The Path to 100k for your freelance business

Episode 4 with Michelle Hunter

In this episode, I chat with Michelle Hunter about how to take your design business to the elusive 100k mark and how to know if this benchmark is really all it's cracked up to be. So strap in and learn how to find clear goals to make your design business profitable.

Corey
Hello and welcome to Beyond Freelance. This is Corey. And today we are joined by Michelle Hunter. And if you know her from the group, she is a marketing expert and Very, very prolific copywriter. I'm very happy to have her on the show. So welcome.

Michelle
Thank you. I'm excited to be here. I appreciate it.

Corey
No, thank you for coming on today. We are talking about, I guess, the pathway to $100k. It's a I guess that's a big number. It's a big milestone. You often hear people use these figures like 100K or 10K months, and I'm sure there's a lot of people there trying to work out how they can get to that level. So, yeah, let's get stuck into it. What are your first thoughts? Well, you know.

Michelle
Yeah, sure. Yeah, I, I'm glad we're talking about this topic because I am asked frequently by people in the group, by potential clients, by just people I meet who are creatives to tell me that they're feeling stuck and they want to know how can they move their business to a place of profitability. And for them that means one hundred thousand or ten thousand dollars a month. Really, people feel like they're either working with clients who aren't a good fit or maybe they're not able to charge what they'd like to for their services. And they just feel like they're working way too hard for the amount of money that they're making. And so for some reason, in their mind, that translates to. A problem of total revenue, and they think when they get to 100000, it will just be so much easier. Everything will be simpler. Yes. The truth, however, is that your problems just become larger scale increases. There's nothing magic about that revenue.

Corey
I'm actually really glad you said that, because that was something that I was thinking initially. And it's probably a point that I was going to make, but I didn't know where you're going with this. And it's like. I often see these numbers thrown around, and they're great, they're great. How come his milestones even higher, like the greatest motivators? But I think there is a bit of a trap that people chuck these numbers around it and use them as if like, that's failure or success. And the goal is it doesn't matter where you're at now. I guess if you're doing 40 K and you're struggling or you're doing 60 K and you feel like it's not enough. The idea is to get that 10, 20 percent or whatever more and feel happy. If you don't hit that 100 K, it's okay. And I think you're 100 percent right. Like. If you're doing let's say you're doing 90 K and you finally get to the 100, you're doing 110 hundred and twenty. It's like it's. It actually is the same. And then these two have the same problem that doesn't get everything away. There's no magic number. It is.

Michelle
That is the truth. And so I have people will tell me, you know, I thought if I could just get to this number, it'll it'll correct things for me. Then they achieve that number and they find out that their problems are just worse. They're just they're just more painful. Because if you think about it. When we when we say I just need to get to 100000 as an as a solution, we're actually speculating on a solution before we've really uncovered what the true problem is. And so actually, what I find there are there are some things that I find are very common problems for freelancers, for people who are trying very hard to grow a business. And they they have achieved some success. But but they're struggling. They're stuck. And so I want to take this time, if I can, and just address some of those issues, because those are the problems that if you solve them, whether you get to 100000 or you get beyond it or you never climb any any higher persay in your revenue, your experience of your business be so much more positive, like this is the solution. I have the solution to the problem you're trying to solve with more revenue. Yes. Does that make sense? Yes.

Corey
It's 100 cent. And that's what I. That's how I see it. Not a little bit of people. So they're putting that 100k figure. I'm glad you've sort of talked with that upfront. It's almost a bit click body to make this our title, but it is true. It's like you trying to get to one hundred thousand dollars for happiness. And the thing is, when you're when you're freelance or you work for yourself, we've been doing small studio. It's really it's not actually rocket science to get to to earn more money. It's just doing more work. But, you know, if you want to check 60, 70, 80 hours what you like your whole life, your business, you should you should be earning more. But that's that doesn't lead to happiness. And I think that's what you're trying to address here, that really it's a feeling that people have around 100 K. All these figures that what their life will be like. And one hundred percent. So, yeah, let's get stuck into it. So what is it? What do you think is that they're a key thing that sort of people are sort of stuck on or you know, that you see there are actually a couple.

