The one thing private investigators never talk about is the struggle, just how darn difficult it is to make a living running your own detective agency.
And I think this is the case for entrepreneurs in general.
A lot of times we have things that we love or that we want to do but we struggle with getting the clients and that’s the tough part!
If you’re struggling, don’t worry, everybody struggles, it happens and nobody’s talking about it! You’re not alone, we all have gone through it!.
I recently was reading about the suicide rates for entrepreneurs and that it’s higher than for the population in general.
Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but it did get me thinking.
If you’re reading this, if you’re the type of person who runs your own business, if you’re providing a service like private investigations or process serving or just about anything entrepreneurial, lawn care or whatever it might be, it can be a struggle to make ends meet. And that can really weigh on you to the point where some people think about hurting themselves.
If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, if you’re thinking about suicide, the next thing you have to do is reach out for help.
Immediately reach out and dial the phone and talking to someone. Call your suicide hot-line, call 911, talk to the police, talk to the paramedics, call your pastor or church,
somebody about getting help.
It’s absolutely imperative that you reach out on this.
There’s a part of you says, “This is something I can’t share with anyone. There will be judgment or problems or repercussions.” The more you hear inside of you, “I just
can’t share this with anyone” is a super strong indicator that you do need to reach out for help.
So, stepping away from that, presuming you are not suicidal and I pray to God you’re not… Let’s talk about practical things to make the entrepreneurial struggle easier for you.
Because here’s what happens… you hear the success stories.
You hear about the social media companies that become a unicorn (a one billion dollar value company). You always hear about the success stories, but you don’t hear about the failures!
The only time you hear the failure stories is when the guy or gal who’s wildly successful is telling you the “before” version of their stories. You know, when they were living out of their car, when they were homeless, that type of thing and how they finally turned it around.
There’s an observational bias to this.
And as a private investigator you should know about observational bias. It’s just when your mind picks up on certain things and shows them to you disproportionately.
The observational bias in this case comes because people are putting their success stories online so you see all successes, but nobody is failing over and over again
and putting that all online! That means it looks like everyone is succeeding, when the fact is, you’re simply not seeing the failures.
If I hadn’t been successful as a private investigator, as process server and running my own detective agency, do you thing I’d be here teaching you or talking to you about it? No! I’d be doing something else right now. So, you’re seeing success online over and over again, but not the people who struggle and don’t succeed.
And there’s a lot of reasons it’s hard to succeed, many of which, I’ll be honest with you, are probably not your fault. You may be missing just one piece you need to know.
Everybody does this, they’re good at something, they love something, they open a business doing that thing and they fail. Frequently it’s because they miss the sales or
marketing part of it.
So, if you’re running a detective agency or working for yourself as a private investigator, let me share some things that will help you with the struggle – the struggle that no private investigator talks about.
You can go to conventions, you can be a member of your state association and you can talk to other investigators, but they are just not going to tell you that their hurting.
If you have a dear friend in the business, they will confide to you what’s really going on. A lot of times it’s rough and a lot of times it’s very rough.
Tip 1 Cash Flow
Let me be that “friend in the industry” and say, number one, it’s about cash flow.
It’s not necessarily about accumulating a million dollars in the bank.
You can accumulate some wealth, and for a lot of everyday people like you and me, that involves a Roth IRA where you put money in and automatically every month and over
the years, you accumulate wealth.
But let me say, cash flow is really king in your day-today business. Cash flow is what counts at the end of the month.
Tip 2 Lose the Debt
Keep your debts down.
If you’re thinking about opening a business, pay down your debt as much as you can. If you’re not giving your money away to Visa and MasterCard every month, that money is something that you can keep and use for yourself to grow your business or to add to your retirement account!
So, cash flow is everything. Try to be getting that extra money coming in every month from new cases and especially from repeat clients.
Tip 3 Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Also, I’ve talked about this many times before. Don’t quit your day job if that’s going to put more pressure on you financially. When you become desperate for money that you were used to getting in your paycheck, you’re going to be tempted to take cases and clients that you wouldn’t normally take.
If you have some money coming in from a day job, you can avoid taking the bad clients.
So, keep your day job while you start your detective business and work on getting the cash coming in.
Tip 4 Process Serving
I’ve got some videos out there about how different ways you’re going to increase your cash flow or add money at the end of each month. And one of those that I talk about at all time is process serving.
It’s a fairly straight forward to get in with a law firm or a few law firms to serve process. And when you do start serving process you’re going to discover, “Every month, I
can pretty much count on X number of dollars coming in”. Maybe $200 dollars from process serving. Maybe $350 from process serving or whatever it might be.
You might have a month where you only serve one pack and you get 50 bucks. The next month, two of those law firms are going to pick up a big cases and you’re going to find yourself running around like crazy serving 8, 10 or 12 packets, but you’ll know on average what you’re going to make. Work on cash flow, that’s going to give you a great deal of financial relief.
Tip 5 A Game Changer
Something that was a game changer for me (and maybe the most important thing I can teach you here) was really keeping track, month to month all the money that comes in and all the money that goes out.
Write it down, keep a spreadsheet if you have to, but keep an accurate, written report of your expenses. (Please, read that last sentence again.)
What happens is you look at the end of the month and you say, “Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe I spent so much money on office supplies.” Printer, ink or toner, copy paper, you start to say, “Why am I printing out so many things.”
Keeping a written record each month will help you cut a tremendous amount of waste you don’t otherwise see. There is waste you don’t even think you have! You’ll be shocked.
Cut back on the things you can cut back on. Those expenses really do sneak up on you if you don’t keep track of them.
Likewise, when you start to keep track of the money coming in, you’re very quickly going to be able to say, “Oh, I didn’t realized how much money I was making from this source or that source or this particular client!” Then you can try to get more business like that and other clients like that.
For example, if you find yourself doing pre-employment screening for a company and it’s a pretty reliable source of revenue, look at that company and say, “What is it about them that is making me money?” Then ask yourself, “Are similar companies that I should approach as potential clients?”
Maybe you thought only companies with 500 or a thousand employees need a pre-employment screening. But maybe smaller companies with very few employees are actually hiring you because they have a higher turnover and they need more pre-employment screening.
Or maybe it’s a larger company that’s paying off for you and you want to pursue other companies that look like that company.
Look at your clients that are paying you well and find more clients like that.
Tip 6 Generate Leads
Be seeking leads every day. You should constantly be reaching out and looking for new potential clients (AKA: leads).
This will seem like an expense at first until you figure out what works, the sales letter that works well for you or the type of potential clients that you’re reaching out to (like law firms).
Set a budget for marketing. Not necessarily “advertising”, but for marketing. Then spend that budget every month to gain new clients. Again, as you discover what works best for you (IE. Snail mail, email, or whatever), you will begin to get more bang for your buck.
I really like using snail mail, but it does take some time to fine tune your letter including your headline, offer and post script and (especially) who to send the letters to!
If you’re rolling into bed at the end of the day and you realize, “I haven’t sent out an inquiry!” or a mailing or done something to at least one possible new client, then get
out of bed and make it happen. Mail that letter, send an email, whatever it is that you do to generate leads because that’s going to compound overtime making you some really good money!
Finally, if you do social media, don’t forget it, keep up with it and do it consistently.
For example, you know I’m here every Tuesday putting out new videos, new articles and new blog post!
In conclusion, if you’re struggling, don’t worry, everybody struggles.
Don’t feel like you’re alone, you’re not alone, we all have gone through it.
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it on the home page of my blog!