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Offering Recurring Subscriptions As A Freelancer | The Holy Grail Of Freelancing

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The life of a freelancer sounds amazing on the surface….
The freedom of being your own boss and setting your own hours. The flexibility of working when you want. For some, even traveling the world as a digital nomad is a possibility.
While that can all be true, the dark side is that there can also be a lot of unpredictability.
What if you could change that? Imagine knowing how much you're going to earn each month and having a clear picture of who you're working for in the coming months.
This isn’t just a nice thought… It's a reality for freelancers offering recurring services – think subscriptions, retainers, or monthly packages.
When you do this, you move from always hunting for the next client to having “automatic clients.” This idea comes from turning one-time gigs into ongoing relationships where clients pay regularly for continued services.
Typically, freelancing is a one-and-done deal. You get a project, you do the work, you get paid, and that’s the end of the story. You start each month at zero—no guaranteed money, no clients waiting. It's like hitting the reset button every 30 days, which can make budgeting a nightmare and stability a pipe dream.
But does it have to be this way? Not really. This constant chase for new gigs is a trap many fall into by only taking on one-off projects. There’s a better strategy that can help smooth out the highs and lows: setting up a recurring revenue model.
If you’re tired of the freelance rollercoaster, check out this week's episode of the 6 Figure Creative podcast where I dive into recurring revenue for freelancers.

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[00:00:00] Brian: I want to start this episode out a little weird today. I'm going to ask you some questions. I want you to think about this. What if you knew every single month how much money you were going to earn as a freelancer within a factor of like 10%? Plus or minus, what if you knew every single month exactly how many clients you're going to have that month and next month and the month after that,

[00:00:16] Brian: and then what if client acquisition, instead of being this ongoing treadmill that you're on for your entire life, what if it's more of a season or a series of small seasons?

[00:00:24] Brian: if those things sound appealing to you, it makes sense. I think all freelancers want those things, but the problem is most freelancers are never going to get those things because most freelancers make the exact same mistake.

[00:00:34] Brian: We offer one time projects.

[00:00:36] Brian: Mr. Client comes to us and says, Hey, Mr. Freelancer do you want to get paid for this thing? And me, I'm like, yes, I want to get paid for this thing. And they're like, okay, cool. Do the thing. Okay. I will do the thing. I did the thing. Now I get paid for the thing. And then we wash our hands and we part ways.

[00:00:49] Brian: That is the extent of most freelance relationships that I've ever had and that most people will ever have. And we're going to make a case today

[00:00:57] Brian: that there was a better way to run our businesses. Because the [00:01:00] truth is, if that's the way we keep running our businesses, we're going to start every single month at 0.

[00:01:04] Brian: We have 0 of revenue, zero clients.

[00:01:07] Brian: zero projects and then every month we have to fight to change that. We have to struggle to earn our keep every single month. So in May, my clients happy doing the projects that I've built up to this point. The clients that I've gathered through my client acquisition efforts this month, while I'm also supposed to fill my calendar for June and maybe some in July as well.

[00:01:27] Brian: And if I don't do that, I make 0 in June, or 0 in July.

[00:01:31] Brian: and outside of getting a day job with a salary, the only real way to have this sort of predictable income and have truly stable income in your life as a freelancer.

[00:01:39] Brian: The only way to do that is to have a recurring offer of some sort. And we can call this a bunch of different things. You can call this a subscription package. You can call this a retainer. You can call it a recurring package or a monthly package. People call this different things.

[00:01:51] Brian: But at the end of the day, the thing that I like to call it in my head, at least made popular by the book, the automatic customer is an automatic customer. In our case, as freelancers, automatic [00:02:00] clients,

[00:02:00] Brian: So the client relationships very similar as before where the client comes to me and says, Hey, Mr. Freelancer, do you want to work on this thing? And I say, Yes. Hey, Mr. Client, I would love to work on this thing. Here's my recurring pricing package. Mr. Client says, Yes.

[00:02:11] Brian: Great. That's what I need. I didn't even know I needed it, but now I know I need it. We shake hands and then we start a recurring subscription.

[00:02:19] Brian: And until Mr. Client is either done with me or done with the needs that I fulfill or hates me for some reason, they keep paying me every single month. They're an automatic client. So I know that this month I have that income in the bank. I know that next month I will have that same client and that same revenue and the month after that and the month after that.

