Alan’s story

Alan is a plumber. He had a high hourly rate, yet spent too many hours each day driving between appointments. To hit a six-figure income, he changed his view on where his market was.

Years ago, he noticed some new buildings (in a development of 300 homes) were being fitted with a model of boiler he’d had bad experiences with. Having worked out his driving time was costing serious money, he put marketing postcards through the doors of all 300 apartments in the estate . . . knowing that over the next few years 300 pricey pieces of equipment were likely to fail.

A year later, he got his first call: a homeowner had a problem with that boiler. He spent extra time and effort on that first appointment – after all, he wanted that first customer to refer him to lots of others. The next call came within a month. That single campaign of 300 postcards ended up filling Alan’s order book for the next ten years.

Today, he doesn’t even need to book house calls: he’s simply on site, all the time. His longest commute between customers is a flight of stairs. And on the back of his boiler replacements (£5,000 each) he sells them annual maintenance checks and other peace-of-mind projects. Alan makes four times the average earnings of a self-employed tradesman.

Rather than broadening his market, Alan’s focus was on narrowing it—working out the most profitable choice for his business, and making sure he covered that small customer base completelyHe’s a six-figure freelancer.