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 with QuHarrison Terry).
If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why.
“I thought hard about why I was doing what I was doing. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere. But I also wanted to work on something I strongly believed in.”
Louis Grenier has been helping businesses to convert their online visitors into customers for the last months with his company, Slices. He left his job nine months ago to launch a product-based startup, and pivoted twice before starting to gain traction. Thanks Louis, for stopping by and sharing your story!
What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?
When I left my job to pursue my dream of launching my own company, I never really thought that I would go into freelancing.
At first, I wanted to help eCommerce retailers retain their customers in a better fashion thanks to automated and relevant marketing campaigns. I made a few mistakes along the way. The main one was that I went for it on my own. I didn’t understand the importance of having a business partner that I could trust and who had complementary skills.
I thought I would just “find someone” who would be willing to join me (as a side note, I’ve been in living in Dublin, Ireland for the past five years and the startup community is very vibrant). I discovered that it takes time to get to know people, trust them and convince them to work with you.
This is why so many businesses start with people who have known each other for awhile (friends, colleagues, etc…).
After four months of working from my living room, struggling to find team members, I decided to pivot into consulting. My savings was going to dry up quite soon and I had to find a way to survive. There was no way I would go back to employment.
So I tried to solve the same problem explained above with a different solution. It turned out retaining customers didn’t really stick with my prospects. So I pivoted again after a few weeks.
A friend of mine who runs an SEO agency in Dublin casually mentioned to me that helping businesses convert their visitors into customers might be an interesting route to pursue. Instead of focusing only on eCommerce retailers, I started to expand my focus to any business relying on their website to generate sales or leads.
This made a big difference. I started to contact my network and got my first two customers quickly.
It was a natural progression for me so I knew what I was getting into.
What’s been most challenging thus far?
My biggest challenge, by far, was to be able to wake up every day and stick to a daily routine. I made a point to wake up at 6.30am every morning, have a good breakfast and start working at around 8am.
Did you ever want to quit or give up? Please expand.
During the course of my “adventure,” I thought about quitting many times. But I never did.
I thought hard about why I was doing what I was doing. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere. But I also wanted to work on something I strongly believed in.
I’m fighting for marketing to get a better image. I believe that transparency and honesty are the most important aspects of any marketing strategy. Marketing is very helpful to understand customers, their problems and providing them with what they need. I always wanted to build a company with this set of values. This kept me going.
I’m also fortunate enough to have my fiancee supporting me in everything I do.
What were you struggling the most with when you ran into the Double Your Freelancing courses?
When I got my first two clients, I didn’t have a clue how to price my conversion optimization services. So I signed up for the free Charge What You’re Worth email series.
This was probably the best autoresponder I came across. I still refer to it from time-to-time.
It helped me to understand the importance of listening to customers, identifying problems, providing them with a solution and pricing on value.
What are some big successes you’ve had recently?
Part of my strategy to grow my business is to speak at conferences and provide the audience with actionable tips to increase their conversions, and therefore their profits.
I’ve been invited to one of the biggest marketing conference in Ireland next month to speak for 20 minutes.
This is a big achievement for me as this will enable me to establish my services and brand.
What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?
I would recommend anyone who is getting into freelancing or consulting to read the book, Get Clients Now! This book has helped me to prioritize my activities and how to get my first clients.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to get clients from everywhere: inbound marketing (PPC, SEO, Social Media, etc…) or outbound marketing (direct mails, cold calling, advertising, etc…), for example.
I found out that best way for me to get my first clients was to contact my network: my friends, family members, ex-colleagues, people I met in meetups or conferences, etc…
It is very difficult to convince a stranger to trust you and pay you money without a case study or a strong reference. People you know are way more likely to turn into your first clients.
What are you most excited about for your business in 2015?
In the past few weeks I had the opportunity to quote for a few very interesting companies in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Hopefully a few of them will turn into clients. This will enable me to potentially hire employees and continue to grow.
I’ve also started a newsletter to keep people informed of my progress. I used to send individual emails to my contacts, but it’s just not scalable anymore. I’m sharing everything on our journey to build a bootstrapped business and some really helpful conversion tips to increase profits.
Louis Grenier helps businesses convert more of their traffic into leads and customers. He is the founder of Slices, a bootstrapped conversion optimisation agency. He started his first blog at age 18, where he shared his findings from digital marketing books.
He worked for a car manufacturer a couple of years later and successfully deployed a customer experience program for its network of dealerships. After graduating from the Digital Marketing Insitute he joined ZinMobi, a mobile marketing startup, where he lead the marketing function for two years.
Louis has been fascinated by the power of Internet since a very young age and believes that the Internet is the missing link between our Brain and the Universe. You can follow Louis by subscribing to his newsletter, where he shares his journey to build a bootstrapped business.