I took my dog to the vet to get spayed the other day.
The week prior when I called, I got a masterclass in selling your services.
As I explained what I needed, one of the first things they asked me was, “Is it a stray?” Our dog, Marley, is. A neighbor rescued her, but wasn’t able to take care of her, so we took her from him.
Because of that, the animal clinic gave us 40 bucks off.
That’s lesson #1.
When I called I was just gathering information. I was going to call a couple clinics in the area, compare prices and then set an appointment with one. But, once they offered me that deal…
I just went with them.
A lot of the clinics probably offer similar discounts, but it was a surprise to me. And, gave me a compelling reason to just go with them right then and there and not hassle with calling around and comparing prices.
I was already “getting a good deal”.
Then, came the cross-sell.
“Has your dog had a rabies shot?”
I should do that, too.
Then, when I dropped her off for the appointment, I had to sign a surgical release. The clinic (brilliantly) mingled that release with the contract for their services and included 4 optional additions to the services.
Blood work to check for any problems.
Pain medication to take home after the surgery.
And, post-op laser therapy to help everything heal faster.
Two of which I opted for.
So, they took me from “just looking” and planning on comparing prices to not only a client, but one who opted for a cross-sell and two upsells. And, I appreciated and enjoyed every part of it.
Because they were all things I wanted.
All they had to do was ask.
And, of course, know their clients so well they knew exactly what additional services to offer and how to pitch them. But, here’s the big lesson I want you to take away from this. It’s an animal clinic.
A service that’s, frankly, kinda boring.
Been around forever.
Nothing super “secksy” or exciting to sell.
And, this stuff works to perfection for them. And, that’s the point. When it comes to selling your services, there’s very little new under the sun. You could be selling inter-galactic, hyper-transport beams…
What works… works.
You just have to know it and then apply it.
And, that’s what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. Those tried and true fundamentals that aren’t necessarily rocket surgery or some shiny, flashy, “brilliant” gimmick… but work no matter what services you offer.
And, we talk about hooks and cross-sells and upsells…
And, how to do them right.
Turning one-time clients into repeat clients.
Handling contracts and payments. On and on and on.
Anyway, if you wanna learn those fundamentals, you can get access to the course for nothing over on SkillShare. As a teacher, I can give an *exclusive* 2-month free trial of the site. Just join the trial, take the course and cancel before the trial is up…
Another common question I get, this time from Gary:
“Sir, I’m a self taught web developer with no job experience. My question about freelancing is how to price a website? For example do I need to let the client pay for the hosting website and etc.”
Note the emphasis on perceived. Here’s the analogy I use. Imagine you need to get a medical procedure done. So, you go to the nearest clinic. As you pull up, you notice the clinic is in a sketchy part of town.
The parking lot is cracked and littered with trash.
The clinic’s sign is old and missing letters.
The front door has big, iron bars on it.
Once you get inside, you see the office is dirty. The carpet is stained and ripped in spots. The receptionist is rude and unkempt-looking. The doctor comes out and his clothes are wrinkled. He’s got a stain on his shirt–
So, at what point do you say, “Oh hell no!”
NONE of the things I mentioned had anything to do with his SKILL as a doctor. Instead, they were all “circumstantial” factors that make him look unprofessional and, therefore, unskilled.
He could be the best doctor for 100 miles.
But, you’d probably never get far enough to find out.
THAT is perceived quality.
Your website, your profile picture, your portfolio, the content you produce… every little thing a potential client sees in relation to you goes toward how good they PERCEIVE you to be… the good and the bad.
And, that has a huge impact on what you can charge.
Fact is, if you do all these things right…
You can charge way more for the SAME service…
Than someone who doesn’t.
So, don’t waste your time trying to find some “intrinsic” price for a particular service. Freelancers in the same market, offering the exact same services charge vastly different prices. And, perceived quality is a big reason why.
But, that’s 1 factor.
Competition also matters.
More (quality) competition means tighter pricing.
There’s also differentiation.
Do you stand out in some way?
But, here’s the more important point. Pricing is actually just one aspect of the thing that really matters… and that is the OFFER. It’s not just what something costs… it’s also “What am I getting? How is it delivered?”
