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Levels of Consulting (100 – 400+)

So, when it comes to consulting what exactly are levels 100-400?

For your business, what levels 100-400 are depends on what’s important in your target market.

In a minute, you’ll see an example roadmap of ‘Level 100’ to ‘Level 400’ for all 7 of the key areas we’ve been discussing.

But first, a note: advancing along any level in any area of your business comes down to one thing: a focus on studying that skill through deliberate practice.

You want to become a better freelancer? Figure out where you’re weak and then make that area strong.

Do you go through a self-assessment and discover that your pricing a weak area? Great! That’s the area you should focus on.

How you practice in order to level up depends on a few things and there are a number of choices. We’ll cover that shortly.

Right now, let’s take a look at a 100 → 400 roadmap for an example consultant:

Market Research:

  • Level 100: Read 4-8 books about your target market
  • Level 200: Attend market conferences
  • Level 300: Monthly market research conversations
  • Level 400: Process for market research

Service Offerings

  • Level 100: Skill/Discipline as Offering
  • Level 200: Proposals for Initial Offering
  • Level 300: Roadmapping Session into Proposals
  • Level 400: Fixed-Price, Fixed-Scope Services


  • Level 100: Hourly Pricing
  • Level 200: Daily/Weekly Pricing
  • Level 300: Value Based Anchoring
  • Level 400: Value Based Pricing


  • Level 100: Focus on skill
  • Level 200: Focus on Target Market
  • Level 300: Focus on Expensive Problem
  • Level 400: Focus on Outcome


  • Level 100: Track Lead in Inbox
  • Level 200: Use a CRM like Pipedrive (http://pipedrive.com)
  • Level 300: Lost Lead Follow-Up
  • Level 400: Referral Outreach


  • Level 100: Word of Mouth Marketing
  • Level 200: Website and 1 Additional Marketing Channel
  • Level 300: 2-4 Additional Marketing Channels
  • Level 400: 3-6+ Marketing Channels


The Most Important Part

Growth as a freelancer or consultant is achieved by identifying the area(s) where your business is weak and then focusing on improving those weak areas.

The specific tactical element (“start using a CRM” or “Switch from Weekly Pricing to Value Based Anchoring”) will differ depending on your business.

What is important is that to get better at any of these 7 key areas, you apply yourself, study the area, and implement the lessons you learn into your business, keeping what works and discarding what doesn’t.



Rewarding Price Increases

When it comes to raising prices, I am a fan. One of the easiest ways to earn more is to charge more.

But, taking the courageous action of raising your prices can bring out the resistance in full force.

After all, who are you to charge more? (Answer: you’re a badass business person, and you deserve to charge more).

What I’ve found is that one way to do battle with this form of resistance is to build a small reward into your proposals/quotes.

Here’s how I tackle the small steps of charging more.

First, I make sure that I’m spending that increase on me:

If this proposal closes, I’ll buy myself that thing as a small reward (e.g., video game, book, kitchen tool, house plant)

Then, I take an upcoming proposal/quote and make a small price increase:

Hm, I’ll charge $100 more on this quote and see what happens.

After that, once that quote (or another quote) closes, I’ll use that ‘extra’ money as a small reward.

You did the thing! You charged more, you closed the deal, and here’s your reward!

Finally, once I’ve validated to me that charging more still works, I’ll nudge the prices in future quotes/proposals up a bit.



Keep Calm (and practice self-care)

Enjoy these recommendations on resources to stay help you stay calm, emotionally balanced, and resilient during these strange, strange times. Expect the business-, marketing-, and freelancing-focused letters to resume on ~Friday.

These are the tools and resources I use in my business life (and personal life) to help me keep calm and copacetic when I’m processing any of the hundreds of stressors in a week, like:

  • Preparing for a meeting or call
  • Dealing with a project failing/succeeding
  • Working with #AnxietyBrain when I’m writing a proposal or sending a hard email


I’m a relative newcomer to building a Meditation habit (~2 years). In that short amount of time, meditation has become one of my most precious habits, hobbies, and self-care tools.

