I wrote the other day about how execution limits your earning potential as a solo marketer.
Does that mean you shouldn’t do any execution? That’s definitely not what I’m saying.
Execution work can be highly profitable if done correctly.
I still do some strategic execution work for certain clients. I also sub-contract website development work for a few clients I don’t formally advise—an echo of my former web design agency days.
To give you an example, I just sold a done-with-you wireframing project last month to a client I don’t advise for $6,500.
We meet once a week for 8 weeks to work through a number of core website templates—my hands doing the wireframing while they direct on what they’re trying to say and sell.
You can do some mental math to see why this type of execution is worth doing. But it gets even more profitable with the next step.
The client is then going to write copy and create a final design mockup themselves. When they’re done, I will have my go-to developer build the changes—making a decent margin on his time.
But that’s not the only kind of execution work I do.
Every advisory client I work with comes with some degree of done-with-you execution on our scheduled strategy calls (more on this idea later).
Sometimes it’s writing copy, sometimes it’s jumping on customer research interviews. Sometimes it’s mocking up an ad concept in Photoshop (don’t judge, old habits die hard).
My hands are never too far from the mouse and keyboard, even as an advisor.
The important thing is, any execution work I do is generally highly strategic, done with the client—or largely sub-contracted to someone else when it makes sense.
I never sub-contract work in an advisory relationship, however. I don’t want to create a conflict of incentives where I recommend we work with someone and then mark up their time.
In those cases, it’s a straight referral with no markup.
If you follow my Advisory Model, the goal is to avoid is getting stuck grinding out tasks and deliverables on an ongoing basis.
It’s just not that profitable to do things that way forever. And it’s a lot of work!
Better to either become an agency, sub-contract the long tail execution work, or advise on and/or manage the process.
That’s just how I see it, of course.