What’s the best way to go from my first client to getting more?

A reader writes in with this excellent question:

What’s the best way to go from my first client (ghost-written content) to getting more?

An excellent question. Let’s think through how we’d get more clients.

First off, don’t overlook repeat projects with this existing client. Simply saying “It was wonderful to work on PROJECT with you. Do you need more help with PROBLEM or OUTCOME?” can get you a second project.

Simply showing up and saying “I’m available for another project. Would you like some more help?” can result in more work.

But the reader is asking how to get more clients so that they can build a business. Good. I like that.

So, let’s talk about how to get more clients.

The first strategy I’d reach for would be referrals.

Referrals can get you direct introductions to other potential customers in your market.

  • You can ask your first client who they’d like to see you work with next.
  • You can ask your first client if they have any colleagues who could also use ghost-written content

(Those are two of the referral systems described in the video training program “Referral Systems” available here for $77: https://kaidavis.com/pricing/referral-systems/)

You can also use referrals with your network.

Let’s say that you identify 20 people you know (LinkedIn Connections, friends, colleagues, etc.) at companies that use content in some capacity (articles, case studies, emails, etc.).

You reach out to these 20 people and

  1. You let them know that you’re looking for new clients who need ghost-written content
  2. You let them know you’re looking for referrals to other businesses that they may know of

You aren’t pitching yourself (though this type of referral outreach could very well generate an immediate client or two for you) you’re asking for a referral to a company or colleague in their network who could use your services.

Why is this important?

They get to look like a hero. If they know someone who needs ghost-written content and they show up with a referral, they look great.

Heck, I’ll do you one better. You could ask for referrals to companies that your colleagues know of who have had content ghost-written for them in the past. That way, you’re identifying companies who are potential candidates for your services in the future.

Someone who has purchased ghost-writing services in the past is likely to purchase ghost-writing services again in the future. Why not from you?

Whatever you do, I recommend following “The Rule of Twenty” in your referrals.

Start by identifying twenty people for your referral outreach. These could be friends, colleagues, industry associates, past clients, current clients, or companies you’ve identified.

Then, start your outreach to them.

Once you’ve finished your outreach, identify another twenty prospects to contact.

By keeping your outreach efforts small, you make it easier to sustain your outreach and avoid getting burnt out.

So, dear reader, in answer to your question:

What’s the best way to go from my first client (ghost-written content) to getting more?

  1. Let your first client know that you’re available for another project
  2. Ask your first client for referrals to other companies (or colleagues) they know of who need ghost-written content
  3. Identify twenty prospects who might be in need of ghost-written content, have purchased ghost-written content in the past, or know of companies who have purchased ghost-written content in the past. Contact them and ask for referrals.

THE DOG LAWYER

So, in my mastermind we often talk about the power of positioning and use the example of a ‘dog lawyer’ as someone with crispy, laser focused positioning.

Imagine the cocktail party conversation

Me: So, what do you do?

Them: Oh, I’m a dog lawyer?

Me: A dog lawyer?! Tell me more!

The power of a crisp, summary statement of what you do (“Shopify Revenue Expert,” “Get in front of your dream customer on podcasts”) is an easy way to know if your positioning is crispy or lukewarm.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED (thank you, Bruce H!) A DOG LAWYER APPEARED

==> https://texasdoglawyer.com/

Look At This Website. I think it is executed incredibly well.

Let’s take a look at the first paragraph:

Zandra Anderson is a Houston trial attorney who now devotes her practice to animal law.

We have social proof (trial attorney), specificity (animal law), and geographic location (Houston).

She has handled numerous dog law cases, but has also worked with owners of cats, horses, ferrets, birds, monkeys, lemurs and has even consulted on an elephant matter.

And we see a graceful expansion from the core focus of dog law to a wider range of animals.

