Freelancers’ Show

The Freelancers' Show discusses the challenges that freelancers face. The panel includes technology freelancers and entrepreneurs with many years of experience.

Subscribe

Get episodes automatically

The Freelancers’ Show: LIVE Q&A #4 – January 27, 2015


Ask your questions via Twitter! Tweet to @freelancershow

or

show up to our next live Q&A on Tuesday, March 24th at 11AM Pacific, 2PM Eastern: http://freelancersanswers.com/webinar.

01:40 – Are RFPs (Request For Proposals) worth applying to if you’re a solo freelancer? What are some strategies for landing RFPs?

08:26 – Handling Taxes

  • Hire an Accountant!
  • Save Extra

13:02 – Subcontractors

15:11 – Partnerships

19:56 – How does one break into a market to launch a product?

  • Entering a Niche
  • Email Lists
  • Podcasting
  • Writing Newsletters
  • Tweet/Interact on Social Media
  • Attend Conferences/Meetups
  • Be Genuine

28:06 – Popups, Guest Posting, Lead Magnets, and Giveaways

See Also

Picks

Launch: A Startup Documentary (Eric)
The Best of Art of Value Podcast (Curtis)
The Quitter by Jon Acuff (Curtis)
BLU Life 8 Phone (Reuven)
John Sonmez's How To Build A Blog That Will Boost Your Career (Chuck)

This episode is sponsored by

comments powered by Disqus

TRANSCRIPT

[This episode is brought to you by Audible. Audible is the first place I go to keep my business skills sharp. They offer over 150,000 books on business, finance, planning and much more. They also have a great selection of fiction that keeps me entertained when I’m just not up for some serious content. I love it because I can buy a book, download it to my iPhone, and listen while running errands or at the gym. Get your free trial at freelancersshow.com/audible]

[This episode is brought to you by Code School. Code School offers interactive online courses in Ruby, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and iOS. Their courses are fun and interesting and include exercises for the student. To level up your development skills go to freelancershow.com/codeschool]

[This episode is brought to you by ProXPN. If you are out and about on public Wi-Fi, you never know who might be listening. With ProXPN, you no longer have to worry. ProXPN is a VPN solution which sends all of your traffic over a secure connection to one of their servers around the world. To sign up, go to ProXPN.com and use the promo code tmtcs (short for teach me to code screencasts) to get 10% off for life]

CHUCK: We allow potty breaks.

REUVEN: So it means we can’t have a long marathon – a telethon that we wanted.

CURTIS: Were you going to dance this time Reuven?

REUVEN: [Chuckles] Not even if one of you want to to give money.

ERIC: I was thinking to the piano stylings of your neighbor.

REUVEN: [Chuckles]

CHUCK: Alright. Well, to kick this off we did have a question on Twitter. We posted that people could ask their questions on twitter. So this question is, are RFPs, which I’m assuming is “request for proposal”, worth applying to if you’re a solo freelancer? Then he amends it, maybe a better question is what are some strategies for landing RFPs if you’re solo?

ERIC: Don’t do them.

CURTIS: I think the biggest problem with RFPs is there’s typically somebody on the inside who already has the job but the organization requires that they get three proposals before they can actually commit to one, right? So if you don’t know you’re the inside person, then it’s probably not you. It is the big thing. Also, again coming into this to the doctor saying, “Here’s all my problems, what’s it going to take to solve them?” The doctor just tells you what to do without actually doing any diagnosis. So RFPs are good bases – I wish to start a discussion with the real problems are, but I don’t think they’re any good for actually doing a good project. Because you never hear what the success rates of these projects either way. Do they actually turn out well? Do they accomplish the goals or they just check off some things?

REUVEN: I heard this all the time, it’s very typical in Israel for – I think by law all government, any public thing has to be done in RFP. I toyed with the idea on occasion of maybe applying to them. Then I looked what was necessary in order to apply for a government contract and the requirement was so onerous. There was just no way I was going to be able to do all that paper work. I don’t even know [inaudible 03:02] fulfill the requirements.

