Recurring Revenue & Extending Your Team

Recurring Revenue is the Name of the Game

If you're running a digital agency, creating recurring revenue is critical. But to do that, you likely have to extend your team. And just the other day, I told you that more resources aren't always the answer. But today I want to suggest an approach that lowers, not increases, the complexity of your business.

I told you more resources don't always help because each additional person you add increases the complexity of managing a larger team, and the complexity of the communication between them.

But if you want to create recurring revenue for your agency, you're going to have to add services. And if you add services, you likely need more people to help you.

So how can you extend your team without increasing complexity?

Services You Can Add To Your Agency

If you're a digital agency, you likely run projects. You build things for people – websites, eCommerce stores, software like plugins. And then you hand them over and collect your fees.

But those are transactions, not recurring charges that build trust and invite people to build long-term relationships with your agency. To do that, you need services you can sell them that repeat.

Here are four different services you could offer:

  • Website Maintenance – You offer to regularly check and take care of people's websites. Especially those you built. You update plugins, and keep the software up to date – keeping everything secure and running quickly. I know of very few customers who have websites that really love doing the regular maintenance that is required to keep sites healthy.
  • Content Editing – You offer your clients a service that lets them send you their content changes and you do it for them. That way they don't have to become experts in the content management system. I once had a client years ago who only wanted to send me Word documents and then have me load it into WordPress – no matter how easy I told her it would be.
  • Landing Pages – If your customers do a lot of paid ads, they likely need new landing pages for every different campaign they're running. That can take time because it's not only the work to create the campaign and content for it, but then they need to do web development and connect the ads to these pages. Offer to have a dedicated team on hand to build as many as they need, and you're a great extension to their team.
  • Staff for Hire – Lastly, there will always be a set of customers who just want their own web developer. The problem is that they don't know where to look. They don't know how to interview them. They don't know which ones are good. And they don't know how to manage them and make sure tasks are not taking too long. Offer to extend your customers' teams with some dedicated resources and they'll love you.

All of these are fantastic services you can offer, and generate recurring revenue – which leads to a growing agency.

But now that we know what services you could offer, we're still left with the challenge of extending your team to offer these services. How do you do it cleanly, effectively, and without killing your margin?

Here's How to Extend Your Team Effectively

If you were looking at that list and thinking, “I would have to double the size of my team to launch all those services,” I have great news for you. You don't have to do all that. All you need know is that a single company can help you grow your agency and allow you to scale it dramatically without the costs you were just imagining!

The company is called GoWP. And they focus is helping agencies, likely just like yours.

They offer all of the services I listed above. And they do it in a way that is perfect for you. It's called White Label Services. In other words, their teams do the work, but they do it for your agency, as your agency. You get the credit. And the profits.

At this point, you're likely in one of three camps:

  • This is fantastic! Great, hit them up, tell them I sent you, and they'll treat you extra nice!
  • I'm suspicious! Well, check out their site, read the testimonials, and get them on a call.
  • This feels wrong! If that's the case, I have one final story for you…

My wife and I once invited several friends over to dinner. As it turned out, we had most everything we needed for the dinner, except the ingredients for a salad. So she sent me to the store to get the supplies. I did and came home in time to get food out on the table.

When I grabbed the salad bowl, she saw me dump a whole salad into it. I had purchased a “salad in a bag” kit. That's clearly not the way my wife makes a salad. But the salad wasn't going to be the center of the meal. And our friends would be fine with it. So I told her it would be great.

Our friends came over. They ate the fish, steak, and chicken I had prepared. They ate all the sides she had prepared. And they ate the salad. And no one complained about it at all. After all, they came for the friendship and the meal in its entirety. Not just for the salad.

I tell you that story because I'm guessing that the people who hire you hire you for the strategy you bring to the table. They hire you for the development chops you have. And they love the way you help them get projects done on time, and under budget.

You may think outsourcing the website maintenance is wrong. But I don't. And I bet your customers won't either. If it gets the job done, and they don't have to do any additional work to keep their sites healthy, they'll thank you for it.

Imagine if we'd served everything except salad and told them they had to go out and order salad elsewhere. That'd be pretty crazy, right? And yet that's what we normally do when we only do project work and don't add any recurring services.

Oh, and by the way, this is my favorite gourmet salad in a kit…

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.