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The Instagram Hack

Stories.

They seem weird, but they’re one of the most powerful tools you can use to sell your services on Instagram, because they accomplish two of the most important priorities when marketing any product or service.

Top of mind awareness

Attention.

Top of mind is why all these big brands spend bajillions every year running what are, if you think about it, weird ads. Ads that don’t directly sell their services. The funny Old Spice commercials.

Or, Coke and their never-ending “fizz” commercials.

On and on.

It’s to keep reminding you about them and to associate their brand with positive emotions. Instagram stories work in a similar way. When you post to your story, it pushes toward the front of the line in your follower’s feed.

The more you post to your story…

The more you’ll stay toward the front…

And, have that same “top-of-mind” awareness.

But, Instagram stories have something that TV and radio don’t have. They also command attention. They’re only up for 24 hours AND, they only show for a few seconds before automatically flipping to the next item in your story.

So, you have to pay attention.

And, this isn’t theory.

Buffer did a research study on 15,000 Instagram stories from 200 top brands (one of the largest such studies to date) and found completion rates above 70%. In fact, even when an account had 20+ stories in its story feed…

The completion rates were still above 55-60%.

Remember, these are BRANDS…

So, businesses… not Aunt Peggy.

When’s the last time you paid that much attention to a TV ad?

Point is, this is a powerful marketing tool…

If you know how to use it.

Of course, most people on Instagram just shoot from the hip with all this, because they don’t have any kind of coherent strategy. The reality is, for most businesses and freelancers, they still really have no idea how to use social media for business.

They’re either soft-balling way too much…

With pictures of their kids or their lunch for that day (sigh)…

Or, just blatantly spamming sales pitches in every post.

Neither works all that well.

And, most seem to just give up after they put in a bunch of work and don’t see any benefit. And THEN, you have these gurus who call you a “sucker” because you gave up on it too quick.

Don’t you know?

You’re supposed to do this for 10 years before you expect to see any results.

Duh!

Uh, okay? :/

Aaaaaanyway…

This the problem I solve.

To end the confusion…

And, showing business owners how to market on social media…

Without screaming “BUY NOW!” 100 times every post…

Or, being terrified to even mention your business.

Specifically, I teach the strategy I discovered all the way back in the early days of MySpace to make the first sales I ever made online. And, I’ve use, to this day, on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc…

To power my 6-figure business.

In any case, it’s in the Social Media Marketing for Freelancers course over on SkillShare. Which you can get free access to here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/smm

Later,

John

April 10, 2019

Upwork’s network effects

The concept is pretty simple (from Investopedia):

“The network effect is a phenomenon wherein increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of a good or service.”

The internet.

Social media.

They all operate on this idea of network effects.

Both across the platform AND for individual users. So, as Facebook’s user base grows, Facebook becomes more valuable. But, also, as YOUR individual friend’s list grows, Facebook becomes more valuable TO YOU.

Save those few “friends” you’d rather not follow, of course. ūüėÄ

Thing is…

Freelancing platforms have network effects, as well. So, the more freelancers on a platform, the more valuable it is to potential clients. The more clients on a platform, the more valuable it is to freelancers.

But, it’s not just that.

Because, the network effects on a freelancing platform are “rigged”.

That is, the whole idea of these platforms is to match the best clients with the best freelancer for their project. So, for you, the freelancer, there’s a whole other element of network effects at play.

The more jobs you do…

The better feedback you get from clients…

The more you rise on the platform.

And, the more jobs you get…

And, it just feeds itself.

This is why I kind of chuckle when short-sighted freelancers ask me why I advise freelancers on Upwork to do their own promotion and bring their own clients TO Upwork, at first.

“Why would you just give Upwork that 20% fee?”

Well, first off, if you bring a new client to Upwork, they don’t charge you that fee for any project you do with that client… forever. But, even if they did, I’d still advise you to do it.

Why?

To “juice” the networks effects.

To get all the search and matching algorithms working in YOUR favor.

And, get Upwork to send you more work than you ever brought it.

Now, admittedly, that’s a long-term play. And, plenty of freelancers are way too short-sighted. Focused on the “what’s in it for me, right NOW”. And, that’s also why so many fail as freelancers.

But, if you’re not one of those “bright, shiny object” freelancers…

This can work to devastating effect for you.

In any case, I added a bonus section to my Freelancing on Upwork course where I show you how to promote your Upwork profile outside of Upwork and get these network effects working in your favor.

Plus, how to set it all up in a way where you can still leave Upwork.

