Today, Wall Drug Store does $10 million+ in revenue. It has 225 employees, a 76,000 square foot store and is visited by up to 20,000 people per day. But, in 1931, when Ted Hustead purchased the store — in a 231-person town in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota — business was slow. Hustead made just enough to stay open, but things didn’t look good. They were 2 years into the Great Depression… And, by 1936 — and the birth of second child — Hustead and his wife were beginning to question whether they should give up on their dream
FYI, I just uploaded my “magnum opus” on getting clients over on YouTube. Before I give you that secksy link, a word of warning… if you’re the low-attention-span, give-me-the-latest-bright-shiny-gimmick type, you’ll hate this. And basically everything I teach. Not even sure why you’re here, TBH. But, if you’re the serious type who is committed to making their life happen “come hell or high water” or you got mouths to feed and no time for a bunch of BS gimmicks and “hacks”, then you’ll love it. Because, if you simply focus night and day on the three things I show you
This is a lesson in what NOT to do. For the past month or so, this guy — we’ll call him Derek — has been harassing me about switching from Aweber, as my autoresponder, to using Constant Contact. Here’s his main pitch: — Constant Contact has a 97% percent email deliverability and a compliance department. Meaning that 9.7 out of 10 of your sent emails will get to the inbox and pass the spam filters vs other programs (Aweber) can only guarantee 7 out of 10 of your emails with no one to call. — It’s a compelling enough pitch.
This is what I mean by “content crack”. My brother sent me this Tik Tok video… which “eww” all on its own. But, this guy says he’s going to show you a “6-figure hack” that “no one else is doing” and you can “setup by the end of today”. Ooh… sounds great. What could it be? You go to Capterra and find the top-rated software products in a niche you’re interested. Then, you search Google for that product and see if they’re running any ads for searches of their own name. When you find one that isn’t… You join their
At some point in every freelancer’s career, you find your… ahem… cajones. For me, it was the project I worked on for Michael Hyatt. I’m not blameless. I was very new to freelancing, so I was naive. And, I didn’t get that it was MY job to set and manage expectations… No matter how “famous” or experienced the client is. But, however we got there, I had to draw the line. It was 9pm on a Sunday night (I bet you can guess where this is going). Unbeknownst to me, Michael and his team had been working a relaunch of
I had to sit my boys down. They’re good dudes. They’re smart boys. I’m confident they’ll do just fine in life. But… they’re pretty chill. Not really in a hurry, not really super drive or passionate about any one thing — at least, not yet. Chill, good dudes. Their little sister, however. SHE is aggressive. Driven. Focused. She’s only 1-year-old and it’s clear as day. She started trying to roll over almost as soon as she got home from the hospital. Driven to crawl. Driven to walk. Relentless in learning how. And, now she’s working on talking. And, she’s smart
Of all the freelancing advice I hear the Instagurus throw around, this is by far the worst and most devasating. If you’ve ever heard this or worse believed it, go get a scrub brush and scour this out of your mind forever. It, without question, is hurting your business and costing you clients: “Freelancing is a numbers game” The idea being you just have to blast your name and your pitch out to as many people as possible and eventually you’ll get some clients trickling in. And that’s exactly what happens. Instead of a fire hose of new clients banging down
An astute Upworker posteth: “I’m not sure why everyone says don’t use a generic letter, because my ‘generic’ letter works great. But when I start seeing examples of other people’s ‘generic’ letters, I start to understand. Boilerplate text is good to have and useful, and my generic letter is pretty successful. Yes, I do some personalization for each one. But the key is: is your generic letter any good? I get lots of responses to something I consider generic and not hurting for work, so we need to steer away from telling people they shouldn’t have a standard cover letter
Freelancer.com, Fiverr, LinkedIn, TopTal, Guru, PeoplePerHour, Indeed for remote jobs (have to set location to remote): Google can be a good place to look, as well: Look for industry-specific job boards. For example, Dribbble is a website dedicated to graphic designers and they have their own job board with listings for remote jobs: And then, let me give you one last one (more for getting freelance work)… local business meetup groups. These can be crazy effective. I was in two for almost two years until I moved to a really small town. Each one met once a month. And, every
