Developers: David Colgan helps you escape 9-to-5 employment by building an effective freelance business you'll love to run.

Productized Services Superdocument

Everything I know about productized services.


Productized services are a consulting engagement with a fixed scope and a fixed price for a specific target market. It can be a great way to specialize and charge more in your business, and often are tied directly to business value.

Helpful articles by Patrick McKenzie

Notes from Paint By Numbers talk - a highly influential talk for me, what Patrick would do differently if he was starting now

How I went from $100-an-hour programming to $X0,000-a-week consulting - How Patrick made like $30,000 a week selling email

What I Would Do If I Ran Tarsnap - Patrick deconstructs a business that he loves but hates how it's run

The Jonathan Stark body of work

https://www.jonathanstark.com/ - his mailing list is golden

Hourly Billing is Nuts - his manifesto

https://www.jonathanstark.com/building-the-perfect-sales-page - his template for a sales page that fits for productized services well

The Jane Portman body of work

https://uibreakfast.com/ - her site, this is an excellent example of a productized services website

Your Productized Consulting Guide - I haven't read this but heard her promoting it.  Looks solid.

The Kai Davis body of work

https://makemoneyonline.exposed/ - the best business podcast about how to run a consultancy, has 114 episodes of gold and is really funny.  After listening to this I hired Kai as my business coach.

https://kaidavis.com/ - Kai's mailing list is golden

Kai also has a lot of ebooks that are relevant and quality

The Philip Morgan body of work

https://philipmorganconsulting.com/ - Philip's email course explains how to position yourself

Other things

https://www.badassyourbrand.com/ - Badass Your Brand is an amazing book about how to be remarkable.  She now commands $15,000 for a 3 day brand makeover service.

Examples of productized services in the wild

https://itmustbee.com/ - Elise Fog makes websites, for beekeepers

https://megcumby.com/ - Meg Cumby gets testimonials/social proof from past clients for you so you don't have to feel awkward

https://worstofalldesign.com/how-it-works - Pia Silva from Badass Your Brand fame offers a two step process - "roadmapping", basically a planning session, and then a full brand overhaul for a fixed $15,000 for 3 days.

https://draft.nu/revise/weekly/ - Nick Disabato's paid mailing list about A/B testing

http://jarhq.com/blog/100-productized-services-examples/ - a list of around 100 real productized service businesses

Ideas for productized services

Security monitoring as a service

Your SaaS app uses a lot of third party libraries.  But how often do you check to make sure you've installed the latest versions of everything when there's a security vulnerability found?

The reason Equifax got hacked is because they sat on a 10/10 critical security vulnerability in Apache Struts for 3 months and then someone noticed.  If they had this service, I would have prevented the costliest security breach in history.

I'll monitor your package.json or Gemfile or requirements.txt file and send you an email whenever there's a security vulnerability that affects your system.  Then I'll keep hounding you until you patch your site, escalating to calling the CEO at 3am.

Stripe integrations as a service

A Stripe integration is kinda hard to get production-stable.  There is a lot of introductory material about how to do a basic setup and the documentation is great, but there aren't many resources that explain how to do everything from start to actual finish - a production system.  I am currently integrating Stripe into a SaaS app for a client and it seems like there could be a productized service in here somewhere.

One of the simplest - offer a 1 hour strategy call for $X00

Most of the high powered consultants I know offer a one hour call for between $100 and $500.  Use Calendly.com to arrange the calls and even accept the payments.

Useful tools for productized services

Calendly.com - let clients pick a date and time for a call from a selection of available times you specify.  Also lets you charge for an appointment in simple cases.

Pipedrive.com - a CRM that is widely regarded by people in my consulting circles

Zoom.us - a very solid video conferencing system for doing client calls, webinars, and I think even making screencasts

Drip/Convert Kit/Mailchimp - email automation tools.  Combine with Zapier to automate everything.

Know a resource that should be added?

Tell me about it at david@lessboring.com. Also happy to answer any questions or give feedback about your productized service.


I first sent this article as a letter to my mailing list. New letters go out each week!

Learn to Freelance from
The Less Boring Letters

Learn freelancing from someone who's gone down this path before. In the the Less Boring Letters, I'll teach you everything I know about ditching the 9-to-5. Build a profitable new business that you love, benefitting from all of my trial and error.

"I send all my newsletters straight to an email box I almost never read... except David's! Insightful, honest, sometimes downright hilarious, and truly helpful even after years of freelancing."

Elise Fog
It Must Bee: Websites with a Buzz!