- “These things don’t inspire me.”
- “I only need to get better at my craft.”
- “I’m bad at these, so I can’t improve them!”
- Focusing on a wide band of skills rather than the selfish “I band”
- Making friends and maintaining relationships
- The skill of having self-awareness
- Combining focus and discipline
- The dilemma of opportunity cost
- Using tools to manage your time
- Why you need systems and processes
- Understanding your business's key performance indicators
- Knowing how and when to hire staff
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Products and People
[00:00:00] Brian: Hello and welcome to the six Figure Creative Podcast. I am your host Brian Hood, and you are in the right place right now. If you are a creative trying to earn more money, maybe even six figures, maybe more, maybe less whatever your number is, you're trying to earn that amount of money without selling your soul in the process, you're in the right place.
[00:00:14] Brian: Today's episode is actually a part two, but don't, turn this off yet. If you are a brand new person, or maybe you missed last week's episode, which is part one, you don't need to go back and listen to that right now. You can listen to it after this episode's over because part two, we're just kind of diving into the second half of this conversation that I'm having about something called a full stack Lance.
[00:00:30] Brian: This is a crucial part of being a successful freelancer or creative in general in 2023 and beyond, there's millions of industries that have this sort of concept. But it's mainly from the development industry where you have a full stack developer, a full stack developer just has a wide set of skills and they can develop in a lot of different things and do front end development and backend development and all this nerdy stuff.
[00:00:48] Brian: And they're way more valuable because they can accomplish more than a very specialized, narrow developer. And this is where if you were here last week, we talked about something called a T-shaped. I'm doing a T on YouTube right now. If you're watching [00:01:00] on.
[00:01:00] Brian: Shout out to my YouTubers. See lemme, lemme comment. If you're a YouTube watcher, what kinda YouTubers here?
[00:01:04] Brian: This t-shaped set of skills means that you're really wide in a lot of skills necessary to run a business as a freelancer. freelancer. And then you're really deep. That's the narrow part of the T. You're really deep in one particular skillset set. And as freelancers, we tend to focus on being an I freelancer, which has of two meanings.
[00:01:20] Brian: I, as am I am selfish and I only wanna focus on what I care about. And also, I as in like, it's a very narrow band of skills. You got really deep into your photography. Nerdy, you got really deep into your videography gear, , everyone loves gear. Really deep in your mixing and mastering in audio into your copywriting skills.
[00:01:37] Brian: You get really deep into your development skills. Whatever you're creating, whatever you're doing as a creator or a creative you've really honed in on that one set of skills that has brought you to this podcast in some way, shape, or form. And for some of you, it's provided some income.
[00:01:51] Brian: For some of you, it's provided a lot of income for some of you, it's provided no income yet, no matter where you stand. The point remains that it takes a wide set of skills to build a career [00:02:00] or a business around this, and whether or not you use your creative skills to have a, business or you just do it as a freelancer, which there's a, between the two, or you have bigger aspirations one day and you want to do more things with your life than be a freelancer for the rest of your life, which is also great.
[00:02:14] Brian: Although no shame if that's not your, case, no matter what, it takes more than just your creative skills to make a living as a freelancer in 2023 and beyond. It's been true in the past. It is really true today, and it'll be even more true in the future. So if you agree with me, nod your head. I can't see you, but I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna assume that you agree with me cuz you're, probably not listening to this episode if you don't agree with me.
[00:02:32] Brian: So, Last week we had a part one. If you haven't listened to that episode, go back and listen to episode 235. And the title is something like Why You Don't Need to Be a Better Creative, And it is true. You don't need to be a better creative. You need to be a better business owner, at least if in this season of your life, if you're trying to make more money and you're not able to do so, it's likely some of these skills.
[00:02:48] Brian: And last week we talked about your creative skills, which is of the thing we all start with. We talked about your marketing skills, which is the skillset that most creatives are allergic to. You have an allergy to market. I gotta change that. Go back to, listen, last week's [00:03:00] episode where I talk about the skills around marketing that you're gonna need in order to get clients We talked about the sales skills. Same thing. You need to be able to sell yourself, sell your services, have confidence in yourself if you want to succeed as a freelancer. And we talked about problem solving skills because , whether you like it or not, being a freelancer, being a business owner, being an entrepreneur is 95% problem.
[00:03:19] Brian: We hit a roadblock. We have to figure out how to get past the roadblock. We eventually get past the roadblock, and then we hit the next roadblock. And it is a series of overcoming obstacles and challenges and, pains and problems and most of them are fun, in my opinion. I, all the challenges in my business, I enjoy overcoming.
[00:03:33] Brian: That's why I do what I do. And some of them are like really big problem. Some of them are really small micro problems, but they're all problems to solve. And we talked about the ability to fit fo f i f t o, figure it, the freak out , save my editor uh, bleep there to add that in there. And this week on part two, we have,
[00:03:49] Brian: five more skill stacks to talk about, although maybe we won't get 'em all today. I've got a whole bullet point of a bunch of stuff to talk. And we'll see if we get through it all in second part today, or if we need a part three for this or not. So today the first [00:04:00] thing we're gonna talk about is far as a full stack freelancer.