Michelle
So what? One of the first ones is that we need to work our businesses like a business and not so much like a hobby. And so, I mean, that sounds like a sound bite, but I did some of this myself. And so I when I started my business, I did it because I wasn't happy with the path my career was taking. And I bought into the whole idea that I could just work with people who were the absolute perfect fit for me, people who were a joy. And I could work when I wanted to. And not when I didn't care to. And I could have the nomad type lifestyle. When actually business is still business. Yes, sir. So we buy the dream that we can do whatever we choose to whenever and however we choose to, but that's not actually profitable yet. And so before long, we're on like a hamster wheel where we are taking some time off and then all the sudden we don't have any money. So then we work really hard and it's very stressful. And we get some money and we pay the bills and we think, oh, I've arrived. You know, we quit working again.

Corey
Yeah, I'm through, I guess, you know. Well, also, like when I signed before, you know, you can follow all hours of your business and then, you know, maybe not even taking holidays, but you physically need it, like you essentially could be burn out and you just, you know, crashed without any sort of system or treating you your business or yourself like a business and treating it seriously. What you tend to do is actually do what is selling you, chasing this thing, and then you can never get to the end. And, you know, you get tired and you get frustrated and you and you can't articulate what those are or where those things are coming from. But you just you just feel it in your business.

Michelle
So here's here's the solution to that problem. And this is what I mean by work. Your business like a business and not like a hobby. Yeah, we are creative people. That's why we're in creative work. And therefore, we want to find new and different ways to solve problems. But businesses know that profitability and performance happens when you do things like documents, systems and do things the same way. Time after time and become more efficient and eliminate waste and maximize your work time to your own personal energy level and things like that. Businesses are all about efficiency. Yes. And hobbyists are about having fun and enjoying the work. So they think it's. So if you want your business to feel solid and to feel rewarding to you and to take the pieces that are not creative and document those and put them in a process and and do them repetitively in the same way. So there's nothing creative about invoicing. No. But we all do it. So do it the same way every time and do it as efficiently and quickly as you can. And you move on to the part you like.

Corey
Something that, as well as I'm in on this took me a long time to work out for myself. And once I started to do this, it actually really benefited me. And so, you know, I got to the point where with with my work, where I maxed out with my time and I'm getting other people to help me with the workload. And what I didn't do the first time around, which which is crazy, is rather than than getting rid of all those tasks like you're saying, like invoicing, you know that there are things that I don't actually. No one pays me to do those things they pay me for. The creative was getting other people to do the creative work, you know, along with me. And that just meant that I was sort of doubling up on the amount. And I had to do. And really what I've done is, is I've flip that. So I don't worry about bookkeeping and those sorts of things anymore. They're actually not profitable for me to be spending my time, but also not enjoyable. And yeah, I mean, that's in line with what you're saying, but it's sort of, I guess, totally, you know, rather than just having a system in place. And I mean, we I talked to Christine the first episode was on, you know, processes that are some some of this stuff in there. And yet even things like emails and stuff like that, if if you will, finding yourself reusing stuff, just being able to actually have a system in place to say the same things that do the same things and save yourself times time. You know, saving self time is actually making itself more profitable. Exactly. Exactly. And this is how business owners think. And so we just put our business owner hat on and and delegate and systematise. So that's that's the first solution to this problem.

