The Freelancers' Show: LIVE Q&A #8 - May 26, 2015

Download MP3

01:40 - Prepayment, Deposits, Trust, and Risk

14:55 - Pricing a SaaS (Software as a Service)

27:02 - Scope

30:07 - Tier Pricing (Cont’d)

38:49 - What’s a marketing/lead generation channel that’s been successful for you that you hadn’t expected to be successful for your consulting business?

  • Podcasting
  • Speaking Engagements

45:03 - The Get Clients Now Approach

46:47 - If you could give yourself two or three bits of advice when you first started out, what would they be?

51:03 - Mastermind Groups


Pay Your Love First (Eric)The Consulting Pipeline Podcast (Eric)Drip Sherpa (Jonathan)Double Your Freelancing Conference (Jonathan)CodeNewbie Podcast (Chuck)This Is Your Life Podcast (Chuck)


[This episode is sponsored by 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]**[This episode is sponsored by Elixir Sips. Elixir Sips is a screencast series that will take you from Elixir newbie to experienced practitioner. If you’re interested in learning Elixir but don’t know where to start, then Elixir Sips is perfect for you. In two short screencasts each week between five and fifteen minutes, Elixir Sips currently consists of over 16 hours of densely packed videos and more than a hundred episodes, and there are more every week. Elixir Sips is brought to you by Josh Adams, expert Rubyist and CTO of a software development consultancy, Isotope Eleven. Elixir Sips, learn Elixir with a pro. Find out more at] ****[This episode is sponsored by LessAccounting. Let’s face it. There are a lot of things about being an entrepreneur that we all hate. One of the things that I really hate is bookkeeping. LessAccounting has just started a new service where you can get your bookkeeping done for a really low cost each month. If you're interested, go to to go check it out.]****CHUCK: Alright. So it’s like we got myself and three viewers, and some of two of those are you guys, and we have one extra person. There was a tweet on Twitter that I like to go over to start things off. On the Freelancers’ Show account, Steven McDonald basically said, ‘Several guys on the Freelancers’ Show have mentioned that clients pay a deposit up-front and that it weeds people out. And then Simon Stewart replied and said, ‘Take on a smaller unit of work and test your delivery and their payment process’. He also said that he doesn’t agree with the deposit idea because it takes trust to pay up-front. And then, Steven also pointed out that we've also talked about charging by day or week instead of for hours. I’m curious on the pre-payment thing. Is it an issue to get people to pre-pay? JONATHAN: The person who wrote that in that made the comment about that it takes trust to pay up-front is not a negative; it’s a positive. You want that. You want them to trust you.If they don’t trust you already, it’s probably a bad idea to work with them. I’m trying to think back if I ever had a client who paid me a hundred percent up-front and a project didn’t go well. I can’t think of one, which, I think, probably has a lot to do with the fact that we already had trust built up. So, the next obvious question is how do you build up trust before you're on a project together, but we can talk about that, too. But I don’t think that's a negative. I think it’s a good thing. I think you should have trust built up before you start working together. CHUCK: Yeah. Part of my issue is that I've not gotten paid and so, in certain circumstances, I also just come from the place of who’s going to take the risk. I like your point, though, that in some ways, it’s not who’s going to take the risk, but it’s, ‘do we have enough of a relationship of trust to – you pay me and I do your work’. JONATHAN: Right. The way I set it up, we’re both taking a risk. In fact, I’m taking much more of a risk by getting paid up-front a hundred percent than I would be by doing an hourly estimate, which is basically time and materials. So when I do a fixed bid and I say, ‘Look, I’m going to take on the risk of scoping this project. So you don’t have to worry about getting nickel and dime or getting killed with change requests or anything like that. I’m taking that risk. I’m the one saying I’m the expert. I know how to estimate a software project. You don’t have to worry about that. That’s not your job. Your job is to sell cars or run your school or whatever it is that you do. You worry about that, I’ll worry about this. And in exchange for that, since I'm giving you a fixed price, I want the money up-front.’ And that helps insulate me against risk a little bit but that’s not really why I do it. Really, why I do it is just get the money off the table completely and then we just never have to worry about it again. So someone who’s listening to this should make special note of the fact that when – at least in my motto where I get afixed bid, I’m not going to hit them later with, ‘oh, you didn’t tell me you wanted this’ or ‘you didn’t tell me you wanted that’. If you're doing that, if you're doing estimates and trying to get a deposit on the estimate, that’s a completely different thing. CHUCK: Yeah. I have actually – when I was working hourly and when I was working – hourly, I would get a deposit. And that way – for them, it was just a guarantee. ‘Look, then I can keep working if you're a little bit late because I have enough up-front to where I can just keep going’. So for me, it was just to smooth over the speed bumps. With weekly billing, doing that, I make them pay the week up-front.  And then if they're not happy with it – I just like the way the Curtis set that up, so it’s like, ‘Look, we’ve lowered the risks on both ends because it’s a week’s worth of money. And if you're not happy with it, I’ll still refund it  but then I’m only taking the risk on the week and you're only taking a risk on the week’s worth of dollars.’ ERIC: Right. That’s how I do it. The other thing is I charge a hundred percent for the week up-front. That’s also to basically take my schedule for that week because I have X many clients I could sell to. If they actually – if they just want to work with me, I could say, ‘I have this other client who’s willing to pay me now. You want to wait to the end, I bill your invoice later. So why would I want to work with that second client?’ That’s the other reason for my – to way I do it. You have to have trust. You shouldn’t even do business with someone if you don’t trust them. If you don’t trust them, you're just opening yourself up for a world of hurt if you get into business and start exchanging money or talking about stuff with someone. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I've often said that I wouldn’t work with someone I didn’t want to have drinks with. It’s served me very well. [Chuckles] it just makes your life better. On top of it, you don’t have that – you know that feeling when you get that soul-sucking email, and you just dread it all day, and you don’t respond to it and you're just like – you having [crosstalk] in your mind [laughter]. It’s been a while for me to have one of those but I remember losing sleep over those. You're like having – you're like, ‘Oh, I’m going to have a phone call with this guy, and he’s going to say this, and then I’ll say that, and he’s going to say this, and I’ll’ – it’s like a nightmare. You just have to attract people that are your ideal personality type and do everything you can to attract cool people. And it resonates through your whole business because then they're going to love you – more likely to love you, more likely to be happy with your work, less likely to micromanage you, more likely to refer you to their friends. It has so many awesome benefits. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do because you have to somehow create a relationship with these people before you're working with them but you can do that. You could have podcast. You could have a blog. You could be answering people’s questions on Quora. You could have a book. There's a million things you can do establish your relationship with people, even online. I think it’s well worth doing it that way.**CHUCK: That’s interesting. We talked about conversations that sell. But are there particular types of conversations that build trust more than others? JONATHAN:**The basic thing for me is just help people all the time. Share your passion, find people who have problems that you solve. And [inaudible] up a few paragraphs in Subreddit or in a Facebook group, or something like that, help them out. And then maybe turn it into a blog post and get a little bit more mileage out of it later. It’s not a waste of time or something if people think, ‘Oh, I haven’t got time for that.’ If you're helping people all the time, then they're just going to get used to trusting you. Eric, you did all those plug-ins for Redmine, right? I’m sure you had the same kind of reaction where people just automatically trust you. You’re the Redmine guy, right?**ERIC: Yeah. I got to the point where a client or a lead would come to me and they’d be like, ‘We’re already running half a dozen of your plug-ins. We want to hire you to do this.’ That was it. There was no ‘We’re talking to the developers’ or the dance you do when you first meet someone. It was just ‘We want to hire you. Can you work with our terms?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah.’ JONATHAN: I get the same thing from speaking gigs or people who bought my books. They would just be like – they just basically call me up. They're like, ‘We’re not even considering someone else. We just don’t know if we can afford you.’ CHUCK: Yeah. And I get that from the podcast. I’ll have somebody say, ‘Oh, I heard you talk about this on the podcast’, or ‘I know that you're capable of doing this because I watch a video you did’ or something like that. You start out with that level of trust because people know who you are. They have a rapport with you even if you don’t necessarily know them. JONATHAN:**Mm-hm. It sounds like – I think we all offer refunds, too. You can really mitigate a lot of risks, if you want. There's a thing that I find people that bill by the hour especially are super afraid of, and that’s being vulnerable. They feel like clients are stupid, and the scope is always creeping all over the place, and it’s never their fault, it’s always the clients’ fault. And they want to take out the hourly billing baseball bat and be like, ‘Told you: you shouldn’t change that. Now you're getting these big invoices. We’re going to go over the estimate and it’s your fault’. And that is – I can’t do business like that. [Laughter] it’s horrible. It’s horrible. You can, but it’s a nightmare. If you're doing that, if you're like – a classic example is I have this client who was super chatty. He was really, really friendly guy. We have these long phone calls about some feature or whatever. And we build it out; we almost pair-programmed it for a minute, in a way. But then, we get off in one of those epic sessions. We do four hours after lunch, and then he’d want to talk for another hour. He’s telling me about his weekend and stuff like that. At the time, I was working for someone, so I have a problem. I’m like, ‘Ok, I just spent 2 hours talking – or an hour anyway – talking to this guy that now I have to make up for it later with billable work because I have a quota that I had to make for a week.’ I said to him, ‘look, I’d love to talk but I just can’t talk because I’m going to have to bill you for it.’ He be like, ‘Oh, yeah yeah.’ He’d be better about it for a while and then he’d start doing it again. So at one point, I just started billing him for it. You can imagine how [crosstalk] – that just destroyed our relationship [laughter]. It basically destroyed the relationship. When you think about it, here’s a client who were so tight that he wants to tell me about what he do with his wife that weekend and the kids and stuff. And now, I have to turn around and basically make that stop because of hours. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s the exact thing you want your customers to be doing with you.**CHUCK: It’s funny, though, because I've had clients who were the same way, and under some circumstances, they’d get billed for it, and in others, they weren’t. A lot of times, it just basically boiled down to I’d start the clock at the beginning of the meeting, I stop the clock at the end of the meeting. And basically, it just boil down to whether or not I remember to stop the clock or roll back some of the time. Sometimes, it would be interspersed with the entire conversation about – we talk about the app, and then we talk about what’s going on with his grandkids, and then we talk about another part of the app, and then we talk about whatever else he had going on. So basically, it was like, ‘Ok, well, how much do I bill or not bill for that?’ And that’s the thing I really like about getting away from the hourly billing which is what you're saying, Jonathan, is that then it doesn’t matter because I got paid for this week or I got paid for the project, and so, if I sit and chat with him for a little while, then big deal. I’m working with somebody that I like to talk to. Otherwise, I’m going to be trying to find excuses to disappear after we've done the business. ERIC: Yeah. I just ran into that problem, at least I do. Mondays, I commit to I'm going to do these, say, 5 items. If it ends up like they won’t have a lot of meetings or they want to have some back and forth, weekly billing that’s fine. They're not going to get charged more. I won’t have to worry about me and my hours but if it’s so much that I can wait now until we get to 4 or to 5, it can be a difficult conversation of like, ‘Ok, because you talk so much, now we can’t do that feature that you really need’. JONATHAN: That's why I don’t – I don’t do time basis. That’s because of that reason I just – weekly is way better than hourly because it blurs a lot of that and it also gets your customers out of your calendar a lot to a large degree. CHUCK: Yeah. They're not nitpicking over your time. JONATHAN: Every little thing. But Eric’s right. If you get into the end of the week and they're expecting more work to be done, you have a similar problem where they're like, ‘Geez, we spent 3,000 bucks or whatever it was, and we were expecting to get more done. What can you do for us?’ And you still have to similar – it’s less painful, I think. I've never done weekly billing. I've done pre-payment for walks of hours, which is pretty similar, I guess. But the way I approach it is because I still have to worry about scope creep, of course because I'm just getting one flat fee. So if they are super chatty or they try and change scope like crazy, that’s bad for me. But the other thing is that it’s also bad for them because they're wasting their time, too, if it’s exorbitant. And constantly changing the scope – everybody listening to this knows that constantly changing scope is not good for a project. Never mind who’s losing the money on it; it’s bad for a project. You're just getting yanked around and you're just going in every direction instead of to where the goal. CHUCK: Well, and they're not getting anything done either. You're usually having some discussions about it so nobody comes out of it happy because nobody’s getting what they want. JONATHAN:**Right. So the way that I set my business up financially – it gives me tons of incentive to say things like – after a reasonable amount of socializing – I like socializing; I don’t want to be that with customers. But it’s like any kind of friendly meeting where there's some kind of agenda where at some point, you have to get down to business and it’s on me to do that because I’m the one that will be directly making less money, let’s say, or spending more time to do something that I could do more quickly. So at a certain point, I’ll say something like ‘[inaudible], so let’s get to the agenda’, or ‘We've only got certain amount of time. I know you guys are busy, so let’s cover the things we need to cover.’ I just politely facilitate meetings and keep them on track, keep everybody on track. If you have partnered with someone who you don’t trust, or you don’t like, or is a nitpicker, or is a micromanager, it’ll just be a disaster. But if you partner with people who are cool and chill and they get you and you guys are connected, they're going to be glad you did that because they’ve got other things to do in their day, too. Everybody would love to just sit around and chat all day but eventually, we have to do some work. I find it balances itself out and nobody ever has to think about money at all.**CHUCK: Alright. I think we've covered that. Should we get to our first question out of the chat? It says: I’m trying to price my SaaS, which is Software as a Service, for the late people out there, and I’m trying to keep it simple but I have lots of sub-modules. Is it too much to price per module? I want to keepit simple; add this, remove this, your price go up and down. Is this structure okay or should I force people to pick a package that includes a group of these? ERIC: You’re getting into the paradox situation where if you have, say, the base and there's two tiers for that, three tiers for that, and then you have these optional add-ons and each one has their own tier, or maybe have one that’s based on user count or utility use, which is like how much space do you use or whatever. It can be overwhelming. The customer – not even then customer – a lead at that point can be like, ‘I need to use these servers, but I don’t know how much I’m going to pay.’ And that fear, that uncertainty, is basically one of the big reasons why people just jump away and won’t buy something. It might make sense to be like, ‘Oh look, it’s easier if you just pick which you want to use, this and that’, but you could be losing a lot of people that way. I think that’s why a lot of SaaS go towards the 3-5 different plans and just stick with that; exception of Amazon or a place like that where they have the volume where they can do a utility-based pricing or something like that. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I was actually going to bring up Amazon because that’s one of the thing I really don’t like about AWS is that you never know much it’s going to cost. You never know. Fortunately, it’s usually so low it doesn’t matter. But we've had months when like, ‘Oops, we left that instance running that we spawn up for a test or something, and it’s an extra 500 bucks this month’ or whatever. And it’s really distasteful to not know how much it’s going to cost. So I basically agree with Eric. Don’t go too crazy. The ones I like the most as a customer are the ones that let me do everything I want to do and maybe charge me extra for things like analytics, reporting, dumb [inaudible] reports of my data in spreadsheet form like features that only super users are going to want – maybe API access – stuff that only super users are going to want. So you're going to have a noob level and a power user – super user level – and an enterprise level. It’s hard to say without knowing what the SaaS is but I wouldn’t go nuts with a menu of [inaudible] where you can throw in a database and throw in this, and throw in that, and before you know it, you're spending 800 bucks a month, and you're like – the unknown of how much is going to cost every month is I don’t personally like.**CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: Stay away from per user, too. There's some merit to it sometimes but for the most part, companies use users to have actual people have different accounts. I don’t know a single company that has – you’ve mentioned the idea like, ‘Oh, let’s just share user accounts.’ So they start sending around email and passwords, and now, they're not paying you as much because you're using one user for 10 actual people. There's also a huge security risk. That password has basically been leaked. So if someone breaks into that account, your SaaS company is to blame even though it’s not you. I think my CRM charges per user and the thing that’s annoying – I would love to hire someone to come in an hour or two a week just to clean up stuff with my CRM but that’s another and they basically double my price. That’s not worth it. If I had to pay – I’m paying – I had 12 bucks, whatever, a month – if I had to pay 24 and I could have 2 user accounts or 5 user accounts, then yeah, it would be great. I would upgrade and do that instead. CHUCK: I was just going to basically say the same thing that everybody else said. You can always make it easy to add sub-modules after the fact. The other thing is that if it’s not tiers. If it’s different users who are going to use different feature sets, then you can also set it up that way. You could have the engineer option, and the author option, and the writer option, and the personal trainer option, or whatever. And so they're all going to use different sub-modules on the same app, and then they get the same basic features, and then you could have custom, but I would keep it pretty straightforward. And then, as far as users, I think it should be more about usage. So if they're taking more space or using more bandwidth, their whatever is going to cost you money, then find a way to put that into terms that they understand so that they understand ‘I’m paying for this level of usage’ instead of per user because if I set somebody up in there and they never log in. I don’t want to be paying for them. But if I’m one of those users that is uploading a ton of data and things like that, then the plan may fit me a little bit better. But yeah, I agree with Eric. I don’t really like the per user plan but they're more of an issue for me as a small company or adding one more person than it is sometimes for the enterprises who just buy a huge block of users and then just go for it. JONATHAN:**Yeah. My main consulting gig right now is for a SaaS and I like the approach that we've taken there which is similar to – [inaudible] Github and Basecamp where there's a really simple cut-off and [inaudible] very simple to code. Because that’s the thing: you don’t want to put it a lot of complexity in your code base just to support different priced computers because you're going to want to change your pricing every so often. And if, all of a sudden, you have to – you have to be recoding the application because you want to offer discount to listeners of the Freelancers’ Show, then that’s bad. You want to do something super – something that’s really simple to implement like, ‘Oh, you’ve hit your project limit. Would you like to add more projects?’ or Github: ‘You’ve hit your private repo limit. Would you like to add more repos?’ And unlimited public repos are free. So simple things, like in this SaaS, one of the things is like a free tier where you can have one project to call it. But it’s branded to this SaaS, so you can see what they built it with. You see lots of people doing this. And then for at the first level of paid access, the [inaudible] is removed, so it’s a more of a way label type of thing. But whatever you decide to do, what I’m saying is make sure that it’s not going to complicate your code base do; something super easy.**ERIC:**The thing I remember is if you set complicated tiers now, you have to maintain those for as long as you have customers on this. If [crosstalk] other people in, you might have 7 or 8 different styles of tiers, not necessarily tier levels, but just the way that the tiers are arranged or what features they get. I've done a few where it’s like one group of grandfathered, and there's a second – the current ones – and even that was insane to try to figure out, ‘Ok, who’s getting what. Oh no, this isn't apply to them.’**JONATHAN: I've almost wanted to pay people to leave so that we could – we’re just spending crazy money on dev time to support 10 grandfathered clients. It’s like, ‘can we just pay you guys a grand to go away?’ CHUCK: Or just switch to an existing upgrade? JONATHAN: Yeah. And it’s a major problem. That’s a great point to bring up because once those people are in there, you need to be careful. You put a lifetime hosting, or whatever the SaaS does, you put a lifetime anything on there. You're on the hook. CHUCK: Yeah. Well, the other thing is having run a support department – text support department – it’s a burden there too because they get used to dealing with things with the current set of tiers. And so, somebody calls in and they're the exception. Then, they have to escalate for simple issues sometimes because they don’t know how to handle them because this person is just exceptional in one fairly meaningless way. JONATHAN: Yeah. It almost has to go to the CEO. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: Yeah. ERIC:**Yeah. For us, our cellphone, we have AT&T now, but we've had Cingular who got bought by AT&T. We have a plan and a bunch of stuff that's grandfathered in so much that no one can give us a straight answer of stuff that if we go in and are [crosstalk].**JONATHAN: Twelve years ago. ERIC:**I know, right? Our actual bill has [inaudible] it looks almost like the internationalization – ‘please insert message here’ type things because they're getting data doesn’t even have what our plan name is called anymore; it’s been purged. But that’s the thing. We’ve been with them for [chuckles] – yeah, about 10 years, probably 12 years. And they had support us with that. And I know their customer support system says they're very [inaudible], very big on smiley face for account because it’s so hard for them to deal with us. But we haven’t switched or probably not.**JONATHAN:**At the SaaS I’m working with, we make decisions all the time about what [inaudible] if the business people – the CFO, the marketing people – want to do something, it would be big red flags for me if it’s going to cause great [inaudible] in the database or makes something that’s really complicated to where we have to embed a lot of business logic in the code; that scares me. We would probably be in a dead horse here. But just keep in mind that the decisions you make now, you're going to be stuck with until the next 3 right, and maybe after that.