Episode 130 Talking The Freelance Manifesto with Steve Roller
Hey everybody, Rob
Cairns here. In today’s podcast, I’m here with my friend Steve roller and Steven are going to talk about his book The freelance Manifesto. So sit back, relax and enjoy this really engaging conversation.
Everybody, Rob Cairns here, I’m here with Steve Rollerr today, and we are going to talk about his book, The freelance manifesto 11 big ideas to stand out and thrive in the new economy. Are you today, Steve?
I am doing excellent. Thank you for having me. Rob. I appreciate being on your podcast and really looking forward to this.
Yeah, it’d be a lot of fun. I think, you know, we were saying in a pre show. I’ve read the book. It’s not a heavy read. I think I think it’s well put together. And I think every person that’s thinking about working for themselves, needs to sit down and actually read this book. And I think you would concur, because you wrote it. Right.
I yeah, I do concur. And I appreciate you saying that. And yes, I? I am a little biased, but I do think everybody should read it.
Yeah. So So tell me a little bit about yourself and your background? And what brought you to reading the book? or writing the book? Sorry?
Sure. Yeah. Well, first of all, I spent out of college, I spent 17 years in corporate America in sales, and hadn’t had a good career, things were going good and, and have had a lot of success. And I guess the only thing that I didn’t like about that was that I didn’t get a big enough. for my taste, I didn’t get a big enough chunk of vacation time at any one time to do the traveling that I wanted to do. That was a big factor in moving to doing working for myself. And then also, I didn’t have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, either to be involved in my kids lives. And at the time, when I made the transition into working for myself, my kids were six, 810 and 12. And they were just involved in a lot of things. And I just, I just knew that for the rest of their school years, that if I didn’t change something I was going to miss out on a lot of things. So anyway, so 12 years ago, I launched my own business as a copywriter as a full time copywriter, and haven’t looked back since. And it’s been a great ride. And in addition to being a full time copywriter and writing for clients, I also founded a an online community called cafe writer, it’s kind of blossomed into a big, active engaged group of about 9800 people now. And I also have two smaller private groups that I run as well. And then, three years ago, I wrote the book the freelancer Manifesto, as you know. And last year, I came up with the second edition to it. But mainly what I do now is I help freelancers, and not just freelance writers and copywriters, although that’s most of it. But mostly what I do now is help freelancers transition from being a freelancer for hire into a business operator. And then once they get to that point, if if they kind of get those fundamentals down and get kind of make that shift, helping solo business operators transition into being what I call recognized leaders in their little corners of the world. So it’s, um, it’s very rewarding. It’s very fulfilling. I do a lot of writing myself still, but a lot of what I’m doing now is helping other people make these changes.
Yeah, you touched on a little bit, you’ve got a large Facebook group, and we can kind of any of us who have spent time on Facebook can say, one of the biggest values I find are the groups if you find the right people in the groups, and that’s the whole key. I, I personally don’t like to groups where people jump in and they ask questions, and you know, they haven’t done their homework. And my response to most people is, do not understand the word Google. You know, back in my day, my teacher would spell out the words dictionary encyclopedia. Now we spell out the word Google. But I think if you find the right groups where people are there to help the people you meet online is incredible. I mean, I’ve I know people all over the world. Many I consider really good friends. And you just couldn’t do it without two groups, right?
Yeah, it is. It’s an it’s an interesting phenomenon. I mean, I never before Facebook came along, I never would have envisioned working the way we do now and having these kind of relationships and communities and interactions with people but you’re right about groups. You know, In this is I guess where it takes a little bit of skill as an administrator and running it to it’s just making sure that because you’ve got people of all levels, we have people of all levels that are beginners we have intermediates, we have 30 year pros. And you don’t want to you don’t want all beginners asking all beginner questions, you got to keep the intermediate and advanced people kind of interested and engaged. But you also don’t want to be talking over people’s heads. So it’s it’s a, it’s a, it’s a tough balance to to navigate. But if you can do it, and you can cultivate the right vibe. And I think we have in our group, we’ve got just a, we’ve got a group that’s really friendly and helpful and just wanting to help people, which is a great thing. Oh, I
agree, too, especially on the internet, you know, and we’ll get Could I people don’t buy information anymore, Steve, what they buy is the people they work with and what they bring in? Because I mean, go back to Google, you can do a search and find anything you want. But it’s the people, right?
