170 FS How to Master the Pragmatic Details of Running a One-Person Business with Paul Jarvis

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00:55 - Paul Jarvis Introduction and Background

01:42 - Freelancing Patterns

  • Frustration

04:38 - Contracts and Negotiations

08:12 - Coaching Creative People

12:35 - Why work as a one-person business?

14:53 - Marketing

  • Niches
  • Networking

20:55 - Gaining Audience and Getting Booked

  • Creating Specific and Focused Content 32:01 - Testimonials and FeedbackPicks

DYFConf 2015 Video Conference Sessions (Jonathan)Mr. Robot (Paul)Huawei P8 lite - 5" Unlocked Android 4G LTE Smartphone (Reuven)


**[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow]**REUVEN: Hi everyone and welcome to episode 170 of The Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel, we have Jonathan Stark and Eric Davis, and this week’s special guest is Paul Jarvis. PAUL: Ahoyhoy. REUVEN:[Chuckles] Oh and I’m Reuven Lerner, before I forget to mention my name. Paul, tell us a little bit about yourself.PAUL: Hey. So yeah, I’m Paul Jarvis. I think my title, currently, is freelancer evangelist which sounds really fancy even though I’m not really that much of a fancy guy. But really, I help other freelancers mostly creative types, so I consider developers creative types as well even though some of them don’t. I help them do business better online, so taking the skills that they have and then making them be able to turn a profit or find good clients – that sort of thing. REUVEN: And what's your background? What did you do before this or what do you do in addition to this? PAUL: I have worked for myself for about 17 years. Before that, I went to school for computer science. And before that, the wheel wasn’t invented. REUVEN:[Laughter] What's the biggest problem that you see people come to you with if they're trying to run a freelancing business? If they're a creative type, not necessarily programmers, but programmers certainly included, what do you see most often? What sort of patterns?**PAUL: Well, I think, the biggest pattern that I see is frustration where they might be great at – because a lot of times, people start freelancing because they're good at what they do, like programmers are good programmers, or designers are good designers, that sort of thing, but they don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of working for yourself and all of the many hats that you need to wear – or toques, as we like to say in Canada. So the biggest frustration that I see is the – things like ‘I don’t know how to get my clients to listen to what I’m showing them’, or ‘I don’t know how to get them to listen to the expertise that I have’, or ‘I don’t know how to get them to not give awful feedback’, or ‘I don’t know how to get them to pay me more’ – that sort of thing. So really, it’s the frustration around dealing with clients and rarely is it a frustration around their skills because the skills they have locked in; it’s just all the other bits and bobs that go along with working for yourself. Because most of the time – like I went to school for computer science that most of you probably did as well, or if there’s designers that went to school like art school or design school or that sort of thing, there really isn't that much focus on business or that sort of thing. Or if there is, it’s kind of a high level working at a company sort of thing, not a ‘hey, maybe if you're going to work for yourself, these are some things that you should take into account’. So it’s not really being taught anywhere, and that’s really what I see the most questions and the most struggles. JONATHAN:**I lived about half a mile from where I went to school for design, which is a world class design school, and I’m occasionally pulled in to mentor in with the graduating seniors for a – just like a quick cocktail party type of thing, but go up and give a talk. And it pulls a hundred percent rate – at least in this case – they don’t know anything about business, selling their art, even simple stuff like how to put up a website, or ever what Etsy is; just like a complete and all-encompassing focus on the craft and absolutely nothing about how to make a living at it, which really blows my mind every time I see it. I’m surprised they don’t have more – at least a [inaudible] of a business, some kind of business acumen available for them to study. I went to music school and my major was business of music. At least in the music world there's some notion of this, but design, at least in this case, is just totally lacking. So these kids get out and it’s like ‘what am I going to do? We just try and get a job somewhere’.**PAUL: Actually, I have a bunch of people from the Rhode Island School of Design in my course, which is interesting. My wife actually went to school for the business of music, as well, which is also interesting. JONATHAN: Weird. PAUL: Yeah. REUVEN: I really had no idea that was actually something you could study, although it makes a tremendous amount of sense. It seems like in some ways, if high tech weren’t so lucrative where lots of companies around, there should probably be courses like that in universities now. PAUL: Yeah. One of the biggest things that my wife learned, which I think could apply to most other things is contracts and contract negotiation. So when her and I were in a band where she was in a separate band and we were getting offered record deals, we were able to – like most musicians, who are kind of freelancers as well if they're playing music for themselves, wouldn’t know what to look for in a contract. And because she had that background in business and music, she was able to be like ‘ok, yeah, this is awful. This word ‘in perpetuity’ or two words – the worst word ever in contracts’. And the same applies for freelancers as well that do more what we do. It’s all of these other stuff that is just as important as the craft, but people just don’t know it and then they get out there and then they're like ‘uh oh’. REUVEN: My synagogue was just negotiating a contractor. I don’t know if negotiating is the right word, but we were handed a contract by our city for the building that we’re renting. And I said something to our chairman about ‘why is this paragraph in the contract?’ He said, ‘oh, well, they told us this is their standard contract’. And I was like ‘ok, that phrase ‘standard – this is our standard contract’ is going to be the most overused one’. He was like ‘what do you mean?’ I said ‘ok, everyone says that so you won’t challenge it’. But if you don’t know that or if you’ve never been around the block a few times with contract negotiations, you'll just assume ‘oh, standard contract, wouldn’t want to mess with that’. PAUL: Yeah. I also see a lot because I've had a lawyer in my teaching part of the class that I teach for freelancers because I get a lot of questions from freelancers about contracts and legal in that. But most of them won’t contact a lawyer, and I don’t know – I don’t know why that is. The first thing I did when I started my business in the ‘90s was contact a lawyer, get incorporated, get a contract that I could use for clients that I could say ‘this is just part of the contract, don’t question it’; but at least, it’s mine. And so I feel like a lot of freelancers are scared to do that. They think ‘ok, if I hire a lawyer, I’m going to be charged $300 an hour, or $87 to send an email’ or something like that. And I think the fear dissuades people from doing that, same with accounting and doing books. There's so much that needs to be done in that when you work for yourself, and so many people don’t do it right because they don’t know or they don’t contact professionals. JONATHAN:**Right. Ironic, right? We’re supposedly professionals where the freelancers are professionals [crosstalk]. It’s like ‘oh, I’m a professional, whatever, and people should not think twice about paying me a hundred bucks an hour to do my expertise for them’. But then you turn around and there’s this fear of suits or something – I don’t know what it is, but I did the same thing you did. I was so nervous about getting out on my own that I had the reverse reaction. I was so nervous about it that I wanted as much help as I could get. So I got a financial advisor, I got an accountant, I got a lawyer, I asked around for referrals, I didn’t skimp on it. I got not the most expensive people I could find, but I didn’t pinch pennies, because as someone who has billed themselves out by the hour in the past, I believe that you get what you pay for especially in professional services. So I wanted the Mercedes options. I do coaching too, and a lot of people ask ‘oh, what should I do about this or that’ or ‘what terms and conditions should I use’ and I’m like ‘look, I’m nervous to even give you advice about this. My advice is go talk to a lawyer’. It depends on your risk profile and what you're comfortable with and what kind of clients you have, how much you trust them and how much vulnerability you want to expose yourself as or two, and it’s very personal. So I can tell you what I did, but it makes me think that people are going to go out and do it, which isn't necessarily the best fit for them. So anyway, just agreeing in all caps.**REUVEN: How did you start coaching creative folks? PAUL: I think because I've been doing this so long, I just fell into it. Because I made a name for myself in the niche that I serve, and then because I also do things like write for vast company in Inc. and Smashing Mag, and that can people see my name. And then I just started getting inundated with emails with people asking me things like that where I would as well, just as Jonathan said, tell people ‘I’m not a lawyer, talk to a lawyer if you have that kind of question’. But then, the questions about the business and the marketing, sales – obviously I could answer. And then I started doing some one-on-one coaching, and then I realized that I was hitting a ceiling with that because I'm super introverted, and doing a lot of coaching really drains me; if I do two coaching calls a day, that’s like – I can’t work the rest of the day; I’m just zapped. So I was like ‘ok, what if I do a course instead’ because then, it could be a one-to-many relationship, and I know how to market and sell things on the internet because that’s what I do. So I started that, and then I was able to get the same message in the same teaching and the same learnings out to more than just one-on-one. And then I do interactive calls once a month, as well, with the class, but it’s not – I’m not teaching people individually anymore. REUVEN: So when you say like it’s a one-to-many class then, are you recording videos and making them available to people or – like what format is it? PAUL: Yeah. So it is videos. It was me talking over slides. There's also an audio version of that. Keynote is so good; I could record my presentations in that, export it to Quicktime; Quicktime lets me export it to an audio file; Quicktime also lets me export the slides to PDF. And then I also have written lessons with each lesson, so each lesson has video, audio, slides, PDFs, written lesson, and then bonus materials as needed. It’s not dripped out either, as when you buy, you just get all of the lessons so you can go through it at your own pace. That seems to be working really, really well. I don’t remember the last time I got a support question, which is pretty good, but that took a lot of work to get to that. REUVEN: Let me just go off topic for a second there. You could record video with Keynote? PAUL: Just record presentation. It’s awesome. Seriously. REUVEN:**Oh my god. I’ll check. Well guys, this has been a great show now that I've gotten a lot out of it. [Laughter]**JONATHAN: Reuven, you can even record audio for a slide to when you go to the slide, it’s you talking to the slide. It is crazy. Keynote is amazing. REUVEN:**Okay, that’s just a little [inaudible].