[00:02:35] Brian: So my shift as a freelancer, as a business owner goes from continuous client acquisition to, now I can just simply. Focus on filling up my roster. You only have so many slots. You can fill on any sort of retainer package as a freelancer. You can fill five, 10, 15, 20, depending on what your pricing and packaging is.

[00:02:50] Brian: So you just fill your roster up. It's a season of client acquisition. And at that point, you know, your workload every single month, you know, how many clients you have every single month, you know, how much you're going to earn every single month. and the only time you [00:03:00] ever really need to worry about client acquisition is when a client cancels.

[00:03:03] Brian: so my goal for this episode for you today is to open your mind, to expand your horizons, to challenge your assumptions over what you can do as a freelancer as far as packaging and pricing. And instead of approaching this from the perspective of, I can't do recurring pricing because X excuse a, b, c, d, c, e, f, g.

[00:03:17] Brian: Instead of that, you say. How can I offer recurring services? It's not, I can't, it's just, how can I, what do I need to do? What do I need to change? What needs to be true for that to happen?

[00:03:27] Brian: and if you're new here and you've never heard of this podcast before, this is your first episode. This podcast is for creative freelancers who are trying to earn more money without selling their souls.

[00:03:35] Brian: And I'm a firm believer that one magical aha moment, one big aha moment that changes the trajectory that you're going as a freelancer. And this is one of those moments where you're going from one time packages to recurring subscription packaging. One aha moment. That makes it all of a sudden light up in your brain on how that's possible.

[00:03:50] Brian: Can be worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially for massive shifts like this in a business model.

[00:03:55] Brian: So all I ask of you is that when you listen to this episode, even if I'm talking about a niche or an [00:04:00] industry or a service that doesn't perfectly pertain to you, keep an open mind and wait for those aha moments to just spark in your brain.

[00:04:06] Brian: some of the best insights I've ever had as a freelancer and that you will likely ever have as a freelancer is when you open your mind up and say that, Hey, maybe my little pocket of freelancing, maybe my music production background or my photography world, we don't know how to do all things great.

[00:04:18] Brian: Maybe some of these other freelance niches no better than us. and we can take inspiration from these other people, or in my opinion, even better is to go to other industries like software, software as a service, SaaS, in other words, wonderful place to learn from. And that's ultimately where a lot of my thoughts and methodologies around subscription pricing, recurring retainers for freelancers comes from.

[00:04:36] Brian: They have perfected the art of automatic customers or automatic clients. They have all of the metrics that you need to track for this to be a sustainable thing. But we're not going to get deep into that. Those are a bunch of weeds and rabbit holes we can just fall into. Today, we're going to just talk about what this looks like in the freelance industry.

[00:04:51] Brian: so I want to start things off here and just say that we're going to completely ignore.

[00:04:54] Brian: Everything in the freelance niche that is a natural retainer. There are some niches and some services that are obvious retainer [00:05:00] packages. And if that's you and that's what you're already doing, awesome. This episode is not really for you. This is for those freelancers who offer one time packages. And they're looking for that spark of inspiration for how they could shift from those one time packages to the recurring subscriptions.

[00:05:12] Brian: so the basis of recurring subscriptions is taking something that people need more than one time. So many of us might be in industries that we just by definition cannot offer subscription pricing to. And we'll talk about some of those like wedding, photography, wedding, videography, those sorts of things that are like, obviously I'm not going to offer a subscription service for the wedding industry,

[00:05:29] Brian: but that's later on, but for now we're going to focus on those people who are in niches or industries where you offer something that's reoccurring things that they actually will hire for multiple times throughout the life cycle of client.

[00:05:40] Brian: in my background. This is exactly the case where it was music production. We call that a reoccurring service. That is where a client comes back to you again and again. On a non specific basis, that's the difference between reoccurring and recurring. People mix that up all the time.

[00:05:53] Brian: Recurring is flat, monthly, every month on a recurring basis, set in stone. Reoccurring is, could [00:06:00] be they come this month, and they come six months from now, and then eight months later from there, and then three months from after that, and then a year and a half later. That's reoccurring. the easiest place to start is any services that you offer that are reoccurring.

