Why Digital Marketing Agency is Absolutely The Best Business You Can Start
There are many businesses you could start, but there is one that virtually guarantees success and this is a digital marketing agency model. I like to call this business model a CAS – customer acquisition as a service. That’s because digital marketing agencies offer a service that is helping their customers acquire more clients. I have 3 really good newses for you now…
- Every company wants more clients without exceptions
- Everybody will pay you $1000 for making them $10,000. Do you see what I mean? With digital marketing agency (or CAS) model you are literally helping other companies make more money. This is very straightforward why they will be willing to pay you.
- Your clients need you more than you need them because without leads there are no sales, and without sales there are no project management, and delivery. You could technically find customers and outsource everything to your clients but instead you are helping them to make more money with you.
Mindset Shifts Needed for a Digital Marketing Agency
In this chapter we’re going to be exploring four transformations you must go through before embarking on your journey to owning a digital marketing agency. These transformations are fundamental concepts that will allow you to progress your business faster. It will also increase the chances that your business does not fail, and will improve the longevity of your business.
1. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel, Copy+Paste What Works
Too many times we see people try to invent the next big thing in business. They try to create a concept that has never been seen before and hoping that it will succeed. While these new ideas do sometimes have success, the chances are extremely low. There’s a reason that so many new startups fail, and it’s mainly due to the fact that people are trying to create a new idea and gamble on the chance it becomes successful.
Rather than playing with small odds and hoping something works, another strategy to greatly increase the chances that your business will not fail is to take a concept that already exists and is proven to work and apply it to your business. Instead of trying to be creative, take what already works and use it in your business.
A useful analogy we can use is cooking. When cooking a favorite dish, we usually follow a recipe exactly, except we may add in a few favorite ingredients to customize the taste to our liking.
But what if you try to create a new dish that has never been made before? You add in your favorite foods; chocolate, bacon, cheese, olive oil, and milk. Chances are it’s not going to taste very good and you would have ended up failing at this idea.
This directly correlates to business too, instead of trying to create a new business model that you’re not sure will work, just use a method that is proven to work and has stood the test of time.
An example of this is given below, where we have a business model built on 4 main concepts – Lead Generation, Sales, Project Management and Delivery.
If we cover these four areas in a business, then we can greatly increase the likelihood that our business will succeed.
2. Stop Being a Freelancer
The second transformation that we need to internalize is to stop being a freelancer.
Freelancers receive a small piece of the pie in any given project, and there is a major glass-ceiling to their earning potential. Instead of only receiving a small chunk of the pie, we want to get the whole pie.
Look at the following illustration, we can see that freelancers earn equal to sales and project management in any given project. They are at the bottom of the value chain and rely on the three other aspects of the business model to have work (lead-gen, sales and project management):
Without lead generation, there is no potential for sales. Without sales, there is no need for project management. Without project management, there is no work for the freelancer.
So how do we get to the stage of having this business model applied in our business?
There are three phases we must go through in order to achieve this:
- Phase One: Learn a skill, constant hustle and earn peanuts
- Phase Two: Outsource first few tasks, make decent money
- Phase Three: Completely outsource tasks, focus on leveraging money and time to further increase your business.
3. Abandon What Doesn’t Work
This is a tough transformation to go through. All our lives we’ve been spoon-fed what is supposed to work, all without as much success as we expected. The problem with each of these education resources will be outlined below:
- University: While University is great for a very small number of professions, on the whole, it has proved mostly useless. When going to university, we spend most of our time learning useless subjects that have no tangible value in the real world. We’re forced to write 3000-word essays on topics we have no interest in, learn redundant math equations we’ll never use and complete subjects we have no desire in learning. A lot of what we learn is very theory-based, but the university doesn’t teach you how to practice these theories in the real world.
- Books: While books can be a great resource, there are so many of them it is often difficult to sift through what is right and what is wrong. When reading a book, we’re left on our own to make a decision as to whether the content will work for us. You can’t ask the author what they mean in certain parts of the book, so how are we meant to fully understand the message they are conveying?
- Mentors: The main problem with mentors is they are usually too far ahead of us to provide actual useful advice. A lot of the time mentors can help you out once you’re very far into the game. But if you’re just starting out, mentors have no idea how to help you. Chances are when they were in a similar position to you, it was a long time ago and methods and processes change a lot over time.
- Online courses: Again, these aren’t too great because you’re usually left to your own devices to implement the knowledge and figure stuff out for yourself. Like reading books, you’re just consuming content and not actually doing any action. There’s limited guidance and you usually have to figure stuff out yourself.
4. Peer-2-Peer Mentorship
So, if the above methods aren’t ideal in the modern business world, how are we meant to create a business and hope it succeeds?
This is where Peer-2-Peer Mentorship (P2PM) comes in. With P2PM, you have access to other people who are in slightly similar positions to you. A lot of the time, you can ask for help from people who are slightly ahead of where you are currently at.
P2PM runs on the following idea – you first absorb course content, implement your new knowledge, get feedback and advice from mentors who are in a similar position, and then share your success/failures with an international community. This way, everyone grows together and it increases the likelihood that everyone will succeed.
These are great as they usually focus on a certain niche and business model.
Let’s say you are a complete newbie who wants to create a Social Media Marketing Agency. You join one of these P2PM groups and now have access to a wealth of knowledge. You can ask for expert opinions from a wide variety of people to help you with the four pillars of your business – Lead Generation, Sales, Project management and Delivery.
5. Change is the only constant
The way that digital marketing works changes so fast to the point you can’t really learn it. As soon as you learn something, it might already change. Hundred years ago, a craft-man dad taught his craft-man son how to make shoes. The son used this knowledge to then make shoes for the next 50 years or so. He didn’t have to change his technique much. In digital marketing it’s different. You learn how to run Facebook ads, and then the next day Facebook changes algorithms and your business doesn’t work anymore. You learn a hefty YouTube marketing strategy and then a few days later it turns out thousands of people know it too. You then you to come up with a new one.
You might have heard that the only constant in life is change. Online marketing is like this. It’s not as important what you know but how fast can you gain the updated information. You need figure out ways to have the fastest access to the information within your niche or business model. You need to have access to other people who are working in the industry and be on so called “cutting edge”.
Online marketing is a passenger on the technology train. Technology doesn’t grow in a linear manner. Technology growth compounds. Digital Marketing is directly correlated to tech improvements. For example, if a new technology of augmented reality gains more users – the better it is a place to market at. As alexa connected to the internet of things gathers more users, the more significant marketing tool it becomes.
Steps for transitioning from Freelancer to Business Owner
Becoming a freelancer in today’s world is an attractive option for those wanting to break the mold and escape the 9-5.
Having the ability to set your own hours, take on as many clients as you want, and potentially be location independent is a lifestyle many people aspire to attain. There is no boss to answer to and the output of your work is generally fairly compensated. You have the freedom and flexibility to work when you want, where you want, and how you want.
While this is all great and there’s a bunch of money to be made in the freelancing world, there’s always going to be a glass-ceiling to your earning potential. There’s only so much you can charge clients for your services, and once you have reached this cap, then there are only so many hours of the day you can work. This puts a huge barrier between you and your true earning potential.
To overcome these limitations, you can transition from being a freelancer to running your own business. Setting up your own business will allow you to expand your services, take on more clients, and ultimately make more money.
But how exactly do we go from freelancer to business owner? Let’s explore 3 different solutions that will easily allow you to do this.
Start Charging Customers per Project
The initial step in transitioning from a freelancer to a business owner is to start charging your customers per project. Through this method, we’re being paid for the value of our work rather than just selling our time.
This allows you to complete multiple projects uat the same time and receive money for the actual work you put in. If you’re charging per hour, then you’re selling your time for money which limits your earning potential.
By charging per project, you get to work on your own terms as long as the project is completed. You can now set your own schedule, work in conditions that suit you best, and you don’t have to keep track of hours spent working.
A common issue that arises is that you can start taking on too many projects and become overwhelmed. Through this, we have again fallen into the trap of not having enough time in the day for all of these projects.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem that will benefit your business greatly.
Start Replicating Yourself
So, you’ve now got more projects than you can deal with and you’re feeling overwhelmed. You know that there are so many projects out there that you’re missing out on, so much potential money to be made, but there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to complete them all.
This where replicating yourself, or building a team, can assist you. Through this method, you train other people to take over certain tasks in each project so that you have more time for other tasks.
By building a team, you can start to take on more projects as you now have the man-power to complete them. Assuming that you train your team correctly and they can produce the same quality of work that you can, the output of your business is only going to grow as your team grows.
Replicating yourself can be as simple as hiring a project manager or another freelancer to complete projects. The idea is to spread the workload evenly throughout your team so that you can work on more projects than you otherwise could alone.
Eventually, you will want to build a team that can complete a project from start to finish while you oversee operations. By having a team work on projects for you rather than yourself, this allows you to have more time to work on your business and expand it.
But what happens once there are not enough projects coming in? Your team has grown to such a size that there are simply not enough projects to keep them busy.
You start to worry as your business could be heading to failure, most people in your business are working part-time now and there simply isn’t enough work to keep them occupied for a full working week.
This is where establishing a sales force and utilizing a strong funnel network comes in.