**JONATHAN: Right. So you have everything all prepped and just do the webinar and not worrying about saying the wrong thing or anything. REUVEN: That’s super cool. And for the people who are asking questions, I assume, obviously not doing your video presentations, but during the month, in your interactive call. PAUL: Yeah. So once a month, I do a live Q&A with a guest, so it’s a focused call, so it’s about one specific topic. Last month, for example, I had my friend Rachel Rogers who is a lawyer on the show, and I didn’t actually have that much to say in that because I’m not a lawyer, but sometimes, I had out mutual friend Kai Davis on the show, I've had Philip Morgan on the show; so we do a call where if there are questions that come up in that month around a certain topic, then the students can ask them. There's also a Slack channel too that I’m not in all the time, but I do check in almost probably every other day or so. But the Slack channel is more for people talking. It has a life of its own. It exists without me having to do anything with it, which is what I really like. And people – freelancers in there – are hiring each other. This woman – I think it was last week – posted that she hired a designer and developer from the Slack channel for my course. She hired a copywriter and she hired a print – like a layout designer all from the Slack channel. So everybody’s working with each other and hiring each other and helping with each other’s problems, which is probably my favorite part, to be honest. That’s the best part of the course, at least for me as the instructor, is seeing the Slack channel exist beyond me and students interacting and working with each other. REUVEN: That's great. How many people do you have roughly? PAUL: I think about 1600 people in the course and there's about – last time I checked, probably a bit over 400; maybe like 405, 406 people in the Slack channel because that’s an option that you don’t have to buy – you don’t have to participate, but it’s an added bonus if you want to. REUVEN: Interesting. So a topic, at least, as officially listed here is details in running a one person business, and so – I know when I started my consulting company – I think I've said this before on the podcast – I had these visions of like the Lerner Consulting Towers and we were going to be huge, and we’re going to have thousands of people working for us, and then the bottom dropped out in 2000 of the internet business and I had to fire all the people working for me which is 6 at the time. I was like ‘I’m never hiring other people again’, which I've gone back on now. But it sounds like you're concentrating on working with individuals who want to work as individuals. So first of all, why is that? And second of all, how do you tell people? How do you explain to people that this is probably better than trying to scale up in a massive way? PAUL: Yeah. So the reason that’s the type of people that I work with is because that’s the type of person I am. I've had a web design company that’s been booked months in advance for 17 years. I could grow, or I could have grown in the past. I’m glad I didn’t because I would rather be a maker than a manager. For some people that I know who are brilliant managers and they transition from being a maker to a manager, and that’s great for them – I've tried that; I've been a creative director at a company a very long time ago, but I just feel like that isn't something that I like to do. There's also something I don’t know anything about – so it’s really hard for me to teach that to other people because it’s not a topic I know. But working for yourself and finding ways to grow without growing employees is something that I’m super passionate about; it’s something that I've done for myself and something that I really like to talk to other people about. So it’s a no-brainer that that’s the audience that I like to reach. It’s pretty easy to sell that, as well, just like the story that you just told is one good example. I've been through a couple economic downturns and it’s a lot easier to scale when it’s just you. So if I don’t have work for a month or something like that, then that’s easy to deal with whereas the people that I know that have companies, their monthly burn rate effectively is quite a bit higher where they have rent on offices, they're paying salaries, they're paying medical, and all of that. It’s stressful. I have a couple of friends that wish they could go back to freelancing because it’s so stressful to be responsible for more than just yourself. And I’d rather just – to be honest, I’d rather just stay Peter Pan forever and just be responsible for me and not for other people. REUVEN: You mentioned a little on marketing. Can you give a little description of how you suggest freelancers market themselves? What are – I assume thing number one to do is not take out lots of Google ads. PAUL: Yeah, probably not. I mean, this – I'm sure that you guys have talked about this in the past, but it’s a lot of figuring out – it’s impossible to market your services to everybody because by default, if you don’t pick a niche, your niche is the internet or everybody. And I don’t know how to market to that. I can’t take out television ads like Facebook during the Superbowl or something like that. But I can, if it’s in much smaller pond, and I focus the type of work that I do to a very