20 Ways to Legitimize & Level Up Your Digital Agency (or Freelance Business)

More about this video

My agency is crushing it in 2021, so I thought I’d drop in for an hour or so with some tips to help you level up your digital agency or freelance business if you’re feeling stuck or plateaued (or if you just love helpful insights).

If you want go to deep on these things, we’re making that happen inside my Inner Circle (Over 550 active members now!): https://digitalambition.co/inner-circle/

0:00 Intro
2:25 Level up your Discovery calls
12:55 Stop selling web design
15:02 Write better proposals
21:36 Time your proposals better
23:47 Create a detailed SOW
26:02 Have clients sign an MSA
26:45 Start charging for Discovery
29:57 Start charging for project management
31:49 Start charging for copywriting and make it “mandatory”
37:38 Stop agreeing to free work inside of projects
39:50 Standardize your process
40:12 Standardize your pricing
41:41 Price for scale
44:15 Expect to win the project at the stated price
48:05 Get creative with payment plans
52:29 Stop discounting
54:24 Stop doing all the work
56:45 Get a simple project management tool and use it
57:29 Make a base website management package “mandatory”
1:01:16 Teach clients how to refer you

Video Transcript

What’s up everybody welcome back to the channel wanted to drop in with a new video to remind you guys that this channel isn’t just about Oxygen and it’s certainly not just about automatic dot CSS the utility class and utility variable framework that I’m about to release in November Nice plug. Okay, so what we’re gonna talk today about 20 ways to legitimize and level up your Digital agency you should be able to see the slides on the screen right there Reason I’m making this video today is because this year 2021 my digital agency which is called digital gravy is on fire like it is doing better than it’s ever done We have definitely leveled up signing more contracts bigger contracts life is fantastic the team is growing We’re doing really really well and I know that that’s not the case for all of you so If you feel like your agency or maybe you consider yourself to be a freelancer these tips are gonna help you just as much But if you consider that your business is not doing better than it’s ever been Then I definitely want to jump in and help you with some things maybe implementing some of this stuff can really really help you If you feel like you’re doing better than you’ve ever been and you still just want to learn some great stuff That maybe you’re missing that’ll make your thing even better than this might be for you as well shout out to my inner circle We just has 550 active members, which is absolutely fantastic and I can guarantee you like we’re gonna go over these 20 tips These things were doing surface level kind of rapid fire here on YouTube This is the stuff we talk about in depth inside the inner circle and I’ve already gotten dozens of Messages from people thanking me for the content and telling me that because of what I’m teaching they are Just like me they are signing bigger contracts. They’re making more money There’s more margin in their contracts for the first time ever They are hiring people and building a team and everything is just running smoother and better and their clients are happier And they have more clients and then they’ve had they have recurring revenue It’s good right everybody is getting great results from this content So without further ado, let’s go ahead and hop right in so again 20 ways to legitimize and level up your digital agency Number one and these aren’t in any particular they’re in like a loose order, okay?

But like I said, I’m just gonna go through kind of rapid fire fashion So tip number one is to level up your discovery calls and just off the cuff off off the top of my head thinking about How I’ve run discovery calls in the past versus how I run them now How I’ve seen others run discovery calls discovery call recordings that I’ve listened to from other freelancers and agency owners Just some quick tips again off the top of the head number one You should be discussing price and your discovery calls and just to clarify a discovery call is not called you do during the discovery process that people are paying for This this type of discovery call that I’m talking about is that like pre sales call where you’re qualifying the person You are selling your services you’re selling yourself you’re getting kind of a price bracketed out We’ll talk about price bracketing in just a minute and you’re just getting the person comfortable in Preparation for sending them a proposal, okay? So again, that’s what a discovery call is in this context. Let’s talk about kind of how it should happen because this is The foundation of leveling up if you’re not doing discovery calls properly You’re not gonna get the contracts. You’re not gonna get the projects You’re it’s just gonna be tough and you’re only gonna be able to secure the small fish clients So when you get on a discovery call number one, you need to talk about price at some point I’ll tell you how to do that in just a second number two You need to be leading the call Don’t like expect the person to tell you everything that they need but you lead the call with questions Not statements not sales not anything else you lead the call with questions the more questions that you ask The better the call is gonna go and your opportunity to sell comes in how people answer the questions Number one the questions you ask you have to ask smart intelligent questions But number two the way that people answer the questions or sometimes they respond with the question gives you the opportunity to sell and The way that I sell I try to sell without being salesy So I am authentically trying to tell people exactly what we can do for them based on the goals They’re telling me that they have based on the situation that they find themselves in that’s what this is all about Right you’re talking to a business client who needs a new website or they need SEO or they need digital marketing or whatever They’re in a specific situation and they’re trying to get a specific outcome and this entire discovery Slash sales call is how can I get you from point A to point B and what is that gonna look like and what is it gonna cost?

That’s basically all you’re trying to nail down in these calls But you ruin the call if you just talk talk talk talk talk you ruin the call if you just sell sell sell sell sell You ruin the call if you treat it like a presentation or something like where you’re gonna go in and yeah We’re the best of where this and where that look at all this work. We’ve done and yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah That’s not a discovery call a discovery call has to discover some things and in order to discover some things You got to ask questions you got to ask a lot of questions right and Two things are gonna happen number one. You’re gonna gain a lot of insights that you can use to sell covertly sell right just authentically sell and then number two the client is going to really feel like you’re Carrying about the situation that they’re in the goals that they have and you’re caring about like creating a campaign That’s tailored to what they’re telling you versus just fitting them into some sort of package that you give everybody right So you’re personalizing this process so I always go in I’ve done research on the company now the third thing I would say and just triggered in my mind is to be Interactive as much as possible. So for example when we get to the SEO discussion I literally usually we’re always on zoom or Google meet or something like that I literally pull up a triffs. I pull up their site in a triffs We go over their stats. We go over the backlinks that they have we go over how much traffic they’re getting where they’re getting it from what keywords are ranking We take a look at their competitors. I show them how their competitors are doing related to them like I’m teaching I’m instructional in a lot of these discovery calls same thing with their webs I’ll pull up their existing website. We’ll go through it. What do you like?