Yeah, I see that a lot. You know, you’re absolutely right. I like the way you put that. It isn’t Yeah, you can access information. And for that, for that matter, a lot of it’s free, and you don’t even have to pay for a whole lot of stuff. These days, you can get a lot of stuff for free. But yeah, it’s all about. I think it’s all about relations, I say over and over, you know, to my group, and just people I talk with, it’s about really, it’s about three things. It’s about connections, it’s about conversations, and it’s about relationships. And if you can really focus on those, you know, even as a solo business operator, if you can focus on making connections, having good connections, having good conversations, and developing and maintaining good relationships. That’s really what it’s all about. Yes, you have to have skills. Yes, you have to deliver, yes, you have to help people solve problems. But really, that’s what it boils down to.
Yeah, I agree. And it’s a real, it’s a real tough one on that one. So let’s get on to the book. What struggles Have you had in your business, which have kind of led you to writing this book and why you wanted to share so much?
Yeah, well, as I got into copywriting, I had some pretty good early success. But one of the one of the things that I bought into, which didn’t, isn’t necessarily a valid thing is the idea that you have to keep practicing and learning and getting more and more coaching or certifications, before you actually launch your business. And what happens is, a lot of a lot of people hanging out their virtual shingle for the first time, get kind of caught in this perpetual learning mode. And they feel like they just have to learn a little bit more before they put themselves out there and they don’t feel qualified to do it. And, and I would just so the message that I got as a copywriter was if you become a better copywriter, people will be the path to your door. So the key is be the absolute best copywriter you can be and then the people will just come? Well, yes, you should be the best, not the best. But you should be good at what you do, of course. But if you wait until you’re a level, I mean, you could be practicing and practicing for five or 10 years before you start making money. Whereas in the meantime, you could have been helping people, clients at your level, yes, maybe you’re not the absolute expert in your field. But you’re good at what you do. And you can help people. And, and you there’s I always say there’s clients for everybody at every level. So my message to people is, don’t worry about being the absolute best. Don’t worry about getting this certification that certification, help people solve problems, people don’t care exactly how good of a copywriter or marketer you are. They just want their problem solved.
So true. And I think where a lot of people make the mistake is they keep learning and they keep learning and they keep learning. And they become what are called professional learners. I mean, I like to learn more than if anybody, but if you don’t learn something, and take a course and then implement two or three things that you learned in that course, into your daily life or into your business. That’s a bit of a problem, actually. And I don’t understand people keep doing that, because then they just take another course another course another course. And at the end of the day, you know, accreditation, and I have a few i mean i i have probably 14 or 15 of them over the years and frankly I think they’re just to satisfy the HR departments and the and the bean counters who don’t know what they’re asking King four, because Reddit, it’s more important being able to do the job than being certified to do the job.
Exactly, yes. And in and I’m with you, too. I’m a, I’m a professional learner, I’ll be, you know, we, as we talked about earlier, I love reading books, I love taking courses. But I think for some people, it becomes and I’ve been in this mode myself too, at times, it becomes a it’s kind of creative avoidance, you know, it’s like, instead of doing the real hard work of going out and getting clients and doing the work for clients and making money, it’s easier to kind of sit back now let me take another course or let me do this. It’s just yeah, I think in some ways, it’s often a form of creative avoidance.
Oh, I agree. So in your book, you talked about 11 big ideas. Which one is most important? If there is one? Do you know?