I’m proud to say that I have a meditation streak that’s>200 days long. Every day, I make time for a ~10 minute sit in the morning to calm the mind for the day. And that’s after 32 years of thinking to myself ‘Man, having a meditation habit would be nice. Eh, that’s probably really hard.’

Recommendation: Start meditating. Calm.com makes building and strengthening a meditation habit easy.

For starting, building, or strengthening your meditation habit, I enthusiastically recommend Calm.com for your meditation needs. Their guided meditations (and daily ~10-minute meditation) make building a meditation habit very graceful.


Taking the time to write down what you’re feeling about something in your business (e.g., a client, a project, a worry, a proposal, an unanswered email) is a great way to get the worry out of your head and onto paper.

I’ve found that writing ~3 pages each morning is a great way to get centered and clear my mind for the day ahead. Or to start thinking through a stressful situation.

For tooling, you can use whatever works best to help you write. I use a mixture of Notion.so (business/workday journal) and a paper notebook (personal/life journal).


Yoga (and stretching) have been in my toolbox for years, but it’s only recently that I’ve come back to them to help me keep calm or work with strong feelings.

See, at the ripe age of 34 your friend Kai learned that they’re called feelings because we feel them physically. And a great way to work with strong feelings is to:

  • Say to yourself “I am feeling [insert emotion here]”
  • Identify in your body where you’re feeling it (Head? Neck? Shoulders? Heart? Big or small? Hot or cold? Heavy or light?)
  • Pay attention to that physical sensation in your body. Check-in with your body and see what it needs.

(That works with positive emotions just as well as it does with negative emotions)

Often, for me, an excellent way to address a strong emotion my body is feeling is to stretch or do some Yoga.

There are many great resources to start or build a yoga practice. A great free option is YouTube’s Yoga Videos (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yoga+videos).

I’ve started to use <glo.com>, which offers unlimited access to yoga and pilates videos for $18/month. It’s an excellent service, and it has a vast library of videos for different skill levels or needs.


Stoicism helped me get through a few very challenging experiences. Stoicism has been an excellent resource for helping me increase my mental resiliency and deal with the changes that life brings.

If you’re looking for mental calmness, composure, or evenness of temper during these times, I strongly recommend Stoicism for you, dear reader.

One great, short book is “The Manual: A Philosopher’s Guide to Life.” https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545461112. Here’s

Epictetus (c. 50-135 CE) was brought as a slave to Rome, where he became a great teacher, deeply influencing the future emperor Marcus Aurelius among many others. His philosophy, Stoicism, was practical, not theoretical–aimed at relieving human suffering here and now.

And the Stoicism book I most strongly recommend is “How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius,” written by a cognitive psychotherapist.

There are many stoicism books out there, and “How to think…” is the one that I found the most approachable and helpful. I consider it both a good starting point and a great continuation of your Stoic practice.

Here’s the description of “How to think…” from Goodreads:

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was the final famous Stoic philosopher of the ancient world. The Meditations, his personal journal, survives to this day as one of the most loved self-help and spiritual classics of all time. In How to Think Like a Roman Emperor , cognitive psychotherapist Donald Robertson weaves the life and philosophy of Marcus Aurelius together seamlessly to provide a compelling modern-day guide to the Stoic wisdom followed by countless individuals throughout the centuries as a path to achieving greater fulfillment and emotional resilience.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor takes readers on a transformative journey along with Marcus, following his progress from a young noble at the court of Hadrian—taken under the wing of some of the finest philosophers of his day—through to his reign as emperor of Rome at the height of its power. Robertson shows how Marcus used philosophical doctrines and therapeutic practices to build emotional resilience and endure tremendous adversity and guides readers through applying the same methods to their own lives.

It’s a great book. I listened to (and loved) the audiobook via Audible. Here are your links:

Talking about it with a friend

Having someone (or many someones) you can talk to about the stressors in your life makes a huge difference. I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in many mastermind groups over the past ~5 years.

Having someone you can reach out to who can understand what you’re experiencing can make a huge difference.