It’s the client’s internal ROI gauge.
And, learning how to craft compelling offers is one of the most important and lucrative things you can learn how to do, as a freelancer. Because when you get it right, you not only make more, but selling your services actually gets easier.
In any case, I created a whole course on this.
That’s how important it is.
In it, you’ll learn what I call the “Fiverr Method” which is step 1 in how you package your services to make them more appealing to potential clients. Also, the 3 different pricing strategies you can use to beat out your competition.
How to KNOW, not guess, what the right price is.
Plus, how to build out your product line…
To methodically build a diverse and stable freelance income.
Anyway, the course is the first installment in my Freelancing 101 series and you can get access to it for nothing over on SkillShare. Link for all the details on the course and how to get free access to it is here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/niche
In this step, I’m going to show you how to get qualified traffic to the YouTube video you create in Part 3. Which means it’s time for a little guerrilla marketing.
(By the way, I have a full course where I go through this “guerrilla” promotion strategy in detail, including exactly what to say when you post in these groups and how to consistently stay under the “spammer” radar, build good will and become a respected authority… and funnel it all to your freelancers services. I cheekily call it A Spammer’s Guide to Get More Clients and you can learn more about it at https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/spammer.)
Go to Twitter and enter your broad-match search term in the Twitter search. Then, click the “Latest” tab. Scroll down and find people having the problem you solve with your video. Here’s a few examples I found for the search “wordpress database error”:
Yep. I renamed it to oldjetpack & that is when the error connecting to database showed up. Renamed back to jetpack, database error remains.
Reply to these tweets with something simple like: “Don’t know if you’re still having this issue, but thought this video might help: <linktoyourvideo.com>.” And, that’s it. Because your video actually helps people, you can send it to people like this without coming across as “spamming”.
Same deal. Here’s a series of questions that come up when you search “wordpress database” error on Quora.com:
With Quora, you can’t just post your video. So, what you do is take the first three “checks” in your solution checklist from Part 1 and post them as your answer. Then, include your video at the bottom of your answer.
If you wrote out your video script as a blog post as I advised in Part 3, then you’ll already have this written. So, just copy the first 3 or so points from that blog post and paste them in as your answer. I’ve had answers I wrote on Quora emailed out to more than a million people. Imagine what kind of traction your video (and, ultimately, your freelance services) could get if that happens.
Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow
Again, same process. Search StackExchange and/or StackOverflow for your search term. Find relevant questions and answer them. Post a link to your video, inconspicuously, within your answer.
Yes. I said Google+. Many of the communities there are still highly active. Find on relevant to the error you’re solving. For example, this is a WordPress community I belong to. It has 111,000 members. Use the “Search Community” tool to search for your search term:
Also, subscribe to any relevant communities, participate and promote your video(s) if/when appropriate. You can also use these communities to develop new service offerings.
Almost identical to Google+ Communities. Find relevant groups, join them, promote your video(s) if/when appropriate for someone’s question. Use it to develop new ideas. Here’s a Facebook group I belong to about WordPress. It has 31,000 members:
So, this is the one you’ll probably resist the most, but it’s also the most effective. Imagine whenever someone searches for your exact search term, your video showed up at the top of that search without you having to spend months getting it organicly ranked there.
You could just have it there today?
That’s Google Adwords in a nutshell. You can buy your way to the top. And, often for not very much. I average about 4 cents per view with my ads:
So, let’s say you spent $1/day advertising your video this way. That would be 25 views/day or 750 views/month and it’s cost you $30/month. Let’s say you got just 1 job as result of this and it paid you $150. That’s STILL a profit of $120. How quickly would you start spending more if every $1 you spent brought you $5 in sales.
I’d exchange $1 bills for $5 bills as fast as I could.
And, the best part is… if you’d make a good video… advertising your videos this way will help them, eventually, rank on their own and get organic traffic you don’t have to pay for.
So, I strongly encourage you to consider it.
If we step back, then, and look at this entire strategy what we’ve got is an urgent problem, people are willing to pay money to solve, a freelance service offering to solve that problem and a system to consistently promote that service in a way that doesn’t make use feel spammy. This is how you build a freelance business piece by piece.