And transfer all the traffic over to your own website.

Without a big headache.

Anyway, you can take the full course, including this bonus module, over on Skillshare and get free access. All the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

March 26, 2019

This is how I grew my business over 500%

Question:

“What are you doing TODAY to market your freelance business?”

If you can’t answer…

Or, the answer is a little vague…

Or, something you’re still figuring out…

Whatever income woes you might be experiencing, I can point you to the culprit. The reality is: no marketing = no business. This is the simplest, yet most effective, “freelance marketing” advice I can give you:

Do it daily.

Let me give you an example…

People often get horrified when they find out that I mail my mailing list on a daily basis. Sure, I miss some days here and there, but it’s not intentional. And on the whole… I probably send 330-340 emails in a 365-day year.

It’s a LOT…

To most people.

And, they always ask:

“Don’t people get annoyed?”

“Aren’t you gonna burn out your list?”

“You must get a lot of unsubscribes?”

And, my answer is always the same: I don’t know, probably. But, since I started mailing daily, my business has grown over 500%. And, it’s directly attributable to switching to sending daily emails.

So, theoretically, you might be right…

But, practically, no way in hell I’d ever go back.

But, here’s the real kicker…

For the first few years I did this, I was awful at it. I go back and look at some of those emails and cringe. They’re awful. Even today, I’m not some genius copywriter or marketer. I’m always learning and trying to get better.

But, through all that… the business just keeps growing.

Not because I’m a genius…

Not because I have it all figured out…

Not because I’m this super charismatic marketer…

Nope.

It’s because I show up… every day.

That’s it.

Now, yes. Over the years, I’ve developed a system for doing this to maximize my reach and influence as much as possible. To reach the widest possible audience and, more importantly, to actually sell my s!@#.

So, I get the most out of everything I do.

And, that’s one of the things I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course… how to build out a reliable online system for getting new clients, delivering like a pro and getting repeat business and referrals.

It’s the hard-learned lessons from 15 years as a freelancer.

Anyway, if you wanna learn those lessons, you can get access to the course for nothing over on Skillshare. All the details on how to do that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

March 20, 2019

Walmart and the most important freelancing skill you can learn

Sam Walton started in the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas.

If you look, today, the population is about 66,000… but back then it was just 5,700. And, he did this despite the prevailing wisdom at the time that a mass retailer needed to be started in a big city, otherwise it would fail.

But, Walton actually listened to his customers.

He knew that consumers in rural areas often bought in larger quantities because they had larger families and took fewer trips to the store. The result is, of course, the largest retailer on the planet, today.

Listening to your customers/clients is important.

But, that’s often not the road-block.

Let me give you another example.

Back in the early 2000s, about 3-4 years before Groupon launched, I was just getting into web development, but still working my old job at a local pizza chain in Iowa. And, I had this idea.

I noticed how effective coupons were at getting customers in the door.

And, I’d built a coupon membership site for the company I worked at. We advertised in on the local radio and built up a membership of about 500 people. Which, for that town, was about 5% of the population.

And, once a week or so, we’d send out a new coupon.

And, it’d bring people just flooding in.

It was kinda crazy how well it worked.

Anyway, after a few times of doing this, I thought “I could do this for all the local businesses around here.” And, I started building a whole new website that I’d planned on pitching to those companies.

I never finished it.

Doubt started to creep in.

There were a few technical problems I had to figure out.

And, eventually, I just gave up on it.

Imagine my horror a few years later when Groupon blew up. I thought of that first! But, they executed on it. And, that’s the lesson, today. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Listening to your clients is great.

Coming up with new insights and ideas… awesome.

But, it’s doing it that actually matters.

And, quite often, that comes down to trusting your gut.

Imagine if Sam Walton, knowing everything he knew about rural America’s buying behavior, had decided to ignore his gut and just go with the prevailing wisdom. Would Walmart even exist, today?

We’ll never know.

Because he did and it does.

Anyway, this is the most important thing you can learn how to do as a freelancer… hone your instincts and learn to trust them. And, you do that by getting out of your head, trying new ideas and letting the chips fall where they may.

Not being afraid to fail.¬†Not substituting other people’s thinking for your own.¬†Sure, learn from others.¬†But, always, trust your thinking over theirs until you’re proven wrong by your own action. Then, adjust.

Do that… and eventually, you’ll figure one thing out.

Then another.

And another.

And, before you know it, you’ll have a whole system for getting clients, delivering, repeat business, referrals, all of it. That’s what I did starting 15 years ago… and what’s lead me to where I am, today.

