Advanced Freelancing

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Sep 7, 2020

Do you get nervous about sales calls? I did too as a new freelancer, but now I love them! In this episode, you will learn how to show up to these confidently and effectively.

The more you can master sales calls and look forward to them, the better you're going to be in your business overall, because this is where deals are closed. 

Here are my top five tips for sales calls:

  1. Make it easy for clients to book sales calls with you
  2. Don’t get nervous if a client has to cancel or reschedule a call
  3. Do your research before the call
  4. Do the call standing up
  5. Take notes as you go

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • Learn how to show up confidently
  • How experimenting with mock sales calls can help you show up confidently
  • Why you should put energy into learning the sales call process
  • Why you should think of sales calls as opportunity calls
  • The importance of using a calendar tool
  • The benefits of a CRM tool, such as Dubsado
  • The value of the cold pitching method
  • What to research before the sales call
  • How to listen for clues to put into your proposal

After listening to this episode, share your action steps and take-aways with our group:

Mastering Your Freelance Life With Laura

Connect With Laura:

Follow Laura on Facebook

Join Laura’s Community

Subscribe to the Podcast

Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube Channel

Read the Transcript:


It's time for another episode of the advanced freelancing podcast. And what's so exciting about this one today is that it's a discussion about sales calls. This is something that so many freelancers get extremely nervous about and are concerned about how they can show up to these confidently and effectively. And I'll share with you at the outset. And then we'll also mention this at the end that I have a new masterclass all about mastering your sales calls, showing up confidently, how to lead the discussion, how to tell what type of client you have on the call and how much leading you should do versus listening. These are all of my best practices from years of doing sales calls. Now I'll tell you the truth. I actually love sales calls, but I didn't start out that way. I hated them for a long time because I really felt like they were an opportunity for me to screw up.


Right? So I felt that if I didn't show up confidently if I wasn't clear on the call, I could take a business deal that was already on track to happening and totally derail it during the sales call. And I've heard this from other freelancers as well. Sometimes a client will cancel a sales call with them and they're like, Oh, thank God. Right? Like, or they're just, they get off the call and they don't feel very confident. It's a skill that I work on a lot with my one on one coaching clients. We actually do mock sales calls. I give them feedback at the end of the sales call, we record it. And then they can also go back and listen to the recording. And this has been a really helpful exercise for coaching clients because there are small things that you can do during your sales call that will really impact the outcome of the call and how the client feels as you're speaking as well. And so sometimes it's just making these minor tweaks that you didn't realize you were doing, or you didn't realize were as effective as they could be.


And those could a


Big impact on your conversions, right? It can really lead the client to that next step of the process where you are creating a custom proposal and where they are really excited about working with you. So I tell freelancers this all the time, and it is still true. The more you can master your sales calls and look forward to them, the better you're going to be in your business overall, because this is where deals are closed. It is always awesome when we're able to close a freelance deal without having to get on the phone. But I promise you, your numbers will increase significantly because many freelancers are not comfortable on the phone. So if you put that energy into learning more about the sales call process, you can really do yourself a favor and stand out from the competition. I hope you get to the point where you're looking forward to these sales calls rather than dreading them and feeling like, Oh no, you know, this is something I'm going to have to show up for that I could potentially bomb that won't really go very well.


Now, one reframe I often use with my coaching clients is to think of these as opportunity calls for some people, the word sales feels really slimy to them. Even though as a freelancer, you are definitely selling yourself. If you can view each call as an opportunity and as a two conversation, you'll feel much more comfortable when you're on the line or on the zoom call with your client. Because sales calls do go by both directions. This is certainly the opportunity for the client to ask you questions and to qualify you for the role. But it is also your chance to decide if you like their work style, their industry, the project at hand, and the team you could potentially be joining up with. And so this is a two-way street. And when you think of it that way, like, Hey, we're qualifying each other.


You can automatically erode some of the anxiety that most freelancers have around doing these calls because you're like, Hey, I'm showing up. This could be a good opportunity for me. It could be a great fit for the client, but I'm not going to stress myself out, forcing myself into that and thinking about this as a call where I have to convert someone. It's one of those things like where you show up and the less desperate you are, and the more confident you are that you're truly just having a conversation. It's almost like the client gets more interested because they feel that confidence radiating from you on the call. And that makes it really exciting for them and for you because you don't feel that pressure and those stakes on you. So in this podcast episode, I'm going to be talking about five tips that are going to make your sales calls as a freelancer better.


Now I go into great detail of all of these in my sales call masterclass, including questions. You should ask how you should kick off the call if there's an awkward silence at the beginning. So this is really a little bit of a taste test of some of the things that will help you be effective when you're scheduling sales calls, let's dive right in on that subject, make it easy for clients to book sales calls with you. There are so many tools out there that can help you do this. Acuity Calendly, the woven calendar app, which is free. Don't go back and forth with clients. If you don't have to, the only time you should be going back and forth with clients is if there are multiple people who need to be on the call. Now, if that's the case, you're going to throw out several times in the next five days from when they’re interested, said, they're interested in a call, right?


And that way you can have team members respond and say, okay, that one works for me. Now you can still do this with tools like Calendly. You can also use tools, like the doodle app that will allow people to check when they are available, but that one's usually more complex than what you really need for a freelance sales call. So I encourage you to throw out a couple of options, make it simple for them to be able to well, to view your calendar and the times that you have available, pretty much every software and CRM will enable you to do this. Even Dubsado will help you. And if you haven't used Dubsado, it is my new favorite tool. We will put a link in the show notes to check it out is amazing onboarding invoicing payment program. And they can do scheduling directly through Dubsado, or you can integrate it with something like Calendly, which is what I've done because all my appointments are managed through Calendly.


So make it easy for clients to book with you. It's far too easy for them to say, Hey, you know what? This is just too difficult to schedule. We're going back and forth. I'm spending a lot of time in my email and I don't want to be, so provide them with a link, provide them with a snapshot to your calendar that makes it that much easier for them to go ahead and book the call and you want it to be, be a program. That's going to send an automatic calendar reminder to them as well. Now, if you are going back and forth over email and are not using a calendar tool, let's say they looked at your calendar and there were no times available. You might kind of revert back to discussing things over email. Please still send them a calendar invitation. It blocks them their schedule from being double booked and it greatly increases the chances that they will show up to the call.


And that's really important. So we want to make it easy. We want to show them that we're organized, that we have all the tools in place to run an effective freelance business, where it's easy for them to interact with you. Now that gets into the second tip. Know, that people are busy and might have to reschedule. Don't sweat. It. I've worked with a lot of freelancers who get really nervous when someone has to cancel or reschedule a call. Odds are that you're reaching out to people through your pitching process that are very busy. In fact, if they are even open to hiring a freelancer, it's because they recognize they have too many projects going on and might need to outsource something them. So recognize, you know, that you want to show up prepared for the call. You want to plan on the call going ahead as it's scheduled, but if somebody needs, needs to reschedule within reason, you're going to be available and help them do that.


So again, that goes back to that calendar tool, right? We want to make it easy for them to rebook. So a tool like Calendly has reschedule and cancel options, right? In the email. They can easily, they rebook and set it up for another time. And that takes the pressure off of them of having to say, oh, no, something came up. I need to reschedule. We want to reduce that friction of the back and forth and the difficulty in finding a time. So always make it simple for them to be able to book a time with you. You can connect your Google calendar to tools like Calendly acuity, schedule one, it's those types of things so that it automatically blocks out the times on your calendar that are already booked for other things. So it's very important that when you integrate these things, you make sure that your calendar is up to date.


What I like to do is if I'm going to take off a Friday, for example, I put that on my calendar as unavailable the whole day, not because I'll forget, but mostly to trigger, Calendly, to not show any appointments during that day. So know that people might not show up for that initial call and you might have to reschedule. Now if they've rescheduled two or more times, there's probably a good chance that they're just too busy. I wouldn't up give up yet unless you're getting a lot of unprofessionalism from them. What I mean by that is maybe they're waiting until five minutes before the meeting to tell you that they can't show up. That would be a red flag, but if you have to keep rescheduling and it keeps getting pushed out, this really isn't a priority for them. It's sort of a subtle way of them saying, you know what?


This is like the least important thing on my calendar. So I'm going to keep punting the meeting farther into the future because I don't feel like it's that important. And that's something we should definitely listen to. So if you've gone through this multiple times, or if worse, if you showed up on the call and then they're just not there and they forgot about it completely, even with a calendar reminder, that's probably a sign that this isn't the right client to work with. So I always err on the side of giving the client some grace when you can. So give them an opportunity to correct it, to reschedule, to show up the next time. But if it happens multiple times, you should also feel free to walk away from rescheduling. This call yet again, the third tip for your freelance sales calls is do your research before the call.


Ideally, you've already done some research as you were pitching them, especially if you did the cold pitching method, but you want to do an even deeper dive before you have the phone call, because we want that conversation to flow organically. And you might be able to find extra information in your research process that helps you feel confident on that call. So do some more research about the company about if you can see whether they're already doing things about the type of service that you're offering, if you offer social media management or Facebook ads, go see what ads they're already running, go see what ads their competitors are running. What tweaks would you make to their organic social strategy? For example, I think that's a really good place for you to start and show up. Being able to say more than you've already said in the initial pitch.


Now the fourth tip for sales calls. I love this one. It's do the call standing up, standing up, completely changes your energy. When you do phone calls and can make you a little bit more comfortable. There's something about sitting in a chair as you're doing a freelance sales call that can make it feel a little stiff. It can really up your nerves. So what I like to do is I use my AirPods to stand up and I go to a place where I have my standing desk so that I can take notes and it's a hands-free call, but I'm really focused on listening and standing up changes your physical energy and can make it seem a little bit more like a less pressurized phone call. So go ahead and try this on one of your sales calls, it really can help you feel a little bit better.


If you're doing a video call, of course, just make sure you've got, you know, a good solid background. And most of the time, clients don't even need to see that your standings, cause you're not doing video sales calls, but if they are on video, I still encourage you to try this at least once, because as long as you still have that professional background, when you stand up and you can easily move, you know, your camera as well with your laptop, you should be able to do this effectively without a problem. And I just really love how it changes the whole landscape of the conversation. It puts me at ease if I'm on the phone and they're not seeing me at all, I can pace a little bit, you know, I can shift the weight on my feet and it just makes it feel a little bit more comfortable to be talking to them.


So tip number five is to take notes as you go, do not make this be in a way that is distracting from the phone call. So you don't need to write down every single thing the client says, but I like to have an open Google doc in front of me when I'm doing the call to type things up that I feel are important. So I am listening for specific tidbits from the client. I am listening for clues about things they've done in the past that are a problem for them. I'm listening to those buzzwords or keywords that I can weave back into the proposal. I send them after the fact. So there's a really nice, There's a really nice middle ground to strike here where you can take enough notes so that it is helpful for you to remember this information and write it up after the fact. But you also want to have the ability to speak freely and to listen very clearly to the client. So it might take a little bit of practice to get to this comfortable middle ground, but you'll definitely be glad that you did once you have got there. Those notes, I like to let them sit there. I like to record as much as possible in the client's own words. And then I'm going to come back later to write up the proposal. Once I've had a chance to let everything gel in my mind as well, that is a really great way to, um, stay confident, stay excited about the call, make it clear that I'm still listening and I'm not just typing everything they say and not really hearing it and absorbing it.


But I'm taking that time. After the fact to write a proposal based on the experience we had on the call, the notes are super helpful for revealing things that maybe they don't want in a proposal or things that they don't necessarily need or something additional that they've requested from me on the call. Um, so I leave that as its own document. I don't like rewrite it to turn it into the proposal. I leave it in the Google drive folder that I've created for that prospective client. And then I go back and revisit it as I am writing the proposal up for them. So these are just a handful of tips to help you feel a little bit more comfortable and excited for your sales calls. We'll put a link in the show notes to the sales call masterclass. It is very affordable. It has some templates and cheat sheets to help you prepare for sales calls and to feel more confident when you show up to them yourself, this is a great course that is less than $50 and it can have a payoff in such a big way in your freelance business. Once you implement the tools.

Meet Laura:

Laura Briggs is empowering the freelance generation. Through her public speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps freelancers build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all their time, family, or sanity. Laura burned out as an inner-city middle school teacher before becoming an accidental freelancer with a Google search for “how to become a freelance writer.” Since then, she’s become a contributor to Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Writer’s Weekly. She worked for more than 300 clients around the world including Microsoft, Truecar, and the Mobile Marketing Association. She’s delivered two TEDx talks on the power of the freelance economy for enabling freedom and flexibility and how it’s being used to address the technical skills gap in the U.S. Laura is the host of the Advanced Freelancing podcast, a sought-after public speaker on the gig and digital freelance economy, and a freelance coach focused on aspiring six-figure freelancers. Laura’s books, courses, and coaching have reached over 10,000 people.

As a military spouse, Laura is passionate about serving her community and founded Operation Freelance, a nonprofit organization that teaches veterans and military spouses how to become freelancers and start their own business.

Aug 31, 2020

Have you developed a toxic working relationship with yourself?  In this episode, I discuss the power of rest and share the importance of time off, both scheduled and unscheduled, where you're able to just decompress from your business.

You’ll learn how taking time off allows you to feel rejuvenated and recharged and show up as strong as possible for your business and your clients.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to avoid burnout by taking time off
  • Why taking time off is essential for you to be able to grow your business
  • Taking time off gives you the mental and physical capacity where you're excited to work on your clients' projects
  • Why you should keep track of your time
  • Discover how you are really procrastinating on a lot of projects or taking a lot of time on things that didn't need to take so long
  • The importance of establishing creative ways to step back from your business
  • How to know if you are treating yourself like a boss or a worker
  • Discover if you have developed a toxic working relationship with yourself
  • Why you need to review the last year, decide what you want the following year to look like, and put some immediate stop gaps in your schedule
  • How getting out of the office triggers creativity and new thinking processes
  • How the power of rest is essential physically and emotionally for you to feel rejuvenated and recharged
  • Why the more you run yourself down, the more exhausted you're going to be for your business and for your clients
  • How you can show up as strong as possible for your business and your clients

Resources Mentioned:

After listening to this episode, share your action steps and take-aways with our group:

Mastering Your Freelance Life With Laura


Connect With Laura:

Follow Laura on Facebook

Join Laura’s Community

Subscribe to the Podcast

Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube Channel

Read the Transcript:


Welcome back to another episode of the advanced freelancing podcast. I'm recording this episode in August, which historically has been a month that I have usually taken off from freelancing or scaled things down to a very part-time status. And there's a reason for that, right after freelancing for eight years, there are certain months of the year that are just slower than others. And I usually record episodes around this time of year about how to recalibrate, how to look at your work samples, how to take a step back. Um, you prepare yourself for the busy fall season, but this year, I also think it's more important than ever to think about taking time off from your business, particularly because the pandemic has really shifted what that looks like for so many families. And it's very possible that you've been working remotely for years, but now your spouse is suddenly at home or your kids are at home and the school schedule is all different and it becomes very easy when everyone's in the house doing work for it to feel like all you ever do is work and that you're working constantly all the time.


