When I first left my full-time gig and branched out on my own, I thought I was set. I had gathered 5 high paying clients as a marketing strategist. Solid starting point!
Unfortunately that momentum didn’t stick around. Contracts ended, and so did my workflow. All of a sudden I was fumbling around in a hamster wheel of tactics trying to find new clients while getting my work done. All too often I ended up fucking up in one area, or worse, letting down a client.
This is something that I not only see happening for my Be Booked Out students before they sign up (starting back up this month!), but I also see it all over internet forums.
There’s honestly just not enough time in the day to scramble doing 6 things at once, while guessing your next step. You’ll end up burning yourself out. The way to avoid this is to set a method in place and fundamentally structure your business.
I could get my clients booked out, but not myself. So what I had to do was take a step back and look at what I was doing differently for them that I was missing out on doing for myself. I found a few things:
I wasn’t packaging services correctly. You need to have multiple packages available that basically sell each other. You don’t want to combine all of your services into one shiny package and give all the goods away at once. That might get you one sale from each client, but if you separate them, they have an excuse to keep coming back.
My sales page didn’t turn visitors into prospective clients.
I wasn’t getting paid in advance. (like a drug dealer)
This is a Seinfeld joke- everybody’s super excited to buy food when they’re hungry, but after they’ve eaten at a restaurant the food no longer has the same value right? Because you’re full.
Same goes with services.
Your services are far more valuable before the work is executed, but once they’re complete, they lose their shiny value. So you always wanna make sure you get paid upfront.
I wasn’t strategically booking packages over a longer period of time.
I was selling myself short. I was booking clients for 10-20 hours on jobs that would realistically take me 35 hours to accomplish (because I obsess over perfection). Booking out more time will only help you, and if you finish your tasks ahead of schedule, sweet! It’s time to treat yourself.
Fuck VIP days.
VIP days sound nice and like a special bonus to your clients, but you’ll end up giving all the goods away. Your client gets all of your hard work in one day, and then they lose interest in coming back, because there’s nothing to look forward to (unless you have something to upsell to them immediately after). A small audience is all you need to be booked out, but doing VIP days is a waste of time.
In the end I figured out what I needed to structure, and developed a strategic method. I used the same method over and over AGAIN and realized that’s what my business was missing all along to guarantee work and success. That’s the key with a method, is that it SHOULD work, no matter the type of business.
Quick! Grab a piece of paper, open up a sticky note, and write down all of your tasks and packages. Are they long term? Do you have to hustle to keep it going? pick and choose which interviews clients you do. package your shit strategically.
When you’re finished with that, head over to our Screw Feelings, Get Clients challenge. It started earlier this week, but you still have a chance to catch up! You’ll get a free, 5-day ass-kicking challenge to make sure your business is on track. Click the link below and let’s you get started! https://evolv.ly/screw-feelings
Believe me, I get it. You’ve been working as a freelancer for a while now, selling the best online services you can, making clients super fucking stoked about the results you give them. You’re ready to give yourself a promotion- running courses online and living off of passive income. Sounds perfect, right?
This is talked about a ton but there aren’t enough results to back it up. Truth is, jumping the gun can actually stall your business, even push it back a few years if it’s not executed correctly.
First, let’s talk about the differences with courses vs. services:
Services– working with clients directly, through web design, developing, VA assignments, etc.
Courses– running webinars, a facebook group, or daily emails coaching other freelancers to help them succeed.
I know, passive income sounds like an ideal life. You can sit on your couch binge-watching True Detective while people just buy your product online, no extra work required. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
(Here’s a secret for you, I started fail too.)
I had a babydick audience when I first started out guys – 100 people max. If that were a real-world seminar it’d be oookay, but when we’re talking worldwide web, that’s nothing. The perk to it was that I knew everyone who was tuning in and could be more personable, but I needed more for my business and my income.
When I started out, my courses ran $700/month. I thought my audience would expand on it’s own from those 100 people, and that I’d be earning enough to live off of. Guess what? It didn’t fucking work that way. I barely had enough to pay for my groceries, let alone my bills.
If you’re new to the industry and need to be making full-time income, services are the way to go. They’re that sweet, comforting throw blanket for your bank account. Gathering 10-20 clients for the year is way easier than it is to grow an internet empire overnight. Being consistently booked out is the first step you need to take before you even consider moving on to courses.