Utilizing More Funnels
If you build the foundation of your business on one source of inbound leads/sales, then it will likely collapse sooner or later. No one can predict which funnels will still be around in 5 years, and which new funnel sources are going to be created. By having your business rely on one funnel source, then the success of your business is entirely dependent on that funnel source being successful. Similar to a building being built on one foundation, a business built on one funnel source is unstable and prone to collapse.
To counter this, we can set up our business to have multiple funnel sources providing it with leads. We can utilize the many different avenues of lead generation out there such as LinkedIn, Google, a website, Facebook, YouTube…the list goes on.
To do this, you’ll also need to establish a solid sales and lead-generation team. Through this, we are expanding the reach of our business and opening up the availability of our sources to clients from all over. We are also not relying on one source of incoming traffic, so should one source suddenly shut down overnight, this shouldn’t impact our business too much.
By following these 3 simple steps, it is entirely possible to transition from a freelancer to a business owner easily. By being a freelancer, you are only able to earn a small portion of any given project. But by running your own business and handling projects at a more full scale, you’re able to earn a lot more money. Your earning potential greatly increases, it allows you to have more time to work on other ventures, and gives you the freedom you deserve.
Efficiency – Everything Is A Funnel
Time is money – and if you’re wasting time, you can sure bet that you’re missing out on money to be made too. And a real problem these days is people spend so much time doing little minor tasks that they think are helping them, when in fact all they are doing is trying to avoid doing the bigger, more important tasks that actually make them money.
What I’m talking about here is people not optimizing their workflow and becoming more efficient. So many people will waste hours writing up custom job proposals, answering emails, manually applying for jobs, and so on. All because they think that these small tasks are going to help get them more work faster.
The fact of the matter is, most of these tasks are a complete waste of time, and your time can be better allocated into more meaningful and rewarding tasks.
You need to start looking at these tasks from a different viewpoint and start working more efficiently.
How can you do this?
Start looking at everything being a funnel – and once you realize this, then you’ll quickly see how easily you can optimize your processes and start implementing systems to work smarter.
Realizing that everything is a funnel
Look around you and you’ll be surprised to see that almost everything you use in your business is a funnel – LinkedIn, UpWork, your website.
These platforms can easily be used as a funnel to weed out the clients we don’t want and start finding clients we do want. The sooner you start using these platforms as a way to filter your prospective clients, the sooner you’ll start attracting your ideal client.
Because of the advanced search features on these platforms, you can easily create a profile that stands out and attracts ideal clients, as well as search for specific clients that you want to work for.
Once you start to see that there is a funnel in almost everything online – you’ll be able to work more efficiently. By understanding how to implement your own funnels in platforms such as LinkedIn or UpWork…
Implementing the funnel
We’ll take UpWork as an example. Rather just looking at it as a job finding platform, start to look at it as a lead generation tool for your business. What you want to do is use UpWork as a way to filter out bad prospective clients, and optimize your UpWork profile so that you attract your high-ticket, dream clients.
We can do this by first seeking out what our ideal client is looking for in a freelancer, and what you as a freelancer is looking for in an ideal client. Suppose you want to create animated explainer videos for iPhone apps. Firstly, you’ll want to market yourself as THE person who makes animated explainer videos for iPhone apps. Look at the following three job titles:
- Explainer Video Expert
- Animated Explainer Video Expert
- Animated Explainer Video for iPhone apps Expert
If a business is looking to hire someone to make an animated explainer video for the launch of their new iPhone app, who are they going to choose? Of course, the answer is the “Animated Explainer Video for iPhone apps Expert”, simply because they are marketing themselves as an expert in that very specific field, meaning they’ll most likely be the most helpful to the business.
And while you may be thinking you’re going to be missing out on a lot of clients by niching down to something very specific, are you even going to be able to help all of these clients to a high standard that they’re expecting? It’s VERY hard for someone to become an expert in a broad field such as explainer videos, but it is so much easier for someone to become an expert in let’s say animated explainer videos for iPhone apps.
Because of this, it makes a lot more sense to work in a very specific niche. Chances are if you market yourself as an expert in a very specific niche, then people will pay more money for your services. In any profession, a specialist at something is always going to be able to charge more than a generalist for their work because they know more than anyone else related to those issues/problems.
The Search Funnel
So, now that we’ve covered the inbound side of a funnel in a platform such as UpWork, let’s look at the prospecting side.
When we look at the search function on UpWork, we can see that it is easy to get very specific with exactly who we want to work with. By finding out what search terms are needed to find our ideal prospective clients, then we can simply replicate these searches regularly to find them quickly. Instead of spending hours searching for any client who you think could benefit from your service, start searching more narrowly so that you find your ideal client. And hopefully, granted you set up your UpWork profile to be very niche-specific, then the chances that you’ll land a job with this client once you find them will only increase.
What you want to do is set up systems and processes so that your inbound prospective clients and when you’re finding clients can be done in a seamless manner. By looking at these two processes as a funnel, you can start to work more efficiently and spend less time doing mundane tasks. These systems and processes should be easily replicated, meaning that once you have set them up, you can repeat them numerous times in the future. Once you get to a certain level of income where you value your time more, you can even outsource these prospecting processes to a virtual assistant, leaving you with more time to focus on other parts of your business.
How to become passionate about your business?
In an ideal world, everyone would know exactly what they are passionate about and would live a lifestyle aligned with this passion. You’d never have to work a day in your life, simply because every day you’d be doing what you love and it wouldn’t feel like work.
Imagine waking up and being super excited for work – no more dreaded Monday’s, no more boring-ass meetings and no more work-related headaches. Instead, you are doing a job that is exciting, it feels rewarding and fulfilling. At the end of the day, you feel like you haven’t actually worked, but rather enjoyed the day and had a lot of fun.
This is where a common problem arises amongst us, how are we meant to be passionate about something that ALSO makes us a lot of money. It can be difficult to conceptualize that some people are passionate about topics that appear boring to others such as coding, writing or data analysis. How did these people become so passionate about something that would have most people rather wanting to watch paint dry?
Passion is built from reward
To become very successful in any field, it’s paramount that you are passionate about your work. While most people assume that top businesspeople were born passionate about their chosen field, this simply is not the case. And in fact, it is super simple for you to follow the same path that these successful business people have followed.
Passion is often a result of you being rewarded for your efforts. Let’s take coding for example; in the beginning, it seems boring and arduous. Nothing really makes sense and it doesn’t exactly feel exhilarating. I mean, what can be exciting about typing nonsense into a computer? The thing is, if you practice coding for long enough, eventually you’ll start to notice success and be rewarded, and this is when you’ll start to enjoy it. What was once a boring task involving typing a bunch of words and numbers into a computer now has become a vehicle for financial success and freedom.
As you start to practice your craft more and start seeing more results, then you’re bound to enjoy it more as you start getting rewarded nicely. This is where passion is born. You do a simple task enough, get rewarded, and then you will become passionate about it because it brings a positive feeling to you. You associate this positive feeling of reward with the what was once a dull task that precedes it, and you’ll actually start to enjoy performing that particular task.
What follows from this is a simple upward spiral which yields incredible results. You start off practicing your skill a little bit, before eventually getting a small result or reward. From that little result, you get more motivation, so you devote more time to your chosen skill, with more knowledge and experience in your field you’ll start getting rewarded more handsomely. After seeing pretty good success from your efforts, you’ll become more enthusiastic about your skill and might almost become addicted to it. Now you live and breathe your skill, you become an expert in it and can start charging fair fees for your services, simply because you are so passionate about it and possess impressive experience and knowledge in a certain field.
A Relation to Pavlov’s Study: What dog’s can teach us about passion
During the 1890’s, a Russian psychologist made a breakthrough discovery when researching the levels of salivation in dogs. I’m not going to describe the whole study here, and I advise you to look into it yourself, but here’s a summary: A dog salivates everytime it knows that some food is coming but doesn’t salivate when it hears a bell ring. The scientists then rung a bell before the dog was fed, and after that, the dog was conditioned into associating the ring of a bell with feeding time. Every time the dog heard the bell ring, he would start salivating, even if there was no food coming.
So, how do we apply this concept to creating a passion?
It’s simple and was actually mentioned above. We simply build an association of reward + action. Like the dog knew that it would get food after a bell ring, we can condition ourselves into thinking we’ll get a financial reward after performing a task such as coding or writing. Once we are conditioned to this, then coding or writing won’t feel like such a chore anymore, because we’ll be conditioned into associating positive feelings with it from the reward we’ll get later.
Passionate Plan of Action
So now that we understand how passion is formed and developed, how can we use this knowledge in a way that ensures we become passionate about something? Start off by focusing on one skill to learn, whether it be something like coding, writing or graphic design, just choose ONE and focus on building up skills in that area. It will almost definitely feel boring and hard at first, and this is where you need to remember that eventually you’ll be getting rewarded for doing these tasks.
The main priority initially is to build up your skills and focus on bringing in sales from that skill. Don’t even think about whether you enjoy it, or passionate about it, just focus on making some money from that skill.
This is something that most people fail at, because they see other people successful at something, think they can do it too, but quickly give up because they don’t see enough success with that skill and find it boring. A lot of the time, they are often on the brink of making a breakthrough too. It can just take one big client or payout to really make the difference when starting out.
Once you have developed a passion for a certain skill, then it’s easy to branch out from that passion and skill into other business areas. With your new found knowledge and experience, you’ll be better equipped at trying other more adventurous and highly rewarding business ventures.