And that's a really vicious cycle that can set you up for burnout. So in this podcast episode, I want to talk a little bit about how to take time off both longer stretches and also on a more ongoing basis to step away from your business. I've dealt with burnout multiple times as a freelancer, as an employee. I've seen it from so many different perspectives, but I've also coached many of the freelancers that I work with. One-on-one about what burnout looks like for them and how to guard against it, or to take that step back when you realize that you are entering into burnout so that you can put in place some proactive measures to avoid going into that again in the future, but also to make it a little bit easier on yourself in the moment. Now, one of the most important things you can do to guard against burnout is to take regular time off in your business.


And not just time when you're at stepping out and going on a vacation, right? I mean the whole idea of travel and vacation has pretty much been obliterated as a result of the pandemic. And so if you have a spouse that works in a traditional situation, they've probably accumulated a lot of vacation days, but you and your family don't feel comfortable traveling just yet. And so you've probably gotten into the habit since, you know, the end of February 2020, when all this started of working as much as possible. Even if it's not just in your business, you might also be balancing that with family responsibilities and taking care of your kids or even homeschooling and doing some of these other things. And plenty of us freelancers feel so grateful just to have clients at this moment in time because we know that the pandemic has not affected all freelancers equally.


And so there's a hesitancy against getting rid of some clients. And so most people are keeping these projects going. They're looking for new projects, they're trying to build in some of that financial stability, especially if another income earner in their house has lost their position or is working on decreased hours or anything like that. But you can see how all of these things line up for a perfect storm for you to become overworked and burned out. Even if you've had pretty good habits in the past. There's a lot of different things here that could set you up to not take time off from your business, right? And you might feel that increasing pressure like Laura, how can you say that? How can I take time off now when it's more important than ever that I keep my business afloat, that I work really hard to keep these contracts open, and to make my clients feel like it's a value add for them to


Stick with me, lots of smaller businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, and no doubt that's been reflected in marketing budgets. And so when we go into that restrictive mode with our finances, it feels as though you shouldn't take time off or that you can't take time off because there are so many other things on your plate and you feel that pressure to essentially continue performing and trying to keep things at that higher level so that you have some protection and some padding, if any, one of your clients were to cancel that you still have some other projects and retainers that are going on, but taking time off is essential for you to be able to grow your business. And also to show up with the mental and physical capacity where you're excited to work on your clients' projects. So, several years ago, I was working with a business coach who saw that I was putting in way too many hours.


I mean, I had kind of fudged down the number of hours I was actually working per week and she challenged me to keep track of it for one week to see what I was really doing. And so I used a manual timer,, which is a tool I often recommend to other people, whether you're using it to time things for clients or for your own purposes. And I saw that I was really putting in between 50 and 60 hours a week. And the weird thing about it was I didn't really need to be doing that. I just felt more purposeful when I was working. I tend a little bit towards the workaholic spectrum already. So I know it's something that I have the propensity to do, but I could not remember the last time I had taken a sick day or that I had really just taken a day off to not do anything, right.


Like I would take a day off of client projects to go do a speaking event or to do something related to, you know, book, promotion or something like that. But I had never really taken a full day off unless were specifically taking vacation and I was fully disconnected like on a cruise ship or something like that. And one of the things this business coach said to me that really struck me in that moment was that I was as a boss, treating myself very abusively, like a worker. And that I had actually developed this really toxic working relationship with myself as far as like Laura, the boss, and Laura, the business owner who was trying to, you know, structure what it would look like to run a freelance business. And then also Laura, who was working inside the business, and this is a really dangerous and potentially toxic cycle.


And, um, when she suggested that I cut my hours, you know, my reaction was about what you'd expect. It was a lot of resistance. And so I get it if you're in that position and you're feeling like world events are telling you to do anything but step back, but it is absolutely critical that you start thinking about how you take time off from your business and not just that one or two weeks of vacation a year. We don't know what vacation is going to look like in the coming months. It's definitely not going to look like how travel did before we, we don't know when things, or if things will calm down in the near future. Um, you know, there may be members of your family who do feel comfortable traveling and others who don't. And so you have to be able to come up with creative ways to step back from your business.


And so from that example of talking with my business coach a couple of years ago, I could not foresee taking off entire days. It just felt really, really impossible for me. And so she issued me a challenge that for two weeks, I had to finish all of my work by 2:00 PM. And then I had to have some form of an appointment outside the house to go, you know, really literally forced myself to stop at 2:00 PM. And it felt very uncomfortable to do this at first. And then I realized that I was really procrastinating on a lot of projects or taking a lot of time on things that didn't need to take that long. And so, only one or two of those days across a two week period, did I really feel that time crunch? You know, it would be like 1:23 in the afternoon and I'd be kind of sprinting towards the finish line to hurry up and do what I needed to do before the next day.


But it was a really helpful exercise for me to see that I could take time off from my business and that it really was possible. And it also opened my eyes a lot to the projects that I was working on, that wouldn't fit into a new schedule of me taking some more time off. So even though it's hard right now to imagine getting out of your house, it is one of the easiest tips to help you really begin to take time away from your business, particularly if you can be away from your laptop and your phone. So this can be going to a state park and being socially distant, lots of things where you can go outside and you can get some fresh air and there's no need, or it's really difficult to bring along technology. I think that really helps to break the habit a little bit and you might not be able to do entire days at first, right?


You might need to say I'm taking Friday afternoons off every week for the next month and see how that goes for you. And then once you feel like that's possible, you might take that step back and think about more regularly taking time off in your business in a different way. Now I've usually taken more time off in August and in December because they do tend to be slow freelance periods. And you'll hear some coaches say, well, you can do business anytime. And that's definitely true, but I'm not going to try to work really hard during months when I just have eight years of data showing me that it's the hardest to get clients anyways. And so I'm not going to like push myself through something like that, just to say, Oh yeah, I can get clients on Christmas day or whatever. Right? So that's been one way that I've really helped to break myself away from the workaholic tendencies is by saying, I'm going to try to schedule the most of my downtime around when it tends to be quiet with freelancing clients anyways, so that not only will, I feel like my schedule is open enough with my current client load, but I won't feel like I'm losing opportunities by stepping away during the months when I'd be unlikely to get a new client anyways.


And that's made it a lot easier for me. And it's given me some touchpoints throughout the year to look forward to the fall is such a busy season. And then it kind of tapers off around Christmas. Right? But knowing that maybe August isn't going to be so difficult of a month and December is going to be kind of light and just, you know, reviewing the last year and thinking about what you want the following year to look like gives you some breathing room mentally and put some immediate stop gaps in your schedule to be able to do this. Now, one of the ways that I coached one of my coaching clients to do this was, she said, you know, for years, I've just wanted to take off two weeks around the holidays. I've just wanted to like to close my office, like the week before Christmas, all the way through new years.


And so I said, just do it like this is like August or September. Go ahead and block it in your calendar now that you are on vacation and start thinking now about what do you need to do a couple of months out to be prepared to really take those two weeks and enjoy them, even if it is a staycation. So you do want to notify your clients of things like this. You want to make sure you've turned in all things early with those kinds of deadlines. And, um, you want to really feel like when you get to that point, you're not racing against the clock and you're ready to just disconnect from your office. Odds are fires and emergencies, and really big problems are not going to pop up while you step out of your business for a certain period of time, whether for you that's a day.


And that barely feels manageable right now, or whether it is something like two weeks where you're hoping to disconnect when it comes to taking time off from your business, you need to just write it down, make it a reality, put it in your calendar. You know, if you're still working full time and you're looking to have some time off from both your side hustle and your day job, you need to request that time off, have it on the calendar, you know, have plans of, you know, what you're going to do. Maybe you picked a really busy park to go to and you want to avoid the crowds. And so you're, pre-purchasing your parking pass. And, um, anything else you need to get there? And you're packing a picnic lunch the night before to really solidify like, yes, I'm doing this. I'm not going to wake up and feel like, well, it would be easier if I just stayed home today and I could get some extra work done.


So it's really important when taking time off to get out of your office, as much as possible new environments can trigger all kinds of great creativity and new thinking processes that will allow you to feel rejuvenated. And if you're on the edge of burnout, spending more time in your home office is not going to make that any better, right? In most cases, just going to make it much, much worse. And so take some time to step away. Even if that's, you know, visiting a family member that, you know, has also been social distancing and you can drive there or going away to a cabin or taking an RV or something like that, where you can disconnect from your business and really break away. And for me, like I said, it's been easiest to do this in situations where technology is just not accessible or is such a pain that it's a problem to do, right?


So if like I'm camping in a cabin, that's pretty isolated and rural, they might have wifi, but the fact that it's probably terrible wifi makes it easier for me to say, you know what? I really don't need my computer this weekend. There's nothing that's going to be urgent enough or important enough for me to feel like I want to drag my computer out and work on really slow wifi. Now, I really believe that every quarter you should be taking at least a couple of days off, if it's easier for you at first to have those be planned days where you've got appointments, where you've got specific things doing that can help you. We're definitely living in unprecedented times where you can't really schedule things like a massage or a weekend getaway or a couple of day cruise, right? So you still need to honor that time off in your calendar.


However, I find it to be helpful to kind of balance my days between things where I have stuff planned for my days off, relaxing activities, exercise being outdoors. And then also just days where I don't have anything planned and where it's totally okay to wake up and read a book or binge-watch a TV show all day. If you have been working really, really hard now, one resource I want to share with you before I wrap up, I recently interviewed this author for my other podcast and he was absolutely incredible. And I love his book and he talks a lot about the power of rest and how it's not just something that people say to help you prevent burnout. It is really essential physically and emotionally for you to feel rejuvenated and recharged. And the more you run yourself down, the more exhausted you're going to be for your business and for your clients.


And that's ultimately going to start to show in the results or in the way that you show up for those clients. And so building rest in and being very proactive about it, benefits everyone across the board. So one thing I want to challenge you to do is to sit down right now and take a look at your upcoming calendar and see if there are, you know, two days that you can take off in the next six weeks that you're going to go ahead and actually block out on your calendar. And I like to look for days that don't have a lot of things scheduled already. That makes it easier for me to be like, Oh good. I don't have to bump any meetings. Now, this book that I'm going to recommend to you is called The Passion Paradox by Brad Stulberg. He's also written a book about peak performance. He works with a lot of athletes and tells some really incredible stories in both of those books that are primarily based on athletes but have so much crossover to business owners that I cannot recommend them enough. He really talks about these cycles of rest as being essential, to working at your highest level of performance. And that is certainly true for entrepreneurs. And so you need to do more than just give yourself permission to rest. You need to be proactive about how you build it into your calendar, and it can't just be


Vacations that you take a couple of times a year when the kids are off school. And when it's easy for your spouse to step away, you also need time, both scheduled and unscheduled time where you're able to just decompress from your business and not have things that are making you feel pressurized. And you don't need to explain this to anyone like your subcontractors or people in your digital team or your clients. You can just say, I will be out of office on Friday, September 30th and, you know, put an autoresponder up for that particular day and start small, right? And really honor those commitments that you make to yourself. I always like to look at my monthly calendar at a glance and start to see where I might have some opportunities to take that time off so that I can really hold myself accountable and make sure that it's spaced out.


Now, I'm recording this episode after taking three solid days off last week. And I can't tell you how much it was needed. I was actually really disappointed in myself that I hadn't taken time off that off like that in the recent past.  I had taken, you know, days off to go do other things or to handle other meetings or presentations or, you know, in February to go to the pod Fest conference. But I hadn't ever actually taken some days since the pandemic started to just decompress and to have nothing on my calendar. And I felt so good coming back to work on Monday. I felt like my mind was clear and that means you're going to show up as strong as possible for your business and for your clients. So if it's been a while, since you've taken some time off, you have a clear action step from this episode that can really drive you towards doing that.

Meet Laura:

Laura Briggs is empowering the freelance generation. Through her public speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps freelancers build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all their time, family, or sanity. Laura burned out as an inner-city middle school teacher before becoming an accidental freelancer with a Google search for “how to become a freelance writer.” Since then, she’s become a contributor to Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Writer’s Weekly. She worked for more than 300 clients around the world including Microsoft, Truecar, and the Mobile Marketing Association. She’s delivered two TEDx talks on the power of the freelance economy for enabling freedom and flexibility and how it’s being used to address the technical skills gap in the U.S. Laura is the host of the Advanced Freelancing podcast, a sought-after public speaker on the gig and digital freelance economy, and a freelance coach focused on aspiring six-figure freelancers. Laura’s books, courses, and coaching have reached over 10,000 people.

As a military spouse, Laura is passionate about serving her community and founded Operation Freelance, a nonprofit organization that teaches veterans and military spouses how to become freelancers and start their own business.

Aug 24, 2020

Are you sending tons and tons of pitches, but converting no clients? I see this so often, and today I am sharing the things that you need to keep in mind when you are talking to clients.

You’ll learn why the phone call with a client is a crucial pinch point in your ability to be successful, and when to listen or lead the call.  I will teach you how to address what the client needs to hear, deal with potential objections, and create a sense of urgency that will get them to take immediate action.

You will discover the value of nonbillable time, calculate your return on investment, and how to collect your data and make data-driven decisions to improve your conversions.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • Things that you need to keep in mind when you are talking to clients
  • Why the phone call with a client is a crucial pinch point in your ability to be successful
  • When to listen or lead the sales call
  • How to turn a potential client’s language around, into a persuasive and conversion based conversation
  • How to show up as the authority and credible freelancer that you are
  • How conversion is really about being as efficient and effective as possible
  • Why you should be earning more by doing less
  • Why you need to balance your optimal client and project load with a related amount of pitching and sales time
  • How to assign a value to your time and calculate your return on investment
  • The importance of having a streamlined system for doing the research, writing the pitch and sending it
  • How to collect your data and make data-driven decisions to improve your conversions
  • How to learn their pain points, you can improve your conversions by aligning your solution to their biggest priority or their biggest pain point.
  • Pro-tip: Give them a clear line of sight between the challenges they're facing right now and the services or products you offer
  • How to deal with potential objections, by leveraging all of the experience that you have
  • Why you should give them a reason to take action now
  • Why you should send proposals that have deadlines in them

After listening to this episode, share your action steps and take-aways with our group:

Mastering Your Freelance Life With Laura

Connect With Laura:

Follow Laura on Facebook

Join Laura’s Community

Subscribe to the Podcast

Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube Channel

Read the Transcript:


Hey, advanced freelancing listeners. I'm so glad to have you with me and thanks so much whether you're tuning in for the very first time, or you've been a long time listener today, we're talking about one of my absolute favorite subjects, something that I love to geek out about, and that is conversions. But first, if you haven't yet checked out my upcoming second book, the six-figure freelancer I encourage you to do. So I'm so excited about this book. I put a ton of work into it. If you've listened to some of my past episodes, you know, this is the book that I wanted to sell. First, the book I've been brainstorming for over four years, and I'm so excited that it's finally coming to reality. Um, one of the things that I love the most about the book is that I interviewed 19 other six-figure freelancers about their best tips and tricks.


