056: What Have I Been Up To?

It’s easy to begin work and then Focus so much with your head down you realize you haven’t been updating others as to what is going on. I found this to be the case. Therefore, I wanted to give you an inside look at what I’ve been building.

I’ve been working for the last couple of months to finish up a course that I’ve been building over the last two years called Freelance jumpstart. We course teaches creative entrepreneurs how to build a business from scratch in Thrive as a creative who works with high-value clients.

My process consists of three parts writing recording video in editing and finally setting up the lessons on the course.
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Writing

Everything starts with writing.

That’s a quote I often hear from Sean McCabe, but it could not be any truer. No matter what your building everything does begin with writing and building my course has been no different.

Idea validation

I went through the process of validating whether or not building an online course would be worth it by observing current search Trends on Google for freelancing and creating Freelance Jumpstart TV. If you can’t validate there’s interest, then there’s no point in starting.

Brainstorm

Ivan brainstormed about what I could create. I thought about creating a podcast, writing a book but later this idea evolved into building an online course.

Research

Once I validated my idea I had to do more than a little research to increase my knowledge on the subject so that I could teach on it but I also had to find out what other people wanted to learn about the topic of freelancing and starting a business. I use sources such as Reddit, iTunes, Google Trends, Amazon book sales and popular business podcast to determine what topics to cover.

Outline

Once I did research, it was about narrowing down what exactly I was going to teach on, which led me to create a general outline of the topics I new word essential to what I was building.

Book Chapters

Outlining all of the information I knew it would be best to organize the topics in the form of book chapters. Creating book chapters allowed me to think about the order of information as well as how it builds upon one another.

Writing

Once I have the outline and the Order of the information this then let Me 2 begin writing information about each of those topics. The thought was to write a general outline create chapters which gave the information order and then write some points to each of the points I made in the outline.

This made writing easier because all I had to do was write to the specific subpoint and once I was done with all subpoints I would have a chapter.

Video Scripts

As I mentioned earlier, everything starts with writing. Because I had a chapter in sub-points of each information all I had to do was narrow down what parts of the information I wanted to cover in the video.

Each video had a specific script, and the script was the outline of each chapter. The only difference is I found visual examples to cover since video format allows for more visuals.

Transcribe Video Audio

My process included recording the video, editing that the same video in Adobe Premiere Pro, and then exporting the audio and video. Initially, I found a way to transcribe the audio using Google docs for free. However, I found that this took up too much time and it was better for me to use rev.com as a service to transcribe the audio.

Edit Transcription

The transcribed audio from Rev.com was 95% accurate. I still had to edit the text for grammatical errors. Even though the transcription was exactly what I said verbally in the video I may not have spoken as proper as I should have.

Using Grammarly

Grammarly is a fantastic service I have used for some time, and it has made me a better writer. Grammarly checks for many things that Microsoft Word and Google Docs cannot see such as soon as structure vocabulary And overall comprehension. Each video that was transcribed was placed in Grammarly as a final check of what to fix.

Lesson Setup

For the online course platform, I chose WordPress and used the plugin Restrict content Pro. I chose to use these two tools because it would allow me to create a course and have full control of customizing things how I wanted them to be. There are other course platforms out there, but for my first course, I felt this to be the best step to take.

Lesson Video Setup

Since I already owned a vimeo.com account, I felt it best to use this again for the course. Vimeo is known for their high-quality video hosting, and I knew that I could privatize the course videos on Vimeo. There is a setting on Vimeo which allows you to change the privacy of each video and restrict it to only loading on only one a website. In this case, the videos will only work when the user is on freelancejumpstart.com.

2016 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

Since 2014 I have written these yearly reviews, and they’ve been helpful. The goal of the annual review is to help me time travel. The only way I’m going to remember my train of thought, my goals my successes and failures is to Read a blog post from my previous self.

I want to keep these reviews public so others can learn key takeaways from my year and also use them to implement in their own business. They say experience is the best teacher, but you can save massive amounts of time for reading someone else’s story and learning to avoid their mistakes and failures.

My goals for 2016 were very ambitious, but I felt that I could reach them. Even though I did not reach all of my goals, I’m still Satisfied by how the year went because I have Clarity on what I’m going to do moving forward with my business.

You can read my 2015 yearly review but here were some of the goals that I had for 2016:
Relaunch of Business website, inPhocus Media
Create videos on a consistent basis
Complete the Freelance Jumpstart course
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055: Work on Your Business

There comes a time in everyone’s business where they should take a step back and see if what they are doing is working. For me I’ve been working so much in my business, that now it’s time for me to work on my business.

This has been a huge year of learning for me. I’ve gone to more conferences and online webinars than ever. Now it’s time to apply what I’m learning.

It’s easy to critique other people’s Website and make recommendations but what about my own? This year I have given advice to clients in when listening to myself speak I have realized I need to take my own advice.

054: seanwes conference. Think Bigger.

About a year ago I took a chance on a conference. This conference was the seanwes Conference, and I was unsure of how things would go. Sean West is an online community for Creative entrepreneurs to build a sustainable business. I’m a part of this community, and I have received extreme value out of their online courses, podcast, and Live Events.

Another benefit to the community is the fact that they have an online chat system like no other. I made the commitment paid and invested over $1,000 and got ready to go to the conference.
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051: Teach What You Know

Becoming an Authority

Two years ago I bought a book called Authority by Nathan Barry. The basic premise of the book is to teach on a subject, and become perceived as an authority on that subject. After you become in authority, you can begin selling products at a higher value, grow your business and audience.

This approach came across as too simple for me. Teaching could not be the key to finally growing my business to where I wanted it to be.
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050: 10 Things I Learned at VenturePOP

I learned so much at the VenturePOP conference it was ridiculous. I am working on a review but I wanted to quickly share 10 takeaways I have from the conference.

#1 – If you want to get results on Instagram, you have to commit and engage with the community for at least 6 months.

All of the speakers at VenturePOP built up an online following. Their following did not happen by chance but in some cases was a part of their growth strategy. This became the most evident when I heard Jennifer Puno talk about how she committed to engaging with others on Instagram for 6 months.

She posted new imagery and engaged in conversations on other Instagram for 1 hour each day during the span of 6 months. That’s at least 180 – 200 hours spent talking to people with no expectation of a reward on Instagram. Her presentation was a reminder to engage more on social platforms if you want to build up a following.

#2 – Good storytelling is Good marketing.