Michelle
The second solution, I hear people tell me they want to get two hundred thousand. And I always ask why. And one of the common things people tell me is because I'm working with people I don't enjoy. I want to work with better clients. I feel like if I get two hundred thousand, I will have better clients to work with. The fact is that that's not true. You'll have more bad clients. The problem you need to fix is client fit in order to do that. You need to change the way you market. When we get started and if we're not experienced marketers, what many of us do is we talk a lot about features. So, for instance, if I'm going to design a Web site for you, I might talk about how the Web site will be responsive and there'll be two or three rounds of revision. And I'll give you a logo and I'll give you all these logo files and I'll give you these are all features and deliverables and deliverables. No client really wants that. No. No one says I need to have an API, I suppose, in a jpeg of the logo. What they want is an underlying benefit that that project, when it's completed, is going to give them. Yeah. So recently, my Web site, my Michelle Hundred creative Web site, went through a read a little bit of tweaking. It wasn't a redesign. We added some functionality. So I did hire someone to do that for me. Mm hmm. Lovely. I don't know what that person did. I don't care what they did. I don't care about code. I don't care if it's you know, I don't care about any of those details. What. What I wanted. Was the ability to share free resources with people and get a better. I wanted a better user experience so that when people came to my Web site, they could find stuff and get it quickly. And it was all branded. So they knew there where they were and they didn't get lost. That's what I wanted. Why did I want that? Because I'm trying to grow my business. So I want potential customers to find me and to get value from that Web site. If you as a Web designer, sold me the ability to be seen to get more clients, to have a better presence, to be present online in a way that felt natural to me and felt authentic. Yes, I would buy that. Yes. I don't care about the JPEG files on that. All the hoo ha.

Corey
Yeah. But I don't even think there's about a Web site, you know. You know, it's specifically for the web designer people here. It's like, you know, that's a cool message. Like stop selling websites. It's actually selling like business solutions. And it's the really crazy thing around that is the solution. The end solution is often very similar, but the way that it's framed by someone who is that can be very different. So it's the language that they use. And so it's getting into the head and actually starting to ask them questions. And I mean, I think that's what you're saying. You know, people not mocking themselves. They're just putting themselves out there presenting, like, the things that I offer. They're not talking about the problems that I solve. But I wanted to quickly just jump in and say, you know, at the start of this year. Point number two. So some people think that they're going to get better clients when they get to this 100 k. You know, the crazy thing that I've found is that people don't actually really look at themselves and work out what they mean by better clients. It just got that they will be better when I get there. They'll be better, like I'll have really good clients. And it's like, well, what what is a good client and what are the client to you? Like a good client for me isn't a good client for you. So I think, you know, that's almost pleading that at the start going, you know, rather than going when I get to a hundred thousand dollars, I'll get better client that's going to get better clients and then you'll get to that figure easily. Correct.

Michelle
And in the way that you get those better clients. So I have I have an analogy. I live in rural Michigan, in the United States, which is very, you know, my husband. It's a small town. There are a lot of outdoor activities, et cetera. And so my husband fishes. He goes in and is a bass fisherman. So in our home, we speak the language of fishing. So here, here's that's what where this analogy comes from. Your marketing message is the lure that you use to catch the client that you're trying to catch the fish. If you don't know who you're fishing for. You can't possibly use the correct law. If you're just casting, hoping somebody, anybody will bite on your hook, you're going to get clients that are not a good fit for you. If you're lucky to catch them at all. And so what really is important is to take a step back no matter what level you're on and say what? How do I do my best work? And what type of client? Fitz is aligned with the way that I do my best work. Yes, that's who I'm looking for. We get caught up in because there's a lot of stuff online about ideal client profile. Figure out your ideal client profile. And we go through these exercises trying to decide, you know, what this person might watch on television and how many children they have and, you know, whatever. None of that really matters. What actually matters is how they will interact with you when you work with them. And the type of work that they need done. So I love to help creative people market their business. I don't really get excited helping hardware stores market their business yet. So I need to understand that I'm not fishing for hardware stores. Those are not the types of those business owners are not the types of clients I want. I want creative people. Yes. Whether they are designers, developers, writers, artists, even coaches can be very creative. He said a creative thought process. I needed to get very clear on who that is and then talk about my work in that context.

