It’s easy to get distracted when you’re just starting out as a freelancer, or you are trying to turn your hobby into a business. You aspire to the creative lifestyle, the flexibility, and the money. However, when you’re just starting out you may not yet be a maker.

For the record, being a subscription maker means doing the work. It means producing value on demand to solve the challenges that your fans face. It means starting new conversations when you’d much rather go home and lick your wounds.

Doing the work is the best process to find your way in the world. A lot of very serious people talk about the need to produce a minimum viable product or prototype. As you know, a minimum viable product or prototype is something that you make for your fans so that you can better understand the potential market for your subscription services.

You can make the case that it’s much easier to produce a to product based on any concept that pops into your head. And a lot of the projects that you work on will start this way. However, you still need to verify the viability of the offering before you allocate a significant amount of resources.

Also, the most important component of growth in subscription services stems from the retention of current fans, not the addition of new fans. New fans are a bonus. However, the bread is buttered with the retention of current fans. This is where the stability of the subscription model starts. It’s why businesses of all sizes are adopting this business model.

Subscription Services are more conversational than transactional. What this means is that the relationship with your fans doesn’t end with the sale of your subscription service. It’s just the beginning. Once you’ve charged your fan’s credit card, then you’ve got to start to do the work needed to retain them.

Your fans will like being surprised by new subscription services. However, they will like it even better when you listen to them and make the changes they suggest. Fans like talking about how your new subscription service will help them solve their challenges.

The hard truth is that your fans won’t stick around if you don’t engage them properly in conversation. You can make the case that the subscription services business model is really a retention business model. And that retention starts with engagement. If you don’t engage them, then what you really have is a transactional business model. One that is easy for your transactional fans to abandon.

So, the bottom line is that a lot of the work will not be seen or understood by the majority of your fans. They will not see you doing the work to find out what their biggest challenges. They will not see you reaching out to those fans who are slow to get started.

True Fans will follow your work no matter what you do and give you the benefit of the doubt. However, not even they may realize that producing value has its limitation. They may never understand that you must do the work to figure out where the sweet spot is with how much value you deliver.

This is what means to do the work.

Zachary Alexander