There were quite a few speakers at the conference who work with video. When I say video I mean those who are willing to capture an audience visually and emotionally with engaging content. I would look closely called them cinematographers. Other ones that I saw there David and Jesse from Pioneer Collective discussed how if you create a compelling story then marketing is easy. They have not once use any paid advertisement on Facebook with the content they have generated is shared.

For me again this was a reminder that you can’t push marketing on someone. You have to invest the time to create quality and once you do because it’s high-quality people will share it naturally and organically.

#3 – If you are building a product get it out the door. Iterating is a part of the process.

Most of us have heard of a beta project or a rough draft. However, when I heard Tara Gentile talk about this it just was a reminder of something I needed to do.

I have a perfectionist attitude when it comes to creating something that’s going to be public-facing. I’ve been working on freelance jumpstart, a resource for Creative entrepreneurs for almost two years because I’m tweaking things and making sure they are perfect. The drawback of my quest for perfection is that I’ve seen many people including Tara release products and courses while I’m still developing mind.

It is a better thing to get something out the door then to have something perfect two years later. There’s so much I will learn about the process and so many things that I can change about the product when I get feedback from real people vs what I think people may say. For me this is an encouragement that the sooner I get my product out the better because I can start in a rating on it and making it better once it’s out the door.

#4 – Your goals are not big enough, you need to 10X them.

Ironically I heard the principal of 10x in your goals while listening to the seanwes podcast. Sean was highlighting a book that he read by Grant Cardone called The 10X Rule. The whole purpose is whatever plans or goals or dreams you have you’re limited to the imagination of your capabilities. What would your gold look like if it was 10 times larger.

Chances are if your goal is 10 times larger and still be such a huge thing to accomplish he would encourage you to hustle everyday because there’s work to be done to reach that goal. I have a go and I have a dream but if I would have text that go then it was a wake-up call that even though I’m doing a lot of work at the moment there’s more that needs to be done if I’m truly going to accomplish the 10x goal.

#5 – Look for strategic partners when creating a project, they may sponsor you.

We all have ideas. But it’s not about good ideas it’s about making ideas happen. There are tons of projects and other things that I want to work on but I don’t have the time or financial resources to pursue them.

Wesley chronicled how he went about finding sponsors for a photography project One of Many. The project ended up not only being free advertisement to the type of work that he does but he was also able to strategically select companies to sponsor and pay for the execution of his project.

In my business my main revenue stream is working with clients, but his talk reminded me that there are other ways to generate income and still do good work even if it’s a fun project.

#6 You must be able to communicate how you help people.

This principle was a reminder to something I believe. There is a difference between what people perceive you to do and communicating the value of what you do. Shenee Howard’s was about branding and how to communicate to others how you can help them in business.

People don’t care as much about you specifically but they do care about how you as a business can help them become a better version of themselves or help them accomplish their goals.

#7 – Write out your goals in a place that his highly visible you can see.

This point mainly came from keynote speakers Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson from the Being Boss Podcast. They highlighted what they called the chalkboard method, which is a way to plan out your goals and remind yourself of them daily. This helps to track your progress on whether or not you have accomplished your goals.

Many of my goals are either in my head in a software like Asana or sitting somewhere in a Google doc. I plan to write out what my goals are print them out and put them on my wall as a reminder of what I need to work towards.

#8 – If you cannot afford a base rate than it is an automatic NO

This is another point I heard from Kathleen Shannon. She highlighted how certain projects might be a distraction if they prevent her from reaching certain goals period as a freelancer.

I have been somewhat flexible as it pertains to price. Sometimes I do work with people who can not afford me because of our friendship, and I want to help empower them to reach their goal. In the back of my mind, I think “maybe if they get more of a following they’ll remember me.”

However what Kathleen is saying is true, the more I say yes to these types of projects the less I have time for work that is actually paid or side projects that bring me satisfaction. This was a reminder that I need to be more strict and put my foot down and say no if someone can not afford me.

#9 – When creating an online course considering using Facebook Groups or Slack

There was a portion of the conference that was highlighted by Sara Morgan of xosarah.com. Sarah spoke of building and online community that is free vs. a paid community inside of a course.

Since I’m working on a course of my own, she had my attention. One of the more important things she mentioned was using a Facebook group versus using Slack, and she discussed the pros/cons of both platforms.

Based on her presentation if the community is free a Facebook group is preferred, if paid then go with Slack.

#10 – I have the ability to create.

I was encouraged by the fact there were a lot of people who were doers. They were either making six figures, building products, accomplishing their dreams, running multiple businesses and empowering others.

These people were all around my age. In fact, one of the speakers, Tara Gentile, shared that 4 years ago she was working at a Borders bookstore only making a little over $20k.

This was a reminder that I need to think bigger, and it is possible to accomplish my goals. The speakers were not more capable than I was so for me the conference just served as inspiration for me to go after my business goals and step it up.

047: The Price is Wrong (Wordcamp NOLA Keynote)

Why is it that some Freelancers get to work with clients who are willing to pay them five figures for their work and other freelancers get paid $300 or so for the same type of work. Running your own business as a creative entrepreneur is not the same as working for an employer at a company.

When you are an employee, the thought is if you work hard someone will recognize your work and give you a raise. However, when you’re working for yourself, you have to be the person to give yourself a raise.
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046: The Road Trip – Part 2

I had the opportunity to speak at a conference, WordCamp NOLA in New Orleans, Louisiana. While driving back, I was able to have a great conversation with fellow freelance creative, Obinna Okongwu. Last week I brought to you The Roadtrip Part 1: Value & Price. This week is the second part of our conversation in which we thought about those things we used to do that were unprofessional.

When working with clients give them a steakhouse experience not a McDonald’s burger.

Have a business email address

I must confess that when I first started a business, I simply created a Gmail account and was on my way. I was okay with people emailing Nathan and focus media @gmail.com. My thought, in the beginning, was a focus on saving money but getting a business email address is not too costly, and it’s something I should’ve done earlier. The email address creates the perception that you are a serious business so much so that even something as small as an email address is tailored for your business.

Streamline your communication

I used to be so excited to work with the client I would give out whatever means of communication they wanted. My hope was to make the client feel comfortable. My lack of streamlining my communication channels was unprofessional. I would give out multiple means of contacting me whether it was my email address, website, cell phone number, Twitter account, personal social media Facebook page and I would even allow clients to text me.

As a professional, you are the one who is to set the means of communication it can be of whatever communication you choose however streamline it so the client knows if they contact you through your specified means of communication you will be available.

The answer to this is to choose what message you want to commit as a means for communication.