[00:04:02] Brian: These additional skills that we need as freelancers in order to not just survive but thrive in 2023 and beyond, is people skills. This is a pretty obvious one, isn't it? Like I feel like everyone should know this you'll be like, yeah, Brian, I freaking know I need people skills.
[00:04:15] Brian: But then do you actually do anything to develop your people skills? Do you actually invest in yourself in reading books, courses, even? Do you invest in your friendships and relationships to hone your people skills? It's a serious question. Like I'm even looking at myself. I don't feel like I've even begun to scratch the surface of what I am capable of when it comes to honing my people's skills to being a more social person.
[00:04:35] Brian: I don't get energized by being around people. I get drained by it, but I still enjoy it while I'm around people and I am, I wouldn't call myself the life of the party, but I, can talk
[00:04:43] Brian: I have a podcast, I can talk, but we, as freelancers, we make this mistake of ignoring this for a number of reasons. Part, this Covid 20 20, 20 21, even summer 2022, we were more isolated than ever and I dunno about you, but I became even more of a recluse through that time because A, we kind of had to [00:05:00] be, it was just the reality of what we were living in at the time.
[00:05:02] Brian: And B, I just found myself enjoying being around my wife more. I found myself enjoying being alone more. I found myself enjoying getting in this routine where I'm doing the same thing every day and some of the relationships started to fall off to the wayside. that's a lot of us, honestly, that's a huge part of this.
[00:05:18] Brian: But part of it is also in my background, at least in music production and audio engineering, is people in my world, and a lot of listeners on this podcast, because you came from my background and the following I had before this podcast. You are all like engineers at heart. And engineers. We tend to be not the best social creatures.
[00:05:34] Brian: We don't have some of the skills around people, skills that. Really important when it comes to actually dealing with clients, and I say dealing with clients, it really shouldn't be our attitude. It is building relationship, with and being friends with our clients.
[00:05:45] Brian: a lot of people skills comes around just our mindset. I caught myself there saying, dealing with clients like this, it's this big burden we have to shoulder and this big burden of, Entrepreneurship. We gotta deal with our damn clients now. Like I even have to get past this mindset shift myself that our clients can and should be [00:06:00] our friends in some regards.
[00:06:00] Brian: there should be boundaries there. Absolutely. Your clients should not be texting you when it comes to, like the project. There needs to be clear boundaries and communication but, Doesn't mean we can't be friends with our, clients as well. doesn't mean we can't have friends that aren't gonna ever be clients with us.
[00:06:12] Brian: Part of having people skills is learning how to ask great questions. This is like part of learning the skill of, how to make friends. How to get people to like you, how to, make clients feel comfortable. It's just asking really good questions. Have you ever been with a person or been in a convers. For like 30 minutes or a dinner, a whole meal. And they don't ask a single question about you if you don't notice that there might be something there that you don't feel like people should be asking about you.
[00:06:34] Brian: Some people feel like that. And if that's you, let's change that. Like you have a lot to share. You have a lot to say. You have a lot to give. And part of a good, healthy friendship or relationship in any capacity is being able to ask good questions, and also knowing that people should be asking you questions as well. people that don't ask you questions are typically, and this isn't always the case, they're typically only concerned with themselves. They only want to talk about themselves. They only want to gossip. not part of having good people skills.
[00:06:58] Brian: I'll tell you that gossip [00:07:00] is, the easiest, cheapest, most immature way to have. Conversations with people, it's like a cheat code to having what feels like good conversations with people. But gossip is not a good form of people skills. Gossip is not going to make you friends. Gossip is something that is toxic to relationships.
[00:07:16] Brian: gossip can ruin relationships, but the first thing I have on people skills in general is just asking great questions, know how to ask a good question. Next in people skills, just, going through my outline here, is making someone feel special. My wife is a master of this. I wish I had a 10th of her ability to do this.
[00:07:33] Brian: She will go out of her way to make someone feel special. She will spend a lot of money, a lot of time, put a lot of care into making people feel special. And I have learned, I've picked up a few things from her. And I'm getting better at that. That's why I think this is a skill, by the way. I refuse to believe that I am just wired a certain way.
[00:07:49] Brian: I know that I have strengths and I have weaknesses. I know that I can work on fixing some of my weaknesses and I can lean into some of my strengths, but that doesn't mean I ignore the things I'm weakened and just accept the fact that, [00:08:00] oh, I'm not a good people person. I'm not good at asking questions.
[00:08:02] Brian: and I don't ever make good first impressions. I'm too frank. I just say how it. That is not a good way to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs. We have to believe in something called a growth mindset. We have to believe that we can change, that we can grow, we can adapt, we can get better.
[00:08:14] Brian: The opposite of growth mindset is a fixed mindset, and some people genuinely believe this. They believe that things can't be fixed. People can't really change.
[00:08:21] Brian: Some people are just born a certain way and there may be some truth to this. There may be certain things, like if you were born without a. That is a truth. That is something that you can't change about yourself. That is a fixed thing about you, but that doesn't mean you can't accomplish something in your life because of that.
[00:08:35] Brian: One thing that is a fixed thing. You have a plethora of opportunities for you. Even when there are deficiencies in your life, like you're not a natural people person,
[00:08:43] Brian: you can grow, you can change, you can adapt, and you can get better.
