How can I use AI as a service-based entrepreneur?

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19 min read

You may even be asking yourself: Should I use AI in my service-based business?

This is a great question. Many of my clients are pretty savvy and although diving in, are wondering what’s in it for them and their clients in the long run.

I also know that at the time of this writing, AI is a topic you may be tired of hearing about, but a conversation that needs to be had.

I’ve been putting off the writing of this blog series, I admit.

I didn’t want to just add my voice to the already deafening noise without at least having a clue as to what I’m talking about. I wanted to speak about it in a narrative that sounds like a real human and not just another blog that consists of only AI generated content to prove a point.

I also didn’t want to have to update this blog every month just to barely keep up.

However, now it’s time to say something about the future of AI and the role it may play in growing and scaling a  service-based and freedom-based business, knowing that I’ll still need to come back and update this article.

In a nutshell:

I believe that as a service-based entrepreneur who wants to help more people by making it easier for potential clients to have access to your services AND provide a better experience, it’s a good idea to embrace AI and find ways to use it to your own advantage. 

Let’s explore that!

In this blog post, we will explore the positive and negative potential of AI, and 4 reasons you will want to learn more about it.

I’ll also begin to show you how you can use AI and ChatGPT in your service-based business. These tools will help you streamline your operations, automate repetitive tasks, and deliver a better client or patient experience. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can leverage the power of AI to take your business to the next level and stay ahead of the competition.

Staying ahead of the AI game

First, let’s start by saying that you will be ahead of the game by remaining curious and open-minded about AI.

Currently, there are 2 camps:

The buzz in the circles that I hang out in usually go something like this:

“I”m excited about AI and what I can do with it. It’s going to change the way we work for the better.”

These are the entrepreneurs I’ve been hanging out with lately, who tend to be pioneers with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, or people in creative industries like music. They also tend to downplay any potential negative consequences.

OR

“I’m scared. I don’t like anything about it.. It will mean lost jobs and other dire consequences. It’s going to take over humanity in general.”

In other words, doomsday predictions. Of course, the media, as usual, is fueling the fear, because those headlines get clicks. This is the general sentiment among the older people I’m acquainted with. Which is normal, looking historically at how humans tend to deal with major changes.

Others are avoiding it for the same reason they avoid anything that has to do with technology in the first place.

Me? I’m agnostic. Middle of the road. That’s my nature. I don’t have enough information yet to make any such broad claims about AI. To me this seems obvious.. How can I possibly predict the benefits and the consequences this early in the game?

Even if I’m already using it regularly, it’s still almost impossible to predict the future.

I’ll be honest, at first I thought I was late to the party because I’ve only just started using chat GPT/Open AI. But the reason is because I’ve already tried other AI generative tools about a year ago, and actually, I was mildly impressed, but the tools were still clunky and expensive, and I didn’t know much about how to get what I needed from it.

Since then, I’ve been playing around a bit more with Jasper and ScaleNut. This article was written mostly by me, with a little bit of help with some sections via ScaleNut. I also used it to help me quickly and easily optimize this article for SEO.

So here’s proof already that I’m able to crank out content a LOT faster, and spend less time on SEO.

By the way, if are not sure what it is or how to use it, don’t worry.. I’m going to break it down and help you get started. It doesn’t need to be a big secret or mystery anymore. In fact, you are probably already using it.

The truth is, AI is here.. and Iike it or hate it, ignoring it isn’t a great idea. Learning as much as we can is a smart move, especially for entrepreneurs. And that of course, includes service-based entrepreneurs.

If you are reading this, I’m guessing that you are one of the early adopters/enthusiasts or an agnostic. (Smart!)

However, the downside is that constantly hearing about the negative implications is that it isn’t always constructive or informative, and it can create extra anxiety and doubt. And no entrepreneur needs more anxiety and doubt. We’ve got enough to worry about.

However, there are some caveats that we need to face.

The Downside of AI for entrepreneurs

AI does have a downside, and it’s still too early to tell to what extent it will affect many service-based industries.

Here’s a different way to look at it or reframe it:

AI as a disruptor/game changer

As a GenXer I remember the early days of the internet and email. (yes, I feel old) I was playing with building websites even back in the 90’s, and felt very optimistic about it all. I didn’t see how it would change just about everything on a foundational level.. the way we share information, interact, and do business, for starters.

It was disruptive. Even though it took years for it to reach the point it is at today.

AI, like the internet, is something often referred to as disruptive. For your average person, this word implies something negative, to be avoided.

For those in the know, (like you) the word, to use a cliche, is an actual game changer. Which means that some industries and ways of life will disappear, but that other opportunities will emerge. Likely a lot faster than the changes that took place 20 or 30 years ago.

