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Stuck With Low $$$ Projects? Here’s How To Level Up To $50,000 Projects | With Ryan Koral (Replay)

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The dark side of freelancing (that no one wants to discuss) is the wasteland of low-dollar “Fiverr Freelancers” charging bottom-dollar rates for “butt-in-seat” projects.
Whether you're on Fiverr or not, you may still be trapped in this low-dollar wasteland that is essentially just another soulless day job you've created for yourself.
These projects tend to be unfulfilling and draining, and you end up in a horrible financial place.
This is what so many newbies and struggling creatives do, and many never make it out of this trap.
I know this might sound painfully obvious, but you can't build a sustainable freelance business out of low-dollar, unfulfilling work where you're competing with hundreds (or thousands) of copycat competitors willing to work longer hours for less money than you.
This is why I wanted to bring on Ryan Koral from Tell Studios to talk about how he successfully transitioned from $500 projects to regular $50,000 projects, eventually scaling his freelance business to over $1,000,000 per year.
Ryan shared a ton of incredible info, including one of my new favorite strategies for closing high-dollar projects, so do not skip this week's interview.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • Why Ryan pivoted from a full-time job earning $23,000/year to a becoming a full time freelancer
  • How “yes mode” affects the start of your business
  • Why you don't hire significant others for your business
  • Dealing with employees who don't have the right expectation
  • The benefits of delegating tasks to others
  • Why your employees aren't the idiots you think they are
  • Your value vs. how your clients value your work
  • How to sell a low $$$ workshop that leads to a $50k project (with a 100% success rate).

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[00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I'm your host Brian Hood. And I am here today, fresh off of one of my little podcast walks where I like to put steps in, get the weight off, listen to a good episode of something or upset or two of something. And I was looking at my, my stats on my phone earlier.

And I was, in my health app that tells you how many steps you walked in. The average is over a long period of time. I've actually averaged over 11,000. Per day for like the last six months and realized the shoes I've been wearing for the last six months have like 600 miles on them at this point.

And you're not supposed to wear shoes that are like more than four or 500 miles put on them because you start getting back issues from it. So I've got an order, new shoes. I literally threw them away uh, yesterday because of that. And now I've got to find some new shoes to buy.

And if anyone has any recommendations or their favorite walking shoes that don't look ugly as hell, please send me an email or DME on social media. Let me know what your favorite walking shoes are. The don't look stupid. why is it hard to find walking shoes? They don't look stupid. Second thing is walking that many miles a day allows you to listen to so many episodes of the podcast.

[00:01:00] And that's actually how we found our guest today. Ryan coral from a podcast called grow your video business. And Ryan is very similar story to me where he started as a freelancer. He worked his way up and now he's launched a podcast to talk about all of his lessons learned as a videographer.

My background is in audio and music production. So it's kind of parallel paths there, but he's, he's actually had a lot more success as a freelancer in the media. Cause he's PBL is his freelance business from a Solo preneur, which is a lot of freelancers to now a seven figure business with a whole team and everything.

And it's a lot of cool moving parts that he's got going on. And in the interview, we actually talk about his whole journey from the first dollar earn as a freelancer and growing that into a multiple six figure business, and then kind of leaving that behind and growing another video production company in the corporate space to seven figures and, If you can make it to the end of this interview, even if it's not all relevant to you, I promise it would a wonderful payoff for the end, because he talks about one of the strategies that I have somehow never heard someone doing. I've definitely implemented this myself. I'm going to implement this myself, but how he is able [00:02:00] to close these, Mid five figure and even six figure projects. The process he uses in that, and it is brilliant because instead of trying to sell somebody a $50,000 project, he makes them, he, he forces them essentially to buy something that's $2,500 and then 100% of the people that. End up paying him the big bucks for the big video.

So, but kind of sounds vague it's because I want you to listen to this whole interview and hear his whole strategy about how he sells people on the small thing first and then upsells to the big thing. But it is absolutely brilliant. And I cannot wait to deploy this on my own businesses. So without further delay on this whole rambling intro here, we're going to go to my amazing conversation with Ryan. Ryan thank you so much for coming on the pod.

Absolutely.

The reason I want to have you on the show here is one of my favorite people to talk to is freelancers and people who own agencies who also have podcasts because podcasts are some of the best communicators. There are

we already talked about your pockets.

You have almost 300 episodes for the grow, your video business podcast, and you have just been forced to repetition and trial and [00:03:00] error and trial by fire to learn how to communicate well. And so not only do you have the experience and the success that you've had in your video business, you've also had a lot of time under tension to put into weightlifting terms on learning, how to communicate those lessons, to distill them down in ways that are really easily digestible.

And when we bring guests on who have no experience in doing YouTube videos or

doing podcasts that tend to go off into the weeds and make it really difficult. So I'm really looking forward to diving into our conversation today, man.