I’ve long been an advocate for therapy as a resource for mental health or dealing with stress. I think of seeing a therapist as similar to hiring a personal trainer:

  • Person Trainer -> Helps you optimize your workout for health + strength + flexibility
  • Therapist -> Helps you optimize your brain and emotions for health + strength + flexibility

Nature walks

When I’m stressed or anxious, I try and get out of the office/house and take a walk in nature / near some trees / to a park. It has real benefits: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature.

Block the easy distractions

It’s amazing how checking Twitter/Facebook/News/Slack/etc. can form a grove in your brain. If you’ve even found your hands opening a new tab and starting to type twitter.com or news.google.com, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I use freedom.to/ to block websites, apps, and the internet. It is a great piece of software and has both a free plan and a paid plan. If you want to keep your attention and focus, I strongly recommend you investigate freedom.to/

Now, a pair of questions for you:

  • What’s in your self-care/keeping calm toolbox?
  • What’s your go-to resource or activity for staying calm in work or life?

Tap reply and let me know.



To My Friends: What You Can Do (#staythefuckhome)

(The following was written by Steve Pavlina, published here with his encouragement)

To my influencer and marketer friends:

This is not remotely a “business as usual” situation. Please open your eyes to what’s happening. But more importantly, please open your heart to what’s about to happen.

This isn’t a time to be working on your launches. This isn’t a time to work on your campaigns. The focus on business needs to be put on hold right now. We all have something much more important to work on right now.

We have the leverage to greatly reduce a tremendous amount of suffering and loss of life that’s about to unfold.

That this will happen is unfortunately inevitable, but we can absolutely have a meaningful impact in reducing it.

And if there are any marketing and influencing challenges that are worth the committed application of the very best of our skills, this is such a challenge.

The seriousness of our collective situation is going to intensify in the coming weeks – way more dramatically than it already has.

By the end of the month, many more hospitals across Europe and the USA will be where Northern Italy is – overwhelmed and with doctors and nurses dying from the disease too. Hospitals in the USA are already preparing for this by adding tents in parking lots. It’s a race against time, and we have much less time than most people realize. Seattle is already showing us a glimpse of what will soon hit many other cities.

This won’t simply blow over in a couple of weeks. We’re talking months, including the inevitability of 2+ months of full lockdown, which will almost certainly begin by the end of this month.

The best thing you can do now is share the critical importance of social distancing to reduce the spread of the disease, which has a long, silent incubation period.

If you do that, you can save a lot of lives.

What if your launches and products are beneficial to people? Of course they are. But consider the opportunity cost of what you could be doing right now instead if you shift your focus into life-saving mode.

I can certainly claim that my work benefits people too, and it surely does, but I think I can be of greater service right now if I respond to the tremendous opportunity of taking direct action to help lower the disease progression in whatever way I can.

One way where I may be able to exert some leverage is to invite more people to join me in helping to get the word out about just how critical it is for all of us to shift gears right now.

Every day that you work on your usual business instead of promoting the critical importance of social distancing is another day you could have saved lives and reduced suffering. Every day you delay is a missed opportunity for you to truly step up, not merely with personal ambition but with caring, compassion, and courage as well.

This is an extraordinary time for you to take your best expression of ambition and get it aligned with your best expression of caring. This is an invitation for us to collectively change the world in a way that really matters to a lot of people, especially those who will be hit hardest by this disease in the weeks and months ahead.

Where else are you going to encounter such an extraordinary opportunity to do the most meaningful work of your life?

Don’t worry about perfection. Speed of messaging is way more important than elegance right now. Just get the word out as fast as you can. Even if all you do is tell people to stay the fuck home or share the hashtag #staythefuckhome, that will help. Just start with one Tweet. Please.

Don’t worry about being judged or criticized for being an alarmist. By the end of the month, it will be obvious that you did the right thing. You’ll probably wish you’d acted sooner and more powerfully. I already feel that way now.

Please put normal business on hold.

Please use your marketing and influencing skills to save lives right now. Every day counts. It doesn’t matter how big your reach is.