[00:06:12] Brian: My favorite example of this we had our podcast, Anna Mae Tonkin, you've heard me mention her on the show multiple times.

[00:06:17] Brian: you can find her episode back in episode 223 and then we replayed it again in episode 276, shifting your clients from one time projects to monthly recurring subscriptions. Chances are if you've listened to the show, you've heard that episode, but in case you haven't heard that episode yet, Anime is a photographer. She does family photography. And generally in that niche, a family wants photos and they say, Hey, Mr. And Mrs. Photographer, I need photos for my families.

[00:06:39] Brian: My kids are growing up. They're now in kindergarten or in school or babies or whatever. And I want to capture our family's cherished moments in this time. Like I'm going to capture this moment in our, of our lives together. And so a photographer says, yes, it will be this much money. And I will take the photos and I will edit the photos.

[00:06:54] Brian: And I will send you the photos. Wonderful working together.

[00:06:56] Brian: And then a few years later, they might come back to you again, maybe even the next year. [00:07:00] But what tends to happen is you have some clients that come more frequently, some clients to hire you once and never come back again. And then some of those clients that are somewhere in between,

[00:07:07] Brian: but what automated that's clever is taking this reoccurring service. The thing that's just very sporadic, it's not guaranteed. It's not automatic. And she created what's called the yearbook club. And the yearbook club is a monthly recurring subscription the turn this sporadic event into a more regular event.

[00:07:23] Brian: And if you want all the details on that, just go to our show notes page at six figure creative. com slash three zero six. And also might be linked in whatever podcast app you're using. We'll have a link to that episode there,

[00:07:33] Brian: but long story short, she offered that monthly recurring subscription that was very affordable, and she would offer, I believe it was two times a year, it was spring and fall, families had first priority, she'd send out a calendar link, they could book her calendar for those seasons.

[00:07:45] Brian: She'd take photos. do the whole thing, but it was set into a monthly payment. So they're never paying a large amount of money out of pocket. and she built that recurring revenue stream up of what is typically one off projects into a full six figure a year, continuous revenue stream for her business.

[00:07:57] Brian: funny enough just something that came to mind because it's right [00:08:00] now tax season for me is my CPA is the same way He's not a freelancer. He's got a whole team of CPAs that work underneath him I pay him a monthly recurring subscription for what is typically just a once a year type thing doing my taxes

[00:08:11] Brian: so this goes above and beyond just the freelance industry. It can go into many other industries that are typically one time fees, but you break it up over months. Another one in the photo industry, I just want to kind of mention some other ideas and some things that are typically they can be easily turned or maybe with a little bit of mental effort turned into recurring subscription is the real estate industry.

[00:08:30] Brian: If you're doing photos for houses, for realtors, for real estate agents, for brokers, that is something you're typically hired for one off projects when they have a house that needs some photos, whatever.

[00:08:37] Brian: And so you might have clients that hire you sporadically, but offering a subscription can be a great way to even out your income.

[00:08:43] Brian: And one thing to keep in mind, and this is a great example of this, every niche is going to have some little issues like this, where there can be ups and downs in the flow of how much stuff that they get. in this example, what if broker A has 10 houses a month or listing and broker B has four houses a month or listing and broker A might have a low month of three [00:09:00] and then a high month of 15.

[00:09:01] Brian: What do you do in those cases? In those cases you can either have different packages for different pricing tiers. So package A gets you up to five houses a month. Package B gets you up to 10 houses in a month, something like that. Or you can just price to the average where you know that the average client is going to be 10 houses a month.

[00:09:15] Brian: And some clients are gonna be well below that, some are gonna be well above that, and the clients that are using the service way more are being subsidized, but the clients who use it way less. It's up to you how you do this,

[00:09:25] Brian: but this is a wonderful way to just stabilize your income, especially in seasonal markets like real estate or family photography, So I'm gonna talk through one more in the photo niche. I've got three in this one at least is e commerce space. So if you're a photographer, you're already kind of in the space where you're taking photos of products like product photography.

[00:09:40] Brian: This is a natural type of thing that could lend itself to a subscription service where every month I will take up to 10 photos or up to 15 product photos for your e commerce store and you just pay me a flat monthly subscription.

