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Choosing The Right Services To Sell As A Freelancer | Back To Basics

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Our ongoing series, Back to Basics, is all about diving deep into the foundation of freelancing. Today's focus is on the services (i.e. products) we offer as freelancers. This is the biggest difference between successful and struggling freelancers.
All too often, we choose our services based on what WE want, while putting little to no thought into what our clients want. It's like trying to sell a product with a flaw. Think of any garbage Amazon purchase you've made, where the only review you'd give is a warning to others.
That's certainly not the reputation we want for our services, right?
In this episode, we break it down into three distinct levels of service that you can offer. While there are many facets to this, sticking to the basics keeps us grounded, and honestly, it's a lot less overwhelming.
As an entrepreneur, I know how easy it is to leap into the complexity of advanced strategies. However, for this episode, we're keeping it straightforward and accessible.
My hope is that this episode provides a moment of clarity – an “Aha!” if you will. A moment that sparks fresh perspective, prompting you to say, “Hot damn, I hadn't thought about it that way. I've been doing this wrong.”
After all, a single shift in perspective can be the game-changer that propels your freelance journey forward.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • The three tiers of freelancing
  • Selling flawed services or products
  • The basic Fiverr freelancer
  • Providing an outcome rather than a service
  • Why this episode is a lesson to our editor
  • The damage ChatGPT is doing to butt-in-seat jobs

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[00:00:00] Brian: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the six Figure Creative Podcast. I'm your host, Brian Hood. If this is your first time listening to the podcast, first of all, welcome. Thank you so much for listening. This show is for creative freelancers who are trying to earn more money without selling their soul.

[00:00:12] Brian: That sounds like you. You're in the right place. This episode is a continuation of our Back to basic series where we are talking about all the basics of being a freelancer. The quote that this series goes by and lives by is, Successful people never don't do the basics. They also dunno how to speak English because double negative is apparently a thing.

[00:00:27] Brian: But they never don't do the basics. They always do the basics. And to do the basics, you have to know the basics. so today's episode is that continuation of the series all the way back to episode two 50 till now. That is the Back to Basics series. And we're talking about continuation of last week's episode where I was talking about the basics of marketing or what the is marketing. We introduced the concept many people are probably familiar with, but it's a, basic concept. The four Ps of marketing, and just a recap. the four P's are product, which is our services, pricing platform or place and promotion. This episode is gonna be about the product or our services at this point, because this is the core of the [00:01:00] foundation of what we sell, we're selling our services in exchange from money. So to get to become a six figure creative, we have to figure this out. And I think there's a lot of mistakes that we make as creatives when it comes to selling our services. That I wanna kind of dive deep into this one because it's a basic, fundamental thing.

[00:01:15] Brian: A lot of people still mess this up. trying to build a business on top of a flawed service or services. Essentially, you're trying to sell a flawed product. any of us who have bought like shitty products off of Amazon before, We know that when we buy products, we don't recommend them to friends.

[00:01:28] Brian: We don't repurchase them.

[00:01:29] Brian: We generally stay away from them and we'll actually even go out of our way to tell people not to buy that thing because it was a bad quality.

[00:01:34] Brian: So this episode, I wanna talk about kind of the three levels of services that we can offer as freelancers. There's more to it than this, but I really wanna say to the basics here, because I want us, again to not get stuck in the specifics and the advanced parts that I can tend to go to myself as a, entrepreneur, I go straight to the like, the advanced things that are fun to talk about.

[00:01:51] Brian: I want, no, I just wanna keep this basic. And my hope for you is something in this episode just sparks an aha. Like, Oh gosh, I didn't think about it that way. I've been doing this wrong. That's all I want for you.[00:02:00] So I'm gonna talk about the three levels of this, and I'm gonna use an example service for this episode because it's just an easy one to understand.

[00:02:05] Brian: You're listening to a podcast right now. So the service is some form of podcast production. So the first level, and this is one that almost all of us fall into when we first get started, is you have a service you want to sell.

[00:02:17] Brian: Now, this sounds obvious, but bear with me. We are typically, as creatives, we're drawn to something because of our creativity, of our passion, and we love to do that thing, we want to do more of that thing. At some point, we find that people will pay us for that thing. So in this case, we've taken a skill. And we're offering it as a service.

[00:02:33] Brian: So we take the skill we think this is the thing I want to do, who will pay me for it? And this is the most basic form of freelancing that some people never get out of. You never get out of this, and if you never get outta this, you were selling almost undoubtedly. I could almost promise you, you were selling a flawed service or a flawed product.