Yeah, that’s Let me think about that for a second. Um, yeah. All of them I think are good. But I’d say one That, to me, that stands above the others is, and I think it’s the eighth one, I’m not sure I’d have to look is say yes to opportunities. If I could offer one word of advice to freelancers of every kind, it would be this stretch, stretch beyond what you feel comfortable with, stretch yourself beyond the bounds of what you’ve done before, stretch yourself past what other people, maybe even your own coach or mentor thinks that you can do. Most people. And again, I include myself in a lot of this stuff, and you sock as you read the book that I I kind of share, you know, the mind the things that I’ve done, right, and the things that I’ve done wrong. But I think most people hold back, they hold back from what they’re truly capable of, they don’t push beyond what’s required to make a decent living, we get comfortable with where we are skill wise, income wise. And that’s kind of where we stay, we get into this zone that we’re comfortable with. So I just say, and I give a few examples in the book, I mentioned a couple of them here. But I just I’m a big believer in saying yes to opportunities. Go for bigger clients connect with people who are at a higher level people, freelancers tend to like aiming for Wow, let me just contact the marketing director, this person or that I’m like, Hey, how about contact it, contact the CEO, the president of the company, I’ve had pretty good luck connecting directly with people at that level. When you get a chance, if you ever get a chance to speak in public, if you get asked to be on a podcast, say yes. If you if you have really big ambition speaking wise, you know, do a TED talk.
Oh, live stream. Okay. Yeah,
yeah. And it’s so I mean, the barrier to entry and a lot of these things is pretty low. These days, anybody can go on Facebook and do a Facebook Live, we can do we can live stream, we can you taste, you know, some things put together to do a podcast, but you could start your own podcast. But all these kinds of things are, I don’t know, I always say do things that other people that are in your space that you know, people you’re competing with people that are doing similar things to you do things stretch and do things that other people either can’t do, because they don’t have the skills yet, or that they’re not willing to do. And if you can do that, then you kind of force other people to kind of catch up with you a little bit. But you you’re you’re you just put yourself at a higher level. And clients can see that. One of the big one of the big areas of that I always advocate to people is if you can, you’ve got some ideas, write a book, write a book about something about your area of expertise, write a book that’s going to solve problems for your your audience. But I to me, I think a book in even in this digital world that we’re in, I still think that a print book. And I think audiobooks and Kindle books are good too. But I think a print book is it can be the best lead generator and I think it can be the best, you know, source of giving yourself some credibility in the marketplace.
I mean, a good example of a guy who’s made millions on lead generation from books is Russell Brunson. I mean clickfunnels me. You know, he every time he puts out a book, he charges for shipping or a low cost and and he returns a $5 shipping. sale into 100 $200 a month sale. I mean he he’s the best example of anybody I know in that space.
He Is it funny you mentioned that because the two books that are on my desk here are dotcom secrets and expert secrets. Have you read Traffic Secrets? And I have not. I don’t have that one yet. I’ve got to read that yet. So
I blew through that one was about Russell’s like one of a kind. So. So let’s go on to the gig economy. And when we talk about the gig economy, to mind, everybody thinks of Uber Lyft just kept the dishes doordash and Airbnb, but it’s so much more than that. And is a hair this thing? And if so why do you think it’s here this thing?
