Leveraging your competition to help you build a more substantial business often starts with finding ways to work with your competition. One of the best ways to work with your competition is to start sending them any of your overflow work and vice versa.
This idea works best with individually owned and operated service-based businesses. For example, virtual assistants, customer service reps, graphic designers, life coaches – any company that doesn’t hire many employees who are often held back by the hours in the day can benefit from sharing overflow.
Always Be Marketing
It is clear that even if you’re a sole proprietor, you must always be marketing and list building even during the times you cannot take on a new customer. This can make it challenging to justify marketing's continual expense, but the problem is, if you don’t keep marketing and list building, you will wind up having gaps in your income earning potential.
Stop the Earnings Feast or Famine Cycle
To avoid this gap and still build your list and keep a nice waiting list of potential clients on-hand anytime you have an opening, you agree with your competitors to share the overflow. This works because you each set up an affiliate program offering a 20 percent commission for any sales made by your referral.
Weed Out Less Than Ideal Clients
Then, during your process, weed out the people who will be best served by the competitor based on what the competitor intends to focus on versus what you want to focus on. You’ll still earn a small commission for your efforts, further weed your list for your ideal clients, and build goodwill within the community.
Think of The Goodwill
Not all of your competitors will be up for setting up an affiliate program, so sometimes it’s okay to do it without. Even if you cannot set up an affiliate program, you can still recommend their services as a way to help them get served while still satisfying as many clients as you can personally.
Create a Subcontracting Agreement
Another way to share your overflow is to set up an outsourcing agreement with them. For example, if you’re willing to hire more contractors to take on more work, you can send your competitors and offer to do their overflow at a reduced sub-contractor rate, helping you build your own business faster.
Likewise, if you don’t want to deal with sub-contractors, you can ask them if they’re interested in doing your overflow for a reduced subcontractor rate.
As you can see, working with your competition by sharing overflow is a powerful way to build your business by using your competition. You can help them, and they can help you. There really is enough work to go around. You don’t have to worry about your competition when you’re an individual contractor providing services. After all, you only need a handful of customers to meet your income goals while still having a life. Finding additional streams of income increases stability and reduces the stress of sole proprietorship.
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