Going From a Service Business to a Passive Income Model

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The transition from my service based branding business to a passive income business has been a bit tricky. I tend to dive head first into whatever I’m doing and take a long time to pivot to a new direction—and pivoting to passive income has been no different.

I have years of experience designing and branding for businesses, one on one, and now I’m trying to transfer all that knowledge into content and products that will reach the masses. If done successfully, I’ll be able to help multiple people at a time while exponentially growing my business. Passive income can buy back some of my time, because it’s essentially duplicating myself and my process through automated systems.

I’m almost halfway through the Futur’s Business Bootcamp, where they help creative entrepreneurs and agencies double their business. Although the aim of the course is to close more leads and charge more money in your service based business, with some slight modifications, I’m able to apply the same principles to my passive income business model. So I’m now using all the knowledge I learn from the bootcamp and reinterpreting it to get me to my goals.

Here’s how:

1. Mindset

The first week was all about mindset, and through that I uncovered the reason why I was so resistant to changing to a passive income model and putting most (if not all) of my eggs in that basket. I had some major limiting beliefs that stopped me from pursuing what I really wanted to do. But through some dedicated time of going through the first bootcamp module, reflecting, and challenging those beliefs with the help of my accountability partner, I’m seeing the fears losing their power over me. I’m now dead set on making this my main gig, not just a side hustle to client services.

2. Communication

The second week was all about communication, mostly with client prospects and leads. With client services, I would be communicating with clients one on one, and learn something I could do better in each conversation. If I screwed up or said something wrong, then no big deal. It was only said maybe to a small handful of people and I could learn from it, change, and do better next time. But with passive income, most, if not all of the marketing and sales happen online in content… content that yes, can be deleted, but once it’s out there, it’s out there. And having my own strong point of view will be seen by many, and that feels extremely vulnerable! If I screw up, I could be the laughing stalk of my entire audience, email list, and beyond, not just a boardroom full of clients. But through learning how to better communicate and align what I think, say, and do, across all aspects of my life and business, I’m becoming more confident to take my point of view from a single conversation to the public. It’s a bit scary, but also so incredibly liberating.

3. Diagnosing

In the third week of the bootcamp, I learned how to diagnose a problem for a client. “Amateurs give advice. Experts diagnose,” meaning, we must not let the client prescribe their own solution to their problem. If we’re experts, we must ask questions to get to the root problem, goal, or motivation. Ok. Cool—but how to use this for my passive income model? As I thought about it, it became quite clear to me. I must first give value to my audience, then, listen and ask them questions BEFORE I create a solution (ie. product) to their needs. I should never assume I know what someone needs and then make a product and try to sell it to them—I’d be an amateur giving advice, thinking I know what’s best for someone else—versus listening to my audience and conversing with them, getting to know them and their goals and problems first and THEN creating a product that will suit their needs.

I’ve been trying this concept out of getting to know my audience first before creating anything and it’s been a game changer. I started a paid Facebook group back in September, and we’re currently working through how to become a content creating machine. I’m learning from and about the group each week—how they think, feel, what they think they need, and what they actually need. Getting to know my audience has helped me realize that I don’t know everything (surprise, surprise) and that I need to spend a ton more time listening and then seeing how I can help them get to their goals. This goes for service based as well as passive income businesses—I shouldn't just start spewing advice, instead, I need to listen, ask questions, find out the problem, then diagnose and provide a solution.

Although my journey into passive income started over two years ago with the launch of Pre-lance, I am finally getting over my fears and pursuing it with full focus. I can take all the knowledge I’ve gathered in my service based business and transfer that to my new model since really, at the end of the day, I’m still doing what I’ve always done: solving problems for people. Just this time, I have a chance to help so many more.

- Melinda Livsey


I talk a lot about giving value and sharing your process and I try my best to practice what I preach. That’s why I started a personal email newsletter where I share what I’m doing to grow my branding business. I go over what I’m trying out in my marketing, sales, how I do branding, and things I’m learning along the way. 

It’s one thing to hear about someone’s journey when they already have reached their destination.

It’s another to go on that journey with them.

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About the author:

Melinda Livsey is a brand strategist, designer, and educator based in sunny Southern California. She’s the founder of Marks and Maker, co-founder of Pre-lance, and co-host on the Futur. Find her hanging out on Instagram and say hello!


Resources from this post:

Futur’s Business Bootcamp

Pre-lance