What do you not like about your current website? Here’s why I think this is working here’s why I think this is not working now You have to be careful because you don’t want to like trash people’s websites if it’s terrible But at the same time you want to point out where they might be missing opportunities where the the leaks in the boat are So to speak that you can come in and fix and how you’re going to fix them with your process So that’s basically what a discovery call is and kind of how you should think about it when you’re about to get on one right When we talk about price You want to see and and I’m talking about after you’ve raised your prices Which we’re going to talk about later in this in this video But you want to give a price bracket like a range and you want to see their reaction to it a lot of people are afraid to talk about price on Discovery calls because they feel like well, let me give them all the details first. Let me give them this whole proposal and the price to be at the very bottom of the proposal Don’t do that. That is a huge mistake if you put your price in the proposal and that’s the first time they see that number You’re in trouble and and the reason the big reason you’re in trouble is you’re not there to defend the price You’re not there to justify the price you’re not there to overcome objections when they’re reviewing their proposal It’s in their hands now When they and I think we’re going to talk about this in one of the next slides But when they get the proposal they should already basically know what they’re about to pay for this Okay, that is a just huge huge tip that I can give you they should already know what they’re about to pay in the discovery Call you want to see if they’re going to flinch when you give them the price range if they flinch when you give them the price range One, it’s kind of a red flag to it you know that Justification is needed like we have to go into more that we have to have a discussion around why this is going to cost the number that I just said Right or the range that I just said now sometimes you can say hey, what’s your budget for this?

Maybe they throw out a $20,000 $30,000 and I’m like oh cool. I can work with that right A lot of times you’re going to get the response Well, we don’t really know what this should be and we’re you know, we’re looking around and we’re trying to see what other people say and Yaday and nonsense right they they know they know They’re pretending they don’t know and that’s cool Like if they want to pretend that they don’t know how much it’s supposed to cost it’s fine That’s where I throw out the range and you throw out the range with confidence in fact like I say Okay, cool. So based on what you’ve told me are you prepared to spend here you go there There’s your line right there. Are you prepared to spend between 20 and $40,000 and you can make it a big range don’t be like are you prepared to spend between 22,000 and 22,000 five hundred dollars like don’t do it get them Net them inside a big range, right and then what you can do with that big range is start to bracket them into an actual price okay, and they they really don’t even know that this is happening It’s kind of happening to them and they don’t have it much control over it But again, you know, they lied to you and they said that they don’t know how this stuff works So for the most part and I do deal with like bigger clients who have this is not their first website It’s not their first rodeo. Okay, so I know they know now if you’re legitimately dealing with a first time This is my first website ever for my brand new business. Okay, they may legitimately not know and they’re gonna probably be much Much lower on the totem pole anyway, right?

But if you’re dealing with a client where it’s a sizable project given that range 20 to $40,000 and then don’t talk Just shut up and see what their reaction is see if they flinch sometimes they’ll go Ooh, what an expectant that much, you know, and then it’s like okay. Well, what were you expecting? Right? What would you be comfortable spending and then it becomes that we’ll talk about you know getting creative with your pricing plans and all of that But let’s say they don’t flinch and they’re like yes, we’re prepared to spend somewhere in that range and so At that point you can say okay cool in terms of your budget Are you having to be closer to the $20,000 mark or the $30,000 mark of the $40,000 mark, right? Like get them to kind of say where they’re comfortable now with their budget now if they say like oh or much closer to $20,000 Then you can kind of explain where so we have this big range. Well, what factors into that range? Sorry, we’re on number one This is not it’s some of these are gonna be faster, okay? If you if they’re closer to that 20,000 the beginning of the range Obviously, we have a big range what factors determine where we are in that range is deliverables So say okay, cool if you’re closer to $20,000. There’s no problem. We may not be able to fit all the All the features that you want into this project at least not in phase one But that’s cool. It’s we can easily work with it, right?

And you just start having that conversation if there are 30,000 40,000 towards the top end Oh perfect because that means that we’re not gonna really have to leave anything out most likely that you’re wanting in this project So it’s never about like and we’re gonna talk about discounting later as well It’s never about discounting you’re getting this big range you’re bracketing them into a price and the bracketing It’s all based on reality like if you’re at the start of the bracket You’re probably gonna get less deliverables if you’re at the top end of the bracket You’re probably gonna get everything that you want right you can’t have both all right, so the bottom line is Now they know what range that they’re in they kind of know what they’re supposed to expect based on where they fell in that Bracket so that when they get the proposal there’s no sticker shock There’s nothing left to worry about in terms of price the proposal is let’s worry about the Details all right, let’s move on So that’s your discovery call because if you don’t set all that stuff up correctly You’re dead in the water like you’re gonna send this proposal. You haven’t talked about price yet They’re gonna skim it. They’re gonna make a decision based on price You’re probably not gonna get the project especially if there’s you know multiple people competing for it You’ve already kind of fit. This is the foundation of everything is getting these discovery calls Right Number two stop selling web design. I promise I can go much faster on this one Stop selling web design your Everybody and their mom that has oxygen WordPress theme forest yada yada yada can can sell web design You are not a web design freelancer. You are not a web design agency You help businesses achieve their goals now you can niche that down however you want but the bottom line is the website That we’re building for your company is a sales tool It is the central hub for your online marketing. It is not we don’t just do web design here And then we even break it out into like what is web design web design is just one piece of building a website the Design of the website is that UI is that UX then there’s development right and then there’s the marketing and advertising layer That sits on top of it. There’s a lot more to this conversation than web design So stop calling yourself a web design agency stop calling yourself a web designer a web design freelancer Stop like using this term. It’s a meaningless term. It’s like one tiny piece. There’s no value in web design There is no let me say that again There’s no value in web design from your perspective from their perspective You can in fact you can let’s prove it with data. They can have the best cleanest brightest most awesome web design ever and still get zero customers Right, that’s just the honest truth and I tell them that I tell them that like pretty doesn’t equal Bottom line doesn’t equal money pretty doesn’t equal money so We have to stop selling web design you’re trying to sell results the client wants a specific result You need to sell that result the more you sell web design the less projects You’re gonna get in the lower price point. You’re gonna get them out when you start selling the results of the client wants and A process and experience and expertise and that you know how to put all the layers on top of each other properly to make a nice little Birthday cake then that’s when you’re gonna get the bigger projects the bigger fish and so on and so forth stop selling web design Number three right better proposals, okay? I’ve reviewed a lot of proposals. I’ve looked at a lot of proposals Here’s and I actually have a training inside of inner circle where we go over like a winning proposal, but Here’s what I’ll say about this in short One it has to be personalized, okay?