Having worked on projects for people like Tim Ferriss…

And, Inc. Magazine.

And, dozens of others.

In any case, if you want a jump-start and want to fast-track that learning curve by learning what I picked up over all those years and experiences, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course.

All the details on the course and how to get free access are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/freelance

Later,

John

March 19, 2019

The Al Bundy Method for selling your freelance services more easily

I used to sell shoes.

Was damn good at it, too. In fact, I made it through the company’s 18-month manager training program in just over 9 months. In my first store, as a manager, I was the #3 selling manager in one of the smallest stores in the chain.

And, I broke several store sales records along the way.

Anyway, we had this thing we did.

Out of Al Bundy’s bag of “tricks” if you will.

Let me give you an example.

“This is an XYZ Brand shoe. You’ll notice the high quality leather upper. The better the leather, the more it breathes and flexes over time. So, your feet don’t get hot and sweaty and the shoe will mold to fit your foot as you wear it.”

Here’s another.

“This shoe has a polyurethane outsole. The nice thing about polyurethane compared to a standard rubber outsole is it’s much lighter weight and more flexible while still being nearly as durable. So, your shoes won’t feel like they weight 1000 pounds, you’ll be lighter on your feet and less fatigued… without giving up durability.”

This is what we called the “FAB” technique.

Feature. Advantage. Benefit.

Leather upper. Polyurethane outsole.

That’s the feature.

And, it’s important because it’s something real and tangible you can point to about your product. Starting with it makes whatever you say more believable because your customer can see it right in front of them.

Lighter. More flexible. Breathes better.

These are all advantages.

Characteristics OF the feature that make it better.

This is the key link between the feature and the benefit.

It makes your benefit “make sense”.

And, not just sound like sales-speak.

Finally, the benefit. Less fatigue, more comfortable shoe, durability, feet that aren’t hot and sweaty… these are what the features and advantages MEAN to the customer and, ultimately, the only thing they really care about.

BUT…

You can’t just speak in benefits, otherwise it seems empty. By following this chain from real, tangible feature to ultimate benefit, you create a “logical path” that makes your sales presentation believable and real.

I sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of shoes this way.

So, think about how you can do this with your freelance services.

That said, this is one smaller part of the bigger technique which is to “productize” your services. And, you want to do that for a lot of the same reasons. It makes your services more real and believable to potential clients.

It makes your services fit more naturally with what your clients actually want.

Making them easier to sell.

Plus, it decouples your services from time.

So, you can charge more while working less.

Anyway, this is one of the things I cover (Lesson 5)¬†in the first installment of my Freelancing 101 series called “What Services to Offer”. I teach you how to productize your services, pricing, picking the right niche, what services to offer and more.

As always, you can get access to it for nothing over on SkillShare.

As a teacher there, I can offer you an *exclusive* 2-month free trial of the site. So, just start the trial, take the course (plus any of the 21,000 other courses on the site) and just cancel before the 2 months is up.

And, you never pay a penny.

If you’re interested, the link with all the details is here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/niche

Later,

John

March 11, 2019

What my dog taught me about making more as a freelancer

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.

The hook.

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?”

Damn.

No.

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.

Heartwork check.

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…

Or sand.

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.

Getting referrals.

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…

And, you never pay a penny.

Simple, simple.

In any case, link is here if you’re interested: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/freelance

Later,

John

March 5, 2019

How to price your freelance projects

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.”

Perceived quality.

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!”

Now, notice…

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

Later,

John

March 4, 2019

Read this before another developer ruins your website

That’s the headline.

Of the most effective services sales page I ever ran. In fact, I ran it for years on my site before I whittled down to just one client. It’s easily brought in tens of 1000s of the greenbacks for me.

I don’t care what kind of web development you do…

This should be your headline.

It grabs the reader by the eyeballs…

And, forces them to read.

Because, it’s every client’s worst nightmare.

It’s like a car wreck, they can’t NOT look.

And, it works no matter what kind of services you offer.

Of course, you gotta follow it up correctly; otherwise, your potential client will quickly lose interest. So, next comes the “horror story”. For me, it’s Inc. Magazine and how they spent 2 years try to get their site built.

Went through several developers.

Spent lots and lots of money.

And, still had nothing.

This makes the fear REAL to your potential client.

Imagine being a client and hearing Inc. Magazine had that much trouble.

It makes your biggest fear suddenly very real. Now, at this point, you have them hooked and they’re in for the long haul to read your services page. But, you’re still not done. What comes next is the most crucial part.

