The good news here is that this post–the actual title is 7 Steps to Creating a Winning Coaching, Consulting or Service Business–is done by a true master in the field, John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing. And he’s not recommending anything that he hasn’t actually done himself.

However, that’s also the bad news. John makes it seem easy with his step-by-step guide, but then he’s not just a master of this, he also started early in the blog world, he’s really smart and he really works hard, too. For every successful expert blogger, author and coach like John, there are about 10,000 other people trying to do it, but not getting there yet.

John’s seven suggested steps (very abbreviated here, by the way . . . John offers much more detail on his post):

1. Turn your service into a product. Selling services is a little like selling air.

2. Develop a suite of tools and systems. Making it up over and over again with each engagement, writing proposals and reacting to client demands is a very tiring business. When you can guide a client logically through the path to success with a professional process, your business will become more profitable with each new engagement.

3. Build a brand that’s easy to talk about. It’s crucial that you can tell a story worth repeating and make that a foundational marketing element.

4. Push out lots of expert content.

5. Lead generate from multiple outposts. To build a winning practice, you need to generate awareness and trust by appearing everywhere. This means speaking, writing, advertising, PR and referral generation.

6. Perfect your lead conversion close. I’ve found that writing proposals and reacting to what a client thinks they need can drive you nuts. When you take the tangible product approach married with the expert content approach, lead generation is more about getting in front of the right prospects and explaining “this is how we do it” in a way that addresses what you know they need.

7. Construct a killer network. A strong network is also a powerful business tool for the solo entrepreneur to use as a sounding board, sanity check and social outlet to replace the interaction that often comes with working with an internal team.

Going back to the bad news, as I read this, I’m very much afraid that John has skipped the first step: Know what you’re talking about. Get your credentials. Be a real expert. Without that, John’s recipe won’t work.

And perhaps I’ll finish by rocking back over to the good news side: If you do have that kind of expertise, John has packaged his steps exactly as he recommends you do, and you can buy that from him at Duct Tape Marketing to make it much easier to implement. And John isn’t the only one; several others are doing the same thing. For example, Pamela Slim, with her Escape From Cubicle Nation book and workshops, is also sharing huge volumes of good advice on how to do it.

That is, if you have expertise to share.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.