[00:09:51] Brian: This is what I would consider a low hanging fruit. Any of these types of services that you're hired more than twice a year for the same thing

[00:09:58] Brian: is something that will naturally transition into a recurring [00:10:00] subscription. You just got to find the thing that is going to be appealing to the client. So let's shift into the the audio world. That's my background, music production. and like I said earlier, I'm going to bounce around a few different kinds of industries within the freelancing world.

[00:10:09] Brian: And I just want you to kind of. listen through these and see if it sparks any thoughts for you. So in the music production world, the way it typically works is a band will hire the studio or hire the music producer or hire the master engineer to do a set number of songs every so often. It can be, one big bang.

[00:10:22] Brian: We'll do an album of to 15 songs at most over many weeks. It'll be a large lump sum of money and sometimes it'll be just a single and the single will be one song and it gets start to finish this whole song's done and it can be anywhere in between those two extremes.

[00:10:34] Brian: There's another kind of case study of what we had another guest on the show Mark Eckert did in his music production space where instead of band doing these big releases and trying to expect the world from their 10 song album. And essentially overwhelming people because on a typical album, only two or three of the songs will ever really get much attention.

[00:10:51] Brian: The rest kind of just fall to the wayside instead of that happening or the other extreme of releasing a single at a time, just whenever you get around to it and building no real momentum, he [00:11:00] bought an offer around a recurring subscription that was essentially one single per quarter. would have a month of writing the song, a month of producing the song, and a month of promoting the song, and they would just repeat the cycle ad nauseam every year. That's at least four songs per year. And it didn't mean they couldn't do more one month or more, less another month or whatever, but that was just a good cadence for most musicians to keep up when they could afford it.

[00:11:21] Brian: The biggest thing holding back most musicians in the studio world from hiring all the time is budget. And then unless you can develop the skillset of finding the partner who can help bands get their own budget, like through Kickstarter campaigns. the best thing you can do to help them is essentially put them on a recurring subscription that they know is part of their budget.

[00:11:38] Brian: It's just like when you become an adult, you find a budget somewhere to pay for your living expenses, your home, your food, your car, your gas. And if you're a musician and you're serious about it, you got to have a budget for your music. And so whether you save up every month for a year and then drop it all on song album, Or you just come every single month and we do this more intentionally.

[00:11:56] Brian: Slow and steady can kind of win race here and you can make a really good argument. Mark made [00:12:00] a great argument this on the episode that he was on back in episode

[00:12:02] Brian: 68. Gosh, that was a long time ago. Episode 68 for that one. You have to go to the six figure home studio dot com slash 68. That was our, our old podcast. Or you can just scroll through the backlog to episode 68. Where he talks about using Instagram marketing to build recurring income as a music producer.

[00:12:17] Brian: but one of the things Mark talked about, one of the things he sold his clients on is the fact that most bands, when they record a song, they fail to do the proper promotion strategies to actually release it and get traction over time.

[00:12:27] Brian: So his argument was that bands would have more traction releasing four singles a year that was properly written, properly produced, and properly promoted than they would have if they just released ten songs every year. They'd get more bang for their buck. and the site benefit for him was that he was able to have recurring revenue, predictable revenue, predictable clients every single month.

[00:12:43] Brian: Talk about another example in the music industry. This is a little different because there's a lot of different opportunities to do some sort of a subscription, whether you're a master engineer, a mixer engineer. But another option you have is to take the skillset that you have and offer it to a niche or an industry or some sort of thing [00:13:00] that is natural lending itself more to recurring revenue.

[00:13:02] Brian: So the example I have here is shifting from music production to podcast production. I've had several clients to do this very successfully,

[00:13:09] Brian: all who are over the six figure year mark now because they now have Automatic customers, they have their client base of 5 to 10 clients. All those clients are paying them enough to build a six figure revenue stream. And they don't really have to worry about client acquisition. All they need to do is get into systems mode.

[00:13:23] Brian: How do we keep our clients happy? How do we get the machine running? How do we get everything from the start to the finish every single month done without any sort of hiccups in the place. And every time a problem comes up, we just put a system or a process or an automation or changing the order of things.

[00:13:37] Brian: to make that part smoother and easier so that that problem never happens again. And the more times you do this over and over and over again, especially in podcast production, the more more episodes you edit and release, the more times you help produce an episode, the more times you grab social clips for episodes, whatever your package involved as a podcast producer, all of these things, you get better and better and better with every repetition.