Even if you’re just starting a new YouTube channel and only have a few viewers, please get the word out. That’s just as honorable a deed as for those who may reach millions.

Once we’re on full lockdown and people are no longer still going out risking other people’s lives, then maybe it will be an okay time to think about business again. But there’s a good chance your priorities will shift too as the body count continues to rise. Will you still care about business in the same way when people you know start having breathing difficulties, and they’re scared to go to an overcrowded nearby hospital with an exhausted staff and no more beds or ventilators available?

It hurts my heart to see marketer friends brainstorming and pondering the money-making opportunities that may come from everyone being stuck at home, salivating over that captive audience. I can understand that mindset, but I can’t pretend it’s okay. I realize that I must personally do something about that… and encourage others to help us change course as well.

At this time it’s just not okay to be blogging and emailing and tweeting and advertising as if we’re still in business as usual.

It’s downright wicked to do such things right now because you’re encouraging others to engage in denial about what’s happening.

We need to do the opposite of that. We absolutely must be sounding the alarm to wake more people up to what’s happening. We must do our best to turn the ship of ignorance and denial towards saving lives and reducing suffering.

Years from now when you look back on these days, do you really think you’ll reflect upon how brilliant you were for capturing those extra sales while people were getting sick and dying? Will you feel proud of yourself for your pandemic launches and marketing campaigns?

If you promote stuff that comforts people, that’s great – but save it for later once we’re all under lockdown. Our priorities right now should be to get people to stop silently spreading the disease and to push towards full lockdown to the extent that we can influence that too.

It’s your business and your decision of course. Just please take a peek into your heart and see what it wants to do about this situation. If your current business activities still feel very aligned and if what I’m sharing here doesn’t change anything for you, that’s fine. You have nothing to defend.

While I normally feel very aligned with my business and it’s very flexible anyway, I’m stretching it to go where it needs to go right now in order to push it to be of more service than usual. I’m not willing to be haunted for the rest of my life by the knowledge that I could have tried harder to save lives and reduce suffering – and didn’t. Are you willing to go that route?

This is one of the most extreme times you’ll ever live through.

Who do you want to be in this situation? A decade from now, how will you wish you’d responded?

For Everyone

If you see anyone doing “business as usual” posts, videos, promotions, launches, and ads that don’t seem to be helping with the current situation, please actively encourage – no, implore – them to stop immediately and shift gears to save lives and reduce suffering.

Immediately reply to their emails as soon as you receive them. Comment on their posts, videos, and ads right away. Call them out on their Facebook Lives and webinars. Tell them to please focus on saving lives instead of trying to do anything less important right now. Be gentle but please be firm too. And be brave.

Please don’t shame anyone. Please invite them to step up to serve a greater need.

Realize that if you can influence EVEN ONE more marketer or influencer to help spread the word about practicing social distancing JUST ONE DAY EARLIER than they otherwise would, you’re saving lives too.

You do that, and you’re my hero.

Here are some further resources to help, both for your own education and for further re-sharing:

  • Coronavirus stats – This page shows frequently updated virus stats for all countries, so you can see at a glance what’s happening. Also follow some of the links for deeper stats and data.
  • Stay the Fuck Home – This is a good page for referring people. It shows simple actions to be taken immediately and handle multiple translations for different languages.
  • Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now – Tomas Pueyo’s powerfully persuasive piece with lots of math-based reasoning, charts, and graphs (more than 28M views in the past week). I’ve been sharing this one a lot and feel grateful for Tomas’ efforts.
  • Jason Warner’s Facebook post – A solid math-based post to help persuade people of the importance of changing behaviors immediately. Please reshare this on Facebook. I did, as did 119K other people so far.
  • Messages from Italy – This is a short YouTube video of Italians under lockdown sharing what they wished they’d known 10 days earlier.

Note that this blog post is uncopyrighted and donated to the public domain. So you’re free to republish, translate, or modify it… no need to ask. Just get the word out that we need to change our behaviors immediately to save lives and reduce suffering.

Please care.