Not earning enough money off your services? Give yourself a fucking raise! You should be raising your rates every quarter anyway – at the LEAST every year. If your technique is as incredible as you believe it is, and clients are not only willing to pay top dollar, but wait 6 months for your beautiful brain-power, then you can start with throwing in some courses. Baby steps, my friends.
Courses cost THOUSANDS of dollars to launch, so you need to be 100% confident in your approach. You need to have the stats to back it up. You need to have an audience. You need 1,000-10,000+ people/followers/subscribers to be anxiously awaiting your next post or launch in order to be making enough money from courses alone.
If you’re at that point but you’re itching for more, maybe it’s time to throw in extras. Speaking gigs, student retreats, and guest blog posts are a good way to start. Get creative and come up with an original idea that will make your course stand out from the crowd.
If you’re begging for more, make sure to sign up for our Screw Feelings, Get Clients challenge. It’s starting SO soon, and it’s really going to help your business. As always, I want you to evolve and succeed. This challenge is going to be brutally honest when it comes to evaluating your business structure and tactics. We’ve even had people apply these tips and tricks to their everyday lives (check out testimonials here!). There’s only a limited amount of slots open, so make sure to click the link below and secure your spot.
So, you’re fully booked out for the next 6 months as a designer, coach, VA, copywriter, marketer, or strategist. That’s rad! But what happens once those 6 months are up? Do you have a waitlist? How are you managing it? Are your potential clients pissed?
Sure, maybe once those 6 months are up you’re planning a huge, lavish vacation. You deserve it, treat yo-self. But what about once you’re ready to be glued to your computer again?
People who have a service-based business NEED a waitlist. If they don’t have it, what’s gonna happen is that you’re gonna have this constant Yes! I’m totally booked out, super busy, and doing great. Then all of a sudden, your inbox is empty, and you have a huge dropoff of clients. You’re basically just at home for a month, bored, crying into your Solo cup of box wine and watching Netflix wondering where your clients went, all because you lost momentum.
Maybe it’s not even a professional lull. Maybe you had a huge life event, whether it be good or bad – you lost a loved one, you got married, made a little human copy of yourself, etc. A waitlist is going to help you get over these big, important moments in your life so that when you come back, you still have clients who want to work with you. You can pick the momentum up back where you left it. Basically a waitlist is making sure you have a savings account of clients just waiting to work with you. It’s something that everybody needs when they have a service based business online.
So, before we talk about why they’re so important, how you should use one in your own business- make sure that you join our Screw Feelings, Get Clients 5 day challenge. It’s starting soon, and I want to make sure that you guys start so that you can join us in this amazing challenge. It’s going to help you with some key points in your business that you need to make sure you have in place to make it successful.
The waitlist is part of that. A waitlist is basically just having a list of people who are interested in working with you. Either they are not yet ready, or you don’t have any spots available, etc. So when you are ready for your next set of clients, those people will come in. They’ve been cultivated, educated, and excited enough over that time that they still want to work with you, and you hold their attention through something as simple as a newsletter. That process of selling them into working with you is a lot easier than if you had just gone from strangers to clients.
First off, what I recommend is do not call it a waitlist. As much as we all understand what a waitlist is, being on a waitlist does not sound exciting, okay? People fucking hate waiting, just like cats hate going to vets. So what you really want to do is have a certain name for it that cultivates an experience. You can call it The Cocktail Lounge. Jamie Jensen has something great for her waitlist, which is called The Champagne Room. Cultivating an experience, or an idea of a place where people are waiting, is much better than making it sound like the doctor’s waiting room before you go in to see them. So I really, really recommend that you change the name of it. You NEED to have one, so go ahead and set that up.
The next thing I want you to think about is- how you sell people into a service at the start of a waitlist is very different from how you would sell people you’re ready to work with right away. A lot of time when people are coming in and they’re joining Be Booked Out (which is opening again soon, so you should totally get ready), they don’t think about what happens once they get the clients. A lot of us are scrambling to always get clients. You’re just like- Oh shit, I just need 2 more clients. So you’re constantly on the hunt for clients. That’s good; that’s normal when you’re starting out, but when you’re getting strategic in what you’re thinking long term, it won’t be effective or a good use of your time.
