Teach Your Clients To Fish or Give Them The Fish: Which Business Model Is Right For You?

Teach Your Clients To Fish or Give Them The Fish: Which Business Model Is Right For You?- business coach erin garcia

How you provide your services and expertise in your business matters.

It could be that you want to teach your clients to fish, guiding them and teaching them how to do something on their own.

Or maybe you’re more of a fisher yourself, and want to give your clients the fish.

What’s the difference? A lot, actually. And your place in business, as well as your long-term goals, play a big part in whether you’re the fisher or the teacher.

This topic recently came up in one of my Sparks Chats, which is part of my Sparks Mastermind Community. I thought it so relevant that I wanted to share it with all of you.

Give Them the Fish

You provide a service that essentially takes work off your clients’ hands. These are often known as "done-for-you services" that your clients and customers can’t (or don’t want to) do themselves.

Many business owners gravitate naturally to this category, including virtual assistants, professional organizers, copywriters, accountants and bookkeepers, website developers, graphic designers, etc. And many B2C (business to consumer) businesses fit this model too--professional chefs, landscapers, cleaning services, etc.

Businesses that give others the fish have two distinct characteristics:

  1. They exchange your skills/talents for payment from your client.
  2. They are generally done in a 1:1 capacity but that does not mean the user is necessarily present at the time the service(s) are completed.

This business model is great for women who LOVE using their skills, enjoy being in a supportive role and whose clients want things done for them (and can pay a premium price.) This model is a "shared-success" model. Because you are doing part of the work and the client is doing part of the work the success is shared between the two of you.

Teach Them to Fish

You’re providing your clients with tools, resources and knowledge. This type of service is often known as "coaching, consulting. training or mentoring." These are often things your clients and customers want to learn to do for themselves.

While it is often easiest for new business owners to gravitate to giving their clients the fish, teaching clients to fish can be just as lucrative , if not more lucrative them giving them the fish. Many new business owners fear that teaching clients to fish will mean the clients won't need their services anymore. However, teaching clients to fish keeps you in the role of "expert." It allows you to exchange your knowledge for payment from your client. Clients no longer pay you for what you do--rather they pay you for what you know and what you share with them.

Businesses that teach others to fish have many choices in how they provide their services. Services can be provided through on-line DIY courses, virtual workshops, 1:1 premium priced coaching/consulting/training, books and a variety of other products. Often this business model allows you more flexibility in leveraging your time and serving a larger population.

Because you’re teaching someone how to do something for themselves, the price tag is most often higher than if you’re doing the work for them.

This business model puts you (the service provider/business owner) in less of a supportive role and more of an empowering role.

This business model is great for women who LOVE to share their experiences, knowledge, expertise, tools and resources with others. This model allows your client to own their own success. Because you allow your client to make the decisions of what get's implemented and how it gets implemented, the success is fully that of the clients.

Give Them The Fish and Teach Them To Fish

You absolutely can have a blended business model. You can offer your support services (give them a fish) while also offering empowerment services (teach them to fish.) Truth is you may have some clients who utilize both types of services from you. They may just want to know the information but not take the time to complete the tasks on their own--so they'll attend your workshops, read your books and still hire you to complete the services. Other clients may select only one type of service.

Whatever business model you choose, be sure that you’re in alignment with your own values.

Testing the waters with a few beta clients (pun intended) will help you decide if teaching your clients to fish is truly the next step in your business. And if you’re still not sure, let’s talk about it! My Clarity Creator Coaching Session might be the perfect fit for figuring out where you want to go next.

* Disclaimer:

Your business is yours alone. If you love giving fish to others, then by all means do it. If you love teaching others to fish, then by all means do that.
Most importantly you need to feel confident in the business model you’re in. I offer this post as an opportunity to explore two possible business models. Both models can provide financial success and personal fulfillment. And there is nothing that says you can't move from one business model to the other or as I mentioned above blend them together.

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