How To Succeed As A Service Business With Maggie Patterson


Diane: Hey, Hey, this week's guest is Maggie Patterson. She is the editorial director at scoop studios, the creator of small business boss and host of the BS free service business cost. And she and I have a lot of similar views about the bro-code in the online business space. So I've invited her on to chat about how to make our business more fun and Morris, Hey Maggie. Welcome to the show. Maggie: Hey, Diane. I'm so excited to be here. Diane: So let's kick things off with a bit about your business journey. Maggie: Well, it's been a very long journey of many twists and turns. So I 20, 21 will be my 16th year in business. As you know, I started off, I left, basically left my corporate job when I had my son. Who's now 16 and a half. So that tells you how long this has been going on. And I took my mat leave. I got my act together and then I just started freelancing and I freelance for quite some time, probably about eight years and fun fact in that time I never raised my prices. Don't be like me, but you know, I was making a good living. I was super happy doing it. And then I fell into this online world, like many of us do, you know, just through a series of clicks on the internet. And I was like, Oh, what is this? So from there I started, you know, really working less with corporate type clients and working more with online business owners. And through that experience since 2013, you know, my agency has had many twists and turns. We do content marketing. We've gone from working with online business owners to realizing that. Hm, maybe I don't want to support the bros and the lady boss, coaches, and pivoting out of that and going back to our corporate roots. But as part of that, I also started mentoring service business owners because I really believe in the power of a service business. I know a service business is at the lowest barrier to entry the fastest path to cash for people. And it is the thing that is so easy for most people to do. It takes so much crap in the online business world. And I'm like, no, start a service business. Don't try to start a course business right out of the gate. Start with services. Diane: It's hard to get money from a service-based business, if they already know their skill really well, and they have followed freelancing business, then the people who do promote the courses and the passive income and the memberships and all the things. It's hard for them to show that in a monetizing kind of way, for them not for the service business for themselves. Maggie: Yeah. And I think so many times what happens is, you know, I, and I see this all the time. I have this conversation multiple times per month with clients and people in my community. They're like, Oh, I've maxed out with services. And I'm like, hold on. Like, let's talk about what this really looks like. This idea of Maxor with services. They've been indoctrinated to think like, I am maxed out with services when really I'm like, you've got all these other factors to make the revenue you want to make out of services. But because the creative course crowd is so loud and shiny and, you know, alluring with their unicorn magic promises. What happens is people think, Oh, I have to do a course. That's the natural evolution. I'm like, no, you don't, here's all your other options. And here's thing. You want to create a course. Great. But I want you to go into it with your eyes open and it wants you to not abandon your service business or avoid doing services because you have all these preconceived notions or limitations that you've come up with. Diane: And if all of those really good service businesses become course creators or membership people. Then what you're left with in the actual service-based space, all the new people, the less qualified, the less experienced people. So we as a whole in the entrepreneur space will suffer. It's the same when coaches are like, well, I don't want to do one-to-one anymore. All of the highly skilled, highly experienced coaches stopped doing one-to-one and then we are in the space with these Just starting off coaches having to try and support that gap. Maggie: Yeah. And I look at someone who is, you know, pretty far into my business journey. I don't want the opinions of a brand new business coach who doesn't have the depth of experience. And that's not to say they don't have skills. It's more, they're not going to, you know, If they're there first, they're just hitting 5k months. We're not on the same playing field. So how were they providing with counsel? And I think one of the things I would say to people is like, please stop shitting on services because services literally make the world go round. Like. What happens if your Starbucks, Reese doesn't there, that's a service they're providing you with their coffee. You know, a doctor as a service, a lawyer is a service and we need to reframe how we look at services is like services. Are this foundational part of any industry in any economic engine? 