[00:13:56] Brian: and so sometimes in certain niches or certain industries, it requires a pretty big [00:14:00] pivot and not everyone wants to make that pivot. I completely acknowledge that but for those who do want to make that sort of pivot, it can make for a much more stable, much more predictable and much more lucrative business.

[00:14:08] Brian: And if you listen to, I think it was last week or the week before his episode where I made the case for selling your soul for money, a little tongue in cheek there. I don't really ever want you to sell yourself for money. Your soul is very precious, but in the argument for that episode, it is better to run a business that you are absolutely in love with, but it's very successful monetarily and gives you the lifestyle that you want, helps support your family, opens up other opportunities for you.

[00:14:30] Brian: That is a way better thing to do to your soul and your body than to beat your head against the wall in a creative niche that you are wholly passionate about, but you just can't seem to make work monetarily. Go back to that episode if you want hear more on that argument, but that shift to podcast production for music production isn't a crazy skill set shift, but it is a pretty crazy

[00:14:48] Brian: day to day work shift.

[00:14:49] Brian: Let's talk about design. Now, people in the design industry, I get a lot of designers that listen to show. got a lot of designer clients. My name is coach on my coaching team, for clients by design, he is a [00:15:00] designer

[00:15:00] Brian: and his business follows this exact type of business model that I'm about to describe here. It's the unlimited design subscription service. you've probably heard me talk about this on the podcast before if you've listened for a long time, but there is a solo designer called design joy.

[00:15:13] Brian: We'll have the link in the show notes for this episode, but designjoy. co.

[00:15:16] Brian: and his website says a design agency with a twist. First of all, the twist is it's a one man design agency. But second of all,

[00:15:22] Brian: He has, he calls them memberships, but packages, and they range from 5, 000 a month to 8, 000 a month. what's included with that subscription is basically unlimited design services.

[00:15:32] Brian: So he can do everything from app design, website design, logos, branding, landing pages slide decks, social media, icons, brand guides, blog graphics. Ads, he basically just says, I will do anything you want for flat monthly subscription. And the way this works and the way to actually manage this sort of workload is to have a natural bottleneck in the services. So in his case, what he does is he will offer unlimited services for a flat monthly fee. But the caveat is you can have one service [00:16:00] that you've requested at a time. And the way he does it, I believe is through Trello.

[00:16:03] Brian: You can essentially put a service request or a design request in the Trello board on a card. You tell them what you want. He will design it and he will deliver it to you within 24 or 48 hours. I don't know what the exact timeframe is at this point, but 24 hours to say 24 hours. And so then you get the design back.

[00:16:16] Brian: You can either ask for revisions or you can put another design request in. And so when you have that sort of like natural bottleneck where you can't just throw 30 things at me, that unlimited does really have truly a limitation. And the numbers work out in a way that even with a full roster and somebody asking for something every 24 or 48 hours, It's still profitable and still sustainable for him so much in fact that last I heard he was making over a million dollars a year as a solo freelancer but I've also seen this in bigger industries. There's a company called Design Pickle that is a full on agency with hundreds of employees that offers the exact same type of thing.

[00:16:46] Brian: And I'm seeing this more and more and more in different industries. So the one cool thing about this type of offer in the design industry is that many industries can find some sort of similar offer to kind of copycat this. For example, one of our clients, he does [00:17:00] motion graphics. And one of the things put together for an unlimited type of package like this, similar to design joy is it was unlimited clips for podcasters.

[00:17:07] Brian: So he'll find podcasts that are already successful that need clips for social media. And typically if you look at my show, for example, it's just Clips that we take from the show and just post on social medias. we don't have a real strategy behind it. We're not really taking that seriously.

[00:17:18] Brian: Even when we did take it seriously, we paid somebody a lot of money to do this and really put a lot of thought behind it. We grew to maybe 15, 000 followers on TikTok. We had a couple of viral ish videos, but it didn't really push the needle for anything that I was doing in my business.

[00:17:30] Brian: And truth be told, paid ads were way more effective for growth for us. However, his offer puts a spin on that instead of my dumb talking face, just my talking head on a video. He can take clips like mine. And put a lot of like cool effects and motion graphics to make things more interesting, more eye catching to help clips go viral.