When we look at the service offerings, we can see a similar range of offerings that make sense for someone looking for a dog lawyer

  • Breed Specific Legislation
  • Ownership/Custody Disputes
  • Dangerous Dog Declarations
  • Injury to & Loss of Pet
  • Rescue Organization Issues
  • Civil Cruelty Seizures
  • Criminal Cruelty
  • Dog Bite Issues
  • Veterinary Liability
  • Animal Professional Liability (kennel operators, pet sitters, dog trainers, etc.)
  • Home Owner Association issues regarding dog ownership
  • Contract Issues (Adoption & Breeder)
  • Kennel Name Infringement
  • Consultant to Local Governments regarding Animal Laws
  • Consultant to Rescue Organizations
  • Advocate at State and Local levels for fair dog laws

Did I realize you could have this many service offerings related to dogs and/or animal law?

Not. In. The. Least.

But it makes sense. The deeper you go on a niche, the more specific you can get in your service offerings and when someone has an issue with a dog bit and is looking for a lawyer to handle the case, this narrow, specific positioning puts Zandra at the top of the pack (pun intended).

Zandra is doing a ton right here. I wanted to share this narrow, niche positioning with you as an example of the depth you can go to when you focus on a specific, narrow, niche.

Thank you Zandra! (And thank you Bruce for sending this my way!)

Excelsior!

Kai

The History of Kai’s Positioning

Can I ask you how positioning worked for for you? Was it when you were just starting out? A few months in?

A reader writes in with this excellent question about positioning. Thank you Chris!

I talk about my personal positioning journey in an episode of Make Money Online (https://makemoneyonline.exposed/archive/018/ “What’s your favorite positioning?”).

In this episode, Nick and I discuss positioning and our approaches to it. (MMO Archive Listeners / MMO True Fans: hit reply and let me know if there’s another episode or two that talks about my history or nick’s history with positioning).

My story? I started out as a completely undifferentiated generalist.

I was working a day job that I didn’t enjoy and I took what had been a hobby/skill – building WordPress websites – and started charging money for it.

Positioning was in essence “Got money? I can build a WordPress website!” I was focused on providing a service to people that already knew what solution they needed.

I focused on that for awhile and landed some okay clients, but more often than not my clients were prescriptive ‘do this, not that’ and the work was at a lower-than-ideal hourly rate. But it was higher than The Old Day Job, so I was happy.

I connected with a startup that bought up all of my hours each month for a few months — an almost employee situation, in retrospect — but I had other clients and businesses on the side, so they remained a ‘whale client’ while we worked together.

But then, ✨positioning ✨.

When I approached positioning for my business, I approached it with the mindset that I was willing to learn a new skill in order to deliver on solutions that would solve the problem that my target market was experiencing.

I didn’t care if I hadn’t done something before, I was willing to learn.

I asked myself “Kai, what services do people seem to be spending money on?”

“People always want more traffic: SEO, Paid, Referral…”

And then I asked “Alright, who has money and is paying for these services?”

“eCommerce stores. Shopify stores.”

And I asked “Can I see this market paying for SEO?”

And I googled and found dozens of products and services and knew that this was a market that spent money on this type of problem.

So, I combined the problem, the solution, and the target market into a positioning statement:

I help Shopify stores get more traffic through Search Engine Optimization. Unlike my competitors, I’m focused on white-hat, sustainable, long-term strategies for increasing your traffic.

I arrived at (1) a combination that represented an actual, viable market and (2) was a skill I was willing to learn.

You see, at this point, I didn’t do SEO.

Not at all.

So I invested 20 hours into researching eCommerce SEO.

  • Who bought it?
  • What did it look like?
  • What should the pricing be?
  • What was included in the service?
  • How can I Shopify store owners?
  • What does a Standard Operating Procedure look like for an SEO Audit?

Then, I defined the first draft of the service offering.

I contacted a few Shopify stores in my network and a Shopify agency that I knew might refer me work. I landed my first clients through the combination of specific positioning and outreach. Creating a Referrable Moment (https://kaidavis.com/referrable-moments/)™.

Why did this work? Because my positioning was:

  • A target market that was spending money (people pay a monthly fee to use Shopify and successful Commerce stores have a number of customers and a steady revenue stream) 
  • A pain that was VERY top of mind (everyone wants more traffic because traffic turns into sales) 

This positioning made it easy to communicate what I did

You? Shopify store. Me? More traffic.

I eventually re-niched on a different problem to focus on (same market) and then a new market with the same problem.

