New Ventures

Chris_A's picture

Do you strictly try and sell on services that you are 100% proficient with? Or are you willing to dabble in areas that you might have to learn and research first, beforehand? Are you willing to take a risk?

WisTex's picture

When I was first starting off

When I was first starting off, I tried offering whatever the customer wanted as long as I thought I could figure it out.

I quickly discovered that was a big mistake. It always wound up being a big hassle that took much longer than expected.

Now, I only offer things I am good at and enjoy. If I do want to add something new, I make sure I practice myself first and get proficient at it before offering it to customers.

Scott M. Stolz
Complete Hosting Guide, Editor-in-Chief
WisTex, Director & CEO

Chris_A's picture

I think offering something

I think offering something you are not 100 % sure off, can turn out to be a lot of extra work. But when first starting out, you have no choice and you are happy for any orders that you can get. So I would advice anyone to sell whatever services they might think they are capable of doing, and then, later, to restrict themselves to only things that they are really good at.

Think Of It As A Challenge

I never restrict myself on anything and I don't recommend getting into that type of mentality. The only way you grow and learn is by trying new things. I always look at something I know very little about as a challenge.

WisTex's picture

Stretch Yourself but Be Real

What Brian says is true. You don't want to restrict yourself from possibilities and growth. But at the same time, you don't want to be overzealous and offer things you can't can do.

For example, let's say that some customer wants a new eCommerce website, and specifically wants to use some software you have never used before. But you are familiar with other similar packages. It's okay to offer to work on the new software as long as you disclose your level of skill to the customer, since you'll be able to figure it out.

You'll learn something new and expand your experience. But, be careful about the time frame. Don't offer to do it in a week, if you've never done it before. You might encounter problems you need to research, which slows you down.

So it's good to challenge yourself and expand into new areas. Just make sure you build yourself a buffer zone if you are charging people, and are honest about your skills (e.g. "I have never worked with Blah Commerce software before, but it's similar to Blah Blah Commerce, so I shouldn't have a problem with it.").

An alternative to that is do it yourself for yourself before charging customers. Want to build WordPress websites for people? Build one yourself first. Practice a couple of times; then offer it.

Keep learning and expanding, but also remember that you have to deliver what you promised to your customers too.

Scott M. Stolz
Complete Hosting Guide, Editor-in-Chief
WisTex, Director & CEO

Spence's picture

Compromise

I offer what I am good at and enjoy, writing, SEO, repetitive work etc. If I want to offer something I am less familiar with I am honest about it and depending on the situation might offer a "light version" or something like that. Obviously you shouldn't flat out lie about your competence, that will definitely punish both you and your customer.

Know When To Run

WisTex you make a good point about not wanting to be overzealous and offer things you can't can do. One of my first forays in the online biz was custom built computers. I had always built my own and I was doing it for friends and family. I decided to try it online and it went very well for a few years. I started before the computer and part prices really started to drop. Once I saw where the market was going I knew I wouldn't be able to beat the prices of some of the big websites coming up so I started to venture into new territories, the ones I was unfamiliar with. I learned quick and never lost any income. You have to adapt to what the online market throws at you. Nothing lasts forever, you just have to know when to get out and try something else.