Marketing Your Business

Most freelancers are reactive — they wait for new leads to come to them.

The problem is that getting leads reactively depends on luck. Will you get a new client when you need them? Or will you instead need to start looking for a job?

Our in-depth articles and guides on sales and marketing will help you generate high-quality project leads on your own terms, and allow you to eliminate uncertainty and doubt.

Our Views On Sales & Marketing:

  • You should be proactive in how you generate new leads. Find out how.
  • Automate as much as you can so you can spend most of your time billing clients. Find out how.
  • Building an audience is the best way to generate high-quality clients. Find out how.
  • Asking the right questions is what separates premium consultants from everyone else. Find out how.

Whether through 4+ years of in-depth articles, premium courses, the conferences and events I host, or my podcast, my #1 goal is to help you become a more successful freelancer.

Brennan Dunn

Latest Articles On This Topic

Liquid Templating for ConvertKit

If you use ConvertKit and want to deliver personalized messages to your subscribers, then you’re going to want to learn Liquid.

Liquid is the templating language that ConvertKit uses behind the scenes to allow for dynamic content to be added to your emails, and if you’re not a programmer it can be… well, intimidating.

In this video, I break down what Liquid is, why it matters, and how to use it.

How To Build An Audience (And Get Clients And Referrals From It)

It’s really easy to get frustrated with finding quality client projects.

Either you’re dealing with haphazard referrals from past clients…

Or you’re waiting for that actually legitimate lead to fill out your site’s project request form…

Or you’re frustrated with competing with the world on platforms like Upwork or haggling with penny-pinchers on Craigslist…

I made a case for building an audience in this post.

You probably understand why it makes sense to focus on building an audience. After all, exposure = an increased Luck Surface Area, which directly translates into more clients and more referrals.

But where the heck do you start?

The good news is that there’s a ton of information out there penned by a lot of really smart people. Content marketing, list building, marketing automation… there’s no better time than ever to sidestep your way to success without needing to waste too much time on trial and error.

But the bad news? Almost all of that content is for people who want to build products, created by people who build products.

I’m talking about selling ebooks, courses, plugins, software-as-a-service, membership sites, and other products that are almost always low-touch (meaning: people read a sales page, enter in their credit card details, and buy) and relatively low-cost, at least when compared to hiring a consultant.

So what should you, as a freelancer or agency owner, focus on first?

Is Building An Audience Worth It For Freelancers?

“Traditionally, consulting businesses have little of either [reach & scalability]. Consultants don’t need wide brand awareness or a large audience. They only require a small group of highly targeted individuals and organizations to be aware of their existence and services. Word of mouth is often enough to fill the pipeline for consulting businesses.”
– Rand Fishkin

I’ve been reading Rand Fishkin’s book, Lost & Founder. It’s the story of the founding of SEOmoz, and each page bleeds practicality and plenty of “gah, why didn’t anyone tell me this first” takeaways.

Rand talks a lot about the difference between selling services and selling products, and makes a pretty strong case why products aren’t necessarily right for everyone.

But what really stuck out to me was the above quote, which can be summed up as:

  • Product businesses are high-volume, low-revenue. You need to build an audience (a.k.a. generate a ton of leads) in order to make it work.
  • Service businesses are low-volume, high-revenue. Since you can only work on so many projects at any given time you should put more focus on building a strong network, rather than building an audience.

In principle, I agree.

Superimposing the audience building and sales tactics that $197 course creators on top of a consulting business rarely works, mostly because hiring a consultant tends to involve a lot more due diligence than an impulse buy product.

However, have you looked at how really successful enterprise product vendors operate?

Enterprise sales teams aren’t driving people to a credit card checkout form, but they are leveraging tried-and-true audience building strategies to acquire leads, qualify them, nurture, and then close the deal.

Because these teams optimize for super high volume (relative to the average freelancer or agency), they don’t regard each lead as being “ready to buy”. They score leads and take into account a lead’s level of awareness.

OK, I promise not to dig too deeply into enterprise sales here.

However, the exact same higher-touch lead generation and nurturing strategies enterprise companies use can be used by you, even if you’re solo. There’s a lot about effective audience building that we can learn from enterprise leaders who have lead generation and nurturing down to a science.

Ready to start playing the long game? I’ve got 3 core truths to start with (that many of us learned the hard way):

How to Package ‘Deals’ to Earn More as a Freelancer

Today we have a very special article from Chelsea Baldwin, a former CMO who gave up that swanky corporate career to get away from 9-hour Saturdays & to help awesome people like you do more good in the world… and get the customers (and cash) you deserve. In this article, Chelsea talks about how to effectively package your offerings to create more value for your customer and earn more money — take it away Chelsea!

I have a typical corporate-to-freelancing story.

Once upon a time, I was absolutely fed up with my job.

So I quit, traveled the world, and on the tail end of my travel, got inspired to set up my own freelance business.

I’d had a go at freelancing before—just after college—and from my experience there I already knew I didn’t want to be one of the freelancers pandering to market rates.

Plus, now I had fancy job titles and lots of experience behind me that inherently made me more valuable.

So I set up my website, pulled some premium pricing numbers out of my ass (yes, that was my exact, scientific process), and started networking my butt off to book clients.

And I got them. All at my asking price.

But after a while, I started to notice something.

Even though my clients wanted to pay for expensive, top-of-the-line website copy and brand messaging, they were still inherently budget-conscious.

They still wanted to make sure they didn’t “waste” a penny and that they didn’t buy more than was absolutely necessary.

Not a single time did I sell the “big up-sell” option on my proposals, no matter how valuable they would have been.

So I decided to try something.

The Ultimate Guide to Building Client Relationships

Today we have a very special article from Austin Church, one of the speakers at Double Your Freelancing Conference: Europe, 2016. In this article, Austin talks about how to effectively build client relationships — take it away Austin!

You love freelancing. You can work from anywhere. You get to make your own schedule. You’re boss-less.

But once you move past the honeymoon phase, you face a lot of uncertainty. Bills don’t pay themselves. How do you build a “sustainable business” business? How do you keep your pipeline full and build your client base?

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