So you're really getting a book that has experience and insight and knowledge from over 20 freelancers who have done the thing. And aren't just saying it from, you know, one month of experience or something crazy like that. Um, sometimes I see people in the freelance space that are like, Hey, I'm selling a course because I've been freelancing for two months. So I know everything, right. I knew going into writing the book that it did not all need to come from me. And it probably shouldn't right. It's important to think about the diversity in the freelance space and the different ways that people approach their freelance business. And I worked really hard to make sure that that was included in this book. So check out by pre-ordering the book which drops on October 20th, you will get four exclusive bonuses delivered to your email inbox.


On October 1st, you can check out the website to learn more about how that process works. I'm pumped for you to read it. So I hope you're just as excited to. Now, today. I want to talk a little bit about conversions and things that you need to keep in mind when you are talking to clients. So I think one of the things that really boils down to sort of a failure point with conversions is a failure to do two of the most important things. When you get on the phone call with a client, the phone call with a client is a crucial pinch point in your ability to be successful. And it's so important. In fact, that it's one of the things I regularly do with my six-figure coaching clients. We do mock sales calls where I act like the most difficult freelance client. I ask them all the hard questions we record it, I give them feedback and then they go back and listen to it later and use the strategies that they've picked up to improve their process.


And I've also created the Sales Call Masterclass with this in mind because there are so many freelancers who struggle with this particular problem. So if you're interested specifically in improving your sales call techniques, what questions you should be asking the full end to end process, and why sales calls can really turn your conversions around, check out and look for the sales call masterclass. It's one of my favorite things that I've created recently because honestly, I love doing sales calls. I think that's where I close most of my business. So I look forward to doing them when they're with the right clients. So of the most important things that you have to hang back and wait to see which one of them you need to lean into for better conversions is listen or lead. And this will depend on the type of client that you get on the phone.


If you've cold pitched a client and you caught their attention with a great subject line and a great concept, that's awesome, but they might not necessarily know why they really need the service that you offer. Furthermore, your email might have been forwarded around to different people. And so the person who's ending up on the call with you might not understand the value proposition fully. That's a great example of a time when you would show up to the call and you would lead the conversation, right? Because it's very unlikely that they're going to kick off the call in any way that's going to be meaningful. They're probably going to be like, so tell me more about you, right? And they don't want your personal history or backstory when they ask that they're unsure of why they're on the call. And so this early point of the call is your chance to step into the leadership role and drive the conversation by asking important questions and talking about what you do.


Now, if you're on the phone with the other type of client who knows what they want and is potentially comparing you to other solutions, then you want to listen. We listen in this case because clients often give us excellent information about what we need to know in that immediate conversation and in the proposal that follows up the phone call or in the suggestions that we make after the fact. So if they're ready to drive the call and you're going to step into that listener seat, do it consciously and take notes, listen to how they describe the problems and challenges they're having listen to how they describe where they want to go. And the goals that they have for the business. You can turn a lot of that language around, into a persuasive and conversion based conversation after the fact. So for example, imagine they kick off the call by saying, we're looking for somebody who's going to help us with our Google ad pay-per-click campaign.


It's really not performing as well as we expected. It seems like some things are broken in there. That information is golden to you when you are in the listener seat because you know exactly what pain points you need to hit on as you steer that conversation, when it does get to your turn. So knowing when to listen and when to lead is not something that you can always predict before the call, sometimes your early conversations and communication with the client will indicate which way the call is going to go, but you need to be prepared for it to go either direction. So you need to be prepared when you get on that call to see if there's anyone else who's stepping up to lead the flow of that conversation. And if there isn't, then you need to be prepared with the questions like the ones I've outlined in the sales call masterclass to drive that conversation and really show up as the authority and credible freelancer that you are so listening, uh, failing to listen or failing to lead can throw off the entire conversation, right?


And it's not a perfect science. You've kind of got to hop on that call and see which direction it's going so that you can know which of those roles you're going to step into. So let's talk a little bit about conversion. Conversion is really about being as efficient and effective as possible. Earning more by doing less. It's also about balancing your optimal client and project load with a related amount of pitching and sales time. That makes sense. One mistake that I see lots of scaling and even new freelancers make is they recognize that they need to put a lot of time into their marketing and pitching, but they're not really tracking how well that is performing. So one exercise I like to take people through is asking them if you were to assign a value to your time and consider the time that you put into crafting a pitch as an expense, how much are you spending on the pitching process each week or month?


And what percentage of that translates to a landed client? So this is really a question of return on investment. Sometimes cold pitching is kind of viewed as like the Holy grail of landing new clients. And by that I simply mean you're not responding to an Upwork job post you're reaching out to a company and pitching your services directly to them for the purpose of opening a conversation with a decision-maker. However, you can really go down the wrong direction by spending seven hours to write a pitch that doesn't land in any business. And I see this all the time in other freelance Facebook groups where people are like, I'm sending tons and tons of pitches, but I'm converting no clients. And it's like, you can't afford to be spending seven hours per pitch. You've got to have a streamlined system for doing the research, writing the pitch and sending it because if you're spending a ton of your time and none of it is converting, that's not a good situation.


Every freelancer is going to have billable and nonbillable time. So your billable time is when you're working on client projects and you're going to get paid for that work. Your nonbillable time is you're pitching your admin, you're giving instructions to your team members. So think of it this way. If you typically charge $50 an hour and you spend five hours on a pitch and a related phone call but didn't land the gig. That process essentially costs you $250 as a one-off experience. That's not so bad, right? Because nobody has perfect conversions and you're not going to win every potential job that you bid on. However, if that's happening all the time, you're essentially spending lots of money in terms of the time and prep that you're doing for those potential projects. And you're not getting the payoff. So there are two primary variables that can help improve that situation, reduce the time that is spent per pitch or land more gigs.


And the second one is really the sweet spot and the heart of the, of conversions. So one thing that I think many freelancers skip over, right, and something that I did from day one and I still do today because I find it to be helpful is to keep a spreadsheet of how you're pitching, who you're pitching and whether or not it's working out. You do not need to pay for expensive software to do this. You can use an Excel or Google sheet, and you can use columns like potential client's name, useful information about the prospect, the date you pitched them, the date, you scheduled a call, a key takeaways from that call a followup date, or even an outcome. This is where you collect your data and make data-driven decisions to improve your conversions. So look for ways to make your process so much more efficient as well.


You can pull a lot from the effectiveness data, but look for opportunities to make things more efficient. Overall one great example of this is template pitches and sending samples that are aligned with each of your core service offerings. You go back and listen to the last episode for more information about creating work samples, automating your calendar template emails. These are some other ways to improve the efficiency of your process by reducing the amount of time that you spend per pitch. It is not useful to have an email going back and forth with the CEO. Hey, are you free on Tuesday? Yeah, let's do Tuesday at 9:00 AM. Well, is that mountain time, or is that central time? Not a good use of anybody's time. So have a calendar link where the call can be booked quickly and easily with the client so that we can minimize your time spent as well as theirs because it really matters.


So conversions depend a lot on a couple of different things. First of all, you've got to have a rock-solid pitch and your pitch should be aligned with the services you're going to discuss on the call. If there's a disconnect, the client will feel it and won't be bought in. As I mentioned earlier, you want to understand the pain points and the priorities of the client by doing things like putting out a pre-call survey, asking them at the kickoff of the call or analyzing the words they used in their job post, it's a really powerful sales strategy to rephrase their words, to avoid misunderstandings. And it also gives them a great chance to elaborate so that you can further clarify what's most relevant for them. Once you know their pain points, you can improve your conversions by aligning your solution to their biggest priority or their biggest pain point.


And here's a pro tip. Give them a clear line of sight between the challenges they're facing right now and the services or products you offer. That's true even if there is a long road to the finish line, the client already probably knows that, and doesn't need to know every detail about how you'd approach the project. So if you break it down for them in a 17 step process, and you do that on a phone call, the client only feels overwhelmed. So give them the even right more limited version of what that looks like for you, so that they feel confident that you can handle it. But also that it's not going to be a big beast of a project that has the potential to go off course. Another key area to improve conversions is by dealing with potential objections, by leveraging all of the experience that you have.


This is a core thing. I go over in the sales call, master class, talking about most common objections that come up and how you can pivot around them or how you can clear up client misunderstandings around the idea of the objection that they brought up, right? Like sometimes they're just not clear about a certain thing and it's all in how you handle the response to the question. You can even have a client that seems like an absolute, no go based on the objections that they're raising. And you have ways to maneuver around that, where you can completely salvage the relationship. And sometimes those end up being really, really great clients. So another thing, that's important for the sake of conversions is introducing a sense of urgency where it is applicable. So giving them a reason to take action now, if that applies to them is really helpful.


Um, if you've ever been offered something and there wasn't urgency attached to it. So maybe you saw an ad on Facebook for something that was 27 bucks and you open that tab or you made a bookmark to buy it later. You didn't buy it that time because something was preventing you from moving forward with the sale. Or you didn't think that it was important enough. You could always buy it later, right? So that sense of urgency gives clients a reason to ask now. That's leaning into their pain points and convincing them that this is the right time to do it. Or it's putting some actual parameters on their eligibility to work with you, right? So this is why you send proposals that have deadlines in them. This is why you tell them, you know, I have the bandwidth. Now I can guarantee my availability for the next two weeks.


But after that, we need to reconnect. Now, obviously don't say those things. If they're complete lies, if you have no clients, don't tell somebody that you're fully booked, but you can still use that sense of urgency. In other ways, it helps clients feel like there's an immediate reason for them to decide to act now. So urgency is huge, and you can do that by closing out the call with a couple of different questions. And I'll give you two examples here, do this confidently, but ask, what would you like to have happened next? That's going to tell you when you've got a dud or a tire kicker on the call, don't send proposals to people that don't ask for them. So if you're on the call with the client and they seem super excited, this is your chance to confirm that by asking that question. The other question you can answer is, are you ready to move forward? This is a great question because it seems like it's a yes or no, but it's really an open-ended question because the client might give us more information about why they haven't made the decision to move forward yet. And that's good for us to know because we can use that in our favor to again, address those objections as they have come up.


So these are just a couple of tips to keep your conversions high, but it's important to remember that you're not always going to get a yes, even if you are a master at sales and you rock it with client qualification, you will not always get a yes. So my recommendation here is always responding to a no professionally. First of all, no doesn't mean never the client might not be ready now. They might not be ready for you, or they have to go back and talk about it within their teams. So there's no reason to burn a bridge with a potential client when they say no, but please respect their wishes.


If they say no at the end of a call that they don't need a proposal or that your price is way too far off, what could work for them, just honor that and then choose to move on. No to the bigger project is also not necessarily a no to a smaller gig. Sometimes you need to get your foot in the door. So maybe what you proposed on the call was too big of a project for them. And maybe there's a really great way for them to get started and build up that confidence and trust in working with you. So if you sense that in their responses, you can still maneuver the conversation to be a win for you in that particular way. So good luck. It's time for you to get out there and start improving your conversions. I'd love for you to check out the sales call masterclass. If you think it's a fit for you, it's exactly how I approach all of my sales calls. Good luck. Go out there and convert some clients and make more money.

Meet Laura:

Laura Briggs is empowering the freelance generation. Through her public speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps freelancers build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all their time, family, or sanity. Laura burned out as an inner-city middle school teacher before becoming an accidental freelancer with a Google search for “how to become a freelance writer.” Since then, she’s become a contributor to Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Writer’s Weekly. She worked for more than 300 clients around the world including Microsoft, Truecar, and the Mobile Marketing Association. She’s delivered two TEDx talks on the power of the freelance economy for enabling freedom and flexibility and how it’s being used to address the technical skills gap in the U.S. Laura is the host of the Advanced Freelancing podcast, a sought-after public speaker on the gig and digital freelance economy, and a freelance coach focused on aspiring six-figure freelancers. Laura’s books, courses, and coaching have reached over 10,000 people.

As a military spouse, Laura is passionate about serving her community and founded Operation Freelance, a nonprofit organization that teaches veterans and military spouses how to become freelancers and start their own business.

Aug 17, 2020

Don't underestimate the power of your work samples, and you'll learn why in this episode and how you need to be concerned with your work samples and the way that you send them to clients.

I share examples of mistakes that many beginner freelancers make, including sending irrelevant work samples.  I will also explain why I feel it is a waste of time to send custom work samples.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to avoid beginner mistakes with your work samples
  • How good work samples can help you overcome lack of experience
  • How to make the client feel like the work sample is a win for them
  • Why you shouldn’t create custom work samples
  • Why work samples should be related to what the client is asking for
  • Have just enough samples to repurpose them
  • Why you should never overwhelm a client with too many work samples
  • Why you should not direct people to your website for work samples
  • How to deliver work samples
  • The importance of reading into what your client says
  • How often you should update your work samples

After listening to this episode, share your action steps and take-aways with our group:

Mastering Your Freelance Life With Laura

Connect With Laura:

Follow Laura on Facebook

Join Laura’s Community

Subscribe to the Podcast

Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube Channel

Read the Transcript:

It's that time again, for another episode of the Advanced Freelancing Podcast. And today, our episode is all about something that I strongly recommend freelancers do every summer and honestly, every six months when you can fit it in. And that is updating your work samples. Don't underestimate the power of your work samples, and you'll learn why in this episode and how you need to be concerned with your work samples and the way that you send them to clients. There's no doubt that we're living in an information rich world. We are bombarded with information from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep, right? And your clients are no different. So you have to be very selective about the kinds of information that you share with your clients. And a great example of this are your work samples. Your work samples can overcome a lot of challenges, whether you're starting scaling or pivoting into a new freelance service area altogether, they help to tell the client a lot about what it's like to work with you and your overall style.


So when you have other challenges that you're facing such as you're just starting your business and you don't have any feedback or a great deal of experience yet good work samples can help you to overcome that. I see a lot of mistakes around the use and sending of work samples and so much like how you do your pitch and how you do your proposal and your phone call work samples are another great example where this should be client facing and client specific. You might have pieces of yours that you think are great and will work really well for work samples. But the truth is that the client has to care about it. And the client has to feel like this is a win for them when they see the work samples as well. So try to pull yourself out of the equation a little bit and leave some extra room for the work samples to be the thing that's going to be the most powerful for the client at that particular or point in time.


So I've looked at hundreds and hundreds, probably even thousands at this point have work samples that people have sent into me either because I was hiring for a contractor position myself, or I was screening somebody for a nonprofit operation, freelance or a client asked me to help hire somebody to help them with the completion of a project. And every time that I do a project like that, I use multiple different sources, right? I might look on Upwork. I might look on LinkedIn. I might post in certain Facebook groups. I might go to trusted partners. For example, when I'm hiring virtual assistants, who I know have a lot of different resources at their fingertips, from virtual assistants that are in their paid leads communities. And one thing that I find again and again, with all kinds of freelancers is that far too many people send work samples that are irrelevant or work samples that are just too high in number.