Set business hours

My lack of initiative in setting business hours led to people texting me and emailing me at all times of the day and recess and expecting a response. This even met over the weekend as well. I’ve since learned clients won’t have a problem with commute with communicating between a certain amount of hours they just need to know what those hours are or if they reach out how soon will they hear back from you set that expectation from the beginning.

Meeting spaces

We both used to meet clients in Starbucks and Panera Bread for client work. These locations do not create an environment for serious business and start the relationship with a client on the wrong foot.

You have no real control over the environment, and people can get fairly loud in Starbucks or any other public place. Not to mention you have no control over if someone sees you and interrupts your client meeting.

A great solution to this is to get a co-working space. A co-working space allows you to rent a desk or meeting room on a monthly basis. Some allow you to pay per each visit. When we made the switch to coworking spaces for a client meeting, we both experienced better client interactions, and clients had more respect for our advice.

Watch the profanity

I’ve seen a few different opinions online as it pertains to whether or not you should use profanity. Some people feel like profanity shows that the person is casual and is a relatable guy/girl. Ultimately I do not think it is worth the risk if you are meeting in a business setting and drop a four letter word.

You have no clue on whether or not that will offend your client or potential client in a business setting. It’s better just to hold your tongue during client interactions and communicating email as it pertains to profanity.

As a follow-up to that point, mirror the client. If you are meeting with the client and they are cracking jokes and using sarcasm in are relaxed then you can mirror them and do the same. Let the client be the first one and reflect their attitude.

The opposite may be true as well, the more formal and professional you are in your business then the more formal and professional your client will be as well because they see on the level of seriousness you have for their project.

Response time

The quicker you can respond to a client re-higher the chance that you are going to move forward and book with the client and get to a point to where they can pay you. Don’t make the mistake of delaying a response to a customer under the guise that you’re busy or want to appear busy.

Even if you are too busy with projects respond to the client and let them know I would love to work on your project, however, I am busy until December are you able to talk about your project at the end of November.

Utilize pre-written scripts to send emails to clients as a way to more quickly respond to them.

A great lesson I learned from web designer Paul Jarvis is you can use email automation to help you. When you reach out to contact Paul if you expressed that you are interested in being a client, you will get an automatic email sent to you that has preliminary information about working with Paul. This allows clients self-select and determines whether or not they want to work with him based upon the preliminaries they received.

Create a LinkedIn Company Logo

In case there’s a chance you may not know linked in is a social media platform for business professionals. Imagine Facebook but instead of showing your personal life; you are highlighting your work experience and your work history as a professional.

A small but impactful when you can claim on LinkedIn is to create a company profile. To do this, you will need a business email account. The company profile will allow you to upload your logo and describe what your business does as well as post as a business and give updates.

This can also help your business look more legitimate if you create a company profile then when you are filling out your work history on your personal LinkedIn profile you can now link your business title to your company’s business page, and that looks more official.

Business cards

In our digital world, a business card may seem out of date however it is still very relevant. If you’ve ever gone to a networking event, they are essential. The fact that you can carry a business card with your branding and your direct contact information is a great way to show people you are serious about your business.

It’s not that a business card is an absolute requirement but is the fact that you have thought of every type of branding you need even if it’s a business card that just shows that no matter whom you are with you are in Anticipating getting business.

Business cards of one of those things that you give out and someone may not directly go to your website immediately, but they think about you, you’ll be glad you gave out your card. It’s about creating the opportunity to speak again in the future.

Put your best work forward

Your best marketing tool that you have at your disposal is the portfolio. You have the opportunity to create a portfolio that will influence a potential client decision on whether or not they will work with you. The portfolio is not for every piece of work you do. You should only focus on the best work you produce or The type of work you would like to do in the future. Ask yourself what do I do well and let that be the main theme of your portfolio.

Don’t work without a contract

I will confess I have worked without a proposal in a contract. I would simply send the client a quick invoice, and I would use our email conversation or our phone conversation as the terms of agreement. Not only is this legally a problem but it is very unprofessional. For every client that you work with you should have a proposal as well as a contract or client agreement that both parties sign if you’re going to do any work no matter how large or small.

Make payment easy

We both used to ask people to pay via check. The thought was to avoid payment processing fees. This later became a problem because a check takes a while and checks can be lost. The best way to overcome this was to utilize an online payment system to make payments easy. This enabled us to send clients a link and immediately receive an electronic payment within minutes of sending an email.

045: The Road Trip – Part 1

This week for freelance jumpstart this episode is a little different. I had the opportunity and the privilege to speak at a conference this past weekend. The conference was WordCamp NOLA which was held in the City of New Orleans Louisiana. While driving back from Louisiana, I had a conversation with my friend and business entrepreneur Obinna Okongwu.

We talked about many things, but one of the things that we talked about was understanding your value and pricing and our respective businesses. I wanted to share the conversation that we had because the takeaways may be beneficial to you and your business. Listen to the audio for the full conversation.
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043: Before and After

We’ve been in a mini-series about crafting a portfolio that will help draw in the types of clients want. For an effective portfolio, it’s important to take a few projects that you enjoyed working on and create a case study around them. The case study should highlight the problem you solved and how you went about solving that particular problem and then showing and explain the results. An essential part of that case study is to have some imagery.

Not only should you have images that show the type of work you produced but also have imagery that demonstrates the state of the client before you begin any work as well as imagery that shows what happened after the customer worked with you.

The logic of what we’re going for is simple people can look and compare and contrast the starting state versus the final state and that comparison will allow them to at least visually see that you produce amazing work and can take something and improve upon it.

We are used to makeovers

Have you ever watched a show which featured fashion makeovers? They take someone whose style of fashion is bland, and they give them a makeover. They may cut their hair, give them new clothes or put different makeup on them. The end of the whole goal is for you to see them transformed in comparison to how they used to look. This is a very useful tactic.

I remember the show called Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and they would cut out houses or sometimes demolish houses and then build them again from the ground up. At the end of the process, they would surprise the family by showing them their newly constructed renovated home and they always make a comparison from how the house used to look to how the house looks now. One reason that show was wildly successful is not only did they show you the before and after pictures but you got to see the process of how they went about building the home.

That’s the same tactic you want to take when crafting your case studies. You want people to see the beginning and final stages, but you also want to walk them through the process of how you got there.

Don’t miss out

If you’re not readily using before and after imagery in your portfolio you’re missing out on a big opportunity because not everyone can make the mental connection of the work that you did. In the area of web design, I’ve had to try to explain and justify my prices. Adding prices, I charge, and when I don’t display the process, it’s not enough for someone to get my True Value. Not only did I make a nice-looking website but when you see what I started with there’s that much more appreciation for my expertise.