[00:08:46] Brian: Which moves on by next point, when it comes to people skills, is How to make a good first impression.
[00:08:51] Brian: This can be different whether or not you're meeting somebody one-to-one or you're meeting somebody in an online setting where there's no actual like conversating happening. and some of this can happen in a group setting and all of us [00:09:00] act in different ways in different scenarios, making a great first impression one-to-one. Goes into some of the things that I talked about already. Asking great questions, making someone feel special.
[00:09:09] Brian: Even basic things like your body posture, active listening, where you're shaking your head, you're making eye contact or release their general face. I tend to look at the bridge of somebody's nose when I'm talking to them. I don't love staring straight into their eyes, especially somebody I just met.
[00:09:22] Brian: I watch their mouth a lot when they talk, but if I find myself trying to. I feel like I am active listening. I will look at the bridge of their nose and that's close enough to the eyes to make it feel like I am actually genuinely looking and listening to somebody.
[00:09:34] Brian: These are all parts, I'm making great impressions with people, that's generally not the place that people struggle with the most. The place that we tend to struggle with, in the community around this podcast is we tend to struggle around group setting.
[00:09:44] Brian: Where if you're in a group, especially in a group that you're not really close with, first impressions are really important because if you're the person that just kind of hangs back in the background and doesn't participate in conversation, sits in the corner, that's a really bad first impression. okay. You can learn these skills about how to, [00:10:00] integrate yourself into a circle of people talking how to. Make a good first impression with people, how to give a good firm handshake as old fashioned as that sounds like.
[00:10:06] Brian: These are all parts of coming across a strong, confident, a genuine person asking great questions. Still part of this whole people skills thing, and smiling. during my retreat that I went away on for planning 2023. If you've been on this podcast for a while, you heard me talk about this many times on the last episodes.
[00:10:20] Brian: But I was in Chattanooga for a few days doing my year end or beginning of 2023 annual retreat. I reread How to Win Friends and Influence People, and this is a book that has been on my yearly ring list for five or six years now. I, didn't read it in 2020. But I did read it first thing, 2023, and I recommend everyone here listen to this listen to the book or read the book physically.
[00:10:40] Brian: It is a fantastic book for just learning a lot of, not the deep people skills, but more of the surface level, the immediate conversation being a more pleasant person to be around these things that are really important as freelancers, especially because in many industries that we're in, as we're a part of, as Lance. the stupid quote, our net worth is our network. Our ability to [00:11:00] get clients really comes down to how, wide is our network. And I know we have to balance the width of our network with the depth of our network. I sound like a network marketer right now, width and depth. But we need a lot of people around us in a lot of our industries in order to make sure we're getting a consistent amount of clients.
[00:11:16] Brian: Unless you do some of the other things that we talk about in marketing, that is the one to many method. But the book, how to Win Friends and Influence People is great on the width part, not so great on the depth part about having long, meaningful, deep relationships with people that last a lifetime
[00:11:30] Brian: and that really boils down to. A few things. How good are you at staying in touch with people? This is an area that I struggle with. Just staying in touch, staying top of mind, making people feel special still all part of this same solution, the catchall of people skills.
[00:11:42] Brian: A huge part of this is just genuinely caring about people. That is something that if you struggle with this, I don't know how to fix it. I don't know if you need to go see a therapist. I dunno what the solution is if you just genuinely don't care about people. But if you genuinely care about someone, that it is a great starting point on a building a deep, meaningful relationship, but I think one of the most underrated. [00:12:00] Talents are skills when it comes to people skills, and this is just from surface level to long-term, deep, meaningful relationships.
[00:12:07] Brian: This is for the width of network and depth of relationship in a narrow band of network. This people skill is one of the most important, and that is self-awareness.
[00:12:15] Brian: it's a pet peeve of mine when people lack self-awareness. Knowing when to say something is obviously an important part of people's skills. Knowing when and how to say certain things, but knowing when not to say something is just as important, if not more important, knowing where to say something in the right context.
[00:12:30] Brian: Self-awareness is underrated. you can say one thing, it turns people off. You can say one thing that lacks self-awareness and it can ruin. Months of building relationships with somebody.
[00:12:40] Brian: I'll be the first to say I am not the expert. I am not even scratching the surface of people skills. and the skills around connecting with people, building friendships, building relationships, building a wide and strong network of people. I am not that person. But I have a little bit of understanding.
[00:12:55] Brian: I have a first edition, how to Win Friends and Influence People in my bookshelf in there from 1930 something, it's [00:13:00] old.
[00:13:00] Brian: I have friends that have been around me for a decade. I have a wife who I love and have a great relationship with, so I have the basics down. But there are plenty of people out there who are better at this than I am I'm just gonna leave it at this. If this is an error you struggle with, this might be the first thing for you to start tackling in 2023.
[00:13:16] Brian: And it might have the highest ROI of all the skill stacks that I talk about on here,
[00:13:20] Brian: not just monetary roi. Fulfillment, roi. I think as humans, we're just wired to be connected with other people and I think social media, I think Covid, , I think a lot of factors have pulled us apart in many different ways. Politics is one of those things as well. I think there's a lot of factors pulling us apart, and I think something needs to change for that to happen.