Awesome. Well, no pressure. Okay, cool.

no no pressure had. So let's start things at um, kind of early in your career, because I always like to kind of get a good baseline of like where you started things. And this allows people to kind of pick up, not just the lessons that you've learned along the way, but understand where you came from so that they learn how your background applies to is kind of the lessons you've learned.

So I've really loved to start things off where, where you made your first dollar as a

freelancer, what service you're offering, what position you were on in your life. Just kind of the story around that first

dollar earned as a freelancer.

Yeah, I think that's all I made too. Was a dollar.

No, you didn't know why [00:04:00] $1 really

I do. I wish I had like the plaque and the dollar.

Yeah.

You put the dollar in it on you behind the counter. I've seen it at like old school, grocery stores.

and stuff.

So I was pretty fortunate.

Like I dabbled in video kind of growing up, just messing around, making zombie videos, actually, and killer clown videos. And just like, You know, all the disturbing things that a junior high and high school kid with his best friend would do. and then I dabbled a little bit in college.

back when I went to school, like there was no digital anything so like to actually edit it was hard. We're going tape to tape and that's where you'd see all the nasty cuts. And it was just like, so it was fun, but it was just labor intensive. The university that I went to ended up hiring me after I graduate.

And my job was to promote the college, the events that we are doing. And at this time apple had just come out with a new technology video cameras. You could plug them into computers and like directly, edit in real time. it was like, oh my gosh, like, this is amazing. So I [00:05:00] convinced my boss to buy me a video camera and a computer.

that's really when I started practicing on their dime. So I was sort of being paid. I wouldn't really consider that my first dollar, because I was being paid to do a lot of different things, but eventually, you know, I'm driving to work every morning and I liked my job.

I really liked the people that I worked with, but I could not stop thinking about making videos. And I was like, how could I turn this into something where somebody would give me a dollar or maybe, you know, more dollars. And it was a small university. My salary was 23,000, no, $22,000 a year. So essentially that was like $11 an hour.

My wife and I were newly married. And we had like no debt or little debt outside of student loans. you know, I was like, Hey, I, I think I want to just try this, I'm going to leave the college, I'm going to try to freelance, you know, I'll do it for six months. And it's a bus, like, you know, I'll get another real job.

And she was on board and I had set out to, I was going to create these photo slide shows. had a couple of friends that said, Hey, can you you [00:06:00] know, scan some slides and do a little birthday thing or an anniversary thing or a wedding video, which has pictures. And that's really where my first dollar came from.

was making slideshow is actually somebody's vacation and if I showed you like my first website and like preview videos that I showed to try to get people to want to hire me to do more of these slideshow videos, I mean, just like the most embarrassing thing ever, but I had it in my mind.

I'm like I could charge $49 for these things that probably took me like three hours to put together. But you know, even then I was making roughly what I was making at the college, maybe a little bit more, but not much that's really how the journey started.

So, let me, let me get this straight. You

were making slight shows for $49 each. And

Yeah. And the website, you know, cheap, easy and fast. Those are my benefits

of working with me. They started at $49. They didn't go, you know, much more. But you know, I think at a $79 package and a $99 bag.

when did you learn the hard way that

as a freelancer, you can only [00:07:00] provide two of those three cheap, easy, fast

options.

think it was after like the second slideshow.

So how, how big did you build that up? Like, give me an idea of

like path from that to actually making a sustainable business, because that sounds like anything but

sustainable.

definitely wasn't fortunately, you know, because I was making videos for the college. I was doing way more than these like slideshows, the, church that we were involved with had this amazing production department too. And so the, college still needed video work. the church found out that I was doing video and so they were hiring me.

They were contracting me to do work for them. So I was able to do like, you know what I would say, like real stuff. I was capturing events and putting together a little promo videos. once I started, doing that more, I was like, okay, this is really what I want to do. I was just trying to think of a What I thought might be sustainable where these slide shows where I'm like, why everybody's going to, you know, I race that birthday. Everybody has an anniversary and these, you know, five minute videos, these would be really helpful. But then I was realizing like oh man, there's, there's a whole world here that I could actually get clients doing other [00:08:00] work for, which was way more appealing.

You eventually got into wedding videography, and then you went on to corporate stuff, which we'll get into, but I'm just curious, how big did you build this?

Kind of like what I consider the true freelance business, which is just like, whoever's throwing money

at me.

I will do

the work that you need as a freelancer and

how did that business grow? And like, what did it look like? How was the day to day

I was fortunate to have friends in the creative world, so I didn't have to buy camera at the beginning. Actually the college bought this camera, so I was able to use that for a little while, while I was doing freelance stuff. And they were totally fine with that. And a friend of mine had a light kit, so I got to start practicing with interview lighting.

And I remember the first interview lighting DVD that I ever bought to like, learn how to do this because like YouTube wasn't even a thing back when I started, if you can believe that,

Dane yourself a little bit there,

Yeah,

I know it six months into this work doing everything, and need a video for, you know, I had a friend who worked at a law firm.