It’s the transition from just scaring the crap out of them‚Ķ

To actually selling your services.

AND, making your ad something they want to share, in and of itself.

With co-workers, employees, colleagues.

They’ll actually share YOUR ad.

It also establishes the criteria by which they’ll evaluate YOU as a developer. Criteria YOU get to establish. And then, conveniently meet in the rest of your sales page. “Set ’em up and knock ’em down” as they say.

At any rate, I just added a bonus lesson to my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course that’s specifically for web developers. In it, I go through the services page I used all those years and the psychology behind it.

Plus, I give you the Word doc with all the copy in it.

If you’re a freelance web developer, you don’t want to miss this.

You can get started with the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

February 1, 2019

Opening up Upwork this morning felt like winning the lottery

You’ve got a decision to make.

What kind of person are you going to be? 

Person A:‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

2019-01-31_0721
Terry on YouTube

Or person B:

2019-01-31_0722
Miro on Facebook

I can tell you who’s going to get further in life. Who’s going to have more success as a freelancer. Who’s going to actually create the life they imagine for themselves. The funny thing about this is if you look at Miro…¬†

He very easily could’ve devolved into the same piss-poor attitude as Terry.¬†He tried Upwork.¬†And, his first attempt didn’t work out.¬†

He could have very easily just given up and became a troll who hunted down every Upwork video he could find so he could leave a negative comment.

And, crack snarky jokes that make¬†him feel better about himself…¬†

But, do nothing to help him actually get anywhere in life. 

Like Terry. 

But, instead, he chose to keep fighting. 

Learn. 

Be humble. 

And, it led to him to get his first break.¬†From there, it’s about doing good work, being honest, reliable, etc.¬†I don’t know what’ll happen…¬†But, I have a hunch that Miro’s attitude will carry him through.¬†

Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

I’m not bullsh!@#ing you.

I know this stuff works, because I was in exactly the same spot as Miro. And, exactly the same thing happened to me.  You make the changes I show you and things just start happening. 

I’ve seen it over and over and over gain with my students.¬†

Anyway, if you wanna learn what the trick is, I teach it to you in my Freelancing on Upwork course. You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site at: https://johnsfreetuts.com/upwork101

Later,

John

January 31, 2019

Boring sales tactics that’ll get you more freelance clients

My older brother was an insurance agent.

If you don’t know, insurance is an uber-competitive industry because it has such huge profit margins. So, these people are dialed in when it comes to sales and getting new clients. I learned a ton from watching my him.

For example…

When he first started, his trainer had him write up a list of all the people he knew. He started with about 50 on his list. But, after some pushing and prodding, he got it up to about 300.

Then, he had him write letter to those people…

Letting them know he was in insurance…

And, he mailed it out.

He got his first few clients that way.

Then, they had him make up a flyer. Just a simple one-page deal with a little about him and the services he offered. And, told him to go door-to-door putting them inside people’s screen doors.

He paid my kids 8/hour to do it for him.

And, he got a few more clients.

Even better is what happened when a financial advisor moved into my neighborhood. He came to my door, introduced himself and pointed out where he lived and told me if I ever needed any financial advice to get in touch.

I didn’t, but I know few neighbors who did.

None of this stuff is secksy-sounding.

In fact, it’s downright boring.

But, it’s no coincidence that the most competitive industries on the planet have their new agents do this stuff. It works. And, whatever kind of freelancing you’re doing, you can probably do something similar.

But, there’s one thing my brother did that was by far the most boring.

In fact, I HATED doing it with him.

But, nearly every time I did…

I got a ‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äčlead on a new client.

There was maybe once or twice I didn’t in the dozens of times I did this with him. It’s no wonder this is the #1 thing new insurance agents, realtors, financial advisors and the like are encouraged to do.

It just plain works.

Anyway, I just uploaded a new bonus lesson to my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course where I explain what it is and what you need to be prepared to do to get clients from this method.

You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 30, 2019

How to triple what you charge per hour as a freelancer

Right after I built Platform University for Michael Hyatt.

He has a massive following online. And, a bunch of his acolytes wanted a membership site just like his. Well, turns out I was 1 of 2 people in the world that could build it for them. And, the other guy wasn’t taking clients.

So, I started getting a ton of quote requests for a “clone” of his site.

I charged 3K a piece for these sites.

But, I’d written the WordPress theme from scratch, myself. So, I had all the code. I knew exactly how to tweak it and set it all up. And, because they were seeking ME and I had a little more control‚Ķ

I only allowed very few customizations.