Adjust the position of comparing before and after works in any industry. If you’re an editor, use a word processor that allows you to track changes. Take a screenshot to show not only did I produce new content through writing but provide a glimpse intoall of the changes that I made in the screenshot that displays track changes. This will show you did more than edit a few sentences and paragraphs.

Terence and Tinlun

An example of someone who does a great job of showing the before-and-after is Terence Tang of Tinlun Studio. Terence is a hand letterer who uses calligraphy to give a unique look and style to his work.

Often Terence will start with an entirely blank canvas, and he will record himself during the creative process. He often redoes the same design until he can get to a comfortable point. He takes photos to show that sometimes he has redrawn a piece over 15 times.

From there Terence then scans his work and begins the process of converting it to a digital artwork. During this process once again he will refine the digital design. Finally, we’ll get to the point to where he’s happy with the digital vector, and he can now put it on multiple mediums where that he takes the art piece and makes a sticker, t-shirt, hat, button, or wall prints and other types of art.
tinlunstudio
When viewing Terence’s entire process, you get a newfound appreciation for his work. So much value can be observed, and you know he’s a professional, not someone who fumbled around and found a font on the internet. He is someone who manually created everything and got to a final product that is unique for his specific customer base.

042: How to Get Amazing Client Testimonials for Your Business

Think about it, if you’ve ever used Amazon.com, you know that they have products for sale and each product has a review from a previous purchaser. We use other people’s thoughts and opinions because they appear to be more authentic. That is the logic we are using in creating a client testimonial.
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041: How to Write a Case Study for Your Portfolio

In the previous episode, we looked at what it takes to craft a portfolio that is useful in getting future clients to work with you. Building on that episode the last point I made is the fact that every portfolio should have a few case studies.

A case study is where you dive deeper into the details of a project and discuss your design process but also show the results of working with you. Think about giving someone an inside look into what it’s like in working with you that’s the type of perspective you want someone to leave with them after they read your case study.

When thinking about what projects you want to use for your case study have fun with this, choose projects that you enjoyed, and it was a positive experience for both you and the client. The writing of a case study begins in the midst of a project don’t wait until after the project is over to start writing a case study when you first start working with a client start writing down notes from the beginning. It will be harder to write a case study if you try to remember all the details of the project after it’s already done start taking notes along the way.

Background

Discuss the history of how you met the client and the circumstances which led to the work you are producing. Introduce who the client was what their company does and how an event took place which triggered the reason for them to contact you. You want the reader of the case study to read the background and have a general understanding of who your client is and what they do.

Problem Solving

Another essential to crafting a compelling case study is to highlight the problem your client had when they came to you for work.

If you are a business owner, you are in the business of solving problems.

In its simplest form think about a restaurant, for the potential customer the restaurant solves the problem of hunger. If perhaps you don’t feel like cooking they will save you time and provide food for the temporary hunger problem you have.

Business is an exchange of value and when you present a solution that is adequate to solve a problem then you are seen as valuable. Speak to what the potential problem or problem was when your client came to you and why it proved difficult for their business.

Your Process & Decision

At this point, you’ve reached the middle of your case study. You should focus on the process you took in solving the problem for the client. Use this section to discuss your thought processes, possibilities and any difficulties or hurdles you had to overcome. Tell a story of the different ways you were thinking about solving the problem and why you made certain decisions. Give a glimpse into your creative process.

The Solution

How did you solve the problem?
The solution needs to be the exact opposite of the problem you outlined earlier in your case study. Right about how the solution answers every question the potential customer had and also why it is a comprehensive solution and was the best choice you could have made as a creative.

The Result

What was the result?
The mistake I used to make in the past was I would talk about a solution, but I would stop there. As a creative, you can solve somebody’s problem but what’s missing from being effective in your case study writing is highlighting what the results were. What does it matter if I redesign a website in cells goes down?

If a client comes to me for web design work, their goal is to attract more of the right type of customer. So not only do I as a web designer need to show that the result is better and more organized and it better for user experience I also need to capture some increase or added value for the business owner.

Results are better when quantified. For example, I may say after the website redesign the client’s website visitors went from 20 a month to 200 a month, increasing traffic by 1000%. Using numbers to quantify the results is not only powerful, but people can see the numbers and immediately get the point.

Client Testimonies

A subset of getting results is giving a client testimonial. It’s best if you ask for these while in the midst of the project or right when you deliver the solution. If you wait too long to get a testimonial, the client will begin to forget some of the things that you did along the way, so it’s best to ask as soon as the solution is delivered when they are thinking about your work.

You don’t need a case study for every project you work on however choose the work that you are most proud of. Turn these into a case study so that new potential clients can see who you are how you work and the results you produce.

040: You Need A Porfolio

You have control

In the past when I would work different 9-to-5 jobs I had a number of job responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities were not exactly what they listed in the job description, but nevertheless, they were a part of my job. I always found it ironic that you needed work experience to be considered for future jobs at other companies, but they would always use your previous work experience as a measure of whether or not you can do the work required for the job you interview for.

The weird thing about it is most of my resumes would describe previous work, but I could never really make what I did in the past sound irresistible. A portfolio is not only a chance for you to talk about the previous work you’ve done but it’s an opportunity to finally take control and display the type of work you want to do in the future.

Curate

I had the wrong mentality. I thought the more experience, the better which led me to put all the types of work that I’ve done to show my versatility. I have come to learn that curation is way better for getting the type of work that you want. Along my journey of learning different creative skills, I learned video editing, audio editing, web design, photography and how to work with Photoshop.

I remember editing photos for a client and making graduation invitations which I included in my portfolio. I was later met with an influx of requests to edit photos and create graduation invitations. These clients were nice, but they were never willing to pay over a certain amount.

At the time I was in aspiring web designer, looking for any creative opportunity to bring in extra income. I quickly recognized editing photos and creating invitations wasn’t the type of income I wanted to move towards. A second look at my portfolio allowed me to recognize if I wanted a particular kind of client I couldn’t put everything I did in my portfolio.

The wise thing for me to do is if I wanted to get into web design then and I wanted future web design clients it was best for me to put in my portfolio web design results I’ve produced for clients.

What happens if you haven’t worked with a client in an area of work you want to move toward?

