Episode 208 | How To Productize Your Service with Brian Casel

Show Notes


[00:00] Mike: This is “Startups for the Rest of Us,” episode 208.

[00:02] Music

[00:10] Mike: Welcome to “Startups for the Rest of Us,” the podcast that helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product, or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.

[00:17] Brian: And I’m Brian.

[00:18] Mike: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made.

[00:21] Well, Rob is still away on vacation, so I have the pleasure of having Brian Casel on. If you’re not familiar with who Brian is, he the founder of Restaurant Engine. He writes and teaches at casjam.com, and he’s the co-host of the “Bootstrapped Web” podcast.

How are you doing today, Brian?

[00:36] Brian: Doing great, Mike. Glad to be here. Thanks for having me on.

[00:39] Mike: The topic that you wanted to talk about was productized services, and this is a topic that Patrick McKenzie has brought up a couple of time at previous MicroConfs about how people can essentially move from more of a consulting model into a software model, where they’re selling software instead of selling just services. But, you know, there’s this gap there where you don’t necessarily have enough money to be able to just work full-time on the product, but you’re making so much money from the consulting, you can’t necessarily just drop everything and move over to product; because then you’ve got this mismatch between what your cash flow looks like and what your future revenue looks like. So, a productized service essentially kind of bridges the gap a little bit where you have this product that you’re selling, but it’s still a service on the back end.

[01:21] I wanted to have you on and discuss that quite a bit more, because I think it’s a very interesting way that people can essentially take their products that they’re working on, that is still essentially a more of a beta format, and not necessarily ready for the open market. Or, they haven’t quite figured out exactly how to address the marketing and use that as a mechanism for bringing in revenue while they’re still developing those products.

[01:43] Brian: Yeah, exactly. I mean that’s a perfect example of it. What’s really exciting to me about productized services is that there’re a number of different directions that you can take and kind of plug them into your business, whether you’re just starting out, or you’re in that transition, like you said, between consulting and moving into a products business; or, you know, what I’ve even seen as well is you already have a product – you know, some kind of software product, plugging in a productized service component to that – another trend that I’m seeing. I’ve been researching this quite a bit, writing about it, seeing it in my own business as well. So, really excited about talking about productized services.

[02:16] Mike: There’s two, different perspectives that I can see here. One of them is from your customer’s perspective, and then the other one is from the founder’s perspective, the person who’s actually putting together the service. So, why don’t you talk about those two, different things and kind of what some of the research you’ve done has come up with and what some of the different things you’ve done in these scenarios is.

[02:33] Brian: Yeah, exactly. And, you know, if you’re a freelancer and you’re used to billing by the hour, or working project to project, productized services work a little bit differently. So, from your customer’s perspective, a productized service offers a specialized, done-for-you solution with a compelling value proposition. And it’s packaged at a set price and scope, so there’s really no negotiation, or writing a long proposal, or going into these discovery meetings that often happen in consulting work. “This is the scope. This is the price. It offers this type of value. Buy now.” And then, you know, from the founder’s perspective, a productized service is one that runs systematically, and it continues to produce and grow with or without your direct involvement. And I highlight “with or without,” because there are so many different types of productized services. And we can kind of get into them in a minute, but whether you want to remain solo and do like a productized consulting, or actually grow it – grow your team and focus on systems, you could actually design your productized service to run without you.

[03:35] Mike: I think one of the most interesting pieces of this is – you know, from the customer’s perspective, they’re essentially paying you to do a particular job; but you are in some ways decoupling the hours worked from the service itself. So, you’re no longer billing by the hour; you’re billing for the project itself. And in many ways, you already have a good idea of what the billable hours would have looked like anyway, but you want to essentially decouple those things so your price is not tied directly to the number of hours that you’re working.

[04:04] Brian: Yeah, exactly. It kind of goes to that idea of value-based pricing – right? So, you come up with some compelling value proposition, a very specific service that really benefits one type of customer; and you price it accordingly, and you define the scope of that service accordingly.

