I’m not one to read articles from Business Insider or Entrepreneur. Most of them have the stink of clickbait with their stories of how someone makes unrealistic sums of a money just doing a side hustle. They’re written in an interview style, but they don’t seem like they’re fact-checked. Anyone can claim to make $100,000 a month, but when you’re pretty much writing the article for the reporter, who’s going to know.
So I admit, I was sucked in by a headline about a UX designer who claims to make a $150,000 a month with a subscription style business. I could see how his model could, and probably does work. The numbers seem a bit high, but the guy does a great job of showing his math and is open about his model.
If you have 40 clients all paying a subscription (aka retainer) of $3500-5000 a month, you can get to that number easily. Fulfilling the work is the challenge, and that’s where speed pays off.
That’s what makes the article so unusual. Most of the time someone makes an audacious claim, like “The 4-Hour Work Week” and the solution (just resell supplements and buy a bunch of Google AdWords) is usually unappetizing. The “just set it, and forget it” model is almost always too good to be true.
For me, I like living the a la carte life of a freelancing and consulting. I have worked for big companies and have run an agency. Both were rewarding experiences, but they also taught me how much I loved autonomy.
Another thing I have learned is; by the time people have decided to look for outside help they just want the problem addressed. Quick and adequate sells. The two biggest questions to be answered are “how much?” and “when can I have it?” Questions about the what, why, and how can be asked in future iterations. That’s when there will be time to really think through the problem holistically. By then, they’ll need a full-service agency.
I have been working in the digital design space for 30 years. I know how to do things in minutes that can take people days. Some of it’s because I have developed an intuitive sense that enables me to interpret what people are looking for quickly. But mostly it’s because I’ve gone through the trial and error and experimentation phases most people do not have time for.
I’ll be working on a list of things I can offer in a subscription mode and posting that to LinkedIn and see how it goes. There’s a certain type of work that lends itself to this model. Figuring which will work is going to be an experiment.