**CHUCK: One other thing I want to go for here is matching volumes of user features – one thing that you can do is you can actually, as you add new features, a lot of people do beta test them and let them know that they're going to become paid features in the future. That way you can get an idea of what the users levels look like before you set the pricing on them. So then, what happens is you can basically roll in. Instead of saying, ‘I’m charging for this usage level’, you just charge for the feature. You charge for the sub-module and then what you lose on one customer, you more than make up for on another. ERIC: That’s pricing’s hard. I can think of one in particular – they charge base on the number of widgets you create in a month, and I’m like, ‘Yeah, one month I might make two but the next month I might make a hundred if I’m doing a huge marketing push. What plan do I hit? Do I to pay more to be on a higher plan for the one or two times a year I’m over, or sit on the little one?’ That’s the same thing earlier with the utilities is I don’t know how much money I have to – I don’t know how much I’m going to be charged each month. I would lean to having the higher plan just so I won’t have to deal with it. I think a lot of businesses do that but that’s something to think about, too. I think unlocking features, as you go up in the plan levels, I think that’s a good way to do it because it’s like, ‘Oh, you want integration on some enterprise system’, that’s going to be a bit more. And people who would need that are going to pay more. That's presumably the business they're in. But it’s hard. It’s hard to figure out what are the actual probably 2 or 3 points that your customers actually care about, and that’s actually going to trigger them to ‘Yes, this is worth paying more.’ JONATHAN:**You can always ask your users. I've been on a couple of beta tests for products that were pre-released that we had tons of input into how it was priced –everything. Same exact conversations we’re having now but we were using it and it was like, ‘Dude, if you charge me by PDF – per PDF or per processing, I’m never going to use this because I’m going to do all my work outside of this and then I’m just going to upload it to you to process the thing at the end. You don’t want that. You want me to be using your thing a lot. You want me to be talking about your SaaS to other people and say, ‘Man, this thing’s made my life better’. You don’t want to penalize me for using it more’. So you have to draw the line somewhere, but more projects is one that doesn’t happen all the time and that spending up – most people probably aren’t spending up tons of new projects. It’s this wall that they’ll hit way down the line. Like the thing with Basecamp; I didn’t hit the project limit for probably the first year. And by then, I was just so addicted to it that I was happy to pay for it. Same with Github; I didn’t hit the limit for – I’m sure I didn’t hit the private limit for over a year. So by the time [crosstalk].**ERIC:**I've been using them since what they launched 2008 or whatever. I have hundreds of them – public repos – but I have never paid them. It’s all my open source [inaudible].**JONATHAN:**Man, for sure. But by the time you get there, you're like, ‘I've been using this thing for free for a year and it’s completely changed my workflow. I’m going to happily pay them 29 bucks a month.’ Talk to your users. They're going to tell you which features they think are awesome. They’ll probably come up with features that you didn’t even think would that big a deal. They totally prioritize things differently. Get their feedback. Give them a free account for life and say, ‘Hey, what would you pay for?’ – maybe not for life [chuckles].CHUCK: I was going to say, ‘Didn’t we just caution against that?’ JONATHAN: Yeah, yeah. CHUCK: The questions from the audience out there. You can go ahead and just type them in the chat room. JONATHAN: This is for the first thing we’re talking about which was trust in the relationship and scope creep and how to deal with that and keep you on track when you have basically charged flat $50,000 dollars for that for some result. The thing that’s really not obvious to people about that a lot of times – how could they possibly do this because they're thinking these meetings were clients are constantly wanting them to massage pixels and design. I recently did a proposal where I called it straight out in the proposal that the client was not allowed to give any design input. They could – they're allowed to. I was like, ‘Your input is welcome on the design but it’s probably just a waste of your time and my time.’ The goal of the project – it was a mobile redesign, mobile retrofit – the goal of the project is to increase sales across all channels. That’s what I signed my name to. We’re going to increase sales by 5% across the entire business. In order for me to do that, you have to let me be the expert about mobile design; you be the expert about selling your products, and if you have input about the design or something that’s really specific to your vertical industry, which is a strange industry. I’m happy to hear that but I have veto power of all design decisions. So we’re really not going to have designer views. We’re not going to talk about that. We’re going to look at analytics. We’re going to look at numbers turning up or down and I’ll make the mobile site look basically like the desktop site. The brandname will be similar, but that was that. And the guy was like, ‘Sure. If you can raise my sales by 5%, that’s huge.’ So think of the difference between that. Designers should be doing stuff like this. Designers should have some tangible outcome. That’s the point. They're giving you tangible money, why can’t you turn around and say, ‘I’ll give you tangible money back – tangible value.’ I think that’s an important thing to do. You can imagine if the weekly meetings or whatever were around the sales numbers and not around the color blue I picked, that there’ll be a lot less scope creep. CHUCK:[Laughter] I like it. And the thing that’s interesting to me about that is that it really is this results-based thing. Most businesses, if you could raise their sales by 5%, it just makes a lot of sense. I don’t care what you do. If you're standing on your head and singing songs with bad words in them or something – I don’t care as long as I don’t wind up paying for it later on.**JONATHAN:**Within reason. I’m not going to do anything distasteful or [inaudible]. It’s going to be basically like the desktop site, but mobile friendly. I predict based on their numbers, that that is going to, at least, increase their sales by 5%, if not significantly more. So, I'm perfectly comfortable committing to that as the lift. Their mobile traffic is just – their site is terrible on mobile and the bounce rate is absurd. So if I can bring that down even a little, which I’m 100% I can, then it’s going to be amazing.**CHUCK: The next question along the lines of what we were talking about is: I was planning on charging the 20% of the customers 80% of the revenue. The super users usually use up all the resources, et cetera, 3 tiers the plan. I like the 3 tiers. Typically, what you want to do to those – I wind up setting the highest price to be the maximum level I’m willing to support, and then I put that price high. And then I try and write people to the minimal price on a 3-tier plan. And then the lowest level is what’s the minimum thing that the people who just want some bare utility you're going to want. So what you get in the middle is what most people are going to need. ERIC: In that case, you're basically pricing if you're using the top tier to make the military look attractive. CHUCK: And some people are going to be power users and want the top tier and that’s fine. But then I ask: would it be worth it to me to support them? ERIC:**I’m trying to remember – I think I know Gumroad did a survey of their customers and so mostly, it’s like download or products. They're not SaaS but I think it’s – they recommended out of that [inaudible] there were 3 tiers, I think it was one X with the price of the normal look is, middle tierwould be, I think, it was 2.2X of the first one, and then the third was 5. So we’ll say $10, $22, $50. I’m going to say that worked the best, but you can play with that. You can have N those numbers. You're going to have $500-tier and that’s worth a whole step in above and that can actually make your $50-tier look really attractive, or you can make your [inaudible] of your lower tier and make it look like it’s a very high value exclusive service. Pricing’s hard. There's a lot of psychology and a lot of internal soft stuff in ahead of how stuff works and value works. The thing is, like Jonathan said, make it easy to change your prices, so you can try different ideas and see what actually works if your audience and the value your app would create.