[04:21] Mike: The other side’s interesting, too, because from the founder’s perspective, you can start plugging other people in and, as you said, you can essentially scale it. So, if you just want to be the person doing the work, then you can do it; but you can also substitute other people in. And there’s  lots of people who are doing that successfully.

[04:35] So, let’s talk a little bit about some of the different scenarios where productizing a service might come into the picture? The two that you had talked about before the show were launching a new product and then if you’ve already launched a product. So, let’s talk about those a little bit.

[04:47] Brian: You know, productizing, again, it comes into play in so many different types of scenarios. But if you’re launching a new product, you’re transitioning from consulting into products, or transitioning from a full-time job into a product business. You may not have the time or the money to invest into building something really big like a SaaS app, like a complex mobile app or something. So, you need to launch to paying customers quickly, and a productized service is a great way to do that. You know, you can pretty much begin productizing a service that you’ve already been doing as a consultant, or something that you’ve done at your job; package it into, again, a value-added, productized service.

[05:26] If you have a product and maybe you’re struggling to gain that initial traction, or you just want to find ways to add value to what you’re doing – and this really comes from my own experience with Restaurant Engine. It originally launched almost three years ago as a SaaS, and technically it still operates as a SaaS, you know, from the monthly and annual billing standpoint. But over the last three years, it really has evolved into much more of a productized service as we began adding manual, done-for-you services at every level. So, we do web design for restaurants. My team manually on-boards every new client, and we manually set up their entire website, input all their content for them. We’ll even make ongoing monthly updates to their website for them. All this is done manually, but I’ve completely removed myself from the process, built loads of systems and processes. And I’ve delegated all these tasks so that I can remove myself. I can focus on the bigger picture, kind of focus on marketing and then even take a vacation once in a while.

[06:26] Mike: I think one of the best parts about that is you can take things that you’ve already been doing for your existing customers and essentially just repackage them.

[06:34] Brian: You know, what we’re just beginning to do now with Restaurant Engine is we’re beginning to add an option add-on service, which is we’ll actually manage their email newsletter for them. We’ll create the email newsletter and send it out on their behalf. And this is an optional, done-for-you service that we’re adding on top of it, and we’ve been offering that to our existing customers.

[06:53] Mike: So, essentially, all you’re doing is going back to your existing customer base and offering them either services that you’ve already been doing on kind of a prepackaged basis, or you’re coming up with new services that you’re offering to them on that packaged basis. And that way, you can substitute anyone in on the back end that you need to, based on whatever that service provides for them, or special customizations, or something like that that go a little bit beyond what the standard package offers. That gives you the flexibility to do that stuff.

[07:18] Brian: Yeah, exactly. I mean we’ve designed a service with certain limitations built in, but then there’s also some flexibility there. We have a platform and framework in place, and we’ve built in a lot of customization tools that make it fast and easy for us to set up a customer’s website. We also have the ability to customize to a certain extent, like we can add custom CSS to a site and make certain tweaks; but there are limits to that, and those limits are put there for a reason – because, again, this is a productized, focused service. This is not consulting, where we can literally just do anything and everything the client dreams of.

[07:54] Mike: So, I think that’s probably an important piece that we want to dig into a little bit – is what sort of edge cases do you need to identify as places where customers might try to take advantage of what the service is? And how do you essentially protect yourself from those types of things so that not a lot of back and forth? How do you go about identifying those types of things in your service offering, and how do you protect yourself?

[08:16] Brian: You know, you can just look at so many others who are doing this productized consulting, or productized service, to two that I’ll highlight here: Nick Desabato and Jarrod Drysdale. Nick Desabato launched Draft Revise, which is like a monthly A/B testing optimization service that will help you increase conversions on a monthly basis. And he very clearly spells out on the landing page for his service, Draft Revise, exactly what’s included; exactly what the client can expect; and the type of results that his other clients have seen. So, it’s really just laid out and setting those expectations right from the start. I mean before a customer even decides to purchase, or decides to get in contact with him, they’ve basically read through his landing page and seen all the terms.