Mind Hack: Turning Habits Into Passions
How To Stop Being Stressed
You’re reading it while scrolling through your phone or computer. It feels a bit relaxing to turn off your mind for a minute. Check Facebook, and maybe answer some messages that you’ve just got notified about. It feels comforting, kind of like lying on the pillow. But there is something under this cushy pillow. Something that makes you feel unpleasant. It’s not right on the surface. It’s more like something at the back of your mind. Something almost subconscious, you could say. Kind of like in The Princess And The Pea. I was that Princess, so I know that feeling. At the back of your mind, something bugs you. It stresses you out. What is this thing? What is The Pea?
It’s your subconscious sending you a text: “I need a lift!”. Then, it’s calling you multiple times, and you eventually pick up. “Take me to where you said we’d go, I’m in a wrong place” – it says. You, then ask your subconsciousness: “Why do you bug me, and why do you think that you’re in a wrong place?”. Silence. It doesn’t know the answer. But, Psychology does.
You’ve painted a different image in your mind of where you want to be, and there is a different image of the reality of where you are right now. The gap between where you are right now where you want to cause you to stress. There is incongruency and there is lack of integrity. Ouch!
Okay, so let’s slay the elephant in the room! (Disclaimer for animal rights activists – it’s a metaphor.) Let’s get pragmatic. Most of the people, (including myself for the first 25 years of my life), would react to that feeling in either of these 4 ways:
1) Ignore it. They would pretend that everything is OK, but the stress would continue eating them from the inside. They would say that they don’t know why they feel drained, but they do.
2) Start working on the first thing that comes to their mind, while compulsively checking the unread stack of messages and the todolist. They would feel the adrenaline rush blended with that fake sense of progress. Then at the end of a day, they would scratch their head thinking: “What have I been doing all day? What important have I done?”. Nothing. Just a bunch of unimportant surface level
3) Do something in-between, that their self-help-productivity books told them not to do – procrastination. Then feel both, tired, and guilty about it.
4) They would lower their expectations about life. “ Maybe I don’t need to stress about all those things that I think I need to do as much. Maybe my life isn’t as bad after all. Maybe I can be happy and glad with where I am right now.” They then download Headspace guided meditations and attempt to accept themselves as they are. Myself, I thought that mediation could actually be a good idea. So I did go on a journey to a little monastery, on top of a mountain, somewhere in Asia. I asked monks to teach me how to lower my expectations about the reality and accept it as was through asceticism and silent meditation. So they did teach me not to celebrate the taste of the food, but to consider eating as a biological need.They showed me how to restrain myself from pleasures. I wasn’t talking for days, it was not allowed. I wasn’t even thinking much, really. I was mainly contemplating, somewhere on top of a hill. Then I was sleeping on few pieces of wood in the middle of a forest. When I think of this experience retrospectively, I see what they teach works. But they also have a different lifestyle. They don’t want to change the World through massive, complex, entrepreneurial projects. They have a different approach. This approach doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to live in a forest and I don’t want to contemplate as much as they do. I want something else. I want to implement artificial intelligence and pattern recognition in education and HR sectors. I want to turn work into computer games, so people can have more time to play, learn, create and connect. I want to make changes on a global scale. I think we could both agree here that my expectations are pretty high. At the same time, in reality, I’ve only created a fraction of a percentage of what I want to create. There is a massive gap there. On top of that, the workload and my stress levels are ridiculous. I’m like an old rusty little car riding at 250 km/h knowing that soon I will have to make it through an interstellar race. That’s insanity. No wonder I’m stressed. These projects require a lot of work, learning, traveling and thinking. I don’t think that monks can do that. I do have high expectation about what I want to do, and lowering them is just not an option. Chances are, it’s the same for you.
Therefore, neither of these 4 solutions work for us. We need something better. We need something that can keep our stress levels low without compromising our goals. Something that will keep us accountable yet ambitious. Here is the process that currently works the best for me and members of our tribe:
1. Use deep planning to discover what’s the most important
Deep planning allows you to tap on your subconsciousness. Do it before you start planning and making your to-do list. It will help you discover what’s the most important instead of what’s the most urgent. That’s good because urgent tasks are not necessarily important, and they tend to blur your priorities. Close your eyes. Put on an eye mask. Visualize everything that makes you stressed – everything you feel you should be doing right now. Imagine every single thing as a node. It’s similar to drawing a mind map, with the difference in that you are no longer limited with a 2D surface but this paper has no borders. You can zoom in and out indefinitely. How creative, right? It helps to turn on a voice recorder or talk to someone while doing this exercise. This helps recall all the things that you’re currently working on or forgot. Once you are done drawing mental nodes, start connecting them with the smaller tasks needed to be done to complete those bigger tasks. You will then start imagining this huge 3D mind map with lots of nodes and edges connected with each other.
2. Break every task into into micro tasks
Open ex. Google Sheets and write down all big tasks in the form of a list. Then under each task add smaller tasks that need to be done to complete the bigger task. You will know when you need to add smaller specific tasks if you don’t have a clarity how to accomplish the main task, or when the main task seems hard. Humans tend to procrastinate on big tasks and like to accomplish little tasks. Take advantage of that. Break them down as much as you can.
3. Add priority, time frame and name of the person who does it
Now add another column in your sheet. Name it “importance”. Assess each task from 3 to 1, where 3 is the most important (not urgent – important). Add another column named “week”. Put next to each task the week of the year that this task needs to be accomplished at. For example (week) 14 or (week) 15 etc. Add another column and name it “Who?”. Assign people to delegate each particular task, or leave empty if it’s to be done by you. Keep in mind that if you delegate it, you still need to have it on that list – to overlook the progress.
4. Turn it into measurable action plan
Click on the arrow within “week” column, and organize from A to Z. You will then see which tasks need to be done this week. Assume that if you complete all tasks for that week, you will score a 100% week. But, not everything is as important. Divide 100% for the week by the amount of tasks that you have for that week, given that the priority 3 is 3 times heavier than the priority 1. For example:
100% = (Task 1 x 1 + Task 2 x 2 + Task 3 x 3)/3
5. Keep yourself accountable
What you’re going to get is a % value of each task. You then want to aim at 100% for each week. As you complete tasks, you are adding adding a higher percentage of week completion. Aim at 100% each week. Make a graph out of this sheet and see your progress. Compare it with a graph of your profits and see how they correlate. They do.
Welcome to Game – Business Levels Explained
There are all sorts of other methods to make money between the lines, but you need to see the bigger picture. There are different levels of the business thought, from thinking simple to thinking in complex systems. You must have heard that knowledge makes you rich, and online marketers throw this promise like a mantra. But, what exactly does it mean if we boil it down and get to the point? The answer is simple – The more complex the idea, the fewer people understand it and the more money is being made with that method. Think of this as of leveling up in a game:
Level 1 – Buy cheap, sell more expensively
You drive to Costco (if you are in the USA) or to Selgros (if you are in Europe) and buy a bunch of toys. Then you resell them at your elementary school. You have the product that your customers want. You have it exactly where they are, and at the time when they want it. This is value creation. You profit. I did that at my elementary school, and almost got expelled by our communist vice-principal, Mrs. Pruchnicka. You could also help students at your university to write their papers. You can then outsource it via Fiverr to developing countries. That’s what I did when I was studying Economy, and that’s probably the only thing that this faculty “taught” me. You then serve two good causes – firstly, you fight with one of the Worlds biggest frauds – the so-called “education system”, and of course – you give intellectual work to people in developing countries. You might also import clothes from China and sell them in Europe. That’s what I did when I was 16. I was buying sunglasses for less than $0.20 and then sold them for more than $7.
Level 2 – Basic Production
This is when you are a farmer and you produce tomatoes. It cost you that much to produce them, and you sell them for that much. This is when you open a restaurant. It costs you that much to buy ingredients and pay chefs. You make that much money. You can also sell websites in expensive countries, and then outsource the development of developing countries. It’s basic production because you are the project manager and you manage the development. You decide on what the website will look like and you manage the customer relationship. That’s what I did right before I dropped out from working as Recruiter in Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile). That’s also the reason why I stopped working in a corporation.
Level 3 – Complex Production
You manage an army of developers and create apps. You have advanced know-how and create IT automation for other businesses. You turn tomatoes into ketchup.
Level 4 – Simple System Creation
You run a successful business. You multiply yourself and do more of what you did. That’s a relatively simple process. That’s what I did when I’ve started my first IT office. Instead of selling 1 website per week, I got multiple people to sit in my living room. They would then do what I did – send proposals, talk to clients, sell and develop. It wasn’t complex at all, but I did more of what I did before. I multiplied myself in a simple way.
Level 5 – Hacking The Economy
There are multiple, simultaneously existing layers. There are layers of what you like, what you are good at, what the world needs and what people are willing to pay money for. The place where they overlap is called Ikigai. There are also other concepts and layers that are less obvious. For example, there is an economic layer. The economic layer shows you economic models that can be applied in your idea. This is one of the most interesting layers yet the most ignored. People think of business ideas in simplistic terms. “I will start an agency” or “I will open a restaurant” is not much of an economic term. What economy can teach you about money is that it works like circulating ecosystem of water. Money flows from one place to another. You want to set those financial streams to flow towards your direction. You want to set it the way so that you can “suck” money out of this ecosystem. Most of the money is being made between the lines when you apply your understanding of the economy. So let’s look at some examples of what we have in the economy:
The Business Model Synergy Method
Is there a way to target 5 more customer segments without changing your business model? Yes – that’s what founder of Zara does. They have H&M, Massimo Dutti and a bunch of other clothing brands. Each of these brands is targeting a different customer segment without changing the business model. Think about it – it doesn’t make it much harder to source clothes from South East Asia for one brand or multiple brands. The model is the same – copy catwalks, send designs fast to Asia, produce cheap clothes, send them to your franchisees. A digital marketing agency could then similarly use the same processes to sell websites to doctors and lawyers.