specific audience, then those people are easy to find because they spend time reading the same sites, which is why I write for the sites that I do, or they spend time in communities, or they do things where it’s a lot easier to profile who they are and what they do and then reach them, go hang out in the same places, go talk to them, be helpful to them, make a name for yourself in a little pool. Because I've built more, so basically, if the market is big enough for that group of people that you want to focus on that have a conference, then there's enough people to support what you do forever, basically. And it’s pretty much true. The niche that I focus on for my own web stuff is super tiny, but is also super big. And its – people know who I am in that niche whereas if other people in other niches don’t know who I am, and that’s perfectly fine. And I know so many people who do so well because they’re just marketing to one specific type of person and one specific niche with a very specific, as Jonathan says, expensive problem to solve. JONATHAN: Yeah. Morgan’s paradox right: the smaller your focus, the bigger it is. PAUL:**Exactly. I've done research on all of you guys. [Laughter]**JONATHAN: You said ‘that’s why I write for the publications I write for’. And you’ve written for some really big publications. How did you get your foot in the door, or how would someone get their foot in the door at something like that? PAUL:**It’s networking. It’s a hundred percent networking. And I did a test for this. So I’d already written for a lot of big publications. And so I decided to cold email a hundred of them or about a hundred of them – maybe it wasn’t exactly a hundred; it is a lot – just to see if I could pitch an idea to submissions@ or whatever the email address was, or there are like four one mashable or something like that. I got one response, and I wish I didn’t because then it would be a much better case study like I got no responses, but one person replied and published my article. But that doesn’t really work. So the way that I did it and the way that most people do it, it’s almost like stalking except it’s not creepy. So if I wanted to write for a publication, I will start to look at the authors that currently write for them, start following them, start reading their personal site. These are people that I should find interesting anyways because I’m doing similar things; they’re just doing it on a different platform. So I would start to leave comments on their site, subscribe to their newsletters, start to talk to them on social, and just get to know the type of people that do the type of writing on those publications. And then eventually, they might read something on my own site, and they’d be like ‘hey, maybe you can write for us’. And that’s how I started with writing for publications. This started with just medium level publications first. And this is years after – years of me writing on my own site and not beating myself up about not being published anywhere other than my own site. And then after a while, people started to come to me, like ‘hey Paul, can you write an article for us’, and I’ll be like ‘sure’. And then, I would start to talk to other people who would write for those similar publications and see where they’re writing for. And then maybe, if I had a good enough relationship with them, I would ask for the intro. And this is basically the solid gold part of writing for publications, is getting an intro to an editor from somebody that already writes for that publication. And that, I think, I bet a hundred percent with, or a thousand percent – I don’t know sports. I don’t know why I used a sports analogy. But if I get a personal intro to an editor from somebody that already writes for that person, I know I'm going to write for that publication whereas if I email submission@  – I think most of these publications have interns that just sit there clicking like open email, delete email, open all day. I think all these big publications just have an intern that that’s their job; that submission deleter, the dream killer. So it’s all – [laughter]**REUVEN:**By the way, when you say this, because I’ve been writing for a living externally for 20 years now. It’s about every month, and every so often, maybe once every year and a half or so, I’ll get an email for someone saying ‘hey, would you mind introducing me to your editor?’ First of all, I've never heard of these people before. Second of all, I think the current editor’s been there for about 10 years now; we only spoke on the phone for the first time about a month ago because we had a conference call with IBM about an ebook that they're sponsoring. Otherwise, it’s just been like I sent in my article, she sends it back saying ‘ok, these are few fixes’. That is the extent of our relationship, [inaudible] so I’m always like ‘well, I can introduce the editor, but I don’t think it’s really going to do very much’. At least now I know why people are doing this.**PAUL:**Yeah. If you don’t know that person, why would you send an intro? I get emails all the time like ‘can you introduce me to your contact, that bus company?’ I’m like ‘no’ [chuckles]. If we don’t a relationship, whereas the people I know that I know are good writers that I have an existing relationship with, because I’m very guarded with those because I don’t want to waste my editor’s time. So it’s not just a matter of ‘oh, so and so writes for the publication. I’m just going to email them and see if they can introduce me’. I really don’t see that happening. I still wouldn’t ever do that. I would lean on building actual relationships with people, and then if it makes sense to ask for that, if you have may be done some things to help that person – it’s almost like business karma; instead of wearing birken socks and ponchos to get good karma, you’re just on computers or something like that. But you need to give a little to get a little, basically, in business, as well as if you're a hippie.