Episode 91: Going From Employee → 6-Figure Freelancer → Productized Service Provider → Selling Digital Products — In the TINY Dutch Market! With Kim Swagemakers

By Zach Swinehart

In this episode, Zach talks to Kim Swagemakers from Kimpact, about her experience going from employee to freelancer to a productized agency owner.

On this episode Kim shares her insights about immersing yourself in client pain points to inform your trajectory, choosing a niche based on past products, finding good productized service ideas, building automated lead flows, and much more.

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AI-Generated Summary:

  • 0:00 – 2:00 — Zach introduces the podcast, mentioning the guest Kim Swagemakers, her journey from freelancer to agency owner, and her shift towards digital product creation.
  • 2:00 – 4:00 — Zach outlines the episode’s focus on finding niches, productized service ideas, and automated lead flow. He expresses his personal interest in understanding how to target valuable problems and niches.
  • 4:00 – 6:00 — Kim describes her business, Kimpact, transitioning from freelancing to productized services, focusing on helping professionals and solopreneurs with lead generation and strategy.
  • 6:00 – 8:00 — Zach inquires about Kim’s client niches and her approach to maintaining up-to-date skills through direct freelance work.
  • 8:00 – 10:00 — Kim recounts her transition from a 10-year corporate job to freelancing in 2010, prompted by a desire for freedom and travel, and her initial partnership with a small agency.
  • 10:00 – 12:00 — Kim discusses her decision to start her own business and the opportunities that arose in the early internet era, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in her early freelance work.
  • 12:00 – 14:00 — Kim explains her transition from a corporate role to freelancing, focusing on teaching and coaching roles at an agency, and how this differed from her previous job.
  • 14:00 – 16:00 — Zach inquires about the transition phases in Kim’s career, exploring the shift from employment to freelancing, and then towards education-focused work.
  • 16:00 – 18:00 — Kim reflects on her early experiences in online community strategy, and how her roles evolved from technical tasks like copywriting to strategic and educational roles.
  • 18:00 – 20:00 — Kim shares her journey of discovering her passion for training and educating, and how this led her to develop specialized training programs based on recurring client needs and questions.
  • 20:00 – 22:00 — Kim discusses the fulfillment she finds in teaching and empowering others, and how she began exploring productizing her skills and knowledge.
  • 22:00 – 24:00 — Kim addresses the challenge of transitioning from a specialist role to teaching, emphasizing the importance of understanding and solving client pain points.
  • 24:00 – 26:00 — Zach reflects on the importance of immersing oneself in an audience to understand their needs and align services accordingly.
  • 26:00 – 28:00 — Kim details her journey during the training phase, considering productization and seeking better income opportunities.
  • 28:00 – 30:00 — Kim shares her realization to focus on outcomes and solutions for clients rather than just fulfilling their requests, inspired by Brennan’s approach.
  • 30:00 – 32:00 — Kim attributes her client connections to active networking, especially on LinkedIn, and being present at various networking events.
  • 32:00 – 34:00 — Kim discusses her role in conducting social media strategy trainings for fast consumer brands, primarily in fashion and retail.
  • 34:00 – 36:00 — Zach and Kim explore the evolution of her career from full-time employment to more training-oriented roles, with a focus on addressing social media challenges.
  • 36:00 – 38:00 — Kim pinpoints the primary client pain points she encountered: understanding social media’s role and securing budget for it in companies.
  • 38:00 – 40:00 — Kim describes her shift in approach, choosing to focus on trainings and strategic assistance for marketing professionals, and rejecting random client requests.
  • 40:00 – 42:00 — Kim explains how her training sessions became a source of client leads and how this informed her decision to productize her services.
  • 42:00 – 44:00 — Kim recounts making the deliberate choice to focus solely on social media, leveraging her existing lead flow and training activities.
  • 44:00 – 46:00 — Zach explores the risk of specializing and the importance of having a stable lead flow before narrowing down services.
  • 46:00 – 48:00 — Kim emphasizes the importance of actively engaging with various audiences to understand their problems and refine service offerings.
  • 48:00 – 50:00 — Kim and Zach discuss the significance of immersing oneself in potential clients’ environments to identify and address their pain points effectively.
  • 50:00 – 52:00 — Kim advises identifying your audience by reflecting on past clients and experiences, and then engaging with them in online communities.
  • 52:00 – 54:00 — Zach and Kim discuss the process of choosing a niche, emphasizing the importance of drawing on past experiences and adapting to market needs.
  • 54:00 – 56:00 — Kim challenges the notion of a fixed niche ceiling, advocating for evolving alongside your audience’s changing needs.
  • 56:00 – 58:00 — Kim recounts her decision to focus on social media and start designing her productized service, while also seeking platforms where her audience congregates.
  • 58:00 – 1:00:00 — Kim details her strategy of using training sessions and events for lead generation and her approach to adding value on platforms where her audience is present.
  • 1:00:00 – 1:02:00 — Kim shares her LinkedIn strategy, which involves sharing knowledge, engaging with content interactors, and guiding them to her lead funnel.
  • 1:02:00 – 1:04:00 — Zach and Kim discuss the transition from specializing in social media to creating a productized service and seeking collaborations.
  • 1:04:00 – 1:06:00 — Kim talks about approaching Frank Watching, a significant platform, to offer her training services, leveraging her expertise in social media.
  • 1:06:00 – 1:08:00 — Zach explores the idea of reproducing Kim’s strategy in different niches, focusing on identifying and serving a specific audience.
  • 1:08:00 – 1:10:00 — The discussion turns to intentional targeting of platforms and events that cater to Kim’s chosen audience, emphasizing the importance of audience-focused strategy.
  • 1:10:00 – 1:12:00 — Kim describes her productized service focused on social media strategy, including training, plan writing, and feedback sessions.
  • 1:12:00 – 1:14:00 — This service evolved into a longer-term coaching service, as clients needed help implementing their plans.
  • 1:14:00 – 1:16:00 — Kim discusses her lead generation methods, including LinkedIn content and leveraging a freebie lead magnet.
  • 1:16:00 – 1:18:00 — She emphasizes the importance of engaging with her audience and providing value in a non-intrusive way.
  • 1:18:00 – 1:20:00 — Zach and Kim summarize the lead generation flow, with Kim’s focus on teaching social media strategy and converting interested individuals through targeted content and courses.
  • 1:20:00 – 1:23:36 — Kim advises focusing on the knowledge and skills acquired over time to address audience pain points, emphasizing that this forms the basis of effective productized services.