The Butter Method
A son asks his banker dad: “How do you make money”? The dad says then: “Go to the kitchen, and bring the butter”. The son goes to the kitchen, opens the fridge, pick up the butter and brings it to his dad. “What now?” – the son asks. “Bring it back to the fridge” – the dad answers. The son brings back the butter and comes back to his dad. He still doesn’t understand it. The dad finally concludes: “You see, you created nothing. You carried the butter, back and forth. But, your fingers are covered in fat now”. Do you understand the analogy? The money is made between the lines. That’s why banks make money on conversion fees and that’s why PayPal ends up getting 10% of what you are making. They don’t create much, they have advanced know-how and they operate the system. Luckily, people are becoming more and more conscious of how all sorts of systems make money off them without providing much value in exchange. But still – anything that sounds hard to understand – banking, finance, legal agreements or cyber-security, will make money for those who understand it, and will take money from those who don’t.
The Shovel Method
Who made the most of the money during the gold rush? People who found gold? No. People who sold shovels. There is a lifespan of every “golden rush” and the history tends to repeat itself. People who make a lot of money fast create “hype”. Then everybody else gets greedy and wants the same. Then everybody is rushing to do the same. Unfortunately the “make money fast” wells tend to dry out fast. So as soon as everybody jumps into digging gold, there is no gold left. But selling shovels is where the most money is. Sounds familiar? Think of Bitcoin. People who made money with it made it years ago. Ever since most money is being made by people who build trading platforms and provide other cryptocurrency related services. Every goldrush has its lifespan and if you didn’t make money at the beginning, make it on selling shovels.
The Knowledge Economy Method
This is similar to “The Shovel Method” but this method focuses on selling knowledge, rather than services. Let’s say that you run your business, and that business is successful. You can then sell your knowledge and help others make money. Let’s say you are good at making Facebook Ads and then decide to sell Facebook Ads course. This can be more or less ethical, depending on you. I am personally annoyed by people making money on knowledge, without being able to first make money applying and their own methods. I don’t think it’s pragmatic and valid. That’s why I am annoyed by Tim Ferris of 4 Hour Work Week, Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Tai Lopez of his 7 Steps. If you look them up, they all made most of their money by inspiring others to make more money. But it doesn’t have an end. Most of the successful students of Sam Ovens of Consulting Accelerator make their money on selling consulting to consultants, who then sell consulting. You see how wrong it is, right? We live in the economy of coaches selling coaching to coaches who sell coaching to coaches coaching coaches. This is, of course, depicting the need for educational reformations, but at the same time, this self-eating snake model isn’t the most productive way for humans to generate value.
The Multipliers Method
Multiply yourself by creating franchisees or a pyramid-like system. You can do it by educating people on how to replicate parts of your business model and how to make money with it. Again, this can be ethical if you learn how to provide value, or it can be a disaster when you create a Ponzi scheme, which can only generate profit for people on top of the pyramid by getting more people on the bottom. You see how nonsensical and no-value creating it is? The MLM principles can be truly exciting when applied to scale your business, and they can also turn uneducated people into devoted face moisturizer, energy drink selling zombies. That’s wrong because it makes you manipulate people to risk their friendship for a meaningless cause. If you want to create lifestyle schemes, you better come up with something that creates value and serves a good cause.
The Rockefeller Method
You produce a lot of crude oil and transport it throughout the entire country. Then you come to the conclusion that it would make sense for you to buy off the railway company. This makes it cheaper for you, as you are operating on such a big scale and are able to benefit from the synergy of costs. It doesn’t necessarily have to create a monopoly but it gives you more vertical control on your business and on the industry. One of the members of our tribe didn’t like to use automated bots to generate leads through LinkedIn. He would then build his own.
What Is The Best Funnel To Start?
Before you decide on which funnel to chose, you need to first understand where you are on your funnel pyramid of needs. This decision is like deciding what to eat. You want your food to be healthy, cheap, fast and tasty. It seems like want everything and it might be that you want too much at once. However, when you’re not hungry you can make more rational decision on your food choices. You can plan to organize food that is healthy, cheap, fast and tasty by ex. preparation of your meals. The same with funnels – you want them to be scalable, inexpensive, fast to implement, and they need to be viable to bring customers to your business. When you don’t have any customers – you’re starving. You’re more likely to choose a funnel that is the cheapest and fastest to get. That’s a fast-food cheeseburger. When you’re hungry, you don’t want to risk researching new restaurants from Tripadvisor. You want your favorite Taco from the place you always order. You don’t want to take risks. But, when you’ve satisfied your hunger, we can step up the ladder on this pyramid of your funnel needs. It’s like being on holidays. You have too much time and you’re relaxed. You can open that Tripadvisor, experiment with something new, look for something healthy.
Now that you understand where you are on your funnel pyramid of needs, you need to remember, that every box needs to be checked from the bottom up. That means, you need to choose a funnel that fits your customer avatar, market, niche and your product. You can do it by looking at our mastermind funnel database and comparing it against your business model. First chose a copy pasted funnel that doesn’t cost much money and doesn’t take much time to build. Don’t worry about scalability. When you’re making money, build a second copy-pasted funnel that is more scalable. Don’t worry as much about how much time it takes to build it, or about the money it costs you to test it. Once you have a these two funnels working, you can start building non-copy pasted funnels. They are more risky, but you’re going to be on the cutting edge of the industry. Everything changes and so your industry. Why, not be first? You can afford the research now.
The LinkedIn Funnel
LinkedIn Funnels could be divided into 2 groups: a) paid ads and b) nearly free automated bots. In this chapter, we’re going to focus on the nearly free LinkedIn funnel.
Low – Around $80/pm for LinkedIn premium called “Sales Navigator” + around $20/pm for a LinkedIn bot.
How it works
Allows you to automatically connect with leads that fulfill your pre-defined criteria. You can choose location, position, seniority level, industry, company size, title and even add tags. Then the bot can send an automated, personalized message to those leads. You can customize variables in the message such as [Name] or [Name of the company], which makes those messages seem more customized. There are 2 popular bots: Dux-Soup and Meet Leonard. Some of the members in our mastermind, they also build their own bots.
Which markets is it good for?
This funnel tends to work better on local markets, rather than on the English speaking market. That’s because this funnel has already been exploited on the English market, making the market saturated. This funnel works the best on German market because contacting people via LinkedIn is a loophole in a German law, that forbids to send cold emails.
Should You Consume Free Online Content or Invest in Premium Information?
Currently, there is an abundance of free information easily accessible to anyone with a working internet connection. With a simple google search, we can find a general answer to most of life’s questions. And with further research, we can usually find more detailed information, all from the comfort of our home. With all this provided for free, why would anyone pay for information?
Firstly, we need to look at WHY there is so much free information out there. The main reason is that it attracts a broad audience into a certain topic they may not know about. By providing a wealth of free information, that person is attracting so much more people than they would if they just tried to hard-sell their product. The person providing the information casts their net wide to attract as many people as possible, further increasing the number of potential buyers for their paid information. There is always just enough information provided for free to garner interest in a certain topic, but often key points and finer details are missing. This is done purposefully, the consumer just had a wealth of information provided for free, but they need more. They are left with more questions than when they started, and because it is a basic human desire to know everything, a need for the additional information is created. The customer now wants to find out more about this topic and there is now a motive to pay for the information they need. As well as providing a general overview of a certain topic, this free information is usually motivational and inspirational. It shows WHAT can be done, but the process behind HOW it can be done is deliberately left out and is what the paid information will provide. This further increases the desire for the customer to learn all this information thus increasing the likelihood they will pay for additional information.
Through providing a wealth of free information, the seller has now also built trust with their potential customer. They have now convinced the customer that they are a trustworthy and knowledgeable source on a certain topic. The customer is also now thinking, “if this is what they provided for free, imagine all the information I will receive if I pay for it”. This is where the upsell comes in and a seller will try to convince you to buy their paid information. This paid information is highly valuable as it generally provides you with the exact processes and systems needed. It will have examples of how it works, and will generally provide a detailed and hands-on guide as to how you can do it too.
While free information is great and can help you initially, it is NEVER enough to properly scale your business. Free information is great for the fundamentals but is always too broad and unclear. With paid information, you are going to have the tools and knowledge necessary to leverage your business to the next level. It is also important to note that the value of information and money are directly correlated. Once your business starts growing, you’re going to need to invest more money into paid information to scale it.