All that meant each site only took me a few hours to build.

4-5 at most.

So, my “hourly rate” went from 100/hour to 600-700/hour.

Now, you might think…

“Okay great. But, that was this super unique thing and there’s no way I can replicate that.” Au contraire mon ami. It’s easily replicated. Yes, easily. Once you understand the dynamic and WHY it worked.

Replicating it is simple.

In fact, I’ve done it numerous times since.

And no, it’s not always 6-7 times the rate.

But, 3-4 times what you’re charging hourly‚Ķ is easy to do.

Anyway, there’s 3 components that go into this to make it work. The more you get each right, the more you’ll see your rate per hour go up. If you’re interested in learning how, I have a bonus lesson in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course‚Ķ

That will teach you those 3 components and how to put them together.

Plus, you can take it for nothing over on SkillShare.

All the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 29, 2019

The prostitute principle

This guy I know…

Ahem…

Once told me that veteran prostitutes demand their money upfront. Because they’ve learned the hard way that once a client gets what they want, they’re a lot more likely to walk away without paying.

And, there’s not a lot they can do.

Sound familiar?

Oddly enough, I’ve never had a client flake like that. I guess growing up like I did, I always had that “b!@#$ better have my money” mentality. So, I came up with a system for getting paid that ensured I got mine‚Ķ

But, didn’t require the client to pay 100% upfront‚Ķ

So, they don’t get scared off.

And, kept them comfortable throughout…

So they KEEP paying.

Best part, for me, is it also weeds out the tire-kickers and freebie-seekers so I only deal with people who are serious about hiring me and I know will have the money to actually pay for the project.

Because I can’t stand that B.S. 

Anyway, I teach the method I use in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://www.johnsfreetuts.com/freelance.

Later,

John

January 28, 2019

Freelance pricing perfectly explained in one story

This isn’t mine.

Credit to Jason Martin on Quora, but this story perfectly explains freelancing pricing and the “am I worth it” dilemma:

A company is building a product, with a lot of money invested in it, but it just isn’t working. So they hire an outside engineer to look over the design. The consultant comes to the office, looks at the schematics for about 20 minutes, and then asks the director of the project for a pencil.

The director taps his pockets, and realizes he doesn’t have one.

“No problem”,¬†says the consultant, and he opens his briefcase, opens a new box of pencils, and sharpens one. He then takes the pencil and circles a small part of the design. ‚ÄúThere is your problem”,¬†he says, “the material you‚Äôve chosen is too weak for a part this size. Use something sturdier.”

The advice works, and the product ships.

A month later, the consultant sends his bill, $50,000.

The director of the project is very surprised by the cost, so he sends a request to the consultant for an itemized list of expenses.

The consultant obliges:

1. Pencil – $0.99

2. Knowing where to put the mark: $49,999.01

The most costly thing in the world is ignorance. The most valuable is knowledge and the expertise to apply it.

Jason Martin, Quora.com

That’s it, my young Jedi.

If you’ve got the the chops to deliver, it don’t matter where you’re from, how experienced or inexperienced you are, how you grew up, what college you went to… do you “know where to put the mark” or not.

I was only a few years into my freelance career when I got tapped to build Platform University for Michael Hyatt. Same with Inc. Magazine and the stuff I did for Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body.

That’s how it is in the freelance game.

And, if you CAN then you’re “worth” it.

And, you should charge what you’re worth.

And, don’t let anyone tell you different.

As¬†for the figuring “what you’re worth” part… there’s a whole range of things that affect the perceived value of what you offer: perceived quality, supply and demand, competition, differentiation… on and on.

Also, it depends on your strategy.

How you plan to beat out your competition.

Position yourself in the market.

Etc.

Anyway, I just released a new course on figuring out what services to offer as a freelancer and Lesson 6 is all-in on pricing. Factors you’ll want to consider, the three primary pricing strategies to consider, how to research it…

If you wanna get pricing “handled”…

So, you know exactly what services to offer and what to charge…

Give it a watch here: https://skl.sh/2RDQXZl

Just don’t do what most freelancers do and “wing it”. It makes everything else so much harder when you’re putting the wrong offer in front of the wrong people. Take just a bit of time and think this through and you’ll be glad you did.

Later,

John

January 21, 2019

My freelancing baby daddy

I’ve easily made more benjamins as a result of following the great Ben Settle than any other “guru” or marketing expert out there. In fact, since I first listened to that podcast on that fateful day where I discovered him…

I’ve quadrupled… and am about to quintuple my income.

