I just returned from a week in Vegas (was attending a conference but did manage to fit in some leisure time!) the place is awe inspiring. Nestled beneath the neon lights and obvious distractions though are some sound business principles you can roll into your own freelance business, today.
In this post I’ll focus on the main moneymakers of Sin City and extrapolate some key business models, breaking it down to work for you. Ultimately someone has to pay for the lavish dancing fountains, ever-expanding skyline pieces and five star suites so whether you agree with their methods it should be obvious that when it comes to business growth and revenue generation the hotels, casinos and resorts that make up Las Vegas have it nailed.
1. Diversify the way you make a living
Accommodation revenue itself only provides a fraction of the income of a Vegas hotel. Shows, bars, merchandising, restaurants and of course the obligatory casino provide the lions share of income. Even if this model itself is unique and inapplicable to service businesses consider the diversification and protection this multi-channel approach offers.
Your primary product (your time) should be supplemented by a secondary income stream. This will make freelancing much more stable and ensure you’re able to rely on growth as an outcome. I put together a book on this exact topic which you can grab via the link below, but essentially you should look to productize your expertise to benefit from the protection and stability a secondary income can provide.
Click here to grab the free book ‘Getting off the Income Roller Coaster’
2. Good freelancers learn how to say no
The same can be said for the big business world of multi billion dollar Las Vegas resorts. Bowing to customer pressure isn’t something vegas resorts do well. Instead they put together a clear argument for a compromise.
Las Vegas is famed for its ability to offer ‘comps’ (perks and complimentary items for big spenders) and a hotel or casino owner will go out of their way to bow to every request of a high net worth guest but this service only follows a series of (literally) ‘cards on table’ talks where it is agreed what the guest will gamble or bring to the venue.
A great freelancer understands that service provision should offer a mutual benefit. You are solving a problem, or improving a situation and in return you are fairly compensated. You should look to ensure the playing field is level and be brave enough to say NO if the odds are not stacked in your favour (last gambling pun, promise).
3. Segmentation works (for finding better clients)
For all it’s faults the Vegas model of segmenting high rollers from average gamers it should teach you something about segmentation and focus, making it really clear who you want to work with and building a business that supports their needs and solves their specific problems.
In your case you’ll be segmenting by specialising in on a certain industry to reduce the noise of your competition – in Vegas’ case that means building high limit areas of casinos and specialising in on so called ‘whales’ by offering unlimited complimentary items through their stay, for you a well crafted brand message will help you attract the right type of clients. This is a topic I went into my free ebook ‘A blueprint for your next big move’ which you can grab below:
Click here to grab the free book on specialising in on your customer
4. Get focused on what you want
Sure, your job is to work for your clients but ultimately that alone isn’t why you’re in business.
You have personal aspirations and burning desires for success. You should make these really clear, build a strategy for your success and work towards it, sense-checking key decisions and client opportunities against those goals, asking yourself:
“Is [decision outcome] a contribution or distraction to those ambitions for you and your business?”
Ultimately Las Vegas is driven by profit generation and returning dividends to shareholders but those same principles ring true. A costly extra to the new Aria Hotel development for example was a free monorail from the bottom to the top of the strip. That decision was taken with balanced assessments as to whether this investment would be recouped.
5. Bill on value and build your frame
Does it matter that in Vegas you can buy the same $2 bottled beer from a 7-11 for $10 in one of their michelin star restaurants? Seemingly not, I’d bet the restaurant sells more each day. Framing is everything.
Translating that to your freelance pitch, rather than making your proposal all about the economics and minutiae of hourly rate X number of hours to get the job done you should lead with the value you’re bringing to the table.
What’s the upside? What will this upside mean to their business? How will their life be different, what additional revenue will this make them? Then what is this difference worth?
By wrapping your service in a clear value statement you’ll make it much easier to close the sale. Tweet this
6. Don’t work harder, work more efficiently
In Vegas, casinos in particular tick along like an efficient, well-oiled machine. Hundreds of staff members scurry around making as good an experience for guests as possible.
Just because you are a freelancer solopreneur doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the best parts of working as a team by:
– Understanding the processes at play in your business
– Tracking where your time is being distracted
– Outsourcing mechanical elements of your role
Within the playbooks section I’ve put together a book with some clear insight for getting more productive, things I learned from 10 time failures to maximize freelance productivity you can grab that on the link below:
Download ‘Taking back control of your time’ ebook
7. Map out your winning strategy
Whether you agree with gambling or not – few things are more certain than the fact that the house always wins. Over the long run casinos will have a 10-20% edge over their customers/players. This is their margin, their win strategy.
Do you have your win strategy defined? With their edge assured a casino can plan ahead, make moves to reinvest and build their business strategically.
You should consider where you want to be in the short / medium / long term and what success will look like. If you don’t know what success looks like how will you know when you’ve reached it?
8. Build your reputation and raise your online voice
When it comes to building a reputation vegas hotels & resorts have it nailed. You can piggy back on this by covering the fundamentals and building an online voice by leverage the techniques I talk about in this post.
To summarise that post though, you first need to provide real value in your space. This can be on your own site or in other locations your target audience exists. By providing value and backing that up with true engagements you can build relationships which you can use to your advantage in the long term.
9. Leverage strategic partnerships with your peers
Hotels work together to ensure a perfect experience for their customers. By collaborating rather than competing they can ensure an even spread of income. To extrapolate this for freelancers, you should be ready to provide assistance to peers in your area. Being helpful and producing great solutions to problems your industry compatriots might be struggling with will help you develop a position of authority and an eventual advantage when it comes to proving your viability as a service provider.
10. Remove distractions
As a freelancer you get paid to finish projects. Every phone vibration or inbox ping distracts you from finishing that project more efficiently.
In Las Vegas there are famously no clocks or external light in casinos and the drinks come to you, for free if you’re gaming. What this is doing of course is cleverly (perhaps borderline immorally) removing distractions from playing. If you can do virtually everything from where you’re sat and you lose track of time, who wins?
Taking this concept and applying it to yourself though (phone on silent, flipped over, email management only in bursts, social media scheduled) you can ensure you have maximum attention on what you’re trying to do – and your concentration is never broken.
I’m already planning my next trip out to Vegas. It isn’t for everyone but boy it was fun, the ten points above also tell me that I probably picked up a few things too!
Learn anything? Please share
When you’re held ransom by client work and income instability how are you supposed to find time to work on “growth” (whatever that means).
- Make freelancing more stable
- Repel 'bad apple' clients
- Beat "treading water" cycles
- Multiply online exposure
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