Because, you can build 5, 10, 20 or more of these.
So, let’s say you build out 10. And, each of those 10 bring you 3 clients per month. And, you charge $200/project. That’s 30 clients/month. $6,000/month. Or, $72,000/year. That’s a damn good salary for most people. And, you’re only doing on project per day, on average. Which will probably only take a few hours.
So, again, don’t under-estimate how lucrative small $200 and $300 projects like this can be.
Anyway, hopefully, you enjoyed the series and, most importantly, you start building this and creating an income for yourself. Thanks for riding along with me.
In this step, I’m going to show you how to create a video to promote your freelance services on YouTube.
And, let’s start by tackling the elephant in the room…
Do You Think You Can’t Create a Video?
Well, watch a little bit of this video:
You hear how bad that audio is? The “jet engine” screaming in the background it seems like. The ums, the uhs. The manic scrolling. The incoherence. It’s a BAD video.
I still got work from this video.
In fact, my first few freelance clients ever were people who watched this (very bad) video, searched me out and hired me to build this data feed for them.
So… you CAN do this.
And, I’m going to show how to make a much better video. But, one of the first objections I get is:
I Don’t Have Any Recording Software
The bottom line here is: the software you need to record your video DOES exist no matter what your budget is. Not having the software is NOT an excuse. If you want to go top of the line, then get Camtasia Studio. It’s the software I use, it’s built for doing the kind of screencast you’re going to do for this video and it has all the tools you could want for recording, editing and rendering your video.
It, also, costs $250.
So, that may be out of reach for you. No problem. There’s a FREE chrome extension called Screencastify that will let you create screen captures, as well. It does have a $2/month premium option which gives you even more tools, but I’ve had good success using it. It does what you’ll need to get done.
But, even if THAT doesn’t work, Camtasia has a free recorder you can use, as well, called Jing. With Jing, you can record screencasts much like you would with Camtasia Studio. The videos can be uploaded to Camtasia’s free video hosting site, screencast.com, and then you can download them as MP4’s from there. There is a 5-minute time limit for the free version, but you can record your video in 5-minute segments, download them all and then piece them together in editing software.
Again, bottom line, the software you need exists. But, the next big objection is:
I’m Not Good on Camera. I Don’t Know What to Say
First, NOBODY likes the way they look on camera. I’ve recorded over 500 videos, I still hate the way I look. Do it, anyway. Second, YOU don’t need to be on camera. We’re going to record a screencast, so your voice is the only thing people will hear. You can record a webcam along with it, but you don’t need to. Again, look at my video. I didn’t record my webcam.
As far as not knowing what to say…
Write out what you want to say as a blog post, first. Word for word is fine. Then, when you record, just use the blog post to know what to say. That will cut down on the ums and uhs and pausing to try and think what to say. Write it out and read it. Simple.
Ok, with all that out of the way, now we can get into…
How to Record Your Video
So, what exactly are we doing a screencast of? Good question. You remember that solution checklist we built in Part 1? That’s our video outline. Now, I think this will probably be the hardest part for you to get your head around, but in your video you are going to show people EXACTLY how to solve the problem you settled on in Part 1.
The exact solution.
Wait, but won’t that mean they’ll have the answer and not need to hire me? Kind of. For some people, that’ll be absolutely true. However, there are always people who will just prefer to pay you to do it for them. Take a look at my video, for example. I show you exactly how to build the Google data feed. Buuuuut, it’s still a lot of coding. A lot of people aren’t going to be able to do that EVEN IF they know the answer.
Some people just won’t want to.
But, the bigger thing here is we need this video to be perceived as highly valuable to people who have this problem. The goal of the video is to get it to rank high on Google and YouTube. That will only happen if you actually help a lot of the people who view it to solve the problem. That’ll get the likes and shares and watch time that lead to high rankings.
And then, we’ll siphon off a few of those people who can’t or don’t want to do it themselves.
That’s the entire strategy here and it works. Remember our original problem keyword phrase: “error establishing a database connection”. It got 22,000 searches a month. Now, imagine a scenario where we create a YouTube video and it ends up ranking on the first page of Google for that search (easier than you might think).