So let's start with the first example of work samples that are irrelevant when you can't send something that is reasonably similar to, or related to what the client is talking about or what they could use to make their decision. It leads into that dangerous territory of them being uncertain or unsure. And the result of that is that they won't take any forward action. So what I mean by this is if the work sample is indicative of the kind of work you do, but it's so far outside of what the client asks for or what you are pitching, that's only going to be confusing for them, right? So if you are pitching logo design, you don't need to send an example of a website or a flyer or a PDF that you designed when a simple, like a one page sheet of some of the best logos you've designed would have sufficed, right?


So this gets really confusing for clients, particularly in industries where there's lots of different variations of things. One, a great example of this is writing. So if I'm hiring a sales copywriter, for example, I need to see some form of sales copy from them. It doesn't mean it needs to be in my industry. It doesn't have to be exactly the same length as what I'm hoping they'll complete on the paid project with me, but it has to be related to the kind of style that I'm looking for. So a blog post could give me an overview of their overall ability to write, but that's not aligned with the specific skill that I'm seeking, which is sales copy. So if a client, it asks for very particular work samples, and even if they don't, but you know exactly what type of thing you're pitching, make sure that you're sending the work samples is most aligned with that particular job.


Now there's other people out there advocating for sending work samples and in particular, using Upwork by writing custom work samples for every single job that you pitched to. I do not know any new or experienced freelancer who has the time to do that 15 to 20 times a week. Right? So I do not advocate for doing that. I do not think you need to create a work sample that is really closely aligned to what the client's going to ask you to do and do that fresh every time with a new pitch. In fact, that's a huge waste of time. Um, actually, because there's no guarantee on places like Upwork, that you're actually going to get the client to respond to you. What I like to do is to create a set of samples. They can be reused and repurposed over and over again. So let's go back to that example of a writer.


If you do sales copy and you do proofreading and you do academic work, I would make sure that you have an aligned work sample for each one of those, right. A proofreading one could just be a document that you've tracked changes on and shown how you edit things. So it's important for a client to see something that is similar to what they are looking for, because otherwise they don't know if you have the specific skills. So another great example is in the world of graphic design, I recently hired a graphic designer to complete a speaking one sheet for somebody. And there were lots of examples in the portfolio of this person that convinced me, they had the visual ability, the knowledge of color, all of these types of things that made them a great designer overall. But I couldn't see any examples of the style of sheet that I was looking for.


Right. There were really colorful flyers and there were coupons and there were Facebook ad creative images, but I was looking for something very professional that would help to showcase the speaker at hand. And so when I further asked the designer for that information, she sent me something that wasn't perfectly aligned with the project, but it made total sense why she recommended it. She said, you know, here's a flyer I did for another client, um, promoting their upcoming speaking event. Um, they were doing a live training at the time. And so this is what we use to encourage people to come to the event. So not the same thing as the type of PDF that I would need the designer to make for me in this project, in which they'd be writing up reasons why event organizers and conference planners should hire the executive speaker that I'm promoting, but close enough in the same idea, right?


It's going to have the same level of professionalism. It's going to be about the same length and it's going to be very similar, right? So she did not have to go and create a whole new custom work sample and spend time and energy doing that, just to showcase that she knew about the kind of thing that I was looking for. I do this all the time when I'm pitching for clients. Um, I often have clients who will say, um, you know, show me your best personal injury blog, writing sample for legal blog writing. I might not have a personal injury sample at that point in time that I can use due to NDAs or whatever the reason might be. So I might say here are some bylined pieces that would be about the same length and depth of subject coverage as what you're asking for.


They're in consumer protection or they're in family law, but I'm recommending these as the work samples, because you'll get a really good perspective on how I approach legal issues and answer important questions for legal consumers. So that, that also gets back to this idea of like, you don't need to create custom samples. You need to have just enough samples where you can repurpose them and send them along to clients for the things you're pitching foremost. Now, if you submit a pitch twice a year for a type of project or are asked to do it and provide work samples, don't go out and create something custom, right? You don't need to do that. Um, but if it's something you're pitching for regularly, I like to have work samples. I like to have different versions of my resume. And of course I have different versions of my pitch and proposal options, depending on the specific


That's example, number one of a big mistake that you can make with your work samples, which is just having them be irrelevant, right? They're not in line with what the client needs to see to make a decision. And if we give a client data points that they can't use, and that's not helpful to them in making their final decision, we've made the process more difficult for them. And a confused client is not a client, whoever buys an example and problem. Number two, when it comes to your work samples are sending way too many. It's awesome. If you've designed 500 websites, it's an incredible accomplishment. If you have so many work samples that it's hard for you to decide what to send, but that doesn't eliminate the need to cut down on what you send. Just like a confused client, never buys an overwhelmed client is more likely to be nitpicky and not view all of your information instead of viewing things that you've specifically chosen for them.


So in this case, it's actually far better to send three to four work samples that are aligned with the style of the type of project, the skills in question, rather than saying, here's a link to my website portfolio with 50 different examples. This is the reason why clients don't have time. They are not going to go look at your website and 50 work samples. Whenever I'm hiring someone for my own business or on behalf of a client or somebody else, this probably eliminates a lot of people from the candidate pool without them even realizing it. So if I ask in a Google form, for example, in hiring a freelancer, please share the link to your two most relevant work samples based on all the information I've given you about the job at hand and their response is to say, here's the link to my website portfolio.


I'm not going to click it because I know what I'm going to see when I go there and you haven't put any extra thought into it. Now, if you put the link to your portfolio or to a specific piece in your portfolio or say, uh, click on the missing portfolio link, you want to see, um, the third thing down is super relevant, but even then you could have just sent the third thing in your portfolio, right? You have a much higher chance of the client looking at the material when you have spoonfed it and delivered it right to them. You've been respectful of their time. You've done some strategic thinking about what the best thing to send to them is, and you've made it easy for them. This is especially important when you're competing against other freelancers. So when you're responding to a Facebook post that has a call for freelancers and contractors, where there's lots and lots of people applying when you're replying to a Craigslist ad or an indeed ad or an Upwork job posts, you're competing with other freelancers.


And if other freelancers more effectively and efficiently, get to the point and share the right samples before you do the client has a much higher likelihood of hiring them. So rather than sending 15, 2050 work samples choose the top three that are most relevant to the job at hand and explain why you're providing them, right? Because if the client doesn't have the right information, it's like to do one of those math problems that you got on the sat where they actually didn't give you all of the details you needed to come up with the equation or the solution to the equation, right? Clients get very frustrated with that. So if they're saying, Hey, I want to see your best example of a social media campaign. And you send something that's instead from running a Pinterest ad, that's confusing to the client because it's not the same thing as running an organic social media campaign.


And you've given them data that they don't know what to do with the best case scenario. They ignore it. And they're much more likely to just be confused by it. And again, remember our confused clients, don't buy our overwhelmed client, don't buy. So don't send me many work samples, do not just direct people to your website. That is not what your website is there for. The portfolio page of your website is there to show credibility. And it's there for people who have landed on your website in a paid or an organic traffic way. It is not there for you to send people to when you're pitching other things, because they won't go there. They're too busy and they don't know what they're going to get by clicking on that. So it's much easier to just say, Hey, here's the two samples that I chose to apply to this particular job with.


And here's why, so I recently was in a situation speaking with a freelancer who was applying for a position that called for a variety of different skills, right? So I didn't ask for specific work samples and say, Oh, this one is most important. I need to see an email marketing campaign, or I need to see a social media audit. But after speaking with me, he read between the lines and said, Hey, based on what we discussed, I put together a quick sample email newsletter for you. And I ran a report on the engagement metrics of the Twitter page in question. So that showed that he has the strategic mind to recognize that it's not in his best interest to send me the work samples of everything he's ever done. He's using the pain points and the clues that I gave him on the call to decide which work samples to send.


I see this all too often. So many different kinds of freelancers, and yes, it's really easy to be like, go to my, or here's a folder with 16 different samples in it. Don't do that. Send them the link to the exact samples that you want them to see, make it easy, easy for them to view it. Do not send it as an email attachment because people get weird about attachments and that can get you flagged as being spam. So send a Dropbox link, send a Google drive, link something that they are more likely to click and open, but make it be strategic. And it should go without saying that your work samples should be the absolute best work you have. If you spent 20 minutes putting it together, the client can tell that. And what is the point for them to use that, to evaluate you for a position they are far more likely to decide not to work with you at all.


So if you put any effort into something in your business, it really should be your pitch and your work samples. They work really well together to convince a client that they, the client should give you a chance. And it's really, really unfortunate for me when someone has a great pitch and they have a great profile and great experience, but it falls apart on the work samples because the work samples were sloppy. They have mistakes in them, or they were sent, you know, 2,500 times. And I don't know which one is most important as the prospective client. So I just click on a random one that random one might not be your best work. So make it easy for the client to see that you've read into what they've written, read into what they've said, and that you've selected a work sample that is most in line with that.


I strongly recommend going back and updating your work samples a minimum of every six months, because you get better. You work on cooler projects, you have more examples to work with. And as your skills improve, you want to capture that in your work samples and provide clients, things that are the most relevant for you. Now that six month period is also a good opportunity to say, have I been doing any new services that I need to create work samples for, or that I need to create case studies for? Because now I've worked with my first handful of clients and I have some early results, keep this information updated. You know, um, as a writer, sometimes I go back and look at some of my previous writing samples and I'm shocked anyone hired me, right? Because they were terrible, right? They weren't terrible when I started, because that was the best I could do.


But as I've sharpened my skills, I don't want that to be representative of my work. And I know that as a freelancer, you're constantly improving. You're taking feedback, you're learning new things, taking courses, uh, implementing those skills at a higher level. And we want clients to know that as you transition farther and farther away from being a beginner, don't make those beginner mistakes with your work sample. Thanks for tuning into another episode of advanced freelancing. If you're not as pumped as I am about the launch of the six figure freelancer book in October, I don't even know why you're listening. Right? So check out six figure freelance You're going to learn more about what's in the book. It's over 70,000 words of actionable strategies based on my experience, my experience, coaching and insight from 19 other six-figure freelancers. You're going to love the book and there's some really cool resources that go along with it now is the perfect time to preorder. So again, check out six figure freelance Let me know what you think.

Meet Laura:

Laura Briggs is empowering the freelance generation. Through her public speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps freelancers build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all their time, family, or sanity. Laura burned out as an inner-city middle school teacher before becoming an accidental freelancer with a Google search for “how to become a freelance writer.” Since then, she’s become a contributor to Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Writer’s Weekly. She worked for more than 300 clients around the world including Microsoft, Truecar, and the Mobile Marketing Association. She’s delivered two TEDx talks on the power of the freelance economy for enabling freedom and flexibility and how it’s being used to address the technical skills gap in the U.S. Laura is the host of the Advanced Freelancing podcast, a sought-after public speaker on the gig and digital freelance economy, and a freelance coach focused on aspiring six-figure freelancers. Laura’s books, courses, and coaching have reached over 10,000 people.

As a military spouse, Laura is passionate about serving her community and founded Operation Freelance, a nonprofit organization that teaches veterans and military spouses how to become freelancers and start their own business.

Aug 10, 2020

Are you losing clients?  Do you have clients decreasing the packages and projects you are working on?

Especially during the pandemic, you have to be adaptable and ready to pivot. Being proactive and communicating with your clients and knowing what is most important to your client right now can prevent them from pulling the plug.

In this episode, you will learn how to stay ahead of your client and be clear about the accomplishments you are making and the return on investment that you are delivering.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • What clauses you should have in your contract
  • When to give your clients grace
  • When to expect your clients to pull back
  • Why you should be proactive in how you communicate with your clients
  • The importance of sharing wins with your clients
  • Sharing reports with your clients to explain their return on investment
  • When to reach out to clients for contract renewal
  • Be adaptable and ready to pivot during the pandemic
  • Be strategic and specific in what you offer to your clients
  • Know where your clients can get wins right now
  • How to have conversations to get a sense of what you can offer your client
  • The importance of a monthly or quarterly recap of accomplishments
  • How to respond to a client that wants to decrease

After listening to this episode, share your action steps and take-aways with our group:

Mastering Your Freelance Life With Laura

Connect With Laura:

Follow Laura on Facebook

Join Laura’s Community

Subscribe to the Podcast

Subscribe to Laura’s YouTube Channel

Read the Transcript:


Welcome back to another episode of advanced freelancing. It's been quite a while since you heard from just me. Right? Well, get ready. I've got several solo episodes coming your way. And due to listener requests, I'll be transferring back to more solo episodes in the near future. So you'll still hear from some freelance experts from other communities in places from time to time. But it's very clear that most of my listeners love listening to some of these solo episodes, kind of peppered in with expertise from other guests. Today. I want to talk about something that's really challenging for a lot of freelancers and seems to be coming up a lot more now as a result of the pandemic, what do you do when a client wants to pull the plug wants to cancel or wants to decrease the packages and projects you're working on now, any business can make this decision for any reason at any time, right?

Sometimes they might just be going through a challenging time with their company. Their marketing budget has been decreased. They're pivoting and offering something entirely new. There's really so many different reasons that companies can naturally come up against the situation. But of course, anytime that we're facing a recession or something like the pandemic, when questions are being raised about any project that's on the table, in any expense in the business, you can definitely anticipate this becoming more likely with some of your clients. Now, just because a client wants to have a conversation about decreasing or dropping the project entirely doesn't mean that's the end of the story. Now, definitely. If this is a bigger client and they've already talked about it with their internal team and come to the decision that the project needs to halt entirely, or they need to cancel the contract and pay the kill fee for canceling early.

There's very little you can do at that point in time, but you want to get to the point where that is very rare, right? We don't want our clients blindsiding us with information that they've decided to cancel everything and throw out the baby with the bathwater with no notice for us. Most of you should have clauses inside your contract that require the client to give you a certain amount of notice. Now, if their business is going bankrupt if they're shutting their doors if this has happened to me if the owner of the company passes away and it's really influx, who's going to take over. Those are situations where you might not get the required notice. And you probably want to give your clients a little bit of grace. If they're going through something especially difficult, but otherwise your clients should adhere to what's listed in the contract. As far as how long with advanced notice they need to give you that the contract is ending. So it's most likely to happen towards the end of the month towards the end of the quarter and towards the end of your contract, right? Because these are naturally times when companies and teams are going to be taking a look at where they're spending their money or monitoring performance of campaigns to make that decision. So you never want to let your clients get to the point where they are having those conversations without any input from you. This does not mean that you are there and are present for the actual meeting. No, it actually means that you are doing some outreach prior to these natural endpoints where you're sending the client a report you're discussing what's gone well, and what can be improved, where you've made some type of outreach, essentially, where you haven't let the situation just set it and forget it, right? That's what we don't want is to deliver work for our clients. And then at the end of a three-month contract, one week before the contract is up, when you realize you need to get it to renew, that shouldn't be the only time you're reaching out to your client to initiate the renewal conversation. You want to have a positive relationship throughout the length of the contract to make it much easier for them to be excited about reconsidering it.