She's like, can you film a deposition? I'm like, I don't know what that is, but yes I can. she's like, how much will you charge him? I was like, I don't know, $25 an hour. [00:09:00] She's like can you just charge us a hundred dollars an hour? And I was like, are you serious? Like I thought I was going to be rich.

So it was six months of doing literally like just all sorts of jobs. And then I had a good friend who was a wedding photographer. He said, Ryan, I'm shooting this wedding on Saturday. And the couple would love to have a video. Would you be interested? They've got 500 bucks. Would you shoot their wedding?

And so this was just like all the other opportunities, but it was 500 bucks. And I was like, shoot, I'm in like, so then I just went online and I started researching, like, what does a wedding video? What does it even look like? And I had a good idea. I shot the wedding blew the couple of way cause I really, I was first, I was at the fanciest wedding that I had ever been in my entire life.

So everything was like eye candy to me. And so I just shot all this beautiful stuff, you know, had mikes for the vows and created this. Like, five minutes, like highlight piece. That was, it was pretty, I look at it now and I would probably barf because it's just like so bad, but, but back then, and for 500 bucks for this [00:10:00] couple, you know, they had like probably no expectations that it would be good at all.

But I was pretty good. It was doing. And through that experience, you know, I was newly married and you know, my wife and I just believe in what marriage can do in the world. And so I just felt like I can help create some legacies here with, these wedding films. And so that's what I set out to do.

And I did that for a bunch of years you know, eventually I was like, I want to do these, like, high-end luxury. I want to go across the world. And I want to film like famous people and be in places I just don't belong. And I was able to do that for a long time.

And it was great. I grew a team and had so much fun learn. so much about filmmaking having to be in so many different environments and have to be like flexible and being able to pivot at the last second, if it's raining outside and you got to go in or the Mike's go out, like what's a backup plan or the lighting's terrible.

What do you do? And eventually, were onto our second kid I came to a point in my career where I was continually improving as a filmmaker. But I had to make a decision. My wife didn't want me to work [00:11:00] out of the house anymore. Which rightfully so I was having some clients come to the house.

I had part-time employee that was coming to the house and she was like, can I just get the house to myself and to our family? I had a decision to make, like, did I want to continue to try to improve my filmmaking and become better and better? And so I could continue to charge higher and higher rates or did I want to figure out how to become an actual CEO figure out how to run this business it definitely wasn't a hobby in what I was making, like okay. Money, way more than I was when I was working at the college, but I just knew that I could see in the future. And I'm like, I see guys that are filmmaking that are so gifted and talented. I'm never going to be that good.

Like I will incrementally get better. But there, are people that are just so good and they're only charging, they're charging more than me, but like, I don't know if the end justifies the mean there's a point of diminishing return. And I said, I, I feel like I don't want to be lugging a camera around for the rest of my life.

cause that's how I make money. If I want to choose to do that, like I want the freedom. And so at that point [00:12:00] is when I decided I really need to figure out how to make this whole legit business without me needing to be in the center of it all.

man, there's so much to unpack there. Cause I feel like we skipped a whole whirlwind of like, struggle and heartache and, and figuring things out. Give me a quick timeline really quick. So like you were in college and you started doing things on the side, probably somewhere in the early two thousands is kind of what I'm gathering.

W what we call freelance yes. Mode, which is where it's just, like I say yes to anything that crosses my desk, I'll do anything for any amount of money. If I'm getting paid, I'll do it at least one time until I realized I hate that thing. I'm never doing it again.

Or I love that thing and I'm going to do it more often. eventually he got offered this $500 wedding video project, which if any wedding photographers or videographers listening right now, they're probably shaking their head thinking, no, not $500. That's way undercharging for what amount of work goes into those things.

Because not only is it a full day of shooting, there's like multiple days or weeks of editing on the backend because had one of those videos made for us as well for our wedding that we had back in 2018. And it's one of my favorite pieces that came from that wedding because so much emotion wrapped up into one, [00:13:00] four to five minute video, and it's amazing to go back and watch.

And, I can't wait to watch it with my kids if we ended up having kids someday. I want to get back to the timeline here. It seemed like we went from yes mode taking on projects all around the place. I got this one wedding project and now I'm off traveling the world.

So let's, talk about that shift there, because I want to pause here for a minute and just, it just kind of get the stories around that because like it's not all sunshine and rainbows. It's not all like We pulled a, a Rocky montage right now where it's just like, cut on the Rocky montage music, the cheesy 80 music where you're going and putting all the work in.

And then now they're on the other side. Now we have a

team, we have success. We

have the seven big of seven figure videos

and see, and we're, and we're, and

we're

crushing it.

But I

think our audience would love to know a little bit

more.

that was my slideshow background. So that's really, I was giving you the Instagram version there.

That's exactly it. So let's chat really quick about kind of timelines there that led up to going from like that first $500 video from weddings to what you did from there. Kind of some of the pieces of the puzzle there up until you started actually hiring a team.

Cause I feel like [00:14:00] there's a lot of

good. juicy beat on that poster.