70% of businesses are service businesses. So to have that experience in consistently invalidated day in, day out by people are trying to sell me a course or a program. They need to knock it off. Diane: I never thought about the kind of invalidation of what somebody wants to do. I never thought of it from that. Your choice is not valid to me when I'm promoting that you do things completely differently. Maggie: well, I mean, it's hard to sell you a course about creating a course or a coach becoming a group program creator when I, you can't invalidate my business model. And I think what what's always funny is some of the loudest people in this industry about that are also people that rely extremely heavily on their service providers and their teams. So, you know, you can't have it both ways. So how about we just change the conversation to be like, here's all your options. And let everyone make an informed choice of what works for them. Diane: And I think also you see a lot of that pattern of the thing that you're invalidating is actually how you built the audience that enables you to sell the course or the membership, it's almost do exactly what I did except we're saying do exactly what I did halfway through my journey. Don't start at the beginning of my journey and walk the path. Maggie: Yeah. And Diane, that is the most accurate thing because the best courses, the best programs they start with one-on-one work. And I, I really have a difficult time making the leap of logic to be like, okay, Someone wants to create a course. Well, you better have something you're basing that on. If you're creating a course based on crap, you read on the internet or someone else's course, you're doing it wrong. Like you need your own intellectual property, be basing it on and yeah. Where are you getting that intellectual property from, if you've not done these things, or you've not provided a service and services provide, like we think of it this way, it provides a testing ground. It provides time for you to refine your marketing, refine your message, refine your methods, resign your signature process. And not only that. Creating a course, business costs a lot more creating a program-based business. There's a lot more tools. There's a lot more support. A lot of people will need because they don't know how certain systems run. So how are you going to pay for that? How about you use your service business to help you bootstrap this? And I was doing an interview yesterday with somebody we were talking about for Women identified entrepreneurs. It's very difficult to get access to funding. Majority of us are bootstrapped. The majority of us don't have access to a trust fund or something else. So we have to be very, you know, how do we reduce that risk if we are not taking on capital or a loan, or we don't have access to that? Well, why couldn't you use a service based business to fund your next thing? Diane: I know that they were going to meet people who listen to this and go, but, but, but, but you know, Diane, you preach lifestyle business. how am I. Going to make enough money in my service-based business that doesn't require me to be at my desk 24 seven servicing one-to-one clients. So what are those options for people you mentioned earlier, like it's going into course or membership is not your only option for a service-based business. Maggie: Yeah. So I think there's really a couple ways to do it as number one, as a service-based business. If you are struggling with that feeling of, I have to be at my desk, I have to really, and truly like be off at my client's back in call. It was really a matter of, and this is the first thing most people do is you have to reset boundaries. Like you, we let our clients breech our boundaries or we're so we're so. Focusing on the fact that we are a being of service, that we're not being of service to ourselves. So, you know, if you find yourself after hours, responding to emails, letting clients infringe on your vacation and not clearly drawing those boundaries from the second, you engage with a potential client, you have to redraw those. And there's always, and this is something I said, clients all the time is there's always going to be places where your boundaries are weak, but there's always an opportunity to redraw those boundaries. Like I had a client situation back in the fall. I had to redraw some really hard boundaries and you know what, I'm really glad I did because so many times I think the response would be for people to go, you know what? I'm out. I'm done. Whereas I just looked at it very rationally. I came to it from a very professional place consultant hat on and were able to redraw the boundary in a way that the relationship is better than ever instead of me, just like having a moment and be like so I think it, number one is the boundaries piece. It's like, how do you make this work for you? And like, Diane, you talk about lifestyle businesses. So how does your. How has, is the way you work with your clients, support that lifestyle. Maybe some people want retainer clients, so there's periods of time where they can take off. Some people are going to work in intensive model. Some people are going to have rolling client engagement. Some people already project-based look at what kind of delivery model is going to work best for you. The other thing is, you know, do you want to stay Cylo, cave, your skin to stay solo? This is where you're like, how do I use productized services? How do I create something where there is a greater revenue potential for me providing that service because there is high value in it, or, you know, do I have a team and go the agency route? There's so many options within a service business and they're just not explored nearly enough. I always remember, like the reason I started mentoring service business owners is I kept having this conversation in like 2014, 2015. And people were like, Peggy. I don't