HE is why I email everyday.

HE is why I stopped hard teaching in these here posts.

HE is the one who cured me of my shiny object obsession.

If my business is my baby… then HE is it’s baby daddy. 

One of the many things he taught me is how to sell without feeling like a class A jack-wad or sounding like a cheesy infomercial. But wait… there’s more… yet, being MORE persuasive and getting BETTER results.

And, as I’ve said, the proof is in the pudding.

It frees you up to be aggressive.

And, be yourself.

And, just focus on making good s!@#.

And, let the chips fall where they may.

And, this stuff is DEADLY effective for freelancers. What I’ve found is most people are sick to death of all the bull-shizen and marketing-speak. They find it refreshing to have someone just be blunt and direct with them.

And, not beat around the George H.W. 

Of course, you’ll always have your jack-wagons.

And, your freebie leeches…

Who whine and moan because you stop letting them suck you dry of value.

Including the ones that’ll inevitably reply to this post.

But, the VAST majority appreciate it.

They respect you more.

Trust you faster.

And, are 10X more likely to buy what you’re peddling.

(And no… it’s not just “be a jack-arse”.)

Anyhoo, I share this approach to selling “elBenbo” taught me in the first few minutes of Lesson 6 in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. Who knows? Maybe, it’ll completely shake up your approach and your business like it did me.

You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 15, 2019

Finding the perfect freelance clients

Back when little JMO was just a freelancing tadpole…

I made the mistake virtually every new freelancer does. That makes freelancing 10X harder than it has to be. Awful clients. Projects you hate. Getting paid pennies. It’s easy to see why so many people give up on it.

My mistake was taking any and every client I could.

I built a weird e-commerce app for a guy.

Jackin’ around with creating PDFs in PHP for another.

Hacking WordPress for yet another.

I didn’t enjoy any of it. So, I procrastinated HARD. Clients got pissed. I had to refund a couple, because I just couldn’t bring myself to finish. And, they weren’t paying me much to begin with.

It was miserable.

Then, I built a membership site for a guy.

And, I really enjoyed it. 

And, I decided to do only that… not out of some genius insight about marketing or freelancing. But, because I was just sick of doing all the other stuff. But, what I discovered is that the more I just built membership sites.

The less I procrastinated.

The more I got paid.

The easier getting clients became.

And, the happier I was.

It all went hand-in-hand.

That’s the trick. The first big step as a freelancer. Figuring out your niche. That “magic” elixir of what you love doing, that you’re good at, that others are willing to pay you to do for them. 

That’s when the freelance “dream” becomes real.

And, it take some thinking…

And, some experimenting.

Trust me, you’ll be 1000x happier as a freelancer if you spend some time figuring out what your niche is… instead of doing what most do, which is either just be a “generalist” who tries to be everything to everybody.

Or, focus only on the muney.

And, try to grunt your way through it.

In any case, once you figure out what your niche is, NOW you need to find those clients… who want exactly what you have to offer. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to consistently find your perfect clients on Upwork…

The largest freelancing platform on the planet.

The exact kinds of projects you want.

The exact budget.

The highest quality clients.

I show you the strategy I use to filter through all the trash on Upwork to find the diamonds in the rough… in lessons 4 and 5 of Module 3 in my Freelancing on Upwork course on SkillShare.

And, it’s more than applying a few search filters.

It’s an entire strategy for consistently finding the best projects at any given time. Since, there’s always so many projects in and out of Upwork.

Anyway, you can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/upwork101/

Later,

John‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

January 13, 2019

Dirty things I do on my computer

To hear my haters tell it, the things I do to run my business are “dirty”.

I email everyday. I sell my products in every one of those emails. I don’t care one iota about follower counts, open rates, click-throughs or any of the other fake stats most online business owners fool themselves with.

I don’t believe the customer is always right.

I tell my students when they’re being obtuse.

And, I’m never going to stop.

Like I said… dirty, dirty, dirty.

But, I believe something fundamentally. People abhor bullshit. At least, the people I want to work with. They’d rather someone shoot them straight then tap-dance around their feelings and insecurities.

Because, they know that’s the only way to get results.

And to be frank…

If that ain’t you‚Ķ

Well, don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

I ain’t changin’, toots.

That and I have this “crazy” notion that, as an online business owner, it’s my JOB to promote my business on a daily basis. And, it’s my moral OBLIGATION to tell people about the products I have that will make their lives better.

And, if you truly believe in what YOU do. 