I’ve changed positioning a number of times, each time in pursuit of answering the question “What are people spending money on?” or “Who is spending money on this?”

Does changing your positioning hurt your business? No. It’s a strategic decision to focus on a new problem or a new market, and what I discovered is that 75% of the content, intellectual property, marketing, and authority I had invested my time in ended up carrying over to the new positioning

(Just this morning I received an inbound lead from the FIRST podcast I ever appeared on)

Your Turn: Hit reply to this email and (1) let me know your #1 question about positioning and (2) let me know what your positioning statement is

(I’m help TARGET MARKET achieve OUTCOME through SKILL/SERVICE. Unlike my competitors, I…)

Excelsior!

Kai

How do you get your name known as a freelancer?

Let’s say you’re a freelancer — Dana the Developer — and you want to get your name known:

  • As a go-to developer or
  • As an expert at solving a particular problem or
  • As a specialist in working with a particular target market

You want to increase the number of people who know of you, your work, and your reputation.

But how do you do this? How do you tackle getting your name known in your target market?

A lot of it seems like luck and happenstance. Someone releases a plugin or an open source project. Or their book comes out. Or they’re on a burst of podcasts. And suddenly everyone is talking about them. But you know of people with a half-a-dozen open source projects or a book and no one knows their name.

From the outside, it looks so cryptic. What are you supposed to do? And how do you know if it’s working?

But from the inside, let me tell you that getting your name known in your industry is actually the application of a simple framework.

If you want to get your name known as a freelancer, you need to do two things:

  1. Pick a thing you want to be known for
  2. Get good at talking with people about the thing

Pick a thing you want to be known for

The common theme between anyone known for a thing is that they’ve picked a thing they want to become known for. This connects to one of my directives, a list of statements to help guide me in my business and life.

Directive #7: You will become known for doing what you do.

Pick a thing you want to be known for.

For my public relations clients, my coaching students who are working with me to promote their work, and the readers of my book Podcast Outreach (http://podcastoutreach.com), I break this down with a series of exercises and worksheets that help them identify what they want to become known for.

It breaks down to becoming known for:

  • Your area of expertise or
  • Solving a common problem or
  • An opinion contrary to your industry

Then, you do the thing. Often. And you let people know about it.

Examples

Jonathan Stark → Hourly Billing Is Nuts (Controversial Opinion)

Philip Morgan → Positioning is fundamental to getting more leads (Solution to a common problem)

And then you get good at telling people about what you do

Become comfortable about telling people what you do.

Pick a way to promote your knowledge and expertise and get your name known.

An incomplete and growing list of ways to get your name known as a freelancer

(If I’ve left something obvious or esoteric off the list, hit reply and let me know)

  • Guest on podcasts (http://podcastoutreach.com ← the definitive guide on how to get on podcasts as a guest expert)
  • Host a podcast
  • Write a book (http://kaidavis.com/write-your-book/. Distill your best recommendations as a consultant into something that lives online or in print)
  • Attend conferences
  • Liveblog conferences
  • Speak at conferences
  • Host conferences or meet ups
  • Guest on webinars
  • Host webinars
  • Write regularly (email list, blog, etc.)

About the thing you want to be known for.

Just because I know some people reading this will go “I need to do all of that?!” let me be clear: you need to do a few of these.

  • 1: You will slowly become known
  • 2-3: You will become known at a moderate pace
  • 4+: You will rapidly become known

If Dana the Developer writes a monthly blog post answering common questions about hiring a developer or questions that her prospects are asking, Dana will slowly become known as a go-to person.

Now if Dana implements a marketing plan like:

  • Guest on podcasts 2x/month, talking about solutions to common problems
  • Host a podcast 4x/month, talking about his/her area of expertise
  • Write a book every year, sharing his/her views
  • Write a weekly article, publishing it to an email list

Dana will rapidly become known.

If Dana has a specific target market (Ecommerce companies running WooCommerce) and expensive problem (Sell more by developing custom solutions) then Dana can easily target her efforts.

But even if Dana is in a generalist position as, say, an iOS Developer with no particular target market or expensive problem picked out, then Dana can use these same strategies to become known as a freelancer.