What Curtis is saying sounds right to me and I remember hearing this here and there where basically they have someone they want to do the job. They will often tune the RFP to that person’s strengths. So you’re already coming in one or two steps down because the requirements are A, B and C. and what do you know, this guy meets exactly A, B and C. [Inaudible 03:23] That said, I know that there are companies, at least in Israel. There are a bunch of large consulting companies that basically make all of their money or most of their money doing these large government contracts.

It’s possible to have a business model that works that way [inaudible 03:41] is necessarily looking for. Their staff that’s looking for this sort of thing [inaudible 03:47] people put into it, and they’re just moving bodies around from project to project. Unless it’s really looking for someone that’s really cool or interesting or career advancing.

CURTIS: Yeah, they’ll probably someone that sole job have multiple people whose sole job is to win RFPs – that’s it. I just can’t compete with that stuff. I have a blanket email that basically says, what I said before, “This is a waste of my time. This is you diagnosing a problem and not coming to an expert and I just don’t engage in that. If you’d like to, this is a basis for proper scoping session to really figure out what your problems are and how we can measure it, I’d love to talk, but otherwise please take me off your list.”

REUVEN: [Inaudible 04:25] RFPs too?

CURTIS: I probably get about one a month, and that’s all I send back. It’s just a blanket, I don’t even fill in their names. Here you go, this is what you get back . One guy sent it to me again two weeks later. [Inaudible 04:46] you already sent this to me and I replied, “I don’t do RFPs, please see my other email.”

CHUCK: The other thing is, let’s say for one second that it’s a project where

they don’t already have somebody picked out. So then, what they’re doing is they’re going out and their trying to get as many bids as possible.  They want to get a wide variety of people bidding all kinds of stuff so that they can feel good about making the decision they’re going to make.

Then ultimately, you often don’t get a real shot at selling it unless you’re one of the three bottom bids or unless you’re telling them something that they really want to hear. So, why go to somebody that you have to go in and waste a bunch of time putting together a proposal that they’re probably only going to look at one number on. Then if they don’t, you still have to go in and sell it against a couple of other folks.

So it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me when you can actually go and nail something in a niche, have people coming to you, build your reputation and go out and actually find people. If you actually need a job right now and you’re seeing this RFP, you’re still better off going and talking to all the people that you know and finding somebody that they know that needs your help.

CURTIS: I even had this client I followed up for probably three months, a local women’s business group. I followed them up for three or four months over and over and finally got the RFP. I wrote back and said, “This is sad because I don’t do RFPs and this is basically a waste of my time.” That was the short version, I was a little annoyed at that time, so I probably made my standard email a little more annoyed. But still, it’s not worth it to engage in those, at all. You want to be that expert that they’re coming to, right? It’s like Chuck said, they’re looking for that bottom line number which has the cheapest I can get. I said, “That’s it, I’m walking away.” Not who’s the expert, who’s the best person for this, who’s the best fit for us. They’re just saying, “Who can we spend the least amount of money with?”

REUVEN: [Inaudible 06:28] Was not the cheapest, there is a qualifier in there too, but it’s unlikely that it will be any of us. If you have a contact somewhere, my upstairs neighbor for a while was in charge of these really [inaudible 06:42] procurement of ships. It’s a nice job to have, I would get something else [inaudible 06:48] but basically he said to me, “You own your own consulting company, would you be interested in doing some [inaudible 06:54]? “I’ll just bring the paper work by.” These were 400 pages, I kid you not, but I would have to fill out, just to sign so I would be able to participate in their RFPs. After that I said, “This is not my cup of tea.”

CHUCK: I think we all agree. ERIC, do you have anything to add?

ERIC: Not really. I think I’ve done two. I can’t remember if they were RFPs but they did the RFP, they wanted to hire me when they started it. So I don’t think I really applied to many of them. I think I talked to a couple of them and then I did what Curtis had where you talk to them, get into a sales conversation and then they smack you with an RFP. I decline and walk away.