Corey
Yeah. So in a way, you're sort of starting to talk about nation or niching. You might call it a way. But so I guess that there's a few things with that. I sort of don't wanna spend too much time on a Niche, the idea. But really, I guess, you know, I've done that myself and that's really helped the business. And, you know, we specifically work with doing branding for land developers. And people think that, you know, it sounds really drawing boring. But I've thought about it since then. Spoken to this a lot about nations and. And one thing that I remember, you know, I've said this before and it's and it's really sort of resonated with people is if you take the idea of a nation and even if it's something daggy. Right. But let's take something like a dog groomer. If you're a generalist and you're working with any sort of business, any small business and you're just trying to get them, then it's lucky that the dog groomer that you're going to get is is the one that you see pull up out the front and watch a dog in the back of their car. I don't know much about the dog grooming world, but I presume. Great analogy. I presume that if you specifically became the dog grooming person that you would be working with, not just like this sort of business that walks up and pulls up out the front. You'd actually be working with the people that run massive franchises that have like 50 to, you know, vehicles or like stores all across the state. Or maybe there's other areas in dog grooming like that. Do dog grooming for, you know, animals that are in movies or, you know, that are for famous people, celebrities. So these dog rooms that are at an elite level that don't want to work with these generalists. And so that's like I think, yes. People often think, oh, you know, I say I work with land developers and they sort of think what they they understand lucky, you know, your average real estate agent or whatever to be. And it's like, well, that's not who I'm working with. You know, that's not the stuff that we're producing a business. We're working with fairly serious developers that have, you know, five hundred to a hundred homes to sell. We know that they bought acres and acres of land and we do all the branding we do there. You know, sales were fit outs and all this sort of stuff. And now people in their head might be thinking, if I worked with a land developer, I'd just be doing that Web site. And that's sort of it. So, yeah, I think that the whole idea of knowing who your market is and then really sort of talking to them is is huge. Can actually that's changed the relationship with the customers that I have. Because I understand them. They understand me. I'm doing it. I like that we are able to produce quite well, efficiently. And it's more profitable because it just clicks for us.

Michelle
See, and I'm so glad you brought up the efficiency component. So a lot of times we negate that. But the truth is that not every land developer is precisely the same thing. Similar things which allows you to deliver very, very efficiently. You don't have to continually do market research. You don't have to try and understand their needs. You have a pretty good concept of that. And then you have creative freedom to deliver something that's better aligned with their business things. In other words, things get easier. So if I'm a generalist and we'll go back to your dog grooming analogy, I think it was brilliant. If you if you go back to the dog grooming, if I am a generalist, I have to know how to groom a hug. You have to know how to groom a German shepherd. I have to know how to groom an Australian cattle dog. I don't know how to groom everything right. But if I specialize in small dogs that are going to be shown or if I even further specialize in, let's say. Poodles. Yeah. Now I can master that, and so my delivery of that becomes very efficient. Not only is my market more efficient because now everywhere I become known for this, I can charge more because of my specialty and my cost to deliver that service goes down. And the reason it goes down is because it's been taken as long. It's it's easy for me. I've developed skills. I've developed knowledge, and I'm leveraging that. And so, again, to go back to my first point, I'm now running my business like a business. And I have some streamlined way of going to market. There's another thing that a niche does for you. And what I find is that people sometimes to find their niche too small and narrow and it doesn't give them room to move. Does it sound like you've done that? Well, with the land developers? You can work with them of different sizes and so forth. And that's good. I would say so shy away from a niche that's too narrow. However, one of the wonderful things about a niche is that marketing, I believe marketing is all a conversation. It's a conversation we have with people to share value and let them understand what we do. So, Corey, we're able to talk because we both speak English. Yes. We might have a few places where we have a misunderstanding because you speak Australian English and I speak American English. But in general, we speak the same language. Yes. However, if you only spoke Japanese and you were interviewing me for this podcast, we would have difficulty. Yes, understanding one another. Yes. When you nitu business or nearshore business, either way, when you begin to speak the language of your client. And so you can you can connect with them. You can reference when you're speaking to land developers terms that I'm probably not even aware of that will resonate with that client and tell them that you understand what they're doing.

Corey
Yeah. Look, one hundred percent, you know, we hear the word authority used a lot in the industry. And this is the this is the thing. It's like if you're if you are working with everyone, then it's really it's it becomes hard to become an authority in a subject. Whereas if you're working with the same sorts of people all the time, you do you hear those same problems. You see them come up and all the time you learn the actual specifics of the language that they use. And that actually is is where the basis from authority comes from. So I think that's fair. That's really important.