Those are those are good examples. And yet everybody thinks that the big ones the big disruptors, Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, doordash, all those those are great examples of the gig economy. To answer your question, in one word, yes, it’s it most, I think it’s most definitely here to stay. I remember when I first started putting this book together, it started as a two part blog post back in 2015, I think and at that time, they said there were statistics that said that by the year 2020 40% of the workforce was going to be involved in some capacity in the gig economy. Is that what unlike that sounded outrageous at the time, but the more I thought about it, I’m like, yeah, that’s where we’re going. And of course, now with the year that we just finished. And I think this is going to even exacerbated even more causing people to, to whether whether they want to or not some people unfortunately, last year lost jobs, they lost traditional employment. So they were forced into it. Other people who are in traditional employment just want more flexibility. And they’re going to choose the gig economy. But I yeah, I think it’s absolutely here to stay. You know, there’s so much there’s so much unpredictability in the marketplace. And I just think it, you know, the gig economy offers more flexibility. It seems like almost everybody I know even people that have traditional jobs, traditional employment, are doing something in the gig economy. Maybe they’re teaching, a friend of mine teaches guitar lessons online, another guy who’s got a great job during the day, he drives Uber at night. Every every almost everybody I know is involved in some way, in the gig economy, whether to add to their traditional income in place of their traditional income, maybe it’s more of a lifestyle thing. And they don’t care so much about the money, but they want to be able to be flexible, or work where they want, you know, wherever they want. So yeah, most definitely, I think it’s here to stay. And I think that 40 I don’t know if that 40% figure came to fruition or not, but if not, it’s probably pretty close. And I would bet by the year 2025, it’s probably going to be 80% of the of the workforce will be involved in the gig economy. So yes, I think it’s fair to say,
yeah, I think it’s, I mean, even myself, we were talking, you know, in the pre show, I’ve gone back into a full time, but it’s actually a contract. So technically, it’s the gig economy all over again. And I and I think companies just like the flexibility. It allows him not to tie up with employees that don’t produce like to be fair to them. If you’re going anything that’s not the overs or stuff or the airbnbs. If you’re producing, you’re in a gig economy, you’re gone. Like it’s very simple. And it’s so you have to perform and you have to be on your game every day.
Yeah, most definitely. Yeah. And I think it’s in a way, it’s better for everybody. I think it’s better for the consumer. I mean, you look at Uber and Airbnb, I think those things are good for the consumer. I think all any matter of the gig economy tends to be good for the consumer, the people who are doing it, as you say, Have to produce. So in that way, it’s good for the person hiring them to they, you know, it’s just, it’s just, it’s the way everything’s going and some I don’t think anybody could have predicted this 10 or 15 years ago before all these things existed, but now it’s, it’s become part of our world. It’s, it’s here to stay true.
Um, so freelancers, what’s one thing they can do really well.
I think free in general, what I’ve seen is I think most freelancers are really good at adapting to new ideas, new technology, new tools. It’s like the circles that are And then I communicate with in any given day or week, I hear about something new that somebody is using, that I hadn’t heard about yet. And people are really good at staying on top of things and, and then adapting and switching like, okay, I was using this tool, but hey, now this is here, let me use this and switching to new social media platforms, new technology and new tools. So I think that’s one thing. freelancers do really well, they adapt. And they, and the other thing that goes along with that is, they’re always learning and you have to you have to stay. Just to keep up. I think freelancers are really good at learning, you know, and they’re willing to, they seem willing to invest in themselves to you know, buying books, buying courses, going to, you know, going to events and stuff like that. So, yeah, I think I think they’re really good at adapting and learning. And, yeah, I don’t know that I guess that’s what I would say it’s that’s kind of a broad general,
I would I would I would agree with a day ADAP. While they have to adapt well, because they’re in many different roles, so and then, what could freelancers not do? Well, and that opens up a whole candle? Well,
this is a this is a beaser. Yeah, we could go I could go on for another 45 minutes on this one. I won’t, don’t worry. But
freelancers don’t a couple things, I think they’re not real good at being consistent, consistent with their effort. I know a lot of freelancers that are just up and down, up and down. As far as how they market themselves, like when they need business, they’ll market themselves when they’ve got clients and they’re working on things, then they back off on that. And so there’s this kind of up and down feast or famine cycle. And I think if people were to just figure out a consistent way to to do things, you know, marketing system and sales systems, and they would be much better off. So I think consistent effort is a challenge for everybody. And, and I’m right there, too, on that sometimes. And then maybe sticking with sticking with one system to there’s this, you know, and you you know, you know the terms the shiny object syndrome, and you know, the fear. So we have we have shiny object syndrome, we have fear of missing out like, you know, right now a big thing is clubhouse, everybody’s gravitating toward this new platform called clubhouse. I haven’t,