And if there's no input from you, their team is looking at this in a very simple, there is no gray area situation. They're looking at, what is their return on investment and how much money are they spending on working with you? If you've listened to this podcast for any amount of time, I always talk about if you are negotiating only on money or on price, it is nearly impossible to back yourself out of that corner. And so we don't ever want the conversation to be only about the amount of money that they spend on your projects. This is especially true when you're working on things that are a long game, like growing an organic social media following or SEO writing or things that just take some time to get traction. We want to set our clients up with reasonable expectations when they start working with us and keep in communication with them over the lifetime of the project. So that you've kind of set yourself up for a win with the renewal conversation. You're not waiting until the company reaches out to you about the conversation. You are reaching out to them a few weeks in advance to discuss some of the achievements that you've already had. Now, if you have got some big wins for the client since you started working together, this anticipating a renewal conversation should definitely include that. Let's imagine that you're a writer who published articles for a client. And those got picked up by traditional media and shared all over the internet or went viral or had hundreds of comments, or really got great engagement on Facebook. The client probably told you about those accomplishments, or you saw them organically as you worked on the project, but now is the perfect time to remind them of some of the wins you've gotten because at the end of a contract, it's so much easier for a client to look back and go, Hmm, I don't really remember all the great things that happened, but I do remember how I wanted this to perform better or there's any other negative aspects.

You don't want the conversation to be about that. So direct the conversation pre-renewal by highlighting some of the things you've done well. Now, if your client seems open to it, i.e. they haven't had a company-wide meeting and already made the decision to cancel your contract. This preemptive work will really set you up to at a minimum, have a conversation with the client about what their next step is. And it's very possible that in light of the pandemic or other issues, the package that you proposed previously doesn't work anymore. It might not be as simple as just renewing what you're already doing. You have to be willing to pivot and be adaptable in these situations because all businesses are being asked to, to do those things. And so you have to pivot and be adaptable on behalf of your clients, by thinking carefully about what they need the most right now. So if that is something different than what you proposed three months ago, six months ago, a month ago, bring that up to them and suggest different things that might be more helpful. I'll give you an example from one of my coaching clients, there was a prospective client for this coaching client that really wouldn't benefit from the current offerings that the freelancer had. And I've had the situation myself recently, where normally I would recommend blogging to just about all of my clients, but I was working with an attorney who just had no

website presence at all. It made no sense for the first thing I recommended to him to be, yes, you need to be blogging eight times a month. He didn't even have the website structure built out properly. He had no technical SEO elements on his page. And so when I wrote the proposal, it was very specific to where his business was at right there. And when my freelance coaching client went back to the prospective client and said, you know what? I don't think that blogging, you know, continued blogging is going to make sense for you. What I am going to recommend is writing great lead magnets and having some email newsletter copy, because you've already built up a following on your email newsletter list. And this is going to be the place where you can get the most sales right now. So as freelancers, it's on us to be mindful of situations happening in the greater economy and marketplace that are forcing our clients to have tough conversations.

We have to be there with them. And in order to continue on the path of being taken seriously, as a true partner of your freelance clients, you have to be willing to pivot and adapt to. If you've known for a couple of weeks that your client is struggling financially, but they really believe in your work. Don't just turn around and offer them a renewed contract at the same rate, with the same volume of work, be sensitive to that, think about where they can get wins right now, what is really going to be meaningful for their business right now, this gives them a chance to feel that continued positive relationship with you, that you have their best interests in mind, that you're not just selling things to sell things you're being very strategic and specific in what you offer to your clients. So if a client brings up to you, this idea that they're thinking about decreasing the contract, one of the best things you can do is try to have a conversation around this and not over email, an actual video conversation or a phone conversation about some of where the challenges are at.

They may be misperceiving things, and you want to have the opportunity to correct that before they make a rash decision, like ending your contract altogether. So for example, maybe the client had unrealistic expectations about how a Facebook ad campaign was going to perform or how involved it would be to truly update all of the development tools and plugins on your website. If they had unrealistic expectations. And those weren't caught at the beginning of the relationship, they might simply be thinking about ending things because the project just isn't where they anticipated it to be. So if a project has gone off the rails, this is a good chance for you to step in and say, this is where we're at right now. Here are the next couple of things we're focusing on. And here's when you can expect to receive them, having conversations with clients, we'll also give you access to data that you will not find anywhere else.

You will get a really good sense of what you can offer to the client, if anything, just by having these conversations, right? So it's really up to you to be the one to take that forward action step, to ask the client, if you can chat about things to do a monthly or quarterly recap of all the things you've done within the project, it makes them feel good that there's still forward progress being made on some of their goals and remove some of that easiness about just saying, you know what, we're going to cancel this project altogether because it's a money issue. Now, if you get on the phone with your client, you're hunting for information about why they're not happy, why they're thinking about decreasing things. If there's something that you're at fault for in this conversation, by all means, own up to it. Just simply say, you know what?

I do apologize for that. These were the circumstances around how that happened, and here's what I've put in place to make sure that isn't going to happen again, or here's how we've gotten back on track. Since that point, if they were hoping for different results, you can kind of talk about some of the things that might have contributed to those results or not. Right. Um, I definitely have seen a lot of the metrics with my clients around the pandemic. They're all over the place, right? Like web searching, podcast listening, it's all over the place. And so it's much less consistent than it was in the past. And it's your responsibility as a freelancer to have those conversations with your clients and say that, you know, this is the reason why this has happened. And here's how I've pivoted our strategy a little bit, um, to be mindful of that.

So as an example, running Facebook ad campaigns for a company, one of the things that I've learned recently is because people are on their phone more they're at home more, they're spending a lot of time online, a lot of time on social media. They're more receptive to ads in some cases, but they're also much more likely to get annoyed with ads if they see them too many times. So Facebook measures something known as a frequency score, which is how often the same people are seeing the same ad. And if you see the same ad on Facebook or anywhere else over and over, it just annoys you to a certain point, right? You've seen it. You've already made the decision not to engage with it, and that can decrease the effectiveness of your campaign. So where previously my strategy might have been to swap out the copy and creative on Facebook ads every couple of months, that's become more frequent. Now, as I watched that frequency score very carefully, and I'll tell my clients like, you know, some of these strategies we've implemented that have been successful in the past in nonpandemic situations or whatever situation is going on. They're not working right now. And here's how I'm going to recommend that we pivot and adjust that this is where your client sees you as a strategic partner. You have their best interests in mind. You're recognizing when something isn't working and you're adjusting it. Now, if a client just wants to decrease the quality and cost of their overall project, working with you, it is your responsibility to think about whether there's any way to salvage the relationship. If it could do a great deal of damage for them to quit altogether, you need to tell the client that, and not from the perspective of, I don't want to lose your income as a freelancer, but from the perspective of this is important for me to tell you that if you choose to stop working on your SEO efforts, if you suddenly stopped posting on LinkedIn, when you've built a great following there, there's going to be impacts from that.

That will be very hard to build back from once you make that decision. So you might not recommend that the client proceed exactly as they were prior to making the decision to drop or decrease the size of the project. But what you are going to do is to make some recommendations with what I call things going on low maintenance mode, right? Maybe it's not achievable for them to be posting on LinkedIn every day. Maybe it's not affordable for them to be paying you to post on LinkedIn every day. This is where you put on your hat as a strategist and say, how can I salvage this relationship? Not only to make sure that I keep the relationship and some of the revenue from it, but do the thing that the client needs the most right now, if people aren't engaging with their posts on LinkedIn, the way that they were in the past, maybe you recommend dialing it down to just two times per week. That way they don't lose all of the traction. They'd built up by being really active on that platform. But you're also not stressing them out with a high bill, paying a freelancer to do it five times a week. So see how important it is to get on the phone and have these conversations because your clients want to hear how you strategize through things. They want to hear you own up to when things maybe aren't performing as well, or the project hasn't been delivered as well, or communication wasn't as professional as they anticipated, but that's not where you leave it. You leave with a next action step of what you recommend they do going forward. And when you can do this, honestly, with integrity and recommend things that are going to benefit the client. Now, even if that does mean honoring their original request to cancel the, or decrease the size of the project, it's far better to do that than to come across as desperate and trying to keep the relationship just for the sake of keeping it.

So there's lots of things that you can do when a client talks about needing to be mindful of their budget or being concerned that they're not getting great results, but you don't want those conversations to happen after it's too late, you need to be proactive in how you reach out to your clients and how you structure these conversations. You might just be able to save a relationship altogether.

Now, listeners, many of you already know that my second book, The Six-Figure Freelancer is coming out on October 20th, 2020. By pre-ordering the book you'll get four exclusive bonuses and you'll be involved and entered in giveaways and other opportunities for prizes. You can learn more about those bonuses and the book by going to Thanks again for tuning in.

Meet Laura:

Laura Briggs is empowering the freelance generation. Through her public speaking, coaching, and writing, she helps freelancers build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all their time, family, or sanity. Laura burned out as an inner-city middle school teacher before becoming an accidental freelancer with a Google search for “how to become a freelance writer.” Since then, she’s become a contributor to Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and Writer’s Weekly. She worked for more than 300 clients around the world including Microsoft, Truecar, and the Mobile Marketing Association.

She’s delivered two TEDx talks on the power of the freelance economy for enabling freedom and flexibility and how it’s being used to address the technical skills gap in the U.S. Laura is the host of the Advanced Freelancing podcast, a sought-after public speaker on the gig and digital freelance economy, and a freelance coach focused on aspiring six-figure freelancers. Laura’s books, courses, and coaching have reached over 10,000 people.

As a military spouse, Laura is passionate about serving her community and founded Operation Freelance, a nonprofit organization that teaches veterans and military spouses how to become freelancers and start their own business.

Aug 3, 2020

Have you ever put yourself in your clients shoes to ensure that you are delivering an exceptional experience? You may be making mistakes with your clients that could become problematic.  My guest, Anthony Park, shares the following top five things that your client wants you to know:

  1. The time of your client is more important than money
  2. Good is better than fast
  3. Know your competition
  4. You have to be turnkey
  5. Level up to be a trusted advisor

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • Minimize the time your client spends explaining things to you
  • Take the pressure off your client by reducing their decision-making time
  • Why you should schedule your emails
  • Make sure the experience you create with your client is more advantageous than not
  • How to position yourself even when there are other solutions out there
  • How think one step ahead of your client
  • Know the style, brand, and needs of your client
  • How to be a resource to your client
  • Why you should step into the role of a strategic advisor
  • What mistakes you should avoid

Tools Referenced:


About Anthony:

Anthony is a professional executor, best-selling author of “How to Invest for Retirement,” and podcast host of "Simple Money Wins." With so much going on, Anthony relies heavily on freelancers and virtual staff.

Where to find Anthony:

Additional Resources:

Join Laura’s Facebook Group

Follow Laura on YouTube

Subscribe to the Podcast

Jul 27, 2020

Have you ever considered using Thumbtack to find clients?  I confess until I interviewed Bianca Scott I didn’t realize what an awesome opportunity the platform could be for freelancers!

This episode is a goldmine for tips and tricks that apply to any platform, but you will certainly learn the ins and outs of using Thumbtack to find clients and scale your business. Bianca shares how she got reviews before she landed paying clients, how to leverage social media to become a trusted service provider, and when to leave your 9-5 to work your side hustle full-time.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to get clients on Thumbtack
  • Why you should do pro-bono work
  • How to use your family and friends to gain honest reviews
  • Utilizing multiple platforms for the same client review
  • When to leave your 9-5 to work your side hustle full-time
  • Learn secrets to scale your business
  • How to use social media to grow your business
  • Contracts and payments through Thumbtack

About Bianca:

Bianca Scott is the CEO of BusyB Writing, LLC. After receiving her undergraduate degree at Huntingdon College and her graduate degree at the University of South Alabama, she used her communication studies major to land a job at a small architecture firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Although she spent four years as a marketing specialist, her passion has always been writing. In 2016, she received a tip on how she could monetize her hobby by helping others who lack professional and creative writing skills, and the rest is history. Since beginning her business, she has been rated as a Top Pro by Thumbtack and helped over 150 people with their writing and book publishing projects.

Bianca’s Links:

Link to start business checklist (e-book):

Link to start business checklist (hardback):

Jul 20, 2020

Do you know how profitable your business really is?  Until I hired a bookkeeper, I had no clue how little income I was actually earning!

I am thrilled to share financial tips from my guest Ean Murphy who will teach you the difference between a financial system and a budget.  Ean shares why you should hire a virtual assistant before a bookkeeper and how outsourcing your finances will help you to make more money in your business.

Ean will share action steps that you can implement today to get your finances in order.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • What does a bookkeeper do
  • The value bookkeeper will bring to your business
  • How to get on top of your finances
  • How to determine if your business is profitable
  • When to outsource bookkeeping
  • How to set yourself up for a successful relationship with your bookkeeper
  • How to select financial tracking software
  • The difference between a bookkeeper and accountant
  • Why you should hire a virtual assistant before a bookkeeper
  • The importance of a financial system vs. budget
  • Action steps to start tracking your finances

Resources Mentioned:

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine

by Mike Michalowicz

Additional Resources:

Pre-Order My Next Book >> The Six Figure Freelancer

Subscribe to the Podcast

Join my Facebook Group

Connect with Ean:

Ean Price Murphy founded Moxie Bookkeeping & Coaching Inc in 2003 to work with creative businesses and nonprofits - companies deeply engaged with their work but frequently not comfortable with the numbers.

Moxie’s core promise is to make your financial information accessible and actionable, even if you don’t think of yourself as good with bookkeeping.

Unlike other consultants, Ean isn’t a Wall Street or corporate escapee - she has decades of first-hand knowledge of the challenges of being a small business owner with staff.

Ean is a certified Mastery level Profit First Professional, Xero Platinum partner, Quickbooks ProAdvisor, and a certified business coach.


Facebook group

Moxie Facebook page

Download the first two chapters of Profit First

Jul 13, 2020

In this episode my guest Sophia Dagnon teaches you how to write cold pitches that stand out from the crowd.  You’ll learn the best practices of writing an email and all the things that you need to research and do before writing your pitch.

Sophia shares why building a relationship with your potential client is as important as making a sale.  Her tips will help you brainstorm which companies to pitch to and how to be authentic when doing so.