[00:13:40] Brian: Probably on a macro level that is outside of the scope of what I'm capable of doing as a small podcaster. But I think it starts with us wanting to change, wanting to be better at something, and then bring that around our communities and just starting there. That's the most I can help with right there, is just say, Hey, start with ourselves and see where it goes.
[00:13:54] Brian: So that is the first stack of skills the mini skills involved with, becoming a great freelancer, [00:14:00] a successful freelancer, a thriving freelancer in 2023 is people skills. The next on the list today in part two of my full stack freelancer series is Focus and Discipl.
[00:14:09] Brian: As someone who grew up with and still struggles with and still has, I don't think you can cure this. A D H D this is not my strong suit. But this is another area where we have to look at the fixed mindset versus the growth mindset of saying, oh, I have adhd. I'm not, I don't have good focus.
[00:14:23] Brian: I'm just always gonna be scatterbrained. Versus the growth mindset of saying, Hey, this is a big weakness. It's also a huge part of why I struggle as an entrepreneur, because I can't focus on one thing and get it done. I don't have the discipline to get the things done over the long period of time. This is an area where we have to get better, and as someone with adhd, I know that you can improve in this area, and I know these are skills that can be learned.
[00:14:43] Brian: They can be honed, they can be grown, and they can be improved upon.
[00:14:47] Brian: don't even know how to categorize this. Maybe it's productivity. You could put this all into the productivity skills stack is probably the better way of putting this. But I like to separate this into focus and discipline. Focus is the ability to hone in on one thing at a time and focus on only that thing.[00:15:00]
[00:15:00] Brian: And then discipline is the ability to always get the thing done over a long period of time. for this podcast, for example, when I'm planning an episode, focus is me sitting down. Music going, that's my secret. That's my Adderall or whatever people use to I, I literally have playlist on Spotify called Electric Adderall.
[00:15:17] Brian: I have one called eighties Adderall. That is the way that I make myself focused. It's always instrumental electronic music or trance music or different kinds of like weird subgenres of electronic. Doesn't matter. I zone out. I listen to music headphones on, usually my apple EarPods in like north cancellation.
[00:15:32] Brian: And I start outlining an episode for this podcast that is focus. I don't have other tabs open. I'm not texting people at the same time. twenty four seven. My phone is on do not disturb. I do not get notifications for things. My phone does not vibrate my phone will not ring unless it's somebody who's calling.
[00:15:46] Brian: That's all my favorites list, which is like five people. Maybe I need to have better people skills so that listen, a little bigger
[00:15:51] Brian: but if I'm focused, I can get an outline for an episode on this podcast for these solo episodes done in about 15 to 30 minutes. Discipline, however, is showing up every [00:16:00] single week and putting now 236 episodes. On this podcast that is discipline.
[00:16:05] Brian: showing up to the gym every day at five 30 or six o'clock. I could be better at that, but that is discipl. So we need both of these things in our lives. Focus, make sure we're getting things done efficiently as possible. discipline helps us make sure that we are actually getting things done for the long haul.
[00:16:18] Brian: Because as an entrepreneur, it's more than just focusing on one thing at a time. it's more than just being disciplined. It's the combination of the two things. So here's some points I have under the skill stack. It's knowing when to say no.
[00:16:28] Brian: this is an important skill to have because it's something called opportunity cost. If you don't know when to say no, and you start saying yes to things in people that are going against what you're trying to accomplish, then not only are you doing something you don't want to do, you're also saying no to something you do want to or do need to do.
[00:16:45] Brian: So there's an opportunity cost to every single thing that you take on in your business. So knowing when to say no and what to say no to is the skill you have to hone and develop, and it takes understanding what else you're saying no to. When you say yes to something that you shouldn't say no to.
[00:16:58] Brian: An example, I get [00:17:00] emails all the time with people wanting to book calls or have a call or, sit down and chat or whatever with me and. this is where sometimes skills and things will battle each other because if I was a good people person, maybe I should say yes to all those things.
[00:17:10] Brian: But I also know when to say no and which scenarios to say no do. Cuz I don't reject every phone call or every meal request or every Zoom meeting that people throw my way. But I have to say no to most of them because every time I say yes to one of those things, I'm saying no to 15 minutes, to 45 minutes to an hour of focused time that I can and should be working on something else.
[00:17:30] Brian: And in 2023, I have set my hourly time to be worth $750 an hour. That is up from last year. and I encourage everyone to have a dollar amount in their heads that their time is worth, there are certain things that I do that is worth way more than $750 an hour. There are certain things that I do that are way under $750 an hour, but knowing that dollar amount helps you put a value on.
[00:17:50] Brian: Things you're saying yes to that you should be saying no to. So when someone requests an hour long phone call or hour long meeting with you during your, what I call sacred work hours, which for [00:18:00] me are the hours of like 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, something like that. When someone's requesting time away from those sacred work hours during my week, I have to now ask, is that worth $750 or.
[00:18:11] Brian: And in most cases that's, no, it's somebody asking something for me. It's somebody who wants something for me. And and if there's a deep, meaningful relationship there, then fine. I will have the meeting. I'll, I would love to, lunch with friends, lunch with family, a call with, someone that I can help out, that I have a meaningful relationship with.
