My New Show, $100K Freelancing, Now Available

A bunch of you have asked me the same question over the past year: “when are you going to do another podcast?”

The honest answer most of the time was “I’m not sure”. But today, that changes. Because today, I just launched a new show.

$100K Freelancing is a show for freelancers, by freelancers. It will cover solutions to the real challenges that you and I face day-in and day-out as freelancers and consultants building client service businesses. It’s that simple.

There are three episodes of $100K Freelancing available today:

Bryce Bladon profile on $100K Freelancing podcast

Qualifying (and Disqualifying!) Client Projects w/Bryce Bladon

Qualifying (and Disqualifying!) Client Projects w/Bryce Bladon
Bryce and Chris talk about how to qualify and disqualify client projects in order to avoid taking on clients from hell

Kate WInsor profile on $100K Freelancing

Networking For Projects, And Growing Pains w/Kate Winsor

Networking For Projects, and Growing Pains w/Kate Winsor
Kate & Chris talk about using one’s network to get work, and the growing pains inherent in growing a freelance operation

Paul jarvis profile on $100K Freelancing

Make Freelancing Serve Your Own Dreams w/Paul Jarvis

Make Freelancing Serve Your Own Dreams w/Paul Jarvis
Chris & Paul discuss freelance marketing to a niche, sustaining your business via recurring work, and designing a business that serves your own dreams and goals, not those of society-at-large

To stay up to date on the show, and to receive insider info on when shows are due to come out, who the guests will be, plus discounts on products and exclusive access to Q&A sessions, join the $100K Freelancing insider-interest list.

My co-hosts and I are proud of the show, and hope you find it a useful tool as you work toward becoming a $100K Freelancer – or beyond!

Do You Get Freelancing Leads From Your Network?

Between interviewing other freelancers and consultants for my new online show, and interacting with the freelancers I coach, a pattern has been emerging:

By far, the #1 way that freelancers – even some very successful ones – get new client work is via their network, not via stranger-leads that come in due to any kind of automated marketing.

contract signing freelance leads

Do you close freelancing leads from your network?

I find this interesting, because marketing automation and lead-generation is all the rage right now. You may find that you’re hard-sold on the practice as though it’s a guaranteed cure to all of your freelancing feast-or-famine ills. If you’re not getting sufficient freelancing leads, why, it’s because you’re just not producing compelling-enough content, or not participating in online communities enough, or are falling short of attracting anyone’s interest on social media. In short, you’re told that even if you’ve cultivated a healthy network and a steady stream of referral work, you’re still failing if you haven’t built a fully-automated marketing machine!

And what’s the solution to that? Expensive marketing services aimed at making your content go viral, or getting likes, or adding 1,000 subscribers to your mailing list in a weekend (hint: this has never happened to anyone in a way that anyone else can hope to duplicate). Of course. Now, you know me – I’m a big believer in buying books and engaging in continuous education, and I do some automated marketing myself, but…come on.

Suggesting that you do the non-scalable thing doesn’t sound sexy, and yet that’s how most of us get freelancing leads – network exploitation. Very few will suggest that you put work into having conversations with real, live human beings, doing the non-scalable work that puts you face-to-face in meatspace with the very people that you hope to sell to. Very few will suggest that maybe – juuust maybe – human connections drive more consulting deal-flow than any form of automated marketing ever could. And fewer still will suggest that perhaps the handful of people hard-selling us all on the panacea of automated marketing are merely the exceptions – the few who had juuust the right circumstances at juuust the right time to make that kind of a machine work.

So, where does that leave the rest of us? Those of us with imperfect circumstances and imperfect timing? The Average Joes and Janes? The smallfolk?

I think it leaves us in a decent spot. Here’s why:

business networking for freelancing leads

Freelancing leads can come from your network.

Like I’ve said before, all else being equal, people want to work with their friends. People want to work with people they know and like, people who are a known quantity, not some faceless marketer who sends out cleverly-worded automated sales pitches every week. For sure, automated sales pitches have their place, as do all the other tools of automation, and SEO fundamentals, etc but…isn’t it time that those of us who get work primarily via human connections and real-life communities step back, take a look at our marketing with fresh eyes, and try to shake off the sense of FOMO that so many of us have when it comes to how we get freelancing leads?

I think it is.

Let me open up a bit and share my own client acquisition breakdown with you:

20% – showing up in Google when & where people expect me to (SEO fundamentals)
80% – my own network of contacts in the business community (referrals, repeat business, face-to-face encounters, etc).

In 15 years, I can’t point to a single consulting dollar that has ever hit my pocket as a result of any kind of inbound marketing automation. Not one dollar. Maybe you can’t either. I know, I know, the first thing some people will say is, “maybe that just means you suck at it! Har! Har!”, and…OK. Even if that’s true, my point stands: shouldn’t we stop regarding having a steady stream of freelancing leads via referral as a failure of some sort, merely because we’re not CRUSHING IT BRO with automated marketing?

$100K Freelancing - let's talk about freelancing leads

$100K Freelancing – Better Clients. More Money. Fewer Headaches.

So, what about you?

– Is your network the #1 way you get YOUR new clients?
– Do stranger-leads make up 20% or more of your closed deals?
– Do you ever feel “guilty” or sense that you’re missing out by not automating your lead-gen?

This topic – and more like it – will be discussed on my new show, $100K Freelancing. The show launches March 21; join the early-interest list to gain access to insider information and notifications about the show.

2016 Year In Review

At the start of 2016, I had a very specific view of where I wanted to go professionally, and a huge sense of possibility. Standing here at the end of 2016, I have a very different view of where I want to go, and what I regard as possible. The months between were a time of difficult choices, strong transitions, and value adjustments, all while maintaining a busy consulting schedule.

2016 was also a big year in terms of producing and shipping projects. Here’s a list of what I shipped in 2016: Keep Reading…

9 Ways To Prepare Your Freelance Business For The New Year

As the year draws to a close, it’s only natural to reflect a bit on what has transpired, and what is yet to come; this is true both in our personal lives and in our businesses. Problem is, far too few freelancers start a new calendar year prepared to do anything different or better than the year before. Let’s see if we can reverse that trend.

Every year over here at Cogeian Systems, I try to take some time to look ahead and make sure to be prepared for what’s coming. Sometimes all it takes is a quiet moment at my laptop with a cup of coffee, and other times it takes a bit more research, but finishing the year strong and having a plan for the new year is always worth the effort.

I’ve distilled my own yearly process into a series of 9 simple steps and questions, broken down into 3 broad categories: Keep Reading…

Full-Focus Consulting: How I Re-Energized Myself & My Business

Once upon a time, I spent many years building up a nice consulting business that was consistently putting 6 figures in my pocket every year. I was very proud of myself.

  • I wasn’t working too many hours.
  • The company wasn’t too big to manage.
  • I didn’t have to book an unreasonable amount of work to make my nut.
  • I liked my clients.
  • I had a great team.

Sure, the workload was a little bit treadmill-y and sure, there was some degree of ebb and flow with receivables, but both of those are pretty typical in consulting, and neither was significant enough to be a real problem. Overall, life was pretty good.

I’ve made it” I thought. “This is exactly the career I’ve always wanted to have“.

Then I began to notice that many of my peers were moving away from consulting and launching products instead. Keep Reading…