When I wanted to become known as the go-to person for Outreach Marketing, I guested on podcasts — over 50 of them — to talk about Outreach Marketing. I write two books on Outreach marketing. I spoke at four conferences on topics about Outreach Marketing.

And I become known as the go-to person for my target market — software companies — who were looking to invest in outreach marketing. I built a very successful agency on the back of this two step process to get your nam known as a freelancer:

  1. Pick a thing you want to be known for
  2. Get good at talking with people about the thing

Write Great Emails

When you’re writing an email, do find yourself struggling to write a great email?

Even if you have a swipe file (for common emails and situations) it can still be a challenge to write something that:

  1. Is clear
  2. Gets a reply
  3. Doesn’t take a lot of time to write

Let’s talk about 5 key elements when it comes to writing great emails

Make Them ‘You’ Focused

What is a ‘you’ focused email? A you focused email is an email written with a focus on the recipient.

Avoid words like ‘I’ or ‘Me.’ Focus on words like ‘you.’

(You can read more about this at http://kaidavis.com/you/)

By writing your email you the recipient and talking about them instead of talking about your company or yourself, you make your email more interesting to the recipient.

Have a Clear ‘Call to Action’

What is a ‘call to action’? A call to action (or CTA) is the instructions that tell the reader what to do next (‘call to action’) and what to expect after they do that thing.

We can compare and contrast two separate CTAs to see the benefit of a clear call to action that explains what happens next

Just hit reply and let me know your thoughts

As a next step, let’s schedule a time for a 20-minute conversation to discuss this. You can pick the time that works best for you on my calendar here (LINK). Once you pick a time, I’ll send over a short agenda before our call.

By having a clear call to action that explains what the recipient should do next and what will happen once they do that thing, you remove uncertainty.

“This is the next step. We have a meeting and we discuss it.” is a lot clearer than ‘Let me know your thoughts…’

Informative Subject Line

Your subject line has a singularly job: get your email opened.

To achieve that, an informative subject line that helps educate the reader on what to do next is your best option (https://kaidavis.com/secret-getting-outreach-emails-opened/).

I, personally, fall back to

KAI from COMPANY NAME

Very often in my outreach as it’s an easy to use informative subject line. Could it be improve on? Heck yeah. Does it get the job done? Heck yeah.

Write in an Informal Style

How do you write an email to a friend or colleague? How do you write an email to a potential business prospect?

Review your emails and contrast the styles of the two. For me, my business-focused emails get a bit…

…business-y

And lose the casual, conversational style that I enjoy.

The best way to learn how to write your business emails in a casual, informal style is to read and review your casual, informal emails and see how you write them

  • Do you include a greeting?
  • Do you jump into the content immediately?
  • How do you phrase the calls-to-action?
  • How long are the emails?

And then start to mimic the positive traits you see in your casual, informal emails.

Write Short Emails

Aim for 300 words in your emails. Short with a single call to action. If there is additional information you need to share, then include the executive (tl;dr) summary and:

  • Link to the additional information
  • Attach the additional information as as report
  • Let the recipient know you’ll share the full report for them to review before your call/meeting

Podcast Editing Services | Should you use one?

When Nick and I launched Make Money Online, we knew three things:

  1. Audience — We wanted the episodes to be for people who were starting or growing their consulting businesses. People at a similar level to where we are now or where we were a year ago and who wanted straight talk about failures, successes, and mistakes growing an independent business.
  2. Format — We wanted the episodes to be ~30-minutes long and weekly.
  3. Work — We didn’t want to handle the podcast editing and audio production ourselves.

We’re a fan of working with experts when it comes to our businesses, so from the get-go, we knew we wanted to rely on a professional (or a team of professionals) to handle the audio production and editing for our podcast.

This isn’t to say that you, dear reader and/or podcast host, need to use a podcast editing service. There are dozens of guides out there on the software, hardware, and techniques you can use to edit your own podcast.