You’ll also discover why sales calls are as important as your cold pitch.  Sophia shares what not to do during a sales call, how to prepare for the call and be confident in yourself, and steps to close the sale.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to find companies to write a cold pitch
  • Doing research on the company and person that you are pitching to
  • How to stand out from the crowd
  • How to sound authentic by adding personalization
  • What to keep in mind when writing a cold pitch
  • Capturing data in your email performance
  • Best practices in writing an email
  • Why relationships are more important than getting a sale
  • Why you have to be good at sales calls
  • What not to do during a sales call
  • How to prepare for a sales call
  • How to be more confident during sales calls
  • Steps to close the sales call
  • Following up with potential clients


Sophia Dagnon helps thought leaders, SaaS companies + direct-to-consumer e-com folks connect with their people and sell like a human through conversion-focused copy. She works with the amazing folks at Copyhackers + GetUplift and (occasionally) takes on private clients.

Connect with Sophia:


Free cold email templates:

Jul 6, 2020

Are you stumped on the idea of using SEO to build your freelance website? In this episode, my guest Jason Berkotwiz, SEO expert and Founder & SEO Director of Break The Web, shares about SEO for your website, providing SEO services, having an agency, and using virtual assistants to stay on track with day-to-day tasks.

You’ll hear how to utilize SEO for your website to get more traffic, leads, and make more sales.  Jason shares how to learn about SEO for free and the importance of using your testing your own strategies and using the results as case studies to land clients.

We discuss why you should consider offering multiple niches to protect yourself during times of variations in the market and the benefits of having and agency.  Tune in to hear how you can make more money by offering your services as a strategist rather than just doing the tasks.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • SEO tips for building your freelance service’s website
  • Getting more traffic, leads, and sales
  • Why you should consider hiring an SEO specialist
  • Services that you can offer as an SEO expert
  • How to make more money as an SEO consultant or strategist
  • How to set expectations with your client
  • Where to start learning about SEO
  • The importance of testing your strategies and using the results as case studies
  • The downsides of having a niche and pivoting within a market
  • Why you should have multiple niches
  • The benefits of having an agency versus being a solopreneur
  • Hiring a virtual assistant to help with the day-to-day tasks


Jason Berkowitz is the Founder & SEO Director of Break The Web, an inbound digital meeting agency based in New York City. For over 6 years, Jason was a freelance SEO consultant until a natural transition led him to form his own boutique operation which he operates his expertise out of today.

Connect with Jason:

Jun 29, 2020

In this episode, my guest freelancer Jordan Fox teaches you how to pitch, network with, and have ongoing relationships with high profile clients. You’ll learn how to stand out from the crowd and get through to the connections that will put you in front of celebrities.  Jordan shares what you can expect when pitching and working with high profile clients after the fact.  You’ll get a strategy for building a foundation, staying the course, and execution and delivery around what you are offering the client.

Jordan shares how to offer a full service company by working with other freelancers that compliment your skill sets. He gives you the steps to build a network with experts in different lanes, team up and partner with them, and build out a world class team.  By bringing in referral fees and saving your clients time searching for other talent it becomes a win-win for you and your clients.

Hear why Jordan feels that remote only work and freelancing is the future, and how diversifying your revenue streams is vital to success.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to stand out from the crowd to and attract celebrity clients
  • How to create a strategy to get through to high profile clients
  • Steps to get through the gatekeeper to put you in front of celebrity clients
  • Tips after landing the gig
  • Confidentiality around working with celebrity clients
  • Building out your freelance team to offer additional services
  • Creating long term relationships with freelance partners
  • Standards for freelancer partners
  • How remote only work and freelance work is the future
  • The importance of having multiple streams of income
  • How to have a side hustle


Jordan Fox, founder and president of MMP Digital, received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting from Syracuse University before getting his Masters in Accounting from Yeshiva University in Manhattan.

He started his career at SocialCode, then the largest social media advertising company in the world. From 2015-2016, the company ran over $300 million in advertising. Jordan led strategy and ad buying across the social media landscape for more than 20 Fortune 500 brands, including Verizon Wireless and Coca-Cola.

He then joined VaynerMedia as a Senior Account Strategist, enjoying a front seat to the brand-building dynamics of serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. Jordan ran digital marketing programs for Chase and L'Occitane across social media, influencer marketing, paid media, e-commerce, OTT and VR/AR/AI.

Most recently, Jordan was Director of Digital Strategy for 15-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. He led global strategy and partnerships across all of Alicia's digital channels, ultimately helping her reach over 80+ million followers across social media. Jordan built smarter work streams while managing her in-house production team, digital agency and record label. While working alongside Alicia, her president, music manager, publicist and philanthropy advisor, Jordan created key moments for Alicia helping her grow her brand and digital footprint.

Now, Jordan is focused on bringing MMP to a wide audience, joining his know-how with that of other seasoned digital professionals.

Connect with Jordan:





Jun 22, 2020

In this episode, my guest freelancer Ellen Goodwin shares how she lost clients and almost lost her business due to procrastination.  We discuss how to work when no one is watching and being consistent to meet deadlines for clients. 

You’ll learn about the different types of procrastination and why we procrastinate. Ellen gives tips on how to identify why you are getting distracted and how to address it.  You’ll get action steps to allow for time for distraction and then refocus to get things done. 

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to deal with the feast or famine cycles of freelancing
  • Tips to prepare for downtime when you’re not fully booked
  • Building confidence to prepare for times of insecurity
  • How to overcome procrastination
  • Why do we procrastinate?
  • Different types of procrastination
  • How to make a plan to avoid procrastination
  • Stop blaming yourself and setting yourself up for failure
  • How consistent mini-habits can get you on the right track
  • Reward yourself for meeting productivity goals


Ellen Goodwin is a Productivity Trainer, TEDx speaker, and author who uses neuroscience-based principles to enable individuals and businesses to overcome all types of procrastination, build stronger habits, and be more focused so that they can be more efficient and effective with their time. Ellen believes that when it comes to productivity, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why she advocates for experimentation to find the tools and techniques which will work seamlessly with your life and your business, no matter what you want to accomplish. She recently released her first book, DONE: How To Work When No One Is Watching, and is the co-host of The Faster, Easier, Better Show podcast.



Jun 15, 2020

In this episode, you’ll hear from freelance translator Maeva Cifuentes.  We discuss where to find clients, how to market your services, and networking on LinkedIn. The principles discussed here apply to any freelance business, no matter your services.

You’ll learn what it really looks like to be a translator, beyond speaking the language. Maeva takes you through the day in the life of a translator, and how to be a leader in the industry.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • What is the difference in translation and interpreting as a freelancer?
  • What you need to know in the source language to be a translator?
  • What does a typical day look like as a translator?
  • Should you focus on a specialty or be a generalist?
  • How to market your freelance translator services.
  • Things you must do to stand out on LinkedIn.
  • What you should know before deciding to offer translation services.
  • How to prepare for a translation business, beyond speaking the language.
  • How to build relationships with clients.


Maeva has been a French and Spanish to English freelance translator for just over a decade. She writes about freelance translation & the digital nomad lifestyle on her blog, Maeva Everywhere. As a person with multiple interests, she's diversified her services into marketing, on top of translation, and recently launched a content marketing agency. You can usually find her writing on LinkedIn, traveling, learning a new skill or listening to her favorite music.

Connect with Maeva:


Jun 8, 2020

In this episode, you’ll learn about content repurposing from expert Amy Woods.  We discuss how to take the guesswork out of posting on social media and show up consistently.  By focusing on quality over quantity you can become an industry leader and go-to person when your client has a problem.

You’ll learn how to create several weeks’ worth of content from one piece of high-quality content, such as a podcast or blog post.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How to create lots of micro content from one piece of high-quality content
  • How to create and spin one piece of content to fuel your marketing efforts
  • How to create a plan for repurposing long-form content
  • How to choose what you are going to do and staying in your comfort zone
  • Creating content that solves a problem for your client
  • Do at least one thing very consistently and create a system around it
  • How to stay on track with one platform
  • Why you should consider outsourcing and the expected cost
  • Getting referrals from existing clients
  • Content marketing tips


Amy is an expert in content repurposing and the Founder of Content 10x – a niche creative agency. She helps content creators grow their audience by maximizing their return on the content they create. She works with businesses, entrepreneurs and thought leaders, and is the content repurposing powerhouse behind some of the most well-known podcasts and video shows.

Amy is the host of The Content 10x Podcast and she is the author of best-selling book Content 10x: More Content, Less Time, Maximum Results, the ultimate guide to reaching more people online with your content.

She talks on stages all around the world about content repurposing, including at events like PodFest Multimedia Expo, Podcast Movement, Youpreneur Summit and RadioDays.

Amy podcasts and writes about content repurposing at and shares ideas on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Connect with Amy:





Jun 1, 2020

In this episode freelance copywriter and screenwriter Marc Isaacs shares what to look for in non-disclosure agreements, the legal implications, and how to grow your freelance business around the confidentiality restrictions.

You’ll learn how to leverage the work you’ve done as a freelancer to get other clients while maintaining confidentiality.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • What to look for in non-disclosure agreements
  • Getting clarification in NDA’s
  • Should you get an attorney to review NDA?
  • Respecting your client and honoring your agreement
  • Challenges of working around NDA’s and how it affects your freelance business
  • Entering into client relationships when unable to disclose who your client is
  • Leveraging the work you’ve done as a ghost writer to get other clients
  • Getting testimonials and social proof with confidentiality restrictions
  • Should you use an NDA in your own business?
  • Protecting your brand as a freelancer

Marc Isaacs is a freelance copywriter and screenwriter based in San Antonio, Texas. His clients are thriving small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries, including technology, medical, travel, AI, entertainment, and more. He launched a freelance writing career in 2004 following multiple positions in broadcast news where he produced local newscasts and field produced for national network news organizations.

Among Isaacs' most notable career accomplishments are creating and producing a children's educational TV series called Houston ZooperStars Challenge, which earned multiple Lone Star Emmy nominations, and writing and directing a television pilot called The Legend of Marshal Dead, which is currently in post-production. His writing and producing for television also includes holiday and event-related programming for broadcast affiliate stations, including a TV special for the largest indoor livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world . In addition to writing and producing content, he's a professional actor with membership in SAG-AFTRA since 2014.

Isaacs is originally from upstate New York, raised and educated in a rural region along New York's border with Ontario, Canada. He's currently developing film and television scripts based on true stories set in that region's small towns, and he's been researching family stories for a book he's writing about his mother and her 13 siblings. He relocated to Houston, Texas in 2001 and has spent most of the last two decades in the Lone Star State with a few years spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Los Angeles, California.

Connect with Marc:

Screenwriter/Filmmaker Link:

LinkedIn Profile:

May 25, 2020

In this episode Michael Diettrich-Chastain, the CEO of Arc Integrated, talks about being resilient in times of change and uncertainty, and the questions that you need to ask yourself to create momentum in your business.

You’ll learn the one thing you can absolutely count on, and how to utilize it to adjust to personal and professional changes.

Here are some things we covered in this episode:

  • How all life and work experience is totally relevant to entrepreneurship
  • Using lessons you’ve learned and apply them to your business
  • 7 major predictors of success
  • Change is inevitable
  • Common principles of change
  • What to do in early phases of changes
  • How to thrive in the new normal
  • What questions do you need to ask yourself to create momentum
  • Tools for determining what is holding you back from positive change

Michael is the founder and CEO of Arc Integrated, an  Organizational Consulting and Professional Coaching practice in Asheville, NC. Through a focus on change management, emotional intelligence and leadership effectivness, Arc Integrated empowers individuals and organizations to achieve optimum performance in their work and life.  

As a consultant, Michael has helped organizational leaders and teams improve retention, enagement, productivity and sales. Michael focuses on improving leadership, team performance and fostering stronger collaboration within systems, to improve the organization’s bottom line. He has facilitated trainings on leadership, change management, team building, communication, emotional intelligence, employee engagement, self-care and other topics.  

As a Professional Coach, Michael works with leaders to reduce stress, improve work/life balance or enhance leadership skills. Michael’s writing can be seen on Livestrong, Time, Money, Monster, About, Entreprenuer and The Washington Post. His first book, CHANGES – The Busy Professional’s Guide to Reducing Stress, Accomplishing Goals and Mastering Adaptability is released on May 7th, 2019.  

Michael enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, listening to podcasts and has been studying and teaching at a martial arts school for more than 10 years. Michael often incorporates philosophies from martial arts study into his work with individuals and organizations.

For more information, find Michael and his team at

Connect with Michael on social & website -

Michael’s Book –

Michael’s Card Deck –

May 18, 2020

In this episode Kimber Hill, the Founder and CEO of VirtForce, shares why she pivoted to remote work, and how she now coaches her military community to invest in their career and personal development that launches them into successful Virtual Careers.  She’s a military spouse on a mission to lower the unemployment rate for military spouses.

You’ll learn how to gain the confidence and skills you need to work remotely.  We discussed the things that you need to do to prepare and market yourself to the virtual job market.

Here are some things we covered in this episode on how to launch your virtual career:

  • Why Kimber left a government contracting position and how she has created a 15 million dollar impact on the military community.

  • What are the mindset obstacles around pivoting to remote work and how do you overcome them?

  • What are the most in demand remote work positions?

  • What is it like to work virtually?

  • How to feel more confident about working virtually?

  • Kimber shares how to break the mental block around the dreaded resume gaps and her recommendations for getting through it.

  • Certifications to get the skills that employers want.

  • How to utilize gig based work and internships to gain experience.

  • Marketing yourself to the remote work job market and the platforms to use to get work.

  • Tips for interviewing virtually and how to show up professionally.


Kimber Hill is the Founder and CEO of VirtForce, the organization filling the gap between America’s Active Duty Military Spouses and virtual careers.

VirtForce’s most important core value is Servant Leadership. Through acts of service she and her team have created a global community where Military Spouses can build virtual work skills, train in leadership roles, and receive a constant stream of remote work opportunities. The organization has successfully created an avenue for Military Spouses to find sustainable employment supportive of the inevitable permanent change of station.

Kimber and her husband are from Moulton, Alabama. They are affiliated with the Navy and are currently stationed in Florida. Kimber has a Bachelors Degree in Film Production from Birmingham-Southern College, a Masters Degree in Information Systems from the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and she is a Certified Project Management Professional.

“We are increasing career happiness and self-worth of Military Spouses while simultaneously lowering the Military Spouse unemployment rate. I really love what we’re doing here because we can see tangible results. At VirtForce, we have a heart for people and a knack for effective processes. We get things done!” – Kimber Hill

Where to Connect with VirtForce:


Website -

Apple Podcasts -

Spotify -

Google Play -

Stitcher -

Android -

Linked In


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May 11, 2020

In this episode, you’re hearing from another former teacher, Brittany. She’s now a pro in the online service world and helps other teachers break free of working in the long, slow grind that is a career for so many in the U.S. education system.

You’ll learn more about Brittany’s big wakeup call and how that pushed her to have clarity in her online business. We discussed some of the challenges of being a modern teacher and why it burns so many educators out.