In the initial stages of a business, you can start making small amounts of money utilizing free and low-value information. But as you progress and start to scale your business, you’re going to need more valuable information to keep going forward. Once you start getting to an intermediate level, you can start investing more money into paid programs and content. But eventually, you are going to reach a limit as to how far you can progress with this information too. This is where mastermind programs and coaching become highly valuable. They provide expert-level information and help for a hefty fee. It is always going to be a struggle to convince yourself whether this information and help are worth the price tag. This is where it’s important to realize that you’re paying for information that somebody has spent numerous years trying to figure out. Not only are they providing you with highly valuable information, but they are saving you a lot of time and money that would’ve been otherwise spent trying to find out this information. This is something that’s so important to consider when buying information. You have to work out how valuable this information will be to your business AND how much time you have saved by paying to have instant access to this information.
With so much information out there and so many different people trying to sell you paid content, it can be hard to know who to trust. A business guru’s reputation is often built on the trust that their paid information is actually valuable and worth the money. If they do not deliver on the paid content they provide, their reputation will definitely go down and they lose all credibility. With this knowledge, we can now know who to trust and which content is worth its money. It always pays to look for legitimate and honest reviews of paid content. This can greatly help our choice when deciding which content to pay for. If you find an established expert in a field with a great reputation and numerous years experience, it is easy to trust them as chances are they have been providing valuable information for a long time. If they have numerous success stories, this only increases the chances that you will succeed too.
So to conclude, in the initial stages it is always advisable to absorb as much free information and content as you can. It is very important to realize that with this information there is always going to be a glass ceiling, you’re only going to be able to progress so far. This is why it’s important to know that sooner or later you are going to have to pay for information. And while it may seem that this information is expensive, you have to factor in how beneficial it could be to yourself and your business.
Do You Need a Website?
(The Answer is No if You Don’t Want to Spend Time Reading This Sub-Chapter)
A common misconception these days is that if you’re thinking about starting an online business, one of the first things you need to do is create a website. People think that when they start a business, they need a website to show off their portfolio and to look professional. It’s a common belief that once they have a website, customers are just going to come pouring in from that website. They see the website as an essential lead generation tool in their business, and without one, they are surely set up to fail.
This is simply not the case. And in this chapter, I’ll disprove this common belief and show you why you don’t need a website when you’re first starting out. There are even some high-paying freelancers out there earning huge amounts of money that don’t have a website. So if they don’t have one, then why would you need one?
Why You Don’t Need A Website Initially
Spending time and money building a website for yourself in the beginning stages of your business is more often than not going to be a waste of your time and resources. There are a lot better ways to allocate your time and efforts when starting out, of which will be outlined now.
The thing with websites is while they do make your business look more professional and legitimate, they simply aren’t going to make that much of a difference when you’re starting out.
First, let’s look at one use of a website – providing clients with proof of your work or a portfolio.
A lot of times, clients will ask you for a portfolio or proof of previous work, which you can just create a small Google document for. These are easy to set up and can easily be shared with whomever you choose to share it with. While you could set this up on your website and refer clients to it, the amount of time and money spent setting up this website isn’t going to correlate to higher paying or more clients. Once you start getting higher paying clients and are looking to land some really big clients – then you can start considering building a website to really stand out. But in the initial stages of your business when you’re trying to show clients what you can do for them, a simple online portfolio in something like Google Docs will suffice.
Secondly, people believe that with a website, they are going to attract more customers and be able to better convert warm leads into customers.
The thing is, to set up a website that is ranking on Google and attracting potential customers, you’re going to need to do A LOT of work to make sure it shows up in search results. The way Google works is it rewards trustworthy and information-dense websites, and if you’re just starting out building a new website, it’s going to take a long time before Google starts trusting it. Nobody quite knows exactly how Google’s algorithm works, so it’s almost impossible to know if you’re website will eventually rank on the top Google search results or not.
Relying on a website when you have no recognizable brand, your SEO sucks, and you haven’t landed any clients yet seems so pointless at this point. Using a website for lead-generation when you’re just starting out is a waste of time. Your time is valuable, and to make the most of it you should be outreaching to clients the old fashion way – cold-calling or cold-emailing. Spending time out of your day cold-calling is going to yield much better results than spending time and money building a website and hoping that eventually, it will start ranking in search results.
When Should You Build A Website?
This is something that is going to be different for everyone – there is no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ definitive answer. There are some really powerful companies and brands out there that still don’t have a website, while there are some really small companies or freelancers that believe their website is essential to them.
In the initial stages of a digital marketing agency – having a website is not essential at all. You should look at having a website as a part of your funnel, and until you’ve maxed out other lead-generation tools such as cold-calling or LinkedIn, then maybe you can start considering a website. Like we mentioned in a previous chapter, your agency should be built on many different pillars of lead-generation tools. These can include a website, LinkedIn, running various ads and outreaching cold clients. When you’re starting out with your online business though, it is always wise to allocate your time to cold-calling or cold-emailing clients, then expanding from there.
Again, it is super tough to determine when exactly your business will NEED a website, simply because there is no way to tell if you will eventually need it or not. But, there will come a time when the growth of your business has stagnated and you will need to explore different ways to gain more leads and attract more clients. During this time, it is wise to explore the possibility that a website can improve your business by attracting more clients, and hence increasing the revenue of your business.
So, in conclusion, I hope you got the following ideas and points about whether you should have a website or not into your brain. The definitive answer is NO, you do not NEED a website. Especially in the early stages of the development of your online business, having a website is simply not essential, there are more important parts of your business that you should be focusing on. But, it is also to remember that there will come a time when you will strongly need to consider building a website for your business. And while it still won’t be essential, it is a powerful tool that when implemented correctly, can take your business to the next level and help it grow.
Project Management and Delegating Cycle
There will come a time in your business when you’ll need to decide whether or not to hire a project manager. This usually comes at a time when your sales are going great, your lead generation is producing many leads but you’re struggling to deliver top quality services to all of your existing clients.
The only problem is it can be a little tricky to determine EXACTLY when you need to hire a project manager. If you hire one too soon, you’ll be wasting money paying someone else to do a job that you could easily do yourself. If you hire one too late, then you’ll feel overwhelmed, stressed out and unable to keep up with your business’ workload.
Luckily, there are a few ways in which we can decide whether a project manager is necessary for our business.
Role of the Project Manager
We first need to establish what exactly the project manager’s job will be in your business.
The project manager essentially oversees a project from start to finish, making sure that everybody is doing their tasks and keeping up to date. It is their job to ensure that the project is completed as efficiently as possible. To do this, they’ll plan and create a timeline for the project, and set out KPIs and timeframes in which certain team members need to complete their tasks within.
In any given project, the project manager will usually receive about 20% of the total project cost. This is to ensure that the project is handled properly, and is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
With any new project, it is the project manager’s sole responsibility to make sure that the team members are on track and that the project will be completed on time. This means regularly checking up on freelancers, and communicating the progress of the project to you. The project manager should be the person to deal with clients directly.
How to Determine What The Project Manager Should Do
Before hiring a project manager, or even thinking about hiring one, you will need to determine exactly how long each project takes, and exactly how long each element of a project takes to complete.
Let’s take a landing page as an example. You will need to work out how long it takes for a landing page to be created from start to finish. If this is two weeks, you will need to determine how long each part of the process takes. This includes things such as setting up web hosting, the script from the copywriter, logo design and the general structure of the website.
Once you have determined how long each part of the project takes to complete, you can get a better understanding as to the role of the project manager. The project manager will now have a better idea of how projects should be managed and they can do their job more easily.
It is important that you understand the value that a project manager is providing to your team, and ensure that you can set up ways to measure the value that they are providing. If a typical project takes around 20 hours of managing time a week, and you believe that your time is worth more per hour than that of what you could pay a project manager (say you hire a project manager for $30 per hour, but you believe an hour of your time is worth more than $30), then it’s time to outsource these project management tasks to a project manager. You need to first understand how to manage these projects yourself so that when you do hire a project manager, you can tell them exactly what to do, what processes to follow, and how much time they should spend managing the project.
What Happens When We Have Multiple Projects and Services?
If you’re running a full-scale digital marketing agency providing many services, you’ll have numerous different clients all requiring different services.
This can be a difficult part of the business, and you’ll need to work out how much each service is worth for each client, and how much time it takes to manage these services.
Consider the following chart of a typical digital marketing agency. We can see that there are 4 different clients, and the agency provides 4 different services. You’ll need to determine how much money each of those services provided to each of those clients is bringing you. For simplicity, we’ll assume the agency charges $1000 per month for each service provided. Simply count up how many blocks are ticked up in total, and you’ll be able to see how much work you have dedicated for a project manager. If there are 10 blocks ticked up, then you’ll need to hire a project manager who can handle 10 different services over 4 different clients. If you’re charging $1000 per month for each service, pay your project manager 20% of this, or $200. So you should be paying a project manager $2000 per month to handle all of your project management needs within your digital marketing agency.
Insert table from project management video. Different services provided to different clients in a typical digital marketing agency.
So now that we’ve gone over how to determine whether you need a project manager or not, it’s paramount you always ask yourself the following four questions before hiring one:
- How much money and time each block takes?
- What is the time-bandwidth of project manager and yourself? How many projects can you manage by yourself?
- How many project managers do you need?
- When will projects be completed?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you should have a better understanding as to whether or not you need a project manager. Chances are, if you’re just starting out, you won’t be needing a project manager any time soon. But as you and your digital marketing agency start to grow, there will come a time when it is definitely beneficial for you to hire a project manager.
Shall I Accept a Business Partnership Deal?