[00:18:24] Brian: That's all fine. But most of these people are strangers who have never talked to before who are asking something from. whatever it is for you, there are a lot of distractions in your life. There's a lot of people that are gonna want things from you, especially as you become more and more successful.
[00:18:36] Brian: So you have to be willing and able to say no to those things and those people, and not just those things. There's also things when we have entrepreneur, h d, shiny Object syndrome, there's also these false pursuits, these mirages on the horizon that we want to go after because they look so fun and shiny.
[00:18:50] Brian: But then we actually get our hands on it and it's nothing . and we just said yes to something that we should have said no to. So part of focus, part of discipline, these skill sets [00:19:00] is the skill of knowing when and how to say no to something that we should be saying no to.
[00:19:04] Brian: The next thing on focus and discipline these skills is knowing when to cut things or people out of your life. Sometimes we have these things that are already in our lives. This baggage we've taken on in our lives. It could be a business you should have killed off. It's maybe a service you should have killed off.
[00:19:19] Brian: It could be a friend that's dragging you down. A A toxic, I'm using the air quotes here, friend who's dragging you down and has been for years, knowing when to. Cut off this dead weight is an important part of keeping focus and discipline in our lives.
[00:19:31] Brian: An easy example is if you are a recovering drug addict and your best friend is a heroin dealer, you should probably cut that person out of your life. That's an easy example. Like That person is going to be dragging you down. That is somebody that is dead weight, that is somebody that's not bringing any value to your life.
[00:19:45] Brian: That is someone you should have cut out a long time ago and for some reason it's still there. You gotta cut that off I hope that none of my listeners in this show right now are have heroin dealer friends. But that's just an easy example of, someone that makes sense that you should cut out of your.
[00:19:58] Brian: Now there's a lot that is [00:20:00] under this umbrella of skills around focus and discipline. Again, this is part of the wide set of skills that I have as an entrepreneur. This is not one of my really narrow.
[00:20:08] Brian: Deep skills that I've developed over time, so I'm not expert here, but I will say a few things that have worked really well for me for keeping me focused and disciplined over a long period of time. First is using Click Up, which is a project management system. We implemented it January of last year. And it has been a game changer for my businesses. Another one is just using a calendar system, like a really good central calendar. I have four or five different calendars that I use, for different businesses and different things from personal to six figure creative, to the podcast episodes themselves, to my CRM stuff, to my other businesses.
[00:20:38] Brian: And they all have different recurring events or one-time events or reminders or whatever, And I have them all sent into one central calendar. That is my central source of truth, anytime I need to check my schedule for the day or the week or the month, I can look on that calendar and know that everything that I have in my life is on this calendar.
[00:20:55] Brian: If it's scheduled, if it's a thing that is getting done at a certain time or certain day, it is [00:21:00] on my calendar 100% of the time. If it's not there, I have utterly failed , that rarely ever happens.
[00:21:06] Brian: So there are a lot of different ways to become more focused, to become more disciplined. people in your life who can hold you accountable, is another big one there, is just building a relationship with people that can keep you accountable. one example for me is a gym, I don't go to the gym very often if I don't have my friend, my workout partner, Bryant, who is the person that we work out together, we have for the past decade plus. And if he doesn't show up to the gym, I rarely. It's a character flaw for me. It is a huge issue for me if he's ever like on tour, but that's the person that keeps me disciplined in going to the gym.
[00:21:36] Brian: I essentially borrow discipline from Bryant when it comes to going to the gym. It's not the healthiest thing, but it is the way that I make that work. So there's a lot of hacks. There is just ways of getting better over time as you build confidence, as you do things more and more. And there's. Drug related things like you can, get prescriptions for Adderall or some other prescription to help with lack of focus.
[00:21:55] Brian: I don't recommend that I'm not a doctor. Go see your doctor if you want. That sort of stuff. I've never [00:22:00] taken any sort of drug or prescription around getting more focused.
[00:22:03] Brian: But this is a huge part about being an effective entrepreneur or freelancer in 2023, is knowing how to focus on things, how to narrow your focus, how not to multitask, and then how to be disciplined for a long period of time over time until you start to see results. Because this is a, if you remember the F one of the first points I made in last week's episode, how slow and steady Phil wins the.
[00:22:23] Brian: But it's absolutely miserable the entire time because you feel like you're not making progress until you look back and see all that you've done. That is what discipline will do for you. If you're disciplined over a long period of time. your progress will compound over time. It'll feel slow, it'll feel painful, and then eventually it'll start to accelerate as you gain more and more
[00:22:41] Brian: Actually it wasn't last week's episode. It was the episode before.
[00:22:44] Brian: episode 2 34 where I talked about nine lessons I learned while building a new six figure income stream in 2022. That was the first lesson that I covered in that episode. So that's the second skill stack today is focus and discipline. The next one is systems skills. This sounds super [00:23:00] boring, super nerdy. Ugh. You got system skills. It is nerdy, it is dorky but it is something you need.
[00:23:06] Brian: as creatives, we don't want to worry about systems and processes, but as entrepreneurs, we absolutely have to have them in our lives. As a matter of fact, most of the best creatives I know. Use systems and processes to bring out their creativity, not to stifle it, not to follow a rigid process that takes all creativity away.