Here are some other things we covered in this episode on moving from teaching to working for yourself:

  • Why teachers make really good fits for running an online business and the personality traits that match that
  • Why working online and helping other people can fulfill your helper mentality by building and serving your own tribe
  • Brittany’s super-smart tip for getting your first couple of clients as a freelancer
  • How to really provide help in Facebook groups without spamming the Internet with a pitch and actually getting clients
  • Why Brittany has tried a lot of different freelance services and how she landed on her current services.
  • What does it mean to say you are building a funnel?
  • How to begin studying funnels when you’re curious about offering this as a service for your freelance business
  • The challenges that Brittany faced when scaling her business to a six-figure freelancing empire and why mindset is so important when you’re growing
  • How to determine where your own limiting beliefs might be holding you back
  • How and why to consider retiring your spouse


Brittany is a former middle school science teacher turned six-figure freelancer and entrepreneur. She works at home building funnels and writing copy. Together, she and her husband help other teachers that want to transition out of teaching through their blog, Life After Teaching.

Social Media Links:

May 4, 2020

If you’ve always wanted to work with nonprofits or if you’re a writer who wants to broaden your skillset, have you ever considered grantwriting? It’s a different form of copywriting when compared with things like sales copy, but nonprofits frequently don’t have the resources to write their own grants. These grants are key for their funding, so it’s vital they outsource to a freelance grantwriter.

In this episode, you’ll hear from veteran grantwriter Teresa Huff so that you can decide whether or not you should be a freelance grantwriter and what it really looks like. We cover a lot in this episode as a teaser for you to consider your next steps and whether you want to learn more about becoming a freelance grantwriter.

Some of the most important topics we covered in this episode include:

  • What a grantwriter actually does in helping nonprofits achieve their missions.
  • Why using a mentor was critical for Teresa to learn about something that’s both writing-based and somewhat technical and specific in nature.
  • What you need to know about nonprofits and how they work so that you can speak to them as your target client.
  • How Teresa decided that grantwriting would work really well with her personality and her individual writing style and how to tell which personality traits will help you if you add grantwriting to your services.
  • How to set client expectations when you’re working as a freelance grantwriter and what role educating the client plays
  • Why it might be best to start small when you’re just dipping your toes into the water as a grantwriter.

If you listened to this episode and don’t yet have a copy of How to Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business, get your copy now!


Teresa Huff is a Grant Strategist and Content Writer who has helped nonprofits triple their funding. She has a Master’s in Education and 20+ years of experience in writing, education, and business.

She’s figured out how to survive (and thrive!) in her geeky introverted life while working from home and juggling her kids, husband, and a crazy chihuahua.

After winning several million dollars in funding for schools and nonprofits, her goal is to now equip other freelance writers to change the world. To get started, take her free quiz “Do you have what it takes to be a grant writer?” at

Connect with Teresa:

Grant Writer Mentoring:

Nonprofit and Small Business Strategy:


Apr 27, 2020

In this episode, we chatted all things Facebook ads and how Brandi grew her business from service provider to rockstar empire owner. Brandi has does a lot of this without a team. Although there’s definitely a point where you need to outsource to someone like a virtual assistant, Brandi talks about how you can start and grow without the team.

Brandi talks about so much in this episode to keep your business simplified and streamlined, including:

  • What systems you really need as a freelancer and which ones you can skip
  • Focus on what matters the most- what Brandi calls her marketing minutes
  • Why niching as a high-end service provider might work for you
  • How to determine when you need to niche down with your offerings or with the kinds of clients you help as a freelancer
  • Why charging hourly can be a problem for you and how you can switch to a different process
  • Why you want to explore your options when you begin your freelance business and why you want to keep looking into new things
  • Why Brandi and her family started thinking about why retiring her husband might be the right fit for them and what you need to know before you make a similar decision.
  • How the transition from spouse outside of the house working to switching to her husband in a stay-at-home dad role and what that looked like for their schedules.
  • What a typical workday looks like for Brandi in her freelance Facebook ads business when she has multiple projects on her plate.
  • The time management skills that Brandi uses to stay on track and why she doesn’t batch her work.

Did you know The Six Figure Freelancer is now available for preorder? Check it out here.

About Brandi:

Brandi is a wife, mom, and on a mission to help online service-based entrepreneurs create a business and life they love. As a Facebook and Instagram ad strategist she was able to scale her business without a team to multiple six-figures in a short 18 months and now she is helping others do the same! Facebook and Instagram ads are her JAM, but helping others make their dream life a reality is her passion. 

Get Connected:


free training:


Apr 20, 2020

Do you know some of the things that are holding you back from getting great results? Are you nervous about claiming the right pricing? Too many freelancers who are new to working for themselves automatically downgrade what they want to charge because they think they don’t have enough freelance experience.

Meet Kelly Cochran, who launched her own work-from-home business after being in the corporate world.

In our discussion, we talk about knowing that you’re not the right fit for a corporate or other traditional environment and how to use the experience and strengths you have in a freelance or entrepreneurship capacity.

Here are some of the things we discussed in this episode:

  • The mindset and practice pieces you need to do when you leave a corporate job and are now working for yourself.
  • Why you can’t afford not to think of yourself as a CEO
  • Pricing options and what works best when you’re moving from being in a traditional job situation making an hourly rate vs. doing project-based pricing instead.
  • What goes into deciding on a flat rate for charging your freelance client a project based rate.
  • How to include the right factors into your pricing when you’re just getting started so you make sure you don’t undercharge and end up with a ton of work instead.
  • When does hourly pricing actually make sense? How should you handle that situation with the client?
  • Why you still need to ask questions when you’re just getting started on a project so that you still come across as an expert but get the information you need to begin your own freelance work.
  • Why overthinking pricing is such an issue and why it’s actually costing you opportunities.
  • Don’t automatically discount your work because you’re leading with price and puts you in a weaker position.
  • How to get the client to give you some clues about what their freelance budget is
  • How to do the right thing with packages
  • Why Kelly decided to write a book


Affectionately known as “Loud Blonde” by friends and fans, KELLY COCHRAN is an unapologetic writer, speaker, and entrepreneur who passionately encourages women to listen to their instincts and speak their truth at the highest volume.

Honing her skills as an SEO expert, brand strategist, and project manager, Kelly spent 15 years in corporate America. Tired of hitting her head on the glass ceiling, she ditched the cubicle for good in 2017. She is a freelance marketer and high-performance coach who empowers her clients to build profitable, passion-centric businesses and break the chains of the 9-to-5.

Kelly’s debut book, LOUD: Silence Your Critics & Turn Up the Volume on Your Life, launched as an Amazon #1 Best Seller in September 2019. Kelly is also the recent recipient of the "Top 20 On the Rise" Award for Marketing, sponsored by Honeybook and the Rising Tide Society.

Kelly currently resides in San Diego, California. Follow her adventures on Instagram @LoudBlonde, or visit for more information.

Apr 13, 2020

In this episode, I talk with someone who founded a job board. We often interact with job boards when we’re applying to different gigs, but have you ever thought about what goes into setting up a freelance job board?

Today’s episode guest is Lesley Pyle of Hire My Mom. Moms wanting to work from home and get more flexibility and Lesley was way ahead of the curve on recognizing the need to promote hiring mothers and parents.

Not everyone’s path to becoming a freelancer looks the same, but many people are rethinking how and where they work. Starting a freelance side hustle is a great opportunity to explore new passions and decide what’s really best for you.

People who want to work from home have a hard time getting started if they don’t have a pipeline for finding clients. In fact, it’s one of the most common hurdles people experience if they don’t have a solid marketing plan.

If you’re a new mom or have children already, Hire My Mom might be the perfect site for you to learn about new opportunities!

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Why becoming a mother let Lesley think more about how her work style was going to change, even when her new feelings were totally unexpected.
  • Why getting started with freelancing often means thinking small and staying in a day job and how you should think about that in your own home.
  • How Lesley went from being one of the early pioneers working from home to starting her own website to help other people get their own freelance careers started.
  • How Hire My Mom started and what it’s grown into today
  • What to do if you don’t have the experience to get started as a freelancer working from home?
  • Do you really need to have a resume or cover letter when you’re looking at job boards? How can you be best prepared to join a site like Hire My Mom?
  • Why you should expect to pay something reasonable for a legitimate freelance job board site.


Lesley Pyle is the founder of, a boutique service connecting Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses with top-notch Virtual Professionals across the country founded in 2007. She began her work-at-home career in 1996 with the launch of her first website: Home-Based Working Moms. She has a Master's degree in Public Relations from the University of Stirling, Scotland while on a full academic scholarship and as an Ambassador of Goodwill for Rotary International. She also has a BA in Journalism / Public Relations from Texas State University. Pyle has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In her spare time, she loves traveling, decorating, football and spending time with family and friends. She and her husband live in Texas and have four children ages 12-24.

Connect with Lesley:





Apr 6, 2020

In this episode, you’ll hear from two expert web developers and agency owners Jason Martin and Patrick Falvey. You’ll learn about how they made the decision to partner up and why a partnership and agency is the right choice for you so you can decide if this is the right fit for you.

You’ll hear advice on how they knew it was going to be a fit because they had worked together and how that helped them decide that being partners set them both up for success in running a freelance agency.

Running an agency is very different from working as a solopreneur, but you definitely have the opportunity to benefit from the “two heads are better than one” mentality. How do you choose a partner? How do you set things up from the beginning? How do you know what personality traits you should look for when you want to team up?

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Knowing complementary skills and how teaming up as freelancers can make things work
  • The power of setting vision individually and with your partner
  • How do you find a freelance business partner if you don’t want to just work alone?
  • Why you should have experience working together before deciding on a business partnership and why it’s like a marriage
  • Why enterprise clients can be the right fit and why Jason and Patrick made that choice and why you should ensure that you consider maintenance contracts.
  • Why you need to set big goals and how manifestation works in a freelance business or freelance agency.
  • How Jason & Patrick initially scaled the wrong way and what they learned from that experience.
  • Whether you should decide on having in-house talent versus leveraging freelancers or fully remote teams.

About Jason + Patrick:

Jason Martin is a Managing Partner of DjangoForce, a customer software development agency that helps businesses increase efficiency through the use of modern technology. After spending two decades working in marketing and UI design with multimillion dollar brands and start-ups, Jason knows what truly drives conversions and business efficiency. Jason's business accomplishments have landed coverage in Forbes, Tim Ferriss, and GeekWire. In addition to running a software development company, Jason is a travel and Jiu Jitsu enthusiast who lives in Boise, ID with his wife and 3 daughters.

Patrick Falvey is a Managing Partner of DjangoForce, a custom software development agency that helps businesses increase efficiency through the use of modern technology. In his spare time he loves to learn about anything technical, like updating his knowledge of new development frameworks, executive education through MIT, or even building an 8-bit CPU from scratch. Patrick lives full time in Boise, ID with his wife, Vina and enjoys mountain biking and skiing when he's not behind a screen.

Connect with Jason and Patrick:



Mar 30, 2020

Did you know that you don't have to scale your freelance business up to a full-time job? Plenty of Freelancers have a goal of scaling their business to be able to replace their day job income, but others are perfectly happy with what they do from 9 to 5. If that's you, you'll love this episode with experienced freelancer and nurse Janine Kelbach, who purposefully keeps her freelance writing biz as a part-time venture simply because she loves her job.

Deciding You Need More than Your Day Job

If you're like most people, having a day job doesn't fulfill all of your creative or even entrepreneurial desires. This is what makes freelancing so unique as a business model, since you can scale it up or down as much as you want. Taking on the number of clients that is right for you is a very personal decision.

Keeping your freelance side hustle, however, also give you peace of mind that if something were to happen to your job, or if you want to accomplish different financial goals more quickly, that you have alternative options.

Balancing Your Schedule

No matter what your day job is, there's a good chance that it takes a great chunk of your time. In this episode, we discuss how to successfully freelance side hustle when you have a day job that consumes a lot of your mental and physical energy.

You can actually use the fact that you have a day job as a way to more quickly accomplish things, since you have a compressed window of time in which you must accomplish all aspects of your feelings business, including marketing, client work, and the administrative aspects of running a freelance company. Having a day job while also freelancing on the side requires you to be much more focused and diligent about the kind of projects that you take on.

Imposter Syndrome is Real

Most people start their freelance side hustle while they're currently in at a job, but this means that plenty of new Freelancers feel like they're not qualified enough to charge high prices or to even pitch themselves to potential clients. In this episode, we talked about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it when you're new to your freelance side hustle. Janine and I also discussed how to evaluate your current skillset to find the freelance side hustle types that are best suited to you.

Are you stuck on which kind of freelance side hustle you want to start? I have good news for you: I put the top 24 most profitable freelance side hustles into a PDF guide you can use to branch out of your existing freelance offering or decide which direction you want to go. Check that out here.

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Mar 23, 2020

It's time for your weekly dose of inspiration and strategy from the Advanced Freelancing podcast. Before I kick off today's episode, if you love this show and listen every week, please hop on over to iTunes and consider leaving the show a review. It helps other people interested in similar content be able to find this show and benefit from all of the great tips that you have already heard.

Today's guest wants you to consider one question.

What if you could determine who in your audience is your best client in 180 seconds? Juliet Clark is a dynamic and sought after speaker and podcaster, who has spent the last 20 years helping authors, coaches, speakers, and small businesses all over the world build expert platforms.

She created a platform building tool that assesses audience obstacles, generates leads, and qualifies leads for businesses. And she says her simple technology can be used from the stage, on social media, and at workshops to create conversations that build long term relationships. She's also the host of the Promote, Profit, and Publish podcast which helps entrepreneurs understand how to use great tools in the coaching and small business spaces. So we're going to be talking all about lead generation, lead qualification, and how to make that process easier for you. This is a hot topic for a lot of freelancers.

Juliet’s story on how she became so knowledgeable about lead qualification and lead gen.

So I'm out of college. I started out in traditional publishing. And I went on to work in advertising on a couple billion dollar accounts Chiat Day. And from there I went to being a stay at home mom and lasted two weeks. It was really hard. That is a hard job.

And so I decided that I could balance my time between there and real estate. And the one thing that I carried through all of those was that you had to prequalify before you worked with people. And you also had to build a really solid Avatar and test and validate that avatar over and over and talk to those people.

So, in 2007, I was going through a divorce and I wrote my first book. It was a mystery novel. I killed my ex husband in it. It was very cathartic. But the “what” came from that experience, besides not having to wear a felony orange jumpsuit, because it was metaphorically killing him in a book was that.

When I went to publish my first book, I found a self publishing model that was horrendous. It did not serve authors at all. So I started my own company and then within that we had entrepreneurs bringing us a book. And they had written the book because their products and services weren't selling. And someone told them that, “You know, the book is the answer. It's why nobody knows you.” And I kind of said, “No, that's not it. Yeah, this is going to be another failed product.”

So we developed, we worked with it, I found a platform that I really loved, and we started developing assessment marketing that was also lead generation. And as we got better and better over time with it, we put components in with it that were also qualification. So that when the people are working with the assessments, they're actually pre qualifying themselves for your business.

I think that is such an important thing to consider that you have lead qualification processes built in when people are coming to you. Both with they are landing on your website, your landing pages, they're finding you some other way, but also when you're doing outreach with them.