The other side of it, if you are a larger agency, RFPs can be a good staple because their pretty consistent. They’re out there a lot. If you do have one employee or you dedicate a certain amount of time and that’s a part of your sales process, it might work. But I think you have to get out of the constraints that they’ve put you in. you can’t just submit a bid. You have to go above and beyond.  Whether it’s talking to a client and getting into conversations with them so they remember you.

I look at a lot – when you’re going to apply for a job, if you just applied to the job and go to the interview like everyone else, you’re going to be looked at pretty equal [inaudible 08:14] as everyone. But if you send a personal letter, you try to have coffee with the hiring person, you’re going to stand out. I think it’s the same thing with RFPs.

CHUCK: Completely agree. In that chat room Bravo SC asked, “It would be great to get a quick review of how to handle taxes, as well as working with other freelancers and those taxes,” He says he’s in the USA, which does makes a difference.

CURTIS: I think the general rule is talk to an accountant. Figure out how much you’re going to pay approximately and save five percent extra all the time, and more even if you can. So as the dollar exchange between Canadian and US, I get paid mostly in US; it’s been awesome. I do the math pretty quick in an application called Solver [inaudible 08:59] which does dollar conversions really quickly.  So I figure out what taxes do I really need to take off this all the time. Because taxes are not a surprise, they are coming just like death. The government does not let you away with it and you need to save for it.

That’s the biggest overall mistake that I see in the not hiring an accountant. I’ve had an accountant since the years I made eight thousand dollars combined with my wife I’m doing the same guy.

CHUCK: Did he freeze or just me?

REUVEN: Must be really cold there.

CHUCK: He said exactly what I was going to say. Go to an accountant, find out how much you got to put away, put away a little more than that. Then you get a bonus every year when you pay your taxes because you saved more than you ought.

REUVEN: [Inaudible 09:41] Just the way things work in North America. In Israel, I pay taxes every month, my accountant says, “You made X thus, you have a multi payment or [inaudible 09:53.]” So at the end of the year I’m just basically paying the difference of what I owed or sometimes you can get a refund if we over estimated.

CHUCK: Yeah, in the US you can pay quarterly taxes. In fact, I think you’re supposed to and there’s a penalty for not doing so but the penalty has never been enough for me to actually go to the trouble of paying it. So I just pay once every year.

ERIC: Yeah, I think you could do annual or quarterly. I think it’s something along the lines of by October, you have to have paid eighty percent of your estimates and if you didn’t you fall into that penalty. You might not need to do quarterly if you don’t make enough to hit a certain amount. It’s [inaudible 10:31] and I paid the penalty the first year and I just have my accountant say, “Pay this much.” Every six months or she will update and say, “We’re going to readjust, then at the very end of December we’ll do some prepayments just to shift tax burdens around.” That’s the thing I think I pay at 500 or 600 dollars a year for all of this and doing taxes. The amount of time I spend doing that is an hour or two, versus dozens of hours so it’s worth it.

CHUCK: That matches up with my experience. My accountant’s like 650 bucks when I sit down with them.

ERIC: Half of them is a tax right off too.

REUVEN: I paid way more than that for my accountant. I think I pay probably the equivalent of 300 dollars a month [inaudible 11:15]. Like to do an annual report for my company, so the monthly is basically for bookkeeping. Then the annual which is another 2000 dollars or so is to file a report with the government. It also folds in most of my personal taxes which most people [inaudible 11:31] don’t have to do, if you’re rich or if you own a company. Which people seem to think is the same thing. [Chuckles] I wish. Well, I have to have an accountant.  I could do my books myself but then I’d be in so much more trouble.

CHUCK: Are you paying him to do your books and file your taxes and everything else?

REUVEN: Yeah, I basically have a drawer full or a plastic bag full of paperwork every month and email him the bank statements and all sorts of other stuff, him and the bookkeeper who works for me. Then they get back to me a week later and say, “This is what you owe in taxes for this month, the different kinds of taxes. And you’re missing information on,” and there’s always a list of things I was not a good boy about. It’s actually definitely in the company’s interest and in my interest to have someone else doing this. I would just be terrible at it.