[09:04] And then the same is true for Jarrod’s site, LandingPageinaDay. You know, again, the landing page does just a really great job of setting those expectations; and, of course, his service is what it sounds like. He’ll design and build a landing page for you in one day. Even in the title of the service, that basically defines the scope – right? Like, he’ll start in the morning, work on it throughout the day. He’ll write the copy for you, and by the end of the day, it will be launched. And I think it says somewhere on its site if you needed additional revisions, additional tweaks and things that go beyond that day, he’s available – clearly at an additional cost.

[09:40] Mike: I think those are very interesting examples, because they kind of highlight two, different sides of the spectrum. With Draft Revise, you’re essentially getting this monthly, ongoing service versus the Landing Page in a Day, which you’re essentially hiring somebody for one day of work. But in both cases, I think it’s very clear what you’re getting at the other end of it, so the value is very, very clearly defined.

[10:02] Brian: Draft Revise has been designed to offering recurring revenue, and that is a fantastic way of building a business, of course. You know, with productized services, you can go in so many different routes. You can go with, like, you know, a one-time purchase type of deal, or the recurring revenue route; and you can even do a combination of those. I think Nick, on his Draft Revise service, actually offers both. He now offers Revise Express, which is kind of like the one-time audit where he’ll give you a clearly defined list of recommendations, or tweaks, that he would recommend for you to increase conversions on your website; and then clients have the ability to upgrade to the monthly Draft Revise service. And I’ve seen that again and again in a lot of these productized consulting – what’s basically known as “the ladder,” where you offer a one-time service and then the option to upgrade to a recurring service.

[10:52] Mike: We’ve talked a little bit about exactly what a productized service is and the different places where you might use it, some examples of other people are using it and how they’re using it. What’s the first step to productizing a service?

[11:06] Brian: You know, it’s really all about focus. So, you want to focus on one service, and you want to focus on customer. That usually starts with the service. Ideally, you want to pick something that customers have paid you for, have paid you to do, if you’re coming from consulting. So, you could even look at the types of projects that you’re doing, or that you’ve been doing, and break those down into individual services. So, you know, for example, I come from a background as a freelance web designer, and I might  – my background – you know, I – one component is setting up a WordPress site.

[11:38] Another component is designing mockups. The list goes on, but you can kind of pick one of those things to really focus on. And you also want to look for a service that somebody has actually paid you for, and that’s really important because that indicates that there is a real pain or problem to be solved. The other aspect of picking one service is you want to look for something that can really produce specific results that can then produce compelling case studies. So, you look at something like Nick Desabato’s Draft Revise, and his case studies show actual increase in conversions with hard numbers. You want to look for those things. And then you also want to focus on choosing one customer to sell your service to. Of course, you’ll have a couple variations of the types of clients that you’ll work with. You want to be as focused as possible, because that makes everything so much easier. You know exactly who your customer is, and you know how to tailor the service to meet their exact needs and help them be extremely successful.

[12:36] And as you go about narrowing down one customer to focus on, there’re a few things that you can look for. Number one, you should be looking for businesses with money to spend. From what I’ve found, all the productized services that I researched they all tend to be B-to-B services, working with businesses who have a monthly operating budget to spend. Niched verticals can be easier to reach. I’ve seen that in my business Restaurant Engine, so we’ve basically only worked with restaurants and food trucks, and that’s a very tightly niched vertical. That’s one avenue to explore. Or, whatever industry you’re in, maybe find ways to get more specific. And then you also want to consider the right audience for you. So, what type of people are do you like to associate yourself with? If you’re doing a lot of content marketing, or you plan to do content marketing, who could you actually content ? You don’t necessarily have to end up writing all the content yourself, but in the early days you probably will. So, you want to keep that in mind. Another thing that I like to think about is what kind of conferences can you see yourself attending. You know, would you go to a conference with this type of audience? So, keep these things in mind as you’re narrowing down on that one customer to focus on.