**JONATHAN: On that SaaS, we have to do a lot of exceptions to pricing, so maybe we’ll partner with somebody who is really well-known and we want to offer special price just to that person’s audience. Other times, we’ll have a Black Friday promotion or Cyber Monday promotion, and that stuff is – marketers want to do it and it works, so you should let them do it.You should support them, technically, in executing that stuff. The other thing on the pricing tiers approach, the one 2.2 in the 5X is one thing I – that’s is one thing I do commonly, and that will typically drive people to the center one. But there's another thing you can do where you try and drive people to the top one where you have maybe a 1X and a 1.5X and a 1.75X. That’s something I won’t typically do with the productized offering or a book or something like that but that’s something that I will typically do inside of a proposal for custom work where I’ll say, ‘Look, here's the option that you ask for. This is verbatim of what you ask for, and here's how it’s going to achieve the goals that we agreed to on the phone. That’s 50,000’. Then I’m going to say, ‘Alright’. Now, there's some other things that I identified that while we’re in there would be, I think, very beneficial to you guys, and that’s 75 grand, which all the stuff in the first one plus the stuff in the second one – all inclusive. And then the third plan would be like 87 or 85 – around there – and it’ll add something that’s just like 3 months of support, 3 months of handoff – like some additional thing. It’s basically an upsell. And what you're doing – two things there if you have that in the proposal. The first thing is you're preventing sticker shock from happening. So you’ve had a conversation with them and you guys are pretty much on the same page, you send them a proposal, what’s the first thing you're going to do? They’re going to go and look at the price. Almost always they're going to scan looking for the dollar sign. If I have 3 dollar signs in there, now they have to go back and read and see what the difference is. So now they go back and they read and they go, ‘Here’s the thing we actually asked for, and that’s a reasonable price.’ But here’s some other things that if it so happens that they have more budget than the base price, they might actually consider the higher ones and it’s very common to sell a second or third option just because they had more money in the budget and they perceived the things that you added as valuable. If they didn’t have the extra budget and option 1 is cutting it close, then they’ll say, ‘Ok, those other things sound great but we haven’t got the budget so we’ll go with the first option’. So what you're doing is giving them options instead of this ultimatum which is what I see a regular proposal as. Regular proposals are like ‘$80,000 – take it or leave it’. It’s a little bit too binary for me and a lot of people have a conversation about the proposal. ERIC: I think Allen Wise says it changes the conversation from ‘should I work with Jonathan’ to ‘how should I work with Jonathan’. JONATHAN: Yeah. I totally got this from Wise. It works, too. ERIC: When I did proposals, I did that. And try to remember I had a format and then I got away from proposals. But I think it was – the first one was Barebones. If there's stuff that we don’t manually typically went in that one, the second one was Barebones, but some of it was automated; so instead of them sending email by hand this system a different form. And the third one was those 2 plus adding some big opportunities like, ‘Let’s enter this new market type of idea.’ I like the third one because even though it was a higher end, it would let them open their eyes and think, ‘Oh, we never thought about that. That’s going to bring up an extra 2-million revenue a year. Okay, we can find the budget for that.’ JONATHAN:**Yeah. I worked with somebody who called these – option 1 was a no-brainer, option 2 is the stage that in option 3 was the game changers. It just gives you – it’s a technique that works. There's another one that I recently learned – I recently read about and I really liked, although I haven’t used it yet. So your [inaudible], but Blair Enns from The Win Without Pitching – he's a big fan of value-based fees. He also thinks that there's a place for hourly, which I’m not a fan of, but he makes a great point which is one of your options can be – the first option can be: we estimate that it’s going to be X amount of hours at my hourly rate, and so that will probably be. Let’s just say, 50 grand but that’s an estimate and I’m not guaranteeing any results. The only thing I’m guaranteeing is that I’m going to do the work that I said I'm going to work and I’m going to do the hours that I said I would work on. Option 2 is I do the exact same stuff, we go for the same outcome, but I give you fixed bid of $85,000. So I’ll take down the scope creep risk and have a totally different – it’s a totally different billing model, totally different risk profile for them because they can say, just like I was saying before in Amazon when you never know how much it’s going to cost, which drives you crazy, if you're spending big dollars on custom development – a hundred, $200 an hour – and you don’t know how many hours it’s going to take, really, super scary. So they might say, ‘You know what, rather be a burden hand type of person, I’ll just pay the 85 and you take on the risk and we’ll just work until it’s done.’ [Crosstalk]**ERIC: A $35,000 insurance policy for them. JONATHAN: It’s a pre-paying insurance premium. It’s a premium. Yeah. And if they're up for that – this is a really cool technique for people in coaching having really hard time transitioning from hourly mentality to value-based payment mentality. And they tend to underbid the value-based fees like crazy. So this is a perfect technique for people who make their transitions because you can – it immediately gives you an option. You're not doing it for work; you're doing the same work. You just say, ‘We can either bill it like this and I think it’ll probably cost you $50,000 but maybe it’ll be more – who knows – or we can just walk it in’. It’s just like Ebay like the Buy Now price; the Buy Now price versus the auction. That’s something that I’m looking forward to testing, but like I said, I haven’t tried it. CHUCK: I did it the other way with my current client. I went to them and I did a proposal and I said, ‘here's the fixed bid because I think it’s going to take this long. Then this is my weekly rate, or you can just pay my weekly rate.’ And then they wind up just paying the weekly rate and it cost them 3 extra weeks. ERIC: Is that because they thought you would get done earlier with doing the fixed bid or they thought you're buffering the fixed bid a bit? CHUCK: I don’t know. I think mostly it just came down to that they weren’t ready to lay out all the cash at the beginning. JONATHAN:**The cash flow [crosstalk].**CHUCK: They could not get an approval that – they said, ‘We’re going to do it the other way.’ And I said that’s fine but if it takes me a couple of extra weeks, you're going to have to pay for it, and they did. JONATHAN: It’s like we got some more questions. CHUCK: Yeah. Kai asked a question: What’s a marketing/lead generation channel that’s been successful for you that you hadn’t expected to be successful for your consulting business? JONATHAN:**Podcasting [chuckles].**CHUCK: Same. I was going to say the same thing. JONATHAN: It’s amazing. CHUCK:**And I have to say – I did for a long time. It’s still there; all the videos are there; they're just out of date, but I got tons of work off of those videos. I've talked about it on the show before. I had another show called Rails Coach and it was a – I was just talking about Rails and I was just doing it for the fun of it, and I got 2 or 3 leads off of that. People who were listening to it, trying out Rails, decided that they needed to know a whole lot more in order to build a real app. Then they called me up and said, ‘Can you do it instead?’ or ‘Can you do it and can I watch the commits?’ [chuckles] and that just worked out.**JONATHAN: Yeah. I was going to say having an open source project that you started has been helpful for me in the past, as well. I got a lot of leads from doing that. And Eric’s done the same. Speaking gigs is amazing. Doing live speaking gigs is – there's no – if you're not – if the notion of getting up in front of a crowd of people and sharing your passion about whatever it is that you do doesn’t scare the pants off you, I urge you to do it because there's nothing like the connection that you make when 2 people are in a room and they're just vibing on the passion and the body language. The whole thing is just really easy to make a connection with people when you're standing there, and in the context of the sage on stage where you're up there, you're presented as an expert automatically. So it’s amazing. I've gotten huge gigs just walking right off the stage, and lines of people come up to give me their cards and they're all ready to go. That’s been really good. CHUCK: That’s funny because I have not had that same kind of result. I've gotten one call from speaking, and I think they basically went down the speakers list for Ruby Conf. