Doing execution work is not just an important part of a marketer’s journey—it’s essential.
The problem is, it can be stressful and exhausting if you aren’t intentional about how you do it.
It’s hard to relax when you’re spinning so many plates under the constant pressure of deadlines and deliverables. Your brain never really turns off.
That’s where I was before I transitioned to advisory work. I offered too many services, charged too little, and worked too hard for a 30% take-home margin. Not ideal.
Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the stress of execution work while increasing your overall profitability.
I learned these lessons the hard way. And if I were to go back to doing execution work, I’d use many of these ideas as soon as possible.
So let’s get into it…
1. Offer fewer services
It sounds counter-intuitive, but offering fewer services can actually make your business a LOT healthier.
Instead of offering web design, SEO, PPC, and social media—pick one or two complimentary services and stick to that.
When you do the same things repeatedly, your work gets easier. Sure, there’s complexity. But as you do things repeatedly, it becomes less taxing each time.
Over time, your ability to produce actual results becomes more predictable.
People refer you because of how dialled in and organized your workflow is—not to mention how good the results are.
You start to enjoy the work more. It feels more effortless when you are streamlined.
You’re actually building expertise with your craft, which is a rare commodity—even in a world full of marketers.
And that expertise is what allows you to charge a premium for your work—which leads to more profit—and the cycle continues.
2. Sub-contract your work
When you offer fewer services, you can dial in your process to the point where you can train less expensive people to do the actual execution work.
Your work becomes formulaic, which means you don’t need to hire the most expensive people you can find to do the work.
You can hire someone less senior to follow your process and get the same outcomes for you—leaving more profit margin for you!
When you offer too many services, you never really create a refined process because there’s just too much to do.
Better to focus on doing fewer things, build your expertise, and document your process until it becomes second nature.
That’s the core of how you create leverage around your expertise.
3. Productize your services
Productizing lets you take your processes to another level.
You can design your entire methodology from start to finish, ironing out the issues as you go.
As you do this, you’ll create more predictable results with a predictable amount of work at a predictable profit margin.
The client gets the result they want with less complexity and an overall smoother experience. You get built-in profitability and less stress overall.
You can still sell custom alongside your productized services. But you’re also refining your core offerings and the process that goes with it until you no longer need to sell custom if you don’t want to (or charge a premium when you do).
4. Hire a project manager
Once you get established, you will eventually want to let the trains run without your direct intervention.
Hiring a project manager to keep projects on track and correspond with clients can free up a ton of mental bandwidth.
With your available time, you are now free to focus on improving your process, the client experience, and finding more clients.
Your job now is to market and work on the business—not just in it.
5. Niche down
Similar to the other steps, when you work with a smaller segment of clients—a niche—you get to make your process even more dialled in and efficient.
Your results become even better and more predictable than simply being a horizontal expert at your craft.
One caveat: I wouldn’t rush to niching down until it’s clear you have a competitive advantage in that niche.
You can niche down too soon, which can be limiting. Better to simply seek more clients who resemble your current best clients.
If you find the best work and results come from working with B2B SaaS companies, aim your marketing at them.
Go where they hang out. Create an audience page for them. Create case studies to support your expertise.
Eventually, you can go all-in if it seems like it’s working for you.
6. Sell your process
It may be counter-intuitive, but selling your process to your peers/”competitors” or even to people in your target market can unlock huge amounts of revenue.
By selling your process as a course, book, templates, or other knowledge product, you can sell your expertise for almost pure profit from people you otherwise may not have been able to generate revenue from.
You can also sell mentoring and coaching, which is a highly rewarding model.
7. Become a “producer”/interim/fractional CMO
This one is a middle ground between freelancing and agency work.
The gist of this one is to essentially be a part-time marketing manager.
You charge a fixed fee, from $3,000 to $10,000+ per month and in exchange, you do things like:
- Creating a strategy and plan
- Managing budgets
- Hiring people to do the execution work
- Writing briefs
- Managing projects
- Quality assurance
- Reporting and analytics
- And basically being the point person for any new project or activity your client needs
This particular model comes with a lot of caveats and warnings as it can itself become like a full-time job with a part-time salary. I’ve written about it extensively.
But if you want to earn six figures with just a couple of clients, this is your best approach to take if you manage scope and expectations properly.
Eventually, your goal would be to transition to advisory capacities as soon as possible by leveraging your systems, processes, templates, and Rolodex gained from the producer role.
By removing the managed part of the service, you free up a lot more bandwidth to create even more profit per effort.
And that’s it!
Simple in theory, but takes discipline and time to do right.
Got a question or other idea to add to this list? Hit reply and let me know.
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