CHUCK: I find though that if, for bookkeeping, if I sit down and do it myself it takes me a couple of hours every month, which means that if I do it every week, we’re talking like a half hour. But the nice thing is I know where all the money’s going, I know what’s coming in, all that stuff. I can get a better feel for what I need to focus on, and so I think it really depends on what you’re doing because I have money coming in for podcast sponsorships, I have money coming in from other things, and then I have money coming in from the consulting and so it’s a little bit different prioritizing that versus prioritizing one client over another maybe.

I like to do it because then I know what the numbers are and I know what’s making a difference with what. Then I give a report to my accountant at the end of the year and he does the tax thing.

One other question that was related to this was subcontractors. So have you guys hired subcontractors?

REUVEN: I have, again the legal paper work are going to be different but basically if I have a subcontractor in Israel and they are exactly like a company. They make me receipts, tax receipts here and tax like the VAT which is like sales tax and then I hand that to my accountant exactly as if I bought anything in the store or any sort of good or service. After that, it’s very easy. If someone does not have that, on occasion people wanted to work with me or I wanted to hire them if I had that sort of business, if it’s going to be a long relationship I’ll just hire them as an employee of my company. But it’s usually not worth it for anyone.

CHUCK: Yeah, there are enough requirements on you if you hire an employee in the US to where I just hire subcontractors because ultimately then and this is what [inaudible 14:01] said in the chat. I get a W-9 from them upfront, I send them a 1099 in January that is if I pay them more than 600 dollars, I think is the limit. Then they’re responsible for all their taxes, etc. I have hired subcontractors outside of the country and if out of the country then I don’t actually have to file any paperwork for them. I just have to show that I paid them, and I think I may have to demonstrate that they actually did some work for me, that’s it. That’s only if I get audited.

REUVEN: The whole international definitely makes it much more complicated in some ways but also easier in some ways. Because the moment that you’re dealing with people outside of your own country, then your tax authorities are like, “Well, just show us some paper work that we’re doing something for you somewhere.” It becomes less official, based on my experience.

CHUCK: They generally don’t, at least from what I’ve seen and heard, they’re not as strict about that. But then you have to deal with exchange rates and how to wire the money or send them a check, or deposit on PayPal or whatever options you have or don’t have and that depends on the country.

Anything else to add on that before we answer the next question?

Alright let me tackle this one, or read it anyway. All of you are individual freelancers but some work with subcontractors, what do you think about partnerships that makes you look bigger when taking on clients, talking to clients, more stability, etc.? Do you think the downsides outweigh those positives? Most bigger customer steer away from individuals. Go out alone or find a partner? Thoughts?

CURTIS: I think that comes back again to you being an expert or not. I worked with very large companies who have come to me because I am an expert in the problem currently and we may end up doing more work. They come to me because I am the expert first. When they’re looking for a general web shop to do stuff, then yeah, of course they’re going to look bigger shops typically. But I have a specific acute problem, and you solve it, I would like to work with you on this.

CHUCK: I have a little bit different experience because most of the big companies I’ve worked for, they weren’t necessarily going for a particular niche or had a specific niche problem. Just to name a few, I’ve worked for Gannet Press who owns USA Today or USA Weekly, one of the big newspapers. I was working on a little niche project that they had so they only really did need one programmer to maintain it and they knew that. They came to me, and I inherited the project from somebody else who inherited it from Pivotal Labs which is a large Rails shop.

I’ve also worked with Dezra Book, which you guys probably haven’t heard of but they’re fairly prolific book/religious stuff. They sell paintings and statues and stuff. So it’s a religious bookstore here in Utah and Idaho and they’re a fairly larger company and I did a bunch of work for them. It wasn’t necessarily that it was specialized. It was just they knew who I was and knew that I could do it in Ruby and [crosstalk 17:02]. I just landed with an insurance company in Austen and they’re fairly large.

Again, what happened was I was actually talking on this show about my capability and past building social networks. So they came to me because I had the expertise. I could tell them that I could get it done in the time that they needed it done. So they’re paying me to do that work now. What Curtis said is really accurate. If they are confident that you can solve their problem, then you can get those contracts. It doesn’t matter if you look like one guy or a bunch of guys.