I remember this feeling. Early on in my freelancing career (way back in 20–… well, I won’t say how long ago that was :D) with no idea how to do any of this. The anxious feeling in my gut. The thoughts of failure and embarrassment swirling in my head. And, I ended up just guessing. And, I paid for it. So, let me save you from that. You start with research… When freelancing… And, I want to highlight that, because it’s different than when applying for a job at a company. So, when freelancing, you start by doing research. It’s
This is kind of like those jokes: “Question What’s 2+3?” “Answer: Purple.” The real answer to this question is: Specialize. I know. “Huh?” My assumption, from the question, is that you’re thinking when you freelance you’ll just put yourself out there as a “freelance web developer” and be taking on any number of different projects. It’s really NOT the way to go. You want to specialize in something. Maybe, it’s building Joomla websites for non-profits. Or, landing pages in WordPress for online businesses. Or, custom coding plugins. Or membership sites from scratch. Clients think in “end results”. They don’t want
I hear this all the time from freelancers: John, I WANT to start a blog or I WANT to start making YouTube videos, but I’m so busy with my 9-5 job and my client work on the side… I just don’t have the time to promote my freelance services. This is cutting of your nose to spite your face. Promotion… Blogging. YouTube. Social media. That IS the solution to your time problem. Because, it’s how you’ll get MORE clients, higher-paying clients… and how you’ll be able to leave your 9-5 job. Which will free up an enormous amount of time.
Back when I was just a freelancing tadpole… I was working a 9-5 at a local pizza joint. I’d spend my days slinging pizza and my nights working on client projects and trying to build my freelance business. I had more than my share of “all-nighters” in those days. So, I can 100% relate to this question I got from Jan: “My problem is that I do not have much time to build my own website and so portfolio or blog as doing lots of clients work while having 9-5 job but I know it is dead important. I think
Back when ol’ JMO was just a freelancing tadpole… I was working a 9-5 at a local pizza joint. I’d spend my days slinging pizza and my nights working on client projects and trying to build my freelance business. I had more than my share of “all-nighters” in those days. So, I can 100% relate to this question I got from Jan: “My problem is that I do not have much time to build my own website and so portfolio or blog as doing lots of clients work while having 9-5 job but I know it is dead important. I
Start a blog to get more freelance clients? Why would I do that? To quote the infamous, Gary Vaynerchuck: Producing content is now the BASELINE for all brands and companies. It literally doesn’t matter what business you’re in, what industry you operate in, if you’re not producing content, you basically don’t exist. Of course, it’s not just his opinion. There are plenty of studies and statistics to back up the fact the content marketing is the most effective way to start getting clients and customers from scratch: 69% of people bought something because of a tweet 94% plan to make
Once upon a few years back… I was working on a project for Inc. Magazine. And, the guy I was working with, Lewis, was one of their Executive Directors and a very sharp guy. A bestselling author and spent his days rubbing elbows with multi-millionaires. At that point, I hadn’t yet worked with Michael Hyatt or Lewis Howes. So, it was surreal experience for me. Anyway, I learned a lot from him. One of the things I learned was a crazy effective way to manage large projects. As a young freelance developer, I’d never seen this before. But, it was
Winners don’t sell themselves short. Winners don’t expect other people or platforms to do it for them. Winners don’t make excuses. They don’t whine and complain when Upwork changes its fee structure or starts charging to bid on jobs. They don’t immediately blame “crappy clients” when a project goes wrong or they don’t get hired. Not because these aren’t true. Sometimes they are. But, because they’re not productive. They weaken you as a competitor. Like a basketball player blaming their loss on the refs. The refs could’ve been terrible. Doesn’t matter. Win anyway. That’s what the greats do. That’s what