Michelle
Absolutely. And then just the third point. So we're speaking about specialisation, we're speaking about niching or something about our nation, we're speaking about doing our having our systems be repetitive. That's what we started with. Yeah. The third area that needs to be refined, if you want to live as if you're making one hundred thousand or solve that problem you're trying to solve with a revenue number. You need to master a single marketing channel. And so this is really counterintuitive. I don't hear a lot of people besides myself talking about this. There's. This idea that I need to be present everywhere, I need to be on Instagram, I need to be on Facebook. I need to do a podcast and the blog. I need to do NetWare in-person networking. I need to do all the things. Yeah. And so what happens is we get burned out. We feel like we're stuck in a business that's not thriving. And we think, oh, if I could just get to 100 K, everything will get easier. The problem is you need to say no to 90 percent of what you're doing to market yourself. You get really, really good at one thing. Yeah. So I'm a natural writer. That's why I do copywriting, because I like to write. And it's beautiful. Thank you. I wasn't fishing for a compliment. We'll take one. By the way, this is a shameless promotion. Anybody who wants to go to my Web site and just subscribe to my blog, you get an e-mail once a week. And some of them are nice. Some of them are not whatever. But they'll just come to your e-mail and I will be able to you, I promise. We will be a link in the show notes and on the on out on our website. So turn that official. But in any case, I'm a writer. And so I decided early on that that was my primary marketing channel. So I write posts and I publish them. I write guests posts, I write for other people's blogs, etc. And so my primary marketing channel is content creation. This past year, I branched into doing what we're doing right now. Guest guest appearances on podcasts, because truly it's just a verbal blog post.

Corey
Yes, honestly, that's what we were talking about at the start, actually, because I know the writer. And then the podcast for me is an easy way to to produce content. It's exactly the same thing as you're saying now.

Michelle
So I market around content creation. I don't if you follow me on Facebook, there's not much that goes on on Facebook. I don't choose to market aggressively in the social media space. I don't even have an Instagram account. I don't have a link to an account. I don't dabble in other things. I don't go to in-person networking events because I live in rural Michigan. I don't feel like travelling hours to network and. I find that once I stop trying to do everything that was out there and instead put all of my energy and attention into mastering a single channel, my lead generation exploded. Part of the problem with marketing is that we're often inconsistent. And the reason we're inconsistent is because we're trying to do too much. If you throw down to one thing, you will become consistent. You'll get better at it. You'll build habits. You'll master it. You'll develop relationships with people. And they'll start to understand that this is where they can find you.

Corey
Yeah. And that just leads to more leads. Yeah, there's some there's two real simple tips around that as well for the people that are, you know, feeling that overwhelm or also not knowing what channel works for you. And one is the first point, is this in line exactly with what you said. And let's just apply to your strengths. So I'm I'm actually you know, I've got a design background and creating, you know, visual stuff is actually quite easy and efficient for me to do. And so, you know, channels like Instagram are actually quite all right for me, you know? So you play these strengths if you're like you're great at riding on great visuals, you know, so that's an easy thing. What what's the thing that you do? Easiest and quite well. So that's going to help you decide. And then the other thing is just use a little bit of logic around it, because I'm sure we all know, you know, if you're on a channel like Twitter and and it works for you, it really works like people. Some people love it for me when I'm on Twitter, it's like I'm just, you know, standing on the balcony yelling, you know, there's very little response. I know that people can hear me. You know, I know it's. But no one no one really cares. So it's not that's not a platform for me. So I don't I don't bother. I don't log in. I've got nothing to do with that. I still have a Twitter handle. And same with Facebook. It's actually, you know, my as far as business, it's great for networking within the industry. So, I mean, industry related Facebook groups. But it's not so good for me with business. For me, I've found that it's a lower value clients and the main areas for me, you know, Instagram, because it's either me to produce content. I'm actually just shooting, only showing the work that I'm working on. And LinkedIn, because that's more likely where my clients are. So I only really focus on those two two platforms. But I guess, you know, lead generation, see, and that's brilliant. And where I was going next. So thank you for that, that you focus on long term because that's where your clients are. And so I most natural writer, I like to write writing is my marketing channel, but I need to put some thought into that. If writing this time in a market myself, how will my client remember I'm fishing for a certain kind of fish?