REUVEN: I think what you guys said is basically true. That said there are definitely time when people come to me and say, “Well, maybe you’re an expert you can help me out but I just really need to be sure that [inaudible 17:52] you’ll be able to do it fast enough, that there’s enough people involved.” And sometimes it’s a comfort issue we had in more than one of our [inaudible 17:59]. We had to separate the more than one person to the issue of partnerships. And I almost partnered with someone a number of years ago until I realized what was involved and I [inaudible 18:11] myself to them. Then I realized, this is definitely not something I want to do.

You can be in business with multiple people, not make it a partnership. If you do a partnership, I think it should not be because you’re going to look bigger and more stable, but because you really have a great business interest in this [inaudible 18:29] help you with.

ERIC: Yeah, I’m theoretically in partnership with [inaudible 18:32] because I like their work and work well together but we don’t actually amalgamate in business in anyway. I think the big thing that you just said Reuven is that they’re really just scared. It’s not necessary that it’s just one person or multiple people, they just somehow think that it’s safer with multiple people which may or may not be true. There’s more bureaucracy or more people to manage when there’s more people as well. So it may or may not be true but that’s really the fear that they have and that’s what you need to work to address.

So you can prove that you’re not this sudden risk. Going back to what’s your processes set-up to make sure you’re not this big risk. Is it, “We talk weekly, we talk twice a week all the time, we keep going back, we’ll do milestones every other week.” If you’re not happy after two weeks, you can find someone else. That’s not a problem.

CHUCK: Yeah, I completely agree. The other thing when it comes down to it with a lot of these companies, especially this last one, “Okay, can you get it done?” I’m like, “Yeah.” They’re like “What if we need it done faster?” I just explain to them that I have enough people that I’m connected to who will subcontract for me, some of them on short notice to where I can ramp up and get stuff done. So if you have the answers to some of these questions then it becomes less of an issue. Other deep thoughts?

REUVEN: Is there any more questions before we make up some?

CHUCK: [Chuckles] I can steal a question from Entreprogrammers. Basically, it was a question that came in – we were talking about covering it last Friday but we wound up doing our regular Mastermind stuff and talking about our own stuff. I don’t know if we’re going to get into this. So I’ll jump in here.

It’s a little bit different just talking about putting together a product specifically a book in a niche that he’s not currently well-known in. It says, “I’m launching an ebook on investment strategy, the problem is I live in the tech world and have no resources in the research world.” Then he talks about email lists and he says, “I don’t have a mailing list. Maybe you guys can kick around this question on the future – how does one break into a market to launch a product?” This can also apply to finding a niche and breaking into that niche if you’re not already in it. So how do you break in? I think writing the book is the wrong place to start.

CURTIS: In commenting – so who are the leaders already? Do you know who the ten leaders in the industry are? Are you engaging with their content, commenting on it and sharing it? So that they start to have an idea at least of who you are because at least you’re commenting on things. Because when you come out with something and start to announce it, just send them an email, they’ll say, “That’s the dude who comments all the time, who’s always sharing my stuff. I should at least scan through this, more than just send it off to my admin assistant.

I was at a conference on the weekend and that’s what they said. If I remember it’s for The Verge now. One big text site that and they have a commenter who comments on every post and has good in-depth comments on pretty much everything. So after six months of them doing that, they had something to launch, they sent it out. They got coverage by four or five of the authors there on different aspects of it just because they actually input in first.

REUVEN: [Inaudible 21:32] There’s entering a niche that you’ve never done consulting in or that you’ve never been an authority in [inaudible 21:39] niche that you know nothing about. It’s not [inaudible 21:43] to me which situation they’re in.

CHUCK: Well, they’re confident enough to write a book in it, so let’s assume that they know something about it.

REUVEN: They need to get [inaudible 21:53] Curtis said makes a lot of sense but also they can start writing about it. They can start blogging about it, they can start making comments. Make themselves something of an authority and try to get that word out. Maybe even start a newsletter of some sort. Get a few people see them as, “Wow, a person who really knows something about this.” As I’ve increasingly been learning a lot of this is a long game you have to be playing. There’s no way for this guy to start today and a month from now be an authority lots of people are going to jump to with their book.