That it can’t look super cookie cutter like this is the same proposal everybody gets Yeah, the colors are all gonna be the same the layouts all gonna be the same but the content needs to be unique to that project and The all the stuff that you asked in the discovery process like you know, do you guys want this? Do you guys want that? What’s this challenge? What’s that challenge? What services do you want to highlight? Yeah, they get it get it all of those answers all of that information Needs to be in that proposal so that when they read it back they’re like oh my god This like is built for us Whereas all these other proposal that they’ve gotten in the past are just like oh here’s our process Here’s how great we are yet. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s all about me me me me me me Your proposal needs to be about them them them them them them right you see the difference to add suspense like same Like fundamental philosophy of all copywriting like make it about the buyer don’t make it about you And that’s where a lot of like freelancers and and agencies go wrong as they try to make it all about themselves So if you can avoid that you’re you already off to a good start Second is I always put a statement of work inside the proposal So that they can see that yeah, they read about the process they read about their challenges and how we’re gonna solve their challenges They read about our team they look all the stuff that’s supposed to be in the proposal They read it all it’s great, but then they get to the tangible stuff here is every single Deliverable that we are going to provide you then we talk about the cost breakdown of all of That right so that when they have this in their hand and if they have you know 10 of them or five of them or however many they’re gathering Hours guaranteed is the most thorough the most personalized and the most detailed and I can tell you exactly how this works I’ve been in a number of situations where They were getting multiple bids and when I say multiple bids There was one company that literally was ten bids, okay?

They they told me up front They’re like and I actually came late. I was referred to them by somebody else who knew me and who knew that they were in this bid process And they were like well have you reached out to Kevin yet at digital gravy and they were like no we have it And so they set up a call for us and got on the call and they point blank told me look you’re a little late to the game Not your fault obviously, you know, you didn’t even know we didn’t invite you to this process But we’ve already gotten ten bids were reviewing them next week. Okay cool. I did the discovery process asked them a whole bunch of questions And they already told me in the discovery call like wow nobody else asked us all this stuff right nobody else like cared that much Then I got off the call and I knew I was already like head start, okay? I made this proposal super detailed full SOW all deliverables Scented off to them then I heard back and they’re like, you know, we need to get on another call and so I was like no problem got another call And we can actually go into a side Lesson here that I didn’t even put in here because I didn’t win I didn’t end up getting this project But we get on the second call and they said look like what you’ve given us so far is super impressive And they basically told me like out of the ten proposals They shortlisted two of them and mine was one of them so immediately I came in late to the process and I jumped Nine other people or eight other people however much that math works And that was cool. So I’m like awesome me and them. I’m winning this it’s done. It’s a done deal The problem is the reason I didn’t win it This person I was talking to was a middle-tier person Not the CEO not the CMO not the any of the C’s okay It was like a marketing director or something like that and so I was talking to them and then what would happen is and I asked Like five times I was like can I come in and can I talk to you guys in person?

Because I know that when I get in the door Physically I’m there in person. It’s a done deal. It’s a rep. Okay, you know They’re not making it out alive. It’s a rep. Okay. I know that that’s the confidence I go in with and not again It’s not being salesy. It’s just being confident being authentic and Legitimately knowing I can solve their problem and get them results and you know knowing that I have a rock solid process to do that That’s it, okay, and I can communicate that in that in that discovery session So I asked them four or five time can I come in can I know we’re busy? Well busy? We’re just trying to get this done and and she was kind of like blocking me off from coming in and so what would happen is And this was a kind of a technical project so She had this proposal over here at one price she had my proposal over here at a higher price a much higher price But mine included stuff the other one didn’t and I communicated multiple times I’m like look they’re not including this stuff and it’s gonna be a problem They’re not including content that’s gonna be a problem and so you know It was up to her basically to convey the importance of the this set of deliverables First this set of deliverables at this price versus this price they ended up going with the other one because I think because it was cheaper Right it was like you know $20,000 cheaper $30,000 cheaper something like that and That’s fine whatever like the less than I learned there It’s just absolutely do not rely on a middle tier person to communicate properly to the real decision makers Like you’ve got to get in front of the real decision makers I tried I couldn’t make it happen it is what it is but we’re talking about right better proposals My proposal got me from not even in the game to past eight other people into the ninth position Like that the discovery call the better proposal got me to position number I was in the conversation all right and as long as you’re getting up to bat and you’re swinging and you’re chipping balls Like you’re gonna knock a few out of the park and that’s what’s critical But if you write bad proposals you’re not even in the conversation you’re not even being considered right It’s somebody else being considered at the top and you know you’re never gonna win that way Okay, time your proposals better so I just told you Don’t send a proposal if you haven’t already discussed price that goes into timing never send a proposal before a discovery call So I’ll give you another real-world scenario This just happened somebody from my inner circle brought me a project and it was open to the public and basically what they do is They create an RFP or a request for proposal and they put this out to the public This is usually bigger companies bigger projects and a lot of people can bid on them and a lot of times by the way If you’re getting government funding for example, they have to get multiple bids It’s part of their the funding that they get says you have to get at least X number of bids And so they’ll create an RFP they’ll put this out and a lot of people will just read the RFP create a proposal boom fire it in and What I have always said is I will never send a proposal if I haven’t talked to a human being It’s you’ve got to do that discovery process. You’ve got to have that touch point You’ve got to get into the nitty gritty number one to make sure that the RFP is accurate Right, it’s not always accurate because the people making the RFP aren’t experts at this stuff So you’ve got to get in there and you’ve got to have a discussion with somebody then you can send a proposal and I guarantee I guarantee it’s just like the scenario I told you again it 50 people Submit proposals, but you and three other people actually got on a discovery call with them first Most likely the three people that did the discovery call are going to get mad preference like there’s are going to be scrutinized a lot more And probably chosen out of those three because you’ve built a relationship You’ve built some no like trust with the people and with the client with prospect and That you’re in the top of mind, right? So when they get your proposal they already met you they already like you They already trust you now they’re more likely to prioritize your proposal so Never send a proposal if you haven’t discussed price never send a proposal if you haven’t talked to a human being About the project preferably like I mentioned in my last lesson a decision maker, all right So time your proposals better Number five create a detailed statement of work I just talked about this as part of my proposal process I create a detailed statement of work in the inner circle. I show you exactly what an SOW is supposed to look like And exactly how much detail we go into in terms of listing every single Deliverable how we categorize them how we explain them on and on and on a lot of people do not do this two reasons two reasons big reasons you need to do this number one It’s part of the contract the client needs to know exactly what they’re paying for and they need to know exactly what they’re not paying for That protects you just as much as it protects them so that when you get 75% of the way into a project and the client says well, where’s this and you’re like well you didn’t pay for that right?

