December Freelancer Meetup Notes – Lean Coffee

When do you say no to a project?

Double price rather than no – at least you get paid if they take it

Gut feeling

Better safe than sorry

Not comfortable w/ work -> refer out

Lead to sale is a process with different checkpoints: Phase 1 – does the initial fit look right? budget, project, communication style? Phase 2 – learn more specifics and discovery/research. Phase 3 – create a proposal

      • each phase requires more time commitment from you – don’t move to next stage until you have sufficient answers and comfort-level
      • judgement call on how much time and effort you put in getting sufficient answers and comfort-level at each phase
      • “no” occurs if you discover the fit isn’t right or you aren’t able to get the answers you need to move forward in the time you feel comfortable spending

Charging for proposals?

      • Filter out those who not serious
      • position it as an audit -> charge up front
      • present report from audit
      • “I have to charge for proposals of this sort because it takes time customize for you”


Business insurance – do you have it?

some clients require it (state of WA)

not many attendees have it


general business -> covers in case somebody gets hurt on the job

errors & omissions -> protects you if revenue-losing mistake is made. Gives teeth to your contract. In one example it covered 30,000 in book publishing oversight case.

Health insurance as a business instead of as an individual?

      • can be more expensive and better to do as an individual.
      • Different health insurance agents split on the guidance here.


What is best way to get new clients?


growing network means growing referral channels

meaningful relationships – real time and value-add

Some have gotten leads from WPSeattle directory

      • free for anybody to list
      • good photo (of face?)

credit in footer of client sites

answering questions in online groups?

    • FB, Slack, Reddit, Quora, etc
    • need to be right groups
    • nice to help people
    • not always a lead, but often a review
    • can build network, become a referral source
    • build your authority and practice your expertise

coeable, toptal -> higher quality than upwork, freelancer

agent? how much are they charging? agent = salesperson? how much do you trust them? how qualified are the leads they bring you? are they closing deals themselves?

BNI group

      • commitment of time and money
      • each chapter only has 1 of everything (1 web designer)
      • attending is working on your business
      • maybe better for freelancers than agency
      • great source of referrals
      • can take a little time to get established
      • support each other – one way to think of it like “a mini-agency”


How do you exit a bad project (dumpster fire)?

raise the price – break it down in a such a way that this time will cost this much more

deliver something – tough to pull plug w/o giving some value

don’t offer care plan or any more services

post-mordem – what went wrong? what can you do pre-sale to avoid the issue in the future? (see “when to say no to project” question above)


What tax advice do you have?

Hire someone!

~600-900/year (including personal taxes, family, and other perks)

Allen & Koe – contact Jessie

Bailey Davis Associates – contact Avada Douglass

they don’t do bookkeeping

you’ll still need to do accounting/prep work

can sometimes answer questions on accounting and QuickBooks


Pros and cons to sending holiday cards to your existing clients?

con: can be expensive/time-consuming

pro: nice personal touch and often highly appreciated

change because of covid?

      • solopreneurs might be the same, but for medium-sized businesses who is receiving the mail? Will the right person get it?
      • opportunity for a message of compassion: we’re all in this together
      • MailChimp instead of post cards in some cases (MailChimp has new post card option)


Questions left unanswered (for next Lean Coffee?)

Contracts: do you use them for all projects, or just the large ones?

Are you using Gutenberg Patterns yet? If so, thoughts?

Jquery and the next WordPress update/ regarding older themes. Are you blocking updates on older client sites???

What is something you accomplished in 2020 that you are proud of – specific projects or business goals?

How much time do you spend working on your own site, both dev and content and do you schedule it or just do it as you can?

Email: do you set a time to answer email or do you feel you need to answer as soon as it pops into your mailbox?

In general, how has COVID affected or not effected your workload? Have you been able to get more clients and/or been able to retain your current clients.
What was the one thing that pushed you into freelancing (and jumping off the self sufficient cliff)?

How does 2021 look like for you guys? I mean for everyone individually

I love talking in these meetups about…. A) behavior driven development for plugns B) I’m trying to form a VIRTUAL wp agency by streaming 24/7 and having a service plugin in the admin or C) outsourcing wordpress devs

What is the best way to get new clients?

Do you have 2 factor authentication turned on for all available logins both personal and professional? And do you still use O-Auth to log in via Google of Facebook?

Are most of your clients local, through referrals?

Do you ask your clients for testimonials and if so, how do you ask and what do you do with them?

Any good how to videos for clients to use their wordpress dashboards at the author level, etc. Say in a club where you would like to have the members create and submit posts. Is there a recommended plug in for adding photos to comments?

what is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

How do you explain the services you offer to your leads/clients? What do you find works for conveying value in simplest possible terms?

Does anyone use audits to bring in new leads? What has been an effective way of doing that?

What advice or do you do for taxes at the end of the year?

Issue I’m dealing with right now: do you guys ask leads for their budgets when dealing with them? I always have, but I’ve had a couple of inquiries lately from people who gave me extremely low max budgets, after a bunch of time spent emailing on both ends. Thinking a better approach might just be giving a more concrete price structure from the beginning (X dollars base, Y dollars for each page, Z dollars for each additional feature)… instead of having this open-ended conversation on money

An African swallow or an English swallow?

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