understand how you're making the money you're making. You don't have a big team. You're not. And it was like, what do you mean you're not all doing this because they would get to this break point in their business. And that break points a little bit different. And then immediately everyone's like, I need a course. And I'm like, but dude, let's sit down and map this out on paper and guess what we found, they don't need a course. They just needed to fix their pricing or their boundaries or something in their business that wasn't working for them. Diane: Yeah, I find I have the similar conversations. I always say to people with your boundaries, you teach people how to treat you, and if you've taught them wrong, you need to reteach them. And I think people are really afraid to do that. They're afraid to have that conversation. And I always go back to one of my bosses in one of my first big corporate jobs. And he said to me, Diane, to get to the next level, you need to learn to say no, Maggie: Yeah, that's so good. And I, you know, I do think part of this is reinforced by hustle culture. By the way, online businesses are run by, by a lot of the expectations. Like, and here's the thing like. I work with corporate clients now. And I also work with entrepreneur clients. Like I mentor, you know, those online business owners, but also I work with corporate clients and guests, guests, where the boundary issues I've had the most are, are with people running launch style businesses, where people are doing these big course launches. Like there's a very strategic reason. I don't work with those people anymore because they weren't a great fit for me. And because their expectations were not grounded in reality. And as an industry, we've kind of created this. hustle, we better have the million dollar launch at all costs. So. You know, maybe it's the matter of the clients you work for. Maybe it's you redrawing boundaries. There's always another option. And you don't have to just accept that. Something is the way it is the best clients for you will respect that. Like, and I will tell you, I put in my proposals from day one, like it is literally like, here's how we work together. Here are our office hours. You'll communicate me with me and my project management system. No corporate client has ever given me pushback on that online business owners have. Diane: It's interesting to me that it works in both directions. Usually the same people who have the boundary issue with their clients, because they are assuming that because their client has sent them something, it must be done the next day, because that's what they would expect of somebody else. And so it's this weird tangled mess that they find themselves in. Maggie: Yeah. I, I cannot like put stars, hearts rainbows on that because so many of the problems that we have, whether it be as a client or with our clients comes down to communications. And for whatever reason, I was blessed with the gift of communications. Like literally I started my career in PR I am, yes, I'm a marketing person, but at my heart, I am. Communications nerd. So, you know, how can we communicate better? How can we be more explicit in what we need? How can we be proactive? So people aren't going, Oh, what about this? So many things can be fixed by clearer communications. And it's so simple. And guess what? It's free. It's the easiest thing you can do. You don't need a tool for it. You just need to learn how to communicate in a way that helps everyone understand what's going on and really have the information they need and the boundaries they need. Diane: And I think that's also key to feeling like you can stand your ground. Like you were talking about all that stuff. That's in your proposal, If somebody is crossing that boundary for you, you probably are not in the situation where you're thinking, okay, I need to fire this clients, but I'm really worried that they're going to go on Facebook and tell everyone that I've done a terrible job, or they're going to tell their mastermind circle, and I'll never get hired again because you have that extreme boundary. Whereas a lot of the time I see with, with a, communication's not happening, somebody in a crisis, in a relationship with a client and they don't know what to do because they're so afraid. To walk away to say, you know what, this is no longer working for me because they have no evidence of anything that's happened in the entire relationship. And it's really easy these days for people to go on social media and bad mouth you with very little. Evidence or come back because there is none of this kind of documented, established communication. Maggie: Yeah. And I think this is where, you know, how do you from the onset set the expectations for the relationship. How do you maintain good ongoing communication? How do you like in your contracts? How clear are you on things like these are like such simple things. They will make all the difference because I have had many clients situations, not many, but I've had my fair share of client situations that have taken a turn. I have been protected by what was in the contract. I had been protected by what was in the proposal. I was protected with the way I consistently communicated with them. Cause I can tell you this. If a client is in the pain in the ass, I communicate in such detail. I am like explicit with them. I over-communicate as a way to cover my ass so that when shit goes bad, I know that I can walk away, take