[00:23:23] Brian: No Your system skills, your ability to create processes with minimal waste is how you enhance your creativity.
[00:23:30] Brian: one of the people I'm thinking about right now is Seth Mosley. He was the guest on the show on episode. 104. The The episode's called the Recipe for Platinum Records. Number one hits in a seven figure income. Seth, last I heard, had like 28 number one singles to his name when he was like 28 years old. I think he's past 30 now. He probably has more than 30 number one singles to his name, right. as a music producer, but Seth is one of those freaks of nature in the best way possible. Who has this rare combination of incredible creative skill. [00:24:00] And incredible entrepreneurial skills, he has told me one of his secrets to writing hit after hit and having some of the biggest names of, musical artists work with him all the time is his ability to create processes around writing great songs.
[00:24:13] Brian: One of the most difficult and creative skills that you could ever have is writing a song that people love and latch onto and sing back to the artist, live. And leave millions of streams for on Spotify or hundreds of millions or billions of streams. Now,
[00:24:26] Brian: many songwriters specifically, They just wanna smoke weed and they just want to co-write with their friends, and that's the extent of their systems. Seth Mosley does neither of those things. He has very strict processes and systems that he follows. He has teams that he work with on a regular basis to create amazing art.
[00:24:44] Brian: And I am paraphrasing here, I don't remember the exact quote he said, but it's something like, the more I systemize things, the more creative I am. And it makes sense. If you think about creativity as a whole, The hardest thing we can do as creatives is try to be creative under. Think about that. if you [00:25:00] are someone like Seth Mosley and you've put. Let's just call it 30 number one singles. And the next artist is coming to you and they want their song to be a number one single, and you have deadlines to hit and you have other businesses that you run.
[00:25:10] Brian: I think Seth has two other businesses, that he runs. And you have a large team that you're working with, that's a lot of stress. How do you manage that stress? You may get so that it's not stressful for you. You build systems and processes. You put people in a place who can own things in your business, so you don't have to worry about.
[00:25:24] Brian: How's this translate to the single operating freelancer? Listening right now in your life, in your business, you will have a lot of moving parts, a lot of moving pieces, a lot of plates to juggle or a lot of plates to spin, or balls to juggle, whatever the phrase is. You have a lot of stuff going on.
[00:25:37] Brian: Everything that you have to focus on that takes you away from being a creative is something that is hurting your. So part of building the skill stack as a freelancer, as a full stack freelancer is being able to find the things in your life that you need to get done. Let's just use marketing exam for an example, and instead of focusing half your day on marketing and half your day on being creative, you create a process in a system to make it so [00:26:00] that marketing either takes care of itself or it's a very small part of your day.
[00:26:03] Brian: And you can do that by first understanding what are all the moving pieces, how do they all work together, understanding the big picture and the strategy, strategy, and then going through the easy eights that we talked about in episode 216. how do we either eliminate a step that's unnecessary?
[00:26:18] Brian: How do we automate something that can't be eliminated? All of it. Can we automate some of it? What we can't automate? Can we delegate it to somebody else? Meaning we hire help to take over some of these things so that they're the one responsible for it.
[00:26:30] Brian: That's how every big business in the world is built. Or finally, if we can't delegate it, how can we. That's the Easy AIDS framework. How can we make it less painful? for example, for me, the, my entire marketing plan has been and will continue to be, I run a lot of Facebook ads and Instagram ads and whatever ads platform that Meta owns, and I build my mailing list and then I push that mailing list to this podcast.
[00:26:51] Brian: That's basically it. I have a lot of things that I've built out on the, in between those steps and a lot of things to enhance that. My responsibility is making sure my ads are working and putting out weekly episodes for [00:27:00] this podcast. That's essentially it. Everything else is, for the most part, is eliminated, automated, delegated or mitigated.
[00:27:06] Brian: And the better you get at creating systems that work. The better you're going to be as a creative, because that puts more time on the things that you love, which is what we all want, and less time on the things that you hate, which is what we all want. We want less time on the things we hate, but those things that you hate still probably have to get done because you're a business, you're not just a hobbyist anymore.
[00:27:24] Brian: You have a lot of things in your life that you have to get done no matter what. And creating great systems and implementing the Easy eight framework will help immensely with all of. that's the third skill stack today we're talking about, and the first was people skills. The second was focus and discipline or skills around productivity, I guess is the better way of saying that.
[00:27:39] Brian: The third is systems skills, and the fourth today is math skills. I don't know how to say this. Numbers and metrics. Knowing your numbers and metrics, tracking numbers and metrics. This is one that I even debated putting in here, but when I think about it, the more and more I think about this, the more and more important this.
[00:27:52] Brian: So please hear me out. I'll try to keep this one short cuz this one's less fun and sexy to talk about. Still necessary as a full stack freelancer, you have to at least know of all these things[00:28:00] , so you can pick and choose which ones you want to ignore. , I recommend you ignore none of these, but numbers and metrics are important.