[00:02:49] Brian: You were the person on Amazon who was selling a piece of to people. Now I'm being harsh here. I don't need to take advance to offense to me, but I do want you to listen to this because this is an important part when it comes to the [00:03:00] basics of having a good business. If you don't get this part right, you're fighting an uphill battle.

[00:03:03] Brian: You're swimming upstream without a paddle or something. I don't know. So this is very selfish. It's very me focused and the example I wanna use here, and I swear to God, I always pick on our podcast editor here. I swear to God, when I was mapping this episode out, I didn't even think about our ev, our editor, who was this episode.

[00:03:18] Brian: But the example of this, Is the button seat job known as podcast editing. So, Leland, I'm sorry. Learn from this so that you can charge us more money. All right, so this, example is podcast editing and here's how it goes.

[00:03:29] Brian: I know how to edit something. I have creative skill of some sort. I know how to edit audio, so I'll start offering podcast editing services cause that's the way I can monetize my skill. It's not terrible, but I'm just saying this is the most basic form of freelancing. the reason this is not great is because it's extremely competitive and commoditized. I, I did a little research ahead of time just to prepare for this. So I had some good numbers to show you, and I'm gonna use this as the metric going forward. But on fiver.com, I can go find a podcast editor right now who is top rated with over 6,000 [00:04:00] reviews, which to me is like, wow, you're good at what you do.

[00:04:02] Brian: Five stars. By the way, you'll edit podcasts for about 66 cents per minute. So this episode will probably be somewhere around 15 minutes. I don't know. If you do the math on that 15 minutes times 0.66, that's $9 90 cents for him to edit this episode. He'll do an hour, by the way, for about 40 bucks an hour episode for about 40 bucks.

[00:04:21] Brian: Now, that is just a basic freelancer on fiber. I can also, by the way, I found an agency who will do this is say the legitimate agency. I'm not gonna name the names. But they have multiple people that work under them. They are managed by a team. They have great processes in place. They have even software built out to handle this stuff on the backend.

[00:04:39] Brian: And even they charge 89 cents a minute. So for this episode, it's about 14 bucks for an hour long episode, it's about $53 the reality. When you offer a button seat position, you are really limited on what you can charge because there's a million other options for me as the business owner or me as the client of who I can work with.

[00:04:55] Brian: Now, that doesn't mean you can't succeed in this, I know that our podcast editor has multiple [00:05:00] clients. He's doing great. Love you, Leland. I'm so sorry I pick on you all the time,

[00:05:04] Brian: but this is. The least valuable of the three types of tiers of services you can offer. And it's the most competitive. So if you're offering a button seat job right now, I encourage you to go back to episode 231. It's called the Six Ways to Get More Clients in an extremely Competitive Industry.

[00:05:18] Brian: If you're in that world and you don't, see a path forward in, two and three then I'm about to talk about in a second. If you don't see a path forward and you know you're gonna be in. This kind of like first tier here, the button seat position for a while. Go listen that episode because it's a wonderful way to differentiate yourself even within this hyper-competitive industry.

[00:05:34] Brian: so if you've got a button seat, freelance service, you're offering, go listen to episode 231. episode, by the way. So that's the first tier of freelancing. The second tier, a little more advanced is, Instead of, I have a service I wanna offer, it's taking a step back and thinking I have a problem that I wanna solve.

[00:05:50] Brian: It's a big difference. A service is just like, I have this thing, will you buy it? The problem approach is there's a problem out there. How can I help them solve it? This is the creation of [00:06:00] value. Now, obviously when you're trading a service for money, that's creating value, but when you really focus on the problem being solved or the job to be done, you have a bit more you can think about and offer to solve that problem in a more complete, holistic way.

[00:06:13] Brian: let's bring an example problem here to solve getting better podcast quality. another way of saying a problem to be solved is my podcast quality is bad. That's a problem. I need it solved. So now let's look at the different ways we can solve this.

[00:06:24] Brian: It's not just editing, by the way. So there is improved audio. So if I'm a freelancer, I'm helping my client get better audio as a podcast pro, I'm gonna help them get better gear, set up that gear, maybe treat the room so it's not so echoy and, and grow sounding. Get the right proper podcast processing in place or audio processing.

[00:06:43] Brian: So here, like my background is in music production and audio production. So we take the audio quality seriously for my show itself. So I can talk on this a lot, but there's also beyond that, improving not just audio quality, but the overall show quality. This is what separates the button seat from the person who's taking initiative to really think about [00:07:00] solving the entire problem.