The best thing you can do in this case is to make one of your side projects the type of work that you want to produce. If I am a designer who wants to get into logo and branding design, I don’t have to wait for a client ask me to create a logo. I can create hypothetical companies and see what it would be like to make a logo. I can document the process of making the logo, my thoughts, my logic, my sketches and compile all of that in a portfolio. I can even go as far as re-designing iconic logos of familiar brands. Perhaps your reimagining of logos will prove to potential clients that you have the skills to make logos even if you haven’t had many clients in that area.

Turn it into a Case Study

In a previous episode, I talked about speaking up for you at work, the fact that whatever you put in a portfolio or release publicly should have some commentary and explanation attached to it. Speak up for your work in your portfolio, but you do so by creating a case study or a use case for the work you produce.

For the case study go into detail about the background of why you created what you did, your design decisions and how the finished product would be useful or is useful to someone. Explain how it can help them better their brand, company, product or service.

In the next episode, we are going to get into the specifics of what needs to go in an effective case study. Remember at the least your portfolio is your opportunity to take control, curate the type of work you’ve done in the past and make sure it matches the work you want to do in the future. Every time you create add something to your portfolio, the case study should be so detailed that it could be a blog post which will serve as a marketing tool to be used to get future clients.

039: Speak Up for Your Work

At the cost of trying to please a client, there have been times to where I delivered a preview of my finished work and allowed myself to be at the mercy of their opinion. I showed the finished product in by emailing it to the client, but I failed to provide the proper explanation of why and how I arrived at the finished product. If you are a creative, and you create copywriting, websites, graphic design, videos, T-shirts, logos or any other creative work stand up for your work.

When a client approaches you as the creative professional, they want to know if your skills fit their needs. To validate this thought, they look at your portfolio and previous work to see if you are capable enough of creating something that is appealing to them. (If you’re copywriter instead of looking there reading you get the point.)

Provide context

If you send a client an email letting them know to look at an attachment which is a preview of the deliverable you are doing yourself a disservice. Your client has no context on what you have created, and you will be at the mercy of their opinion. When it comes to things such as copywriting or design feedback is very subjective, meaning that people’s feelings, tastes or opinions will determine their perception of what you’ve delivered. Whenever you are showcasing or previewing your work with a client, always take the opportunity to provide context, explain your creative decisions and how you arrived at the current state of the project.

If you are unable to schedule a time to walk your client through your creative decisions, then set up a screencast with a voiceover to explain the choices you made. Upload the screencast as an unlisted youtube video and send a link to the client. If you have an Apple computer, you can use something like QuickTime to record the screencast and explain your design decisions. If you’re on a Windows computer, then you can use something like screencast-o-matic to display and talk through your decisions.

If you’re unable to do a video, write out an email with bullet points explaining design decisions. This provides context as well.

Eliminate assumptions

You need to speak up about your work so that you can eliminate assumptions. When you don’t speak up for your work, then people will assume the wrong meaning of your intentions. The reasoning behind your creative decisions may be way deeper than their assumptions, but if you never speak up many assumptions will be made.

Here is an example.

I recently made a graphic called the battle for a generation. The graphic shows a younger man on the left and older gentleman on the right. The graphic is supposed to be representative of the battle between the younger and older generation.
TheBattleForAGeneration-640
At first, glance without any context, assumptions about what I did can be made. What do you think the image means? Look at the letter E in the graphic. I didn’t create the three lines to be cool. The lines hold meaning, and if you don’t hear the explanation, you’ll just make an assumption based on aesthetics alone.

In the realm of mathematics and logic, the triple bar sign means that two items on either side of this symbol are relatively equal and can substitute for one another. Ultimately, what I’m saying in this graphic is each generation tries to define their own meaning of society, but the previous generation did the same thing. Instead of being contrary to one another each generation is more similar than they think, it’s just different surroundings.

You will never get a deeper level of understanding when glancing at the graphic because if you have no idea what the triple bar means then you can only assume.

It’s OK to disagree

In the past, I fell into the trap of always trying to please the client. The client is always right and whatever they say goes. This type of thinking is bad for the project. You as a creative have something of value to offer even if that value is creative direction. If you believe what you’ve created is the best, and the client wants to change it, speak up. It’s okay to disagree and say, I hear you, and I understand your preferences, however, I don’t agree I think what I have laid out is the best route for these reasons.

Don’t assume that a disagreement will cause a conflict between you and the client. You’re having a conversation and you need to create an environment to exchange ideas freely, but you as a professional also need to lead the way and remind them you made creative decisions to reach their goals.

Make connections

This is probably the most important thing when working with clients and getting feedback from them. When you’re speaking up for your work, walk them through how your solution matches their business goals. They may not be able to see how every decision you made answers a request they had so spell it out for them plainly. I would even venture to say write out all of their business goals in a bullet point type list and then under each bullet point write a sentence or two about how what you’ve done directly answer is what they’ve asked for.

This method it clearly shows you put some thought into your work, and you wanted to make sure they met their goals and if there’s any disagreement from here their new suggestion have to answer the same request unless they’ve come up with a new request which is something that’s brand-new.

Ultimately, do not put your creative work out there publicly without speaking up, providing some insight into your creative process, and how you arrived at a result. Otherwise, you’re subjecting yourself to people’s opinions. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has and a creative opinion that will impact your project positively.

038: Working with Friends and Family

There’ll come a time in your business when your friends and family will recognize your skill and want to work with you. When they desire to work with you it’s normally under two conditions:

  • (1) they want the friends and family discount
  • (2) they want you to do the work for free. If you establish guidelines for friends and family, it will be much easier to make the decision on whether or not you will choose to work with them.

Full price or free

I listen to the seanwes podcast on a weekly basis by Sean McCabe and Ben Toalson. I like their perspective on business and their beliefs align with my own in that is if you are going to work with a client who is a friend or family member it needs to be full price or free. In other words, charge your full normal rate or do the work for free for your friend or family member but make sure they understand the value of what you’re giving them.

What I mean by this is if you do work for free don’t simply do the work. At the beginning of the project give them an invoice for the full amount in the show that you’re crediting them for the full amount, so the invoice in total is zero. Though you’re giving them an invoice which doesn’t require payment your friend/family member can look at the invoice and understand the worth of your services.

Don’t leave empty-handed, you know if you go to work with a friend or family member at the least make a case study out of the project and get testimonials from them which speak to your level of professionalism. So if you do choose to work for free, you’re still getting something out of the transaction.

Are you interested?

I value friendships very heavily which is why in the past I felt somewhat obligated to accommodate my friends’ requests when they asked me to do business. In the past, I agreed to projects I wasn’t interested in because I didn’t want to place a strain on our friendship. During the project found it difficult to motivate myself to complete the project because not only was my friend lackadaisical with payment and providing the content I needed to build their website.