That’s why I keep saying that NOW is the time to be curious and expansive and take a few risks, rather than contract in an attempt to remain “safe.” (Which ironically, isn’t a safe strategy)

A great example would be the lightbulb, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, radio, television, and the internet. People at the time of these inventions DID experience some disruption (candlemakers) and DID claim that it would be the worst thing possible for humanity (automobiles, televisions) We can almost look back and laugh at some of these dire predictions.

But they aren’t entirely wrong. There have indeed been negative consequences that required the vast majority of humans to adapt, as well as the positive implications.

On the other hand, these things have obviously shaped society in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Current limitations of Artificial Intelligence for entrepreneurs

Things AI probably can’t do, or can’t do well: (at least for now)

  • Tell a unique story using your own unique brand voice. However, I believe that it will help us make more time for creating our own stories, since we don’t have to do as much tedious work in creating outlines, writing facts and bullet points, optimizing for SEO, or otherwise starting with a blank page from scratch.
  • Write the perfect blog without any editing on your part. A human will still need to step in to edit and optimize content.
  • Create copy that will sell. So far I don’t see fewer job listings for copywriters, but MORE, but the job descriptions now include fluency in AI generating tools. Will entrepreneurs still need to be skilled in copywriting or at least hire someone who is good at it? Hell yes. Writing good copy is about connecting emotionally to your ideal client or customer.
  • Mimic the experience of a live performance that depends on the interaction of each musician (as a member of a band in the past, this IS a very important thing)

Reasons for these shortcomings:

1. It hasn’t learned enough about certain topics to generate effective content. A great example is this blog. I may need to improve my prompting skills, but the content it did provide wasn’t able to communicate what I wanted to here, which is about what I’m thinking and what my audience may be thinking about AI and if or how or when it can be useful to them. This isn’t an entirely bad thing.

For example, it would appear that there simply isn’t yet much information about AI and its significance for coaches, wellness professionals, and certain types of creative entrepreneurs.. yet. Plus, this blog definitely has my own story and my own personality embedded in it. And that’s a GOOD thing. 

2. Limited accuracy: Yep, it sometimes makes shit up. (hallucinates) I typed in a prompt to show me the script for an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it was completely fabricated, although somewhat coherent and plausible. I suppose it was its own form of entertainment.. New Buffy episodes! (what’s next.. Fully developed new episodes in which the original actors haven’t aged a bit?)

This is one reason we need to be careful about how we use it.

Image generation still has a long way to go, as of this writing. AI still generates pictures that remind me of dreams with incomplete recollection of how objects and people actually look. It doesn’t, for example, render human hands very well.

While great for some images, it doesn’t always hit it out of the park. Here’s an example of an experiment I had for a blog about GenX women and our tendency to embrace the “I don’t give a fuck” mindset, in a good way. (Prompt: Older/middle-aged woman crowd surfing in a mosh pit) It came up with this:

It reminds me of some of my more bizarre dreams than a real, genuine aspirational moment.  I don’t think that AI can tell the difference between the “Boomer” generation and Gex, either. It has a great imagination, but doesn’t really get human nuance and culture (yet?)

3. There is potential for an oversaturation of new content, unless there is new technology to manage it. What does this mean in terms of Google’s role in distributing information?

Keeping in mind that there is an actual limitation of available space for searches.. What will show up in the top results or get indexed, and what won’t?

It’s the same problem that libraries and stores face.. What should be stocked, based on the available space?

Hint: You won’t be able to rank for a generic listicle about “10 ways to stay hydrated” anymore. Machines will take care of the most basic info that can be found online. This only means that we’ll have to be more strategic, creative, and original.

Ironically, it will be the human factor: Our stories, originality, problem-solving abilities, personality, and overall “vibe” will end up being the deciding factors in whether people buy from us or interact with us.. or not.

Originality is not something I foresee at the moment being a problem for entrepreneurs who offer high-level strategies and solutions for their clients or patients.

However, it could be for those who focus on services that could easily be taken over by AI, which has already happened with transcription services, data entry, and other services. The more we can offer a complete strategy or solution to a unique problem, the better off we’ll be.

Actually, this has already happened to me. I no longer offer my traditional content marketing services because of how the process has changed.  Instead, I can teach people how to write a great blog using technology, current SEO best practices, and the power of human skills such as branding and storytelling.

Or I can focus on creating even MORE high quality and focused content for clients  (If I so chose.)

This really just “forces” us to look at making our services less of a commodity, which I believe is something most of us need to be doing anyway.  This is true not just for “tech” fields, but also health and wellness and other related services.

How we get found online is also changing.  Microsoft has also entered the game, and SEO is also undergoing rapid changes. At the time of this writing, I don’t have enough information as to how this will all play out.

Will there be negative consequences that haven’t even been considered yet? I’m betting on it. And preparing for it. NOT by ignoring it and not by simply just complaining about it.

This is about more than just avoiding potential negative consequences. I believe that there are a lot of POSITIVE things that will come about, and it’s the perfect thing to take advantage of now and leverage for your business.. starting right now.

I’m choosing to be open and optimistic, and to keep learning.

