Brainstorming Productized Services
Week 36 of Founding Typogram
Hi, I am Wenting. I recently quit my job of seven years to build my start-up, Typogram, a logo design and editing tool for startup founder. We just launched our pre-order✨! Get a one brand lifetime license at a huge discount and edit your design forever.
Productized services are a hot topic lately. The infamous DesignJoy, which is a one-person design agency, keeps getting on the front page of IndieHackers.com with insane revenue reports going from $840,000 ARR (annual recurring revenue) to the most recent $2,000,000 ARR within months. Its secret sauce is no other than “productized services” — for fixed pricing, users get a standardized, well-defined, simple-term service. In DesignJoy’s case, that productized service is getting access to a Trello board, creating unlimited design task cards, and getting the designed artifacts back within 48 hours for a monthly subscription fee. Currently, it is set at $5,500 per month.
Its success came with some controversy as the one-person agency grew to take more than 50 clients, and the service quality became unstable. As a result, many people criticize its business model of productized services, jokingly calling it a “Service as a Service.”
While I am too skeptical of DesignJoy, I don’t think its problems has anything to do with productized services. Productized services solve the pain point of negotiating a customized project-based contract. The back and forth, the uncertainty about what service I am getting, and even the pricing I am paying. Often times the pricing remains estimated until the project is done and paid off — it is not unheard of for contractors to discover more scope and increase the overall price after the project starts.
What makes productized service attractive is the certainty it promises — I pay this price, and in return, I can get serviced for all my design needs, simple as that. The problem comes when DesignJoy can’t deliver its set term of unlimited design requests, which is due to happen when it takes more clients and doesn’t grow its team size. It is like a faulty product that doesn’t do its promised function — the problem is this individual product, not the business model of making and selling products.
I started to brainstorm about how to productize services for Typogram — is there an opportunity for Typogram to create a productized brand design service? With Typogram, the creation of a brand logo is made simpler and more streamlined; this could enable a standardized design workflow with predictable results. I think the beauty of productized services is its communication — as long as there is a clearly defined product description and feature list, users can be the judge to see if this service solves their problem and decide to buy it like an off-the-shelve product, no sales pitch needed.
A brand design service requires several stages of client input, from brainstorming the brand name if needed, to setting the tone of the brand — choosing Brand Personalities, to making various design round trips and getting client feedback. What if I standardize these client inputs into predictable workshop or meeting modules, standardize the design workflow and make it transparent, and then package and sell the service at a pre-defined, modular price?
I think this productized service would be a more premium tier to Typogram’s current brand design software offering. It may attract customers who wouldn’t be a good fit for Typogram otherwise because they are later staged and with a bigger audience, so branding needs more professional consideration.
What do you think of this idea? Do you think it would work or not? What would be a fair pricing range in your opinion? I would love to hear your feedback!
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