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Create A Thriving Online Service Business During The Holiday Season

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Around this time of year I see the same patterns emerging in my own business and with the virtual assistants who I work with through my programmes. It's a sort of seasonal slump where enquiries slow right down or stop coming in, where clients tend to drop off the map and stop requesting work, where you can't get a hold of people, or the ones you do get a hold of are 'out of the office' and basically everything grinds to a halt - when the work stops, usually so does the income. In this post I'll tell you how to thrive during these times with my top 3 seasonal strategies.

#1 - Staple Packages.

Start thinking about services you can offer which are staples - what I mean is small, medium or large 'maintenance service' packages that you can offer clients to support any ad hoc or project based work you do that's essential to the functioning of their business.

You see it's the ad hoc tasks and assignments that tend to slow way down, so you need some services packages that become a daily essential - it's not like people stop brushing their teeth at Christmas, and you need to sell some services that are the equivalent of teeth brushing, it just never stops!

Let's say you do website development, you could offer your clients a package where each month you do something like security checks, plugin updates and back ups. These are all very important tasks, but not only that, they could be easily outsourced to the right support staff, so during your busy times, you could outsource the packages and earn some semi-passive income, and when things are less busy, like around Christmas and New Year, you could pull those in and do them yourself for a couple of months and take 100% of the profit.

Start brainstorming your staple packages, look at all your different services and extract those maintenance essentials.

#2 - Product Creation.

Slower times provide the perfect opportunity to create a product that you can sell. What would your clients love to be able to do themselves but simply don't have the time for? Are you a bookkeeper who has a fantastic strategy for quickly and easily completing end of year tax returns, or have you figured out a way to process awesome social media updates in a tiny fraction of the time it normally takes?

DIY products generally can be sold at a much lower price than services, and may be within your clients' budget during the holidays, so why not create tutorials and sell them to your clients, it shows how switched on you are, plus you also get to help them out with something they would normally do themselves, without providing a direct service for it.

You may be thinking this is counter-productive, but it absolutely is not, you'll be providing immense value to the client, which they will be super grateful for, and they'll be coming back to see what else you have up your sleeve that you could help them with. Not to mention you'll have created a product that you can keep on selling.

Nobody knows your clients better than you do - what is it they really want in their business, and how can you make that happen for them all via a scalable/generic product?

#3 - Seasonal Incentives.

It's the season of giving and everyone loves saving money right? I've never come across anyone who wouldn't love to get the exact same product or service that they use for a lower price. So if you would like to seal a few deals during quieter times, offer an incentive for a limited period that requires the client to purchase now. Scarcity is one of the biggest triggers for any client to move forward sooner rather than later.

Offer packages of hours that they can use up to 3 months (or whatever period you choose) later, encouraging them to purchase now with a discount or bonus offer attached. Perhaps during the month of December your service packages are 20% off, or hours can be purchased in bulk at a cheaper rate. Another alternative could be to add on additional services to their existing full priced packages that require advance payment to take advantage of. Offer a premier support service and open up annual spots for clients who pay for a year in advance and get say 50% off, or you could offer additional premier incentives to the first 2 clients who pay for the year up front. Make the value or incentive attractive enough that it becomes a no brainer for the client so they don't put it off any longer.

Get creative with your assets and add immense value incentives to your existing packages and encourage clients to purchase now.

Happy Holidays!

Start implementing these strategies straightaway in your business and you'll find that you'll remain festive during the holiday season instead of feeling frustrated with finances.

Have you seen the seasonal slump happening in your business? Or are you thriving using these ideas or any others you'd like to share? Head below to the comments and let me know :-)

From myself and all the team at Virtual Miss Friday, we wish you a wonderful and prosperous Christmas and New Year!

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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