Updated: Dec 5, 2019
As you’ve probably learned by now, I made $417k my first 6 months as a freelancer.
Here’s my first tax return as proof if you need it:
How did I go from $0 – $30k month freelancing, in 2 months?
The short answer: I found a piece of gold in the dirt, and it gave me the confidence and authority to go for more.
Early in my career, there were a few essential truths I learned that I needed to live out in order to be successful:
1. Pay Attention & Know The Market.
I quickly realized that for me, the best verticals that converted the highest, the fastest and brought a significant return to my clients, were generally beauty and apparel. This wasn’t just an observation of my clients, but the clients I encountered during my previous agency life. Generally, these were the top performing verticals. So I took that knowledge and contact as many beauty and apparel companies as I could.
2. Get Em While They’re Young.
You don’t need the biggest fish in the room, and often times going after those guys as an upcoming marketer is just pointless honestly. Look for young brands (1-4 years old) and do your research on them. Do they have good products? Do you believe they are a lovable brand? Are they in a high converting vertical? Most importantly, do YOU believe in them? If you answered yes to any of these, send them your pitch.
Another critical question to ask yourself: What do you have to offer them, that they don’t already have? Know this. Pitch this and learn, learn, learn. Be an expert in 1 or two things, and be proficient in as many areas as possible in your field. That’s how you make real money.
3. Don’t Devalue Yourself.
Offer a favorable payment structure for everyone.
100% know your worth, know that you bring a lot to the table and make sure they are respectfully well aware of that. Now I’m about to say something most marketers would tell you NOT to do and generally I would agree, but this one decision made me a little over $1 million, so yeah I might give it a little listen if I were you. 😉
As a payment option for clients you believe are going to make a lot of money soon, but don’t have that immediate cash flow to pay your fee, offer a high payout commission-based structure. I was doing my weekly client prospecting search on IG one day (check out how I find clients here) and I found a brand that had a decent website, a great looking product and most importantly a lot of growth potential.
So I sent them my pitch, and they loved it. But they couldn’t afford the fee I was requesting so I took a chance on them. They had minimal cash flow because they were investing everything they earned back into the company. I remembered when I worked at an agency I had a large beauty affiliate account and our agency’s payout was 30% of each sale. I took that same methodology and tweaked the offer a little bit so that it was more favorable to the brand and made me a lot of money if I performed well.
I’ll never forget when I sent them my follow up email with my request for 30% of Facebook profits. I was scared honestly they wouldn’t think I was worth that, but then I remembered I sure as hell was worth that. I was responsible for the majority of the beauty sales at the agency I used to work for.
So, I did some basic math, if I made them $500/day, 12-15 orders/day, I would make $4,500/month (my then current salary). I felt I could semi-easily accomplish this, so I went for it and figured I’d make enough money to pay off my credit card and have a little savings for a rainy day.
They quickly accepted my offer, as I really cost them nothing unless I was very good at my job and I was. They were one of my first freelance clients, and I made $13k my first month with them—my mind was blown. I had never made anything remotely close to that in a single month. The next month I made $32k.
My record high month with them was close to $65k.
I was grateful, amazed and completely shook. I knew then I could repeat this and keep growing ME and my business. I’m still working on doing just that 🙂
4. Offer an easy-out contract.
All my contracts are monthly (payment made in advance before services rendered, unless it’s a commission based account) and can be broken generally within 48 hours, some larger accounts require a 7-day notice. Clients love that, and it holds you accountable to always perform to the best of your ability which is why they keep you.
5. Provide clients with a seven-day/week contact
My clients get my cell, email and a private slack/WhatsUp channel (whichever they prefer). I’m generally available from 7am-8pm to my clients. If it’s a big sale or an emergency and a client hits me up after 8pm and I’m available (if I’m not on a date….being rude af….haha I’m so much better at this now…I think lol) I answer.
Legit I have submitted important campaign at 11:48pm because I got a text about a killer idea they want to test asap. Some might say okay, boundaries are needed, and I agree they are important to have in place.
However, I understand the entrepreneurs’ mind. I know what it’s like to not be able to sleep because you’re processing your next big move. I what it’s like to stay up until 3AM writing out your strategy for the next phase of your business because you just got a new idea. I respect that. I love that, so if I’m available, I always honor that fire within them.
6. Work your ass off. Relax your mind, body, spirit off.
Love your job, love your clients, and only work with people you actually believe in, and it makes a world of difference. But also value YOU: your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. I take a walk to the beach almost almost daily. I work out regularly. I make sure I make time to do things that bring me joy, like taking myself to a bougie movie experience movie at iPic or Cinepolis.
I drive down to San Diego to see my friends and family, I go on hikes, I looking for extra, but human things to do in LA, and I take a working vacation as often as possible. I participate in cooking classes, go out, eat and drink all the yummy things, going to comedy shows, dance it out around the house, meet up with other entrepreneurs who are doing way more than I, and I get inspired. I argue with my dog about his horrendous shedding problem (yes, that back and forth conversation with my husky secretly brings me a little joy lol).
I read books about people that are living and have live inspirational lives. I get involved in my community. I entertain a date every now and then (I’m habitually single…If you live in LA you understand lol). This stuff brings me joy, so I do it as often as possible. I do something “Joy For Me” at least 3 times a week, you have to find balance. Your life can’t be all about work, that is not living.
My advice to you:
Have faith in yourself. Knock on all doors relative to your field that follow the model of advice above.
Knock on all doors you believe have the potential to be profitable for you. If the commission structure isn’t simpatico to you in a particular case (i.e. you feel the product price point is too low for that model to make you decent money) don’t be afraid to grow with clients.
Starting out because I had been in the space already for 2 years (I know right soo long) I charged a minimum of $2k/month with clients I didn’t do a commission structure with. However, I had contractual agreements that stated as the brand grew and our Facebook account brought in more profits I would then charge more. For one client, in particular, I went from $2k/mo to $3k two months later to $5k/mo the next 2 months.