I have an Android phone. So that has become a non issue
and probably good for you. You know, I I, I’ve had a couple people asked me, are you on there? Do you want to invite and like I said, I don’t need one more distraction in my life right now. I’m sure it’s good. I know it’s working for you. It’s, that’s fantastic. But I’m staying in my lane right now. So we have this as freelancers, we have this fear of missing out on something. And that apparently, from what I’ve heard clubhouses, they do a brilliant job of really cultivating that fear of missing out with people. And that’s how it’s growing. So we don’t want to miss out on anything. And in and just that shiny object syndrome, we’re interested in a lot of things and we’re, you know, we’re open to investing and things and buying things. So hey, look at that, look at that, look at that, maybe this could help me, and we’re looking for that. We’re looking for that silver bullet that’s going to magically transform our business, like, Oh, I just found out that one magic LinkedIn system that got me, you know, 100 connections every week, and 10, new clients, whatever. We’re always looking for that. So I think if people were to just maybe put on the blinders a little bit more, and not worry so much about what everybody else is doing, and just find something that works for you, even if, okay, so I don’t I’m on some social media platforms, but I’m not on others. I don’t really do Twitter, I don’t really do Pinterest. I don’t do much with Instagram. But I do do Facebook, I do LinkedIn, I can’t do everything. I’ve written a book, but I don’t have a podcast, I’ve done this, but I haven’t done that, you know, just you got to kind of pick the things that that work for you and that you know that you can do. And maybe just stick with him. I always encourage people just find something and try to stick with it for maybe 12 to 18 months and just and then then then come up for air and look and see where you are. And then maybe adjust and you can keep your eyes on the periphery and you can keep your eye on what’s going on and changes that you might need to make and what your competitors are doing what the marketplace is doing. But try to stay in your lane and just stay focused and obviously put the blinders on like a horse you know, just don’t worry about what’s going on over here. Whatever what’s over here, just Look, look forward down the track. And I think that would help people if they did that. And then along with that, it’s just I think everybody wants something that seems kind of sexy, you know, it’s like, it’s some of the some of the stuff that is just the system’s the organization, the sales systems marketing systems that the grunt work that you got to do every day. And that’s not real sexy stuff. You know, it’s like, we want the flashy stuff, the fun stuff. So, I don’t know.
I would agree with you. I think the problem with the shiny object syndrome, is I read a really interesting quote, and I don’t know where I came across it. And this person was talking about that. And what they said was, the problem is people buy the object before they have the process in place. So they should develop their processes first, and then find a tool that meets the processes. That was the first thing. And the other thing. I think freelancers don’t do well, they don’t go and get help when they need it. So they try and do too much of everything, instead of either contracting out or outsourcing or, or saying I need help, and going that route.
Yeah, that’s a that’s an excellent point, Rob, about the processes. If if people were to get that in place first, and then yeah, I always I was talking about with freelancers, we tend to kind of cater to clients almost too much. And they’ll say, Well, I want this Oh, yeah, I can do that. And we change our processes and our methods, and our even sometimes our services based on who we’re talking to, and catering to them. And I always, the thing that I always say is, bring people into your world don’t go into theirs. So I read it, which is exactly which you summed up in a different way, you know, get your processes down first. And then and then and then stick to those and find a way to bring people into that and explain to people, why you do things, explain to people how you do things that your clients are interested in our in our process, but also why we do things the way we do. And in and just again, bring them into your world don’t go into theirs.
Yeah. And I’ll give an example of that. That’s really easy. I do WordPress care plans. I have a policy that if a client wants help, they need to open up a ticket in my Help Desk system. And I get emails every week saying, Can you look at this? And my standard response is, here’s the link to the ticketing system, go open up a ticket when you do, I’d be glad to look at it. And I get I often get back Well, why don’t you just open a ticket for me? And my response is because you’re not following the agreed upon process. So and that’s one of the things you have to do with processes is you have to train people. And it’s it’s a it’s a, you know, it’s a it’s a running mess. Yeah. Yeah. To say the least. So one thing I want to get on to I’m, I’m a digital marketer, and I don’t think freelancers do a really good job of marketing themselves. What’s your opinion on that one?