He blogs for six months and engages for six months, and he has newsletters for six months then [inaudible 22:27] for where he is, where he needs to be for people to take him seriously and say, “Oh wow. That’s worth reading what he has to say and take him, see him as authority.”

CURTIS: Even just pick one to start. So maybe blogging isn’t your thing but twice a week or once a week video of something that you talked about. Maybe that’s the thing that you are best suited to. As you keep doing that, then you think, “I’ve got more of the content than once a week so where else can I put this content?” Then you start blogging as well. Then with your email list, you may not have one but – and the best time is always before today to start it – but the second best time to start is today. So just put it up right now. Get a free mail Chimp account and do it. Put a landing page together, if you use WordPress there’s lots of landing page themes that are inexpensive. Skip coffee every day for a week at Starbucks and buy a theme. [Inaudible 23:17]

CHUCK: Is Curtis slowing down for anyone?

REUVEN: Yeah, he’s fading again. [Chuckles] He doesn’t want his secrets to be out.

CHUCK: Yeah, but I’ll just jump in here. I know what – at least what I’m hearing him say is that you should be getting involved or you should be writing blog posts you should be podcasting or YouTube-ing. You don’t have to do them all; pick one that works out for you. Then go after it. Then like what Curtis was saying before where you actually get in and go comment on those blogs, go tweet at those folks, go interact with them on social media. One other thing that’s really paid off for me in a lot of ways is going to events.

So I go to a conference about whatever it is and I get to know the people there. Sometimes there are some big communities by some of the people who are at the top of that particular niche. So you can get involved and get some certain kind of exclusive access or notice. Then when you’re doing something in that area then they can actually come in and endorse what you’re doing. Not necessarily because you’re paying them or because they feel like they owe you but just because they like what you’re doing.

Just be genuine. That’s another thing that I see a lot of people do is they try to break into a niche by pretending to be something that they’re not. If people know where you are then they will find a good fit for you. Curtis is moving again.

CURTIS: Because he paused back plays which you can’t pause when you first restart because it’s not running yet. Computers are easy right?

CHUCK: Did you want to pick up where you left off?

CURTIS: I don’t even remember where it was. I think we did good [chuckles] [crosstalk 24:57].

REUVEN: But I’m sure it was good.

CURTIS: Start your content now, pick whichever one you want. Then start there, add the other ones as you can. Start the email list. If it’s not started, start it today, it’s the best time [crosstalk 25:09].

CHUCK: How big a list do you need in order to be able to effectively market to

a niche?

CURTIS: That all depends on your end goals. If your end goal is to make millions then you’re going to need a big list, but you’re going to need to be very well known. If your end goal is to get things rolling, because this is a long content game then I think [inaudible 25:28]. My last successful product would caveat that because I launched one that wasn’t super successful. When I say super I mean no one bought it [chuckles]. When I launched to another list, I think it was only 250 people when I made a couple of thousand dollars over a few days and it was great and there’s some trickle through sales since then.

A bigger list, theoretically I would have had more people convert as well. So you’re going to hear a lot of stories of people who, “Oh, it’s my first product and I just blogged five times about it. Then I launched and it was awesome, I made 40,000 dollars in two days.” That’s only the outlier, you don’t hear about the 500 of the people who launched something around the same time that made nothing to a couple thousand dollars or even a couple hundred dollars.

A good book to read is Authority by Nathan Berry.

CHUCK: Awesome, plus one on that book. It’s awesome. He does talk mostly though about selling a book in the book but it does work for other products.

So the other thing that I have heard though is that if you write a book on a topic, then it’s easier to be perceived as an expert. So can you do it as a jumping off point in order to become better known in that space?

CURTIS: Sure. I’m doing a manifesto that’s going to be free for the email list and 99 cents on Amazon when I set it up. It’s just to continue to get my name out there really. I’ve actually spent the most prepping this product, more prepping this product than any other product I have before that I actually sold.

CHUCK: Interesting. What’s the manifesto called?