Why use a podcast editing service

In our case we wanted to work with a team of professionals — experts at the business of podcast editing — to handle the audio production so all we had to do for our podcast was:

  1. Pick a topic for an episode and prepare some initial notes
  2. Schedule a time to record our episodes (we record them two at a time)
  3. Save a high-quality copy of the audio to share with the team handling our podcast editing

Done. Everything else — audio editing, production, posting the podcast to our podcast host (simplecast) is handled by the team at Podcast Motor.

So, if you’re considering using a podcast editing service, well, why should you? In my mind, it comes down to three things:

  1. Focus on your area of expertise — Unless you’re running a podcast about podcast editing (#meta!), chances are that you’re probably not that great at editing a podcast. Your expertise is in another area (probably something related to the topic of your podcast!), so why spend the time editing your own podcast?
  2. Your time is valuable — Likewise, your time is valuable! If you’re a consultant billing at $75/hour and it takes you two hours to handle the audio production on an episode1, that’s $150/episode that you’re ‘paying’ with your time in terms of opportunity cost to edit an episode. That’s time you could spend doing client work, working on your business, or not working on your business (spending time with your family, doing a fun hobby, etc). Why not delegate the audio production to someone else?
  3. Professional work — I trust Podcast Motor to take our audio recording and turn it into a podcast episode. That means listening to the audio, splicing together the two audio streams (nick and I each record our audio locally using Audio Hijack, a wonderful piece of software), cutting out all the bits that don’t’ fit, adding in the episode intro and outro, and doing everything else that I don’t even know to take our recording and turn it into an episode.

Because of those three reasons, we decided it would make more sense to focus on creating our podcast rather than investing the time to learn the necessary skills to edit our own podcast. Part cost/benefit analysis, part deciding to work with experts rather than do it ourselves.

“Should I use a podcast editing service?”

That’s a great question. I don’t know, but I do know a few questions that you can ask yourself to make this decision:

Do you want to learn how to edit a podcast? 

This, in my mind, is the key question. Do you want to learn this skill? If you do, wonderful! Google around, find a few guides, install Garage Band (or the recommended product) and tackle the podcast editing yourself.

But if you don’t want to invest the time in learning a new skill, hiring a team for podcast editing is a great investment. It lets you focus on making the podcast and not on doing the heavy lifting to produce the podcast.

For us, being able to say “no” to learning how to edit our own podcast was a huge win. Gigantic. When I think about the invest we made by hiring Podcast Motor for podcast editing, this is one of the most valuable pieces.

Do you have the time to edit a podcast?

Let’s say you’re recording the ‘Minimal Viable Show’:

  • Two hosts
  • No guests
  • 30-minuets/episode
  • Releasing weekly

Just you, a friend, a pair of microphones, and Skype. From experience, even for just a 30-minute episode, there’s a lot of additional things that go into producing a podcast (podcast editing aside):

  • Picking a topic for an episode (5-10 minutes of discussion)
  • Doing research on the topic for the episode (10-30 minutes of research)
  • Extra content that you end up recording that gets cut (for a 30-minute episode, this may be ~15-20 minutes of additional content, pre-show banter, and goof-ups that ends up getting cut) 
  • Promoting the episode (10-30 minutes sending out emails, scheduling tweets, etc)

So for a given 30-minute episode, you’re already in 70 to 120-minutes before you start the editing process, which could add another 60-180 minutes to the process.

For a given episode, do you have the time available to invest 120 – 300 minutes into the recording and production?

Delegating the podcast editing to Podcast Motor let’s us focus on creating the episode. We don’t need to worry about editing and producing the episode because Podcast Motor has us covered.

How we decided to start using a podcast editing service

I first encountered Craig in a list of productized services sometime in 2014. I was working on a project with a client where we decided to launch a podcast to promote the brand and connect with influencers.

I contacted Craig about doing one-off editing on a single test episode that we recorded and we worked together on the project. I was impressed with the turnaround and quality of their work, so I started recommending Podcast Motor to all of my friends who were looking for a podcast editing service. In 2014 and 2015 ~4(?) of my friends and colleagues ended up using their service — and all had great things to report.

When Nick and I decided to launch Make Money Online and made the strategic decision to not edit the podcast ourselves, it was a no-brainier decision to start working with Craig and Podcast Motor for podcast editing.