[00:07:01] Brian: It's not just an audio problem, it's not just an edit problem. There's more to be done when we want to improve the overall quality of the show. If I have a bad quality show, I need to improve that quality. What else can I do? You can do basic editing, which we already talked about. It's a low quality, 9 cents per audio minute kind of problem to solve.

[00:07:17] Brian: So editing out, ums us, mess up, et cetera. There's a lot of those. Leland knows right now, just the last couple episodes, how many mess ups I've done. there's also the, qualitative approach of editing out garbage content so many times people leave poor quality conversations in interviews or.

[00:07:33] Brian: Big long side notes that have no place on a podcast. I do that myself. A lot of times that should just be taken outta the show cause they don't really add anything. They're not adding entertainment value, education value, inspiration. They're not doing any of these. We have a framework for this called E I E I O, which I'm not gonna go into, we've talked about before on the show, but that's, basically it.

[00:07:51] Brian: And then the final thing here is like improving show quality is just things like show notes, maybe even social clips if you wanted to go that far, like clips for social media to improve the overall quality of the show. Now, [00:08:00] that's probably a little beyond the scope of this, but I looked up people who offer this sort of service online this is another fiver person I found. So still kind of a button seat job, but a little less competitive. But this person's still doing well. She was charging about two to $3 per minute, so going back before that was about 66 to 89 cents a minute, or two to $3 now, which is more than double the price she's solving a specific problem, and not just offering a button seat. A million people offer at editing job. So number two, again, solving a specific problem or set of problems, and now we're onto tier three. This is the most valuable. The best thing you can do as a freelancer, in my opinion, is to be in this camp right here.

[00:08:35] Brian: And that is you have an outcome. You're trying to provide somebody. Again, these sound all similar. It's like, I have a service I'm offering, I'm solving a problem, I'm providing an outcome. What's the difference here? An outcome is even bigger picture. It's even more of the overall thing that someone's trying to accomplish.

[00:08:51] Brian: They're launching a podcast. Great. There's an editor needed. Cool. Someone's gotta make show notes. Great. what's actually being accomplished here? What is the point of the podcast? [00:09:00] What is the outcome the podcast is trying to provide? Everyone's a little different, in my business, the outcome I want is a successful podcast that grows our business.

[00:09:07] Brian: if I hire a freelancer for this? If I didn't know a lot of these things, or I'm launching a podcast from scratch, I didn't have an audio background and a marketing background. I know all these things. What has to be done? First of all, audio quality. We already, talked about that.

[00:09:17] Brian: There's the overall show quality. So things like sonic branding, that's stupid song that plays the beginning. Maybe they get stuck in your head. That's sonic branding. I want you to have that little stupid banjo, song stuck in your head when you're just like, On the bus or on a walk That's Sonic branding. I want you to think about this podcast.

[00:09:32] Brian: There's obviously the editing for quality, taking out garbage content, but there's also improving the guests that are being brought onto the show because remember I'm providing an outcome here, not just the service. So if I'm trying to provide the outcome that the business owner wants in this example, which this is a real example that a lot of people do.

[00:09:48] Brian: The business wants a podcast that grows their business,

[00:09:50] Brian: then I'm gonna help them get better guests that help facilitate that sort of outcome that they want. There's also getting more listeners. If you have a podcast with no listeners, what's the good of it? I'm not getting more business. I'm not growing my [00:10:00] following. I'm not selling more products and services, so I can do things like with guests to help promote the episodes that they're on.

[00:10:05] Brian: I can run retargeting ads. I can send out emails for every episode to their email list that that business has. Again, you don't have to know what all this stuff is. you are a different type of freelancer, unless you just happen to specifically be a podcast production company or podcast editor.

[00:10:18] Brian: This is not relevant to you specifically, but you start to see that when you zoom out and you're providing outcomes, there's more things that you can do. And here's the interesting thing. You don't necessarily have to be the expert who can do all of these things. You just have to find the right people who know how to.

[00:10:32] Brian: Because this right here, what I'm talking about here, providing an outcome where you're tying your, service, your product. For the four P's where we're going back to last week's episode, when you tie it to an outcome, all of a sudden you provide an immense amount of value.

[00:10:45] Brian: So let's look at the pricing. Let's look at the actual numbers. This is real numbers from actually one of my clients that I coached through becoming just a basic podcast editor all the way to becoming a full service podcast agency, working with businesses, doing all this stuff I just talked about and more.