Where do you think most people get things wrong with lead qualification?

So my there's a couple of things. My experience when I was in real estate was there was always a couple guys in the office who'd be like, “I have 60 leads.” And they never closed anything. And I had a really great team of people, we were selling about 60 houses a year. And we pre qualified everybody. It was such a huge difference in what we closed every year. So I think that pre pre qualification, we go out and we collect leads, but we don't really find out how interested they are. So that's one of the one of the things.

The other thing is, it's easy for you to explain what you do and develop a product. But if you don't validate it first and know who that audience is, you can't replicate it for lead generation. So you have to be able to not only build that avatar, but also validate it.

How would you recommend that somebody validate it if they're like brand new to starting their business? How do you figure out that this idea you have, this service or product has legs?

So this is the second time I've had to answer this today. One of the things, and I know with freelancers, they work with a lot of coaches, authors, speakers,  and small businesses. And unfortunately, that business model is what I call “Bootstrap to Bankruptcy”. Because there are all these things that you need to be successful and one of them is not validating that product.

So that's actually what we use the assessments for. We tell people that are brand new, like we're your first stop, you have an idea. Let's get you out on a stage or networking or wherever it is. Let's create this based on success principles and let them tell you if it's a valid product and if they would pay me money for it. Because you get a lot of lip service about, “Oh, I really love that.” And then nobody will pay anything for it.

So I'd rather see you spend a couple thousand dollars and validate, then go out and hire that book coach and an online marketing coach and all of those things that are going to cost you anywhere from $10 to $100,000. I'd rather see you validate first.

I see this a lot too with other authors.

So I also do some freelance public relations work for nonfiction business book authors.  And it drives me crazy how many of them come to me and say, “I published my book three months ago, and it's not selling at all.” And I'm like, “Why are we waiting until three months after the book is launched to think about these kinds of things? Did anyone even want to read that book to begin with? And how much opportunity we've lost by you spending a year two years of your life working on this thing?”

And then it's the parts of it like did it ever have legs to begin with? Was it ever validated? And then also, how can we make sure that that follow through comes all the way through the process, right? We can't just stop when you created the product. You have to build in your customer service.  And you have to build in your marketing. All those pieces have to be in place.

I think a lot of people do struggle with lead qualification, too.

Especially when you're doing something like cold outreach.  That's something a lot of freelancers do. They say I want to work with Procter and Gamble, or whatever. So they go do their research. They dig for hours to try to find the CMOS email address, write this custom pitch, and get in there.

Then they forget about that lead qualification process just because it was a big name or a cool company. They still might not be your right client. So can you talk a little bit about, especially on a phone call, because that's usually the next step for a lot of freelancers, what information can you be asking for or listening for on a phone call to determine if a lead is not the right fit? So you've done your base level of investigation about this company or person, you think there's possibility to work together.

How do I make sure about that before we sign a contract?

So a lot of what we do inside of enrollment conversations is really talking to them about what's worked, what isn't working, what have you tried to get it to work, and really diving into that? The reasons for those conversations, even though they seem a little invasive, is you're going to find out a couple things. And they may not actually verbalize those things.You have to get really good at listening.

So to give you an example, when someone comes to us, we ask those kinds of questions. And we might find out that they're blaming it on somebody else they worked with. But when you really get down to it and do some heavy listening and dig, dig, dig, you'll find out that the person you're talking to didn't take action. They didn't follow through. And so you're really listening for those patterns when they're telling you about those experiences. Because they will tell you a lot. You'll find out if you have an action person or a blame person.  You don't want that blame person

at all. That's so true.

I think it's equally important to be listening to hear the right things and logging away those red flags that come up in those early conversations.

Because just like you were talking about, one thing I always tell freelancers is it's a bad sign if you're on the sales call, and they say, “I've hired 15 other freelancers before and no one could do the job right.” There is only one common denominator in those projects. And it was the person who didn't give good directions, didn't pay on time, or whatever it is that the client has done.

So do you have tips for making that lead generation process faster for freelancers or any type of business owner?

So that's actually what we use that assessment for, in depth, is we set the success principles of what we do and then you measure, as the potential client, where you're at in that. So we know not only how much help you need, but also you have an understanding coming into the call about how much help you need. Because sometimes I find that when we're pre qualifying, people don't realize how much help they actually need. They think they're doing better than they actually are. And for anybody, a freelancer, a business, that is a big red flag because their expectations may be much higher of what you're going to do for them than what you actually commit to do for them.

It's definitely important to know where they're at and where they want to go.

I use a loose form of pre qualification for the freelancers that I coach. I layout in the sales page this is the type of person I work with. These are the types of things we work on. And then I require that they do a brief phone call with me just to make sure that we're a fit beforehand.

But I'm imagining that using something like a form where you ask questions could help pre qualify people to see if they're the right fit. But what do you do with the people where you read it  and you say, “Hmm, this isn't the right fit” or you look at their information they've emailed to you? Let's say you got a lead through your website that says, “I want to hire you to do these freelance services.” But you can tell it's not a fit for you and they didn't really pass your pre qualification test. Where do they go from there? How do you respond to that professionally?

Juliet’s response to this sticky situation.

Usually, I try to be a connector.  I will go back and explain to them, “Look, this is not really an area where we work well and I can see you need help here. I know somebody.” And then I give them a name and number and tell them they should contact them and see if they can help them a little bit better. That doesn't mean that you're giving bad leads to someone else. But you genuinely may not be the person to do that work.

And most of the time, when we're referring, we're making a little bit of referral fee off of it as well. So it's not a total loss. But here's the thing about it, when you do something like that, and we just have this conversation in integrity, people come back and they send people to you. Because now they fully understand what you do. And they understand that you just didn't take their money and not deliver for the sake of taking their money. And that's huge when you're doing something like this.

I think one thing that you might never know is the people who land on your lead qualification page who look at it and just in looking at it, realize that you two are not a fit and they don't even fill it out.

So it's also doing a lot of that work for you. But people can self opt out and go, “This is like five questions long and I'm too busy to answer five questions.” If you're too busy to do that, we're never going to get anywhere on the project.   Anything else in that lead generation process can definitely help people realize “This is right for me.  This isn't right for me.”

Now, one thing I see all the time, not so much in the freelance world, but in other businesses is this idea of buying leads. Now is that something that's still relevant? I mean, I would think it's worth the extra time to find your own leads and then pre qualify them. But then every so often, I do see people selling these lead generation services where they'll promise you a list of  X many companies.

Juliet on buying leads.

So here's the deal. Business is all about relationships. And that is one of the things when you and I initially talked that I told you in this click world out there, what we've developed, is for relationship building.  So when you go out and buy a lead, there are three different kinds of traffic out in the world. There is cold traffic, medium traffic, and hot traffic.

Hot traffic is when you have referred somebody to me and you vouched for me. You really need this person.  That medium traffic is somebody who kind of knows you, following you trying to figure out what you're doing, and you're nurturing them. Those cold leads, they didn't ask to become a lead, for the most part. Or if you're in digital, they click and they don't really know you. A lot of times they've just clicked a click. So those people are really, really hard when you buy leads. And a lot of times when you go out and buy those, they're spam. So they're actually ticked off that you're like, “Where did you get my name?”

So now you have no chance of building rapport and relationships. You should always go out and develop your own leads because you're the face of your business. You're the person that they're looking at.  Are you credible? Do you follow through and do what you say you're going to do? If I tell you when you hand me your card that I'm going to call you this afternoon, do I call you this afternoon? There's all of these things that they're evaluating that make it necessary for you to generate and pre qualify your own leads.

It's such a great point, because I think so many people are looking for that magic bullet.

The easy answer of, “Oh, well just give me a list of 10 or 50 companies that I can pitch.” And I always say that your odds of success are going to be so much higher if you make your own list of 10 companies you would like to work with and then do the research to see if on your initial review, they meet your lead qualification. It's just going to be so much more effective.

The other thing I always wonder about those lead gen companies too is let's say they have a list of 50 companies, but 2000 people have bought that list of it, right? So now those people are really pissed off on that lead list because they're like, “Man, everyone under the sun is emailing me and I never asked for this information to come to me.”

And that's such a great point because Juliet has a lot of clients who are trying to get into corporate workshops.

And they think, “Okay, every corporation needs me.” Do you have any idea how many times a day that HR person is hounded for a workshop to come in? So the best thing you can do if you want to get into those places, is go to some place where you can network with those people.

The fact is, if I am going to an event, and I want to meet the speakers or I want to do business with those people who have been vouched for that probably could use my services, I reached out to them on LinkedIn. And I say, “Hey, we're going to the blah blah blah event. I can't wait to see you speak.” And then walk up at the event, introduce yourself, “Hey, I reached out on LinkedIn.” And then talk to them.

But here's the bigger tip.

Sit next to them at the event because inevitably when you're sitting next to people conversation starts. Sit at their table or wherever, because that's where it all begins. That's where you get to make your first impression instead of an email or a solicitation phone call. Get out of the house and go network with those people that you really want to grab their business. And you may find out at those like, “Oh my gosh, that person's horrible. I really don't want to work there.”

That tip about LinkedIn is so important because our email inboxes can get cluttered.

But you can always do follow up on LinkedIn.  You can do initial outreach on LinkedIn. And then if you sit next to that speaker at that networking event, and they post about having spoken, you remind them of who you are by commenting on that on their social media. You say, “Hey, you did a great job. It was great to meet you.” You want to keep staying in their world. And I think that that is really, really important.

So let's talk about the beginner person who's just starting out realizing that they need to have a better process for capturing incoming leads, what would you say would be the first step that they need to take? Where I'm going with this is a lot of freelancers go, “Oh, I can't launch my business yet. Because I don't have my website.”

A website that has no traffic to it is so useless. So just skip it. I always just tell them that they don't need that unless they have this massive following and they have massive traffic already. Then yes, let's optimize your website and make sure there's a place on there for people to hire you. But I would think it's probably not set up your website. I'm wondering if there's something else people can do to sort of be lead friendly.

Juliet explains how people can be lead friendly.

How about a landing page? It costs about $50 to put up the landing page. You add a little about yourself, your services, and let's set an appointment. So you can send people to that landing page.

Also get out and start developing content. Let's say that you and I had a conversation or we were going back and forth on LinkedIn a little and you expressed an area you were having a little bit of trouble and you may not hire me today. But wouldn't it be amazing if I served you by saying, “You know what, Laura? I wrote an article about this topic. Can I share it with you?” Then  leave the link and and just kind of start developing from there. You're showing them your value instead of telling them how valuable you are. 

And how many times do we see people doing the opposite?

It is rampant on Facebook and LinkedIn. “Help! I'm launching a podcast. Does anyone have any good resources?” And inevitably 10 people respond. “Hi, I'm a Podcast Producer here. Here's my services page, go check it out.” And it's like, I don't know who you are, you know what I mean?

If you were the person that left me the link that said, “Hey, here's this great resource I found, or I took this course. I read this book. I listened to this podcast and it was awesome.” And continue to build that relationship. I feel like we're interacting as to humans, rather than you just see me as somebody who can be pitched. And I think that that's really important.

I always laugh how many people seem to think that it's as easy as, you send a pitch or you get on a sales, contract sign, you've got the money, the company is in the person. It still goes back to relationships. We live in a digital world. And digital technology enables us to do all that other stuff faster, but we still have to go back to relationships at the end of the day.

Juliet’s upcoming book.

So this spring, I have a book called coming out it's actually called “Pitch Slapped”, because that's what I feel like when I go and you do that to me. Especially those people who are on LinkedIn, you connect with them and they say, “Hey, I've got this brand new program. Would you like it?” And it's like, “No, I don't even know who you are.”

And half the time they haven't even done the research to see what it is you do.

I've had people pitch me investment banking stuff. I'm like, “Did you even look at my profile? Like, I don't need investment banking. I'm not looking to have venture capital.” My favorite though is that people who are subtly insulting with their pitch where they're like, “I know how hard it is to work out.” You're like, “Oh my gosh, you're calling me out on my fitness or my nutrition.”  Not only have I been “pitch slapped” as Juliet says, but now there's like this undercurrent of like you have flagged me as your ideal lead because you think I need extra help.

Juliet’s pet peeve.

My pet peeve is men who email who tech. You go through Facebook Messenger and they say, “Hey, I have this great new meetup. I help women manage their money.” It's like when your husband tries to teach you how to play golf and tells you everything wrong. And you're not inspired by that. You want to hit him over the head with the club.

It's so crazy that and this all goes back to that same topic of the proper lead qualification.

Does this person want to hear your message? Are you reaching out in the most effective way to do it? Because maybe you do have some incredible supplement that burns fat, but there's a nicer way to go about it, or there's a more appropriate way to make sure that whoever you're targeting is the ideal person to hear that message. I might be willing to hear that at a networking event where they're just talking about their own experience using it.

I actually have a rule that if someone does that to me on LinkedIn, I just remove the connection immediately. If the first message is,  “Hi! I sell XYZ. Here's the link to buy it. I'd love to help you.” I'm like, “Okay, remove connection.” Because there is no connection between us because you didn't take the time to even get to know me or spend that time

Juliet shares a story.

So I love to share this story. Someone did that to me. They wrote me a birthday message and this was like in 2016.  It was really nice message, “Hey, Happy Birthday. You deserve all the best in life. I’d love to help you get healthier in your next year.” And they signed it. So I wrote back, “Thank you.” Then here came the sales pitch.

That would have been okay except 2017, they sent the exact same message. In 2018, I was at an event and the owner of this MLM said, “You know, my people are having a little problem with marketing. Do you think you can come in and talk to us?” And I said, “Oh my gosh, I have this great thing on social media. And guess what? I've got this messenger inside of my presentation that is what your guy keeps sending me every single year.” And he's like, “No way.” I was like, “Yeah, I use you guys as an example, in my presentation.”

You don't want to be the bad example that someone is using to say what not to do, right?

In my mind, it wouldn't take that much more effort for them to send you a personalized message that at least varies it up every year. He could log in a spreadsheet, pitched her in 2017 and didn't go anywhere. So let me not do that. Juliet pointed out that inside messenger, when you get that message, you can see the message above that's identical from the previous year. So vary it up.

That's another good point. Because when you're doing this outreach to prospective clients, you want to vary it up. One of my most hated things with follow up is when a freelancer sends a pitch and then they respond to that message when no one answers and says, “Hey, just following up on this.” Don’t do that.  Give the person a reason to read your message that they might not have seen initially. Always add a little bit of personalization. And that goes back to that human connection.

When you see someone else in your space or in another space who is doing things well and owns their expertise, go look at how they do it.

You want to learn how to make great email newsletters, get go sign up for somebody list that has a 40% open rate and a high close rate. You want to learn about lead generation and pre qualifying go look at how Juliet has set up her own pre qualification on the quiz. So you can always take lessons from other people who are doing things right.

Thanks for tuning in for another episode of the advanced freelancing podcast. For more freelance advice, get a copy of my book Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business—available now! Buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and more.

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