If you truly believe you can help others with your skills.

You, my friend, have the SAME obligation.

There’s a lesson in there about principles > tactics when it comes to business. One I learned from the great, Ben Settle. Take it for what it’s worth, but if you’re a freelancer or online business owner, I recommend taking heed.

My business changed dramatically when I did.

In any case, if you’re a freelancer (or want to be), you can learn more of these fundamentals in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course on SkillShare. Where to find clients, what services to offer, what to charge, persuading clients and more.

If you’re not a gimmick-hound‚Ķ

Or bright, shiny object chaser…

And, just want someone to cut the bull-ski and tell you what to do.

This course is it.

Anyway, you can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 12, 2019

The perfect freelance service to offer clients

The offer is crucial.

You can do everything else right, as a freelancer, but if you screw up the offer, you’ll have a miserable time getting clients because they simply don’t want what you have.

This is why I rag on the “generalist” web developer approach so much.

Most FREELANCE clients don’t want that. If they did, they’d hire an employee. They want a specialist to build them XYZ thing. That change in offer, alone, has helped 100s of freelancers I’ve taught.

Here’s a perfect example.

After I built Platform University for Michael Hyatt, I started to get a bunch of people contacting me to build them something similar. So, eventually, I added an official service to my services page called a “Clone”.

And, I sold a ton of these things.

In fact, these were the easiest money I made in my entire career. I had all the code already. So, they only took me a couple days to build. And, people were paying 3K+ for them (and, telling me I should charge MORE).

But, before I built that site for Michael…

I never would have thought of “Clone” as a service anyone would want. Nobody probably would have. But, at that moment in time, it was the perfect offer to a specific group of people.

And, I capitalized.

That’s how powerful “the right offer to the right people at the right time” is.

It will make or break you as a freelancer.

So, don’t just slap up some services you “think” people will want.

Research it.

Think about it.

Spend time on it.

Learnt the skill of crafting compelling offers.

It makes the rest of  your marketing way easier.

And, it will pay big dividends when you get it right.

Of course, one of the big things people ask me when I bring this up is “How?” How do I craft an offer? What do I research? What things am I looking for? How do I know when I’ve got it right?

There’s a litmus test I use.

A way to know when you have the perfect offer.

I used it as a freelancer.

I use it as a teacher.

It’s THE thing I use to decide what to offer and when… even now.

In any case, I teach you what it is and how to apply to your freelance services about 2 minutes into Lesson 3 in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. If you wanna make sure you’re always hitting your freelance offers just right, give it a watch.

You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

January 10, 2019

Systems and science

When little JMO was a wet-eared freelancer…

This was the thing that frustrated me the most. It was like someone was crushing me in a vise-grip. On one hand, you have to spend all your time attending to clients and delivering… while on the other working ON your business to get new clients.

And, it never seemed like I had enough time in the day.

Something always suffered.

Drove me nuts.

My problem, then, is I was just flying by the booty of my denims. I had no plan. No system. Nothing to rely on. I just got up each day and hoped. I’d frantically check my Upwork invites… nothing.

Website quote requests… nothing.

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube… nothing.

And, every day, I’d panic.

Now what?

And, I’d try to come up with some grand scheme to bring a flood of new clients into my freelance business. And, I just kept chasing shiny objects. A new platform or some “trick” some online marketer was peddling.

Day after day.

Until I finally got sick of it.

What I finally got through my thick skull is…

You need a system.

You’ve gotta spend the time upfront to build a step-by-step system for consistently bringing in new clients. No guessing. No hoping. No panicking every day. Just grinding it out. Set it up then run it.

And, that’s what I did.

And, ended up working on projects for Inc. Magazine.

And, Tim Ferriss.

Michael Hyatt and Lewis Howes.

It’s a system.

And, it’s science.

And, it works.

In fact, I’m convinced that once you set up a system like this and run it on a daily basis (mine takes me less than an hour each day), your long-term success is guaranteed. Short-term, things happen.

But, long-term, you can’t lose.

I’ve just seen it time and time again.

All kinds of people…

From all different walks of life…

From all over the world.

The system has worked for all of them.

In any case, this is what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. How to build a repeatable system for getting new clients. Creating a backlog of job invites and quote requests…

So, you have more control over your freelance business.

You can charge more.

Fire problem clients.

And, not have to worry where next month’s dough is coming from.

Anyway, you can get started with the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

See ya over there,

John

January 8, 2019

5 freelance myths that keep you broke

There’s so much BAD advice out there when it comes to freelancing. It’s no wonder people keep falling victim to these stupid myths like, “Freelancing is a numbers game”. No the hell it’s not. Not if you don’t wanna be miserable.