You might be constantly bombarded with potential business opportunities, and joint-venture offers. Every single offer or idea often causes either of these 3 (bad, I think) outcomes:
- You’ve read the “ONE thing” book, and you’ve learned that success is not about what you do but about what you don’t do. Hence, you decide not to take on that opportunity and carry on (maybe with a fear of missing out, ouch!)
- You decide to take on the opportunity (and usually add more complexity to your business, get more distractions, increase your anxiety and decrease efficiency)
- You don’t make any decision but you keep exploiting your “mental RAM” capacity to evaluate pros and cons while taking a bath or mowing your lawn
None of these outcomes is usually a good option because your decision is made without an understanding of the entire spectrum of taking on a new business opportunity.
I want to share 3 key concepts when I’m evaluating new business/JV ideas:
1. The Utility
What is the utility of running one more business? The concept of utility is probably one of the simplest, yet vastly ignored mental exercises you can do. Don’t only think about how much money will this new business make for you but compare this data with how much money will your current business(es) lose once you split your focus. It’s an equation.
2. The Synergy Of Workflows
Here is a little hack, that will help you spot the highest utility. Look for businesses with business synergetic workflow. What does it mean? Let me explain with an example. Do you know Amancio Ortega? He is a founder of Zara. He also happens to own H&M, Bershka, Stradivarius Massimo Dutti, and other brands. Wait! What?!? So all those clothing stores in a mall are created by the same dude? So at that time, when I stopped buying H&M because of the media scandal on chemical coloring and switched to Zara, it was the same producer? Yep. So when I felt like it’s a time to finally step up and climb the social ladder and start shopping at Massimo Dutti, it was the same thing in a different box? Yes, exactly. Pretty mindblowing if you didn’t know about this before. So what did Ortega do? He must have thought something like this: “Okay – so there are different customer segments, mainly dependant on the size of their wallet. So how much more work would be to copy Zara and name it H&M or Massimo Dutti? Well, a bit of work. But not that much. The brand looks different, but the entire workflow would be almost identical: We copy cat-walk collections and redesign them fast. We send it to produce it by outsourced factories in China, India or South East Asia, import and distribute to our franchised stores. We have the same way to recruit shop assistants, manage their KPIs and sell.” Right, so you see, there is a huge synergy between copying the same workflow. This can be done either by targeting another segment (similar product in a different box) or by going into joint-venture where you only replicate your current workflow and your partner does the rest. If you don’t create a completely new workflow, you won’t need as much “mental RAM’ anymore and you will tap on (from your perspective) a multiplicator of your income. You might double your revenue without doubling the complexity of workflows. Very smart. The utility is there. Now imagine – you run a clothing store like Zara and suddenly you come up with starting a hotel chain and a pizza franchise. Do you see the point? That would be 3X more things to figure out, 3X processes, 3X know-how, 3X time and so on and so on. Now, you can do a really cool thing with this exercise. Think of ideas, how can you multiply yourself either by entering a joint venture and very particularly and strictly managing expectations of another party by an explicit explanation of how you’re going to limit your input to what you currently know how to do. The other party does the rest. Another idea: Think of franchise-like ideas where you can multiply yourself by giving know-how only. That might be even more scalable.
3. The Mathematical Value Of The Partner
What would that cost you to pay someone to deliver the same product/service? Imagine you run an e-commerce development digital agency, and you have a local supplier coming to you with an offer to sell clothes (that he usually imports from China and sells b2b but is now trying to enter b2c online). He offers you to create and manage an e-commerce store, while he will supply you with clothes. Then you split profit 50/50. Cool? No. You’re giving away 50% of the business in exchange for the supply of clothes that you could buy yourself for 10% of the price. You don’t need that person unless there is something else he can supply that is worth another 40% of that business. For example, this could be super in-depth know how.
Huge Wave Of Competition From Developing Countries In The Global Digital Gig Economy
Huge Wave Of Competition From Developing Countries
You’re scrolling through the UpWork freelancer’s section, checking out the competition, and you realize there are hundreds of people offering the same services as you for ridiculously low prices. It seems crazy to think that it’s possible to compete with these people when they are offering pretty much the same service for less than half what you would charge. How are you ever meant to find work in such an oversaturated market where someone can hire a freelancer from a developing country for crazy low fees?
Not to worry though, what I’m about to explain to you will show you how you shouldn’t even be bothered about these cheap laborers undervaluing the market for freelancers. Simply put, you shouldn’t even be competing with these people that are offering the same service as you for ridiculously low fees.
It’s just stupid to compete with these people thinking that the services you are offering are the same. While they may say they can provide a service such as copywriting, coding or graphic design, a lot of the time the work quality is severely lacking. In the global digital economy, you, generally speaking, pay for what you get. Meaning, the more you pay a freelancer, the higher the quality of service you should expect back.
This is extremely good news for you. Those people offering their services for low prices are only going to attract low-quality and poor clients, the type that can’t afford professional, high-quality services. Do you really want to work for a client who skimps out on the services they use? Instead what you should do is DIFFERENTIATE yourself from the low-quality competition, and market yourself as a freelancer who delivers high-quality services for a price that reflects the value of those services.
A client who pays someone $5 for an hour of copywriting can only expect about $5 of value back, which is pretty poor. The return of investment for them is going to be low, and the value of the service to their business isn’t going to be very profitable. However, if they paid $50 for an hour of copywriting work, then the quality and value of the work will be much higher, and they can expect the return of investment to be much higher too.
The Global Digital Gig Economy
This is an important concept you need to understand, in the online global economy the only factor that truly controls it is supply and demand. There are no international minimum wages, no unified international work laws and generally speaking a very few regulations about work in the global digital gig economy. That is why we see so many people offering their services for super low prices, simply because they come from places where the cost of living is remarkably lower than prices in the west. The thing with this is that there is a huge supply of people that can offer various services for relatively low prices. But what did we go over before? The fact that most of the time, the services that they are offering are going to be of a lower quality.
Let’s take writing as an example. On UpWork, there are hundreds of freelance writers offering their services for as low as $5/hour. While it may be great if you’re looking for cheap labor, more often than not the people offering these services aren’t native English speakers. What this means is their English may seem good, but they lack the true native English speaker style of writing. People from English speaking countries can easily differentiate between a piece of text written by a native English speaker to that of someone who has learned English as a second language. Even if their English levels are near fluent, they’ll still make small mistakes, or write sentences that just don’t sound natural to the native English reader.
So, now that we understand that it is generally low-quality businesses hiring cheap laborers, and high-quality businesses hiring professionals, how can we use that to our advantage?
Instead of looking at the marketplace and trying to compete with the freelancers offering their services at a low cost, we want to completely ignore them, and only focus on competing with people that offer high-quality services.
We want to attract high-quality clients and get paid a decent amount for our work. We should never have to worry about the number of foreign workers who can do similar jobs to us for a lot cheaper prices, simply because the quality of the services that they provide compared to the quality of the services we provide are on completely different levels. Because they’re offering their services for such low fees, they’re going to attract low-quality clients, the type of clients that you don’t want to be working for. However, because the economy of supply and demand is very fair, eventually, inexpensive freelancers might gather enough experience to start charging higher prices. Hence, keep in mind how the global economy of supply and demand works so that you can always remember to offer service of the highest quality. No matter where you are from, you will get paid fairly for the value you can deliver.
How Do We Market Ourselves To High-Quality Clients?
Firstly, you need to differentiate yourself from the low-charging freelancers. Just by putting your minimum hourly rate to a much higher figure than them is going to show prospective clients that you’re not some freelancer who works for cheap and provides a low-quality service. In the online world, NEVER sell yourself short.
Once you’ve differentiated yourself from the lower competition, you need to make sure that you’re selling yourself in the best way possible. This means that you need to understand exactly what services your customer wants, understand their needs and pain points, and work in a way that fixes those pain points for them. Optimizing your UpWork, LinkedIn or personal website is something we’ve covered in previous chapters, so if you’re still unsure, then refer back to those.
To conclude, what you should now realize is that no matter how oversaturated the market may seem from a huge wave of competition from India, you should never have to worry about this. In simple terms, you and they shouldn’t even be competing against each other, the services and quality of those services you are providing are completely different.
Insert supply vs demand = price graph
How To Price Your Services
5-Minutes Quick Guide to Pricing (Without Making Extensive Market Research)
1. Decide On Your Market Positioning
You can choose your offer to be price competitive, mass-market or premium. I recommend positioning yourself accordingly to time, effort and other resources that you have to invest to deliver to each particular customer
- Custom made work (especially when you are starting out) = Premium
- Automated Copy Pasted Delivery = You can now afford to compete on price
- Mass-Market = Anything in between
2. Always Calculate The Price Starting From The End
This means that you should first understand how much is your product/service worth to your customer. The value of what you deliver is measured by what customers perception of what he receives and NOT what it costs you to deliver those results.
Here is an example equation to calculate the price
customer perceived value
_________________________ = Price
customer perceived supply
SUM(expected perceived resources gained) = customer perceived value
(Hours gained x Value of each hour) + Money gained + Know -How Gained + etc. = expected perceived resources gained
So let’s say you were trying to calculate the perceived value of selling project management services to a business owner who closes all the sales himself. Then you would want to understand if his time spent on project management could be reallocated in sales calls. If that’s possible (assuming that he has an adequate supply of leads), then you would want to calculate how much is each sale worth to him (gross price minus cost to acquire, minus delivery costs, etc.) and then divide this number by his % closing rate. If he can close 1 out of 4 of his leads, the value per 1 customer he on-boards is $10,000, and the time spent to onboard each customer is avg. 2 hours, then the value of 1 that your customer gains equal $10,000/4/2= $1,250. If your product/service can add 4 hours of time for your customer/per month, then the value would be $5,000/per month. But, this is not the value added yet. If they gain $5,000 but have to pay you $5,000 then the value gained is 0.