**JONATHAN: So did you notice once you got an article published in an old media big time publication, say, Anchor Fast Company – did you notice that had a direct impact on your business – you mentioned being booked months and months in advance, I’m assuming those two things are related, but I’m curious. PAUL:**No, but I did notice because [chuckles] the reason I was doing that was more from the product side of what I do, so I do sell more books or more courses when I do that sort of thing, but – so that’s more the audience that I’m trying to reach on there as for the books and the products, but I do notice the difference there. And that really catapulted audience growth for me like newsletter subscriptions to my newsletter. Every time I write a post, I get [inaudible] for Smashing Magazine, I get hundreds of people that sign up the next day. That’s a quality publication whereas some of these like writing for, say, Huffington Post – they're just a content factory. That doesn’t do anything other than maybe being able to say they're writing for Huffington Post. So it depends on the publication. But it does, especially in the beginning, that’s really what helped me build an audience quickly was getting my words in front of lots of different publications, not just on my own website.**JONATHAN: Right. So speaking of your main business – I imagine that’s probably of more interest to the audience because the coaching thing’s a little bit meta. Is there anything you can point to that you did to get yourself booked so solid for design work? I would imagine a lot of people heard that comment earlier and were like ‘whoa, how – booked months in advance for 17 years. That’s insane’. PAUL:**Yeah. I keep raising my rates a lot too [chuckles]. So that really is the result of focusing on a very specific type of person that I want to work with. And then the main reason that people find me to do web work is because they’ve seen my name in that industry; they’ve seen my name at the bottom of sites that they like. I've been able to – because I focus on the news I focus on for so long, I've been able to work with the top people in that audience, in that little niche. So people, if they're in that niche, they know who I am. They don’t think about – and this is basically the best possible position for you to be in as a freelancer – when people think about getting a website done or fixing something in their online business, they think of me. It takes a lot of work to get there, but it’s not difficult work. I turned down works, say, from working for an insurance agency because that’s not the audience that I want to serve. And I did this in – a lot of people are like ‘oh, that’s all and well good for you now because you're in a position to do that’, but I did that in the beginning. I was pretty focused on the type of work I wanted. If I had rent to pay, then whatever, I’m just going to take on whatever work I need to, but as soon as I pass by ‘oh shit number’ for the month, like I need this to eat food and have a roof over my head, then I would be super specific with the type of people that I work with. And I was always creating – and I saw, when I first started writing years ago, I noticed that most web designers were writing for other web designers. And I was like ‘other web designers aren’t giving me money. Why don’t I write for the type of people that I want to give me money?’ So I started writing super specific articles about people who had struggles with building their online [inaudible] write a book about it – about building your online business; it has the worst title ever as well. But I started creating in content for the audience that I wanted and that I wanted to keep getting. And so I built my name up as an expert by creating tons and tons of content in that. I built my name up because I had my name at the bottom of a lot of websites and I helped a lot of my clients become barely successful. It wasn’t me who made them successful, obviously, but I did everything in my power to help them succeed in their business because with my clients did really well. And some of them have 8-figure businesses now. So their name is out there all over the place, and my name is associated with them because I helped in one small part of their business. So it becomes so much easier. I don’t need to sell. I basically just need to talk to somebody and be like ‘ok, does it seem like it’s a good fit for the type of work you want, and do we seem like we have an understanding of what my role is and what your role is, and then maybe we can work together?’**JONATHAN: Yup. REUVEN: When you say that you decided to focus on a certain niche, which is certainly something we talk a lot on the podcast, and we hear from, truthfully, the most successful freelancers, what's specifically do you focus on? Are you focusing on technology? Are you focusing on a business area? Are you focusing on a size of business – some combination? PAUL: Yeah. For me, I really like to work with people who are their brand. So they may have a team, but what they do falls under the umbrella of their name. And also, they do 100% of their business on the internet because the people that make their money on the internet have the most money to spend on internet things, right? And then for me, it’s mostly like I work almost primarily with women. And I've done this for a very, very long time, and what I found was there wasn’t a lot of resources for women and business quite a while ago. There's still not, but it is catching up. And there were some people building products for women