the high road. And if they're going to devolve into. Accusations or whatever, it can be as simple as Nope. Here's my receipts. So you got to think of it from the, how do you protect yourself and how do you have the receipts to say, Nope, this is what we agreed. They didn't hold up their end of the bargain. Diane: And I think what's interesting about all of this stuff that we're talking about here is like, it's not super fun and sexy, but it's the framework that then allows you to have this super fun and sexy business. Maggie: Yeah. And you know what, lets you sleep at night, having these things done, like this is where you can actually have fun because you're not like. Lying in bed with anxiety in your chest going, what's going to happen with that client? I'm like, well, they walk away. This is what the termination looks like. Diane: This is the, the building blocks that didn't allow you to work out. Okay. I have this new thing I want to test out and know. Okay, well, I can put this two hours a week to one side because I know I can ring fence that and no one will step into those boundaries. Nobody's going to come sending me messages and expect me to use up those two hours or whatever every week. It's the thing that actually gives you. The most freedom in your business. Maggie: Yeah, and I think what's so interesting is, you know, there's two parts to this, this number one. I do think there are some people that are. Putting a lot of effort into this, but what they're doing is they're, over-engineering the process. And this is like one of my biggest pet peeves. I was on Facebook the other day and I had not one, not two but three ads talking to me about client onboarding. I was like, hold on, client onboarding should be so simple. It should be, you know, in a way that your client can actually consume and understand that. So, you know, are you, over-complicating the process? So, you know, we've got people who are well-intentioned to her, like totally overdoing it and clients are overwhelmed and they're stressed out and they're not taking in the information or they're just avoiding it. So we need to find a happy medium of like, what's an appropriate level of communication. What's an appropriate level of information. And how do I do this in a way that allows me to do the things I want to do? Diane: Yeah, I love that. Funny enough. I bet you that the people who are saying you need all this onboarding stuff are selling, here's my onboarding product. Like the number of messages I get from clients going, Oh, I think I'm going to do this thing. And I'm like, why you told me two weeks ago that this is not. Like your personality type or like I'll have done a wealth dynamics session with someone and I'm like, we agreed. You're completely out of flow doing that thing. But now you've seen 10 Facebook ads to tell you everybody else is doing it. So now we want to do it again. Maggie: Yeah. And the fear of missing out, I feel like that is the, you know, When you take, you kind of zoom out and you really look at whether it be a Facebook ad or an email or whatever, he just designed to sell us something. So we have to be able to step back and go, wait a second. What are my committed priorities? How, what is my learning style? What do I actually need? Like one thing I've had to learn Diana's I don't do well in a group program. I need, if there's a group program, I need someone to want involved with that. And like if a course is all video based, hell no, I'm not a video learner. I need to read to understand, like, there's no way I'm going to sit down for 45 minutes and watch a video it's just not happening. So, you know, really zooming out and understanding what really works for you. And you know, do I really need this? Or is it just my emotions telling me, because it's trying to fill this hole, this, this thing. Cause I think the majority of business owners have this. Feeling we're missing something like, Ooh, we can't be that simple. And the reality is most business models, especially if it's a service business model is very simple. It's really about those details of things like client communications and boundaries. It's like those tiny nuances that make the biggest difference, not another onboarding kit or Instagram overnight success project for $27 or whatever it is. Diane: I find that people are most susceptible to. And myself included. Don't get me wrong. I have bought my share of the 27 buck products which is always a surprise and then get an email from the person with something else. And I'm like, who are you like, Oh no, wait, I bought something from you. Oh, I have a kid. You not looked at it. So I'm not in any way saying that I'm immune, but I find that FOMO happens when we're trying to run with our business instead of thinking, okay, how do I sustainably grow a business? Versus, okay. I made nothing last year. I need to make $7 million next year. What is my shortcuts? And so we go like, in this desperate hadn't for the next big thing, that's going to quote unquote, save you. And then we're sucked in by testimonials of people whose businesses were completely different from ours at a different stage. And then we're left out of pocket, no happier in our business and probably no better off. Maggie: Yes. And I think here's the, I love that you brought up the out-of-pocket thing because so many of these offers are structured in a way to normalize investing in your business. And I use air quotes around that. Yes, you get on