Looking to Grow and Scale Your Freelance Business? Here’s What One Freelancer Did
When approached inefficiently, earning a healthy income as a freelance service provider can put you on the fast track to burnout. Piecing together enough new clients and low-paying gigs to come out ahead for the year often requires an unsustainable combo of constantly working and too little downtime.
A better way to rake in a respectable salary and reach your financial goals as a freelancer is to leverage a more efficient service model.
Six-figure copywriter Dayana Mayfield uses what she calls a “mixed course/consulting model” that combines digital PR with writing to save time and get better results.
A Copywriting Conundrum
Before rewiring her business model, Mayfield was maxed out as a freelancer. “I only made income directly from copywriting,” she says. “Not only did I have a single source of income, but this income source is also completely dependent on my time. It isn’t scalable.”
Mayfield notes that while you can charge impressive fees for copywriting and direct one-on-one work with clients, writing copy 30 hours a week can be exhausting. “That’s why people hire someone to help with it,” she says. “It’s tiring and a big emotional output.” As a mom, she was ready to take Fridays off to have more time with her kids. She needed a way that she could still make good money without such a draining daily time sink. “As much as I enjoy copywriting, I needed a way to make money from my creativity and skills, not just my time,” Mayfield says.
A New Business Model
Enter what the entrepreneur calls the “mixed course/consulting model,” and her new business, Pitch & Profit, for publicity strategy and training. When launching it, Mayfield knew she didn’t want to use the same freelancing model—providing “done-for-you services”—as she had relied on for her copywriting business. Instead, she devised the mixed course and consulting model to more efficiently serve her clients.
“Getting publicity helped me grow my copywriting business, and I knew I had so much passion for storytelling and pitching the media,” Mayfield explains. “I decided to help more business owners use publicity to grow their businesses by training their assistants in PR pitching and also helping them set up a smart foundation for truly profiting from publicity.” To this end, she offers a course under her brand called PR Team Training that offers briefs, pitching templates, and tutorials.
On the consulting side, Mayfield created a couple of different offers that relate to this course. Some clients simply purchase one-on-one time with her, so that she can help them fill out the briefs, customize the templates, and determine what PR channel to begin first. Other clients purchase a larger strategy package, wherein Mayfield comes up with story ideas and chooses their target digital media outlets, then works with the clients’ assistants directly to teach them how to implement this work.
In either case, Mayfield’s one-on-one time is directly amplified by the course material, so she’s able to scale her expertise. “This allows me to charge higher prices for my time, while also giving my clients more resources to get even better results,” she explains. “With my ready-to-go tutorials, their team can upskill with PR very quickly, and I only jump in for strategic work.”
How to Implement a Mixed Course/Consulting Model
If you’re a burned out freelancer who wants to implement this model, Mayfield says the first step is figuring out what problem you want to solve. In her case, she noticed how many publicity courses for business owners had a DIY focus, which led her to the right client offering for her business. “The truth is, business owners don’t have time to DIY publicity,” she advises. “So, my offer helps them save money and time on publicity by getting my eye for strategy and storytelling, but then having their assistant do the pitching.”
When considering your own business and what problem you can solve for clients, Mayfield says you shouldn’t be afraid to pivot if you want to solve a problem in a new niche or subject. Then, once you know what you want to solve, the next step is to consider what the course element and consulting element should be. “What can you templatize and systematize? What needs to be done specifically by you?” Once you answer these questions for your own business, you can get creative and sell the course on its own or inside of consulting packages.
What to Avoid When Launching Your New Model
According to Mayfield, the biggest problem to steer clear of is creating a course for a different audience than your services, since you won’t get the benefits of the mixed course/consulting concept if you do so. “For example, if you are a website designer and you make a course about how to become a website designer, you essentially have two different audiences (business owners that need a website, and people who want to create a website design business),” she notes.
With this in mind, the most important thing is that your course must relate to your consulting offer—and must be for the identical audience and problem. “This will enable you to sell them together, or upsell course students into consulting packages,” Mayfield says. “In both instances, you’re earning money from your program, and not just your time.”
An Upfront Time Investment Pays Off
Mayfield admits that creating a high-quality course that you can leverage in consulting packages again and again is time consuming and can take anywhere from 20 to 60 hours. “If you’re used to earning money directly from service provider work, it will feel frustrating to invest the upfront time with no immediate reward,” she shares. It took the entrepreneur three months to get her return on the investment of her own time. However, she feels it was well worth it, since now the effort is paying for itself whenever she books a new consulting client who is receiving her program as part of the package.
The exact time to ROI will depend on how much time you invest in making your course, Mayfield explains. She advises starting small by coming up with some quick wins, such as templates or implementation tutorials that your clients can use. Then, as you continue to systematize your consulting offer, you can add more elements to the course and reduce the one-on-one work required.
Even so, some clients will likely want to keep working with you directly—so Mayfield suggests always keeping in mind what elements can stay in the service part of the package, such as a strategy call, onboarding call, or custom creative work.
Scale Your Business
Freelancer burnout isn’t a given. By being willing to rethink your business model, you can get off of the treadmill of constant service work to create a more scalable business, giving your clients even better results than you did before.
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By Robin Madell | Categories: Work Remotely
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