Michelle
What pools does that fish swim in? Where writing would be a good law. Yes. So you have to kind of be a little bit analytical. So I don't I'm not visual at all. I don't I can't tell one font from another. I've got Serif sans serif. Hope that's enough. That's all there is. So Instagram for me is totally not a fit. But let's say that I loved Instagram and I was constantly taking pictures if my clients aren't on Instagram. Yep. It's not a good fit for me. However, if in your strategy, if I'm connecting with people on LinkedIn and then I can send them to Instagram to look at my portfolio and what I'm doing kind of in real time and connect with them on it, it balances out, then it works for you. Yes. So also, I love to talk. I love to be on podcasts. I used to be a homeschooling mom. I my kids, I taught my kids. I homeschooled them. My clients, however, are not homeschooling moms. So if I have a podcast guest on a podcast for homeschooling moms, I am playing to my strengths. But I'm not connecting with the right client. Yeah, so it's still not the right fit seeing you define that intersection between what you really love to do and do well and what your client, your potential client wants to consume. And that's that's the marketing channel that you need to, you know, whatever that is for you. That's the marketing channel to master.

Corey
And there's another fishing analogy there. And it's just a fish where the fisher.

Michelle
Yes. Yes, exactly. Exactly. So if you sold those three problems in your business or you start solving that, you'll have two things will happen. Number one, you'll be happier in your business, so you'll stop really wanting to like feeling that pressure to make more money. Yeah. But then also because you're more confident about what you're doing and you're happier, you will naturally make more money. So it's almost like the path to one hundred thousand is is actually begins with stopping the chase toward one hundred percent. And instead solve the problems that you have in your business and then stay the course. And what you will find is that you're biscet. Your revenue will gradually grow and the types of clients that you attract will gradually improve. You annual gradually feel more aligned and things will become simpler. And one day you'll wake up and you'll say, Oh, I'm making one hundred and eighty thousand. How did that happen? Because because it will feel correct and natural. Know, one of the worst things we can do and if you've ever taken a big project or something that was maybe on the edge of your bandwidth, you'll have lived through this. One of the worst things we can do is grow too rapidly outside of our competence. And then we get. That's panic time.

Corey
Know that's a nightmare. I don't advise that at all.

Michelle
No. So my advice is to to fix these three issues and then stay the course and give it time to. Flower. Yeah. I think ition

Corey
I think one of the main things, the benefits that I've sort of seen and have been following this process, and it's happened organically for me just by knowing what works with the idea of sort of finding that nation. It was literally a matter of just looking at the past clients that I'd been working with and what ones were best. And I really for me, it came down to. And this idea of businesses that are like almost white collar versions of blue collar services. So then I was working with like like high end landscapers are not like a landscaper that does your front garden, a landscaper that does, you know, the parts for a council or something like that will be able to bridge, you know, those sorts of construction companies, not not with sort of, you know, DIY, you know, stuff about people's houses. And I'm still working. You know, I still work within that area. And that is tied to, I guess, the land developers because they're actually producing stuff in the same space. But, yeah, that that's something, I guess, around this Natia idea as well, that you often working with people, you know, slightly outside of your nature, that they still attract these other people. But, yeah, I mean, there's a lot there was a lot a lot in that. And there's a lot of this stuff that I've, you know, sort of managed to find my way. And, you know, naturally and I think one of the big benefits that this allows you to do and I think is for me, this is whether because it became more profitable, is it allows you to sort of start to turn away stuff that isn't a good fit. You can you can you can start to spot a more easy. But also you get the you get more confidence around that. You go, well, this I know that this stuff works well for me and I can charge a lot in this area. And you said the you know, your point before around, you know, pushing work outside of your comfort zone. Yes. I mean, not only is is that sort of dangerous in that the products can explode, it's just, you know, there's it's tended to that people have that they look at projects and go on, that there's more money in that one. It must be a better project. And they don't realize the types of resources that they might need for those things. And, you know, you often need to just look at yourself and what works for you rather than looking at other people and going, wow, you know, this relates to all of those points that you made that people can looking at. They're killing on Instagram. I'll look at their Facebook. It's blowing up so they feel the pressure to do this. Like those people work with this client and it works great. Maybe I need to look, I love that work. Female entrepreneurs need to be doing that stuff. But you need to actually look at yourself and go. Who do I work with? What stuff? Go smooth. What is a good fit? What is most profitable? Who listens to me? Doesn't push back all those sorts of things. And that really forms that base. And that's for all of those points, you know, that you've made. I think that works across all of them.

