My Personal Journey into Productized Services

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I wanted to write down my first experience actually using a Productized Design Service. I’ve tried a SEO service in the past, but saw DesignBalm launch recently on Producthunt and sprung some funds to subscribe. Safe to say, my approach is changed permanently.

Fiverr Fandom

Some background – I’m a huge Fiverr fan. Anyone who knows me knows I use it all the time. I’ve hired over 100 freelancers in the past 4-5 years for all sorts of things – gifts for friends, website setup, SEO (oops), design work, keyword research, data entry, and more. The experiences have been mostly good. I love that there’s no interview process and it only takes a few clicks to hire someone.

The Fiverr Struggle

In the last 6 months, especially when hiring for marketing, I found myself spending hours trying to find a reputable freelancer. Fiverr’s 5-star reviews don’t always mean quality in my experience. Their refunds have been great for me when the freelancer didn’t deliver, but I had some tasks taking 2+ weeks to hire again, and get things done. Time is money.

I realized I was spending as much time hiring as it would take me to do the task myself. It’s a problem everywhere, not just Fiverr. It takes a long time to hire!

I would search for 30 minutes for a task that would take a few hours to take care of myself, so I found myself using Fiverr less and less.

The Hiring Approach

Another thing I tried was hiring a few people monthly through a hiring agency. It worked out, but writing clear job descriptions and onboarding people is a process. There are legal complexities to navigate, like HR, days off, and whether to hire them as salaried or through the agency. As a manager, you’re always somewhat on call for your team. Hiring can be complex. I ended up going a different way as the stress of ‘leading’ a team ended up being too much for me.

The Productized Epiphany

Like I mentioned at the top, I finally took the plunge and subscribed to a productized design agency. (I figured it only made sense as I’m working on ProductizedHQ 🙂 )

It got me thinking – this is the future of work.

People say billion-dollar companies will be run by one person with AI, but I think it’s more about outsourcing with B2B contracts – productized services.

Incentives align.

The One-Person Company Dream

Visual representation v1 of this concept, created by DesignBalm

Imagine one person subscribing to 2-3 productised agencies. They could have a development team, design team, SEO team, and marketing team all working together. Some services even combine all of these. Working with DesignBalm, I’ve had them make YouTube thumbnails, design icons, and more. I’m almost out of work for them!

The Joys of Asynchronous Work

It’s such a nice feeling to wake up, have my coffee, and check a simple Trello board to see what’s done. No chatting, no being on call, no meetings. I can type out a few quick requests, work on other projects, and come back to find the brand assets ready. It’s a distinctly unfamiliar feeling compared to hiring freelancers. (No more Slack or Messaging!)

Visual representation v2 of this concept, created by DesignBalm

The Subscription Mindset

I’m multiplying this out to other businesses. Can I hire a productized email marketing service to handle our newsletter setup and onboarding flow? As a small business, can I outsource everything using Trello and simple subscriptions? I don’t have the bandwidth to hire, manage, and fire for this project, but I certainly have the bandwidth to press ‘subscribe.’

It’s like buying a phone plan – I don’t need to understand the technical details, I just buy the product and get the solutions I need.

A Reformatted Approach to Outsourcing

This has completely reformatted how I think about outsourcing tasks. I had almost stopped outsourcing altogether due to the friction. But now, I can treat it like a subscription – upgrade my plan for busy months, keep the standard rate for others, pause over the holidays. I’m so happy I tried a productized design service. It’s an incredible mindset shift to manage everything from a Trello board. The future of work is here, and it’s productized services. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.

Thanks for reading, and if you’d like to share your (positive or negative) Productized experience, let us know!

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