It’s a minimum of 4 years of your life. Very little of which you’ll actually learn how to code. The stuff you do learn will almost certainly be outdated. And, for your trouble, you’re going to fork over 5-6 figures for a piece of paper. And, that’s IF you actually graduate. And, don’t get sucked into the bottomless pit of parties and alcohol. But, but, John… you’ll learn computer science at college. Great. Take one of the many computer science courses you’ll find on online… many for less than 100 buqs. And, learn your precious computer science concepts. No need
Question: “What are you doing TODAY to market your freelance business?” If you can’t answer… Or, the answer is a little vague… Or, something you’re still figuring out… Whatever income woes you might be experiencing, I can point you to the culprit. The reality is: no marketing = no business. This is the simplest, yet most effective, “freelance marketing” advice I can give you: Do it daily. Let me give you an example… People often get horrified when they find out that I mail my mailing list on a daily basis. Sure, I miss some days here and there, but
Sam Walton started in the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas. If you look, today, the population is about 66,000… but back then it was just 5,700. And, he did this despite the prevailing wisdom at the time that a mass retailer needed to be started in a big city, otherwise it would fail. But, Walton actually listened to his customers. He knew that consumers in rural areas often bought in larger quantities because they had larger families and took fewer trips to the store. The result is, of course, the largest retailer on the planet, today. Listening to your customers/clients
I used to sell shoes. Was damn good at it, too. In fact, I made it through the company’s 18-month manager training program in just over 9 months. In my first store, as a manager, I was the #3 selling manager in one of the smallest stores in the chain. And, I broke several store sales records along the way. Anyway, we had this thing we did. Out of Al Bundy’s bag of “tricks” if you will. Let me give you an example. “This is an XYZ Brand shoe. You’ll notice the high quality leather upper. The better the leather,
I took my dog to the vet to get spayed the other day. The week prior when I called, I got a masterclass in selling your services. As I explained what I needed, one of the first things they asked me was, “Is it a stray?” Our dog, Marley, is. A neighbor rescued her, but wasn’t able to take care of her, so we took her from him. Because of that, the animal clinic gave us 40 bucks off. That’s lesson #1. The hook. When I called I was just gathering information. I was going to call a couple clinics
Another common question I get, this time from Gary: “Sir, I’m a self taught web developer with no job experience. My question about freelancing is how to price a website? For example do I need to let the client pay for the hosting website and etc.” Perceived quality. Note the emphasis on perceived. Here’s the analogy I use. Imagine you need to get a medical procedure done. So, you go to the nearest clinic. As you pull up, you notice the clinic is in a sketchy part of town. The parking lot is cracked and littered with trash. The clinic’s
That’s the headline. Of the most effective services sales page I ever ran. In fact, I ran it for years on my site before I whittled down to just one client. It’s easily brought in tens of 1000s of the greenbacks for me. I don’t care what kind of web development you do… This should be your headline. It grabs the reader by the eyeballs… And, forces them to read. Because, it’s every client’s worst nightmare. It’s like a car wreck, they can’t NOT look. And, it works no matter what kind of services you offer. Of course, you gotta
My older brother was an insurance agent. If you don’t know, insurance is an uber-competitive industry because it has such huge profit margins. So, these people are dialed in when it comes to sales and getting new clients. I learned a ton from watching my him. For example… When he first started, his trainer had him write up a list of all the people he knew. He started with about 50 on his list. But, after some pushing and prodding, he got it up to about 300. Then, he had him write letter to those people… Letting them know he
Right after I built Platform University for Michael Hyatt. He has a massive following online. And, a bunch of his acolytes wanted a membership site just like his. Well, turns out I was 1 of 2 people in the world that could build it for them. And, the other guy wasn’t taking clients. So, I started getting a ton of quote requests for a “clone” of his site. I charged 3K a piece for these sites. But, I’d written the WordPress theme from scratch, myself. So, I had all the code. I knew exactly how to tweak it and set