So, you know, I shot that wedding and I was like, this is what I want to do. So we built the brand around

that so that was in 2005 is when I shot my first wedding. And I think one of the best things I ever did in my business was was always open to like taking people out to lunch and taking people out to coffee to ask them questions about their business.

So I was taken out photographers and coordinators and other video people. And I got plugged into a video association here in Michigan and never want it to be the smartest person in the room. Always wanted to be learning and growing. And so fortunate in doing that, I got so much referral work early on because they're like, Hey, here's this young kid he's like hungry.

And he seems kind of nice. He's kind of weird too. But you know, I'm busy on this wedding. I'll hand it over to him or, you know, photographers, like, man, I would love to work with this guy. So at the beginning of, you know, doing weddings when I niched down. And I started connecting with, other people in the industry I felt like I just got catapulted into this world.

And you know, I was getting [00:15:00] referrals like crazy a rate out of the gate. So that was great. And I was like, oh my gosh, this is like super fun and exciting. challenge that came with that was, if I shot three or four weddings in a month that's only like three or four days of shooting.

But then like you're saying, like we would easily spend at least a week editing wedding video. so it quickly became a thing where I can't be in two places at once. I, asked my wife, I'm like, Hey, will you shoot this wedding with me? It'd be super fun. There'll be kind of romantic. And boy was I wrong?

I'm sitting here smirking, knowing that's not going to

we just decided my wife and I

I don't hire my wife or

anything in my business. And She doesn't hire for

me for

anything in her business.

Yeah. So we learned that after I think it was like two or three weddings. She just said, she's like, I don't want to shoot weddings with you anymore. And I'm like, what are you talking about? She's like, you're just like, you're like all business business and not all baby baby. And I'm like, yeah, well, I'm paying you.

I've got a job you need to do like this. Isn't, you know, [00:16:00] we're not at home. Like we're not out with our friends. we always have a good laugh that we just realized early on that that was not going to work. But I did have my buddy, Sean, still a really good friend today who started shooting these weddings with me we had so much fun together.

so I, had helped shooting, which was obviously solved a problem early on where I'm like, need like more, more angles than just one. and then eventually I just said, Hey, would you be interested in helping, cut together? Some the ceremony edit and the reception.

So I started paying him like a flat rate for each of the parts, besides the highlight reel. I was still in charge of the, you know, the main creative piece. And then eventually I was like, I can't keep up with all of the work. shooting, editing sales calls. And back then, like I was meeting with all of these couples and it was always an hour long meeting.

I had it locked in my head that it had to be an hour. And if I really liked him and we were having a great conversation, then it would go even longer in, I just cringe thinking today, all the time, I built some incredible relationships and friendships with our clients. [00:17:00] But today, if I'm going to have a call with a client it's going to be like a 15 or 20 minute phone call and it's going to be on zoom.

We're not probably not going to meet in person. At least not at the beginning. you know, it's like so much time that goes into building anything craft, but then like, okay, how do I find more work? And I've got to continue networking. And then, this association wants me to be on the board.

your time just gets spread. So thin, quick side story here. I had a guy come we're trying to get a gas line installed in our house. And I know this guy he's in our community. just asked him, I was like, Hey, if you're hiring an assistant, he's like, yeah, I tried that, you know, not he's like, I can just do all this stuff really fast. And I, and I just had it stopped. Hang on a second. Like I said, if the only thing that this assistant did for you was like call people who are late on payments. And he was like, he's like, yeah. I could just see, he just stopped. And he starts looking up and we had like a 10 minute conversation and he's like, I think I'm, I'm gonna look at doing it.

You know? And I was saying like, dude, if somebody just worked [00:18:00] for you one hour a week to do some of these tasks that are draining you, that you just want to die in this one, you know, getting people to pay you, like that's going to have the quickest ROI. So anyway, short story long I was able to hire some friends that were contracting shooting than editing. And then eventually I got to a place with a business where I'm like, I've got enough work here that I could just hire another one of me that could go out and shoot weddings on their own.

And so I did that. I hired my first full-time employee I think it was three years into the business. and that was great at first. and, then this guy was with me for, I think, three years I didn't set the proper expectations when we started working together, guess. But he kind of thought he was like a co-owner of the company. there were things that I needed him and wanted him to do. And he just kind of felt that eventually at some point he felt above that and that was really hard and really awkward. that was like one of the toughest seasons in my business, because as I was doing that I had a couple of other employees, you know, we hired an intern and then we hired a couple of other people and, and he [00:19:00] was basically just becoming like this poison that was like speaking into this culture.

And it was a small culture. There's like five of us, but I had like three people that were I felt like they were against me. And I was like, this is not fun at all. again, long story longer here. we really focused hard on wedding's force about seven years before we kind of made this pivot to say like how can we make more money?

How can we grow this thing? And maybe we need to look outside of just doing weddings. And that's when we launched our corporate brand and the business started taking a different direction at that point.

