It’s hard to find the perfect formula for scaling your business. But what if we told you there was a way to predict which business model would work best for you? Jeff Sauer knows how to grow and scale a freelance business. He just so happened to stumble upon the magic formula using his own business model.
Jeff shares with us:
Today, Jeff is a digital marketer who teaches his secrets to university students and advises freelancers online. But back in 2005, he was teaching himself SEO when most business owners didn’t even know what the heck that was. He realized he could combine this niche work with his computer science degree, and he turned his side hustle into a full-time career in only one year’s time.
But you don’t have to rush your own timeline to have success like Jeff. Tune in now to hear the tricks to his success as he explains the three roles you need to fill in order to turn your freelance business into your full-time job.
Creating Your Own Clients
Teaching himself SEO early on in his career put Jeff ahead of the game. When it came to picking out clients, Jeff was at an advantage. He was able to convince his first marketing client to invest in his SEO strategy, and it landed him a position as a partner in the company.
You can be just as innovative with your skills in order to pick and choose your ideal clients. If you can bring a new perspective to a traditional model, then you can bring clients the secret ingredient they’re looking for. You don’t have to become a partner, but you can start earning the kind of money that builds your brand and helps you expand.
It’s a lot harder to grind out that $30,000 in revenue than it is to find one $30,000 client.
Finding those $30,000 clients is more than just selling your skill. Developing a relationship that reflects your personal involvement in the client’s business is very important. Long-term business relationships are key to guaranteeing income for a freelancer, and you can only build those kinds of relationships by investing real time with a client.
I basically parlayed these relationships…I convinced several people to give me a little bit of money each month in retainers or in some kind of consistent way that I could do work for them.
Dedicating that kind of time to your brand of business, the brand that works to build relationships with clients, means managing your time in a different way. Jeff shares tips for time management and expresses why it’s important to keep a deadline. Having a deadline will not only keep your schedule on track, it will help you align your goals with your priorities. Your priorities might change over time, and Jeff has plenty of advice for that too.
Being a Better Business Owner
The big secret to Jeff’s success is knowing how to be a better business owner. This isn’t something he learned overnight but what he learned on the road to success. Jeff advises when or if you should hire a salesperson, and how important it is to create structure right from the beginning. But if you want to find what he calls “the perfect storm,” then your business needs to fill these three roles:
While the accountant takes care of the finances, and the expert focuses on developing the skill of the business – whether its consultation or product design – the salesperson has the most important job of all.
That’s the difference between having a business and just being a freelancer to me. If you want to grow beyond your comfort zone, if you want any growth, then you have to get good at selling.
If selling isn’t your strongest suit, then try teaming up with employees who bring a wide variety of skills to the table. Hiring out is always an option, but Jeff recommends finding friends or previous clients you work particularly well with. Having that relationship creates a firm base for your business, and gives you more opportunity to grow in the future.
Jeff’s final piece of advice on today’s episode is to keep teaching yourself and learning new things. Spend more time learning how to be a better business owner. Dedicate the same amount of time you take to study your skill or your niche and read up on market trends. The more you know about the market around you, the more likely your business is to grow even when the odds are seemingly stacked against you.
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