The Afro Coach Operations Agency

This is why Scaling is Unnecessarily Stressful for Service Providers

(10-Minute Read)

 

**Before we get started, if you’d prefer to listen to this as opposed to reading, you can check out the video over on Instagram HERE.**

As a service provider, scaling is never too far from our minds; especially when that seems to be the gateway to reaching your financial goals and setting your business up for long-term sales. But it can be REALLY stressful to think about scaling when you are currently spending so much time in your business as is. The thought of trying to add more to your plate, when 80% of your time is spent doing all the day-to-day work in your business. 

Unlike a product-based business, where the path to scaling appears more clear cut and time-consuming (in regards to the delivery of the product. Once it’s been made you can shop and move onto the next client), as a service provider, you ARE the product. 

When you already have so much on your plate, the thought of trying to scale can feel incredibly daunting

And this can cause so many service providers to stay where they are at, accepting that they are at capacity, and not having much more to dedicate to any growth in their business. 

But this idea that in order to scale means adding MORE to your plate, is causing a bottleneck in your business, and stunting your growth.

The reality is it doesn’t need to get this stressful, nor does it need to require you to be attached to your phone 24/7, always on call to handle the new volume of clients.  

But when we see someone in our industry trying a new strategy, or using new software that is getting results, it’s easy to start thinking you too need to make a shift in the hopes of not being left behind. We assume that if a new tactic is proving successful, that may mean the way WE are doing business is wrong and need to make changes in order to be able to scale more effectively. Or at the very least easier than it has been going so far.

Since I know a majority of y’all don’t like having to juggle 17 things to get done in a day or the thought of doing this much work for the rest of your life, we need to begin understanding how we are running this business, and what’s really going on with its operations, and what it would really take to scale it to the business you envisioned.

WHAT IS BUSINESS GROWTH?

Before we get into the meat of this, let’s talk about what GROWTH is versus scaling. Growth is your standard math equation: If I add A to my business, I will get an increase in B. So say you are a copywriter, and you take on another copywriter in your business. You would expect your client capacity to double.

What is Business Scaling?

When you are able to increase the amount of income you make, without substantially adding more resources, that is scaling. So, think being able to serve 10 more clients, but not having to hire 10 more people to serve each of those clients. 

Or, if I create a course (like the Suite Systems course), I can take on an infinite amount of clients, but don’t need to add several team members or work ridiculous hours in order to serve those clients. 

And this is just from an offer level. You can prepare to scale by creating an operation that allows you to manage several tasks (think onboarding, upselling, promotion, etc.) that tie into increasing your revenue, without having to add more resources (like time) to get it done.

When people talk about preparing to scale, they are meaning to have the way your business is set up primed to take on a mass amount of clients, without taxing all your time and energy.

This sounds great if you are someone who can offer digital or physical products.  

But what about those who offer a service, like web design, copywriting, or consulting? What about those who have a creative-based business?

This is where things can get a little complicated.


Scaling and Service Providers

As a service provider, you already have a lot going on your plate. You are not only the marketer, but also the accountant, AND the person who serves your clients. This means a lot of your time goes into your business, as is, before we even think about scaling.

And when all we know how to do is GROW, we end up putting a lot more on our plate to manage than we want to, and it ends up having the opposite effect. 

I personally have experienced this when I left my corporate job back in 2018. When I started my business, I was still getting my newbie gains (fitness term here). Anything I did, all the work I was putting in, I was seeing results thanks to that. I was able to grow quickly because I would put in a lot of hours. And at the beginning, you can handle all the work as you learn how to navigate your business, and how you want to run this thing. But eventually, I got to a point where I was experiencing DIMINISHING RETURNS. My capacity was reaching its limits, I was in the process of moving, and I was recognizing that all that time I was spending inside my business was now tiring. And wasn’t getting me the same results that I was seeing in the beginning.

Plus, the scaling options that are put out there are all about adding teams or adding products that are scalable–not so much how to begin scaling when up until this point, you have been doing this all on your own. 

So now instead of having this supposed ‘scalable’ business, you still find yourself staying up till two am working in your business:

Did you get the landing page done? 
Did you send off that testimonial link?
Did you respond to that client?
Did you finish that launch content?

THIS IS A VERY COMMON SCENARIO

Who would want to scale from that? I’ve had many friends of mine who have ended up ghosting their business entirely going back into the workforce or deciding to work under another entrepreneur because it was just too much and it was impacting their mental health.