I think this is a really good place to pause and reflect on a few things because you brought up so many great talking points through that whole story. One of those that I want to go back on that you said earlier really early on in our conversation is as if we've been talking for hours here, like 10 minutes ago, you mentioned.

You mentioned that you looked to all these people around you and how great they were at their craft. And you just noticed that like the amount of work it would take to get to that level was not worth the amount of time. From a business standpoint, we're not talking about just creativity for creativity's [00:20:00] sake and just for a hobby sake, but we're talking just dollars and cents in a business.

It did not make sense to put that much time, effort and energy getting those diminishing returns. And so what you did instead from what it seems like is instead of spending time, effort, energy, and money on increasing my skills, you said, I'm going to

spend time, effort, energy, hiring a team,

Yeah, no, that's exactly it.

I love that conversation because there's so many reasons people fail to grow their business. And one of those is they don't have the skills First of all, it doesn't take much time, effort, energy to get from level zero to 10 in those skills, in any new skill, look at it like video games, video games have captured this, this whole thing perfectly.

It's like to get to level zero to 10. It takes like five hours. But to get from level 50 to 60, it takes like 500 hours. Like games have nailed that dynamic really, really well. So if you're just learning a skill for the first time, it's not that hard to get proficient at it. But if you're trying to master something, sometimes you only need to master one skill, if any skill, and really like as a business owner, taking [00:21:00] off employee hat, putting CEO hat on the only skill you really need to master is delegation.

And so let's talk about learning that skill. Cause it sounded like at first it was good. You started delegating, you started hiring people.

do you remember the revenue of your, of your business before you actually started to hire

people?

When I hired my first full-time employee, I think company revenue is probably like 140,000, maybe 150,000.

I've seen people hire anywhere from like the 50, 60,000 range, some like part-time just a few hours a week kind of assistant role, or even like a executive assistant online assistant. And then I've seen people take on full-time roles at that hundred to $200,000 range.

my background in the audio engineering studio world, that rarely happened because there's such a cap on how big you can grow those businesses, but like in other worlds, it just seems way more common to just start scaling team around the six figure, multiple six figure mark.

So you got that first hire or that first full-time hire it started out.

Great. what

worked when you first brought that hire.

I I mean, I started getting my time back, I eventually was able to teach him how to [00:22:00] sell. he would do consults. So, you know, every consult was at least an hour. so for everyone that I wasn't doing, I was getting an hour back. One of my favorite stories is I remember my wife and I out to dinner on a Saturday night, in the middle of the summer.

here in Michigan, that's when weddings happen. And I was out to dinner with my wife and I was like, this is amazing. I felt like king of the world, I'm just making thousands of dollars, you know, at this wedding that our company is filming, but I'm not there. I'm hanging out with one of my favorite people in the entire world.

So this is like a win-win.

Yeah, I had to, I had

a launch in Airbnb business to ever have that feeling.

so, in that moment I realized like, I, this is working even the guy that was working on our gas line today, told him, I said, Hey, do this make three columns.

Top of column, one is things that you love doing in your business column two is things that you're like, nah, like I do them. I can do them like, you know, but I don't love him or hate him or whatever. And then count three is like all the things that you hate and just list out, like[00:23:00] all of the things that you do on a day-to-day basis in your business.

For me, one of the things that took the most time and that I hated so much was burning DVDs. There were so many things that could go wrong in burning a DB.

for our younger listeners, that was a, a disliked

object that we used to put videos on before there was the

internet and high speed internet, at least.

And so in on these disklike things Yup. They're like, UFO's say so you could print on them. There were just like 20 different ways that you put it in the player and you hit play in the menu and you spelled something wrong on the DVD menu. So then you'd have to go all the way back to the DVD program, fix the thing re-export reprints rewatch to make sure there's no glitch.

I mean, it was like, so labor-intense. I created a step-by-step here is how you burn a DVD. Here's how you printed. Here's how you watch it and make sure that there's no errors. And when I did that, I was like, this thing that I just [00:24:00] made right here copy, rinse, repeat, keep doing this in every area of my business.

And it became addicting to like, think through what are some of the other things I don't like doing in my business. And those were the first things that I started handing off to my full-time employee, which is probably why eventually he ended up hating me because he wasn't doing all the things that I didn't want to do.

He was like, I thought this is going to be more glamorous and all where's all the filming. And he did do that as well, but

where I learned that process of the three columns was from a book called virtual freedom by

Chris Ducker. Don't you ever read that?

I have actually, yes, I

forgot that

I have read that. So yeah, maybe

that is where I got.

after reading that I got my first assistant he's been with for the last three or four years now, which is great. Actually he's my second assistant. I had one for two years there as well. He was awesome as well. now let's transition to what didn't work.

Cause like, it sounded great at first. And then you said it, it kind of slowly got insidious. It was like a, a disease. From inside, out

eating the business, over dramatizing this, but like what went wrong? And then like, what did you have to do about this? Cause like a lot of people, this is exactly what happens.