You don’t say like that, but you can show them the SOW and say It’s not here. We never talked about that. We never promised that thing because clients will all and it’s not like They’re lying. It’s not like they’re trying to sneak one over on you like they legitimately thought that they asked for this thing that they never asked for and Now they’re expecting you to deliver it, but you can be like well, but you never asked for that thing right? I have the SOW right here. It’s not in the SOW so we can add it 100% But it’s not in the SOW it’s it’s out of scope So the SOW protects you it also protects the client it impresses the client Because and let’s just add a third thing here’s the third thing They get to see everything that goes into an actual project because in their mind what are they thinking web design web design can’t be that hard It’s just web design right? Oh, well when they see the 400 deliverables that they need kind of changes the story a bit right? It’s hey, they’re a little more complicated than I thought there’s a little bit more that goes into this stuff than I thought and it’s not typically not 400 deliverables, but you get the point right when they see a laundry list of deliverables it clicks in their mind oh Oh, oh, there’s stuff on here. I don’t even know what that is and a lot most of the time they won’t even ask if they do ask you can explain it Whatever, but they need to see everything that’s going into their project and then the price starts to make a lot more sense Okay, all right anyway created detailed statement of work Number six have clients sign a master service agreement This is a contract, but it’s called a master service agreement or MSA and this outlines all of the like you know It’s the fine print basically. It’s how much they’re gonna pay when they’re gonna pay it when are the you know What happens if they don’t pay what happens if they don’t review your work?

What happens if they don’t give you approvals on time? What happens if they disappear for six months? What happens if yada yada yada yada yada All the little scenarios we have contract language that governs all of that if you’re not having them sign an MSA You are leaving yourself hung out to dry and you’re gonna get screwed time and time again. So MSA Make it happen Number seven start charging for discovery not the little discovery calls we talked about a minute ago But the real discovery process that you if you have a legitimate business You’re trying to get legitimate results. Well bottom line is there’s a lot to learn about the company you’re doing work for There’s a lot to learn about their industry There’s a lot to learn about how people behave in their industry There’s a lot to learn about keyword research and how people are searching online for these products and services. There’s A lot to learn about how you position their products best Lots to learn about what their competition is doing well and not doing well If you’re not doing discovery It’s gonna bake I would be surprised if you’re getting good results number one But number two if you’re not doing discovery You’re just doing your client a disservice because there’s a lot of things your client is Good at in the offline world, but not good at in the online world and the more discovery you can do for them And the nuggets that you can uncover the more value you’re able to inject into their business both in the digital world and in the offline world and other areas of their business and when businesses work with my agency they’re telling me all the time like Wow, we hired you to do a new website and some marketing and like you’ve helped us revamp our entire sales process the way we approach sales You know, you’ve helped us refine the products like you’ve given us ideas for new products and I found that stuff in discovery, right?

so They get a lot of extra value But if you’re not doing discovery then they don’t get that value and it’s a thing that they will gladly pay for They don’t a lot of people don’t know that they need to pay for it upfront But when you explain what it is it’s like dude I’m on your team like I am an investigator like I’m going out I’m gonna figure out exactly what people are searching for to try to find you How they’re searching what they’re expecting to find when they do search I’m gonna see what all your competitors are doing online. I’m gonna see what they’re doing well. I’m gonna see where their You know weaknesses are that we can take advantage of like I’m coming at this like I am dedicated to being in a Spy basically this is gonna go in gather up all this Intel Bring it back to them and make their business 10 times better and they love that kind of they love feeling like they have somebody like that on their team Because they don’t have time to do it. They know somebody should be doing it But they don’t have time to do it and I take all of that Intel and we bake it into their new Website and sales process and marketing and all of that so it all makes sense. It all ties together So that is discovery and you should be charging for discovery if you’re not doing discovery right now And you’re not charging for it. You are at minimum giving up I would say A thousand to fifteen hundred dollars minimum, but discovery can go up to five thousand six thousand ten thousand fifteen thousand depends on the size of the project The size of the company what they’re trying to accomplish There’s big money there that you’re just not scooping up because you’re not even offering it And a lot of times you’re doing it for free which we’re gonna talk about on a slide later. So I’m just gonna keep moving Number eight start charging for project management. Okay, so There’s a lot that goes into these projects especially as you start landing bigger contracts bigger projects There’s more moving parts There’s more things to consider which means more phone calls more emails more team members more this more that Right it all adds up you can’t just eat the cost on all that stuff You can’t eat the cost on getting on the phone with this client three days a week for 30 minutes at a time You can’t eat the cost on typing up 20 minutes at a time email after email after email Yes, we did this. Yes, we’re doing this. You either do you want this do you want that you cannot eat up that time in your margin Don’t stop doing it charge for project management. I’ve talked about this before It’s just like listen here’s how I’ll explain it to you a big take a big company I’ve done work for big companies before sometimes when a company gets big enough They have an internal team that handles their marketing and website and all of that They pay a project manager to manage all of that Okay, so if they’re not big enough To have an internal team doing all this and they want you to do it They got to pay you for project management because you need a project manager, right?