Michelle
You know. I want to talk just. If we have time or just talk really briefly about price, because we often think something I hear out there a lot is that the path to being more profitable is to take larger and larger projects, bigger ticket items, you know, charge five thousand, minimum charge ten thousand, whatever it is you know, you have the dollar amount doesn't matter. But the constant search for a bigger project. The truth is that you can be incredibly profitable doing as lots of small projects because you're so streamlined and efficient. And this you can see this if you think about out in the real world. I'm trying to think of a good example. Well, fast food. So fast food, you know. How can they only charge, you know, pennies really for French fries or something. It's because they have a system. They're profitable. They know how much they make per order. And they just keep the cars coming through the drive through. Yeah. You cannot order your business around a low dollar, a meal item that you sell all the time. A lot of doubt. You can throw up templated websites if you think about like Wick's or go daddy or some of those that you can go. Our Vistaprint is the one I always I don't want to like, call out anybody, but I can if I wanted to just make a really fast template. Thai's website, I can go to Vistaprint, just put it up and it would be relatively inexpensive, right? Yep. They're profitable. Because they're really good at that turnaround. Yeah. So the path to profitability for you could be having a well-defined niche in it and a low dollar amount of service that you can do ten of them a week.

Corey
Yeah, I 100 percent agree. I think that's the that's exactly like the same point as what I was trying to make. We'll look at other people and think, oh, they're doing twenty thousand dollar websites. What do I need to do to do a twenty thousand dollar Web site. It's like you. I don't know if that business is profitable. Doing twenty thousand dollar websites. Correct. But B, you don't know what you meant. Me won't let go. No. No. What goes into that? And another point with that, and this is when I think about growing and people often this goes back to that very first point. Around one hundred thousand dollars. Right. With chasing that, you see all these gurus we're talking around. These are a you know, if you're a single person, they'll say ten, ten thousand dollar month. If you're an agency that's held about, you know, hundred dollar month, if you're not an agency level, you want to get, you know, seven figures. If you're freelance, you only hit six figures. But what I forget to sort of talk about, you know, especially in all the success stories, you know, we help these people get to this sort of dollar figure that they're talking about revenue, not profit and revenue. Who gives a crap about revenue. At the end of the day, it's about profit. So, yes, you know, you could you could start to earn more money tomorrow if you wanted to start throwing more money at ads, stop paying people to do the work, stop paying sales people to get you projects. But then at the end of the day, you might not be profitable. So when I think about people trying to grow, especially at that freelancer's stage and this is where I guess, again, the NEA idea helps, that really what you want to be doing isn't like let's say I'll just say that. So you charge a thousand dollars for a logo and you think, how does that person charge twenty thousand dollars? But they're doing like this at something totally different to you. Yeah, it would be better for you to try and charge two thousand three thousand four thousand five thousand do the exact same thing as what you're doing now. The same amount of work, the same process, but just working for, you know, more specific market to see more value in the work that you do. So they're willing to pay you, you know, five times the amount. And that's where your profit comes from because you're actually doing the same thing rather than going, what do I need to do to get a ten thousand dollar, twenty thousand dollar, fifty thousand dollar Web site? You might need to do something totally different. It might be 10 times the amount of work for five times the amount of profit.