By this time, I’d tested the service myself, heard positive things from his other clients, and referred friends and colleagues to the service.

For Nick and me, not having to worry about the editing process is a dream. We get to show up, record, and have the podcast episodes edited and produced for us.

Our workflow for producing a podcast

Our workflow for recording an episode of Make Money Online and having the podcast edited looks something like this:

  • We have a Trello board with potential episode topics loaded into it (many that are emailed to use by our lovely and beautiful listeners)
  • Weekly, we’ll move episodes forward from ‘idea’ to ‘to record’ and start to flush out the episode’s card with details on the episode: are there specific points we want to discuss? Are there materials we’ll want to reference for the episode?
  • Every other week, we’ll record a batch of two episodes, picking two of the topics that seem most interesting or appealing to us to record
  • Craig and the Podcast Motor team are shared on the board, so they can see our notes, details, and description for the episode
  • Once a pair of episodes are recorded, we drop the high-quality recordings (both individual audio tracks and the combined track) into a shared Dropbox folder
  • Craig and his team get to work, editing and producing the episode, letting us know when the episode editing is complete, and scheduling the episode for release in Simplecast

That’s it. We decide on a topic. We do some research and note taking beforehand. We show up and record. We put the audio files into Dropbox. And then a complete episode shows up in iTunes for you to put into your earholes.

Final Thoughts

So, we use Podcast Motor for our podcast editing because we’d rather focus on making our podcast than editing our podcast.

Nick and I both love the team at Podcast Motor and love working with them. I continue to recommend them to friends and colelagues who are producing their own podcast. We plan to continue using Podcast Motor for our podcast editing for as long as we’re producing Make Money Online.

And if you, dear listener, have a podcast or are considering launching a podcast, I recommend getting in touch with Podcast Motor to discuss having them edit your podcast. I love the work that they do (the phrases ‘seamless,’ ‘magical,’ ‘in the background,’ and ‘great communication’ all come to mind) and, well, I think you’ll love the work that they do as well.

(Full Disclosure: I was an early user of Podcast Motor for production on a podcast for a client that ended up not launching, three of my friends and colleagues use Podcast Motor on their podcasts, and Craig — the founder of Podcast Motor — has hired me a few times to consult with him on marketing strategy for Podcast Motor. All of that said, I received no compensation, revenue, kickbacks, boxes of snacks, etc., for writing this review / love letter / thank you note. I love the work that Craig and his team at Podcast Motor do when it comes to podcast editing and I wanted to write this post to express why we (a) decided to hire someone to handle our podcast editing (b) give you a perspective on when it is valuable to hire someone to handle podcast editing for your podcast and (c) and write a public ‘Thank You’ to Craig and his team for helping us create our podcast)


  1. Please Note: I have literally no clue how much time it takes to edit a 30-minute podcast episode. Maybe 45-minutes for the first listen (with all the bits that need to get cut out), 45-minutes of editing / production work, and 30-minutes to listen to the episode to confirm Everything Sounds Okay? Maybe? That seems reasonable. Okay, this footnote has gone on for long enough. 

Writing An Email Pitching a Guest Post

Let’s say you want to pitch a guest article for a site. How do you do it? What should you say?

This is a template I’ve used and iterated on for years. But the template alone isn’t the answer:

  • You need to write you focused emails
  • You need to follow-up after you send an email, two, three, or four+ times
  • You need to add value in each follow-up email you send

When you focus on those three elements, then you’ll write emails that get your guest articles placed.

This is the template I use, originally adapted from Ramit’s guest post template:

Subject: 3 guest article ideas: TOPIC 1, TOPIC 2, TOPIC 3

Hi EDITOR NAME,

My name is YOUR NAME and I run YOUR SITE. ONE OR TWO SENTENCES ABOUT YOUR POSITIONING, WHY YOU’RE RELEVANT, OR WHAT’S IMPORTANT. FOCUS ON BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP HERE.