We both need project managers for this and I’m not paying for it like you’re gonna pay for it because it’s your project Okay, so that’s kind of how you treat it get all makes sense and it makes the most sense when you start adding up your time If you’re not charging for project management right now next project you do If you still don’t you’re not comfortable charging for it whatever next project you do track every minute You’re on the phone with the client. You’re sending an email to the client. You’re texting the client You’re driving to the client. Whatever Track all that time and see how much margin you’re giving up because you’re doing all that stuff for free Stop doing that stuff for free start charging for project management number nine Start charging for copywriting and make it mandatory A lot of people are uncomfortable with this, but let me tell you I did put it in quotes 99% of the time Copywriting is mandatory one percent of the time it’s not mandatory and I’ll tell you when that one percent of the time typically is But if you’ve been in this game for any length of time If I took a hundred agency owners and sat them down and said what is the one thing that derails the timeline of your projects The vast majority would say content we can’t get content from the clients And then I’m like okay, so what happens? Well, it sits there. We bug them. We do this. We do that Sometimes agencies end up doing it for free just to get the project out the freaking door right there like I’ll just write it Right and they write it and it’s done and the client gets free content and that’s the worst case scenario But this is the reality like you know content copywriting The client inevitably said oh we’ll handle that we know how to sell our product. We know how to do so You’re like okay cool and then they never give you the content and you’re waiting waiting waiting you’re tapping your feet You’re tapping your finger you’re like ah this is killing me and then you know You look up and you’ve lost six months like it’s six months delayed Based on when it was supposed to be launched and there’s things that agencies do Like oh well, you’re about to be off timeline. You owe us this amount of you know more money or whatever There’s a lot of stuff they try to do the bottom line is all of that is a disservice to the client If you are letting the client let me just say this slowly because this is the real foundation of this problem If you are letting the client write their own copy whether they deliver it on time or not You are doing them a grave disservice Your client I can almost guarantee is not a copywriter Okay, it doesn’t matter how great they are at sales They’re not a copywriter. There’s a difference. Okay, and if you are letting them write their own copy Their website is going to be less Effective it’s going to be less effective at SEO and it’s going to be less effective at sales You need to step in and you need to say listen. This is how the conversation always goes in my discussions You’re not a copywriter right and you can ask them right you didn’t go to copywriting school Okay, so copy is the most important part of a website You can have and I go back into the pretty first ugly scenario You can have the prettiest website on earth and if it doesn’t have the right copy and messaging it will get you this Gooseg, okay?

You can have the ugliest website on earth think like Drudge report craigslist whatever if it’s got the right copy and messaging It can be spectacular. So hands down we know Based on the way people behave and analytics and all this other stuff the copywriting is the most if you’re trying to get actual results not when a award For the best web design, but you’re trying to get actual business results Then copywriting is the most important part of the website. I mean show me differently, right? So this isn’t so the you know that’s part of the conversation I have with clients So I say listen we are experts at writing copy for the web We are experts at selling services and products with words and content So if you want this website to be effective Then we need to be producing the content for this website. Yes, it’s an investment. Yes It feels like it’d be cheaper if you did it, but here’s the thing number one the clients who try to do it You’re already busy. You’re trying to run your own business The chances that you are going to carve out the appropriate amount of time to write You know decent copy and get it to us is slim to none so there’s a risk here that your project actually gets Massively derailed it’s happened time and time again It happens all the time with other agencies We’re to the point in our agency where we basically say look if you want to work with us It’s you have to let us produce the content. It’s mandatory. I tell them that right and then we’re I’m explaining why it’s mandatory So one we don’t want your project to get derailed to we want your website to be effective And here’s the problem if you write your own copy and it’s not effective You’re very unlikely to point the finger at yourself when the results don’t start rolling in You know who you’re going to point the finger at you’re going to point the finger at me because I sold you all this stuff And you’re telling me it doesn’t work and it’s going to be hard for me to point the finger back at you and be like But you wrote the copy and we had the discussion about how the copy was the most important thing on the website, right?

So that’s a tough conversation to have and this is why I tell them honestly I don’t want to have that conversation with you I want you to just let us write the content and the copy and then if it doesn’t work You can point the finger at me all day long and we’ll figure it out Okay, but if you write the copy we’re gonna have an awkward conversation if the if the website doesn’t get results So it kind of boils down to and it starts to click in their mind They’re like, oh, yeah, I can’t write copy. I don’t have time to write copy. I don’t want to deal with this I just want somebody who knows how to do it to do it That’s the conclusion they come to at the end of the day and here’s what you’ve effectively done Not only have you secured the timeline Not only have you secured the effectiveness of the website You’ve added in a lot of cases 36,000 9,000 20,000 more dollars to the project in the form of copywriting and content Everybody wins everybody wins. Okay number 10 stop agreeing To free work just to win a project Stop agreeing to free work just to win a project And we already talked about not doing free work to move a project along But stop doing free work to win a project. Here’s what I mean People are in these sales conversations these discovery calls, right?

And the clients I will we want this and we want that and we want this and you have that conversation about price And the clients like oh, I don’t know and then you start talking about well We can scale the project back and I’m like no, we got to have this stuff. We got to have this stuff or we can’t go forward And you’re like man, I got bills to pay. I got mouse to feed. I can’t let this project slip through the okay Okay, okay, and you just agree like I’ll just throw it in we’ll just we’ll we’ll make it happen Are you comfortable at this price? We’ll make it happen stop doing that stop doing that, okay? You’re under valuing yourself. You’re letting the client off the hook You’re gonna get bogged down in projects you should not be doing you could even get upside down Depending on how technical these requirements are Stop doing this find clients that don’t flinch Fine, let me say that again find clients that don’t flinch be okay with saying no if the client is expecting you Because it’s not fair. There’s an expectation. I don’t if you can’t go to the dentist or though You can’t go to the heart surgeon right and be like that’s a bad thing because like insurance is paying and all that Let’s do the dentist right you can’t go to the dentist and be like Doc, I need these fillings, but I just can’t but it didn’t like and you just expect the doc to be like okay Well, I’ll just throw that extra one in for free like that doesn’t happen right go to a lawyer and you’re like Well, but I gotta get my custody back, you know, whatever your situation is and and you’re like just do it You just expect the lawyer to like throw it in for free or whatever Um, that’s not a situation that that’s this is awkward like now you’re not gonna believe me You’re like damn get Kevin got kids that you can’t you can’t get control of okay, we’re gonna edit this part out All right, so stop and just number 10 stop agreeing to free work just to win a freaking project number 11 Standard doc tangan is getting hot in here. Stay it’s even more awkward now all right number 11 Standardize your process standardize your process you’ve and I did a video in fact Let’s not even talk about this. I’m gonna put a little link up there somewhere and you’re gonna click it And you’re gonna read about how the website process works, okay? Cool Number 12 standardize your pricing So this is how it works when I’m scoping out of a project. I have a price list inside of panda doc panda doc is an app that I use to do all my contracts proposals all that good stuff Uh, I’m not an affiliate for panda doc because I don’t even think they have an affiliate program But nevertheless it’s the best and I recommend it so Uh, inside of panda doc I have all my products in there with pricing and so I’m going through a website getting all the requirements How many pages is it gonna be how many CPT’s that are gonna be?

