Student Success Story with Tom Morkes

By Tom Morkes

In 2016, 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 our last one with Jennah Lear). 

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


“Since enrolling in Double Your Freelancing Rate, I’ve TRIPLED my average contract rate!”

Tom Morkes founded Insurgent Publishing at the end of 2013 – a creative advisory firm that specializes in author and startup platform building through strategic book marketing campaigns, comprehensive sales funnel development and unparalleled outreach and promotion.

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

My background is actually in the US Army.

I had originally planned to leave the service to go to law school or get my MBA and work in the financial sector. Since either option was a big commitment, I decided to take a year off to travel the world.

Turns out, traveling around the world gives you a lot of spare time to think and experiment. In my case, I decided to use that extra time to see what I could do online before I got back to the States to start school again. (While I had saved money for the trip, eventually I would run out, and I preferred not to finish my travels with new debt.)

This led me to freelancing, where I could get paid to hone a craft I really enjoyed doing (book publishing, book marketing, product launches, platform building, etc.) from anywhere in the world. After a couple years of doing this full-time (both the travel and the freelancing), I was able to replace my full-time income with freelancing income.

“Once I reached the peak of what I could do alone, I built a team of creative collaborators.”

Our creative agency is now growing exponentially and I’m excited for what the next few years will bring.

What’s been most challenging thus far?

Figuring out a “scalable” business model that’s more than just exchanging time for dollars.

I can’t say I’ve found the secret sauce just yet, but we have improved our systems, processes and products to provide a ton of value to our clients (entrepreneurs / CEOs / founders / bloggers who want to build their platforms through a strategic book launch).

Did you ever want to quit or give up?

Yes. Almost daily.

It’s hard building something from scratch. Even harder to bootstrap it.

“But I know it’s worth it because I’m building an asset that I have complete ownership of.”

It makes all the hurdles worthwhile.

What were you struggling the most with when you ran into Double Your Freelancing Rate?

How to better communicate with potential clients so I didn’t waste my time with people who weren’t serious.

I wasn’t sure how to explain my project in the right context. Thanks to Brennan’s course, I now have a system to vet every prospect, I’m able to price anchor more effectively and I make the conversation all about return on investment and value creation – things that had always been there to begin with, but I wasn’t doing a good job of demonstrating.

“As a direct result of Brennan challenging my thinking about value creation, we’re now able to charge a much higher rate, but we also deliver 10x the results than we have in the past.”

This means fewer, but better clients, and more impact on the people who matter.

What are some big successes you’ve had recently?

In the past month, after reading Double Your Freelancing Rate, I’ve restructured how I present and pitch my services, I’ve scrapped lower value activities to focus on just my core skill-set (platform strategy, book marketing campaigns, sales funnel development, book launch management, etc.) and I’ve tripled my prices in the process.

“We are now in the process of hiring new staff, refining our sales funnel and building out more comprehensive marketing collaterals to reach our target market.”

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

  1. I created a funnel for prospects, and made sure there is a vetting process that removes potential clients who are not a good fit (Brennan’s questioning strategy is gold here).
  2. I price anchor by saying, “I only work with people who plan to sell over 10,000 books in the first year.” – most books don’t sell 100 copies in the first year, few still break 1,000.

“By setting the stage at this level, I immediately reduce the number of people who aren’t serious about their book or their platform – those that stick around recognize the upside value of selling 10,000 books, and are willing to invest to make it happen.”

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

Becoming the number one creative agency for strategic book launches in the world.

We’re already working with some of the biggest names in business and startups and we want to help even more great authors get their books out into the hands of as many readers as possible.

Tom-Morkes-Growth-HackingTom Morkes is a West Point grad, Iraq War veteran and the founder of Insurgent Publishing. Insurgent Publishing is a creative advisory firm that specializes in business and startup platform building through strategic book marketing campaigns, comprehensive sales funnel development and unparalleled outreach and promotion.

Our clients and projects have been featured in major mainstream media outlets, including Inc., Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and Psychology Today, to leading television networks, to top ranked podcasts. At Insurgent Publishing, we believe books are the ultimate business card, and we’ll help you turn your book into a lucrative lead generator for your business, startup, or personal platform.