I’m interested in writing a guest article for you — something you’ve never posted on or that connects to your most popular content — and I have 3 ideas that I think will teach your readers something new:

[1] Topic #1
– Some interesting, fresh idea 1
– Some interesting, fresh idea 2
– Some interesting, fresh idea 3

[2] Topic #2
– Some interesting, fresh idea 1
– Some interesting, fresh idea 2
– Some interesting, fresh idea 3

[3] Topic #3
– Some interesting, fresh idea 1
– Some interesting, fresh idea 2
– Some interesting, fresh idea 3

I know you’re busy, so I can write everything up and send it to you in one document, which you can drop right into WEBSITE PLATFORM.

I’ll handle all editing, bylines, etc (feel free to edit) so this is super-easy for you. Plus, I promise the article will get your readers thinking and talking to each other.

As a next step, just reply back with which topic would be best for your audience (feel free to just send the number for the topic you’re interested in).

Thanks,

– YOUR NAME

p.s., I recently posted a guest article on the topic of GUEST ARTICLE TOPIC on OTHER SITE. Check it out here (LINK) to get a better idea of my perspective on this topic and how I write.

Common mistakes with guest posts

  • Writing the guest post before you pitch. You want to send multiple ideas, with bullet-pointed sub-points, and let the editor suggest the best one for their audience.
  • Not doing your research. First, note how you’re recommended to format and present posts on the site you’re pitching, then copy that format and presentation for your posts. Second, read the most popular posts on that site and understand how they view the world. If you’re writing something that their audience would never read, it shows that you’ve never read their site nor understood its key messages. Educate yourself on the type of content they share.
  • Not sending writing samples. Until they get to know you, you’re a risk. They don’t want their team to spend time emailing back-and-forth if the end result turns out to be a crappy article. And they don’t want to disappoint you by saying “no” after you put in work writing your post. So send writing samples so they can understand if you’re a good fit.
  • Underestimating how long it takes to write a good post. An average, high-quality guest article can take 4-8 hours to write. Be prepared to put in the time if you want to play the game.
  • Making the editor do additional work. When you submit the final guest post, it should be fully ready to be inserted into their Content Management System and it will just magically work. This means you should write your byline, format your post, add images on your own server (but also attach them to the email), and otherwise make it 100% ready to go.

What’s The Best Invoicing Software For Freelancers?

If you’re a freelancer, you might be asking the question “What’s the best invoicing software for me?”

In short, if you’re looking for invoicing software, I recommend Freckle (http://letsfreckle.com). They’re excellent and they’re what I use to both track time internally on projects and send invoices to clients (they’re great at sending either hourly or flat-rate invoices!).

What should freelancers look for in invoicing software?

If you’re looking for invoicing software, you want to look for three things. Your software needs to be:

  • Able to create and send invoices for you
  • Able to support hourly or fixed-fee work
  • Able to get paid

Freckle does all of this on beautiful invoices, all while being one of the best time trackers for freelancers out there.

What’s the benefit of time tracking?

You want to get paid for the time that you work. And you either bill hourly or you don’t.

If you bill hourly…

Then Freckle has, literally, the best time tracker out there. Like they say on their site:

Ironically, tracking your time takes time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. You hates the administrative overhead of logging your time, and so… you suspect (or you know!) that you’re mostly making guesstimates, after the fact.

Those guesstimates lead to bad data, impaired ability to make critical business decisions, and, of course… you can’t bill as much, either.

I have a close friend — a legal professional — who billed hourly but never really tracked his time. He wrote down hours estimated in a day in a notebook and added it up to generate his invoices.

I said to him “For a week, just try tracking your time. See how close you are.” And I bet him a steak dinner on it.

Three days into the week he called me:

“Kai, I’ve been underbidding by 30%.”

With just a few days of data, he could see he was actually working more than he had been estimating on his invoices. Meaning he had been undercharging his clients for years.

Just by tracking his time better, he was able to send make more money when he send out his invoices (he uses Freckle too).

Freckle let’s you easily generate beautiful fixed-fee invoices for your business. You can watch a screencast tutorial here:

If you bill daily/weekly/fixed-fee…

Then you need to be able to do two things:

  1. Send your invoices to your clients
  2. Track the time that you spend working on your business

For #1,

Freckle let’s you easily generate beautiful fixed-fee invoices for your business. You can watch a screencast tutorial here:

For #2,

Do you spend time working on your business each week? Do you have time blocked out on your calendar (http://kaidavis.com/business-time/) to work on your business?