Uh, custom fields all that good stuff templates first pages first UX design wireframes that yeah, yeah, yeah And I’m adding them into panda doc and they all have set Prices right attach every component that can go on a website Has a set price that we have standardized and that set price has margin baked into it It’s we’re gonna talk about pricing in just a second The bottom line is it’s very easy for me to scope out a project and I know it’s gonna be profitable And I know that it’s we’re good at the price that I’m giving because it’s all been standardized so standardized your pricing Um, I do help you with this inside the inner circle and I’m gonna be releasing more and more trainings on Standardizing pricing inside the inner circle and I’m gonna give you actual price lists So if you just want to like copy my pricing and start using it You got to have confidence to sell it at that price, but if you want to you can just take it and run with it Number 13 price for scale. Here’s what I want you to think about, okay? Because this is the trap I see agencies and freelancers especially fall into Hopefully I haven’t been like leaning and like getting my head blocked out this entire time um You cannot price a project to feed your family only You have to price a project to feed your family Feed the business with like marketing and advertising dollars like this client should help you pay to get the next client There’s got to be margin in there to market and advertise There’s got to be margin in there to pay for a team Because you’re gonna die if you do all this work yourself on every single project and you absolutely cannot scale So you’ve got to have money baked in for you. You’ve got to have money baked in for the uncle Sam Unfortunately, you’ve got to have money baked in for your team You’ve got to have money baked in for marketing and advertising you got to have money baked in just for profit Just to put aside and say This is nobody’s money, right? It’s the business is money, but we’re not even gonna use it We’re just gonna put it over here. You got to have that much margin baked in So when you’re pricing for something if the price you give is only paying for you And your family and it’s not paying for any of the other stuff You’re not running a business my friend. You’re running a hobby, okay?

Or you’re running like a bottom of the barrel freelancing operation And there’s a problem with that too because you get sick like I got COVID. I was out for two weeks Okay, and when I was out for two weeks if I wasn’t working at that time and I didn’t have all this money saved up We didn’t have a ton of margin in projects. I didn’t have other people filling in gaps With a freelancer I mean you could very easily just not have income during that time So it’s a that’s a problem. You’ve got to price for scale. You’ve got to price for security You’ve got to price for for growth of not just you but other people that need to be involved in these projects And you also need to price by the way for Insurance like insurance on the project what happens if some of the Deliverables are more technical than you expected and they take extra time they take extra money to fix You’ve got to have that money there, right? And you can’t go back to the client But oh messed up on the on the proposal there We’re about five thousand dollars short and we’re gonna need that five thousand dollars Like that’s not how this works you clients, but sorry you gave me a price So you told I agree to the price you agree to the price that’s the price Um, so you’ve got a price for insurance a little bit in there as well Number 14 how long have we been doing this? I don’t I don’t have a timer. Okay. That’s good. We’ll just keep rocking and rolling Number 14 expect to win the project at the price you asked for What did I say earlier like you heard me right if I walk in it’s a done deal It’s a wrap son like we’re getting the project 99 times out of 100 Um, I expect to win I expect to get a yes I expect to get the money I asked for okay, and like I said, I’m okay with if if it’s a nickel and dimer If it’s a red flagger if it’s a whatever I’m okay. We just spend I sorry we’re too busy. We can’t take on this browser right now, right?

Um, I I go in knowing my value I go in knowing that I can help this person and by the way if I can’t help them I tell them I can’t help them that sorry. This isn’t in our wheelhouse. This isn’t what we do I can hook you up with somebody or we can take on this part of the project But you’re gonna need to find somebody else for this part of the project You know, there’s a lot of ways to skin the cat, but the bottom line is You have to be authentic and you have to be confident you have to expect to win and I think that’s a big problem with a lot of agencies and freelancers that are struggling to get to the bigger projects is They they’ve gotten to a point and think about this when you first got into the game You probably didn’t expect to win the five hundred dollar project. You were like ah I asked them for five hundred dollars That’s oh man. Who’s gonna pay me five hundred dollars? But after a while You got to a point where you fully expected The five hundred dollars, right? And then you started asking for a thousand dollars But you were in that ballpark where you’re like oh god a thousand dollars and getting heartburn can’t ask for that And you know you kind of didn’t once or twice and you eventually got it yes And then you started expecting a thousand dollars. You’re like I just can’t do it for less than that I kind of how much work goes into this I can’t do it for less than a thousand and you keep working your way up And working your way up. Let me tell you the secret Because this is what I found the first time I landed a hundred and twenty five thousand dollar project It didn’t nothing changed. It was just my outlook where I was like Look, I’m gonna tell him this what the cost is and that’s the end of the story, right?