I spent the afternoon doing some last COVID prep, supply shopping, and self-care, so what was today’s newsletter will arrive in your inbox tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are five resources I recommend you investigate to prepare for the coming months with COVID.

Most of all, stay safe, stay calm, and remember to breathe, my friend.

We will survive this. But, life will be different for the coming year.

Flatten The Curve.com


This site is the best compilation of information + guidance I’ve found. The compiler (https://twitter.com/figgyjam) is worth a follow on Twitter.

(Also, because everything on the internet is better with cats: https://twitter.com/amdar1ing/status/1237880129575157760)

You can sign up for #FlattenTheCurve email updates here: https://flattenthecurve.substack.com/p/coming-soon

Notes from UCSF Expert panel – March 10

via @alexismadrigal

These notes from a UCSF panel are the single best document I’ve seen about what experts believe is likely to happen this year.

I don’t want to tweet snippets because you should read it in full.


Worth your immediate attention. These meeting notes/highlights help give context to what we’re going to experience over the coming days, weeks, and months.

5it: Coronavirus Season

Alexis Madrigal’s newsletter 5 Interesting Things is focusing this season on Coronavirus:

For that reason, I’m popping up this newsletter for a season, with a slightly altered format. It will still contain five links, but with a bit more context. 5IT won’t be about coronavirus, but what coronavirus shows us about the moment we’re living in.

Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

via @Patio11

This is a very lucid explanation of what we currently know about coronavirus spread


Coronavirus Is Our Future

via @swizec

Global health expert Alanna Shaikh talks about the current status of the 2019 nCov coronavirus outbreak and what this can teach us about the epidemics yet to come. Alanna Shaikh is a global health consultant and executive coach who specializes in individual, organizational, and systemic resilience.


I found this video to be a great ~15-minute overview of the situation, what COVID-19 is, how we ended up here, and what this means for us.


Kai minute overview of the situation, what COVID-19 is, how we ended up here, and what this means for us.



How to play Remote CoWorking

Remote work is on the upswing because check notes the world is facing a pandemic, and you’ve barricaded yourself inside your home.

Your friend Kai is here with a few recommendations for ‘Remote CoWorking,’ the perfect thing to keep you productive and, most importantly, sane in these trying times.

Remote Coworking is fun, more productive than solo work, allows for feedback/accountability, and helps you have a bit of digital face time with another human.

Some tools help with this (Focus Mate https://www.focusmate.com is a great one), but today’s recommendation is for a more LoFi version of Remote Coworking.

Any video chat tool (e.g., Skype, FaceTime) will work, but I like Zoom.

How to play Remote CoWorking:

  • Pick a friend/colleague/slack-buddy
  • Start a Zoom call
  • Discuss if you want to do 25 or 50-minute work-sprints
  • Track the time with a tool like TimeBar or a timer on your phone

At the start of a session…

  • Agree on your/the other person’s target outcome (e.g., “I’ll finish reviewing this article” or “I’ll get this automation outlined and in place in Drip” or “I’ll write for 25 minutes on this chapter”)
  • Start your timers
  • Mute your mics, but keep your video running (so you feel a bit of accountability since you’re ‘being watched’ by your partner)
  • Get to work!

When the session ends…

  • Turn your mics back on
  • Check-in with and see how it went (“Good” “Meh” “Distracted because…,” etc.)
  • If you would like eyes/feedback on a thing, ask if they’re up for giving feedback. If they are, toss your thing/webpage/article/etc., up on the big board with Screen Share, share what you’re looking for feedback on, and dive in.
  • Take a five or 10-minute break and get some water, stretch, step outside, take a bio break, clean your workspace, etc.
  • Check-in and confirm if you both want to do another sprint
  • If you both do, lock and load, start the timer, and get to work for the next 25/50 minute sprint



It’s never too late to follow-up

I’m a bit of a follow-up fanatic. When you follow-up with past clients, lost leads, contacts, and colleagues, you’ll find that you

  • win more deals
  • fight the resistance
  • build stronger relationships
  • get better at the art and craft of follow-up

You’re playing to win at business – not to avoid losing – so you want to bias yourself towards taking action. Following-up with leads, clients, etc. is a powerful action to take.