Let’s say 10,000 people per month then view that video.
And 1% of those people hire you to fix that problem for them. That’s 100 clients per month. And, each one pays you $100. That’s still $10,000 per month. From ONE problem, ONE video, ONE freelance service. And, only charging $100 per project. What if you charge $200 or $300?
Or, you build out 5 or 10 or 20 videos and services like this?
Point is… even if a super low percentage of people end up hiring you from this video… you can still make a good chunk of change. Hell, if you charged $200 and only got 5 of those 22,000 people/month to hire you, that’s still $1,000/month. It’s not nothing.
So, how do you record your video?
You make a screencast where you just show them exactly how to solve the problem they’re having. And, it’s all the proof you need to demonstrate to someone who just wants to hire someone to do it that you know what you’re doing. They’ve literally watched you do it.
How You Sell Your Services In Your Video
Now, you might be wondering how you then sell your services in this video… if we’re just showing people how to solve the problem. At the beginning and the end of the video, you insert this line:
“By the way, if you’d prefer I just do this for you, you can learn more about hiring me at: YOURURL.com”.
“Hey John here. In this video, I’m going to walk you through 7 different solutions to the ‘error establishing a database connection’ error you might be seeing on your site and show you how to fix each one. And, by the way, as I’m going through this if you start thinking to yourself ‘I’d rather just hire someone to do this for me’, I can do that. You can learn more about hiring me at: YOURURL.com. Ok, let’s get into this.”
And, then at the end of the video, say something like:
“Ok, that’s it. Thanks for watching. And, as I mentioned, if you’d prefer to just have me fix this for you, you can learn more about hiring me at: YOURURL.com.”
It’s that simple.
Big thing is to write this out BEFORE you record. So, you can just read it instead of trying to think it up on the fly.
Finally, the last thing…
The #1 Factor In Recording a High Quality Video Is…
Sounds weird, but it’s true. All the research on this points to the same thing… people will turn off a video faster because of bad audio than anything else. And yes, the mic is important. But, you can get good quality audio out of okay microphones if you know how to set everything up and how to master the audio properly.
I’ve spent a lot of years figuring this out.
So, what I’ve done for Patrons of mine is I’ve recorded a video where I show the exact process I use for getting good quality audio on my videos. The things that are important to get right when you record, how to drastically reduce background noise, my exact mastering process and how to automate all of it. So, you get consistent, good quality audio in everything you record. If you’re already a Patron, you can watch that video here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/how-i-master-for-18267629. If you’re not yet a Patron, you can become one here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.
All right, so that’s it for today. In the next installment of this series, I will show you how to promote your video and get it seen by the exact people who would be most likely to hire you.So, be sure to check back for tomorrow’s installment.
In this step, you’re going to build your freelance services sales page.
And, the name of the game here is simplicity. You don’t need a long, scrolling sales page or to do a bunch of selling and convincing. All that is going to happen before a potential client ever visits this page (we’ll cover that in Part 3). Here we just need to focus on getting the quote request.
So, here’s how to build this page:
1. A Simple and Direct Title
Your page title should be simple and direct: “Hire Me to Fix XYZ For $200. Complete the Form Below to Get Started.”. It should convey all the information a client needs to hire you:
What the service is (so they know they’re in the right spot)
How much it costs
What to do to get started
This is the key information a potential client will be looking for and it’s right there in the title, easy for them to find. Here’s an example:
2. A Simple Offer
Do NOT over-complicate the offer. You’re gonna fix their problem for X amount of money. Again, by the time a potential client gets here they will already be 99% sold on hiring you. You don’t want to get in the way of that. So, simple, direct and plain language is best. The only thing to add here is the PDF report mentioned in this example script:
The PDF report is a kind of bonus and helps make the client feel good about hiring you. The thing to keep in mind when it comes to fixing problems for people is most people don’t think they should have the problem in the first place. So, paying to fix it is annoying.
It’s like your car.
Nobody every thinks their car should break down. So, when you go to the mechanic and pay them to fix it… you feel like it was a bit of a waste. But, imagine if your mechanic gave you a simple, plain language report on what happened and what you can do to keep it from happening in the future.