Like I’m not gonna worry about it if they say no Whatever I got him to the plate. I took a swing and but if they say yes, that’s gonna be amazing, right? And they did say yes But it’s to the point now where like I can throw out any number $250,000 without flinching and I If it’s legitimately worth that much money I expect to get it and that’s just it’s The way you think about these numbers and these projects It bleeds into your tone and your confidence in the conversations with people and they’ve and and you can actually defend it Right? Because if you don’t go in expecting to get what you ask for if you’re like I’m gonna try But like how can you defend that number then When they when they flinch and it’s time to step in and justify the price How do you justify a price you didn’t even expect To get a yes for So you have to expect a yes and if you’re stuck at five thousand right now The only difference between you getting $10,000 projects and $5,000 projects is expecting to get $10,000 projects The only difference between you getting $20,000 projects and $5,000 projects is expecting to get $20,000 projects That’s it. You just expect it like it’s worth $20,000. That’s what I expect to get Okay, and that’s it. That’s the end of the story Number 15 get creative with your payment plans So there are situations where people flinch, but they’re a great client I can tell that they would they would be great to work with And sometimes this is the newer people right these aren’t the season people that are just trying to like you know not pay Um, these are these are the people who are newer in the game Maybe they have some funding. Maybe they have just a startup and they they’ve been they’re investing their own money And you say hey look to get started Get you the proper website that you need and remember it’s not It’s not getting you a website is that this is the central hub of your online marketing. Okay, all roads lead to here. So this is super important. It’s critical um That just triggered something in my mind about cost when we’re talking about copyrighting But I’m not gonna go off on a tangent. I’m not gonna stick to what we’re talking about here Um, so if they flinch of the price and I really want to work with them You just have to get creative and how you structure the payment plans and how you structure the deliverable So here’s an example I give her proposal. I would say look if it was me This is the website that I would build this is exactly how it would look. This is what it would include yada yada yada It’s $20,000. Oh Can’t move okay flinch Now you say okay Obviously $20,000 not what you expect to spend right now How much are you on snow again in the bracketing discussion 10? Okay, they can get to 10 So if they can get to 10 I just say look this stuff that I would do if it were me It doesn’t have to be done. It doesn’t have to be done now. It does have to be done But it doesn’t have to be done now So what we can do is like a phase one approach So for the 10 grand here’s what you’re gonna get in phase one and then we’re gonna get you some results with the phase one So money’s gonna be rolling in what I want you to do is take some of that money set it aside and be willing to invest in phase two Phase two is that next 10 grand here’s what we’re gonna do with that and so that kind of discussion can get them to be like Okay, I’m comfortable with that. I do want all these bells and whistles I do want all this stuff. It’s gonna make a difference eventually But I can’t do it all now What do I need now for $10,000 and then what can I do later for the next $10,000?

That’s one way to structure the next way is to say look All right, we need to do all this stuff You can’t pay me $20,000 up front. How much can you get you 10 cool? You’re gonna pay me 10 And then the other $10,000 I did this with a client just last summer It was a medical company and they I gave them a price of it was like 18,000 or something like that And they flinched and they were like you know, they were a startup and so they weren’t like this big company with all this money And you know, they’re putting a lot of money into this you know, very very technical System that they’re creating like gobs of money. It’s for surgery um, and so you know and The website’s not like absolutely mission critical for them right now Um, so when I threw out 18 grand or whatever it was they flinched But it’s not like I didn’t lose them right. I still got the project and I made more than 18 grand and here’s how we did it So I basically said okay, what what can we do up front like what could we get on the front end and then we’ll figure out the back end And it came down to like well, we can get you six right now like just up front. We can get you six And then what we’ll do is we’ll take the other 18. I was like fine. We’ll take the other 18 the other um, you know 12 and let’s spread that out over the next 12 months You used to pay me a thousand dollars a month for the next 12 months that’ll take care of the second half Now I’m taking a risk on that so they’re they need to be actually paying more than a thousand dollars, right?

They don’t get the same price. I’m taking a risk that hey, what if y’all guys up and disappear on me I’m out a lot of my money that I’m supposed to get so we add a little percentage Um, to the total and then we break it out into 12 payments So I’m making a little bit more than I would have made otherwise, but they’re still getting all the deliverables they need and I’m actually getting recurring revenue out of it as well. So I know every month I’m gonna get this next payment and so it all works out So I didn’t you know you throw at a number just because they flinch even if they legitimately can’t do it Doesn’t mean you lose the project you’ve got to get creative with how you structure the payment plans. All right number 16 Stop discounting stop discounting the worst thing in the world is for you to discount so there are going to be lots of times where you throw out numbers and they flinch and what Agency’s and freelancers who are doing it wrong. I say wrong, but like it’s legitimately wrong You’re you’re undercutting yourself is they go immediately to high well We can I can work you to this prize and you’re just chopping off numbers You’re not chopping off deliverables. You’re not getting anything else in return for lowering the price And like I said, you’ve got to expect to get that now. There’s sometimes where I’ve lowered the price But not the deliverables, but I did it for something else. Okay, so we actually put in the contract I need three referrals. I need a Testimonial a written testimonial and I want a video testimonial from you, right?

I’m gonna show it with a camera and light so we’re gonna stick it in your face And you’re gonna give us a great testimonial if you like the work that we did because I’m if I knock You know 2500 five grand off a project and we’re not dropping the deliverables down because I like you And I want to work with you and I want to get you results But I still need to make up that five grand right? So we’re gonna make it up and you’re gonna give me referrals You’re gonna give me video testimonial. You’re gonna give me a public testimony on on Google or what have you There’s a lot of things that you there’s a lot of ways that a client can pay you can do a bartering situation, right? Hey, you’re doing a flooring company. Hey, bye. I need new floors. What could what can we do here? Right? So if they’re not wanting to pay cash they can pay in other ways So stop discounting get something for the for if the money goes down Either the deliverables go down or you get something else in return. Okay, stop just flat out discounting for people 17 stop doing all the work. Okay, you’ve got to start building a team. You’ve got to start We start removing yourself from more and more responsibilities Because as you start to grow the business the business actually needs you In more of a leadership role in order for everything to work out well and if you’re stuck in a Do all the work role you’re not gonna be you’re gonna be foregoing the leadership role and a lot of things are gonna slip through the cracks It’s not gonna scale. It’s not gonna be efficient. Clients are gonna be unhappy and on and on and on So you’ve got to stop doing all the work you got to start removing yourself and you’ve got to start putting other people in the right seats on the bus So I’m gonna say about that number eight. Oh, by the way um There was a time. This is a really important lesson There was a time where I was rocking and rolling had landed a few projects Good money, but I was only pricing to feed myself and my family. I wasn’t pricing for scale and Three other projects came along and they were whew they were good at the time now they’re small to me now But at the time they were good projects because at the time I was doing like $3,500 websites and these were like $10,000 websites and I literally was like I I don’t have time to write the proposals and I don’t I can’t even take them up if they said yes I don’t know what I would do And when I say 10 grand that was pricing for me that wasn’t pricing for anybody else That wasn’t pricing for scale So basically by saying yes to these other projects it was all gonna fall on me And I didn’t have the margin in any of the projects to be able to hire people so You can see where this is going right? I had to just like I just let them go right. I just I can’t do it. I physically can’t do it When you price for scale which one was it 16? How far back to it? Yeah, there you go When you price for scale you can stop doing all the work If you don’t price for scale you’ll never stop doing all the work So those two go hand in hand they have to work together and you just have to do it because there’s gonna be times where Like I said you have to turn down work because you can’t afford to put somebody else on the bus with you all right Number 18 get a simple project management tool and use it. I use base camp for my project management Um, everything runs through base camp. It’s really important to do this for Uh, having a history of all conversations. You know those things that clients like to always say Oh, well, I thought you were gonna do this and it’s like now we talked about that Here’s the thread right here where we talked about it But if you’re digging through emails and Worse you’ve got people on your team and it’s in their email and it like all of that is a nightmare Get a simple project management tool get everybody on the same page get a crystal clear track record of all communications All assets that the client has uploaded everything in one place It’s gonna make your life lot easier. It’s gonna legitimize and level up your agency Make your website management plan mandatory, okay?