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What I want business owners to know: Scaling isn’t about doing MORE, and it’s about doing what’s MOST IMPACTFUL. And that typically comes from doing less.

As humans, we can’t split our focus onto so many things and be able to grow all of them simultaneously or to complete them to the best of our ability. 

However, that’s what entrepreneurs are trying to do. 

Trying to manage your clients, handle admin tasks, create content, as well as drive the direction of your current business. If you’re lucky, have time for a personal life too. 

It’s a lot to manage, and it makes it really hard to focus on PROGRESS when you are stuck looking after all the little things that run your business.

When you are constantly needed to execute everything in your business, you become the ceiling to your own business growth 

Of course, you are going to be completely overwhelmed, stressed, and tired when trying to SCALE that. There’s nothing left to give. 

So what can we do?

Scaling with Ease for Service Providers

First, let’s take a look at what’s on your plate.

Right now, you’re:
X Writing out the onboarding emails and manually scheduling meetings to new clients
X Managing your social media account
X Scheduling emails to your email list
X Responding to client revisions
X Delivering your service
X Creating huge amounts of content
X Working on launch materials

Among other things.

And with everything feeling like a priority, the plate feels pretty full. 

Instead, change your thinking from everything is on you to complete in order to progress (which we know actually is hindering our growth), to how can you amplify the effort you have already put in, so you can focus your energy on high priority things?

Because the only way that we can really scale sustainably in a way that’s not going to tire us out is to SIMPLIFY.

WHAT IS THE BEST USE OF OUR TIME?

The fact of the matter is that when you are in charge of everything moving in your business, everything will feel like a priority. Which is a lot of pressure on your plate to complete. 

But there is a hierarchy to what needs your attention as a business owner; it can’t be every arbitrary task. We need to get to the root of what YOU need to be doing because the task requires your specific focus and creativity compared to other tasks that can be done regardless of whether it’s you or not. 

And this doesn’t immediately mean you jump straight into hiring (we’ll get into that in another article), but instead, use this exercise to determine where your time is best spent. 

This is where I see many service providers get tripped up–in their pursuit to scale, they get caught up continually trying to do everything themselves, and it becomes too much to manage.

So as an example: While onboarding is an important process, I do not manually email out the links, resources, etc. that make up my onboarding for my VIP Intensives. I recognize that managing expectations are important, but my priority lies in making sure I am prepared to work with my client on Day 1. And trying to remember everything that needs to be sent during onboarding doesn’t help with that. Especially when most of my clients come from the United States, while I am over here in the land Down Under. 

So instead, I defer my onboarding to my business automated processes. What would usually take me 30-40 minutes, I can send a welcome video, resource packet, pre-work, and calendar to schedule our first appointment before I have to manually do anything. 

And beyond having less on your plate, there are many benefits of having clear priorities when running your business, especially as you prepare to scale:

  • You can make clearer decisions when you have space to think

  • You see the whole operation that is running your business, instead of getting stuck hyper-focusing on the pieces

  • You can focus your energy where it will be best utilized, not on everything that needs to ‘get done’

Inside of Pimp My Business VIP Intensives, we have an exercise where we go through all the processes you are running and identify what needs to be done by you, what can be outsourced, and what can be automated based on your goals, your capacity, and your personal circumstances (think: budget). 

We can begin designing businesses we want, when we can start looking at the entire systems at play, and where we need to be involved in making them run. 

Simplifying and prioritizing is not only going to save you so much mentally and emotionally. It’s also probably going to get you closer to those revenue goals, to those scaling goals way faster than you ever would have with all those things on your plate.

Have you been trying to scale and it’s felt nearly impossible? Consider that it’s not a lack of KNOWLEDGE you are missing, but instead that you have loaded up your plate to the point that your capacity is keput.

Look for what tasks are an actual priority, and what your business could manage, and you’ll be able to start designing business operations that are more intentional and help you scale that much smoother. That way you can see how to reach the results you want without having to spend more time ‘in’ the business that isn’t progressing you forward. 

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I’m Elisabeth—
I live in Melbourne, Australia, but I’m from the States (Washingtonian through and through). I’m a cat-mom, wifey, and in love with a good workflow (it gives me that warm, fuzzy, Christmastime feeling). My goal is to help female entrepreneurs stop having to choose between creativity and productivity to build a successful, sustainable business.


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