No. It wouldn’t totally alleviate the feeling of loss from getting your car fixed. But, it’d be a nice surprise. You’d feel like you got something out of it.
Same deal here.
As for the description, here are the key components it should contain:
Introduction (say hi!)
Mention the video that sent them here (we’ll get to that)
Tell them they’re in the right place
Outline the offer (I’ll do XYZ for X money. You get a PDF report)
How to get started
This covers about every question a potential client could have. So, they feel comfortable submitting the form. And, that’s all we want out of this.
Of course, this form should send you an email with the client information. From there, you can reply and work out the details.
3. A Brief Form
Next, is your form. The big thing here is to keep it brief. You don’t want 100 form fields they gotta fill out. All we’re really after from this page is their contact info. Once we have that, we can do the rest of our “selling” in the back forth via email. It’s a hell of a lot easier way to sell, because you’re getting immediate responses and feedback.
So, just get their name, email and a description of the problem. Make it easy to hire you.
(Side note for Patrons: I uploaded an HTML template with this page already built for you over on Patreon. All you have to do is switch out a few placeholders, drop in your form code and you’re all set. It’s built with Bootstrap, so it’s mobile-responsive, as well. You can grab the template here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/18241649. And, if you’re not already a Patreon supporter, you can become one here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.)
4. Testimonial (Optional)
The last thing you’ll want to add after you get a couple clients for this service is a testimonial. Just ask one of your clients for one. Make sure and get their picture. And, just place it right below the form. It will help re-assure potential clients even more when they view this page. But, it’s not necessary, at first. Here’s an example:
Here’s the big thing with all this…
Keep it simple. Don’t get hung up on this. As I’ve said, potential clients will already be 99% sold on hiring you before they hit this page. So, just provide a way to contact you and get out of the way.
All right, so that’s it for today. In the next installment of this series, I will show you how to create a video that sells your services… but not in the way you think. It’s a lot simpler and less scary than you might be thinking. You CAN do it. So, be sure to check back for tomorrow’s installment.
This is the first installment of a 4-part tutorial series I’m doing, Freelancing 101: A Dead Simple Method to Get Your First Freelance Work. In this series, I’m walking you through the exact process I used to get my first freelance clients. The nice thing about this method is you get to start slow and simple, get your feet wet and grow at your own pace. Instead of trying to land and then deliver on $3,ooo or $5,ooo or $15,000 projects right off the bat.
That can be scary as hell.
What I’m going to show you isn’t. Yet, you can still make damn good money doing it.
But, with that said, lets jump into Part 1: How to Find Problems People Will Pay You to Solve. And, the key here is finding urgent problems you can solve for clients. The more urgent the problem, the easier it will be to get clients. So, here’s what to do:
1. Create a Google Adwords Account
Google’s Keyword Tool is the best out there, by far. But, you need to create a Google Adwords account. You will probably have to provide payment information, but you never have to run any ads or spend any money. So, do try to get an actual Adwords account. That said, there are free-ish alternatives like WordTracker, WordStream and KeywordTool.io. You can search, for free, right off their sites without an account. But, they’ll only show a limited view of the information. You have to pay to get the full data. But, we need a keyword search tool.
2. Search Using “Urgent Problem Keyword Modifiers”
An example of this is “error”. Add the word “error” to most any search and you’ll find a list of urgent problems for you to solve. For example, type “wordpress error” into your keyword tool and you’ll see a list of urgent problems like this:
Now, think about each of these keyword phrases for a second. In most cases, this is someone whose website or web page is down. They updated a plugin or changed a theme, and suddenly, their site is broke.
THAT is an urgent problem.
These people will very often pay good money to get their sites back up. So, what you’re looking at is an endless source of potential freelance work. And, it’s simple jobs that you can usually solve with an hour or two and get paid a few hundred bucks per project. Do the math and you’ll see you can make damn good money from these small, easy projects.
(A side note for Patrons of mine. I’ve uploaded to full list of these “Urgent Problem Keyword Modifiers” over on Patreon for you. The word “error” is one among many. So, with this full list you can find every possible urgent problem a particular market might be having and maximize your potential problems. You can download it here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/18221271. If you’re not a Patron, you can learn more about becoming one and getting access to this PDF document here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.)