By now you may be wondering “Ok great, why should I use it in my business? I’m going to explore the why first, and then later, the HOW.

Reasons to start using AI In Your Service-Based Business

Reason #1: You are probably already using AI

Despite all the buzz about its potential, what many are forgetting is that it’s already been around for a while and already being used.

Chances are very good that you’ve already used it for:

  • Transcribing audio to text
  • Interacting with a chatbot
  • Removing the background from a digital image
  • Choosing a Netflix series to watch next
  • Using a streaming music service like Pandora that “learns” about our taste in music
  • Ordering something from Amazon based on suggestions relating to your previous purchases and preferences
  • Personalizing an email campaign or using conditional logic to send specific emails to a specific group of people on your email list
  • Targeting an audience for Facebook or Google ads
  • Playing around with AR tools when shopping or for fun

When these technologies first emerged, many people were freaking out about how “creepy” it seemed.

For example.. seeing an ad based on a topic they just recently explored online.

Or seeing suggestions for books, music, or movies that we might like. How did it KNOW that?

Now, for the most part, it’s second nature. Now most entrepreneurs know what that looks like on the back end, if they have ever run ads or personalized an email campaign.

Today, it’s all about being able to deliver relevant and personalized experiences.  Nobody wants to be bombarded by email and ads that are irrelevant to their own lives. AI is the solution for this because it’s impossible to do this manually once you begin to grow and scale your business.

Reason #2: AI’s generative tools can save you time and help you create high quality content that you may have never even considered before

Recently, we’ve been able to:

  • Generate text based on conversational prompts. I used AI to create an outline, a few sections and headings, and SEO optimization for this blog.
  • Generate images that we could have only imagined in our wildest dreams This suits my steampunk branding pretty well, but as I mentioned before, AI doesn’t always get it right when it comes to photorealistic renderings.
  • Generate code snippets: “give me a CSS code snippet that will allow me to change the color of my navigation bar on my website when someone scrolls, and makes the bar sticky”

..and more.

In the future, I’m imagining AI might help me:

  • Create 10 compelling images of a middle-aged woman (even if I can’t see a face) crowd-surfing or stage diving or moshing
  • Edit a video consisting of my voice narration and slide deck without having to re-record.
  • Compose music, easily and inexpensively
  • Build an entire website without having to master coding or knowing any code at all..and who knows what else.

Reason #3: Ignoring it won’t keep you “safe.”

Personally, I think that hiding from it is a terrible idea.

If it’s “the enemy”, there’s a very wise saying about how important it is to know your enemy.
I’ve got friends who are coders, artists, musicians, and composers and their strategy is the same. They have the most to lose, but are embracing it as a tool.

As for service-based entrepreneurs.. I don’t think it’s wise to ignore it for long, even if it seems like it won’t affect us.

In the long run, I think that it’s going to all shake out to be the same as any other cultural disruptor in history. Not that it isn’t a big deal.. It IS.

I would rather be able to see how it can benefit me and the people I serve, by being proactive, rather than being passive for now and going through the pain of having to react to the changes coming up.

Reason #4: AI is here to stay. If we are proactive, we can probably benefit.

This isn’t about hopping on a bandwagon. Like the internet, it’s here to stay. It can help you with many more of your entrepreneurial tasks.. Such as workflow, making website changes, SEO, and more. (YES!)

If it’s an ally, I want to get to know it better.

If it means that some work will be done by machines rather than humans, now’s a good time to start thinking about how to solve more complex and nuanced problems for your clients, in a way that they can’t get anywhere else.

I’m also choosing to be optimistic and curious about it all. In my own agnostic way. (Which literally means: “I don’t know” yet.)

Reason #5: It’s easy to get started using AI to generate content, and it’s even free!

Check out part two of this series about AI where I’ll show you how to create content for your service-based business using chatGPT. 

Need help with smart content creation?

Content drives your business, there’s no doubt.

Creating content isn’t about just writing what comes to mind in the moment.

Although great content comes from your expertise and passion.. ultimately, your blog, videos, podcast, or whatever,  are not your journal.

Each piece of content you write needs to have a purpose, direct traffic to  your website, and serve you long past the point when you upload your creation to the world.

(Hooray.. this means you don’t need to dance on TikTok everyday!)

I’m guessing you don’t want content creation to take over your life. 

I can help you with this. It could be something I have for free, a low cost membership, a workshop, a course, or coaching.  It has to make sense for you and where you are at right now.

Let’s figure it out together (No hard pitch)  by answering a few short questions below,  (It’s my coaching application) and I’ll direct you to the best option for you via email.

Sound good?

Hi! I’m Julie. 

I’m a self-described nerd when it comes to branding, marketing, and websites. I’m an INTJ/P who loves working with “thinking” introvert entrepreneurs who are also passionate about their ideas and serious about their business.  Feel free to explore a topic or search for something specific. 

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