I think you’re right. In general, freelancers do a terrible job of marketing themselves. It’s funny because a lot of us, you know, in my world, copywriters, marketers work, we’re in the business of helping clients. Yeah, their message and their marketing, but yet, we often don’t do it as well for ourselves. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not sure what the problem with that is. Part of it goes back to what I was saying in the beginning is people have Well, I guess I didn’t talk about that. But I think people have this idea that if they just if they have the qualifications, and they have the certifications, and they hang out their virtual shingle, that somehow magically, people are going to be drawn to them. It’s kind of like this, the brick and mortar mom and pop shop that hangs out a sign and thinks that they don’t have to do any advertising. They think people are just going to come there. Well, just because you’re online doesn’t mean people are going to come freelancers, I’ve noticed rely way too much on inbound marketing too. So if they do do anything that they think well, I’ll start a blog and that’ll create some good search engine optimization and, and I’ll get people you know, I’ll do content marketing for myself, and I’ll just wait for the inbound marketing to happen. Well, that’s good. I always I always consider any inbound marketing or any any leads that fall in your lap or clients that fall in your lap, whether it’s from SEO or third party referrals or you know, just somebody finding you randomly I consider that Bonus, I really believe that if no matter how busy somebody is, or how booked up, they’re that everybody should have some kind of ongoing system of outbound marketing, as well as relying on the inbound marketing, and then just consider the inbound marketing. A bonus part of this goes to the idea, you know, to the fact that, I think, as freelancers, a lot of times we’re confused about what we should do for marketing ourselves, even even if we might be helping other people with it. You know, and again, this goes back to what we were talking about earlier, too, there’s so many different things, there’s, you know, so many different methods and systems and every day, there’s, you know, a new program, a new tool, a new technology, a new social media platform, it can get very, it can get very confusing, and it’s actually quite overwhelming I, I sometimes have to just shut my brain off. I’m like, Okay, I gotta stop thinking about all the things that I’m not doing, and just focus on the five things that I am doing, and just do those. So a lot of times, I think it’s part part, I don’t think it’s at all out of laziness or anything like that. I think it’s out of a fear of not doing the right thing. We’re just being confused that because there’s too many options.
And there’s lots of options out there for marketing. And I think the other thing too, is I think freelancers are busy chasing one gig to the next gig to the next gig, and then don’t build into their time schedule time to do that marketing. And I would I would say to anybody is the time to do it is when you’re busy, not when you’re not busy. Because we’ve it’s been proven time and time again, the more you’re busy, the more you’ll generate work. So I mean, it’s it’s a vicious cycle, right? Oh,
it is. Yeah,
it’s that’s Yeah, that’s absolutely right. People going from gig to gig and and this is hard to in the beginning, when someone is just getting going. And they’re just, they’re happy to get the work. They do the work, they get it down. Okay, well, I got that. And then they’re on to the next one. The other along with that is, you know, besides doing regular, consistent ongoing marketing, if people were to just really cultivate relationships to and realize that, okay, you did it, you did a job for somebody, I I’m always trying to get people to think about long term, and think about how they can get their clients thinking long term to like, Okay, this is the first thing we did together. But let me give you some ideas. And this doesn’t start with when the first project and it starts in the very first conversation you have with people and talking in a different way and saying things like, hey, this, the way I see it here, this is kind of a, this is kind of a three phase project will will, here’s what I would recommend. And phase one, phase two, phase three, we don’t have to worry about phase two and phase three. Right now let’s just work on let’s just focus on phase one. But we’ll come back to that later. But I just wanted to kind of let let you know where I see things going and what you could do and what we could possibly do together. So those are seeds that you have to plant with a client when you first start talking to them and work that into your client conversation. And I you know, if we were to just maybe slow down and again, this is a factor of going from gig to gig and chasing the next one. I think we’re all moving way too fast and doing if we’re to just take a breath, slow down, and just realize that, you know, what if I had five to 10 good clients this year, and I and I did things right, and I set things up where it wasn’t just a one project client. I could make a really good living, working with five to 10 clients a year. And I don’t have to keep chasing more and more you don’t need it. I always I’m always kind of flabbergasted when I hear freelance copywriters talk about how they’ve had three or 400 clients in their in their career, like, Wow, I’ve been doing this for 12 years. And I don’t think I’ve had more than 100 clients total in 12 years, because I have a lot of repeat clients. And it’s so much easier to keep the clients you have you know, this as a marketer, so much easier to keep clients that you have than to go out and find a new one
cost per acquisition and keep an existing client is like one fifth of what it costs to get a new one. And by the way, that’s something that telecom industry all the cell companies haven’t realized by now. I mean, they’re chasing the next new one. And they get to convert and they’re not Yeah, it’s just it’s just a never ending battle. Um, do you have any other quick tips you want to throw out there, Steve?
