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The 5-step formula for a profitable service business that doesn’t suck

I’m a damn good designer. So why did I end up $45,000+ in debt, ripping my hair out, and exhausted from a busy service business that felt beyond my control?

I will share how I turned the train wreck around and created the 5-step BrandSauce™ formula. It’s the foundational footing for a wildly successful and fulfilling service business that doesn’t take over your life.

I’m rad. You’re rad. So what gives?

Just like you, I’m really good at what I do. I know my craft in and out.

I’m honest. I care about doing the best job possible so my clients get results and everything they dream of.

And every client has been beyond happy with my work, gushing with testimonials and referrals.

So how come, only a couple of years ago, I wasn’t thriving in my business the way it seemed I should be?

I started out confident because I had previously owned a successful business with a different business model– but working with clients and delivering a service felt like a whole ‘nother ballgame.

Why are very average-seeming competitors killing it, but not me?

I was making a living, sure, but it wasn’t the kind of money I wanted to be making. I was working 70+ hours a week, and based on the quality of my work; it was like…. seriously– should I not be making WAY more than this? WTF! How do these very average-seeming competitors seem to be killing it?

Plus, lots of my clients were driving me crazy because they couldn’t follow procedures or make decisions or wanted endless changes. Lots of clients were great, but some were just painful.

I wanted to work less to breathe and enjoy my life and work. But I also wanted to feel financially secure and, well, let’s face it – financially abundant, so I could go on adventures, save plenty of money, and spoil my family.

Time without money or money without time wasn’t going to cut it for me. Solving this puzzle was goal #1.

I also wanted my talent to get proper recognition. I wanted all possibilities open to me for wherever I wanted to take my business in the future. I wanted the sky to be the limit.

Things were the literal worst for a while, but I did eventually crack that nut

In all disclosure, I wasn’t doing everything wrong. I was already doing so many things right with my brand, but there were still these huge holes in the equation that weren’t getting me all the way.

I found myself desperately throwing money at everything to figure out how to solve this problem (this is how the $45,000 in debt came about). It was an adventure involving everything from hiring employees to take things off my plate, trying to make “passive” income work, and creating various offerings to appeal to all price points.

All of it failed, and it just kept digging me deeper.

That being said, I’m one of those freaks who doesn’t see failure as a problem; it’s just something you can learn from to help you do better in the future.

And dude, I learned a lot from all my mistakes. It almost killed me, but there was no way I was going to give up and get a job. And when you don’t give up, you do eventually succeed.

So the good news is that I did figure it out and turned things around, and now I’ve got the shortcut for you. The formula was born from everything I did right, everything I learned from doing it wrong, the zillions of business mentors I’ve had over the years, and all the data from what works with my clients.

So here it is: my BrandSauce™ formula, which is the footing for a profitable, enjoyable service business that doesn’t take over your life (yes, it’s possible, I swear it!)

The 5-step BrandSauce™ formula for a business that doesn’t suck:

1. BrandSauce™

The key ingredient in the BrandSauce™ formula is the brand sauce itself. It’s the thing that makes you stand out in a sea of people doing the same thing as you. It’s your differentiators, your specialty –the thing that makes you the only clear choice to the fantastic clients you would love to work with because you’ve just got something about you that the others don’t have.

2. Expert Energy

This means owning your rightful spot as the expert and holding that energy throughout the entire process with your client. This is the thing that gets the respect. You no longer have to pander to them – they are happy to pay you more and not waste your time because you’ve earned their trust, and they want someone like you to lead them to where they want to go.

3. Laser Communication

This is about correctly communicating your BrandSauce. It first means being laser clear on who you’re serving. Then make a killer first impression with your brand’s design, and speak and write with such understanding and specificity to your ideal clients that they’re immediately drawn to you, understand your value, and are moved to say, “Hello, here’s my money. Please help.”

4. Sharp Processes

This is about increasing your profits by streamlining your services. It’s about delivering them more strategically and efficiently while still keeping the value for the client high. This cuts down on your time spent, but it can also mean making more profit without actually raising your prices.

5. Power Pricing

How you price your services can make or break your business (and this was a critical ingredient that saved my business from destruction). If you want a thriving business, you can’t charge bargain prices. But I get it – raising your prices is scary, especially if you regularly get people lowballing you. The catch is that you have to have the rest of the formula in place before you can charge more and have dream clients happily pay it.

So there you go – the formula! It all boils down to the fact that your house will sink if you build it on mud, and your business will positively limp if you build it on a shaky foundation.

I do BrandSauce™ sessions where we figure out which parts of the formula you need to fix to get things moving in the right direction. Check out my How It Works page for more info! Or keep reading 🙂 Byyyyeee.

Tracy Raftl

Tracy’s a small business branding expert who’s been featured in the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Creative Impact Magazine, and various podcasts. She helps entrepreneurs like you snazz their brands so they can work less, make more, and get clients that don’t suck.

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