CURTIS: No Is Not a Curse Word, A Manifesto on Running a Business. [Crosstalk 26:59]

CHUCK: They scream and yell like it’s a curse word.

CURTIS: I guess it should be out. It’s all proofed and ready I just need to set up some stuff on the site then it’s ready to go. I was going to say by the time this goes up but it’s live, so it’s not by the time this goes up; by next week. [Chuckles]

CHUCK: Awesome. I don’t know if I have any other questions that I can pull in.

REUVEN: I’ll just echo briefly a lot of what Curtis just said about a mailing list. I’ve only been taking my mailing list seriously for about a month and a half now and already I feel like, “Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t do this earlier.” The responses I’ve been getting from people have just been overwhelming. I feel like this audience, I’m connecting with them, I’m hearing from them. [Inaudible 27:40]. It’s been inspiring and exciting on all possible levels as well as profitable. People leaving, but that’s okay. Other people have been coming in. I feel over time, it’s not going to grow but it’s going to grow to be a group of people that I can rely on for feedback, and that I can obviously pitch things to over time. It’s definitely something to try and it’s not nearly as [inaudible 28:04] you would think.

CURTIS: Even for your calls to actions, like having two or three of them. So right now I have one at the top of my site and that almost doubled the people I was getting in. I have a slide up one at the bottom. I know every developer groans at the pop-ups. The pop-ups convert very well. So finding a good unobtrusive pop-up is a good idea if you can stomach the fact that you probably hate seeing them anyways.

REUVEN: [Inaudible 28:33] I blog recently and the thing at the bottom of the page seems to actually have some effect, not huge, but something but the pop-up had zero effect. I think I must just have very intelligent [inaudible 28:46] users or enough of them to make a difference.

CURTIS: The thing is even the guest postings on sites. I know Ryan Cassel launched something a while ago and he posted on Michael Hyatt’s site and he got three or four hundred email subscribers from the one post. Maybe I’m off my number; he got a lot at least and he blogged about it two weeks late when he did his launch recap. That was probably two or three months ago if you go to his site.

CHUCK: The guys at leaps pages also tell you to put lead magnet into – so you’re telling people, “Hey if you sign up for this, you get this.”

ERIC: The byline, like at the very end of the bio it’s called the byline. Typically  from newspapers.

CHUCK: I’ve gotten to get to know the guys on Entreprogrammers quite a bit better since I’ve been talking to them every week for the last two weeks. Josh Earl actually has a series on – it’s another email course series on doing a giveaway to build your list. He built pretty massive list, I’m pretty sure it’s in the high tens of thousands of people on his list by giving away – I don’t even remember what he gave a way but he gave away something on – only few people got the prize but they gave it away and they built the massive list by doing that and so that’s another idea.

So that’s another idea. There are a lot of ways to get people to subscribe to your mailing list and then if you can keep engagement high and the value high on the list, then you can keep them engaged to the point where they’ll start buying things from you.

CURTIS: I guess my current lead magnet is the five best [inaudible 30:20] resources I found, that’ll become the manifesto when it comes out. Then every month, I also give away the best business book I read that month for free to someone. That’s not a huge expense really, and I’m doing that for the last three or four months.

And ask them, you got to email me to answer a question. So I’m asking, “Good to great, what’s your hedgehog concept?” which is something out of that book, and I explain that a little bit to them first and then ask them for that. I always say before I give it out, I always tweet about it, usually two to three people subscribe just before I send it out. They get an opportunity to win it still.

CHUCK: Alright. Well, should we go ahead and do some picks? Eric, do you want to start us off with some picks?

ERIC: So this is called Launch: A Startup Documentary. It’s by Rob Walling and Derrick Reimer. They basically started to get Drip which is an email automation subscription SaaS product. It’s in two hour podcast type thing. They had a weekly business calls of reviewing what’s going on – changes in their customer, changes in feature set. So they recorded that and basically put it all together into one two hour segment.  I listened to it last night, it was really great so I kept listening to it; I had to stay up a little late.