Yeah, you know, along kind of along with what we just talked about marketing One of my tips that I give to everybody is, I tell people to come up with what I call a hot 150. And it’s just, it’s just making a list of 150 people or businesses that you would really like to work with doesn’t have to be people that know about you, it doesn’t have to be anybody you’ve had a prior relationship with or not a past client. But just identifying and writing it down 150 businesses or clients that you would really like to work with. And there’s something even beyond going even if, if that’s all you did, and didn’t follow these other suggestions, I’m going to share it here. But if that’s all you did, just the fact that you’ve got a list that you look at, and I have this myself, it’s right on my other bigger screen behind this. It shows you the pie, it lets you see the possibilities. And I’ve really in this number 150. I’ve settled on that number because I think it’s big enough, that there’s possibilities that you see, okay, there’s 150 people that I could be in touch with that I could develop a relationship with that I could have a conversation with that could turn into clients, it’s big enough that there’s possibilities, because not a you know, you’re only going to get a certain percentage of them. But it’s small enough that it’s not overwhelming and unwieldy. I’ve, I’ve had people talk about well making a list of 1000 names or whatever. Or if you’re doing mass marketing, if you’ve got a big email list, and you’re doing mass marketing to a list of five or 10,000. That’s a different story too. But this is a different approach, but but it lets you see the possibilities. And then taking that list and system, this would go into the idea of systematically and consistently doing smartphone marketing, finding a way in different ways to connect with those people. It could be through LinkedIn marketing, email marketing, maybe direct mail. But in connecting with them, the one thing that I suggest people do is tell people what you find interesting and intriguing about them. And so with a smaller number like that of 150, this would be in addition to any other marketing you’re doing, you’d be telling people and tailoring these messages, and really being genuine and sincere about what you find interesting and intriguing about them. And then also telling them that you’d love to work with them, if it’s a good fit. So you’re not chasing them, you’re not hungry, you’re not acting desperate or anything like that, but you are telling them, Hey, I find you really interesting and intriguing. Here’s why. And I’d love to work with you. If, if it’s a good fit, I’ve got some ideas I’d love to share with you. And I’d love to hop on a call with you. And you know, and if it’s a good fit, we’ll talk further. And if it’s not, I’ll send you off with some ideas that you can run with on your own. And so that’s kind of my approach with this, this method. The other thing is just, this is kind of a, an intangible thing. I would say that freelancers, business people of all kind could stand to be a little bit more enthusiastic in their interactions with people. I think sometimes people play a too cool. And they want to play kind of hard to get, they don’t want to act like they’re too excited about the possibility of working together because they might think I’m desperate or hungry for the business or whatever. But I really believe that we could all stand to be a little bit more enthusiastic about what we do, we could be in about two things, we could be a little bit more enthusiastic about our own deal and like what we do for people and how we help people, and then also being excited about someone else’s situation, too. And making sure that when we have a conversation, it’s a it’s not you’re not just talking about you, you know, it’s it’s a two way street. Yeah. And then I guess the last thing I would say is that, and this comes from my background in corporate America and being in sales for 17 years before I became a copywriter, I would say just treat it whatever whatever your business is, whatever type of Freelancer or solo business operator, you are a small business person, treat it like a sales business, and have systems keep track, keep score, reward yourself, even if nobody’s overseeing you, or you’re not reporting to a manager or a sales manager or anybody like that, fill out a weekly report, fill out a monthly report and stay accountable to yourself. But just I think keeping score having systems treating it like a sales business, even though we’re creatives and we have to do the creative work that we have to do to deliver to people that they’re paying us for. We’ve got to have that other part of things too. And you’ve got to have those systems in place. And so I would say just treat it like a sales business.