[13:46] Mike: I think one of the things that you said there that’s really important for people to understand is that you are looking to productize a service that you’ve already performed for people and that you’ve charged them for. And the reason that’s so important is you know that there’s already a business there. It’s not like you’re creating something out of thin air and you’re trying to sell it to people, and you don’t necessarily know if people are going to buy it. If you’ve already performed it for people and you know that they’re willing to pay you on an hourly basis, or a weekly basis for it, it makes it so much easier to essentially define the limits of what that service is going to entail, but also to understand and fully appreciate all of the different things that are going to go into it. So, if you’ve never worked with a customer before, and you go to try to sell them on a particular service, they may very well have questions for you that you have no idea how to answer, so you aren’t able to clearly talk about those different points inside of your service offering.

[14:39] But if you’ve done that before, you know the different edge cases that are going to come up. You know the different pain points that people are going to hit and how you’re going to deal with them, because you’ve done it before. And I think that being able to clearly and solidly answer all of those questions for people, even before they’ve asked those questions, is very key to being able to sell some of these productized services.

[14:58] Brian: Yeah, exactly. What I also like to look for are the types of questions that come up from whether they’re new prospects or existing clients. A lot of times, you’ll hear a lot of the same questions come up again and again, and those are really big indicators of a particular point in the service, or a type of service that’s kind of the deal breaker. Like, if that’s not included, then the project is not going to happen. For example, looking back when I was a freelance web designer, it got to the point around 2011, 2012 where almost every, single prospect that I spoke to asked about mobile websites. Will the site be mobile optimized? And that just became a deal breaker. So, if I were to productize that service, that would be something that I would think heavily about.

[15:42] Mike: So, let’s talk about scaling services like this. How would you go about scaling this? I think one of the big things that comes to mind is being able to clearly document not only the resources that you need to go into the project, but also what that output is going to look like.

[15:58] Brian: Yeah. I hear this question a lot: “Can a productized service actually scale?” We are talking heavily about manual processes, doing things manually, done-for-you services. So, how can that actually scale up? And looking back when I started Restaurant Engine, my dream was to build something that literally runs on its own. Over time, we’ve added more and more manual services, but at the same time, I’ve been able to remove myself. So, my answer to that question is, yes, you can scale up a productized service; and the key is to focus on systems and systemizing every process. What I’ve broken down here is a three-step process to systemizing so that you can get to that point where you can actually begin to hire and delegate those tasks and remove yourself from the business. And what this really is all about is working on your business and not in your business. So, if you’re used to kind of pushing pixels in PhotoShop or coding, you want to remove yourself and focus on higher-level systems and process.

[16:57] Here are the three steps to systemization. It starts with standardizing. So, you want to focus on one particular service, like I said before. And, really, you want to focus down on one method or way of doing things. Or, choose not to do everything. As a consultant, we often do everything, but in a productized service we want to standardize and focus in on one service. There are always multiple ways of achieving the same result. Right? But we want to focus in on one method and commit to one way of doing things, and that just makes things more standardized and predictable.

[17:31] Mike: I think that’s a very important point to make just because – you’re right – when you’re doing a consultant engagement, you get in there, and your job is to just get things done; because you don’t necessarily fall under the same constraints that everybody else does who works in an organization. But I think that when you’re doing a standardized service like this, it’s very important to not get involved in some of these quagmires; because there are some tasks that you can perform that are just going to be an absolute nightmare. There’s no way that you’re ever going to be able to come up with a one-size-fits-all thing for everybody – for example, reporting. Reporting is a big thing. Some people like to have lots of reports in all these different formats, and I think that if you standardize and just say, “Okay, all reports are going to be in Excel, and this is what you get, and if you want customization beyond that, we can talk about it; but what come with this particular offering is just” – you know, “These are the Excel reports, and these are the fields that you can expect to see,” I think that’s a much more appropriate way to handle something like that, because reporting could become just one of those huge quagmires.