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I’m talking about stuff where people actually come up to me after the talk in person. But I do [crosstalk].**ERIC:**Is it towards your peers or towards your clients who [inaudible] the audience?**JONATHAN:**That’s true. In fact, that’s something that I’m shifting personally. For me, it was – all my talks up until pretty much this year, pretty much all my talks were very much to my peers – people that do my kind of work; web stuff basically – software development.  And what would happen is people who – project managers and lead devs and stuff like that would come to the conference – self by self [inaudible] or web directions or whatever. So they come up after and the talks would be technical and they come up after and they ask me questions about it, and they would end up making the introduction to the buyer inside the company. That’s usually the way it would work. Recently, I've stopped doing that – not stopped completely but somewhat and I’m actively looking for conferences there in the vertical. So instead of doing a conference of web developers, I’m going to a conference of restaurant IT people. The whole conference is all restaurant people and I can focus my talks specifically on that vertical and what’s interesting about mobile for restaurants. The people that go to a conference like that aren’t like a mid-tier, pay-grade, somebody under a director. It’s all directors and above. There are CIO’s in there from global restaurant chains. So that’s amazing. Those are the buyers as opposed to me getting a Trojan horse into a project manager, a dev lead, that kind of thing. I like that a lot better; it’s more directly relevant to the stuff that I’m doing since I’m doing more strategy than hands-on coding.**CHUCK: I’d like to know how you adapt, what you do to – I guess you just talk about what you do and the context of what they care about. JONATHAN:**Yeah. If at all possible, I always try to send out a questionnaire to people who are going to be there at the time. And I do customized – a lot of the stuff is pretty general purpose. The whole notion of mobile and the bigger wireless computing revolution is – it’s doing the same kind of thing to almost every industry; virtually every aspect of society is getting ripped apart and remade. So they're almost certainly in one of them. I can just focus on – focus the example slides on particular things in their industry. So at the food conference I went to – it’s called Murtec in Vegas – I did a bunch of examples that were based on what happened to the newspaper industry but how could the same thing that happened to the newspaper industry happen to the food industry when you can eat online? You can read the news online but you can’t eat a burger online. They probably feel insulated from that disruption. But I was like, huh, are they? Or can I come up with an example where they're not. And in fact, I was able to come up with an example where they're not. Amazon is delivering food now. They just announced yesterday that in Manhattan, they're delivering food in Amazon prime numbers; prepared food. There are all sorts of ways that even a restaurant can get ripped apart by the changes going on in mobile. But I do – to answer your question, I try to send out a questionnaire first, I talk to the conference organizers, I find out if there's a – what the main trade publication is for that group and I read it, I use the language that they use, [crosstalk] presentation. I had a time I made sure I knew: don’t call them chain restaurants, they're multi-unit restaurants. Chain restaurant’s a bad word, so I didn’t want to go up on stage and put my foot mine off and say, ‘Hey, are you on a chain restaurant, Mr. Wendy’s guy?’ and have him be super ticked off because no, it’s multi-unit restaurant. I do all that research and customize it to their space, their language. It takes a lot of work but I’m getting paid for it.CHUCK: Right. Do you usually get invited to speak at conferences, or do you submit a proposal to speak at the conference? JONATHAN: These days, it’s almost always an invite. But not at first; at first, I’d go to the opening with an envelope and it was like I’d talk anywhere. CHUCK: Yeah. Alright. The next question is: Do you guys still think that Get Clients Now is the best approach to fill the pipeline phase? I’m basically just starting freelancing; almost no clients, and heard an older episode about it or do you have new insights about that? ERIC: Yeah. I actually still do it. I wrapped up one session of it I guess 2 weeks ago. I haven’t started a new one because I have a full time client right now so I don’t – I almost don’t have the bandwidth to do it too. But I think it’s great. I've modified it a little bit. I don’t commit to it as much as every day and all that but I think having a system and having some daily accountability and weekly accountability of, ‘Are you doing your marketing or are you just saying you're doing it?’ I think that’s big no matter what phase your business is in. CHUCK: Yeah. I was just going to say that if you're going to follow Get Clients Now or Book Yourself Solid or use the – they vary a little bit from one to the other. But if you're being consistent is really the kicker. It’s really the thing that’s going to pay off for finding clients. ERIC: Yeah. And CJ Hayden, the author of Get Clients Now, she has another book. I think it’s just an ebook only but it’s along the lines of once you’ve done Get Clients Now and you know how it works. This is like take it to the next level. And the big thing I got at that is that you figure out really how many clients do you need a year. Do you need 10? Do you need 20? Do you need 30? Taking that, working your numbers, figuring out: ‘Ok, so in this year or to reach that goal, I need to write 50 blog posts. I need to go to 6 conferences’ – that sort of thing – and actually, having a bigger picture than just a full-week tactical in the leads. But I found that Get Clients Now stuff still works. I got to have my own template for it. I still use it and it’s been, what, 8 years now I've been using it; maybe 7. CHUCK: Alright. If you give yourself 2 or 3 bits of advice when you first started out, what would it be? JONATHAN: Specialize. ERIC: Yup. Charge more. CHUCK:[Laughter] Those were the two I was going to say. I was going to say charge more first, but –**ERIC: I think another one is: don’t be so afraid of screwing up. You got to go out and make mistakes. You got to try something to see if it’s going to work. Don’t be afraid of sending the wrong to a client or whatever and never do anything at all. JONATHAN:**Try to work with people that you like. We've already said this but [inaudible] you're just starting out and you're trying to make ends meet and keep the lights on and all that stuff. You pretty much want to take all comers but when you're doing that, if you do that, make sure that you realize that you're doing that. And that that’s not the way that it has to be, and that you're in a transition. You're going to try and transition from that just getting the money to pay the bills. While you're doing that, take note of what you love about certain clients and what you hate about other clients and just try. As you get a little bit more cash in the bank, try and skew more towards the ones you like  instead of the ones you don’t like. It sounds so obvious but I hear it all the time from people; they're just like shocked when they think of someone freelancing saying no to somebody – saying no to a lead. It’s mind-boggling for people. But don’t be afraid to do that. Keep your lights on, you got to pay your bills, but always be trying to get clients you like better. And specializing helps with that, raising your pricing helps with that, all of that stuff works together to attract clients that are going to be perfect for you.**ERIC: I’m actually thinking about that because I did this, I guess, about a year ago. Figure out how much income revenue you need to your business bills, pay yourself a decent salary and just to live on, not where you're improving your lifestyle, saving and investing – just the minimum. Forget what that is and back into, with your rate, how much you need to work, and taking what Jonathan said, that’s how much of the – we’re going to call them bad clients – that’s how much a bad clients you need. Once you get above that, then you either need to work on marketing to get the good clients or you need to work with good clients. If you're above the minimum and a new bad client comes to you, you turn them down. And you basically do that and eventually, those good clients will cycle in, and those will be the people that will keep you at your minimum. And now, you have all these great clients. