Dealing With The Low Profit Areas Of Your Freelance Business

Starting an independent design business is an experiment. You throw all kinds of ideas out there and see what works. And, over time, you will learn the results.

When those results are high, not every idea is going to come out as a winner. Some services you offer may be making you a little money. In extreme cases, you might even lose income on them.

It may be tempting to remove these types of services from your menu. But it’s not always that easy. Clients may rely on you for these items. Not to mention the possibility that you are contractually obligated to keep things going for a while. Then, what you are doing may also have some non-monetary value.

Let’s shed some light on this matter. First, we’ll look at how to identify areas of your business that aren’t doing much for you financially. From there, we can examine these areas to see if they should stay or go.

Look at the Edges

Hopefully the core services you provide to clients are doing well (if not, that’s a whole other discussion). These are generally the areas of business that designers should spend most of their time on.

Often, it’s the surrounding products or services that cause trouble. Things that seemed like a good idea at the time but were never expected.

Additionally, so much depends on your niche and how it evolved. If your business has changed direction in recent years, there may be some offers hanging out there that no longer apply to you.

I will use myself as an example here. In the early years of my business, I tried to offer several different services besides web design: hosting, SEO, digital advertising, social media, etc.

As the years went on, I found that some of the items on that list weren’t making me money. Some were even taking time away from more profitable services. This is not to say that the potential be at least somewhat profitable. It’s just that, given my focus and resources, they weren’t that great for my situation.

Every business is unique, so your answers will likely differ from mine. But that’s the point. See what you’re doing and see which services are failing.

Determining Service Fate

Beyond monetary value, there are other questions about whether a service is worth keeping around:


If something matches your core services, it may still deserve a place on your menu. The tricky thing here is looking at why it is not profitable.

Maybe you didn’t spend as much time on it as you planned, or you had a flawed approach. There is always the opportunity to re-tool things to bring in some money.

On the other hand, even a relevant service can be a resource hog. If you’re taking too much time and not making money, the writing could be on the wall.

Likewise, a service that no longer fits your business strategy should probably be discarded.

Client Relations

Sometimes, it’s those little things that mean a lot to clients. It might be a pain for us to take care of those little inconveniences for them (like renewing a domain, for example). However, they are also a way to build some goodwill.

It is like the niceties of a fancy hotel. These small gestures (the mint on the pillow, towels folded into the shape of art) let clients know that you care about their needs.

It would be worth continuing this if you realize that your clients benefit from the service. However, this must be carefully weighed against the time and responsibilities associated with such benefits.

A non-profit service may still have value for clients

Service Your Offers

If you have decided that a service is no longer viable, it is time to phase it out. As mentioned before, this is not necessarily an easy task.

The more clients that use the service, the harder it will be to quit. There may be cases where you are obliged to provide a service until a specific date. So you can’t pull the rug out from people.

Regardless, the first step in the process is to inform clients of the impending change. Ideally, you would give at least a month or more notice. Send them a letter (electronic or otherwise) detailing the termination and any steps they may need to take.

In some cases, there may be another service you can recommend. For example, if you are no longer hosting websites, you could offer a list of providers. Because changes can make life more difficult for clients, it’s important to try to soften the blow in any way possible.

It’s also worth building some flexibility into your plans. It can be reasonable to set hard deadlines for changes, but life often has other ideas. Be prepared to make a temporary exception or two along the way to service removal.

Create a service termination plan

Every Business Changes

The longer your freelance web design business goes, the more likely you will experience significant changes. Not only do the tools and technologies change, but the services you offer will change with the times.

And, despite good intentions, not every service you offer will make money. Therefore, it is important to identify what is working and what is not working. From there, it’s about taking action to ensure that these offers are created or passed on.

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By LocalBizWebsiteDesign

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