If you take a project you don’t have much interest in normally the incentive of payment can motivate you, but when working with a friend who is slow on payment, it’s difficult to find the motivation to continue. When this occurs the reverse happens, you’re bothered by the delay in payment, but you “give them a pass” because they are your friend.

If you commit to a project make sure you at least a bit interested so that you can follow it through to completion.

Say no and recommend another option

There are times in which working with her friend and family member honestly may not be worth the risk. You have the freedom to decline the project. However if you’re concerned that the Klein the project may put a damper on your relationship then decline in a recommend they use another professional who can produce a similar level of quality as you can. At the least your friend or family member will appreciate your professional recommendation.

Set Criteria / Guidelines

I can almost guarantee at some point in your business this is going to happen. A friend or family member is going to ask to work with you. In their mind, they think that they’re offering you support as a friend by choosing you. Rather than wrestling with the difficulty of making this decision anticipate a friend or family member is going to ask you and set clear criteria and guidelines that they must meet before you even say yes. If you take this approach than the burden of making the decision is no longer on you, but it is now dependent upon if your friend or family member is willing to submit to the guidelines and criteria that you set.

Here is a statement you can give to your friends and family:
Thank you for choosing to work with me when it comes to friends and family members I believe in giving them the best effort in treating them as a valued client and show them the most professionalism. Therefore I have some guidelines of my process and what it looks like to work with me and are you willing to work under these guidelines.

If they can agree to those, then you’re all good to go.

037: Copyright, Who Owns What

In the past, I made a bad assumption; I assumed when a project was completed I as the creator, owned what I made. I’ve observed other creatives make this assumption as well, and if it’s not clearly and explicitly written down in a client agreement, then the actual ownership of your creative work may get a little confusing.

There are two sides to the coin: there is the client side and the creative side. *Is the creative able to use the work in the future? *Is the person who paid for the project able to own the rights to the work? *Can be creative sell the work to someone else? *In the case of creating artwork the graphics who has the right to put it on T-shirts apparel and other things?

Its better to be safe

Technically as the creator of the work you have the “Rights to reproduction“, this means as the creator of the work you can reproduce or use some derivative of what you created in the future. There are some cases where this is not always clear.

For example let’s say you are a photographer, and you take photos of a client. In the future, you may want to use those pictures for a flyer, or maybe you want to sell them on a stock photography website. Yes, you as a photographer own the work because you took it with your camera and equipment however your client may not have given you permission to sell something with their likeness.

In an example such as this, you as the photographer should take the photos and if you ever plan to sell them on a stock photography website let your client know about that in writing or have language that is a part of your client agreement that gives you permission to do so.

Who Owns What When a Project is Finished?

When a project is completed and work is delivered this can go one of two ways.

  1. You may transfer 100% of the ownership to the client for them to use on whatever they would like in the future. Perhaps you send the client all of the source files you created so they can change the creative however they fit.
  2. You may finish the work for a client and choose to retain sole ownership. If this is the case, then you can lease or license the use of this particular creative to the client.

An example of this happened recently in the Marvel cinematic universe. When Captain America Civil War was released, they used the character Spiderman. In the past, the rights to use Spiderman were purchased by Sony Pictures, and if Marvel wanted to use Spiderman in a movie they would negotiate and compensate Sony because they’re using something that ultimately Sony has the rights to use.

Knowing this information should change the conversation about how and what you ask clients. Understanding ownership, copyright and licensing points to the fact that people are paying for more and then just some piece of artwork, they’re paying for the rights to use the artwork for an infinite amount of time or a limited amount of time.

In the book industry often pricing depends on a certain number of factors. For example, let’s say you are a graphic artist and somebody approached you about creating a book cover. You are creating something that is going to be a part of a direct sale, which requires certain questions to be asked. *How many books are going to be printed? *Is this hundreds of books is this thousands of books is it an e-book only? *Is this a short run or long run? *Is what you’re creating going to be used for the book cover only or will there be business cards pens T-shirts posters, etc.?

A quick sidebar

These type of particulars is why you may come across companies who are paid tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands for graphics, videos and other things that they produce. Their price does not only reflect the work that was delivered, but it also reflects the level of ownership the client is purchasing. Knowing this puts a whole new perspective on the value, there’s value in providing a solution or creative work but is also value in the client’s level of freedom they have to use that creative work.

The level of use in which the client plans to use the creative work can also lead to a conversation about pricing. The client is not only paying for you to do the creative work but they are also paying for the freedom to use the work. However they see fit.

Make It Legal

There are cases in which you may create a create a particular work and notice that someone will either copy your work or create something that is ironically similar. In those cases how do you know who was the person to first create the work?

If you happen to post the work online, or you have a signed contract with the date attached to it, you have one way to prove you were the first person who create it. There is something called a DMCA which acts as somewhat of a digital copyright because you posted it online in a public forum therefore there is a digital timestamp of when the document existed. However if things were ever to get legal with a copyright ownership dispute whoever filled out an official copyright with the US patent and copyright office may get the upper hand.

This normally involves you specify who the creator of the work is, the author of the work, and the intended use for the work. Finally an actual physical or digital copy of the work should be submitted. This does not mean someone can’t create a similar product. For example, when the mobile video app Periscope was released Meerkat came out right after and later Snapchat in additional all of those are similar live video platforms.

Protect your work by making it official. Placing your work online on your portfolio may not be enough.

Ultimately, what am I saying? As you continue to work with clients as a freelance professional think about copyright and who owns what let that be a part of the conversation when you are working and onboarding a client. Either you will license to work in retaining ownership rights, or you will release rights entirely to the client once they’ve made a full payment. Different businesses didn’t know various levels of ownership but use your discretion and make it a part of your conversation.

035: Pricing with Profit in Mind

In the earlier video I talked about pricing. Different pricing strategies and ways you can consider when trying to arrive at the price that is ideal for your service. In the past I learned a valuable lesson about profit. Often times I would speak with the client grasp the scope of the project, and then develop a price based on that. Months later tour the end of the year I would find that what I priced in what I got to take home with two very different things.

I remember when I first received my first four figure out payment from a client. It was about $1000 and I was overly excited. This is the first time somebody paid me for work in the thousands. I created a website and graphics for them and they were satisfied enough to pay me the amount. I begin to think for a moment and wonder if I should charge all of my clients at least $1000 when it came time to working on a website for them. At the time $1000 seems like a nice round number that wasn’t overly high in was overall reasonably priced for the value I was giving.

