We’re continuing to share a different story every couple of weeks 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 with Reinart Bacalso).
If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why.
“I bought DYFR about 18 months ago… and it was a game changer. As I’m sure you’ve heard from lots of students, raising rates didn’t change anything with my customers – it just made me more money. Thank you!”
Hi Beth! Tell us about yourself; who are you and what do you for fun?
When I changed careers from engineering to running an online business, I refocused my life too.
I live simpler with less belongings, but much more travelling. I’m an ex-pat American who has been in the UK for 17 years. I go snowboarding as often as I can, rock climb, row (crew) and try to enjoy my six-year-old as much as possible.
What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?
I got completely bored with engineering (automotive) and decided to start an online shop 11 years ago.
I didn’t want to pay someone $15k to build it, so I taught myself. Eventually I decided coding/building/learning was much more satisfying (and less risky) than running an online shop.
“When the economy collapsed, I moved to web development full-time.”
I soon learned working in someone else’s environment and with someone else’s rules was not for me. The problem solving and opportunities to learn about tech and people are what make freelancing so great – even when I’m struggling to get enough clients in.
Tell us about your hardest moment as an entrepreneur to date.
After moving to full-time freelance, there were a few times I needed a cushion in income so I took on sub-contract work for agencies.
The first one I did was one of the best experiences ever, great project manager and tech lead. 12 months later they approached me again with a similar project (‘off the books’ without the recruitment agency). I took the job again.
Unfortunately, the project manager had left, as had the lead tech. I let the dollar signs outweigh some logical thinking. Needless to say, the project went horribly wrong, I was accused of not delivering and $10k of invoices were disputed. Never again!
On the flip side, what’s been your biggest success so far?
A word of mouth referral to my best client, by far!
This dream client not only runs a business that I love, but he can talk about and appreciate every technical aspect of his (and my) business. Essentially he sees the value of the work, expects high standards and isn’t afraid to ask for them. It’s been a great working relationship for 10 months and counting now.
What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Brennan’s course?
I struggled with something called an ‘invisible script.’
Because I am self-taught, and make hundreds of mistakes when I am coding, I assumed my value is/was low. All I could see was that literally tens of thousands of other developers existed who could code better than me.
Not only did Brennan’s material show me that I am worth more than my coding skills, but it also taught me that creating the best business means shouting about all of my skills rolled up into ‘value based’ proposals.
It made so much logical sense to my engineering brain – I can’t believe I hadn’t figured it out myself!
What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?
1. Websites, apps, etc. are not about creating a visual. They are about growing a business.
“My tech skills are to be used to increase sales, period.”
2. Every potential client now is approached with ways to make things easier for either their customer or for them, with the same ultimate goal of making more money.
3. Getting clients is about creating a relationship with them. You need to understand their business before you can offer any solutions to help.
4. Doubling your rate is scary, but by far the easiest way to make more money!! 🙂
What are you most excited about for your business in 2016?
I’m excited about niching further and using my accumulated knowledge to start my own blog to help freelancers. This will be separate from my development business.
Beth Perrou is an ex-engineer and self-taught WordPress developer who focuses on a valued client approach. Her specialty is building bespoke booking type apps for small-to-medium sized businesses.