TMBA 474: "You're Not Working With Clients Anymore, You're Working With Customers”

TMBA474: “You’re Not Working With Clients Anymore, You’re Working With Customers” post image

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Dan and Ian are back to kick off 2019, and looking forward to another 52 podcasts about how to grow better, more profitable lifestyle businesses.

What better way to start the year than by addressing a topic that so many listeners are constantly reaching out to us about?

On this week’s episode, we are speaking with Tommy Joiner. Tommy is the co-founder of ContentPros, which is a productized business that offers high-level content generation services.

Tommy joins us today to talk about how to create a successful productized business, rather than getting stuck in a freelancer, consultant, or agency model.

This is something that we know a lot of entrepreneurs are struggling with, and Tommy shares some valuable insights into how he was able to make this transition, as well as his top four tips for starting a successful productized service.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • How a trip to Medellin changed the trajectory of Tommy’s life. (7:11)
  • The core difference between running an agency and selling a productized service. (18:41)
  • Why you shouldn’t be selling your services based on ROI. (23:06)
  • What kind of margins you need to be making in a services business. (26:46)
  • Tommy’s four rules for getting started with a productized services business. (41:59)

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This week’s episode is brought to you by Dynamite Jobs. Dynamite Jobs is a service that helps entrepreneurs and listeners of this show find top, experienced talent to join their teams.  These types of remote positions can be especially challenging to hire for, and we specialize in making that process easy.  For those of you who are on the hunt for a new opportunity, we know how frustrating it can be to find good remote jobs, so we only work with established, reputable companies offering great remote opportunities. If you’re looking for a new job in the new year, check out

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Published on 01.03.19
  • PapaJuju

    Great pod guys! The idea of not selling on ROI comes back, for me, to the difference between filling the efficiency gap vs. knowledge gap.

    So, your target customer, or ideal customer, should be one that knows the ROI is there and needs that efficiency gap filled. Whereas filling the knowledge gap involves having to sell the ROI? Is that fair to say?

    Doi! Dan I see you already pointed out the same thing.

  • Cheers Papa, that’s not a bad distinction in my opinion. Tommy is suggesting that ROI might be better left in the hands of your customer, and yeah, that would assume they’ve got the knowledge bit down and are seeking to buy efficiency.

  • Great pod! In the process of rolling out Service Provider Pro for our WP Speed Fix biz to replace the current frankenstein we have in place….surprised there isn’t more talk on the interwebz about it, fantastic tool

  • cool good to hear that from you as well!

  • Tommy Joiner

    Brendan hey brother. Awesome to hear that you are going to jump on the SPP train! Hit me up if you want to discuss how we got everything setup and I’d be happy to speak with you about how we’ve used it in our business.

  • Allen Walton

    Great episode! Really enjoyed this one.

  • Great episode! Thanks @thomasjoiner:disqus

  • Cheers appreciate it Allen

  • It’s not surprising that coaches lean this way because it’s how most of them choose to scale, ie it’s what they know. The way I’ve always personally thought about it is the long term asset value of a service biz is contingent on it’s ability to birth and nurture a product or platform of some sort. The high end stuff is a nice card to have up your sleeve if you need short term income or a backup plan.

  • Seems to be the default coach move, “just charge more” but that hides the complexity around price and market fit, product/service offering etc

    @Mel Richards – we use Process Street for the detail work…our process is fairly linear so it works well

  • Yeah the argument always goes “would you rather have 2 clients/month or 6 for the same income – which is way more hassle” but the hassle part can be solved with support and innovation.

    I started going higher end this year, but with clients that are more high touch, custom work, and better contractors (expensive) it basically made my profits the same or worse – unless I went super high end, which again leaves me more responsible to deliver results.

  • yep that’s what I like about Tommy’s findings here- that message I suppose could be true if they remain clients, but thinking of them more like “customers” is where I’d want to steer a business I was running. We’re facing the same types of decisions at Dynamite Jobs at the moment, it’s easy to imagine having 10 clients where we essentially become their outsourced HR departments getting paid mid 5 maybe even 6 figures to do so, but for me that wouldn’t be the ideal outcome for the company but it’s an option if we need to keep the lights on.

    Reminds me a little of these old school TMBA eps:

  • Adrian Edlington

    Great Episode! I’ve quite literally listened to the whole thing three times. Funny how this one struck a chord so strongly. I’ve used Upwork from the client side, now flipped it around and signed up as a Freelancer to see what jobs are being posted.

    “Sell only work you’re not able to fulfill”. Gold.

    The four tips from Tommy were great too.

    Niching down on the Newsletter Productized Service was an interesing concept.

    Last year I tried starting something for which there wasn’t much customer interest: The information vs knowledge gap Ep articulated the mistakes I’d made in a way that allowed me to let the idea go in its former iteration and move on.

    P.S. – Where is the link to the Productized Services group of Episodes? I couldn’t locate it.

  • wow that’s really wonderful to hear Adrian thanks. Here’s the series (towards the bottom of the page):

  • I was also coached on the higher end push with the same logic of “would you rather have 2 or 6 clients for the same money”. I bought into it but eventually have changed my mind. Clients can decide to leave for whatever reasons. If 1 of 2 leaves, 50% of your income is gone; but if 1 of 6 leaves, only 16% of your income is gone. Yes, it’s higher money per client, but it’s also higher loss per client. In the end, I try and streamline the parts that are “hassle” and focus on getting more clients.

  • 100%

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