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I was just listening to someone yesterday talk about how she had been working for herself for 20 years and hated her job and like, ‘Can you imagine?’ You built this job for yourself and you hate it. [Laughter] It’s crazy. Just be aware of the fact that you are in control of it. You can control the direction it goes. For someone who’s just starting out, they're not going to appreciate that, really. That’s for someone who’s been doing it for a while and is just like super busy, they're broke, they're stressed out. It’s a different stage to be at. But this particular topic, what Eric was just talking about is very, very, I think, very well covered in Book Yourself Solid. The first section or two of that book does a great job of exercises and worksheets that you can go through to identify your ideal client – not your target market necessarily, but the target market to a certain extent. Maybe it’s restaurants, maybe it’s – whatever; maybe it’s [inaudible], but also within that: your perfect personality type. Do you like people who are chatty, or do you prefer people who get right down to business? They’ll be things that, of course, you always liked; you always liked people who pay early and things like that, but it’s certainly worth the money to grab that book and read just the first section or two about ideal client. It’s the – what is it called – the red velvet rope policy.**CHUCK: Yup. ERIC: Yeah. And honestly, when I started, I got Book Yourself Solid and Get Clients Now from the library. And I ended up renewing it the maximum – 3 times or whatever. I didn’t even spend the money to buy the books until I actually – the business generated the revenue to buy them for me. CHUCK: Oh, that’s interesting. JONATHAN:**What’s a library? [Laughter]**ERIC: I get it from the ebooks from now. CHUCK: It’s a firetrap. ERIC: Good coffee, free wifi, quiet. CHUCK: Yeah. So one last question and then we’ll do some picks. And I guess it’s not really a question so much as Kai’s advice was to get a Mastermind group. Are you part of Mastermind groups and what is your advice regarding them? JONATHAN: Big fan but I am spoiled because I’m in a couple of amazing ones. So I know that – and I’m not in very many different ones. I've only got, I think, two what I've called proper Masterminds where it’s just birds of a feather chatting about how they get business done and a couple of others that are business – just specifically business related or paid membership. Other people who are in them with me are in more than I am, and the say how a lot of them are just a ghost town or a complete waste of time and that there are really no contributions there. Maybe spam-my is too strong but it’s very network-y. ERIC: Noisy. JONATHAN: No. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. So you want a good one and if you find a good one – it has completely changed my business. I have not – I've been solo since late 2005 or early 2006 and there was absolutely nobody, nobody in my personal life and professional life that I could talk to about any of this stuff. And the speed that I have been able to – just the increase in velocity of my business now compared to before is jaw dropping. It’s just stupid stuff like, ‘Can I get another pair of eyes on this sales page?’, or ‘What do you guys think about this?’, or pricing questions: what do you think I should price this at? Just having a group of – I think a good mix is maybe 20 people at the most where you get people you trust that have either done it before or doing the same thing as you, maybe they're ahead of you, maybe they're a little behind you, it’s all super beneficial. Even giving other people advice makes me understand my own business better. It’s fabulous. Yeah. It’s really good. CHUCK:**Yeah. I can’t even tell you how many times this – I got to write down what I just said because [chuckles] it’s exactly what I needed to hear. I am part of one Mastermind group. I've actually been a part of several others varying effectiveness and I've actually started one of my own and then shut it down just because it wasn’t quite what I needed. But the Mastermind group I’m in right now is you can actually go listen to our meetings. We do talk about a few things outside of the chat but for the most part, we just record it. You can go to That’s like ‘entre’ like entrepreneurs, programmers, and we talk for a couple of hours every week. And that has been so helpful and so useful. We actually have an email list that we email back and forth several times a day on. I've thought about doing a local one. The issue that I've had is that I've done that twice and it always just turns into we’re going to get lunch together and there's no accountability; there's not a whole lot of help going on. And so it just – it turns out that it’s just not worth doing. But I think that really just boiled down to the people that I brought into it, some of whom wanted the kind of environment that I wanted and some of whom just weren’t comfortable giving that kind of frank feedback in person.**JONATHAN: If anybody’s thinking about starting one on that – to play off of that point, a couple of the different or the two that I’m in that I think are really good are – there's an onboarding process. You don’t just say, ‘Hey, let me in.’ It’s a slack room, they're both slack rooms, and in both cases, there's a vetting process almost. It’s like: here's a code of conduct, here's what’s cool, here's what’s not cool. In fact, one of the rooms didn’t start off that way. I was in one of the rooms before the – it’s not a code of conduct but sounds like not fun. It’s fun, but it just lays the ground rule of what the social morays are in this space. Since you don’t have any visible queues, you don’t have any body language or anything like that. It really helped me be more comfortable in the room that I had already been in for a while because like, ‘Geez, I really like to ask somebody about this coaching page I’m about to put up’, and I don’t want them to think that I’m trying to sell it to them. I just really want feedback on it. There was some situations – it was uncommon, but there were situations were as potentially as awkward. So I think, to Chuck’s point of maybe it was just a wrong group of people that you can control that somewhat by having basically a velvet rope. You must be this tall to ride. CHUCK: Yeah. And it’s not just who you get in the group but I like the idea of actually saying, ‘This is how often’, and the other way is we just expect you to contribute in this group. I know Mastermind groups – if you don’t show up 2 meetings in a row, you're out  and things like that. But then, you really have to find that right mix of people and have the right idea of what everybody expects to get from it. And it’s hard. It’s really hard. ERIC: That’s the thing with community. It has the gel that people have to get along. Expectations had to be set. There has to be boundaries; either talk about it or informally set consequences of what we’re stepping at, that sort of thing. I think one and really important thing is if you're going to join or if you're going to start a Mastermind group is, at least for the very, say, first month, to be a bit fluid. If you're not getting value out of it, if you don’t get into it, you're not – don’t feel like a member, basically any reason that doesn’t feel right, you should be able to leave. And you should leave or quit or whatever. Some people in some areas, it just – it’s not a good fit for that stuff and the whole point of it is you need to get value out of it and be providing value to other people. If that doesn’t happen, then it’s worthless to you. CHUCK: Yeah. I just want to back this up. I don’t know if I’m going to make Eric uncomfortable saying this but we were in a Mastermind group and he pulled out of it because he wasn’t getting what he needed. There were no hard feelings. It just wasn’t what he needed. So if you have that understanding up-front, then, again, it’s not socially awkward or whatever for somebody to pull out. It’s just, ‘Ok, well, I need something a little different from what this group is providing’ and everybody else can find it insanely helpful. JONATHAN: Yeah. ERIC: Mm-hm. It’s just like with your clients. There might be a client that’s a great person, they have a great business but they're