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When I started my company in 2005, I began with freelancing projects, but quickly moved to products. My personal site listed my consulting availability and portfolio pieces, which included a selection of the products sold by my company.

Over the years, the company has gained rep through the products, and my personal site gained rep through the contract work. Of course, it's no longer just myself either for the products or the consulting work; other people in the company are involved, and the consulting work is technically billed through the company, as it always was.

I want to maintain both sources of work; the consulting work that comes through from people finding my personal site, and the products sold by the company.

But recently, the company has started receiving requests for custom development work directly, and I'm having trouble deciding what to do to reconcile the two "faces", or even if I should do anything about at all.

Basically, the company has a small "services" page, which presents our products as portfolio pieces, and I have my original site which gets a lot of incoming client work, and also presents the same list of portfolio pieces (and some other client work).

If I forward clients who contact the company for custom work to my personal page, we may lose some of the bigger clients, whom we are fully capable of serving, but who would prefer to deal with a company rather than a single developer.

If I drop my personal site and refocus on the "services" side of the company, then I'd be ignoring the years of reputation building that the personal site has (and the client stream that still arrives at that door).

Has anyone dealt with this? Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.

EDIT: To clarify, one of the disadvantages of having the two be separate channels is the lack of focus when it comes to marketing. Where do you point the signature in forums that may lead to clients seeking you out? Where do you point the people you hand your business card to? It just seems "cleaner", somehow, to integrate them or select one to concentrate on -- or maybe it's just the programmer in me trying to categorize things and put everything into its proper place.

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3 Answers 3

I'm not sure what the problem is here. Why not just keep both going? Think of them as two different marketing channels for the services side of your business; some clients come in from the product division, and some come in through the existing services division.

This doesn't seem like such a bad thing.

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It's a matter of marketing, I think. (I edited the original question to address this.) –  Andrey Butov Aug 13 '11 at 4:36

First of all, congratulations on having this problem! :)

I would suggest reworking the company site to emphasize services as well as product, and then slowly shrinking the personal site so that its purpose is to direct them to the company site (and it ultimately becomes a 301 redirect). This will enable you to focus your marketing efforts on one entity.

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Put more marketing efforts into the product. You'll get the most leverage there. Any software product prospects that can not utilize your software should be redirected to you custom development/consulting people/branch/division/company whatever you want to call this entity. Customers just need to know who to write the check out to.

This allows you to get referrals from existing clients. You don't have to throw that away.

I just think in the long-run, you're better off with a product. Leverage your developer time; it's not cheap. Hourly billing to me just sucks, but it does pay the rent. Of course this depends on the strength of the product and the market it serves.

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