They make it higher. It doesn't go so well usually because they [00:25:00] didn't set their employee up for success. I'm not saying those that you did, but that's what most people fail here for. and then they say, oh, I tried hiring it didn't work for me. And then they just continue being, somebody who built a job for themselves instead of being the CEO of the freelance business for the rest of their lives.

So what, what did you do about it and how did you learn? Cause

obviously you, you have a team now, so like you learned from it, you didn't just shy away from it.

This is like such a, I mean, it, was a dark period in my career, man. Don't make me go back there. I'm just getting,

go, there, go to the dark period. Cause I just, I literally got an email today. Someone saying like, Hey, can he go into the struggles a bit more with people? I'm getting kind of tired hearing all the sunshine and rainbows and success of people. So like, this is why I'm digging

into the struggle so much with you.

You're my

first person today I've interviewed since getting that email. So sorry, you're going to get, deep end

of it today.

was resenting this relationship so much so that I would drive to work to the studio and just be like, am not looking forward to walking in and seeing this person. it was not healthy But I also felt like I can't let him go because he's like Rosen up in the ranks.

Like he's been [00:26:00] with me, he's my first employee. And he knows all the things he can sell. He can shoot, he can edit, he can lead. He can do all the things that I'm doing. He's like invaluable to the business. what I believed along that same time. I, Was introduced to a woman who was a business coach and she invited me to a coaching session and then eventually like a small group mastermind.

And So, there was like, I think six or seven business owners, there was a dentist, a guy who owned a factory, just like random businesses. and we had weekly meetings. And then I would once in a while have a coaching meeting with Jamie and I would share my frustrations with her, oh my gosh, you know?

And there was one where he liked didn't show up to work and he didn't tell anybody or something that was like, and it was on a very important day. I don't remember the details, but I was like, this is good. I can fire him. And I'll just figure out like what's going to happen to the business.

I feel like it's gonna hurt really bad to fire him, but you just can't do this. So I told Jamie, I said, Hey, Just so, you know, this just happens with employee so I'm like, I'm gonna let him go. And she's like, oh [00:27:00] really? Like, tell me more about that. Like, is it in the handbook that, you're not supposed to do that?

And I'm like, well, no, it's not in the handbook, but obviously, show up for work. And if you can, like, you'd in the, this can't be your excuse. And she's like, I'm just confused, like, cause but you did put that in the handbook. I'm like, well, no, but you just don't do that.

She's like Ryan, if you've never told your employees that not acceptable or that's not what you're supposed to do how are they supposed to know that I'm like, let's just like common sense. Like you just don't, and she really just kept pushing back in ultimately like it was on me.

I did not want to receive that. I'm like, no, like he's the idiot, not me. But at the end of the day, I realized like, I'm the idiot. I don't have an employee handbook or if I did, it was like, super basic and vague. And and I never created proper expectations of like the standards that I really believed in.

So like today.

we have these three core values. I hired by those and I fired by those. And I could have approached this now former employee and said like, dude, like core value, number two, you're missing it. [00:28:00] Like, what's the scoop here? Like you can't do that. It would have been really easy to measure, but just didn't have any like tools to use that where I could measure against only my assumptions of like, you have to know that.

So this happened like three or four times in every time it was just like another opportunity. I'm like, oh, I'm definitely, I know I'm going to talk to Jamie and she's going to be like, yes, Ryan, finally, you've earned the right. You can fire him. you know, I told her this last one and and she's like, no, like you didn't.

And I'm like, oh my gosh, this is the worst. And she's like, Ryan, he is your greatest teacher. And it really changed my perspective on the whole thing. I said, as much as I like was resenting him and angry and mad and all this stuff. I realized it's like weird as this sounds. It really was a gift for me.

All of that frustration in, I accepted the responsibility to every single time. Eventually I realized Oh, through great Kane. And like, you know, me like wanting to choke him to realize like, oh my gosh, I should be choking myself. This is like, Ryan, what are you doing?

You're a [00:29:00] terrible boss. You're a bad leader. And I was doing some things as well. But, in this particular case, I was not doing most of those things well. so of course he was going to do what he wanted to do. and then eventually, you know, it just got to a point where we had mutually decided to part ways.

And I remember going to work that first day that he wasn't there. And it was like this massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It was like one of my favorite moments of my career, because I felt like, I know it's just sounds so terrible, but but I just felt like it was a new beginning I had an opportunity to really be the kind of boss and the kind of leader I should have been from the very, and I say, I should have been, wished that I would have been, but you know, you learn through mistakes and People are like, what's the, what's the biggest thing that you regret? My father-in-law just asked me this the other day. He's like what, you know, after all these years. And I'm like the only thing that I really regret is not starting a YouTube channel, 10 years ago. Cause I'd be a multi-millionaire if I did, but otherwise, like, you know, I've learned from all of these mistakes and it's good

earlier I mentioned the whole Rocky cut scene or the [00:30:00] Rocky montage thing. and I was giving you a kind of a joke there, but a lot of times when we're going through these really tough, learned lessons like you with that employee that you were just butting heads with coaching call with Jamie, you were just in one of those Rocky cutscenes. These are the cutscenes where it's like, it's a lot of hard work. It's really painful in the moment. It sucks so bad. Nobody wants to go through these. But when you look back at it, it is like the Rocky montage.