Be persistent in your follow-up, especially with a lost lead or a past client. When you follow-up, you’re creating an opportunity for the recipient to renew their interest in working with you.

There is a lot of value in being more assertive with your follow-up.

Your friend Kai encourages you to send more follow-up emails and follow-up more frequently.

More follow-up gives you more chances to catch them at the right time and more opportunities to have a conversation.

However, there is value in being cautious with your follow-up, dear reader.

Your friend Kai doesn’t advocate for you to send a daily follow-up email. That’s too much follow-up.

What if the conversation is… very old?

Be shameless. Send your follow-up email. Don’t apologize. You’re here to do business and resume the conversation.

If you find an email deep in your inbox that you missed replying to, send that reply and follow-up. If it’s too late, the recipient will let you know.

If you talk yourself out of sending that follow-up email, you have let the resistance win.

Want to get better at your follow-up? Check out The Outreach Blueprint (https://kaidavis.com/outreach-blueprint/). In The Outreach Blueprint, you’ll learn how to craft your follow-up emails, send polite + proactive follow-up, and use the included templates to accelerate your follow-up.



Today? You start growing your email list

(This is a second part to the 2019 daily “Today? You start building your email list”)

If you’re just getting started with email marketing for your business, you want to make it as easy on yourself as possible.

  • Pick a service that makes it easy to send email
  • Get a ~dozen or so readers
  • Make the clackity-clack noise regularly
  • Practice hitting that publish button

Picking a service feels like a hard part, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can always switch services later. And switching is never as complicated as people make it out to be.

Pick an Email Service Provide on Easy Mode

Pick three you like (e.g., 1: ConvertKit, 2: MailChimp, 3: ButtonDown) and roll a 4 sided die. Re-roll if you get a 4.

Great, now you’ve picked a service. 🎉

….but how do you get people on your list?

If a freelancer starts an email list and starts sending emails, but has no readers, will anyone notice?

Not really.

As you get started with your email marketing, you want to focus on getting people on your list.

Just a few to start. But enough so that when you send out an email, you get a person or three reading and another person sending back triumphant emojis of celebration. 🎉 🌟 💯 🚀 💌

But HOW do you get people on your list?

When you’re getting started with email, you want to get a small group of readers. You don’t need thousands or hundreds. You need a dozen folks. More will come from time. Right now you want to focus on

  • Getting your first 12 readers/subscribers
  • Making the clackity-clack noise and writing some letters
  • Hitting the button to publish your letters

Let’s talk about how you can get those first 12 readers. 

It all comes down to making a list of folks you have connections with, asking them, and surfacing interest.

Social Outreach

Not ads on social. Outreach on social.

Go on LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook/Reddit and look at your list of friends/connections/whatever.

Make a shortlist of people that:

  • You’ve had a conversation or two with
  • You’d like to read your writing

Just aim for 5-8 folks to start.

Then, send each of them a message. Say something like

Hey, just a quick note to let you know I’m starting to write a regular newsletter about <INSERT TOPIC HERE>. Would you like to receive it? If not, no worries. If you would like to check it out, then let me know, and I’ll add you to the list. 🎉

Then, add the people who said: “Heck, yes!”

Social Promotion

Make a post on your network(s) of choice (LinkedIn, Reddit, MySpace, Friendster, Twitter) and say something like

Hello, world! I’m writing a newsletter about <INSERT TOPIC HERE>. Would you like to receive it? Toss a <reply/comment> on this message, and I’ll follow-up with you. 💌

Then, follow-up with people who share an enthusiastic yes and add them to your list.

Email Outreach

Make a list of ~5-8 people you know (friends, colleagues, contacts, clients) and send them each a short email. Something like:

Yo, I’m starting a newsletter about <TOPIC>, and I’m excited to share some regularly weekly writings. Would you like to receive the next letter when I send it? If not, no worries. If you’d like to be on the list, just reply and say, “I’m IN!” 😄

Ask Kai

I’m always happy to be an early reader on your new email list. Just send me a message at kai@kaidavis.com and let me know you’re starting a newsletter. I’ll flash you a 👍 , and you can add me to your list.