a podcast, but investing in our business because it is about them extracting money from us. And yes, we should invest in our business, but that message has been so overdone. And so over simplified it normalizes going into debt, it normalizes taking financial risks, it normalizes going into pocket. And it's often at the expense of the owner's pay or their financial security and that I can not live without. And this is why I talk like. I've self-styled myself, this little consumer watchdog on Instagram, because I cannot stand this anymore. Diane: Yeah, it's true. I I'm an accountant by training. And so the idea of saying to somebody on a sales call, well, here's a list of interest free credit cards you could possibly get to pay for this. my skin just crawls at it. It's one thing to say to somebody will, if you just got one more clients, but when you read the fine print, all of those testimonials you know, a lot of programs work off of this person had a hundred thousand people on their list. When they launched the thing. So of course they made a lot of money, which actually doesn't look that great. When you think about how many people they had on the list and you're coming in with all, I have 20 people on my list and 10 of them are friends and family. So how come I didn't make 50,000, my first start out the gate, you know? And I think it kind of cycles. I can forgive like baby business, Diane, for some of the investments that she made when she was starting and was feeling a bit like, Oh, I don't really know what I'm doing, but some of them that I made later when I had been around the block, when I should know better, I still look at it and think, Whoa, like where did that come from? Maggie: Oh my gosh, I'm glad you're bringing this up because every single one of us makes bad investments in your, in our businesses. Like I did this entire analysis of like seven years in investment. 50% success rate. Now let me tell you. I'm a high achiever. I don't like 50% success rates. So you know how I'm going to improve that success rate. I'm just not going to invest in things that are kind of on the edge anymore, but we have to forgive ourselves. Everyone has been sucked in this is these people. I call them the celebrity entrepreneurs. They're really good at marketing. They know how to manipulate us. They know how to lull us into a sense of like, Ooh, this is the thing I need. So, you know, how can we, like, like you said, how can we do our research? How can we ask better questions? Something I'm big on is like, what is the, what is the backstory? Like what you said about the testimonials, like, but what is the real back story? Like where did this person come from? What privileges did they hold? What is their DNA? Like? Did they learn this from the person that I feel like in this industry is super problematic? Do they have untold advantages because of business relationships. They're not disclosing. Like you want to bet I am coming for this, but, but you know, we need to do better homework. And part of that is taking the time to go down the rabbit hole and really look as much as we can. And just know that even if you do your due diligence, even if you do that deep dive, there's still going to be, people will get through. So we need to just forgive ourselves and not feel shame because that shame, Diane. That's the reason we don't talk about this. That's the reason a lot of these people get to keep on going on because we kind of whisper it between each other, but we don't ever acknowledge, like I made some really bad investments. And here's why, because hello, legal issues Diane: Yeah, that is, so true. And it's interesting when you get together in person with people, the whispered conversations that happen Around, you know, what I invested at, or you invested in it too. What was your religion? It's changed how I think about what I make referrals for. So when people will ask me, Hey, I see you have been in this program. What do you think of it for me? And I almost take it sit back and think, okay, if this person is six months into this program, Are they going to get the result that they want. So it's that kind of hang on, like, pretend it's you, they're investing in an asked them some of those questions. Don't just see the shiny referral fee that you could earn from this person, because I know you talk a lot about trust as well, but you have trust with your peers, And so if you are making these referrals just to get this money, You're kind of potentially damaging that relationship. It's much better to be upfront and say, Hey, this is what I took from it. This is what didn't work for me. Do you have any specific questions? You don't have to be on social media talking about what you did and didn't get from a program. But if somebody is asking you it's as important that you are honest with them about it, as you would be about your own services. Maggie: I love that. And I think because of affiliate marketing, because of those things, it's so easy for people to get wrapped up in like, Ooh, I'm going to get paid. This is why I don't affiliate for a lot of things. I fill it for very, very few things because it is a minefield. And it's like, do I want to blow up that trust with people? Do I want my reputation damage or do I want to be truthful and transparent and stand in integrity? Diane: So if we could like bring all of this together into like one thing, if I was the genie, but I'm only giving you one wishes instead of three