It’s really interesting because you see the evolution of software company from – here’s the very beginning of an idea and how it gets changed and how there’s an emotional up and down rollercoaster as stuff happens or they find out new information. It’s interesting, it’s free, and it’s on iTunes. I actually remember those different times Rob’s talking about indecision, I remember talking to him about some of that stuff. So it’s a pretty cool thing to see what he was actually thinking on his site and that’s it.

CHUCK: Awesome. I love Rob and Drip is really cool. Curtis, do you have some picks for us?

CURTIS: I pick two. The first one is The Best of Art of Value, the podcast. It’s 26 and he recaps all of the things he did last year best answer form each guest for the year. That’s a good one. Lots of value cramped into a – it’s long because there’s a whole bunch of guests but into a short time from but lots of value.

Then a book called Quitter which is about not quitting your job, actually. It’s about one of the good themes is hanging on to that job a little longer so that you don’t jump into it too soon and it collapses under your weight because you don’t actually have the business running yet. It’s just a hobby still. So both good resources for you to learn how to price and just hang on to your full time job if you’re trying to get at freelancing. Or even if you are free lancing, hang on to that project that you run on the side just a little longer and don’t commit to it fully yet. Wait till it’s full matured.

CHUCK: Reuven, do you have some picks for us?

REUVEN: I got a pick for this week. So I had a Samsung galaxy for three years and then for the last three, four, five months it was just going totally crazy on me. It would refuse to answer calls, refuse to make calls, the sorts of things that you occasionally want your phone to be able to do and so I [inaudible 33:28] does a fair amount of that mobile stuff. He said, “Well, if you got friends or family coming in from US, there’s this new cheap phone that’s actually pretty good.

I got it and it’s only [inaudible 33:38]. I got a BLU Phone, B-L-U [inaudible 33:42]. I got the BLU Life 8, I think it’s called. Basically BLU Life 8 [inaudible 33:54]. On the one hand this little android phone does all the Android thing you expect but it was only 170 dollars. So my feeling is even if it’s a total piece of junk [inaudible 34:04] it’s still going to cost me less to buy one of these every year than it would if I buy a new number is. If I were to keep up with [inaudible 34:14] or be able to make calls on my phone.

It’s definitely worth checking into. So far, it’s obviously a slightly cheaper manufacturing tolerances and threshold than the other ones. The headphone jack’s a little loose and the 3G could be a little better.

ERIC: You’re totally selling it to me right there [chuckles]. Put a tape on it too.

REUVEN: Like a tin can and a piece of string for emergency calls. I use my phone a fair amount but I’m definitely not a super crazy phone user. For my purposes with just a few apps and just be able to get mail here and there and listen to podcasts like this one. Then it’s more than adequate. I honestly got good value for the money at least for now. If you ask me in another six months when it starts to fall apart when I need to use more tape.

CHUCK: You’re an android user; do you listen to podcast on it? I’m curious to know what podcast app you use.

REUVEN: I do. I use this thing called doubleTwist which I’m pretty happy with. Basically syncs to iTunes because I have a Mac desktop. So I download a podcast on the desktop and then I got their paid version because I got tired of the USB cable all the time. [Inaudible 35:34] That syncs between the phone and iTunes over on WiFi or the network at home. I found it more than adequate. One of these days maybe I’ll use something that will do podcast on android itself, but the ones that I’ve tried have all been pretty lousy. Downloading it and using it there and besides I want to have it in my computer to listen to as well as on the phone.

CHUCK: Right. I’ve got a pick really quickly and this is in line with what we were talking about as far as being an authority and that is John Sonmez who’s been on this show. He has a blogging course. It’s an email course; it’s free. So if you got to that link and you sign up then you’ll get a series of emails that basically walk you through setting up a blog that you can use to build your career, build your notoriety in this particular niche. It’s a really good course. I really enjoyed it. That’s my pick. I guess we’ll wrap up and we’ll definitely announce this better next time.

ERIC: Take care.

CURTIS: Ciao.

REUVEN: See you guys.

 [This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You’ve been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it’s hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They’re a small shop with experience shipping big products. They’re smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at MadGlory.com or at Twitter @MadGlory.]

 [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]

x