[00:17:46] Brian: And because he's working with podcasters, it's a recurring subscription. that's an example of taking something that you learned in the design industry and put it into the video or motion graphic industry.

[00:17:54] Brian: And I could see this work in a lot of industries. So you could see this work in the copywriting industry, where a lot of copywriters, they do project based work. They'll do a [00:18:00] blog article, one off they'll do, maybe even at best, a big email launch series for someone like me or a course creator or something,

[00:18:07] Brian: which you could also offer some sort of copywriting subscription, especially unlimited subscription, where it's like, I'll do unlimited ad copy for you. If you run a lot of ads. I'll do unlimited email newsletters.

[00:18:16] Brian: I'll do unlimited blog articles. And as long as the numbers work out, unlimited does naturally have limits to it.

[00:18:22] Brian: But also unlimited is typically very highly valued by a lot of people and use less than they think. So the value is very high. They think it is going to be so valuable to them and it will be to them, but it also will not be used by them nearly as much as they expect.

[00:18:37] Brian: and if it ever becomes massive problem, you can change your pricing. You can change your offer. You can put limitations in place.

[00:18:41] Brian: So that is my thoughts around shifting from what is typically a one time or a reoccurring service It's like project base and shifting it into a recurring base But there's also a discussion to be had around what if you're in an industry where there is just no natural way To do that one time services like weddings, maybe your wedding [00:19:00] photographer, wedding videographer,

[00:19:01] Brian: What can we do in this case where we have a skill set and we're good at what we do, but we obviously can't do a subscription service. This is where we need to shift To a different client, we can take our same skill set and shift to a different client.

[00:19:13] Brian: So there's a number of ways to do this. The most obvious way to me is similar to the music industry, to the podcast production transition, it is shifting your industry and taking your skill set with you. So as a wedding photographer, you're essentially an event photographer. You're taking photos of an event, very high stress.

[00:19:29] Brian: Very high stakes, very high emotion.

[00:19:32] Brian: But there are many other events that are not as high stakes, not as high stress, not as high emotion. They can be events for businesses, they can be events for schools, they can be events for churches. And many of these types of events are on a recurring cycle. There are events that happen weekly, events that happen monthly, events that happen twice a year.

[00:19:48] Brian: Any of these sorts of things can be turned into a monthly recurring revenue service that can still be you showing up, doing the event twice a year, four times a year for a flat monthly subscription.

[00:19:57] Brian: Another example I mentioned earlier is videographers where [00:20:00] you are maybe doing big brand videos. throw Ryan Corlew under the bus for a second who's been on the show. He does His agency does brand videos for lawyers. And there's like these really well done kind of story oriented, plant your flag in the ground is like a big authority in the law space.

[00:20:13] Brian: You gotta have high trust, high authorities, got a high quality, really tell the brand story in a way that exudes trust because when I hire a lawyer and I'm spending a lot of money in a lawyer. You I don't want to hire an amateur. I don't want to hire somebody who doesn't know what they're doing. So Ryan's agency makes lawyers look amazing by creating these awesome brand videos and he charges a lot for them.

[00:20:31] Brian: So maybe because of how much he charges, he doesn't really want to do the recurring subscription. Maybe he's happy his business, but maybe you're not happy with your business.

[00:20:37] Brian: What are some ways you can take this skill set of cool story based videos into a recurring revenue type of offer? The first one that popped in my mind is working with business owners who do a lot of advertising. So in my business, I do a lot of paid ads on meta specifically Instagram, Facebook, but mostly Instagram.

[00:20:54] Brian: I know other businesses that do the same. There's a fitness company that I know of that does like half a million dollars a [00:21:00] month in ad spend on meta. It's a lot of money and they do tons of ads every single month and some of them are just quick selfie type videos. Many of them are these really well produced, type of videos with a lot of videography elements to it more story in it.

[00:21:13] Brian: Some can be really serious. Some can be really funny, but someone like Ryan could take that sort of business and run with it every month. We're going to do one or two or three really high quality videos. that can be used in advertising.

[00:21:24] Brian: Another kind of natural use case for that high quality videography stuff is someone who documents case studies for brands.