I then used the base price of $1000 to calculate if it was possible for me to go full time making that amount. There was one fundamental flaw with my calculations. I was assuming that if I charge the client $1000 that I profited in my business $1000 and this is not true. If I were to charge a client $1000 and they choose to pay via PayPal then I am already losing out about 3% of that $1000. The good thing about that is I can write off the fee as an expense which leaves me with $970 of profit. This is not exactly the case either because if I was truly taking home $970 then based upon what tax bracet I would lose either a 20% or 30% of that. This means I am really taking home $600-$700.

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033: An Invoice is Not a Contract

I’m going to start this out with the quote that I’ve said many times in the past but still have not set enough.

An invoice is not a contract.


An invoice has an implied meaning of a contract, but the problem with implied meanings is different parties interpret the expectations of an invoice in different ways. I’ve been guilty of confusing the two in the past. There are times in which I worked with a client and because I trusted the client this led me to send an invoice without having a proper agreement in place.

Looking back on my hesitation to provide a client agreement I can honestly say I was simply lazy. Admittedly it does take time and effort to draft up a contract because every project is different. The times in which I showed laziness and did not have a client agreement in place always caused more problems for me because there were so many inaccurate assumptions on both ends.

A proposal and client agreement are created to outline what the payment terms are. An invoice reminds the client to what they’ve already agreed to and inform them on how they can make a payment. With that being said, let’s dive deeper into the differences between an invoice and a contract.

What is a client agreement? (Contract)

Let’s take a step back and talk about what a contract or client agreement is. A client agreement discusses all of the particulars of a project between a creative professional and their client. The agreement covers things such as who owns the work, who is responsible for payment, when payment is due, any liability, the statement of work in many other factors.

I would venture to say that the client agreement details in the outlines the amount that has been agreed-upon whether it was agreed upon in a proposal or agreed-upon verbally whatever the case it needs to be written out in the clan agreement is the place to do that. If payment is due in full in these to be written down in the agreement and the date the amount is due needs to be written down. If the client is on a payment plan in these to be written down and outlined in the agreement. If certain percentages are due at certain milestones, and there’s a fee schedule in these to be written out.

What is an Invoice?

Now let’s talk about an invoice. An invoice is a notification or reminder that a payment is due based upon a previous agreement. An invoice should detail where payment can be submitted as well as provide information on the type of work that you are billing for. The invoice should outline, who is being billed, and what payment methods are acceptable. For a full layout of the essentials of an invoice check out Anatomy of an Invoice.

A mistake I made in the past was to send someone an invoice based on a verbal conversation alone. Doing this left the door open for a world of assumptions on both ends. This often leads to scope creep and an unlimited amount of revisions because items were not discussed agreed-upon in a written format. Be smart, be organized and overall be a professional. Take the extra time to do those things which will protect your time.

032: Should You Charge Your Client Late Fees

I’ve was burned by clients in the past. I’ve had those times to where I worked with a client and delivered on what we agreed on, however, they were late on a payment. I don’t mean late by a couple of days; I mean weeks and then weeks turned into months.

To try and stop the trend of clients making late payments I added late fees to my client agreement. Even though every client knows late fees are a possibility because it is in the client agreement they signed, I’ve been unsuccessful in collecting late fees. This led me to ask myself a question:

What is the overall goal of charging late fees?

Continue Reading

031: How to Stop Out of Scope Requests and Scope Creep

What do a McDonalds Big Mac and Scope Creep have in common? As a matter of fact, they have more in common than you think.

Scope Creep and a Big Mac

One of the funniest stories of my college experience is how my friend was able to get a McDonald’s Big Mac extra value meal for one dollar. My friend called me and asked me for a ride to McDonald’s it was late, so I was the only person willing to give him a ride, and we were on our way to McDonald’s.
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030: How to Interpret Client Feedback

As a freelancer, you’re going to have to experience the process of getting feedback that just doesn’t make sense. More than likely you’ve witnessed this before, vague feedback a client may give that’s not actionable. It is your job to play interpreter or translator to what the client says so no matter how vague them they are in their feedback there is an expectation for you to change something. To the best of your ability go deeper in asking the client what they mean so you can understand what changes need to be made. Let’s get into some of the most common feedback I’ve heard from clients which are difficult to interpret.
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029: How to Stop Endless Client Feedback

How do you stop endless client feedback? Those times in which a client has so many revisions, your original work begins to unravel. Also, when does the feedback cycle ever end? I’ve dealt with clients who continually change the project all the way up until launch and after launch, they have more feedback. There’s only one way to stop this endless, and that is to limit the amount of revision cycles you offer.
Continue Reading

027: Setting Client Expectations

I hate that feeling. The feeling I get when I meet with a client I write down exactly what I believe they were expecting, only to present a solution to their business problem that is not what they were expecting. Somewhere along the way, there was a miscommunication or a misunderstanding. This means I am going to have to go back and redo the work I thought I just finished. How can you guarantee to meet client expectations and use your time used most efficiently?
Continue Reading

025: Client Red Flags to Prevent Clients from Hell

There are times when working with clients I ask myself “how did I get here?” Most of the time when I’m asking myself that question it’s when I’m dealing with a problematic client and I think back to what did I not check for. Normally I have a series of cautions or red flags that I run through in my mind but there are times where I ignore the red flags because I really want to work with the client, the project is of great interest to me, or I just really need the money and I took a project.

I’ve developed a some red flags checks based on the type of clients I’ve witness which serve as a caution. It doesn’t mean that I am not going to work with the client but it does mean I either need to proceed with caution or I need to decline to work with the client early on. Continue Reading

023: Should You Work for Free?

To answer the question “should you work for free?” the answers are “no”, “maybe” and “it depends on a couple of factors.” You may have heard the term “freelance isn’t free.” Just because money is not exchanged doesn’t mean there wasn’t an associated cost.

Sometimes that cost is time spent or energy used that could’ve been better placed elsewhere. There is always a cost for everything. However, there are a few times where working for free makes sense. If there is the opportunity to support a cause you believe in or the opportunity to build a relationship that will lead to future paying work then these are the cases you may consider working for free.
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022: Raising Your Pricing Rates

To put it simply raising your rates is something that you should just do.

The increase of your rate should be built into your business and every so often you should evaluate if you’re meeting your revenue goals and see what you may need to do to shift pricing for the better in your business.