Let’s look at other factors that could determine the price point, and compare it with our $5,000 result.
3. Know Which Customers You Want To Attract OR Avoid
The value would be higher if your price would be lower until the point when you lose perceived positioning and come across as too cheap for the offer. So setting it at $500 and generating them 10x would be great but we would quickly drop to be compared by price-sensitive customers.
Let’s say we want to stick to premium.
4. Price Competition Research
Imagine, you make UpWork and Google research to determine prices of competition for similar service. You see that price competitive suppliers can offer as low as $200 as they benefit from geographic arbitrage, let’s say the mass market avg. is= $1000 and the premium avg. is = $2000.
Then $2,500 would be within the premium range, and $500 wouldn’t be there. Anything within $1500 and $2500 range would be a reasonable guess.
Let’s now see the competition in your premium segment. More specifically focus only on what competition can your customer access to make his decision. If you’re premium, you don’t have to compete on making this price lower. You can compete in post-sale service, more benefits, etc.
In this case, starting with a $2,500/month premium, custom made service would be a good guess.
5. Know What Paths The Customers You’re Trying To Avoid Walk Through
If You’re Positioning Yourself As Premium, Avoid “Price Shoppers”
How to Warm Up Cold Leads – Creating Touch Points Before Sales & Branding
An important part of your business that is often overlooked is a little concept called “pre-sales”. Essentially, “pre-sales” follow an old marketing method that customers are more likely to buy from you after seeing your ad or product multiple times. This is built upon the marketing rule called the “Rule Of Seven Advertising”. What this means is that on average, a customer will buy your product after seeing an advertisement seven times.
Why is this? Basically, a customer isn’t going to buy a product they are not familiar with – as they simply do not trust the product and do not know of the person selling it. It takes time for the customer to build trust, and gain familiarity with a product. And this is why it is so important to get your product or brand out there as much as possible.
This is why we see so many modern companies working hard to improve their personal image and getting their brand out there as much as possible. When you’re watching a soccer game and see a company’s advertisement in the field, it might be difficult to understand what that advertisement is actually achieving. How many people are going to buy that company’s product after seeing that advertisement? Not very many. But the whole point of that certain advertisement is to increase customer awareness of that brand and build familiarity. Then, when that company decides to do some direct marketing for a product of theirs, the customer has a sense of familiarity and trust with that company because they’ve heard of them before (on the soccer field). This, in turn, increases the likelihood that the customer will buy a product from that company. By increasing the number of times a customer sees a company’s ad or brand image, the company increases the likelihood that future customers will buy from them, thus increasing sales and revenue in that company.
How Can We Implement This In Our Online Business?
By now, I hope you understand the power of “pre-sales”, and why it is so important for potential customers to see your advertisements or brand image more and more. By increasing the trust and familiarity of your company to many clients, you’re converting these clients to be more valuable to your business, as they are more likely to buy from you.
But, the real question is, how can we implement this idea into our own personal brand or online business?
In actuality, there are numerous ways to get your name out there. The most popular ways would be through various social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. The list goes on and on though, you can guest write blog posts, appear on podcasts, or even start your own blog. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter so much HOW you get your name out there, the point is you just need to get your name out there more often.
This can be a scary concept though – what if you don’t want people to know who you are? You’re scared that by putting yourself out there, and IF you fail at your business venture, everyone will laugh at you. This is something you’ll simply need to overcome yourself and realize that most people will actually be incredibly supportive of you. It will also motivate you to make you work harder and take accountability for your actions – by putting yourself online, you expose yourself to a lot of people who might criticize you IF you fail. Use this as motivation to work harder and try and succeed in your online business venture.
By putting your name out there through various social media platforms and online avenues, you’re going to not only increase the trust from your potential customers but also cast a wider net to attract more customers to your business. The more social media platforms you appear on, the greater you are casting your net, increasing the pool in which you can attract customers from.
It doesn’t really matter so much what kind of content you put out there – but it pays that you keep it specific to your niche and product/service. You should have content that your audience can relate too, and if they can relate to it, it’s only going to build the trust and familiarity between you and your client.
My Personal Story
If you’re reading this book, chances are you’re my friend on Facebook too. What this shows is proof of how building up pre-sales can eventually lead to products being sold and more closes in your business. Initially, you likely saw a YouTube video or came across my website when you first heard about me. From there, you added me on Facebook, saw my daily posts, photos, and videos, all while building up more trust towards me. Eventually, when I provided you with the opportunity to buy this book, you may have been hesitant at first, but soon enough clicked ‘BUY’. Would you have bought this book if I reached out to you without knowing who I am? Imagine I cold-called you, didn’t introduce myself and said: “Hey, you should buy this book.”. The probability that you bought this book would be close to zero. But, because I spent time producing content that related with you (the customer), we have built a relationship of trust that allowed you to make the easier (smart) decision of buying this book.
What you need to get from this is just how powerful “pre-sales” can be. By exposing your company and personal brand on the internet, you’re going to build trust with potential customers which down the line will only increase the likelihood they buy from you. Take my personal story, for example, I throw out a ton of content out there, through platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, and eventually, I have been able to sell you this book.
Here are some examples showing you where you can see me literally everyday & everywhere:
- On your Facebook Wall as a first thing you check in the morning
- As a Facebook Notification, in case you missed it
- SoundCloud push notification on your phone
- As a Google Results when you are looking for related content
- On your iTunes New Podcast notifications
- As an Instagram story when you are bored in the morning queing to get your coffee
- Inside your gmail when you open it at as a first thing at work, there is an e-mail newsletter from me
- Also, not to let you miss my Facebook posts, I send an email from Facebook with update on notification, just to be triple sure you got it
- On Your LinkedIn wall if you decide to check LinkedIn instead of email while still at work
- On Your YouTube feed when you open YouTube on your iPad while lying in bed before sleeping
How To Make & Receive Unlimited Free Calls All Around The World
One of the greatest parts of running an online business is the fact that you can service clients from all over the world. Because most of your work is done on your laptop, it’s possible to be serving a client from Canada while you’re living in Thailand.
A common problem with this is it can sometimes be hard for them to contact you. How are they meant to call your Thailand phone number from Canada? Rates for international calls are enormous, and if you wanted to set up an international sim card for yourself this would be extremely costly too.
It can also be difficult for them to contact you at a suitable hour due to different time zones. A client may want to call you during their working hours in Canada, but if you’re in Thailand this can mean that they’ll want to call you while you’re sleeping.
In this chapter, we’ll explore how we can set up international numbers on Skype, and how we can eventually establish a 24/7 call center for your online business.
How does it work?
Skype international numbers allow you to set up a local number in any one of 24 countries. Once you have this number, you then link it to your Skype account. Let’s say you want a United States number so clients in the US can contact you easily. You buy a local US number from Skype and link it to your Skype account. Every time someone from the USA calls that number, the call will be redirected to your Skype account.
The main benefit to this is you are making it easier for prospective clients from around the world contact you at no additional cost to them. This will only increase the number of people that could potentially benefit from your service.
Setting up Skype International Number
So for this method to work, you’re going to need a local sim card with a data plan wherever you are and a Skype account. A local sim card is usually around $10-20, and a phone number from Skype will be around $10 per month. The local sim card only needs a data plan, there’s no need to have calls or texts included as you do not need them.
From your Skype account, click on My Account. Under Manage Features, choose Skype Number. Select which country you want a number in. You’ll now be given your own number for that country, and you just need to decide which billing option suits you best. Once you have paid and set this up, whenever someone calls this number, the call will be redirected to your Skype account. You can then answer this call using the Skype app on your mobile phone or using Skype on your computer.
It is possible to set up a number in multiple countries all linked to the same Skype account. So you could potentially have a separate phone number for US clients, UK clients and Canadian clients. All these different phone numbers will be linked to your own personal Skype account though. This way, you’re increasing the number of potential clients for your business, and also improving the relationship between you and your client.
Here is step by step instruction how to get American and European phone number as well as unlimited calling minutes to North America and Europe. This means that anyone in North America and Europe can now call you for free to your mobile phone, no matter where you are in the World (and you can call them).
1. Go to Skype.com and click on My account
2. Log in to your Skype account
3. Click on Skype number
4. Click on Get another Skype Number (or similar)
Complete the process of purchasing American and European number – United Kingdom is a good choice. However, it doesn’t matter which number will you choose in Europe because calls between European numbers are considered local calls. There are no additional fees anymore (there used to be before).
Once you are done with getting the phone number, get unlimited subscriptions to Europe and North america.
1. Go back to your account dashboard and click on Add subscription
2. Get these 2 subscriptions:
Build Your Online Call Center – Outsourcing Inbound Calls
As your business starts to grow and you start looking for assistance, you can begin to outsource this process. By hiring a virtual assistant to take pre-sale calls and handle prospective clients, this will open up more time for you to work on your business and make it grow.