I think keeping track is really important. I’m a bit of a numbers guy. And I know when I do marketing what clients have Come and sit. What are the numbers? And I can’t tell you how many times they hear I don’t know. Or and I always described that as throwing darts at a dartboard, blindfolded and backwards like, yeah, yeah. Yeah. If you don’t know, how do you know what’s working? How do you know your business is working? How do you know what works and what doesn’t work? I mean, it doesn’t take rocket science to keep track, create a Google spreadsheet and just show the numbers or, like, do something. Right.
Yeah, and if any, if you have to, and I just took a week, I mean, I, I had to shore up some of my own systems. And I, the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I just took that week, to really get everything in place. And to look, I had to do it to finish out my year anyways. But there were some new Google spreadsheets that I put together, that I hadn’t done before. And I’m like, wow, I wasn’t. So I was keeping track of a lot of stuff, but not everything. And I just think if you don’t, if you don’t keep track and inspect it, you’re not going to pay attention to, to growing it. This comes from my sales background, too. But it’s fun to watch those numbers go up and on to set a goal and to see the numbers and, and to really keep track and play. You almost have to you almost have to gamify it you have you know, and yeah, play a game with yourself, whatever that is, however you want to do that. But keep score, reward yourself in different ways. But make a game out of it make it fun to keep track of the numbers? Because if you don’t I mean, the numbers itself, if you just look at it from an accounting standpoint, that can be it can be kind of dry and boring. I mean, we’re creatives, we’re entrepreneurs, we want to do the fun stuff, but but I think you can make that you can make the numbers fun, you can play a game with yourself. No,
I would agree. I would agree wholeheartedly. As I said, when we started this podcast, I think you need to if you’re in the gig economy, or you’re working to improve yourself, go out and get the freelancer Manifesto. It’s on Amazon. Right? That’s where I got mine. I know you can get it on Amazon Canada, not just Amazon us because I am Canadian. So that’s not an issue. I think it’s a well read. I’ve been through it once. So probably go through it another time this week. So thanks one of those books, you’re gonna reread parts of it over and over. And I think it’s well worth your time. Steve, if somebody wants to get a hold, yeah, how’s the best way.
Um, my website is cafe writer.com. And like most websites, I have a place where you can sign up and get my newsletter, I send out two, generally two emails a week to solo business operators, giving them tips on running their business, positioning themselves, branding, selling marketing, things like that. But you know, get out and get on my email list. If you’re interested in that. I’m on Amazon, of course, with my book, and LinkedIn, and my facebook group is cafe writer. You can find me on Facebook personally, as well. But any of those ways are good ways to connect with me, the website is probably the best place to start. And I have people that have been on my email list for eight years. And I don’t know people, I sometimes tell stories that I’m not always selling. I do have things that people can buy from me, of course, but a lot of it’s just telling stories and sharing marketing ideas. And I enjoy the interaction, the conversation that I have. Yeah, my
email list. That’s it. That’s the best thing about having an email list is that interaction, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s great. I mean, on any given day that I send out a message, I get at least a few responses every day. And, you know, whatever that is. So, again, I’m all about I guess if you could summarize, I’m about connecting with people and about having good conversations and about developing relationships, whatever, whatever the business we’re in, if we focus on those three things. I think you’ll do all right.
So true. And well said thanks again for joining me Have yourself an amazing day.
Hey, thanks, Rob. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Thank you. Very Special thank you to Steve roller for joining me today. Make sure you check out his book The freelance Manifesto. As always, this podcast is dedicated to my late father Bruce Cairns. I miss you and I love you very much. If you want to connect with me my website stunning digital marketing comm or email me at VIP at stunning digital marketing comm you can tweet at me at Rob cannons on Twitter. Keep your feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars and make your business succeed. Bye for now.