Client delivery vs Client delivered

By  •  Updated: 06/10/22 •  4 min read

Last week I promised I’d start sharing a few “zero-delivery” business models that you can add to your business, to earn money without your time.

Too many people are stuck in a paradigm of “I have to be the one who delivers this.” and they end up just building themselves a job rather than a business.

It’s straight up ego to believe that your client couldn’t do at least part of the execution if you trained them a little.

Your mindset of an entrepreneur shouldn’t be “how can I do this?”, but “who can do this?”, and often the answer is “the client”.

Think about it for a moment. Why does a client want you to work for them?

1. You have a skill that they’ll only use once and so it’s not worth them becoming an expert.

These can be good businesses, but you’re constantly having to replace clients and the pool of people you can employ is small. Anyone from web designers to brain surgeons fits this description.


2. They want to do this again and again, but they don’t want to take on the risk or cost of doing it in-house.

Retained work is always a better business, but in the long term you’ll almost always hear “we’re going to do this in-house”.

My advice would be, don’t fight it, but get ahead of that moment and be the one who offers to train the clients in-house team.

This brings us to the first client-delivered model if you have an “expert” business like a consultancy.

Online courses.

The quality of online teaching varies massively and it’s not in any way tied to the reputation of the teacher. 

I’ve seen shockingly bad content from major universities, and life-changing courses from teenagers sharing things they just learned.

One of the better ones is CXL – a business that used to be a conversion consultancy – helping businesses get more leads and sales from their website traffic.

They started to teach people how to do it themselves, and before long they’d renamed the agency part of the business and the main site went all in on the courses.

Sharing your “secret sauce” can be scary because apart from your own business, the people you probably spend most time thinking about are your competition.

If you start teaching, you’re going to have to embrace the idea that people lower down the totem pole than you are going to be a fair chunk of your audience. 

Think how many courses you still buy that are in subjects that you work in. A lot of what we buy is reinforcement not new learning, and your competitors will act the same.

By teaching, you do 2 things:

1. You mark yourself out as an expert

2. You can “upgrade your prospects”. 

We’ve all had prospects that are way under-prepared for us to be able to help them, but let me explain using the analogy of a camera.

Imagine your business is in coaching photographers. A prospect turns up and they’ve only ever used the automatic settings on their camera.

A better camera isn’t going to help this person, but you can teach them the basics in an online course and when they arrive they’ll know something about things like focal lengths, exposure, film speeds and composition.

They’re much more likely to shoot a better photo with you, and in turn recommend you to someone else.

And they won’t drain the energy out of you as you explain exposure for the 20th time that month.

When I started coaching people on webinars I got so bored of myself talking about the basic concepts that I just recorded them and wouldn’t book the next consult call until the clients had watched the recordings and done some basic homework.

I lost a few clients who wanted to be spoon-fed, but I got my sanity back and the ones who did the work were about 5x more likely to launch a profitable offer.

Software always crops up in this discussion so I’d say that for a video course, start with

Yes it’s basic looking but it’s free, it has a great mobile app, and by the time you’ve sold half a dozen courses at a low-ish price, you’ll have a way better idea of whether you actually need a more expensive platform like Teachable or Kajabi

Next week I’ll talk about promoting other people’s products as another way into zero-delivery business models but if you want more about the online courses model, let me know.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.