doing business things, and I was like ‘this is cool’ and I like to do it because especially, initially, women entrepreneurs are much more interested in doing things their way instead of ‘this is just the way it’s supposed to be done’. I read it on some listicle article on Inc. Magazine or something. So the women that I was working with were doing much more interesting things than anybody else I was working with, and that’s the niche that I serve now is it’s predominantly women who have their business completely on it. All their money is generated through the internet and the person that I work with is the brand and the business. REUVEN: That’s pretty specific, right, but there were clearly more than enough of those to keep you going now for quite some time. PAUL:**Oh my goodness, yeah. There's tons. It’s like 50% of the world are women, something like that. [Crosstalk] That’s not my audience because not just women are my audience; it’s much more specific than that, like I said, but people are building products for them and making things in interesting and unique ways, definitely. That’s – it’s huge. It’s an – it’s huge.**REUVEN: So first of all, I think it’s interesting that you’ve literally and explicitly cut out. It’s not that you're advertising necessarily to 50% of the world, although that’s true, but you're excluding 50% of the world, as well. And that has not hurt your business at all on the contrary; it’s just helped you to focus and get more. PAUL: Yeah. Exactly. It doesn’t do anything – it’s so funny because that’s the gut reaction to people who don’t focus, who just want to work with anybody and everybody, is that ‘oh, if I focus, then I’m going to limit myself’. And that’s not necessarily the case because if I needed the work and a guy or somebody not in my audience came to me to get work done and I needed work, I’d be like ‘ok’. So the work coming in, I can say yes or no to, and it doesn’t matter the audience. But in terms of what I put out there, what I content market, all of my outbound marketing efforts are very focused. But if work comes to me that I just need to take, I’m going to take it. So it doesn’t limit me in any way whatsoever. It’s just the focus that I have pushing myself out there is what's focused. JONATHAN: Would you say to people who maybe are listening to this that they're having the fear; they're just scared to do this, they're nodding along like ‘yeah, that makes sense, but it won’t work for me because of some reasons’. I assume that this is at least a decent size chunk of the course. How do you – what language do you use to reassure people that this is the good thing to do? Is it just like a series of examples like – I’m sure, between the bunch of us, we know two dozen people that have done this and just raved about it, but still, it’s a minority position. So how do you convince people that they should really take the leap into a niche? PAUL: Yeah. So it’s a few things. It’s a bit of a psychological aspect where fear and action can exist in tandem. And I know for myself, or for a lot of creative people, there's a lot of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, all of that especially when it comes to focusing on a niche, because when you focus on a niche, you are, in fact, an expert, and that scares a lot of people. And it doesn’t really need to, so there's a bit of a psychological aspect to it, but there's also just like – I can logic my ideas out fairly good, so it really comes down to what I was saying in the beginning like if you don’t have a focus, your focus by default is everyone. So how do you market to everyone? Because I don’t know how to do that. But then, if you start to focus on a specific niche, then you can find where they are. And I break it down into a few lessons because I think it’s that important where figuring out –the first thing you need to figure out is your purpose and the value that you have for a specific audience. The second thing you need to do is do a bit of research into the audience. And the third thing is figuring out what the problem that you're solving for that audience is. It’s just like when people hire me to do their website, I don’t talk about things like PHP, or Wordpress, or grid systems, or typography; all we talk about initially is their business: what problems they have, what's working, what's not, and then how I can use the skills that I have to solve those problems. And so design and development just really – just an output; it’s not the reason. And when you start to shift your mindset like that, it becomes a lot easier to focus on a niche because you're familiar with the problems that people have. If you only work with business coaches, you will probably understand after 2 or 3 year, 5 or 50 projects that you’ve done, the problems that most have and how to overcome those problems because now you’ve built up a track record. So now if you're talking to a new potential coach who wants to hire you, say, to build their website, it’s like ‘look, here's something that I did 6 months ago for so and so, and now their revenue’s double’, or ‘a year ago, I did this one thing for this coach’s mailing list, and now their signups have increased by a certain amount’. So once you start to niche and focus, then you start to be able to build all of these tangible results which sell for you. You don’t need to pitch yourself as like ‘oh, you need to hire me for these reasons’. It’s just like ‘let me tell you a story about this previous client, and here's what I did for them’. Even on my site when I have my portfolio up – it’s offline at the moment because I’m focusing on things, but all of the testimonials on the portfolio page were business testimonials. The one at the top was ‘Paul Jarvis helped me build a million dollar business from scratch with his web work’ or something like that. And I don’t need much more than that. Because people read that and they're like ‘oh, Paul Jarvis did this for you? How can I get in touch with this Paul Jarvis?’ REUVEN: And they’ll pay you anything less than a million dollars to get there. PAUL: Exactly. And then once you get more of those testimonials and you start to build tangible results, that’s actually another thing that I think a lot of freelancers do wrong is testimonials and case studies. A lot of freelancers ask for a testimonial as soon as the project is finished or when the website launches or something like that, and the testimonial you're going to get at that point is ‘so and so is a great designer. So and so and so is a pleasure to work with’, and that does nothing. That makes people think that you're a nice person. I don’t really trust every nice person that I know. Most of them are hippies or flakes. But if you develop a schedule for following up with the clients that you’ve worked with in the past, like say, a month down the road or two months down the road or 6 months down the road, you can start to see ‘what results have you seen since I helped you launch this? What are the tangible benefits of the work that I did for you?’ now that your audience has had this for this amount of time. And then you're going to start to see testimonials from clients that are the result of tangible things happening instead of just ‘so and so is such a great designer’. So then you can start to build really good success stories, case studies, testimonials, and things that you can start to bring in to conversations when you're pitching work to a client. JONATHAN:**Right. Couldn’t agree more with that. Obviously, we’re pretty much in the same page across the board on all of these stuff. But I recently – I don’t do that much dev anymore, I’m definitely now a web designer, web developer, but I don’t do that much anymore, but as an experiment, I recently took on a dev project, and part of the – and the whole thing [inaudible] what's the – somebody got referred to me and they said ‘we want you to do this mobile re-design’ and my first question was ‘why? How are we going to know if it’s a success? What is it that you're trying to achieve here?’ et cetera, et cetera. And the whole conversation was about outcomes, not deliverable. And then in the actual proposal, I explicitly said that they're welcome to give me design feedback, but I got to retain veto power on it because I'm the expert with the stuff and if they are telling me to make the logo bigger, then that’s going to – potentially going to impact the outcomes that are stated – the stated goals of the project. It was a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition and they accepted it; because no one really cares. Everybody has an opinion of what it should look like. But if you ask my opinion about something, I will give you an opinion and I will defend it vigorously, but then if you say ‘do you really care about this?’ I’ll say ‘no. You need to ask me about what color of lamp to put in the bedroom, I couldn’t care less, but I will fight about what the best color is if you ask me’, and I think that’s what happens in a lot of design meetings is people are like – they get into this like ‘oh well, are you guys happy with the color of this button?’ and now you're forcing the client to do your job which is to know what the right design is or at least test and find out what the right design is. You shouldn’t even be asking them what – they're not the expert at that; they're the expert at making money with their business. And it works out great – where it has worked out great for me. If you keep the conversation at that level and you make it clear that if there's some things that they recommend that are perhaps relevant to their audience or their customers that maybe they're in a type of industry like sports that I know zero about, and I need some feedback about how users are going to react to a particular label on a button, sure I’ll ask that, but we’re not going to nit color discussion about what shade of blue should you use for the lines in between table rows.**PAUL:**Exactly. And that really comes down to clients don’t know how to get good feedback because they know their business, not our business. So if you teach your clients to give good feedback, you will get – just like you did, Jonathan, which is what I do as well. And I actually give my clients a document that says ‘this is how you give feedback. This is the type of feedback that I can’t do anything about’. And what I find with that – and I guess so many freelancers are like ‘I can’t believe you have the guts to do that’. I was like ‘I can’t believe you have the guts not to do that. I get good feedback from my clients instead of things like make the logo bigger or make that blue bluer or move that button of pixel to the left’. I don’t do anything with that type of feedback because it’s not – that doesn’t relate to their business goals or to outcomes in any way. And if you teach your clients to give good feedback, then by golly [chuckles], you're going to get good feedback or at least better feedback from them, and if they give you feedback that you can’t really do anything with or that you don’t want to act on, you can talk to them about it. I think a lot of freelancers are scared like ‘this is a person that’s giving me money. I don’t want to question them’, then you get thrown into the role by default of a laborer. So the client is not going to tell you how to your job, and you just have to do it, and that’s basically the worst case scenario for any freelancer is to be in that place where as if you're regarded as an expert who knows what they're doing, and the client hired you to do the work and to give your expert opinion and feedback on the work that you're doing, then they're not going to question as much. They're more just going to guide you in terms of what works or doesn’t work for their business instead of ‘let’s make this 5% to bluer or change the font to Acrylic’ – that just [chuckles] useless, useless stuff.