How We Ditched Our Clients and Pivoted Our Business to Work Less

ByElizabeth J. Bohn

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  • Kimanzi Constable and his wife’s business made more than $500,000 in revenue in 2019.
  • But they felt overworked and decided to cut back on working with clients. 
  • They knew it would mean less revenue at first, but it freed them to live as digital nomads.

Editor’s note: Insider has verified claims about revenue with documentation.

When I started my first business at 19, I never could have imagined deciding to cut my business revenue in half. But that’s where my wife and I found ourselves in 2021.

My first business was a vacation-relief service for vendors in the bread industry. I owned and operated it for 12 years before selling it. In 2011, I saw an opportunity to make money differently online.

My wife and I grew our business to half a million dollars a year through three revenue streams

We had the experience of building and selling a business, so we offered business coaching. 

I spent eight years writing online. We used content marketing to build our email list and wrote articles for various media publications to build our audience. With this experience, we offered a ghostwriting service for social-media posts, newsletters, emails, blog posts, articles — anything that needed to be written.

Our third revenue stream was helping entrepreneurs book corporate consulting. We offered coaching on booking corporate consulting and a pitching service for entrepreneurs. 

We had a record-breaking year in 2019, when our client services helped us generate $572,269 in revenue.

What should have been a time of celebration was one of the most depressing times in my life

After working with clients for 20 years, I was exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. I woke up every day hating having a calendar full of client calls and tasks to fulfill.

My wife and I got tired of the passive-aggressive “checking in” emails. We disliked how most of the responsibility to secure a result fell on us as service providers. We got tired of being lowballed, dealing with late payments, and the all-too-frequent requests for discounts.

The pressure to deliver for clients and the feeling that our time was not our own became unbearable. Our mental health deteriorated with each client project. 

We decided we wanted to quit client work but worried about paying our bills

We had some honest conversations with ourselves and realized that working with clients made us hate life and business. It was detrimental to our mental health. We decided to quit all client work, but it would take time. The thought alone was terrifying. 

Between us, my wife and I have six children and a grandchild. We had a large house, two nice cars, and bills. We worked out that we needed to make at least $10,000 a month net income.

We had to grow our emergency fund to cover at least six months of expenses, fulfill the client projects we had remaining, lower our business’ monthly expenses, and grow other sources of revenue. 

We started to pare down client work, and our revenue dropped to $404,419 in 2020. Losing $168,000 felt like a gut punch, but we were committed to our plan. 

We spent four months at the beginning of 2021 recording content on how to be a writer and how to build a business from writing.

We’d created online courses before about growing a business, but this topic was new to us. We put the course in membership software, created a sales page, and started selling it. 

We got people to join this self-study course, paying $208 a month for access. The membership grew reasonably quickly because we promoted it through our email list and on social media to our established consumer base. 

In June 2021, we had three remaining client projects that would have gone through September

We were ready to stop our client work, so we refunded the remaining clients and fully transitioned to an educational-only business model.

By the time we finished working with clients, we had built up enough recurring revenue through our self-study online course.

Our financial situation improved even more when my wife and I decided to sell our home and all of our stuff and travel as digital nomads full time.

It freed us from any home-related expenses, and we also sold one of our vehicles.

Our mental health is better, and our time is ours again

Our 2021 revenue was $229,364 and so far this year, we are on pace to get back to our 2020 revenue.

The online and self-study membership model has meant predictable revenue. We don’t have to fulfill anything. It’s a bonus that we get to build a business from wherever we are in the world. 

Although our revenue dropped significantly, we regained our sanity and live a much happier life. We wake up to a clear calendar and no emails rushing us or expecting us to be the service provider that makes up for all the previous negative experiences a client has gone through.

Not offering client services is a more scalable way to build a business for us. We get to spend our time doing what we enjoy, or not work if we’re not feeling it. 

Not offering client services has not been the easiest path in entrepreneurship, but we don’t regret our decision.


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