[18:32] Brian: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Just coming up with that one, standard way of doing things – it really comes back to setting those expectations up front; and that begins with your website, your landing page, and then the way that you speak about the service. It has that predefined scope. That’s what it is.

[18:49] Mike: So, what’s the second step to systemizing?

[18:51] Brian: Once you’ve standardized and made things more predictable, the next step is to look for ways to streamline the processes and make them more efficient. So, that might mean, again, adding new limitations. For instance, I mentioned we’re adding email marketing to Restaurant Engine, where we’ll be managing email campaigns for our clients. One limitation that we’re adding to that is they have to be on MailChimp. Our clients – we want them to be using MailChimp, number one, because it’s cheap for a restaurant owner to get started on; and, number two, it makes it easy for us to set one process that my team can then follow. They don’t have to learn how to use AWeber and Constant Contact and iContact. We’re sticking only with MailChimp. So, we’re setting a limitation there.

[19:32] Another idea here is to use one, common framework, or template. I mentioned Jarrod Drysdale, his Landing Page in a Day. He’s a great example of someone who actually started with software and converted it into a productized service. A few months back, he created a design framework called Cascade.io, which is kind of a product in itself. But now he’s using that product to streamline his Landing Page in a Day service. So, essentially, he’s using his design framework to speed up his process of designing a landing page for clients.

[20:07] Mike: And I think that’s a great example of taking software that you are using and working on to be able to complement your productized service, especially to help that product make money in a way that may not necessarily be obvious. I think most people when they do that, their goal is to write a piece of software and then be able to sell it to everybody they possibly can. That’s the way that they’re going to scale it. But at the same time, when you first release your software, it’s not necessarily finished. It’s not in a format that is going to be easy for the mainstream masses to be able to use. So, if you convert that and say, “Okay. Well, I’m going to create this product. Maybe it’s not quite there, but I can live with the limitations, and I know what those limitations are, because I wrote the software,” then you can essentially use it in a services fashion to help complement your skills and the ability to get things done that, without that software, you wouldn’t be able to do anyway.

[20:58] Brian: Yeah, exactly. And having that software built in the first place, you can use that to your advantage when you’re performing that service. It just drastically speeds up the process and makes it more efficient. You know, I found that in my service as well. With Restaurant Engine in the very beginning, we built in all these fancy customization tools. We wanted it to be a do-it-yourself service. Any restaurant owner can come in and create their own website. But what ended up happening is today it’s a productized service. We’re using those same features, but we’re using them internally, and now we’re able to set up a new website in just a matter of one or two days.

[21:33] Mike: In some ways, this reminds me of the idea which was essentially concierge on-boarding, which is the idea that you are having people come and sign up for your product; but at the same time, you’re essentially hand-holding them. You’re doing things for them that you would like for them to do themselves so that you don’t have to do it, but at the same time, it’s more important to get them onto the software and using it than it is to make it easy for them to do it themselves. I mean that’s not necessarily your goal. Your goal is to make them a long-term customer, and if you have to do those things up front to help get them over the hurdle, then you will.

[22:06] Brian: That’s a great point. I know that there are a lot of people interested in doing SaaS products and SaaS owners out there today. So, in the beginning, it was a concierge service – right? We were kind of adding the done-for-you setup complementary – you know, just to get you onto the service. And that worked pretty well, but then we actually started charging for it, and today we actually require every customer to pay for the initial setup service. What we’ve found is that when we do that, yes, the rate of signups obviously goes down. You know, we’re asking for an up-front fee, and to your credit card and everything; but we’ve found that those customers who do that and go through our setup service  they stay. The cancellation rate goes to near zero at that point. So, we’ve found that’s a good balance for us.