You need to have a way for clients to come to you, so you can take control of the whole situation from start to finish. You want to have that control, because it allows you to make sure you always have a faucet of clients that you could turn on and off, so you’re never losing out on money. If you’re looking to triple your income in a year, you cannot afford to have dead months where you don’t have any clients. You need to be strategic and have it planned out far in advance.
So you can totally save yourself and you can save your business by having a waitlist in place, making sure that you’re using it, and also you should make sure you’re thinking about how you’re gonna sell people from the start to the finish of the 6 months. Of course, there’s always a fucking catch.
If someone says “Yeah, I’ll work with you” and you don’t talk to them for 6 months, they might’ve already hired somebody because they didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Maybe they lost interest, or they might just be really hard to reengage. People go cold just like pizza, and even though pizza is delicious cold, people are not. I want you to always make sure that when it comes to you having a waitlist, that you have a way to keep people on simmer. That way when you do come back in 6 months time, people are excited to work with you and they take action really quickly. That won’t happen by itself, it won’t happen if you leave them alone, it won’t happen you just sign them up for the waitlist and never talk to them again. It’s a cultivated experience that you need to take control of so that you always have clients who want to work with you, and you can turn that client faucet on and off.
With all of that being said, go ahead and sign up for the Screw Feelings, Get Clients challenge. I’m gonna help you with some key points that I find get a lot of people stuck when they have a service-based business. I’d love for you to succeed and get shortcuts to success a lot faster. It still takes a lot of effort, it’s still a lot of work, but if you join the Screw Feelings, Get Clients 5 day challenge, I’ll help you with the specific points that you want to make sure to cover so that you do not get stuck. Let’s build your booked out business together!
Let’s get down to the basics for a minute, because this is fucking important.
How is your client experience, and how is it affecting your business?
Are your clients happy with the work you’re putting out? How are you making them feel in the process?
Most importantly, how hard are you making it on yourself and your clients to put out a good product?
The client experience is something you can engineer, no matter what type of person you are. You can be the raddest fucking human being on the earth, get your clients the results they want, and still give a crappy experience in the process. This may work out for a little while, but what you’ll end up with is a souffle business – where it pops up, and will collapse the fuck down. No bueno. So, how do we prevent that from happening?
You need to set up a structured system to make sure you’re getting the clients what they need. This is not something you set up once and forget about; much like your business, your customer experience is something you should constantly be working on improving.
Why? Because people remember feelings first, and THEN the results you got them.
You can be the best, most skilled person in your industry, but be losing clients because you were a dick during their experience, and you were hard to work with. Being a dick is not going to give you happy clients, and it certainly won’t get you referrals for new ones to try again.
How do you avoid being a dick? It’s simpler than you think.
First, what are the steps that you need your clients to complete in order to get yourself on track?
This could be anything from questionnaires, surveys, contracts, etc. Get all of the information and expectations from your client that you need so you’re both on the same track. This will not only make your life easier, but it will make your clients feel taken care of.
Are you doing this manually, or are you letting little tiny robot butlers take care of this process for you? We live in a day and age now where you don’t need to be handling this yourself. There are awesome platforms out there such as Satori, Dubsado, 17 hats, or even the Pancake app that will take this initial intake part off your plate. This is definitely where the ol’ saying “Work smarter, not harder” comes into play- automate your process!
Second, what are people struggling with when working with you? You know what’s going on and what you need, but you need to understand that your clients hired you because they don’t have any fucking clue what they should be doing. Take the lead before they get lost and you both become frustrated. Give them a schedule or a guideline to go by to know what they need to do on their end. If you’re a designer, give them an outline, i.e. “Here’s how many paragraphs I need. Here’s the info people generally use for each paragraph.”
Even if they don’t want to go by your guideline and do their own thing or idea, you’ve at least got the ball rolling to move on. People can’t work off of something that they don’t know anything about – if they don’t have any data, how are they supposed to replicate or customize it? You need to make sure you are always updating this process and supporting your clients when it comes to lack of information for 2 reasons:
A – It makes them happier clients because they know what to do.
B – There’s no scope creep, so you’re not going over the time you need to to get your shit done on time.
You need to set up a process that supports them in moving forward with you. Think about where people are falling down, and where you can help them stay up from here on out. This could be anything from an email series to a video tutorial. People want to be good clients, so help them. They don’t want to be the asshole, but you’re making them be one if you’re not helping with those initial baby steps.