It's like, you got the music playing, you got it pumping. You're learning the lessons. You're getting stronger. You're at the top of the stairs, flexing the muscles because you got so strong there. And it really does take that extreme ownership going back to Jocko Willink book that is very self explanatory just by the title, taking extreme ownership over every single problem in your business, where if there's something you don't like, if something's happening with an employee or with a system or the process or with a client, it is ultimately you who must take full responsibility for every single issue.

And it took a lot of pulling teeth, but it sounds like she was a good business coach. If she wouldn't just

let you fire the person without taking extreme ownership of the

issue.

Yeah, it was really helpful. And just a [00:31:00] small, small example, super relevant. we have two bathrooms here at our studio and I found out the other day that we still have this one and I will name the brand because it's the worst toilet paper that exists. Don't ever buy this Scott toilet paper. It's like, why would you even make the stuff?

cause it is to give you poop fingers. It, it breaks through, is it

too, too thin?

And then, you know, under the fingernail, I'm just getting I,

Oh God. We just lost every listener we had. Okay. you know, I'm having a good time talking to you. You don't have to have your

listeners for us this episode. It's fine. Continue on Ryan.

yes. So months ago I'd asked one of my employees. I said, Hey, let's make sure that we never buy this toilet paper again. Well, that employee doesn't work here anymore. And I have somebody else in that room. And we haven't had that toilet paper in a long time. And I went to use the facilities the other day and I was like, It's back what happened?

And I realized, I'm like, oh, that employee didn't write this. so we have now an SOP, a standard operating procedure for toilet paper in the bathroom. So that, that never [00:32:00] happens again. And it was totally on me because I never followed up with that employee which is one of the reasons why the employee isn't with us anymore.

what's the Ryan coral of studio Sherpas and grow your video

business endorse brand of toilet paper that he

Come here. We want your bum to, no, this is okay. I'm just not, I'm going to go there Sharman. Amazing. You can't go wrong. a solid choice.

need to get a sponsorship from this brand, but I'll mention them anyways. I'm a dude wipes guy, dude, wipes are the best thing that ever existed. Um, We have the big packs of them uh, here at a house. And then I keep the little single, the single serving guys in my backpack for travel.

When you're traveling abroad, you never know what's going to happen. So get your dude wipes today@amazon.com and maybe there'll be an affiliate link for it in the episode. If you want to go check those out, let's get this back on track, Ryan. We're not going to get to the good part of this conversation.

If we keep talking like this, you eventually went on to build a corporate brand, which I think was your bigger business. I believe just from what I'm gathering here. And I want to talk about that transition from the wedding videography brand, into the corporate world.

Let's just first talk about what made

you make that transition in the [00:33:00] first place.

Well, faced with like, I had employees and my wife and I, we lived in a humble house and, we had two kids. But we had like bigger dreams. Like I'm like, man, I would, it would be cool to have a big backyard and it'd be cool to, just not be starving. Artists is what, you know, and I felt guilty for a long time felt greedy.

I just had bigger financial dreams and then I also, I had worked every summer for multiple summers in a row and missed out on late night bonfires with our friends or like, you know, our friend's weddings or just things.

Cause I like had to be filming weddings. I was convinced at some point that if I could build our business around working Monday through Friday, that as our kids are getting bigger, I could be around on the weekends you know, I want it to be present and I want it to build my business around the things that I wanted for life.

And up until that point, it, was like, you know, everything, but it was not that. Again, I was hesitant to get into corporate commercial world because I fell in love [00:34:00] with the stories that we were telling for these couples and these families and creating these legacy pieces. My friend Patrick had convinced me. He said, dude, he's like every business, every founder has a story. And a lot of times those stories are really beautiful. And, it just stopped me in my tracks. And I was like, oh yeah, I don't want to like promote the product or you know, make a cool snazzy commercial. Like, I didn't care about that, but to like tell somebody's story and I knew the power in like, man, if you tell a power of a story, like you can sell anything that, to me, like an origin story or, just a heartfelt emotive. Thing that's real. I'll get behind that like all day long.

so if there's a way to do that, like often, so I was convinced that we could create this corporate brand where we, told businesses stories and we worked with founders and told their stories and let that be the differentiator piece for those businesses. so we took all of the things that we learned in the world wedding filmmaking and [00:35:00] don't tell any of our corporate clients, but the work just got so much easier. It was just like so much easier. And the budgets got so much more. So for us, it was a really great shift. I kind of felt like I was cheating on this brand, that I was my baby. Like you know, I built this thing from the ground and, we had a huge client base.