This guy I know… Ahem… Once told me that veteran prostitutes demand their money upfront. Because they’ve learned the hard way that once a client gets what they want, they’re a lot more likely to walk away without paying. And, there’s not a lot they can do. Sound familiar? Oddly enough, I’ve never had a client flake like that. I guess growing up like I did, I always had that “[email protected]#$ better have my money” mentality. So, I came up with a system for getting paid that ensured I got mine… But, didn’t require the client to pay 100% upfront…
This isn’t mine. Credit to Jason Martin on Quora, but this story perfectly explains freelancing pricing and the “am I worth it” dilemma: A company is building a product, with a lot of money invested in it, but it just isn’t working. So they hire an outside engineer to look over the design. The consultant comes to the office, looks at the schematics for about 20 minutes, and then asks the director of the project for a pencil. The director taps his pockets, and realizes he doesn’t have one. “No problem”, says the consultant, and he opens his briefcase, opens a
I’ve easily made more benjamins as a result of following the great Ben Settle than any other “guru” or marketing expert out there. In fact, since I first listened to that podcast on that fateful day where I discovered him… I’ve quadrupled… and am about to quintuple my income. HE is why I email everyday. HE is why I stopped hard teaching in these here posts. HE is the one who cured me of my shiny object obsession. If my business is my baby… then HE is it’s baby daddy. One of the many things he taught me is how
The offer is crucial. You can do everything else right, as a freelancer, but if you screw up the offer, you’ll have a miserable time getting clients because they simply don’t want what you have. This is why I rag on the “generalist” web developer approach so much. Most FREELANCE clients don’t want that. If they did, they’d hire an employee. They want a specialist to build them XYZ thing. That change in offer, alone, has helped 100s of freelancers I’ve taught. Here’s a perfect example. After I built Platform University for Michael Hyatt, I started to get a bunch of
When little JMO was a wet-eared freelancer… This was the thing that frustrated me the most. It was like someone was crushing me in a vise-grip. On one hand, you have to spend all your time attending to clients and delivering… while on the other working ON your business to get new clients. And, it never seemed like I had enough time in the day. Something always suffered. Drove me nuts. My problem, then, is I was just flying by the booty of my denims. I had no plan. No system. Nothing to rely on. I just got up each
There’s so much BAD advice out there when it comes to freelancing. It’s no wonder people keep falling victim to these stupid myths like, “Freelancing is a numbers game”. No the hell it’s not. Not if you don’t wanna be miserable. Or, “anyone can freelance”. Meh. Maybe, that’s “technically” true because freelancing is a skill that just needs learned. But, that’s like saying “basketball is just a skill” so “anyone can be a pro”. Yeah no. Some people are just better suited to freelancing. And, it comes down to what you value most. If you don’t value certain things MOST,
I was reading this Instagram post from @martin_lasek. (I definitely recommend following him, BTW.) And, his advice was to let family be your first client to help you get comfortable working with clients. And, one thing he said jumped out at me: “Believe me the fact it‘s family doesn‘t make them an easier client it just makes it easier for you to enter the field of project management, delivering and actually finishing it.” Man! Is that so true? And, I’ve been back and forth on this. Family CAN be a great first client. And, it can help give you that
I got this question on a video of mine: “So how do you get the to pay for your larger fee vs the guy who will do it for 300.” I get this a lot. The “low-baller” problem. So, what I wanna share with you, today, is a dead simple way for not only dealing with low-ballers, but also be able to raise your freelances fees at will… and, not have clients think twice about it. And, it starts with a simple change in how you think about. Why do people buy a Rolex watch when a Timex tells time
For me, freelancing is about time. Not money. I want to spend as much time as I possibly can with my wife and kids. I want to homeschool my boys. Teach them everything I know. Create a real relationship with them so when they’re adults, we have a friendship beyond parent-child. It’s the most important goal in my life. That’s why I have turned down I don’t know how many “regular job” offers. It’s also why I’m very picky about what clients I work with. And, I why I’ve chunked running my business down to about an hour a day.