Your homework, should you choose to accept it:

  • Post a message to your social network of choice
  • Say “HEY! I’m writing about <topic> and…”
  • Take a screenshot and send it to me 🙂

Looking for an outside perspective on what to say + how to say it to get your email list going? Grab a Quick Consultation and we’ll talk through your situation + answer your questions: https://calendly.com/kaid/quick-consultation/



If you don’t ask, you don’t get

A question via Fabian in the Freelance Camp community forum (https://freelance.camp)

What should I be doing to increase my clients? Referrals have been my bread and butter.

If referrals are working for you, see if there are opportunities to double down. You can spend a few hours thinking/reviewing what you’re doing and filling in the holes.

Do you have a Standard Operating Procedure (https://kaidavis.com/standard-operating-procedures/) for asking for a referral? SOPs make referrals (as my Chem teacher used to say) plug and chug.

Are you asking for referrals from your…

  • Leads that don’t convert into clients?
  • Clients at the end of a project?
  • Colleagues and people in your network?

Each of those is a valid lead source.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

To get more referrals, ask for more referrals.

Can you get hyper-specific about who an ideal referral is for you?

  • If it’s an agency, what type of agency? What size are they?
  • What kind of client is their most common? What size clients?
  • What solutions or outcomes are they selling to clients? What kinds of projects? Where do they need help?

The more specific you make your ask for a referral, the easier it will be for someone to say, “YES! I know someone who NEEDS your help.”

What would another 3-6 clients this year mean for your business? For many freelancers, that’s the difference between ‘feast’ or ‘famine.’

If you want to get more clients through referrals, then Referral Systems is your guide https://kaidavis.com/referral-systems/




Wait – the Elite Assistant got 4 of 5 stars… what gets 5 stars?! Don’t leave us hanging, man!!

A reader question in reply to “Give your website an elite assistant that keeps the bad leads out.” Here’s the relevant bit:

— ✂️ Snip —

  • Option 1: Just your email address — 🌟 (one star out of five)
  • Option 2: Ya Basic Contact Form — 🌟 🌟
  • Option 3: The Elite Assistant — 🌟🌟🌟🌟

— ✂️ Snip —

The truth is that nothing scores five out of five because everything is a tradeoff.

I use (and love) ‘Elite Assistant’ lead forms in my business. They produce higher quality leads who share more information.

However, tradeoffs.

The more information you ask for on your lead form, the more fields you have. The more fields you add, the more friction you’re adding.

Now, there are a lot of ongoing discussions on the impact that more/fewer form fields have on conversions. The tl;dr in the year of our lady Two Thousand and Nineteen boils down to

Reducing form fields to increase conversions isn’t a myth, but it’s also not an absolute truth. (https://conversionxl.com/blog/reduce-form-fields/)

There isn’t a 5-star recommendation, because there isn’t a clear winner. It depends on you, your business, and your current situation:

  • If you ask fewer questions, you’ll get more leads through your lead form, but you’ll have to invest more energy in qualifying your leads
  • If you ask more questions, you’ll get fewer leads through your lead form, but you’ll have to invest less energy in qualifying your leads


Now, that doesn’t mean you should shrug your shoulders, not change anything, and let the status quo win.

Back to ConversionXL:

Ask yourself whether quality (longer forms) or quantity (shorter forms) is more important. Design your forms accordingly.


The length of your form can be as daunting as the number of fields. Be aware of how greedy your form looks.


If you need more information, weigh the value of that extra information against the conversion rate. Is it worth it?

As you consider what changes to make to your lead form, you’ll want to act with intention. You’ll want to think about what questions you need to ask and want to ask and then decide what you will ask.

In Quick Start Lead Forms, you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of lead forms in about an hour. You’ll get a pack of videos and lead form video reviews, as well as a reference file full of questions you can ask on your lead form. Read more right over here: https://kaidavis.com/lead-forms/