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People Per Hour and Me

People Per Hour and Me

I joined PeoplePerHour about 4-5 months ago. I have used contractors myself on Upwork for many years (and can share how I get the get the best people there some other day) but I wanted to see if I could use PeoplePerHour to get some more work on board and to fill any gaps I have in my workload. I use the team and myself to do these jobs so it is a bit of a recursive loop. I am not the designer or developer of the year but I develop websites fast in WP that customers love as I give them tons of attention and explain what works.  You are possibly way better but I am way faster. I think the approach here would apply to any contracting website (like Upwork and Freelancer) really but is here how I approached it on PPH.  I plan to try it also on Freelancer and Guru but need to free up some bandwidth and automate even more to get jobs there. MY GOAL My goal using PPH is to make money.  I am quite happy to make $50 on a job that I quote $100 on.  To explain (referring contractors).  I have a very established contrating team who all nearly work for me full time with the flexibility to do other work.  So if I win a job for $100 that I haven’t the time to do I give it one of my guys (or gal) and they do it for $50 and I...

On Death and Earnings

On Death and Earnings

If you just want to make €22 and make me €22 then click here to sign up for PPH or else read the fascinating blog post I have written. Last week and this week were a bit crazy for me.  My father was in the hospital and my mother in law passed away.  Sad but that’s life. As a result, I didn’t get much work done.  Rushing between two hospitals and the death of my mother-in-law last Friday meant that sitting in front of a Mac working fell way down the priority list. My father is out of the hospital (nothing major) and we are adjusting to the loss of my mother in law this week. Besides the sadness of the loss, it also showed me two things. The first was the importance of charging for work, something I write and rant about a lot but tend to be weak at implementing.  In my Inbox on my return to my desk were a sprinkling of emails from past customers looking for little jobs. I had kept my active projects well up to date through busy triaging on my phone during that past 10 dyas at weird hours. The second was that some day I might not be able to work (or want to)  for an extended time and it is about time I started thing about “the product” that would provide recurring income (yet to be created but lots of ideas).  That is for another post. Small Jobs The word quick, small...

Hustling Like a Hooker – Days 1-5

Hustling Like a Hooker – Days 1-5

This follows on from my previous post about being in a tough place as some work fell through the floor on me. So what to do – how could I make some money.  Well in the last 5-6 days I have done pretty OK in rustling up some new business.  It wasn’t pretty but here is what I did -.  There are no flash gimmicks here it was lots of email and out reach and still a way to go on getting back to pre-crash. Apps Do Help First I knew I need to hit the email hard.  Mailchimp does rock but I need to email a lot of people and fast. During some informal outreach with John Doherty of GetCredo he mentioned QuickMail.io and how we was loving the free trial.  So I tried it out signed up and am half way through it at the moment. IT helped with what I did below a lot eMail OutReach I hate those spammy emails you get selling SEO and website design but I knew I could do better and simpler,  So I searched in Ireland for every single printer that was out there.  The reason for this was a lot of printers get asked for websites and even though they are great designers they just don’t do that work.  I do a bit of work here in Cork for two printers so know the deal. So I made a list of 200 printers got their emails and sent them an email that was very simply this. Hi How...

A Prospect Isn’t a Customer

A Prospect Isn’t a Customer

I used to get excited when I started out when I got a lead or a prospect. Wooo hooo a new customer. Emm nope. A lead isn’t a customer. They may end up being one and you should work your little tail off putting great proposals, processes and communications in place to ensure that they turn into customers. But you should contain your excitement.  If every lead you got DID turn into a customer then you could start woo hooing all day long but usually it is a small percentage. Here is how I at least try to transform leads into customers. Don’t Be Lazy and Forgetful When I get a lead through whatever medium I reply to them really really quickly.  The reason is that I tend to forget them  if I don’t pump them into my process right away (less so now with Pipedrive) and unless I hop on it I may not follow up. Believe me I don’t have hundreds of leads pouring in my door.  It just slips down my Inbox, I get busy, Twitter burps, the door slams and before I know it, it is too late and I didn’t get back to them  A week in business is like a decade. I did a survey just a few weeks ago in my niche and I found that about 30-40% of people in website design reply the same day.  So if and when you reply quickly you are ahead of the pack. You may already have some level of...

How To Grow Without Actually Growing

I emailed 200 website companies recently.  I won’t bore you with the statistics of their responses but of the responses 3-4 told me they were too busy to take on work at this time. I find this hard to comprehend.  I understand why.  They have well paying, time consuming projects that are keeping them busy and don’t want to take on any more. But don’t they want to make more money?  If making more money doesn’t interest you then stop reading but if it does read on. How I Started Out When I first started creating websites for customers as a sideline business I was also working a full time job.  I would like to tell you that I slaved into the night working on projects after a long hard day at the office.  OK I did quite often, but after a year or so doing this I realised that I couldn’t sustain this every single day or week of they year. I also wasn’t in a position to leave my current job.  Ironically nothing did change when I did leave it so it was a mental thing. Over time even with the part time nature of my website design work I got more and more work which did fuel me leaving a comfortable, very well paying job.  But I had made a critical decision to get help even at that stage. Someone tuned me into Odesk (now Upwork) to get people to help me.  I primarily needed developers to help me as at  that stage I...