wishes, what is the one like bro Cody thing that you would stop in our business? Maggie: but there's so many, I think for me, honestly, it's the predatory sales practices that. Literally break people's spirit, put them into debt and take people who are, especially this year. Like, you know, with the virus, with everything that's gone on with the economic instability, like people are completely. Lacking resilience and they're incredibly vulnerable. And I feel like these sales messages, these, whether it is a story or a sales tactic to kind of force you into it normalizing investments that may not pay off. Like I can't, I can't live with it. Like I just can't this can't anymore. Diane: What would you say to somebody who finds themselves on one of those calls? Because that Cole, like we've all been there. That's where all of our not so great investments have come from has usually been. As a sales person, who's had this ability to make you feel completely seen. And like, this is the thing that you need. It's gonna save you. And that's a really hard situation to like, break that spell when you're in, that kind of sales conversation, right. With a really skilled salesperson. Maggie: Yeah. So for me, it's avoiding getting in those situations at first place. There is, and I think this might be very unpopular opinion, but I'm just going to say it. There's a huge difference between hopping on with me or Diane, because you're going to work with me or Diane. And enrolling in a group program where you don't know the price until you sit through a webinar or get in a sales call. That is a huge, massive, giant red flag. Like it, it's saying, you know, there's a certain approach and sensibility that goes with that. So, you know, how do you kind of stop yourself from getting in those situations? I think is a good thing. If I have to get on a call to enroll in a program with someone who's the success coach or the sales coach, you need to proceed with caution. And I think if you're going to do that, if you're gonna go down that road, have a list of your questions before you go in, have a list of things and never like, like, I honestly never commit on a call. Like, and if they push you terminate the call, like literally I have a friend who a couple months ago was on a call with someone and they said, I want to talk to your husband. Before you invest. And she just hung up on them. And then they started texting her and it was like, no, like you've reached a boundary there. So I think if you're going to get into those situations, never make a commitment to say, I need 24 hours to think about it. I need 48 hours to think about it because someone who's truly ethical is going to give you the space to go away. And if they're going to pull up, I only got one spot. Be okay with losing that spot. Diane: If you're talking to somebody who is completely ethical is running a group program and they only have one spot as much as they want you to be in there. It doesn't pay to have somebody in your group, in your coaching, who isn't a right fit for me, I would rather someone went away and thought about it and came back to me when they felt ready, rather than me assuming that this was some huge objection and also different personalities. Like some people are quick decision makers. Some people do need to mull things over and research and have decisions, you know, and often those pushy sales calls are the ones that you have to have tomorrow. Like that's the only day that's available as you've had no time to think about it, you know, since the webinar. Maggie: And can I just say, if anyone is ever advising you on how to get access to money that term, like literally hang up the phone or the zoom or whatever, right there. They're talking about open credit cards. If they are talking to you about who you can borrow money from, can you get creative any of those run? Because that is the sign of predatory. Like someone being super predatory. Diane: That is a very, very fair point. I think that is totally scary that somebody even feels that they're entitled to talk to you about where you could get money from, you know, who you should have a conversation with even scripting conversations. I've seen some really fairly horrendous situation there. Maggie: Yeah, I have actually, I had someone share a story with me because people share all this stuff with me cause they know I'm always researching it. And she was, this particular individual was on a call with someone and they had her do a credit application on the phone. Like they walked her through how to apply for the credit card to get the money for the program. I was like, what? We just need to be really good at saying no the same way you would say no to a toddler. You need to say no to the sales coach or the success coach or whatever, because it's just such a big red flag. And it's anyone who's doing that to you, then you're not acting with your best interests. Diane: Yeah. And I think what a sad reflection on our online business space that people are being taught. But that is how you sell to people. Maggie: And you got to remember a lot of times, those people are receiving extremely low compensation and are on commission. So they're going to do anything they can to close that sale. Diane: I feel like we could talk for like six hours about this and still not run out of things to say, but I always like to ask two questions and I think your answers to these will be quite funny. First of all, what is your number one