If you’re like me you may feel nervous about raising your rates. What if you raise them and nobody books with you or you don’t get as many clients you know what if the current class you have a get upset about you raising your rates? All of those are valid fears but chances are its way past due for you to give a raise to yourself and no one is going to do that for you. You have to take control of your increasing value. Continue Reading

021: Value Based Pricing (Part 3)

For the last couple of episodes, we’ve been in a series about value-based pricing, which is a pricing strategy that focuses on pricing based on the value you provide rather than a flat fee or an hourly rate.

The three parts of value based pricing we have been examining are:

  1. understanding the problem
  2. understanding of the cost
  3. presenting the solution

Today we’re going to dive into presenting the solution.
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020: Value Based Pricing (Part 2)

In the previous episode, we looked at the beginnings of value based pricing which involves uncovering the potential value of a project. This can be accomplished by asking the potential client certain questions in order to find out their business goals as well as the problem that needs to be solved and how much the solution will impact the business.

To break value based pricing down in a simple way I am going to break it down into 3 parts and we begin part 2:

  • Understanding the problem
  • Understanding your costs
  • Presenting the solution

Continue Reading

019: Value Based Pricing (Part 1)

If you haven’t noticed for the last couple of episodes we’ve been a series of pricing strategies. This week we dive deeper into my new favorite type of pricing, value based pricing.

Amongst all the pricing strategies you can implement in your business value based pricing is the most complex however it can also be the most rewarding. With value based pricing the focus is on the solution you’re providing and the value the solution brings. For value based pricing to work you have to have the right type of client, the type of client that is going to take action from what you’re providing and understand that paying you is an investment that has the potential for large return. That return may not always be monetary, the return may be time, notoriety, increased efficiency, perception or overall brand equity.

To break value based pricing down in a simple way I am going to break it down into three main parts:

  1. Understanding the problem
  2. Understanding the costs
  3. Presenting the solution

For this episode we are going to look into understanding the problem which involves qualifying the client, defining the problem and uncovering how solving their business problem will result in a positive return for their business.

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018: What is it worth?

One early morning I received a phone call. It was my friend Obinna and he was frantic:

My website has been hacked!

To check out his claims I went directly to his website and searched his website and sure enough, I saw the red screen of death from Google explaining the website was indeed hacked. Obinna is the founder of Cakewalks Films, an award-winning film studio. I watched Obinna’s skill and audience grow over time and currently he is one of the top videographers in Houston. This meant he receives many visitors to his website on a daily basis and having an inactive website could cripple his business. Continue Reading

017: How I Made $375 an Hour

The following is based on a true story because it is a true story. I once gave a client the opportunity to choose what they wanted to pay. I quoted the client a $250 flat fee for a web project or gave them a choice to pay me to work for $75 / hour. The client chose the flat fee and it turned out that I finished the job in 40 minutes effectively making my rate $375 that time.

And now here is the True E! Hollywood Story of how I made $375 an hour: Continue Reading

016: The Problem with Hourly Pricing

Back in the day, I used to work at McDonalds the place full of Happy Meals, happy smiles and people singing I’m loving it. At first, it seemed like a dream: I was able to eat the food I love anytime I wanted. Thinking about that past experience taught me a valuable lesson about hourly pay which still applies today. Continue Reading

015: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers

Have you ever been asked the question “What do you charge?” This question is either easily answered by the confident freelancer but if you don’t yet know what your rates are this question can be difficult to navigate. I remember watching the game show The Price is Right. They call on people from the studio audience and ask them to give their guess on the price of products. The person who gets closest to the actual price without overbidding is selected to move on to the next round to play other pricing based games to win money. (if you haven’t seen it you must not have had a TV growing up because it’s been going on for 40+ years and is still on today.) Continue Reading

014: Pricing Psychology

How should you begin to set your pricing for your services? Should you take a guess and figure it out later? I know I’ve struggled in my career as a freelancer is trying to figure out what is the best amount to charge. The main fear is perhaps I’m leaving money on the table by underpricing and on the other end of the spectrum is overpricing and missing out on potential clients. Continue Reading

013: No One Cares Yet

Have you ever reached a point in your business where you’re frustrated because you feel like nobody is giving you the attention, time, or respect you feel you deserve?

You put in all of this effort to get your business off the ground, set up a website up and begin serving a few clients but when are you going to have a breakthrough? When are you going to be a success? When are you going to “blow up”?

It’s going to take patience, the type of patience that knows how to endure through the slow times and use that time to prepare for the future when people will finally discover you.

I believe it’s important to look beyond the industry you’re in and observe what others creatives are doing. Wisdom is everywhere. Continue Reading

012: Hustle and Rest

This topic was inspired by Cat on Twitter. In a previous video, I talked about hustle vs hope and the fact that if you want your hopes to come true you’re going to have to actually hustle work hard and put in extra effort to make your hopes a reality. Cat saw that episode and followed up with the question:

I’m all for hustling to reach your goals, as a matter of fact I believe your goals will not come true unless you hustle. One danger to be cautious of in the midst of your hustle is burnout. There is no way you can constantly be in hustle mode 100% and be 100% efficient. At a certain point in time, your level of effectiveness will decrease until you take the time to rest and recharge so you can continue your hustle journey. Continue Reading

011: The S.A.V.E Marketing Framework

In a previous video, I discussed the details of 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion. The 4Ps have been in existence for some time and still hold value. There’s an upgraded version of the 4P’s called the S.A.V.E. framework. The reason for this upgrade is due to the fact the 4Ps of marketing places a heavy emphasis on a product and communicating the value of that product. In today’s marketing economy the focus has shifted from a product focus to content marketing such as teaching or content creation. Content marketing holds value, but a product is not always being sold, sometimes the content being created to eventually leads to a sale.

These reasons gave birth to the SAVE framework:

  • Solution
  • Access
  • Value
  • Education

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010: The 4Ps of Marketing

I remember taking my first ever business class in grad school, marketing administration. The class essentially changed my life and led me on the road of digital marketing. My undergrad was so full of math, science and engineering courses there was no time for any type of business courses.

In the marketing class most of the topics were focused on marketing for large corporations, however, the one thing I realized is everything I learned could be adapted to the freelancer or solopreneur who is hustling to make a success out of their business.

One of the principles I learned for developing a marketing plan is the 4Ps of marketing:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

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009: Positioning – Perception is Reality

Why do some people make more money than me? Get higher quality clients? Why is it some freelancers are viewed as experts in a certain field and land big projects while I struggled to get people to pay my desired rate? These were the questions I wrestled with and often kept me up at night. These questions and more were all centered around the position and perception of my brand.

If someone had to summarize your business in one sentence what would they say? Continue Reading