[22:51] Mike: Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot had talked about this at the Business of  Software conference a few years ago, because their service has – there’s a couple of different tiers. I think their lowest tier is $200 a month, and then the next tier up is $800 a month, and then above that I think it’s $2,000 or $3,000 a month. At the lowest tier, even, you have to pay for what they call a training session. That’s $500. And the second tier is a $2,000 fee that you have to pay just to get set up. Some ways a consulting services engagement where they’re teaching you how to use their software. People get this idea, “Oh, well, I’ve already paid $2,000 to get set up on this. I really should be using it.” Because if they make that mental leap [and] say, “Okay. I’m going to plunk down $2,000 for my first month and then $800 a month after it,” you need to just move forward and do it.

[23:37] Brian: Yes, exactly. And we have seen that, and we see customers who have paid the setup fee are much more engaged. They’re invested in the process. They’re willing to go through the on-boarding steps, like providing their content, or doing whatever they need to to get going and start being successful on the service much faster.

[23:57] So, the third step as we get into systemizing our service is all about documentation. It’s really all about your documentation. Now, it is incredibly important to focus on standardizing and streamlining first, but then as you begin to prepare to potentially hire and delegate these tasks, you want to have your documentation in place. And what this really means is as the founder, you know, you’re still doing everything yourself in the early days; but you want to be spending and investing a lot of your time early on in writing out detailed, step-by-step procedures. And that can often mean spending up to three times longer on a particular task. So, what I see a lot of people running into who have trouble with delegating tasks to a team [is] they’d say, “I’d love to delegate this task to someone. But you know what? If I just do it myself, I can get it done so much quicker.” And you kind of have to break out of that way of thinking and work on your business and invest that time up front. Yes, you’re doing it yourself, but spend even more time writing out that detailed procedure so that, ultimately, you can delegate this and never have to touch that task again. Yes, it can be tedious, and it will take a lot of time; but you should just start simple. Start with just a really quick-and-dirty bullet list, step-by-step framework of what you’re working on, and then you can just continuously improve that over time.

[25:17] Mike: I think that’s a general-purpose skill that every entrepreneur needs to have – is to be able to document the processes and procedures and how the business is run, just purely from a logistics standpoint, to be able to step back from certain parts of the business, or to be able to hand them off. I’ve actually been in a position where there’re certain parts of the business where I’m handing off to other people and saying, “I need you to standard and streamline and document this entire process so that I don’t have to.”

[25:42] Brian: And that’s where it has come in my business as well. I mean literally just before we got on this call today, I wrote out a quick email to one of my teammates and said, “Can you turn this email into a procedure?” We actually have, like, a procedure for creating procedures. [Chuckles] You know, we have a standard template in Google Docs, and then they just kind of duplicate that. It has all the formatting and everything, and then he’ll just convert that into a procedure.

[26:05] And another thing that I see done quite often is doing a video screencast of a task and then handing that off to your virtual assistant or someone on your team. What I like to use video for is to document my process once, show that to my teammate and then ask them to convert that into a written procedure.

[26:21] Mike: What I’ve done is for documentation, I have a standard operating document in Google Docs. And whenever I bring on a new person to my team, I just share the entire folder with them so they have this whole folder structure of documents that they have access to. But inside of those, I will have one, main Google doc; and then it links off to all these other ones that are in the different sub-folders. For example, one of them is a procedure for dealing with Twitter. There’s specific documentation in there that’s written out about what to do at certain times and certain things that come up, but then I also have places where there’s a video that I just link to directly from there. And then I have the user name and password that’s stored directly in there, so I host everything out on screencast.com. And it just makes it easy, because if I ever need to change the password, I can just go into the Google doc, change it. If they need access to it, they just go in there, and it’s right there. And they can not only see the written documentation, but there are some places where it’s a lot easier to show somebody than it is to write it out. So, I use kind of a hybrid of that mechanism.