[00:28:06] Brian: There's a quote I like to use. I think Peter Drer said it. It's what gets measured, gets managed. So if you're not measuring something, you're not gonna be able to manage it. If you are not checking your weight every day or every week, it's hard to manage your own weight. I know this myself cuz like I tend to ignore my weight at the end of every year I tend to put on a few pounds at the beginning of the year. I take those pounds off and it's just kind of this wonderful role customer I go on and it starts with just knowing what my numbers are. It's the same in your business if you don't understand.
[00:28:29] Brian: The numbers behind how your business works, you will continue to struggle.
[00:28:33] Brian: The first kind of numbers you'll start to wanna track is your funnel metrics. This is nerdy marketing stuff. I'm not gonna go too deep into this right now cause I don't wanna scare any new people off here. I'll be gentle with you this cuz you're new funnel metrics are basically this. How many new people in my world, how many people have started the process of getting to know?
[00:28:51] Brian: How many people are interested in working with me and how many of those people hire me? That's basically the four things I pay attention to. There's a fifth one. How much are those people worth to me on average? That's the easiest [00:29:00] way of saying that. Those are like five of the numbers you'll wanna track.
[00:29:02] Brian: And the way I look at it, the way I track it, the way I care about it is How many people are visiting my website or my landing pages? How many of those people sign up to my email list? How many of those people are interested in hiring me and how many of those people actually hire me? Those are the main metrics, and then what's the average annual client value?
[00:29:18] Brian: That's the number I track, which you can look at by looking at how many people have I worked with over the past 12 months? How much money have I earned over the past 12 months? We divide those two numbers together and you'll get an average annual client value. Those are called key performance indicators.
[00:29:31] Brian: Really important metrics to know the past, present, and future of my business.
[00:29:35] Brian: And you can be as complicated or as simple and tracking these as you want. You can have complex spreadsheets with forecasting. You can do really simple. Just write it down somewhere, every month. Put it in a journal for all I care. But just track these numbers. The second set of numbers and metrics to track and keep an eye on is just finances.
[00:29:51] Brian: This is obvious stuff, but surprising, how many people I know that don't know Their expenses, profit and loss, and their, profit for the year.
[00:29:58] Brian: They don't know how much they owe in [00:30:00] taxes. They haven't been paying quarterly estimated taxes,
[00:30:03] Brian: and they don't have any sort of budget that they're running off of. They don't know what's gonna go maybe back in the advertising. They don't know what's gonna go into maybe a team or, freelancers that they're gonna hire for their businesses. It's a complete black box. As far as they know and care about, they don't want to check because they don't wanna know. Because if they know, then now they know how bad their business is. And now that they know how bad their business is, they're stressed out. Now that they're stressed out, they can't be creative.
[00:30:22] Brian: I understand that sort of logical thinking, but at the same time, the easiest way, cuz you're still stressed about it, whether or not you look at it, you know it's bad. The easiest way to fix it is to start looking at it, start tracking it, start fixing it. Going back to one of the skill sets last week, which is fit fo, figure out the fuck.
[00:30:37] Brian: We have to figure out how to solve that problem so that it's not a stress in the back of our mind, back of our souls, and we can then focus on being creatives again. So that's the skillset around tracking numbers and metrics and then even knowing what to do with them. There's a lot of skills around that.
[00:30:49] Brian: Again, I'm not the expert here. I know, just enough to be dangerous and that's all. But it is important when it comes to being a full stack freelancer and entrepreneur in 2023. Now we're on the final stack of skills in [00:31:00] today's episodes. We did get it all done in two episodes. Good for us. And that is probably the last skills stack that most of us as entrepreneurs will have to tackle.
[00:31:07] Brian: And that is the skill of Delegation, the skills around hiring people, anything off of your plate onto someone else's plate. if you're a brand new nub, you can probably cut the episode off, that's fine. But this is for my, people who have high aspirations for their business, they wanna get to seven figure.
[00:31:21] Brian: Or they want to scale beyond just freelancing and build a real business, or they want to have an agency one day or whatever you are wanting to do. Delegation is how you do it. It's how we break past the plateaus of what we can fulfill on as a single solo operated business.
[00:31:37] Brian: there. This is the skill that I lack the most probably out of all the skills listed here. I historically not built a big team. I've been pretty. A sole business owner myself. I have one part-time operations person who was a assistant that kind of grew into operations. And then I have a few subcontractors to do things like podcast editing.
[00:31:53] Brian: Shout out to Leland and customer support. That's basically my team right now. I'm looking to change that in 2023.[00:32:00] So the skills around delegation are.
[00:32:02] Brian: how to hire people, how to train those people, how to fire those people. Knowing when to fire those people, how to inspire those people to do the best work possible. That's a lot of stuff Every one of those things like hiring a freelancer or hiring a full-time employee, hiring a part-time employee, could be in its own course training somebody.
[00:32:18] Brian: There are entire massive, 10 million, 50 million or more software companies out there devoted to just training staff and employees. Huge market, huge skillset. One that I don't have a lot of firing, knowing when and how to fire somebody. That's a tough thing. I am a habit. Avoider.
[00:32:35] Brian: I I like to avoid things, something I'm working on.