There’s lots of reasons: You’re just not that good at what you do. You’re not very good at dealing with people. You picked the wrong market and services to offer. I could go on and on. But, by far, the #1 reason freelancers fail is they never learn how to consistently get clients. They rely on luck or “word of mouth”. They try this and that, but never learn and apply anything consistently. They constantly worry that one day the clients will dry up. And, if that does happen… They have no idea how to fix it. That was me
Got this review from Mehandi: “This is one of the best tutorials I have ever seen on freelancing from any tutor. I will highly recommend this course among my peers and others as well.” I mean… Clearly, Mehandi is a bright fella. But, for realz… The #1 thing that holds most freelancers back is getting new clients. Not delivering, not managing their finances, not “work-life balance” or any other somesuch. Getting new butts in the chair. And, the #1 reason WHY… Is they’re shooting from the hip. No real idea HOW they’re getting the clients they got. No idea what
I learned this when my brother got into insurance. It was all but required for any new insurance agent and the primary way they went about drumming up those first few clients and building the network they’d use to reliably get clients the rest of their career. Going around with him… I quickly learned how hot a commodity I was as a web developer. And, had people asking me to build them websites from day one. It was easy to see why every insurance agent did this. Anyway, that’s #4 of the 5 tips I reveal in my latest video
Man! I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my freelance career. But, each time, I always learned something important that helped me be successful later on. But, these three. These three mistakes were the biggest lessons I learned in 14+ years of freelancing. So, I made this video to just tell you what they are and what to do to avoid them. Give it a watch here: And, I’d appreciate if you’d share it with any freelancers you know. Later, John
Wanna sell your freelance services a lot easier? I mean without feeling like a sleezeball? Without needing to read 1000 books and become a sales genius? Quick story… The project I worked on for Inc. Magazine, I worked for this guy named Lewis. He was some kind of director at the company. I can’t remember exactly what, but he had quite a few people who worked for him. He’d written several books. One big best-seller, if I remember right. Dude was a heavyweight. And, he didn’t take any [email protected]#. I remember the first meeting we had. I don’t think I’ve been
This is that turning point I keep bringing up: You get a little taste of success. But, really don’t know how. Then, all of sudden, it stops. And, all the fears… all the doubts and insecurities, all the “why me” and “can’t ONE thing just [email protected]#ing work!?”… the nightmares about being stuck in a 9 to 5 forever, all the people saying, “I told you so”. You bounce from depressed to pissed to confused… This is the moment you decide to get serious… Or, walk away. THIS is what I mean by building a real business around your freelancing services. KNOWING
1000 things you could do here… But, let me tell you what I actually did. First… my first several clients all hired me because they’d seen some YouTube videos I did that were pretty close to what they wanted. At the time, I didn’t have a portfolio up, testimonials or even a page selling my services. They just found my email and emailed me. This is why I constantly beat the “create content” drum. It can work when you have nothing else. Second… all the projects I worked on were small. Fix a CSS bug here. Write a little PHP
The #1 question I get from people who WANT to get into freelancing. But, it’s interesting because 63% of people who DO freelance believe that a diversified portfolio of clients is MORE stable than a single employer. To me, it comes down to HOW you do it. So, I decided to do a video and explain that. If you’ve thought about getting into freelancing, but have been worried about the income stability, THIS is the video you should watch: Later, John
There’s a moment in every Freelancer’s career. You’ve got a few clients… Things seem to be going well. But, you’re not really sure how it all happened. You’re not making quite enough to feel comfortable. And, you can’t help but worry, constantly, about what happens if you lose one of our clients… and can’t get another. It’s a turning point. Figure it out and you go onto a successful freelance career. Don’t and you get stuck… unable to grow. Eventually, most give up. For me, it was “the hockey guy”. A hockey training membership site I’d built for a guy.
This is a really good question from Jeenie: Two things: First… and, I know, I know… “that’s what you ALWAYS say”. That’s because it’s true. It goes back to selling on value. The value you offer to a client should be MORE than time saved. The expertise you bring to the table. The quality of work. The reassurance it’s being done right. A whole host of “value-added” benefits beyond time saved. So, sure… Maybe, her client could do it themselves in 15 minutes. But, will it be done right? Will it be done to the same level of quality? Will
This is probably the hardest thing to convince freelancers of: It’s such a mindset shift. I think most freelancers, understandably, are a bit desperate when they start out. Hell, I was. I was trying to leave a 9-to-5 I hated. I was looking for something to just “work” and help me escape. And, I’d have begged clients if I had to. So, I get it. And, frankly, early on… You probably should work with clients who don’t pay well… And, are awful to work with. You just need experience… any experience almost. But, if you really wanna make the next
I guess I’m just an a-hole. My problem was always the other people I worked with. In particular, my boss. I just couldn’t work for someone I knew I was clearly smarter than and have to swallow my pride and run with all their dumb ideas. Like I said… a-hole. So, I’ve always known I had to be my own boss. I’d go insane otherwise. But, I always believed this naive notion that if I worked hard, did good work and did right by people, things would work out. My employers would see that and I’d be rewarded for it.
The simple secrets to high-paying freelance clients
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John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.
John has a particular knack for the development and training of others.
John Morris is exceptional in his ability to give focused insight into Freelancing and starting one’s business. His direct methods inspire confidence in his honesty.
John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!
John has a habit of over-delivering on the expectations he sets up. That’s why he’s the best.