Keep Your Pants On (Customers v. Leads)

Keep Your Pants On (Customers v. Leads)

I used to confuse leads with clients.  I would get contacted by a potential lead.  We would discuss their project through various mediums, phone, emails and face to face. I would get a little excited about the project.  But a lot of the time the project didn’t happen for many different reasons. I used to get confused between a lead and a customer.  Here is the difference between a customer and a lead. A customer has paid you a deposit. One of my top tips (soon to be in a book of the same name out in 2024) is don’t do a scratch of work till you get a deposit,  If you have started projects without deposits in the past then you are an idiot. So don’t do a thing till the money is sitting in your account.  I don’t care if the cheque is in the mail. My parallel tip to this is don’t get excited about leads. Of course be professional with leads, be helpful, engaging and provide a great response to them.  This is what will convince them to use you for your services (and no it is rarely your Portfolio). But don’t count the chickens. I maintain two lists.  One is in Pipedrive for leads and a Google Sheet where I track my customers. But nobody on Pipedrive is on my sheet and vice versa. Thinking every lead is going to turn into a customer is hopelessly naive.  Not having an established process for following up on leads is borderline foolish. I used to...

Tick Tock – Your Time

Tick Tock – Your Time

I was lucky enough to get two calls yesterday in a traditionally quiet week for me.  Both calls ended up with a chat where we discussed them coming to my office.  Those who read the posts here know I rarely if ever go out to meet prospects. My calendar for this week is empty bar 2 calls with US clients.  In the past I would have said just that but instead I suggested 2 times later in the week.  I also use Calendly for booking my calendar but these guys were not really technically literate and this approach can scare them off. Why? Its all about looking needy.   I don’t care if you are living off of Cheerios in January but you need to project a solid responsible company persona all the time, even if the  company is a total of one.  I don’t mean a suit and tie and pocket protector but a real business.  I try and project (as it is true) that I have an excellent if not expert knowledge of website development, design, and Internet marketing. I used to jump on every lead like an enthusiastic puppy, now I am more structured, constantly working on implementing a process (one that I like not one that a quality manager would salivate over like aforementioned puppy) and that works for me. This especially applies to how you protect your time and calendar. When you say come any time it translates into – “I need work (of course you do usually) come quick and save me”....

The Perfect Client

The Perfect Client

When I started out “on my own” I had this picture of the ideal client. They would be executives with large budgets begging me to do work for them.  Over time I would be one of the foremost people in web design in Ireland with an orderly line of CEOs with fat wallets lined up patiently outside my office, some would even have having slept over so as not lose their slot. Of course the reality is nothing like that. I now know customers come in all shapes and sizes and with hugely differing budgets and needs. I had a client last week who cycled across town to talk about his new blog, in contrast I just started a project  with a large charity in Dublin working on a large design and development project for 2017. Two vastly different clients. The most important thing I have learned is to treat all of these clients the same irrespective of  the project being delivered.  The paybacks are enormous. The reason is simple.  For freelancers referral business is golden.  When person A refers person B to you the odds that they are going to use someone else are unlikely. In addition I have never heard a referral client say to me Person A gave me your name because the graphics were great on the slider and your CSS was AMAZING!! The reasons I get referrals  are usually that I was prompt, did a good proposal, understood and interpreted their needs,  kept in touch and was generally decent to great to deal...

Saving Seconds

Saving Seconds

“Work Smart – Not Hard” I remember nearly 25 years ago working in the US in one of my first jobs I worked a full day editing some raw data to create a long structured report.  After about 4-5 hours work one of my colleagues came to me saw the report and asked if I had used the Perl scrip to create it.  I looked at him with despair in my eyes. There’s a Perl script to do this? There was and running it created the same result in about 5 seconds.  The task in question was something that in the following year (using the script) I did countless times often several times a day. Since then I have become addicted to trying to do mundane tasks quicker. Whenever I have a repeatable task I immediately ask myself if I can do it quicker or automate it in some way. The mistake you might make is thinking  that repetitive is equal to mundane and unimportant – it usually isn’t.  I have tons of little automated tasks that make my life so much easier. Here is one that I put in place just this week. Closing Out When I am finished with a customer one of the things that I usually request a Google review. It is good for local search and all reviews are great (if great).  It used to be a bit of a pain explaining to a non technical person how to go to Google Maps, find the link, post the review and...

Contracts Save Lives

Contracts Save Lives

If this is TL;DR then just one thing.  Always do a proposal no matter how small the job is and get the customer to sign or agree to its contents. But onwards. Leads that Turn into Customers I have done work for 30 euro and work for 10K.  For the smaller jobs I used to never ever write proposals.  I thought it was embarrassing to have to put something in front of a customer for a job that was under 2-300 euro even. This is a massive mistake. It is super easy to have a template (or use a cloud service which I do) to create a set of standard documents that outlines what you are delivering to a client.  Please don’t use email.  It sucks and can get lost in translation. My website proposals go basically something like this. I will create a website for you, it doesn’t include training, lifelong support till my eyes belled and you pay me a deposit, interim payment and until you pay the last payment you don’t get a site.  It will cost you XYZ. It is more detailed than that but you get the gist.  For smaller jobs I do the same.  Some of my proposals are just one page with a link to my terms and conditions.  I always drop my client a short email that ask “Did you read the Terms and Conditions?”   Until I get the yes (and the deposit) the work doesn’t start. Why Bother? There are many reasons but the most important one...