I developed the SMASH model to help service providers set themselves up for success and avoid some of the pitfalls I have encountered over 15 years of being in business and 5 years coaching other service providers.

The 5-step process can be applied to any business where you use your specific set of skills to provide services to others.

Every mistake I made along the way taught me the lessons that I can share with you on how to grow your business and – just as importantly – when is the right time to do it. My experiences coaching other service providers showed me that there is one common path to success that SMASHes all the others.

The 5-Step SMASH Model: From “Wantrepreneur” to Thriving Agency

The SMASH model will show you how to become a heavy-hitter in your industry with a multi-million dollar revenue. Each step of the process has an accompanying resource from Data Driven to help you in your goal.

Let us take you from “wantrepreneur” to a thriving agency in 5 steps.

Step 0: Wantrepreneur

If you are someone who aspires to entrepreneurship; whether it’s money, notoriety, freedom, etc., but isn’t yet ready to assume the risk, you are on the first step of the way. Acknowledging that you want to become an entrepreneur is an important first step and this should be the time you start laying the groundwork.

Before you decide that’s what you want to do, make sure you understand what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Being an entrepreneur always involves risk, but you can take some steps to minimize it as much as possible. The SMASH model is all about recognizing risk and mitigating it every step of the way.

Step 1: Skilled

The first step on your way to moving on from “wantrepreneurship” is to develop some in-demand skills in an emerging focus area. You need to know enough to be taken seriously while delivering solutions for your employer or local “gig” clients.

Check out the Data Driven for tons of courses that can help you skill up quickly.

By choosing an emerging area that is in-demand, you can offset some of the risk that comes with starting out on your own. For example, data is a fast-growing area which continues to show plenty of potential for new business owners: This graph shows searches for data analysts or data scientists are up 75% since 2004.

If you decide to stay at this step, your earning potential could be anywhere up to $60K per year, and the skills that you learn with Data Driven will help you get to your target. Once you have decided that you want to be an entrepreneur but can’t yet take the leap, you should be using that time to upskill and trying to focus on the opportunity up ahead. If you do this right, step 1 will naturally lead you onto step 2.

Step 2: Masterful

Step 2 is all about mastering your skills, and you can’t do this until you are on the job and getting real-world experiences. Being in this position gets you into the top 5% in your field where you can start gaining clients simply though word of mouth. The earning potential at this stage also grows, and you can look at earning closer to $60k – $120K per year.

Getting into the top 5% in your field isn’t as hard as you think because most service providers are happy to stay at step one. In as little as 1-2 years you could double your earning potential! Becoming a master in your field is as simple as signing up to Data Driven Insiders. This membership community gives you access to all skills courses plus weekly updates and unlimited expert support.

The only bad part about becoming masterful in your area of expertise is that if you do decide to go back to full-time employment, you may find it hard to find anyone who is willing to pay you what you are worth. You could look at it this way;

Protection against financial risk is like a tax on your earning potential

Real entrepreneurs do not focus on potential losses, but rather on lost potential.You have seen your earning potential grow as the result of becoming masterful, but you can go even further if you are prepared to take more risk.

Step 3: Attractive

To get into a position where you are attracting the types of clients that you want to work with and are able to turn those down that don't seem like a good fit, you need to reach step 3. This is about maximizing your earning potential whilst working on interesting projects, and the only way to do it is by creating outsized demand for your services. In this way, you can confidently raise your prices while putting in the same amount of work.

Remember that, in the short-term, you need to invest more time in creating this demand, but overall you can increase your earning potential to $120K – $300K per year.

As you move along the steps, you are mitigating your risk at each level. Despite raising your prices, you have more high-quality clients lining up to work with you who will plug you into other high-quality clients, future-proofing your business along the way.

Getting to step three is not as hard as you would imagine. At Data Driven, you can sign up to the Better Clients Accelerator program, where you get to work alongside a cohort of business owners to focus on improving your client roster. Included in the course:

  • Years of knowledge packed into a 6-week program
  • LIVE training in small cohorts
  • Immediate feedback from the Data Driven team and your peers

The program will show you how to get your business to the next level without spending all of your time writing blog posts, creating videos or other inbound marketing content.

The course will be running once or twice a year and you can sign up to our mailing list here to get updates and information.

Steps 4 and 5: Scaling to Success

Once you have laid the groundwork with steps 1-3, becoming a master in your field and attracting lots of great clients, you will find yourself with a comfortable business providing stability and a good income. However, if you want to go even further you will need to start scaling your business. This includes automating processes, building a team and a sales function. These are the steps that can really see you joining the big league and earning 7-figure sums.

To find out more and download the complete 5-step SMASH model, sign up to our Insiders program and join many others who have SMASHed it.

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