[00:21:31] Brian: I'll use fitness for an example because I was already there, but it could be

[00:21:34] Brian: medical devices. It could be anything that like. transform somebody's life in some way. Fitness is a great example of that though. When someone goes through a massive transformation, for example, I just watched this 12 minute mini documentary of Butterbean. If anyone who knows who Butterbean is, he's like this very large, bald boxer from Jasper, Alabama.

[00:21:53] Brian: We actually went to school with his son back in the day. And Butterbean was like, A hit in the world, like he was knocking [00:22:00] people out left and right in his prime, built a pretty good name for himself in the boxing world, and then he just kind of fell off, and you're like You never think about him, now if you know who Butterbean is, you're probably like, What has Butterbean been up to? If you haven't thought about him in a long time, now you are. Well, this documentary covered that. he got injured in one of his last fights, really messed his hips up, he's overweight, he never really recovered from that, he's in his like mid to late 50s, maybe early 60s now, and he's just hunched over, can barely walk, barely move, can't even stand up, just in horrible shape.

[00:22:26] Brian: So this whole thing, It's essentially this little mini documentary is essentially a miniature case study by Diamond Dallas pages yoga. He has like this yoga thing that he does that's helped transform a lot of people's lives and this is really well produced story. It's like got a lot of motion in it and you're like rooting for him the whole time and it just shows the transformation that DDP takes Butterbean through.

[00:22:46] Brian: That's a really weird sentence. but you know what I'm saying? Takes him through this whole transformation and by the end, he's able to actually start jogging again. That's an example of some videographer with great storytelling skills, good cinematography, videography skills, taking that [00:23:00] and utilizing it for someone like DDP, who likely has multiple case studies a year. That's an extreme example because it's like a, flagship.

[00:23:06] Brian: Probably one of his A list clients. He's worked with a lot of like known names. But that's an example of someone who's doing a lot of transformational case studies who would need a recurring person on retainer to make these sort of stories for him.

[00:23:17] Brian: If you're interested in that Butterbean documentary, it'll be in our show notes page. I'm sure my team can find that.

[00:23:21] Brian: All right, I've got a couple more things to talk about here before we kind of wrap this episode up. But one is kind of using these one time services, not necessarily killing them off, but using them as a foot in the door. An example, based on some of the stuff I've talked about so far today is a client comes to you.

[00:23:33] Brian: music studio or music producer and they want to record one song a single well you just listen this episode. Oh, I'm doing recurring packages now. Sorry, mr. Band. I only do recurring retainers Where you have to hire me on a monthly basis and we do a song every quarter and musician person is just like, okay I'm gonna go to the guy down the road.

[00:23:48] Brian: Thanks. Bye. That's not what we're saying here What we're saying here is you say yes to that You make an incredible experience. You get the foot in the door and then you sell them on all the benefits of why they need to keep doing this over and over again. Why this isn't [00:24:00] just a one time thing. You are essentially paid to sell them into the recurring package in this sort of instance. The same with on me, Tonkin's yearbook club, the client comes to her. Wanting to do one off family photo shoot. I'm sure she will still do it She will do the whole family photo shoot and at some points throughout she will see the fact be capturing these moments Over time you don't want to forget any of these crucial moments and milestones in your child's life They grow up so fast And if you just forget book your next session, you're gonna miss these sorts of moments And you're going to regret it.

[00:24:30] Brian: I don't know if she says anything like that, but you get the gist. We're selling them on the recurring service from that one time package, that one time service that we've got our foot in the door.

[00:24:38] Brian: Another example is if someone comes to you as a designer or graphic designer, they want you to do their website. It could be the exact same thing as kind of like a design joy where you offer unlimited design for subscription service.

[00:24:46] Brian: It could be the case, that's your offer, but you might be willing to do a one off website because you know, on the back end of that, you will upsell 70 percent of those one off projects into the recurring retainer. So don't be afraid of using these one time services as a way to upsell into [00:25:00] this recurring retainer.

[00:25:00] Brian: And it also is a great place for you to test this kind of offer out. If you are transitioning from a reoccurring thing into a recurring thing where it's the same exact service, just offered more frequently, the best thing you can do is try to sweeten the pot with some kind of like. Think of them as bonuses, things that don't cost you a bunch of time, but things that are really valuable to the client.