You can also hire more than one virtual assistant to handle your calls during different times of the day. It is possible to hire 3 different virtual assistants, working 8-hour shifts each. This will enable you to have a 24/7 call center for your online business.
To do this, you will need to give your virtual assistant access to your Skype account. Any incoming call will be handled by your virtual assistant who will screen the prospect. If the prospect is a good fit for your services, the virtual assistant can then set up a meeting between the prospect and you using ScheduleOnce.
The screening process from the virtual assistant usually involves a set of questions to determine whether the client needs your services. This helps filter out time wasters and people who may not know what they really need. This is going to save you a lot of time in the future as you’ll only be dealing with potential clients who actually need your services.
Sample screening questions can include:
- What is your current monthly revenue?
- Do you currently have any ongoing digital marketing strategies?
- What specific services are you looking for?
- How much money are you willing to spend on marketing each month?
If the prospective client is a good fit, then the virtual assistant can schedule an appointment for them with you. To do this, the virtual assistant can use a great software called ScheduleOnce. ScheduleOnce can be linked to most calendar software platforms, so if you currently use Google Calendar to schedule your appointments, you can link this to ScheduleOnce. The virtual assistant will be able to see which times are free for you, and can set up an appointment at a time which suits both the prospective client and yourself.
Most of the time, you’re going to be hiring virtual assistants from countries in either South-East Asia, Eastern Europe or around India. Because of time zone differences, it can be difficult to track who is suitable to work at different times of the day.
A helpful tool to keep track of your virtual assistants and yourself is www.worldtimebuddy.com.
With this website, you can input your different virtual assistants and even clients with their respective time zones. This makes it easier to establish working hours for each of your virtual assistants, and easier to schedule meetings between yourself and prospective clients.
Managing Team and Time Zones
There will come a time in your digital marketing career when you’ll need to start expanding your online business and hiring more employees or working with various freelancers. An increasing workload and a limited capacity to complete the work by yourself will mean that it is almost guaranteed that eventually, you’ll need to recruit some help from other sources.
The great thing about the modern world is that with the uprising of access to high-speed internet worldwide, we can now often hire people to do jobs for us online from around the world. With this, we can often hire people who have the same skills as those in our own country but pay them less because of the relative difference in living costs. Cheap online labor has risen by huge amounts in recent years and is a smart way to cut down on costs for your online business whilst still being able to grow.
One of the major difficulties with this though is that more often than not, these people that you hire will come from opposite ends of the world. If you manage a team with 4 different employees, all coming from different countries, it can be problematic for organizing meetings and keeping up to date with all of them. Time zone differences mean that maybe when you are up and working, other members of your team may be sleeping or resting. This poses huge problems to your online business, as efficiency is cut down and it means you are going to have to do something to stay on top of your game. It can be frustrating having to work out time zone differences between multiple members of your team and can often lead to confusion. And whilst most of the times we like to think that we are smart and can figure stuff out on our own, mistakes DO happen and could be costly to your business. Imagine if you schedule a sales call with multiple members of your team without knowing that they will be unavailable during that time?
Luckily, there is a way to better organize the time zone differences within your team and clients. And that is through a free website called WorldTimeBuddy.com. In this chapter, I’ll show you how you can use WorldTimeBuddy to better manage your online business team and work more efficiently.
WorldTimeBuddy is an extremely useful and FREE tool you can start using today to better manage your online team. Through this app, you can set up different time zones on one seamless global clock. With this, it is easy to see what time it will be in another country any time of the day, unlike other world clocks which just show the current time in another country. Let’s say for instance you work from California, you have one employee in Manila and one employee in Prague. You can easily see what the different times are at certain points during the day, as displayed below.
How Beneficial Is This To You?
Not only can you see when other people in your team around the world are likely to be working, but it makes it so much easier to schedule team meetings and potential team collaborations. In the example above, we have 3 extreme Time Zone differences, from different corners of the world. We can quickly see that to schedule a team meeting call during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) that includes all 3 people in the team, it would simply be impossible. At least one of these people is going to have to make a sacrifice and commit to the call at an unfavorable hour. A lot of the time though, many freelancers have obscure working hours and don’t actually follow the typical 9-5. Some might start their working day a lot earlier than this, and some may start their working day a lot later than this. It really just depends on the individual. Using WorldTimeBuddy, we can see when the team members around the world will be working and be able to schedule team meetings at a time that suits everyone.
Obviously, this is something that is going to vary from person to person. Someone who has workers in Manila and New Delhi will have a completely different looking schedule than someone who has workers from Prague and Budapest. It is something that you will have to figure out on your own, but with the help of WorldTimeBuddy, this task is a lot easier than before.
As well as being extremely beneficial to you and your online team, it is also going to be of great assistance to you should you decide to travel. You can easily see what the difference in the time is between countries before you even visit them, and this can be a huge help in organizing your calendar. For example, say you have a sales call at 4pm in your local time on Tuesday, but on Monday you are traveling to another country where the time zone is completely different. While you could work out the time zone difference yourself and figure out when the sales call will be in your new country on Tuesday, mistakes do sometimes happen as no human is perfect. With WorldTimeBuddy, you can set up a clock for your local time and the time of the country you are traveling to. WorldTimeBuddy will display what the other country’s time will be at 4pm on Tuesday (your local time) and you will be able to plan your schedule accordingly. You can rest assured that the information is accurate and know that you won’t have any confusion or difficulties once you reach your destination country.
By now I hope you understand the importance and benefit that WorldTimeBuddy can provide to your online business. As more and more companies move to work digitally and remotely, this useful and FREE tool is paramount to the success of your business. It improves efficiency, cuts down on confusion and at the end of the day simply make your life easier. Check out WorldTimeBuddy here: www.worldtimebuddy.com
Recording All Calls for Feedback Purposes
Recording Skype calls is something that is all too often overlooked in online businesses. Most people don’t appreciate the value in recording calls and also don’t have any clue how they can start automatically recording Skype calls.
In this chapter, we’ll explore why you should be recording your calls, the legality of recording calls and exactly how you can start recording calls.
Why you should record calls
There are so many great benefits to recording calls that will help your business immediately. The first being that they can be used for future reference when training and educating other employees of yours. Let’s say you close a deal with a client over a Skype call. If you record that particular call, you can later show it to other team members further down the line as a way of educating them about sales calls. The trainee will get a real-life example of how your business works and how you manage to close sales. With this information, they are going to be better equipped when joining your team as a sales member.
Another benefit is that often we can forget or not accurately remember certain aspects of previous calls. By recording the call, you have a way to look back on it and see exactly what happened during the call, what went well and potentially what went wrong. You can remember certain elements of a call that you may have otherwise forgotten such as detailed numbers, figures, and negotiations.
The third benefit to recording calls is you can easily monitor your team’s performance in receiving something like inbound calls. Let’s say you have a virtual assistant who takes your inbound prospective client calls. You ask how it went and they said the client was not interested in your specific service. Instead of just taking their word for it, you could now go back and listen to that call and see what went wrong and what could be improved upon. This doesn’t mean you should be listening to every single one of your team’s calls. But if you feel something went wrong that could have been avoided, you can go back, listen, and see what needs to be improved. This will help increase the productivity and performance of both you and your team.
Legality of recording calls
The most important component of recording calls is understanding the legality of it. In MOST countries, it is actually illegal to record calls without first advising the other person and receiving their consent. It will pay to check the legality of this in your certain country but to play it safe just assume that you’ll have to let the other person know you’re recording the call.
To inform the other member of the call that you are going to record it, simply mention that you’re going to be using the call for educational purposes and are just mentioning it to let them know that the call will be recorded. You may have already noticed that some big companies do it when you call their call centers.
An easy example script for this would be – “This call/session may be monitored and recorded for record-keeping, training and quality assurance purposes.”
With the above script, we’re notifying the other person that the call is being recorded. Very rarely will you get any objections to this, and if you do then you can simply turn off your recording software and continue the call anyway.
Software to record calls
There are two different software programs recommended depending on which operating system you are using.
- For Windows: Use Evaer Skype video call recorder. It is only $19.95 for an unlimited use license. With this software, every time you receive a Skype call you can just push the ‘Record’ button and it will automatically record your call and save it as an audio file in any desired destination on your computer.
- For Mac: Use ecamm. Unfortunately, this is slightly more expensive than Evaer and comes in at $39.95 for an unlimited use license. The great thing about ecamm is it can be set up to automatically record your Skype calls. Every time you receive a Skype call on your Mac, it will automatically be recorded and stored as an audio file in your desired destination.
How to share files with your team
One of the best things about recording your calls is that you can easily share them with your team using Dropbox. A Dropbox is an online storage file that can be accessed by multiple users around the world. You can choose who you share your Dropbox with and have complete control over who has access to it. By setting up a shared Dropbox file for your team, you can simply drop the audio files in there and team members from around the world have access to the audio file of the call.
When setting up Evaer or ecamm, you can easily make the automatic storage file for your call recordings to be your Dropbox. This way, whenever you receive a call, you can be assured that the file will be automatically saved to your Dropbox and your team who has access to that Dropbox will also have access to that call recording.
It will benefit you greatly to name your recording files as specifically as possible. As soon as you have finished a call and you can see the audio file, change the name of it to something that involves the date, who the call was with and what company they represent.
This way you will easily be able to locate the file at a later date when you need it for educational purposes or just to reflect on.