Articles Tagged with Freelancing

The Books that Inspired Anti-Sell

Anti-Sell alt cover - bookshelfAt the end of Anti-Sell, there’s a ‘Further Reading’ section, recommending a bunch of books that the reader can check out beyond mine. And even though it might seem like a really lazy rather ingenious copy/paste job from the book (😉), I thought it made a lot of sense to share it on here, too.

Throughout the book I’ve mentioned numerous books and resources that can help you on your Anti-Selling journey. Here’s a list, with a bit more info about each of them, plus a few more for good measure.

A quick note: None of these authors paid me a fee to be included, nor do I get a commission if you buy any of them. I recommend these books 100% wholeheartedly – because I actually really like them.*

ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

ReWork book coverReWork is probably my favourite business self-help book of all time, and a big influence on Anti-Sell. Why? Because ReWork is also quite rebellious in nature: it goes against the grain of traditional business advice but makes excellent recommendations in spite of that. It was recommended to me by a client (thank you Scott of TestLodge!) and on the first listen (I bought the audiobook), I fell in love with it. While listening to it in the car, I used to scream “YES!!!” after sentences I agreed with – which happened a lot. And probably sounded weird if I had my car window open. But there we go.

Some of its takeaways include:

  • Other people’s failures are other people’s failures, not yours. So when people talk about the survival rate of freelancers, small businesses and startups, just remember: if other people fail, that doesn’t mean you will too.
  • Plans should be called “guesses.” I remember freaking out when I had to put together a business ‘plan’ for some funding that I was seeking in the early days of freelancing (if I remember correctly, it was funding to cover my first year’s membership at my coworking space). How do I know how my business is going to do next year or the year after that? And that’s precisely the point. Call them guesses. To quote the book: “Start referring to your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, and your strategic plans as strategic guesses. Now you can stop worrying about them as much.”
  • Everything you do is marketing. This ties in very closely to the message of the book you are currently reading. Marketing isn’t defined by adverts and promotional materials – it’s literally everything you do. Every. Single. Thing. You. Do. Every email you send is marketing. Every invoice you send is marketing. Just because you’ve won a client, it doesn’t mean that the marketing stops there for them. Every action you take can leave an impression on someone – good or bad.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there (not-in-the-book note: I actually wrote about my biggest takeaways from ReWork – including the above points plus more – on this very blog a few years ago: here’s the link). If Anti-Sell has resonated with you, and you haven’t yet read ReWork, pick up a copy. I’m sure it will resonate with you as well.

While writing this book, Fried and DHH released a new book: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, which – as you can probably guess from its title – addresses the sensitive subject of work-life balance. It’s worth checking out as well.

> Buy ReWork on Amazon

The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz

The Pumpkin Plan book coverThe Pumpkin Plan is a special book to me. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been running a small business for a while and you’ve hit a rut, there are some great tips in it. As mentioned in earlier chapters of the book, it has advice on:

  • How to go niche when it comes to targeting clients.
  • Creating your own Assessment Chart, which can be used to score clients on certain criteria, in order to help you to detect which clients are the best-fit for you (not-in-the-book note: I’ve blogged about the Assessment Chart over on State of Digital).
  • Tactics for cutting bad-fit clients in a way that won’t cause any animosity, fallout or professional embarrassment.

Mike also has another good book called Profit First, where he recommends paying yourself first before paying bills, whereas typically we do the opposite (we pay our bills and then keep what’s left over as profit, however big or small that amount may be), so it’s worth checking out what he has to say on that as well.

> Buy The Pumpkin Plan on Amazon

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Anti-Sell – My Freelance Heroes Day Talk

Steve Morgan at FH Day 2019 photoOn Thursday I spoke at the incredible Freelance Heroes Day in Wolverhampton, which is an annual one-day conference run by Annie & Ed of the amazing Freelance Heroes community.

My talk was in conjunction with my new book, Anti-Sell – essentially a condensed talk version of the book, giving sales and networking tips to freelancers and small business owners who struggle with (or simply downright hate) sales.

Here’s the link to the slides, plus they’re embedded below:

I was blown away from the feedback following on from my talk. Here’s just a few examples of some of the lovely things people said:

Incidentally, if you’d like me to speak at your event about small business sales/networking, then please do get in touch. You can see my list of past speaking gigs here.

Oh and if you’ve yet to buy the book, go here. It’s available in paperback, Kindle and self-narrated audiobook formats from Amazon, Audible and the iTunes Store.

[Image credit – Steve Folland]

Introducing… Anti-Sell: the Sales Book for Freelancers Who Hate Sales

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog over the last six months or so – but for good reason. In addition to doing client work and organising Cardiff SEO Meet stuff, I’ve been writing a book. And now it’s here…

Introducing Anti-Sell: Marketing, Lead Generation & Networking Tips for Freelancers Who Hate Sales.

Anti-Sell cover banner

Where to buy

Wanna just grab a copy? Go here for info & links!