[00:10:57] Brian: His pricing is about $15 [00:11:00] per minute of audio, $15. Going back to the button seat job that was about 60 cents to 90 cents per minute of audio. So about, $53 for an hour of audio, which takes about four hours to edit, by the way, two to four hours. Or number two, where you're solving a problem that was priced at about two to $3 a minute, but providing an outcome to the right type of client that's valued at about $16 per audio minute, 15 to 16. I I did the math. And the reason they can charge that much is not because they're saying, okay, Mr. Business owner, I'll do all these things, but for every minute of audio I'm gonna charge you $16. So if you have a 60 minute episode, I'm gonna charge you

[00:11:34] Brian: 900 to a thousand dollars. Something like that. That's not how they charge. They charge a flat monthly retainer. To do all of these things for their podcast. And so they've separated the way they charge from the length of the episodes. It could be a 15 minute episode. They do four of those a month. That's even more per audio minute.

[00:11:49] Brian: I was factoring in the pricing off of a 60 minute episode every week, which I know their client doesn't do. They do 30 to 40 minute episodes, so it's even more per audio minute. So again, those are the three major ways you can. [00:12:00] Create your product for the four Ps when it comes to marketing, and this is the foundation of your entire business.

[00:12:04] Brian: If you mess this up, you are gonna struggle for the rest of your life. So to summarize, the point is to create the most value possible and the way we create the most value possible Through one of three ways. One is just selling a basic service that's the least valuable.

[00:12:17] Brian: Two is solving a specific problem that's more valuable. And three, the most valuable is providing an outcome. And preferably, when we think about an outcome we're providing, it's something that's transformational. When you've transform something for somebody is so much more valuable than just one small little problem being solved or one small service being solved.

[00:12:36] Brian: Now we have to grow into this. I'm not gonna pretend that all of a sudden you could go from a basic podcast editor to knowing everything you need to know to be a full service agency. But when you have to think through that big of a problem being solved, you now see all of the different elements of skills that you lack and knowledge you need to go obtain.

[00:12:52] Brian: you have to realize that not knowing that information as a freelancer, and I'm gonna talk to you right now, Leland, our editor, I know. When I pay my editor, you not knowing [00:13:00] this information. Is costing you a lot per minute of audio. You edit. You saw that it was for the very basic service.

[00:13:06] Brian: It was like 65 70 5 cents a minute.

[00:13:08] Brian: That's like 21 times less per minute than of my clients who charge. A lot for their podcast production company clients. Cause I have more than one podcast production company I've worked with to help on the client acquisition side and pricing and packaging and structuring and messaging and all that stuff.

[00:13:23] Brian: So the ignorance tax of not knowing these things is costing you a 20 x increase in your income. Think about that. That is a big difference it's not just in podcast editing. This is all across the board in design, videography, music production, like the list goes on in every industry.

[00:13:38] Brian: There is a form of this. And if you want a really like dark example, sad example is in AI right now in the copywriting world. If you are just a button seat doing basic copywriting like articles or blog articles or whatever for a brand, right now, chat, G B T is eating you up because it can do it for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the time just as good, sometimes better, depending on your quality.[00:14:00]

[00:14:00] Brian: So if you're a button seat article writer, job is for the most part, or. Right now you might even be in a heyday where you're able to churn out even more content, so your income's up. But it's only a matter of time, by the way, till the business owner discovers that you're using chat G B T to churn out a bunch of articles that they could just do themselves or have their assistant do.

[00:14:16] Brian: So if your industry hasn't been affected by that, It will be, which leads me to the natural conclusion that if you're in tier one, the button seat job, you have to move up the value chain to tier three or probably there's some above that to become more valuable. So I really want you to think long and hard about how can I be more valuable, if my industry is under threat of ai.

[00:14:36] Brian: Now for the record, I'm not anti ai. I love ai. I use it almost every day. I'm just saying if your position is under threat, this is the solution. Moving up the value chain that's the only solution to get out of the ai eating my hard-earned dollars, ruining my business.

[00:14:50] Brian: So that's it for this episode. If you have any input you wanna give me for the show, whether it's this episode, past episodes, if you wanna hear other topics from this back to basic series, just email me podcast six [00:15:00] figure creative.com. That's the number six podcast@sixfigurecreative.com. With love to hear from you.

[00:15:05] Brian: You've got a lot of wonderful emails from people with my ideas. Give me feedback on shows. We've been talking back and forth in email, if you wanna hear from me, just email me. podcast@sixfigurecreative.com. That is it for this episode. until next time, thank you so much for listening to the six Figure Creative Podcast.

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