And I again, it’s in quotes because there are times where it’s not mandatory, but it’s very very very very very very few times I want control over the client’s web hosting and management and here’s why And I have this conversation with the client number one sir Um, we are responsible for the performance of your website It needs to be fast mobile responsive free of errors free of issues free of security blah blah blah blah blah blah All of that just baseline But we’re also you know responsible for results like in terms of getting you sales and money and bottom line and all of that and An effective website is a living breathing thing. It is not a oh We’re just gonna design it perfectly from the jump and it never has to be tweaked it never has to be adjusted There’s never an AB test that has to be run on it We never have to treat the copy we never have to change up the offer We never have to do anything related to actual business with the website. No, that’s not how it works We have to do all those things So we needed to be in order to do the proper maintenance and management We need to be on our server in our control We can make sure it performs really well We can make sure the daily backups are there. We can make sure everything is running smoothly But we can also Continue to be a partner with you and this is all sold ahead of time like this is before they sign a contract and all of that They know that this is the game plan that when they hire us It’s not we’re not just gonna build a website launch it into the wild bag. All right. Good luck with that We are here as partners to turn this into a ATM machine for their business like we’re gonna do We’re gonna put the analytics on it. We’re gonna put the heatmaps to scroll tracking We’re gonna make sure that we are monitoring how people are using the website making the tweaks and adjustments Designing a marketing layer to put on top of it and advertising layer to put on top of that got the SEO going and this is all constant ongoing stuff So at the base minimum we have the Maintenance what people call maintenance. I never use the word maintenance I would and I never use the word hosting look We need to manage the website that includes maintenance and includes hosting But there’s more that goes into it than just maintenance and hosting. Okay, they have to know that There’s also all the licenses of the stuff that you pay for right and so if your agency is using agency licensed things Well, who’s gonna cover those costs right that gets baked into that fee and I explained it then look You don’t want to have to buy all these licenses for these things that we use right we have all the licenses already Their agency licenses were allowed to use them on your website Um, and we’re not gonna charge you up front for all those things Um, it’s just baked into our monthly management fee and this is recurring revenue for your agency But this keeps you in the conversation for months to come so that when they’re ready Let’s say that they you did phase one and you launched it and now they’re just doing the basic monthly management plan Three months later down the line come in to hey how’s everything going?

Are you guys ready for us to you know reveal some of the analytics based on what uh, you know We’ve watching how people use your website and we think that there’s some updates and changes and additions That can be made to make your business even better. Do you want to have that conversation? Yes, we want to have that conversation cool We’re still in the conversation because they know we’re the ones managing their website right and so they want to be talking to us They want to hear what’s next so it helps you get recurring revenue. Yes It makes sure that all of the technical stuff is taken care of yes But most importantly it keeps you in the loop in the discussion so that you can do future work for that client And continue helping them and growing their business. I’m losing my voice. So we’re gonna have to Wrap this up Number 20 show clients how to refer you so Let’s read it again show clients how to refer you What that means is don’t ask clients to refer you Don’t tell clients to refer you hey, you know refer me every once in a while don’t say hey, will you please give me a referral Show them how to refer you okay tell them what to look out for here’s an example. I tell my clients look You know a lot of their business owners Do you ever go to meet and greets do you ever do networking whatever right most business owners do that kind of stuff Um and the best business owners usually do it naturally because that’s how they got a lot of their business in the first place is Networking in people and relationships. So I just tell them look. There’s gonna be times where somebody’s talking about their website There’s somebody’s talking about Facebook somebody’s talking about this or that related to marketing or web or digital or what have you When that happens I would love for you to bring us up I would love for you to tell them what we have done for you and You’re just priming the pump right there. You’re showing them how to refer you So that the next time they’re in a conversation and the person’s like yeah, you know we try the Facebook thing and oh, oh boom That primer just clicked right and now it blows up because they’re like listen. I got an agency for you Ditch whoever else is not doing this right for you. I got the guy for you Uh, or I got the team for you. So you’re showing them here’s the situation You’re gonna find yourself in and there’s gonna be an opportunity to refer us and I would I would really appreciate here’s what that situation looks like I would really appreciate if you would bring us up at that time And connect us with that person You need to prime their brain so that it clicks when it happens because they’re having those conversations anyway But it’s just they’re forgetting they’re forgetting that they have somebody that they can refer to you right But if you prime them if you show them how to refer you Then they’re gonna do it more more more often than not all right so Oh Look, that’s it. Okay, cool. So we’re at the end. Let me let me flip back to camera here Can’t can I know I can’t all right. It’s just it’s just up there All right, so um, so that’s it. That’s your 20 tips. I’m losing my voice. So I gotta go I will remind you if you want in depth on this stuff like I just skim the surface kind of rapid fire I know I talk a lot, but I think it’s valuable But if you really want the in depth stuff on all the stuff that we just covered That’s the kind of content that’s going to be in my inner circle links to that are all below Um, and like I said people are getting fantastic results. We’re over 550 members now, which is absolutely crazy Um, and we’re going strong all right, and we’re on the march to a thousand and I guarantee you I expect to get to a thousand All right, so the attitude you got to have I expect to get to a thousand. We’re just getting warmed up All right, I’m out drop comments thumbs up subscribe all that good stuff Peace