team.
Opting for a smaller niche as opposed to being a generalist solves one of the major problems facing freelancers and small teams: competition. For example, instead of being just a digital marketing manager, you can focus on PPC marketing for the fitness industry. The more expertise you get in a niche, the less competition there is and the more you will be able to charge your clients.
Needless to say, you can’t just start out in a niche and call yourself a cryptocurrency marketing agency from day one. Start out broad and move on to smaller niches as your team figures out what they’re good at and what type of work they enjoy doing.
Be specific about your offer
Say that you run a digital marketing agency with your team. You probably do the usual – branding, design, social media, paid ads, content marketing, etc. But what you don’t do will actually help you earn more money with your services.
If your team runs a digital marketing agency, you will probably often get questions on whether you can do some occasional development, translation, outreach or something completely unrelated. If you’re desperate for cash, you may be tempted to take the job, but it’s actually far better to turn it down.
If you want to make more money with your team, be very specific about the kind of services you don’t offer. You will be able to get better clients while providing more value, as well as turn down work you’re not good at. These unrelated services won’t do much for your reputation or portfolio.
Do some upselling
At a certain point in time, you’ll get enough clients and work to keep you going without worrying about paying your team, rent and bills. You can turn this work down and let someone else take it, or you can take the opportunity to earn more money.
If you get new work and you have enough on your plate already, it’s the perfect opportunity to increase your rates for existing or new clients. In fact, I’ve done the same thing when I started my freelance writing career. Every time I got a new client, I would charge them more and drop a client who paid me less. That way, I was able to gradually increase my rates for writing and earn a larger amount of money while doing the same amount of work.
The second type of upselling you can do is to simply broaden your offer. If your agency does a logo design for a client, offer them a full rebrand, complete with social media graphics, website graphics, etc. If you already got confirmation from the client, take the opportunity to offer them a more expensive package.
Have a spotless portfolio
Every time a potential client comes up, there will be two things they’re interested in:
1) how you can solve their problem
2) what it’s going to cost them
To help with the first point, you should have your portfolio ready at all times so the client has an example of your work and the quality you provide – and you’ll be able to charge more money.
The first tip is to have your portfolio somewhere handy. If you have a design agency, you can send your Dribbble or Behance profile. As a writer, I usually send a Google Doc with links to relevant published (authored) articles. Make sure it’s a single link and not an email attachment with 30 files – no one’s going to download and go through all that.
The second tip is to keep the portfolio relevant. If you’re pitching a client for social media management in the food industry, don’t send them examples of accounts you’ve managed for fashion brands. Keep your portfolio related to the client you’re pitching to and you’ll have better chances of earning more than by using a generalist approach.
What do large SaaS companies such as Buffer, Zapier, Automattic and Toggl have in common? They’re all very successful and they are all remote. Each of them has dozens of employees who work from home, co-working offices or someplace other than the office.
While there are multiple benefits of going the remote way, structuring your company to be remote can make a vast difference in the amount of money you make providing new opportunities for business development. Without a physical office, you won’t have to pay the rent, utilities, taxes, cleaning and upkeep, the internet and much more.
Simply put, there’s a lot of money to be left on the table if you and your team work remotely instead of going to an office every day. Of course, bear in mind that you should reimburse your team members for some of their costs as part of their salary, such as their internet bill, co-working space fees, etc.
Find more clients and find better clients
Often times, the reason for not making enough money is not that your service or product is bad, it’s just that you don’t have enough interest. Getting new business is the core problem that is preventing your small team from growing into something bigger.
If you’re in the agency business, this usually means stepping out of your comfort zone. You can try out cold outreach through LinkedIn, which is a tactic that many B2B companies are utilizing. Instead of going the manual way, there are plenty of tools like DuxSoup that make LinkedIn outreach a breeze.
Alternatively, you can go to freelancer platforms such as Upwork to acquire new clients. Even though they’re for freelancers primarily, agencies and teams are welcome to join and pitch their offers. As mentioned, always aim to get higher rates for the same amount of work so that you can choose your clients and not be forced to do work you dislike.
Even though the competition may be fierce, getting your team out there and making some extra money is far from impossible. With enough hard work and dedication (and following the advice outlined here), you’ll set yourself up on a track for success.