The last thing is to add your own little personal touch to the process. Stop saying you want to under-promise and over-deliver. That’s fucking stupid and it’s setting yourself up for failure. Give a reasonable promise, then add in your own little excitement. For example: as a coach, send a Starbucks gift card along with your questionnaires, and add a note that says “I know this is going to take a while to get through, so here’s a little something extra to boost your focus. Enjoy!” Kick it old school and send your clients a postcard. It’s these little bonuses that will wow your clients and score you those referrals in the future.
One more time- people remember feelings first, and THEN the results you got them.
I want you to succeed just as much as you want your business to succeed. That’s why we’ve come up with a brand spankin’ new challenge called Screw Feelings, Get Clients. This 5 day challenge is going to whip you into shape to really give that experience you want to put out. It’s going to make you smile, and it will help you succeed. There will be swearing. There will be gifs. There will be fun. Sign up now and secure your spot for this awesome new challenge!
Some people swear by Upwork, Freelancer, and other sites that are similar to build clientele. It gets your name out there and you have easier access to clients.. Sounds great right?
Of course, it’s your business and you can do what you want, but if you do your research you can see that these websites could make you sell yourself short. If you want your business to bring in $40-70,000 your first year, these sites are not the way to go.
If you’re not familiar with Upwork or Freelancer, they’re sites that allow clients to post jobs for designers, VAs, coaches, etc. to bid on. Basically what you’re doing is competing on price in order to land a client, rather than basing it off of your work and what you can actually accomplish. Essentially what you’re doing is losing control over your own business, and sacrificing your worth in order to score the client, all so they can pay the lowest price possible. (Screw that!)
What does this mean? Shitty clients, bottom line. With this type of system, it’s inevitable to get those shitty, micromanaging clients. They’re going to monitor every move you make for each minute or hour you’re charging them for, because they’re focused on time and cost rather than quality. You’re great at what you do, and doing what you do well requires time.
At the end of the day a client should be happy if you get them results, regardless of how much time it takes. I would much rather pay somebody for a result, rather than paying somebody for an hour of their time.
Upwork and Freelancer are basically saying, “Fuck results! We’re just going to base it on money!” It makes sense for them, because it means they can book out more people to more clients and make more commission off of you and everyone else on their platform, BUT- as a freelancer, virtual assistant, designer, coach, developer, project manager, marketer, copywriter… that’s not for you buddy. It might be a nice way to start, but over time it will destroy your soul because you continuously have to compete on price rather than raising your rates as your quality builds. You are not going to have control over the packages you supply. You are not going to be able to build a clientele off this system, because you’ll always have to be negotiating your worth rather than standing firm behind your work. It’s just not feasible long term. (This also applies to Facebook groups!)
These clients, they don’t know any better. Mostly because you don’t have the chance to market yourself properly, if even at all. It’s hard to market yourself enough in that brief little description for your client to say, “Oh fuck yeah! I’d be more than happy to pay twice the going rate for this person to work with me!” Ever have a great experience at Supercuts? Exactly. We don’t want you to be the Supercuts of your service, we want you to be top shelf shit. We want you to get paid well.
The thing that I see a lot of people succeeding with is their website. You need to have a website where you can educate, cultivate, and have clients barging down your door. If you don’t, you’re always going to be at the whim of your clients, and that’s not okay. You need to have the lead in the relationship.
You need to own the price point you’re setting yourself at- which should be an equation, not a feeling. You need to be confident and deliver the quality you’re charging for in order to generate a consistent stream of clients. You need to keep going to the point where you have a waitlist of people desperate for the packages you offer.
When you offer one specific package, or even 3 specific packages, that allows you to simplify your life, charge more for them, and always have people waiting at your door. Those people will wait 6 MONTHS if they’re confident that you’re the shit and you’ll deliver. The first step is taking control and setting it up on your own terms, otherwise you’re going to get burnt the fuck out chasing clients instead of having them chase you.
I’m a little biased, but if you know you can deliver results, you can easily book those clients in the first place without the help of Upwork or Freelancer. Sign up for Be Booked Out now and it’ll help you in the long-run. People who go through this 8 week course go from not making any money, making little money, and/or dealing with micromanaging clients to having a fully booked out clientele who love the services they put out. Go sign up, get first dibs, or even just request more info. We’re going to be opening up the next session soon, so make sure your spot secured. Click the link below to get started!