5 foundational pieces of a profitable service business that doesn’t suck

I was busy AF, yet found myself $45,000+ in debt, barely making ends meet, and exhausted from a business that felt beyond my control.

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.

Every client of mine has been:

👉 Beyond happy with my work
👉 Gushing in testimonials
👉 More than happy to send me referrals

So what gives?

I started out confident because I had previously owned a successful business with a different business model– but when I pivoted to brand design a few years ago, working with clients and delivering a service felt like a whole ‘nother ballgame.

Want to know how I turned the train wreck around? Keep reading!

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.

Want the free mini-version of the BrandSauce interview I give all my clients so you can start figuring out your special sauce? DL it right now:

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’re 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.

Get the free Expert Energy checklist and never again have clients question your value, complain about your prices, or waste your precious time. Download it right now:

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.

Want the free checklist of what you need in place before you can charge more, and stop worrying that no one will pay it? Get it:

So there you go! The formula.

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 download the free mini version – the Baby BrandSauce™ questionnaire now – and get big clarity on your brand’s biggest opportunities!

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.

Grab her free comparison guide here and learn 10 reasons she gets you better results than 99% of the brand + web designers out there.

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Afraid to waste your time & money on a dud designer?

Afraid to waste your time & money on a dud designer?

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Get respect.

Get the free Expert Energy checklist and never have clients question your value again.

Charge big.

Learn what to have in place so you can raise your prices without freaking out no one will pay.