[27:24] Brian: Yeah, that’s a great point. I think I do a pretty similar thing. I give my team access to our folder in Google Docs. I do like to include both the visual and the written description. We also use a lot of screenshots, and we notate the screenshots. For that, I use Droplr. I’ll grab those screenshots, put the notations in, drop it into the Google Doc. In addition to that, I’ll actually describe the steps.

[27:46] Mike: Let’s move on a little bit to marketing a productized service. I know that there’s a huge amount of talk in terms of marketing a productized service. What are some of the things that you can think of that people might want to keep right at the edge of their mind when they’re looking to put together a productized service?

[28:03] Brian: For one, when you productize your service, you can begin to market it as if it’s a product just like any other product; and that’s kind of what’s so great about a productized service. You can really make use of all the other tactics that we’re constantly learning about. I think really the most important thing comes down to knowing your customer, really getting to know who that customer is. I spoke earlier about focusing in on one customer, one particular person. Since your productized service is focused on serving that one type of customer, you’re able to really research and learn everything that you can about them; because your goal is just to get lots and lots of any and every type of customer. Your goal is to find that one, focused customer and find more of that person. When you really understand who they are, or what they do, what their primary pain and challenge is, what are the hurdles that they’re trying to get past, you begin to see these patterns as you’re interviewing customers, talking to them on a daily basis, emailing with them. And when you really get to know them, everything else becomes easier – you know, writing landing pages, communicating your service, coming up with the perfect pricing or the perfect pitch, the value proposition, even designing the scope of your service: what’s included, what’s not included, how can we provide the most benefit possible.

[29:21] Mike: Yeah, I think knowing your customer, obviously, is a very important piece of this. It helps you to communicate your message to the customer and make sure that everyone’s on the same page. It also helps you if you want to do, like, SEO, or keyword optimization, or anything like that; because if you’re speaking the same language as them, in many ways that productized service is not really much different than an actual product. By clearly defining that, again, it’s just no different than selling an actual product versus selling a service. It’s just you’ve got everything prepackaged.

[29:51] Brian: It also goes back to speaking with your customers and listening to what they’re telling you, whether it’s your prospects that you’ve been speaking to as a consultant or your current and past clients. What are the things that they’re asking you? How do they describe their pain point? How do they describe the service or the product? And then you can use their language, literally take it out of their mouths and put it onto your landing page. When you truly understand what their core pain is through those constant discussions with that one type of customer, you know exactly what to lead with when it comes to your top headline, or the way that you describe the benefits that your service can offer.

[30:31] Mike: Brian, if people want to find you and learn more about the productizing services crash course that you’re offering, where can they find you?

[30:36] Brian: Yeah, so right on my site, casjen.com. On the home page, you’ll find a free crash course on how to productize your service. And then I also have the advanced training course called “Productize,” and that is at casjam.com/productize. I’m also “Casjam” on Twitter. [I’d] love to connect there. You can always reach me Brian@casjam.com.

[30:56] Mike: Well, Brian, thanks for coming on the show.

[30:58] Brian: Thanks for having me, Mike. It was fun.

[31:00] Mike: If you have a question for us, you can call it in to our voicemail number at 1.888.801.9690, or email it to us at questions@startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt, used under Creative Commons. Subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for “startups” and visit startupsfortherestofus.com for a full transcript of each episode. Thanks for listening.

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One Response to “Episode 208 | How To Productize Your Service with Brian Casel”

  1. Great insight into productizing a service.

    I guess there are levels of doing this. A part of our business is to give production support to eCommerce sites. I wanted to get away from charging by the hour, so I created processes for all the things I could think of. Now, we charge a monthly fee which is immensely scalable.

    I think a difference from a business owner perspective between a product and service is the scalability graph – linear vs non-linear. If you measure input (hours) you are in service mode. If you measure output (value to customer), you are in product mode.