**JONATHAN:**Yeah. When I get feedback like that, it’s like ‘oh, what if we add a woozy wig toolbar’, and my response – once the project started, if I – because they’ll still sometimes do that even though you’ve explained that that – I just say ‘what's the business case? Explain to me the business case’ because there might be a really good reason that they have to do that or they might be a much better way to achieve the goal that doesn’t involve messing up the – whatever my data model by adding reformatted text to the database or whatever it is. I’ll have some reason where there's no way I am going to add this thing that they specifically requested. But it’s them trying to help you, actually. They're like ‘oh, we have this problem that we’re not going to tell you, but we thought a solution for it already. So here’s the solution we’d like to put in’. And it’s [crosstalk] as the expert to be like ‘ok, well what's the business case for that because there might be an even better way to do it.**PAUL: Exactly. And that’s really teaching the client – that is what I teach in the course –is how to get your client to give you descriptive feedback instead of prescriptive feedback. So descriptive is get the client – if the client doesn’t like something, get them to describe what the problem is and not tell you how to fix it because they're giving you money to use your skills to fix their problems. So if they tell you how to fix their problems, they shouldn’t be paying you because they could just do it themselves or hire somebody on Fiverr to do it. So getting your clients to give descriptive instead of prescriptive feedback is like night and day when you're working with other people. REUVEN: Absolutely. I think we should head into the picks, guys. Jonathan, do you have any picks for this week? JONATHAN: Just one. Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Conference is coming up next week, if I've got my dates right. Anyway –. REUVEN: It’s hour in the next week. It’s their today. JONATHAN: Is it really? Ok. Well, that’s fine because what I’m going to tell you about is if you are not in Virginia in the United States, or if you're hearing this after the conference, there is a $99 video available of all of the conference sessions, not unedited, but complete unabridged videos of the conference that are at a very convoluted Gumroad URL that we can put in the show notes, but I won’t bother reading it to anyone. But there are a bunch of speakers, including myself, and names that every long-time listeners of the show will recognize many of the names. So I think that’s a great deal and people should check it out. REUVEN: Yeah, absolutely. I can’t make it to the conference even though I really wanted to, so I got the video package. So I will be able to see you, Jonathan. There you go. JONATHAN:Fabulous. [Chuckles]REUVEN: Paul, you got any picks for us? PAUL: My biggest pick right now is completely not business related, but it’s this show Mr. Robot which I was making fun of. I heard the name of it, and then I read the description on iTunes and I was like ‘this is going to be the dumbest show ever’. And then Kai Davis was like ‘watch an episode and then tell me what you think’. And I watched an episode and I was hooked. It’s actually like – the way that – it’s not like their hacking isn't like 3D models of things that they have some weird GUI that they're typing in and hacking in the systems. It’s actual terminals and scripts and stuff like that. It’s a really, really good show, so that’s probably my favorite pick right now; it’s the show Mr. Robot. REUVEN: Cool. I got a pick for this week also. I think a number of months ago, I picked my previous cellphone. I was like ‘yeah, it was pretty good, it was pretty cheap, but it’s pretty good’. And then as I was standing on line in the Beijing airport, I guess about a month ago, I took the phone out of my pocket and the screened had cracked when it had worked perfectly a few hours before – a few minutes before. So I went and searched for a new cellphone and I've been using it, I guess, for a month now – the Huawei P8 Lite. And it’s also cheap, but not as cheap as the previous one. But I’m really, really happy with it. I feel like now, wow, so this is what happens when you actually spend a little extra money on a phone and you're not a total ridiculous cheapskate. And it works. It’s fast, it’s nice, I get good internet connections, I get good phone call connections. Really, I’m super, super happy with it. So if you're looking for a new cellphone, and you know there are not many vendors out there, one to consider. Well, I guess that does it for this week on the Freelancers’ Show. Paul, where can people find out more about you? PAUL: The course that we've been talking in and out about is called The Creative Class. It’s creativeclass.io. If you like to read articles about freelancing and creativity and brain ponderings, then I have a weekly newsletter called the Sunday Dispatches and that’s at pjrvs.com, or if you just search my name on Google on the first 2 or 3 pages. I’m pretty easy to find on the internet. REUVEN: Excellent. Thanks everyone for joining us. Thank you, Paul, so much for your advice and suggestions, and we will see you guys all next week. [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Wanna support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]**

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