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Sold my 8-figure software consulting firm in 2018 to help service firms align with customers for better outcomes. More at

Discovering value upfront is critical to aligning with customers

Most of us started the same way — selling our time for an hourly rate. Yet it created some ugly behaviors almost immediately, like:

  • Our clients second-guessing our motives and scrutinizing our hours
  • We started looking at every non-billed hour as a lost opportunity
  • And, as our productivity improved, our rates couldn’t keep pace so we either made less money or inflated hours to maintain or grow revenue

I’m ashamed to say I inflated hours earlier in my career. It felt gross but I justified it given my results were “valuable”. …

What you need to know so you can go big on your own too

Less talk, more action. He is proving one person can accomplish a lot on their own. Like a business that has grown to high six-figures in just a few short years. So, it’s time to put our talk aside and get started.

Brett Williams runs DesignJoy, an unlimited design service that specializes in product design and Webflow development. All by himself.

I recently discovered his business during an AMA (ask me anything) session on Indie Hackers, a community for developers building projects that generate revenue to gain financial independence or creative freedom.

How does he manage the workload?

With 30+ clients each expecting unlimited design work…

Why performing “work made for hire” is bad for your service business

Most software consulting firms start out as laborers. Glorified pairs of hands that do something in exchange for money, at the expense of their minds.

While that may get you going, it’s a terrible business. Your profits (likely a function of cost, not value) will not sustain your growth and your customers will see you as highly replaceable. I’m going to assume both those statements made you uneasy. That’s good because it means you want something better.

What is “Work Made For Hire”?

By default, work is owned (or authored) by the person or people who actually created it. …

What to watch out for when hiring the person with “all the ideas”

Talk is cheap. Execution is the ultimate measure of value.

Every business needs execution to accompany its ideas. The same is true for its people. At least in small to medium-sized businesses where people routinely need to wear multiple hats.

While ideas get most of the fanfare, they don’t really matter unless steps are taken to make them work in your business. And in a small business, it’s often necessary to show early signs of success before real investment can follow.

Resources are precious and in short supply. The best people won’t let that stop them from taking strides towards…

Every “yes” divides your attention. They are the worst kind of trade-off because they’re invisible. There is an implicit (and potentially harmful) cost to every yes.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, “full-service” is not good. It’s a fallacy. When you try to do it all, you fail to be great at anything for anyone.

If you’re giving 110%, it usually means you’re giving 10% to 11 things. You can only say “yes” to so much before you back yourself into a corner.

Joe Procopio

There is power in saying “No”

“No” encourages focus. It makes your trade-offs explicit. …

I’ve made some big hiring mistakes in my 20+ year career and will likely make more before I’m through. You probably have and will as well.

We’re taught to focus on credentials and “relevant” experience. When we don’t see it, we toss the resume in the trash and move to the next. I’ll wager that I’ve passed on hundreds of excellent people by doing that.

It makes me sick when looking back because I’ve met my fair share of “unqualified” people that truly excel in their roles when given half a chance.

Why do some unqualified people do so well?

I’ve given the question of “why do some…

Limitations expose assumptions that most people never notice

Principles can be powerful constraints that push you to innovate in areas where others may continue to stick with the status quo or struggle altogether. Today I want to use the thought exercise of intentionally limiting your business growth.

That last statement was vague so let’s further define what it means by focusing on keeping your team small. For this, let’s use the constraint of 20 people.

Why 20 people? The majority of US-based small businesses with more than 1 employee have less than 20, per the SBA. Yet most service businesses grow revenue by adding headcount, which implies growth…

Empowering people with context is superior to imposing limits

I do my very best to avoid politics. Especially given that when I was growing up we could have conversations, disagree, and still respect the other person afterward. Now I feel pressure to subscribe to one party or the other.

I see this toxicity at work and I’ve seen it play out within the businesses that I’ve founded as well as the businesses that I have advised over the years.

Somehow we’ve allowed politics to become zero-sum (for me or against me, no in-between). And those that know me or have read anything I’ve written know I think the zero-sum…

Here are the 3 things you need to thrive

I love discovering vision and building strategy. It amps me up! That is what led me to start my first business, grow it to 8-figures, and sell it to tackle my next opportunity.

All that untapped potential inspires me to create and look for patterns and openings. As an independent thinker with a penchant for contrarian thinking, I love to discover what most businesses fail to see. In the world of services, that’s easy to do!

Yet all that work is for nothing if you don’t take the crucial steps to make it a reality. You know — all that…

Casey Winans

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