I feel like I’m approaching another crossroads with my business. It seems like every time I think I know what I’m doing, something changes and I have to figure it out all over again.
After some soul-searching (or whatever) earlier this year, I realized that running Indie Gift Box didn’t fit the kind of life I wanted to live. I love promoting artists, and curating and mailing awesome packages to people, but not on such a large scale.
Lately, I’m realizing that I don’t love doing maintenance work for websites. I’m on retainer with a few clients, and while I like these clients, find the work to be fine, and overall don’t dislike the idea of maintenance work and retainers for updates (plus the guaranteed income is awesome)… I find that it really makes me feel trapped.
I mean, just to take a week-long vacation (like for my wedding/honeymoon) I had to hire (and train) someone to deal with emails and emergencies, and I STILL had to check in just in case something serious went wrong.
Consequently, I think the last time I actually had a vacation was in 2011 right after I quit my job.
I can’t even relax on the weekends most of the time! I feel like I have to be available 24/7 despite the fact my contracts allow a 72-hour turn around (which still isn’t long enough to really go on vacation). Because what client is going to be happy if they break their website on a Friday night and I don’t even email them back until Monday?
I’d love to be able to design websites, then take some time off in-between clients where I really have nothing to worry about (except maybe some non-urgent emails). So, I’m trying to figure out a way to transition out of retainer/maintenance contracts and not hurt my bottom line. I mean, I’m finally making enough to consistently to pay all our bills and I don’t want to lose that!
Passive income is definitely where I’m lacking. Besides for some website hosting (which brings its own stresses, maintenance, and the need to be available in case of server issues), I really have to work for everything I make. I have plans to launch some video e-courses in the near-ish future, which I hope will do well and generate some passive income.
I’m also re-evaluating my current offerings to try and determine if I can put together better packages where I can not only charge more, but that will help my clients manage their websites better (which is not only awesome for them, but reduces the amount of tech support I have to provide after installation). Maybe all my packages should be similar to my current “premium” package?
And then, I find myself needing to branch off a bit and start offering products and services geared more toward other web designers. I swear, half my time is spent giving advice to others in my field, so why not monetize that somehow? I feel like I’m missing out on a good stream of income by giving too much away to people who have no use for the services I currently offer. I love helping others out, but it really does take up a ton of time that I could be spending creating video courses, ebooks, etc.
Of course, I don’t want to be running two separate businesses again. Marketing to one target audience is enough work.
Guess I have some more thinking to do! How have you adapted your business over time?