Student Success Story with Ruben Ugarte

By Ruben Ugarte

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 Anthony English). 

If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why.

Student Success Story with Ruben

Ruben Ugarte is an analytics and growth consultant, who is on track to make 60% more this year after going through Double Your Freelancing Rate, one of Brennan Dunn’s most popular courses on raising rates and getting paid what you’re worth.

Ruben has been doing freelance work on and off for the past four years, but full-time in the last year. He started doing development work and now focuses mostly on website analytics and conversion rate optimization work.

What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?

I was interested in the freedom that I would get by choosing my own projects. My business now looks drastically different from what it initially was. I started by taking a lot of software development projects that weren’t very interesting and didn’t pay well.

After a few of those, I started to think about what kind of work I wanted to do, so I moved into the analytics and marketing space. I started working with tech startups by setting up their analytics tools and improving their conversion rates. This work turned out to be a lot of fun and gave me a chance to use my technical and marketing skills.

What’s been most challenging so far?

The hardest part was simply charging what I’m worth. When I was charging too little, I was working too much just to make ends meet and had to deal with projects that weren’t very interesting.
Being able to charge more means I can take on less clients and be more selective on who I work with. It’s a great feeling when you have a choice in who you work with, instead of just taking any project that you’re offered.

Did you ever want to give up? Please expand.

I did when I got started. I was doing very simple web development work and I hated it. It wasn’t challenging enough AND I wasn’t getting paid enough to do it.

I was able to push through that until I found a few clients that I really enjoyed working with even though the work itself wasn’t very interesting. After raising my rates, I was able to keep those clients and pitch them projects that were both more valuable to them and more challenging for me.

What were you struggling with the most when you came across Double Your Freelancing Rate?

Understanding how to price my services and how to convince clients to pay higher rates for my time.

I was struggling to sell clients on paying higher rates or even moving away from hourly pricing. It felt hard trying to get clients to pay more when there were seemingly so many other cheaper options.

What are some big successes you’ve had recently?

A big success actually came the day after I started reading the DYFR material.

I had a client that was interested in improving their conversion rates and they were looking for someone to hire on an hourly basis. I was able to convince them to pay for a road mapping session where I walked them through what they needed to do to make sure they solved their problems over the long-term.

It felt great being paid to educate clients, which is something I used to do for free in the past. After the roadmapping session, I was able to prepare a really strong proposal, because I knew so much about the client afterwards.

The client accepted the proposal which included an increase in the regular rate!

What are some specific strategies, tactics or pieces of advice that helped you grow?

  1. The roadmapping session makes it a lot easier to sell larger projects, e.g $2000+. The client has a better understanding of how money will be spent instead of hoping that the consultant knows what he’s doing. If the client doesn’t feel comfortable, they will probably find someone and pay them by the hour to minimize their risk.
  2. I simply just started charging more. I raised my rates across the board even with existing clients and everyone just went along with it. It felt difficult trying to figure out a formula for my rates, so I simply just raised them and I’m now working to get them closer to my target goal (which came from the DYFR material).
  3. I also moved all my work towards a daily or weekly rate. These two new rates let me better plan my work and make more money than trying to bill everyone by the hour. I can also better align my days with my actual output, instead of trying to work more hours per day to bill more. On specific occasions, I’ll bill on the whole project and the course gave some good ideas on when I should use different billing methods (though I try to avoid hourly work).

What are you most excited about for your business in 2015?

I’m now securing very interesting work that pays great. My new work also gives me time to work on a few side projects that I haven’t had the time to tackle previously.

For the first time in years, I won’t have to work long hours to earn a comfortable living!

RubenRuben is an Analytics & Growth Consultant who helps tech startups improve their analytics and marketing campaigns. He also shares his thoughts through his personal blog, Back to Basics.
In his free time, you would probably find him reading a book or surfing if the weather allows it.