lifestyle business boundary. Maggie: So this one's a little funny right now because of Corona and it's not as relevant but vacation. I am very committed to taking my vacation, sticking to my vacation and not breaching that boundary. So helped me. Gods of the internet, if a client breaches that like it is, it is a deal breaker and it comes from, I just remember an incident. When I worked in corporate, I had a coworker had booked a trip to Italy and her. Team came back to her and said, the client was like, no, you can't go. We're in the middle of a launch. And I remember like sitting in my office and being like, this is never going to happen to me, that it never has. I just will not allow it. So, you know, vacation is a very important boundary cause we all need time off. Diane: It's really funny how people who've been in corporate, but usually have a vacation boundary. So for me, I was on a beach in St. Lucia having my first cocktail of the day. It was about 10:00 AM. No judgment. And my boss called me because they couldn't find something or other. And then I had to spend the next couple of hours trying to find a computer with enough wifi that would, you know, power meter to be able to log into the work server, to do work on my vacation it's really funny that corporate people have always got something about vacations. Okay. And finally, what is the worst piece of cookie cutter advice you got as a lifestyle entrepreneur? Maggie: There's so many, but I think one of the worst ones I got, and this was. Five six years ago was that I had to have a course. It was time. My coach it's time for you to have a signature course. And I bought it hook, line and sinker. And I launched that course and it was moderately successful. You know, I made back my money. I launched a couple of times. I hated it. I hated every minute of it. And I went back to her and I was like, no, and she's like, what? But, but this is how you're going to scale. I was like, no, I'm going to scale a different way. And I swear because I am petty. Every time I have a successful launch of something. That's not a course. I'm like, I'm scaling without your bad advice. Diane: I love the term signature course, if you've been in business a while and then you pull all of your stuff together, then you can viably call something your signature course. But I don't think teaching somebody who's like new in the entrepreneurial space to create a signature course, it's not really a signature of anything. Right. How does it connect to you? Maggie: And I think what's really interesting is that I can say with hindsight, like that content still stands up today. It's super, super relevant, but is it, and it has my unique spin on things, but at the same time, like, is it terribly unique? No, it's marketing. I feel like this is just like a little side note. As we wrap up, this is where the course thing kind of breaks down for me. Like, do we really need another marketing or copywriting or whatever course. Maybe not, but like, if it's like a, how to decorate your office course, maybe I'll sign up for that. So I think, think about what's novel about your course, because my signature course was, there's nothing very signature about it aside from like my snarky branding. Diane: Love the snarky branding, So where can people find more of you and your snarky branding and your deep dives into cults and online businesses? Yes. Maggie: So the best places to find me on Instagram, that's where I keep the snark. Hi, I'm at small business boss and Instagram, and I also have a podcast. So you're listening to a podcast now. So that means you probably like podcasts. I am the BS free service business show, and you can find me absolutely everywhere. The podcasts are. Diane: Awesome. Thank you so much. I have so enjoyed this conversation. Maggie: Thank you so much, Dan. This was so much fun.

If you’re a service business and you’re feeling the weight on demanding clients and think the only to scale is to step back with a course or membership, the solution could be simpler than you think

Maggie Patterson brings her 16 years of entrepreneur experience to provide a BS-free look at service businesses and their unique challenges in the online world.

Key Takeaway

Service businesses are the backbone of many big businesses and if we continue to invalidate it as a business model we’re going to find a gaping hole when we need their resources.

We talk about

  • How to scale a service business even if you don’t want to build a course or membership
  • How to use communication to set your boundaries and cover your butt
  • What to do before you “invest in your business”
  • Maggie’s lifestyle boundary for her business
  • The worst cookie-cutter advice Maggie’s been given on her lifestyle business

About Maggie

Maggie Patterson is the editorial director at Scoop Studios and the creator of Small Business Boss. With two decades of experience, Maggie has spent her entire career in client services and has been a successful entrepreneur for 15 years.

Today, she works with freelancers and agency owners to help them implement smart strategies for business growth using proven marketing, sales, and client experience tactics.

She’s the host of the BS-Free Service Business podcast, has been on stage at events such as New Media Expo, Podcast Movement, and the Conquer Summit, and her work has been featured in leading publications such as, Fast Company and

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