Michelle
So, so true. Yeah, that is just so true. Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

Corey
Yeah. So I mean, the other one was I guess last thing that I want to point out and profit missed I guess because we did sort of find this around people, you know, trying to get to that so that, you know, a hundred thousand dollar figure, if people are looking at growing, you know, and trying to increase their rights. I think one of the main things is to sort of do that incrementally. Right. And this is just a different tape. It's sort of slightly off topic. But I did want to try. So that's what we're talking about. Price at that in that often people think that what they need to do because with with 100 K, you know, you can sort of divide that by, you know, you need to add 10 K a month. Right. And so that means like what? Two thousand five dollars a week or, you know, it's probably more like two thousand dollars a week. You made that as your base. Well, if you're currently doing a thousand dollars a week. And that blows your mind. How am I going to get to. Two thousand days a week? We'll just stop trying to go for 20 percent more. You know, just increase every occasional project to put the price up a little bit more. And that's another way to sort of help you see yourself elevate. Yes. I do think there is a point where you can if you have severely undercharging, you can probably get away with just starting to do that. If you're at your fringe, this is where you need to employ everything that you've just said, where you need to start thinking about how different do I need to be to attract that different market. And if you just start putting your prices up, you everyone will get to the point where they need to start doing something different to attract that next level. It's almost like climbing, climbing stairs. Yes, I did get so far. And then you level out you go. Well, I need to do something different to get to that next. Next level. Yes.

Michelle
Yeah. So that's the that's the perfect entry point for me to pitch my one work with people. So I actually earlier today was on a call with a former client of mine who now is six months or so. The other side of our work together. And she was telling me about a job she just landed and how natural it felt to talk at that level and a market at that level. And this job is three times what she was charging when we started working together. But more importantly, it's profitable. And so we came together and worked one on one and solved these problems for her. What you'll find is that if you're going to exactly to your point, when you incrementally increase your pricing. Most of us are undercharging a fair bit. And so you can do that for a while until you reach kind of a ceiling and then you have to start talking about what you do differently. You have to start presenting what you do differently. You don't do anything necessarily differently. It's just the way you talk about it. It's the way the quality of your portfolio perhaps is. The way that you're engaging people is the way that you're marketing. It's the marketing conversation that you have. Yeah. Because if I'm going to spend, I'm just arbitrarily these numbers don't really mean anything. They're just arbitrary. If I want to spend five thousand dollars, the conversation I want to have with you before I do that is different than the conversation I would have with you. If I'm to spend ten thousand dollars because I have different I have different concerns. I have different questions and different objections. And so if you're going to sell your services to me at the higher level, the conversation is different. You have to you have to promise different things. You have to deliver on different things. You have to create a different feel to the whole process. That's what I help people work through. And I, I do it one on one because there's no other way to do it. It's not formulaic. You have to be able to speak in your natural voice without reading a script or won't work. So a script with one on one. So how do people find that even if you. If you're listening to me and listening to this and you think, gosh, that is exactly what I need. Go to my Web site. It's Mattea 100 creative dot com and there's a contact form. Fill it out. What will happen is I'll review the information you gave me and we'll hop on a call for about 20 minutes to a half hour and we'll talk. And at the end of that call, we'll both know for a fact or not. And there's no charge for that. I'm not going to be selling you. That's not I don't. I'm to a place where I don't need to sell. I'm just going to say I'm going to listen to what your problems are. And I'm going to tell you what I think we need to do to solve them. Probably give you some takeaways you can implement whether you work with me or not. And we'll know if we're gonna go forward and work together. So you're welcome to to reach out and we can talk.

Corey
Sounds like a good deal, everyone. Certainly that should be worth your time. Excellent. Well, I think we covered a lot. Hopefully that was something in that for everyone. So I'm pretty comfortable with wrapping that up. How about you? Anything else you wanted to add or you not? Well, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you, everyone, for tuning in. If you enjoyed the podcast, subscribe or find us on one of the social channels. Give us a lot mixed up with someone else. And if you want to get in contact, go to go beyond freelance dot com. Go find the contact form. Give us some feedback. Anything at all. We'd love to hear from you. All right. Thanks for joining in, guys.


Michelle Hunter

Christine has more than 20 years of experience, and in that time she's honed her skills and created cohesive brand experiences over web, identity, print, and other media platforms for businesses of all sizes. She can be found at: michellehuntercreative.com
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