Wanna learn more about how the book came to be? Read on…

The story of Anti-Sell

Anti-Sell mirror punk
Truth be told, I never thought I’d ever become an author. I love blogging (the fact that SEOno’s been going since 2011 is proof of that!) but I thought books were silly – after all, books can become obsolete (especially SEO books). But then…

A few years ago, I wrote a post on here titled 20 Ways That Freelancers Can Drum Up Sales During Quieter Times. Following on from that, I had a few more ideas of posts around the topic of sales and networking, aimed at freelancers specifically. Given that this is (mostly) an SEO blog, I wasn’t sure how best to proceed… That’s when I realised that the advice is pretty much timeless, and that each separate post idea I had could be a separate chapter in a book instead. That’s when the idea of writing a book – instead of lots of blog posts – became a plan.

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MOM Turns 5 – A List of Thank You’s

My freelance businessMorgan Online Marketing (or MOM for short) – turned 5-years-old on Monday, as I officially took the plunge and went full-time freelance on Tuesday 7th May 2013, having left my last agency role the previous Friday. I celebrated with branded gluten-free cupcakes, like the one pictured. Yum.

When you’re self-employed, you sometimes hear that infamous “#% of businesses die in their first 5 years” statistic, which seems to vary depending on who you ask (it’s anything from 20% to 50% apparently), so I’m chuffed to have passed (survived?) this particular milestone.

I’ve posted on anniversaries before (here’s the links to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years), but this time I just wanted to say a few thank you’s to people who have helped me along the way.

Thank You’s

In (sort of?) chronological order…

Firstly, thank you to Max Minzer of Max Impact. As I was in the process of going solo, he produced some videos as part of his Max Impact series (a weekly series of Google+ Hangouts webinars, each covering different SEO/digital marketing topics) and the Choosing Clients one was massively useful. A big thank you to Lauren Hall-Stigerts and Mackenzie Fogelson for the advice that they dropped in that one. See also: Building an SEO Practice with Bill Sebald (another good one).

Thank you to GO Wales. Although I’ve never utilised them in the way that most people have (either by being a graduate getting a job, or an employer getting funding towards a hire), they also used to run Freelancer Academies, week-long workshops that gave you an intro to freelancing life. I was very lucky to go on one in my second week as a freelancer. It was extremely useful so early on.

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Blow Your Goddamn Trumpet

Trumpet image
A few weeks ago I received an interesting enquiry from a local designer, who does a lot of design work for musicians. Given that I’m a proper music fanatic, I was really excited at the opportunity to potentially work with him and his clients. He asked me for my hourly/day rate, and although I stressed to him that I quote on a per-project basis depending on what I think is required to do the job, I gave him a rough idea of how much I usually charge. We discussed a potential small one-off project (which sadly fell through shortly after discussions began, as his client backtracked on wanting SEO work done), and then he suggested that I work on a pet project of his instead. However when he brought up the latter project, he explained that when he told his team about me, they “freaked out slightly when [he] mentioned [my] rates!” Hmm.

I replied saying something about how we could price it based on their budget rather than my fee, if that was easier – and I left it at that. It was quite a weak and timid response, looking back at it now. I’ve yet to hear back.

Ever since I sent that last email, I’ve been kicking myself.

Sure, the “your prices are high” reveal could just be a ruse to try and get me to lower my prices. Or it could be the case that his team doesn’t value or ‘get’ the cost of SEO. I don’t think I charge exceptionally high prices (I know a few SEOs with less experience who charge about the same), and given that he’s a designer – and probably gets people raising their eyebrows at his prices – I’m surprised he’s surprised (if that makes any sense)!

Whatever the case, I later realised that I didn’t give him any reason to realise why I charge that rate, whether it’s perceivably high or not. I just said “oh I can probably match your budget if you let me know how much that is.” What a mistake. I could’ve/should’ve used it as an opportunity to sell myself a bit more…

I could’ve told him that I’ve been doing SEO full-time for over 8½ years (since early 2009). And that I’ve worked at two agencies locally as well as for Confused.com as part of their in-house team. And that I’ve been blogging for over 5 years and that this humble SEO blog has been a finalist in the Wales Blog Awards as well as the UK Blog Awards for three years running. And that I’ve written guest posts for Moz’s blog, which is widely considered to be one of the best SEO resources in the world. And that one of my campaigns – which I spearheaded single-handedly – was a finalist in the UK Search Awards 2015 for two awards (and that I believe I was the only solo consultant/freelancer to get shortlisted that year). And that I have a bunch of very happy clients on MOM’s testimonials page, many of whom are also on my Linkedin profile as recommendations, meaning that they’re genuine and not simply made up. And that I’ve spoken at one of the biggest SEO conferences in the UK – not just once, but twice – and have a bunch of other speaking gigs under my belt as well.

To be fair, I hate to brag – and the paragraph above feeling like one full-on braggy braggathon. Ych a fi!

…But I could’ve left it with him to think about. Did he think my rates were too high because he didn’t know too much about me? Would he still think they’re too high now that he knows all of the above? I guess I may never know – but next time I’m gonna try this approach instead.

The moral of this story? Don’t be afraid to blow your trumpet once in a while. The next time I get chance, I’m gonna blast the hell out of the damn thing.

[Image credit – Tom Mrazek]