When you work on your business, do you track your time to see if you’re actually spending time working on your business? (I track my time with Freckle and RescueTime and block distracting sites using Freedom — Read all about it here: http://kaidavis.com/time-management/)

If you aren’t, you’re probably under charging yourself. You get better at something with deliberate practice. And you achieve deliberate practice by saying “This is time I am spending on doing THIS THING” and then doing THIS THING deliberately for that time.

Deliberate, intentional practice.

If you want to build a better business, you need to spend time deliberately, intentionally practicing at building a better business. (Hint: That’s also how you get to charge more money).

I use Freckle to track the time I spend on internal business projects. I’m tracking the time I’m spending right now writing this email.

I don’t use Freckle to track the time I spend on client projects because I don’t bill hourly. However, I do use Freckle to invoice on client projects. It makes it incredibly simple and easy to get paid. I highly recommend it.

How do I get started?

Sign up for Freckle and start tracking your time: http://letsfreckle.com. (non-affiliate link).

If you bill hourly, add your projects and start tracking your time. You might be surprised to see how and where you spend your time (and if you’re underbidding). Send your invoices through freckle.

If you don’t bill hourly, add your projects to freckle and start tracking days your worked and then sending invoices through Freckle. And start tracking your internal time. The time you’re dedicating to working on your business.

Track that time for a month and see how it goes. When I did it, it surprised me.

Switching seats for a day

Can you tell me one thing quickly?

You’ve been receiving my daily letters for a bit now. What would you like to see me write about?

Are there topics that you’d like me to touch on? Questions you have about getting more clients, freelancing, or running an independent business?

All questions accepted. I would be honored to hear what you’d like to learn more about. Email me at kai@kaidavis.com

Excelsior!

Kai

“I love how the book has one singular goal: Get you on podcasts!”

The other day, a customer who had purchased a copy of Podcast Outreach (http://podcastoutreach.com) emailed me to say that a week after buying the book, he was already booked on two podcasts.

I was typing up a reply when a new message came in from him.

“…3 podcasts.”

Amazing!

So I fire back a quick reply and ask about the process for him, how much time it took, etc.

He told me that after skimming the book “…it only took about 90-minutes of work to get booked on the podcasts. I love how the book has one singular goal: get you on podcasts!

Results like this aren’t out of the ordinary for people who buy Podcast Outreach (http://podcastoutreach.com) and follow the process to get booked on podcasts.

The truth is that for most podcast hosts, finding a consistent stream of high-quality, ready-to-interview guests is the hardest part of their jobs. 

If you prepare yourself for outreach to podcasts hosts and:

  • Know the target market you want to reach
  • Identify podcasts that reach that target market
  • Have 2-3 pre-defined topics for podcast hosts to pick from
  • Have a short follow-up sequence that adds social proof to your outreach

It is easy to get booked on podcasts as a guest.

And the wonderful thing about podcasting? Compared to writing guest articles, the ‘shelf life’ of a podcast is incredibly long.

Last week I received an inbound lead from a podcast I guested on 4-years ago. A True Fan™ of the show was doing an archive binge, heard my episode, and reached out to see if I could help with their project.

That’s the power of podcasting.

In fact, I was invited to speak at MicroConf in 2016 on this exact topic. If you’d like, you can see that full presentation (and my awesome suit) here: https://kaidavis.com/speaking/microconf-talk-2016/

Kai Davis — The Face of MicroConf

After I sent my first email I was booked to record on a large podcast with over 100 episodes that reached an audience of my dream buyers!

— Mojca Marš, Consultant, Super Spicy Media

Kai — while we were on a call today two podcasts that I pitched using your Podcast Outreach Template responded back that they’d love to have me on as a guest!

— Josh Doody, Author, Fearless Salary Negotiation

If you’re interested in guesting on podcasts as an expert and authority, you should consider investing in a copy of Podcast Outreach (http://podcastoutreach.com)

Excelsior!

Kai