Or, “anyone can freelance”.

Meh.

Maybe, that’s “technically” true because freelancing is a skill that just needs learned. But, that’s like saying “basketball is just a skill” so “anyone can be a pro”.

Yeah no.

Some people are just better suited to freelancing. And, it comes down to what you value most. If you don’t value certain things MOST, freelancing will always be an uphill battle for you. You’d be better off doing something else.

Wouldn’t you like to know that before you waste a bunch of time freelancing when it’s just not in your DNA?

But I digress…

Look, if you really, truly want to be a freelancer, you need to know‚Ķ it’s getting more and more competitive. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it’s never been this bad.

Yet…

There’s also more work out there than ever before. The trick is becoming one of those 1% of freelancers that suck up all the work and make all the money.

You see them everywhere.

Upwork. Freelancer.

#1 on Google.

It doesn’t seem fair.

That’s because it isn’t. But, if you want to earn your way into that exclusive group, you flat out CANNOT keep falling victim to the common myths and misconceptions that keep most freelancers broke.

It’s like trying to swim in a pool of piranhas with both hands tied behind your back.

In any case, I made a video where I obliterate five of the most common freelancing myths that keep people broke. Any ONE of these could be what’s holding you back right now.

But, fair warning.

This video is LONG.

And, I’m not gonna jump through hoops and juggle butcher knives to keep you entertained. So, if you need that to pay attention, this ain’t for you.

And, freelancing isn’t either.

Anyway, the video is here: https://freelancemyths.com/

There’s no email sign-up or anything like that.

Later,

John

January 7, 2019

Family as your first freelance client?

I was reading this Instagram post from @martin_lasek.

(I definitely recommend following him, BTW.)

And, his advice was to let family be your first client to help you get comfortable working with clients. And, one thing he said jumped out at me:

“Believe me the fact it‚Äės family doesn‚Äėt make them an easier client it just makes it easier for you to enter the field of project management, delivering and actually finishing it.”

Man! Is that so true?

And, I’ve been back and forth on this.

Family CAN be a great first client.

And, it can help give you that jumpstart you need.

With something to put in your portfolio.

Experience.

Etc.

But, you really have to be careful. Because you can quickly ruin a relationship and get discouraged as a freelancer if you don’t do it right. So, I’ve developed some “rules” for working with family.

Follow these and you’ll get the experience and portfolio items you need…

Without making Thanksgiving dinner as uncomfortable as a giant in a clown car.

1. They’re a client.

Once you decide to work with a family member as a client… they’re a client. Throw ALL your expectations about how they’ll behave out the window.

Because THEY will.

At the end of the day, they want their thing built.

And, if you don’t deliver or mess it up.

They won’t like it.

So, treat them like any other client.

2. Scope, scope, scope… and then more scope.

The #1 issue you’ll face with family members as clients is scope creep. “Come on, bro!” “Really, sis? You can’t add just this one more thing?” “Come on, son. I did everything for YOU growing up.”

And on and on.

Families are masters of guilt-tripping each other.

They WILL do it to you.

So, take this as a challenge to learn how to manage scope creep.

Keep THEM on task and you’ll have no problem with regular clients.

3. Exit strategy.

What if things go to hell? Bring this up BEFORE you agree to work with them. Tell them this is your first time doing this. You might just screw it up. And, decide on how you’ll exit the agreement if things go wrong.

This will save your relationship with them.

It helps manage expectations.

And, gives both sides a way out.

It’s uncomfortable, but crucial.

So, there you go.

If you do those three things, at a minimum, you’ll be much more likely to have a good experience, learn a ton and build up your portfolio while working with someone you know and trust.

Oh and charge them.

Something.

It can be 10 bucks.

Doesn’t matter.

Make them pay.

You’ll thank me later. ūüėČ

Of course, at some point, you’ll want to move into getting regular clients. A portfolio, experience… those will help a ton. But, you still have to learn the SKILL of getting clients.

Where to find them?

What to offer?

How much to charge?

Persuading them to hire you.

It’s a skill just like learning how to ride a bike or coding out a CSS grid. Once you learn it, you can USE it again and again to get you the clients you want. In any case, that’s what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course.

The SKILL of freelancing.

Best part… you can take it without paying a purple nickel over on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John
P.S. Or if you prefer Patreon, you can find the course here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/beginners-guide-21994444

January 4, 2019