3. Build a List of Urgent Problems
Now, you need to decide what urgent problems you want to solve. So, pick out at least 10 of the problems you find and write them down. Sort them by search volume. For now, don’t worry about whether or not you know how to solve the problem. I’ll show you how to figure that out later. For now, we simply want to assess commercial viability.
You, also, do NOT need to pick the top 10 BY search volume. Just pick 10 problems you think you wouldn’t mind solving for people. THEN, sort those by search volume.
4. Assess Commercial Intent On Upwork
Now, go to Upwork.com and figure out the commercial viability of each search term. For most of your search terms, you won’t be able to type them into Upwork exactly as they appear in Google Adwords. You’ll need to look for “broad matches”. So, for example, a search term like “wordpress error establishing a database connection” won’t return much, if anything, in Upwork. Clients don’t write their project descriptions like that.
However, a search for “wordpress database error” returns 28 jobs on Upwork (as of this writing). A search for “wordpress error” returns 258 jobs.
So, don’t be afraid to expand your search, if necessary. The point here isn’t to find a million jobs on Upwork. 28 is plenty. We’re simply seeing if ANY jobs come up. If so, that’s a good sign. The more, the better.
But then, we’re also looking at the budgets for those projects.
What are people willing to pay to get this problem solved? For “wordpress database error”, you see a lot of $100s and $200s. Some lower bids at $25-$50 and some higher ones at $500 or more, but generally it’s in the $100-$300 range.
Do this for every search term you wrote down in Step #3. And, as you look at each search term in Upwork, start to zero in on the ones you think you’d want to work on.
5. Pick One
Now, just pick. You can have 3 or 4 you think you want to do, but pick ONE to start with. Don’t overthink it or super-analyze it… just pick one and move on. Our overhead for getting work from this isn’t a ton, so if it turns out to be a dud… you won’t have wasted much time. Biggest thing… DO NOT get stuck here! Just pick one and move on.
6. Figure Out the Solution to Your Urgent Problem
Now, we need to know how to solve this problem so we can offer it as a service. That’s the best part of all this. Pretty much every problem you’ll find already has a solution. So, you don’t even need to figure it out on your own. And, don’t worry… there are plenty of non-technical people who are more than happy to just pay someone to do it for them.
So, google your search term. For example, “wordpress error establishing a database connection”.
You’ll have a full list of solutions. Go through the first 1-2 pages and read through the different solutions. Write them down. You don’t need the detail. You just need a simple list of possible causes of the problem and the link to the full article where you found it. As you go through the pages, you’ll find a lot of the articles say the same things. This is your “consensus solution”. Pretty quickly, you should be able to develop a “checklist” of things to check when it comes to this problem.
For example with the search term “wordpress error establishing a database connection”, you’d have these steps:
Check if it’s happening on /wp-admin
Check the wp-config.php file
Check the web host
Check the site URL
These posts will give you all the answers. And, this is now your “how to solve the problem” checklist.
Now, if you stop and look back…
You have some pretty important thing already done:
You have an urgent problem
A problem people want solved quickly
A problem people are willing to pay money to get solved
You have a checklist of things to solve the problem
And a whole list of resources you can use to help you
You have a freelance business idea. A very solid one.
And, the best part… it’s quick to solve, you can make a couple hundred bucks off it and do several a day if you wanted to.
To put this in context, there’s a big push in America right now for a $15 minimum wage. Politics aside, if you were making $15/hour you’d have to work 20 hours in a day to make $300. But, here YOU have a service you can offer where you could make $300 and solve the problem in 2 hours. That’s $150/hour. And, how many could you do in a single day?
And, you don’t have all the pressure of managing and delivering on a weeks-long, $5,000 project. A couple hours, a couple hundred bucks…
But, it adds up quick.
All right, so that’s it for today. In the next installment of this series, I will show you how to build your service sales page. This is where people will go to hire you. And, the big thing here is: simplicity. What I’ll show you isn’t going to take long for you to build. And, won’t require a bunch of fancy sales tricks. So, be sure to check back for tomorrow’s installment.