[00:32:37] Brian: I can't imagine firing somebody. I have parted ways with freelancers in the past. Never even close to firing somebody. I've never, like an anger just said, you're fired. That's never, I've never done that. But I have parted ways of the few freelancers for different reasons, like whatever we were working on just didn't work out together.
[00:32:53] Brian: Or it just, it ran its course and we were. But thinking of like hiring a full-time person and then having to sit them down and look at them in the eye and let [00:33:00] them know they're fired , and here's the reasons why is terrifying to me. But that's the skillset I will have to grow into and learn. If I ever want to build, a sustainable, long-term, bigger business, which is some of the aspirations I have for six figure creative, knowing how to inspire people, So far, again I am going to change. I'm willing to change. I know I can change. I know I can get better. I know I can improve these skills. I have never historically been the most inspiring person. I'll tell you what to do, I'll tell you how I want it done. I'll tell you when I want it done. But then you go do it
[00:33:26] Brian: That's probably my approach to managing contractors. Essentially to this point. I've never had to inspire somebody to do their best. And when you're hiring a contractor or a freelancer, or you're being hired as a freelancer contractor, you don't have to be inspired by your employer that isn't really how it works.
[00:33:41] Brian: You both know what's gonna get done. It's pretty set in stone. There's expectations on both sides. So that works for that. But if I'm ever hiring people to be on a team part-time or full-time, who work for me, Especially on an ongoing basis, I have to be able to inspire them. as part of the mission that the Six Figure Creative is doing.
[00:33:55] Brian: there's a lot of things that I have to learn on a skill stack in order to level up where I am as [00:34:00] an entrepreneur.
[00:34:00] Brian: But for any other freelancer, that's still something right now who maybe doesn't have massive aspirations. The only thing you need to really start to. Hone in here as far as your skillset on this narrow band of t-shaped set of skills.
[00:34:12] Brian: Something way over here where my, pointer finger is, you just have to know enough to hire another contractor. easiest thing for your first hire is a executive assistant or an administrative assistant to handle those things that are like low value tasks, center business that are repetitive data entry, replying to basic emails template replies in your crm, these sorts of things.
[00:34:30] Brian: Anybody with a brain in a, in a laptop can do these sorts of tasks. So getting somebody on your team to help some of these things is a really good way of buying back your time as a freelancer so that you can focus on bigger and better tasks. And earlier when he heard me say that my time is valued at $750 an hour, part of that reason that number is so high is not because I, sit here and charge my clients $750 an hour.
[00:34:50] Brian: No, it's because, a, I have multiple income streams, but b, it's because I have team of contractors and really good systems and processes in place to [00:35:00] leverage my hourly. if you're not understanding anything I'm saying it's okay. We're gonna grow together, we're gonna adapt together. We're gonna be better entrepreneurs in the future, better freelancers in the future.
[00:35:07] Brian: We're going to add to our stack of skills as freelancers for the next decade plus, cuz this is the long game I am now. 14 years into my career as a entrepreneur, as a freelancer, actually even more so as an entrepreneur. Cause I was in a touring band before that.
[00:35:22] Brian: And we toured since 2005. So I'm almost 20 years into my career as a self-employed, freelance type person. I haven't had a part-time job since 2008. 2007 actually. So this is a lifelong endeavor. I talked about this before.
[00:35:35] Brian: So we are in this together and I'm hoping that you'll make, the six Figure Creative podcast and the things that we put out into the world and any workshops you do in the future any, educational resources put out in the future that you'll be a part of this to help increase your skill stack, anybody we partner with, to provide things to help you improve your skill stack.
[00:35:50] Brian: I hope that you'll be a part of this, cuz I am in this for the long run as. So that is all I have for this episode two-part series. and I'm hoping that you will improve your skill stack in [00:36:00] 2023 and beyond.
[00:36:01] Brian: I guess the only thing left is, something I ask of. I wanna make this podcast not suck. I want it to be something that you come back to as a resource for years to come. I wanna make sure that you feel heard as a listener, especially for you longtime listeners, and also for you new people.
[00:36:14] Brian: If this is your first time listening, I want to know what you thought, so I'm gonna ask you to go, just leave me an anonymous survey. This doesn't have your name or your IP or any of this crap attached to it. It's just straight up feedback. You can be as brutally honest as you want, but if you go to six figure creative.com/better, B E T T E R, it'll take you to a survey. There are three questions on there. You don't have to answer all of them. You can just answer one of them and hit submit. But the three questions. what is one thing we do well? gimme three improvement opportunities? You can just gimme one if you want and give me any business topics you're interested in hearing about in the future.
[00:36:46] Brian: The only thing that's required on this entire form is which of these describes the field that you're in? Are you an audio, video, design, photography, copywriting, or something else? And that just helps me understand who's listening to the podcast right now. If this episode give you any value whatsoever, go fill that little survey out, just as a means to say, Hey.
[00:36:59] Brian: [00:37:00] Thanks Brian. Thanks for the, little pep in my step in 2023. So that's all I got for you today. uh, We should be back with interviews next week. I've got three. Upcoming. So they should be ready by next week. So we'll be back on the interview train, which is fun. It's been a while since I've done an interview. I don't even know if I remember how to ask people questions off the . Have to go back to interview school. But yeah, that's all I have for you today. Thanks for watching.
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