[00:25:17] Brian: It could be that on the retainer service for the yearbook club for the photos that if you were on the recurring package, you get free prints for every photo session. Again, I don't know what prints costs. I don't know if that's even feasible, but it obviously doesn't take a ton of time for you to create prints for these clients.

[00:25:30] Brian: It's something a team member could take on.

[00:25:32] Brian: Basically, the best way to sweeten the pot, upsell someone into a recurring offer make one time things that you can invest a lot of time, effort, and energy into on the front end that provide ongoing value. And every niche, every industry is so different.

[00:25:43] Brian: That could look wildly different from person to person to person, but it could be templates. It could be guides. It could be connecting with someone. It could be having a team member who can do these small things for them over time. That's really cheap for you to outsource to someone, especially if you can go overseas and get the geo arbitrage on pricing for cheaper labor.

[00:25:58] Brian: That's also high [00:26:00] quality. That can be a really good value add where they now have somebody who's doing these extra things for you. It doesn't cost you much, but also does it take any of your time?

[00:26:06] Brian: Whatever you decide to do here. You're likely going to have to make room for it, especially if you're a full time like busy freelancer a lot of times get ourselves stuck in this kind of our own self imposed golden handcuffs where we make a lot of money in something The downside is we have this kind of feast or famine cycle or it eats up all of our time for out a lot of Pay, I know people that work a lot They make a decent amount of money But they don't net a bunch of money because it's not very profitable for them because they have a lot of expenses associated with Things they've got a higher help underneath them so one of the things I recommend people do if they're trying to make a big transition like this, instead of just brute forcing it and trying to make it work.

[00:26:38] Brian: Or cutting out massive chunks of your income. the best advice I can give you is to take a look at all your income streams. And maybe you offer multiple services. Maybe you work with different types of clients. But you have some sort of segments that you can look at.

[00:26:51] Brian: And it might be that you figured out, much like I figured out in 2015, that a lot of your time is spent doing something. That does not generate a lot of money. I'll give you [00:27:00] real example. So it was actually 2014. I was analyzing in 2015, income, I realized that I was making, 40, 000 a year from recording bands.

[00:27:09] Brian: And then like 80 something thousand dollars, give or take, I don't remember the exact numbers, 80 something thousand dollars from mixing bands, just two different services.

[00:27:17] Brian: The problem was I was only spending like. 10 hours a week, 20 hours a week, tops mixing songs. And I was spending 30, 40, 50 hours a week producing and tracking this. I worked a lot back then I didn't have work life balance, but I worked a lot for that 40, 000. I worked a little for that 80, 000. So what I decided to do, I completely cut out that 40, 000 service for my life and it freed up a ton of time.

[00:27:41] Brian: And that allowed me to take on more mixing projects and start working on more passive income type businesses. That was when I launched my first mixing course that taught how to mix heavy metal

[00:27:51] Brian: instead of a done for you service I started offering a it yourself service aka a course

[00:27:55] Brian: So this advice works for that obviously But also works when we're talking about recurring subscriptions when we're trying to [00:28:00] make massive changes to our business where we're trying to rip out Things that are old and and doing damage to us and make room for the new So if you're going to make a big transition like this Take some time pause for a second think some analysis and figure out where can I strategically cut out of my life that will create the most room?

[00:28:15] Brian: While doing the least damage to my income. That's the way to approach that.

[00:28:18] Brian: If you haven't already read the book, the automatic customer, it's like a must read for people that are looking to do a subscription revenue business. It'll go way more into depth into the actual terms you need to know, the metrics you need to look at it specifically for software companies. You have to do a little mental gymnastics to make it work for your business.

[00:28:31] Brian: But if you listen to this podcast, you're smart. You can do the work to do that mental math to figure out how something for a software company could work for a freelancer, if it's recurring revenue business. It'll work,

[00:28:41] Brian: but be sure to go to our show notes page where I put the resources from everything from that Butterbean documentary to the other episodes you should listen to that are closely related to this, the anime Tonkin interview, the Mark Eckert interview. You can get to that show notes page by going to six figure creative.

[00:28:54] Brian: com slash three zero six. Thank you so much for listening to the six figure creative podcast. See you [00:29:00] next week.

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