not a good fit for you. Working with them would be – make things worse for you and them. So it’s best not to work with them. Refer them to someone where there would be a good fit with. CHUCK: Yeah. They may have a great personality. Sorry. JONATHAN: It’s me. It’s not you. CHUCK: That’s right. ERIC:**One thing you guys mentioned but didn’t really touched on: there’s Mastermind groups like I see is like a community chat or a community where it’s 20, 30, 40 people maybe at the most. But there's other Masterminds where it’s maybe 5 people and that’s a very rigorous: like we’re meeting every week or by weekly or monthly, and that’s very heavy on the accountability. I've noticed there's these things between that I can – multiple of the community people that are like-minded but the actual [inaudible] to your large focus accountable Mastermind – I can do, I think, depending on the sequence, 1 or 2, and beyond that, it’s intense. Those are the ones that I feel really, really push me to be the best I can be and I can push the other members to be the best they can be, and that [inaudible] cycling way back to the beginning. That requires a lot of trust on the entire community: the 4 or 5 people in there. And most of those, you don’t just happen, and there's not like a job post and you just join one. It’s typically people you’ve worked with where you know and you have a good degree of trust with and you're like, ‘Hey, how about we meet regularly to talk about business and get really deep in sharing numbers, sharing fears, sharing problems’, that sort of thing. And so, if you don’t have that kind of people cultivating that relationship, it’s actually a good thing even if doesn’t end up in a Mastermind group. Just having someone you can email and say, ‘Hey, I'm having this problem with this client. What do I do?’**CHUCK: Yeah. I've actually got a couple of friends that sometimes I’ll just email and I’ll be like, ‘Hey, can I buy you a lunch?’ and just get feedback on stuff. ‘This is what I’m thinking about. These are the things I’m struggling with’. JONATHAN:**Yeah. It’s a good point to bring up, which is that in a – especially in a smaller room that I'm in – it’s maybe 10 people –we all like hanging out. Everybody knows everything: sales numbers. A guy just came in today, got fired, he’s still got a day job, and now he’s – everything. It’s like very – I've never met anybody in the room, and I wasn’t friends with any of them before. I had a working relationship with – very short working relationship with the person who originally invited me. And [inaudible] some of my best friends now. I’m going with them on weddings if I can get away but it’s like is. It’s probably been – I think it’s been a year now, and it’s been transformative for everyone and very, very intense, but in a good way. So if you're not getting that, keep looking for it because it’s really beneficial. If you're in one that’s just like, meh, jokes and gifts of cats and stuff, that’s great, but you need to also be getting – I feel like we’re all working in our basement now and it’s like there's no ‘where do you get that’. We all have weird jobs. There's a lot of us but it’s still pretty weird. It’s like a new thing. So it’s hard to – I can’t tell everybody in my family about any of this stuff; they all have regular jobs.**ERIC:**If you feel you have a [inaudible] syndrome or you – what is it called – the highlights where everyone else is being successful and you're not, a Mastermind group will really help with that because you’ll see the people that you think are superstars, they struggle with the same thing. It might be a larger scale, but they struggle with the same thing. Sometimes, the stuff they struggle with, you're just like, ‘That’s nothing, here’s how you fix it’. But seeing that everyone is just people too, most people are just people, I think that can actually really help out, especially during these hard times when you're going through stuff.**CHUCK: Yup. Alright. Picks? Eric. ERIC:**Ok. I got two. I have a feeling I’m going to steal one of Jonathan’s, but whatever. First one is a pick from Ittybiz called Pay Your Love First. Basically, it’s a blog post. You really should read it especially if you have – I have a split personality with my business. I have my products side and I still have my consulting side. It’s basically like when you have that kind of – that tension of ‘what should I focus on? Should I work on A, should I work on B?’ It’s a pretty interesting – she has an [inaudible] going through with it. I think it’s based on another article, which she links at the beginning, but read them both; they're really good. The second pick is The Consulting Pipeline Podcast by Philip Morgan. He launched it recently. There's [inaudible] now. It’s like there's this Jonathan Stark is on the latest one.**CHUCK: What a punk. ERIC:Yeah. I’m on one of them. I don’t know [crosstalk], but it’s some good stuff. I listen to – what is it – the Estimating Market Size ones. There's two of those, and then there's some stuff on actually positioning and really focusing in on how you specialize; a gradual spiral [inaudible] process, which is really interesting. I like what he's doing because it’s – and he got these interview ones, but you also have these really short focused like, ‘Here's how you do X, or here’s something about topic Y’. So those are my two picks.CHUCK: Nice. Jonathan. JONATHAN:So you almost stole one of my picks. My first pick is also from Philip. Philip Morgan has a product called Drip Sherpa, and we talked about Drip at length last week about powerful marketing automation tool that it is. It’s deceptively simple on the surface. I personally found that when I went in and started using it – I probably paid for it for 6 months before I actually started using it because I was a little overwhelmed with the way it worked because I was coming from MailChimp and the structure is just fundamentally different. And he was really hard – I just felt like every time I was doing something, I was doing it wrong and I was going to regret having it set up wrong, so I just never did anything. And right around that same time, Philip came out with this product called Drip Sherpa where he basically offers you concierge service to train you on and get you set up, tell you how to get things done with it so you can get up and running pretty quickly. If I had paid for it in the first month that I got Drip, I would’ve saved who knows how much opportunity cost in 6 months of wasted 50 bucks a month on Drip or however much I’m paying. Check out Drip Sherpa if you are interested in Drip and you don’t know where to get started. That’s probably how I would characterize that. The other thing is Brennan Dunn has publicly announced that DoubleYour Freelancing Conference, which is in September in North of Virginia, if I remember correctly.That’s September 16th and 18th in North of Virginia, and there are only 200 seats. So if you're going to be in that area in September and you want to totally crush your business [chuckles] – tons of great speakers; I’m speaking at it. There's a lot of great speakers; Brennan speaking of [inaudible]. Just go to the page and it’s an amazing lineup. That link is And, I hope to see you there.CHUCK: Alright. I've got a couple of picks. The first one is if you're a programmer, I've been really enjoying lately the CodeNewbie Podcast. It’s by Saron Yitbarek. She’s on the Ruby Rogues podcast. It’s just a great podcast. I've probably picked it before and I’m going to pick it again. And then I've also been listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast This Is Your Life, and I really enjoy that. So, go check those out. I guess that’s all we've got, so we’ll go ahead and wrap up. Thank you all for coming. We’ll do it again next month. [This episode is sponsored by DevMountain. DevMountain is a coding school with the best, world-class learning experience you can find. DevMountain is a 12-week full time development course. With only 25 spots available, each cohort fills quickly. As a student, you’ll be assigned an individual mentor to help answer questions when you get stuck and make sure you are getting most out of the class. Tuition includes 24-hour access to campus and free housing for our out-of-state applicants. In only 12 weeks, you’ll have your own app in the App store. Learn to code, it’s time! Go to Listeners to the Freelancers Show will get a special $250 off when they use the coupon code FREELANCERS at checkout.]**[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 or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Want to 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]**

Sign up for the Newsletter

Join our newsletter and get updates in your inbox. We won’t spam you and we respect your privacy.