We’re continuing to share a different story each week of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s WIP with Adrien Sanborn).
If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why. We’re still looking for another feature for June, so apply today!
“My company revenues are more than double what they were 2 years ago.”
Aaron Zakowski is the main man behind Zammo Digital Marketing, a company that specializes in Facebook ad management and marketing consulting. He’s been doing consulting for seven years, but just started focusing on Facebook ad management specifically about a year and a half ago.
What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?
About eight years ago, after leaving a job as a corporate accountant at Deloitte, I was trying to get rich on the internet with affiliate marketing and other techniques. Unfortunately, I didn’t make much consistent money, but I learned a lot and started to offer my services to small businesses on a freelance basis.
As my family grew (I have four kids), I realized that the consistent income of freelancing was better than the hit and miss of affiliate marketing. For the first few years, I took any work that came my way in order to pay the bills.
I was kind of an internet marketing jack of all trades (and master of none). My rates were low and it was hard to keep up my skills and stay up to date with industry changes when I was dealing with SEO, PPC, social media, building websites, etc.
“I love the freelancer lifestyle – despite the stress and long hours, I have a lot more freedom to do what I want, when I want.”
About two years ago I bought DYFR. After reading it, I immediately increased my rate from $50 to $100. I was pleasantly surprised to find that although some people said it was expensive, most prospects didn’t have a problem and I started to get more respect in the industry. And I was making more money.
What’s been most challenging thus far?
The biggest challenge has been scaling the business for growth. The balancing act between going out and finding new client leads and then providing great service for my current clients has been tough. Training employees to manage client work effectively has also been difficult.
Did you ever want to quit or give up?
There definitely are days when I think I should just go get a job. In fact, awhile back when my business was feeling stale and I wasn’t moving forward, I did accept a job offer to go work as an in-house marketing director for a company.
That turned out to be a great experience for me because during the year that I stayed at that job, I was able to think with a clear head about what had and had not been working well for my consulting business. It was during that time that I had the clarity I needed to get back to consulting and to commit to specializing in Facebook ads.
What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Double Your Freelancing Rate?
At the time that I first read Brennan’s material, I was struggling with a lot of things (getting new client leads, figuring out how to start charging more for my services, etc). Since I’ve read the book, my business and reputation have steadily increased.
“Not only that, nearly every time I receive Brennan’s email newsletter, it seems like he is always providing solutions for the exact issues that I am dealing with at that moment.”
What are some big successes you’ve had recently?
Recently, I decided to start requiring my clients to pay a setup fee in the first month of our engagements. This was something that I knew larger consultants and marketing agencies were doing, but I was afraid that I was already asking a lot of money, so I shouldn’t push my luck and ask for more.
A few months ago, I decided just to tell any new clients that they needed to pay this extra fee and they immediately agreed. That was a great moment for me.
“Simply asking a one sentence question got me an extra $2,500!”
Since then, it’s become a standard thing that all my new clients pay the setup fee. The nice thing about it, is that with the extra money, I now have the resources to hire an assistant and to work with more talented graphic designers.
“This increased staff allows me to provide even better service and results to my clients.”
What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?
Choosing a niche to specialize in is the best decision I ever made professionally. When I used to be jack of all trades, it was very hard to keep my skills polished in lots of different areas and my work day wasn’t very efficient.
On top of that, I wasn’t an expert at anything even though I was good at lots of things, so I didn’t get many good referrals. And I couldn’t hire an assistant, because I couldn’t expect anybody to have the same broad skill set that I did.
About a year ago, I decided to commit to specializing in a single niche and to become an expert at managing Facebook ads for my clients. This decision was a game changer for me.
“Now that friends and colleagues know that this is my specialty I get lots more referrals.”
I’ve started working with much bigger clients and charging much higher monthly retainer fees. The bigger clients and the great results that I’ve gotten for them have led to even better referrals. Now, I’m getting ready to increase my monthly rates again and try to attract clients who are even a few levels higher.
My work flow is much more efficient now because I don’t need to divert my attention to other marketing disciplines and I can focus on being the best at what I do. I can also be more selective about the clients that I want to work with.
What are you most excited about for your business in 2015?
In the next six months, I’m most excited about building out an organized system for finding new clients and closing bigger deals. I’m also excited to hire new people and to start productizing my services.
Aaron Zakowski is the founder and CEO of Zammo Digital, a marketing agency dedicated to helping leading SaaS and eCommerce companies acquire new users and customers using Facebook ads. Learn more by stopping by his blog, or connecting with him on LinkedIn or Twitter. Aaron was born and raised in sunny Southern California and now lives with his amazing wife and four kids outside of Tel Aviv, Israel.