It’s October!

This month marks the fifth anniversary of Pretty exciting stuff for me. I’ve been in business since 1999 — but I’d not niched until I rolled out WWC in October of 2002. It was the best thing I ever did for my business.

Niching is important to all small businesses, IMHO. Even my own real estate clients have been niching pretty hard lately (see the active rain post I did last week on real estate niches). I’ve been working up ways to further niche and narrow my own services. Hopefully, by month’s end, I’ll be rolling out a new internal business model.

This means I’ll be determining which of the current services I offer I’ll be keeping and which ones I’ll be farming out to other remote professionals.

There are multiple reasons for the change in my business model. I’ll be concentrating more on the client business consultation, marketing and writing portions of the business. I’ll be working less on other less focused tasks and the marketing support tasks will be sub-contracted to other providers. Why?

First… I want to spend my work time doing the work I do best and enjoy most.

Second, I want to make the switch over to Linux and doing that means that some of my current service offerings will be much harder to swing — like the desktop publishing portion of my work.

Third — I want to be sure that my clients get the best possible value for the dollar. This means that I need to help outline the project concept and then find a well-qualified and less costly provider to do the actual layout and handle the details in DTP and more general work areas.

Yes, I’ve installed and taken Scribus for a spin. Now, maybe it’s a settings issue, but I can’t get my graphics to look decent in that program (text looks great, BTW) and I’m tired of fighting it. I’ve also noticed that the DTP projects for clients distract me from other work that can help boost their business.

So, I’m making the change. I can hire out the DTP work for my clients … but I can’t hire out the business planning for them. Later, when I have more time, I may come back to Scribus and try again. Right now, I’m spinning off these projects to others that have niched DTP and go a great job, with quick turnaround, at an excellent price.

Rather than continuing to curl my business model around the way things are now, and let the business lead the charge, I’m taking back control. I’m trying to evaluate what the best methods are to achieve the best results for my clients and for myself. Then, I’m working to build THAT business model.

It’s hard to make these decisions. It also means I’ll be reaching out to other providers in a bigger way, testing and evaluating whom I can trust with my best clients. I have to ensure that any change in my business model, and any recommendations I make to my own clients make measurable, beneficial changes to their bottom line too.

I’m also hoping to roll out a new look for WickedWordCraft by the Halloween birthday date. I’m uber busy right now, so I’m not sure that will happen by the end of the month. I plan to take the current Geeklog system down and replace it with a WordPress system like this one on WickedBlog. It’s a huge project, but I’ll be much happier when both of my sites are on the same content management system.

I also will have to evaluate (once again) if I should merge WickedBlog and WickedWordCraft into a single site. Doing that is tempting. It has been tempting for quite some time. The problem is… I rather like the free-and-easy approach I use in WickedBlog and I’m not sure I can do that in a site that’s also my primary business site. I’m just not sure about that one yet.

Every October I re-evaluate my business — where it was, where it is and where it should be. It’s a birthday tradition for WWC. So, between now and October 31st (the official birthdate), I’ll get it all figured out for the next 12 months. Until then, I’ll have a few more internal struggles over the business than I usually do.

Change is a good thing, albeit sometimes a difficult one.