We had a lot of fans that just fell in love with our wedding work. And so I felt bad, like pivoting the brand. So we, we just launched a separate brands and had two different business names, two different websites, two different phone numbers to different business cards. and that worked for a few years until I said, okay, just going to bring the wedding brand underneath the corporate brand.

We'll tuck it under a sub page on our website, but doing the two business names and all that stuff was just too chaotic, too administratively mindedness Slee. I hated dealing with all of that stuff. And eventually just said, like, if they want to hire us, they'll find us. And I need simpler in this [00:36:00] life

you had this hypothesis, which it sounds like it was a hypothesis. I don't know if you had any facts to back this, but your hypothesis had a few things in it. One was the skillset that I have as a wedding video creator will translate to telling stories in the corporate world, which makes sense, because you're telling a very emotional story week after week after week.

And you've probably honed in how to really make a powerful video in a short amount of time, which in theory makes sense, moving to the corporate world because emotion sells humor also sells, but you are going more after the emotional side than the humor side. Or at least I believe that. Well, you went and this also makes sense as part of this theory that corporate clients are probably a bit easier deal with because there's not so much emotion tied up into it.

They're actually way more logical than newlyweds. And it's also not life or death. if you miss a shot at a wedding, like you missed it, it's gone. You're not getting it back. Whereas in a corporate setting, you can kind of just say, ah, can we try that again? Let's roll it. Let's roll the tape again.

Uh, Action or something. I dunno how video works. So this is the hypothesis. So how do you go from, this is my [00:37:00] hypothesis. I want to pivot the business in the corporate world to actually appealing to those clients and getting those clients because that's a big gap to fill as someone who had pretty much specialized in wedding videography,

my favorite story is like, as I was like, planning this, this corporate brand in my head we might even been in like website mode and I, maybe I was talking to the branding guy that did our corporate brand. But I was on a wedding shoot and I was working with his photographer, who I had worked with before and her husband was there, assisting her.

And we got finally to dinner and we sat down and he's like, man, he's like, it's been so fun watching you. Cause I had what is called a glide cam for, any of our listeners. today, it's, all motorized and it's like a lot smaller and lighter, but the stuff.

back then you had to have like, you know, big guns to be able to carry around this like really heavy gear that gave you a smooth shots.

for those are not watching on YouTube right now. Ryan literally flex for us. Just say, just to give us an idea of his

big guns.

to watch this episode. Like, where's this muscle though, where's this where's that at?

I'd

Say that. I didn't say that. That was you.

[00:38:00] so this guy was like, you know, it's been super fun to watch you. Like just create, this is really cool. He's like, would you be interested in coming to my work and sharing with my team about how you're, you're making videos in like, you know, some of this technology and stuff that you're using.

And I was like, that sounds amazing. That sounds super fun. I would love to be in front of a group of people. where do you.

work? What do you do? And he said, I'm the creative director at the university of Michigan. And I was like oh, this is like a legit guy. And he works at a super legit. I mean, I have the utmost respect for this university.

It's the business schools where he was the creative director and it's like one of the top 10 business schools in the world. and it's in our backyard.

Michigan is a lot like Alabama where like in Alabama college is like a religion, especially college

sports. And it's a lot like that in Michigan as well, from what I understand. So I understand the utmost respect

for that school.

for me, like, I didn't go to Michigan you know, I graduated from college, but I ain't that smart. I'm not going to be able to stand in front of like all these like super educated Michigan alums, the [00:39:00] business school, like what the heck? So imposter syndrome, like totally set in like immediately after he does introduce, you know what he did, I stuck with it.

I said, okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do this anyway. And we eventually met with his team and they hired us. The day that we launched our corporate brand was the same day that we received this RFP from the university of Michigan and booked our, biggest job ever to date for anything we had ever done.

And I was like, man, this was five times more than our average job. And it was about five times less, the amount of work than our normal job. So I knew that there was a recipe in is scalable and this can kind of help us reach some financial goals. But there's going to be a lot of freedom that we're going to be able to experience.

not just me, but my employees, my team.

have these two brands now that you are building kind of side-by-side and it seems like the wedding business kind of took a back seat eventually. And when under the, uh, corporate brand,

are they the same LLC, or did you

have separate LLCs or like, how did you structure

those

businesses at the time?

[00:40:00] Yeah, no, no. I had created separate LLCs and that was, that was advice. I think it was good advice because I'd had This established business working with couples and families and stuff. And the idea was like, if we're going to be working with corporations and if something goes really, really wrong here, I can at least keep this business that was like, some fear decision-making but I think it was smart.

And then eventually when wedding brands we just said, like, let's stop, using this brand name and this website and let's just bring it under here. We currently just use one LLC. last year I shop the first wedding that I've filmed in like four years, I think. But it was for a family who I filmed three of their other son's weddings and they're very well known. are just some of my favorite people in The entire world and we got to travel

The Kardashians are.

Yeah.

something like But it was super fun. last year we shot two weddings. At our peak, our heyday, we were shooting like 40 weddings a year. But in the past, like

four to five years, we might shoot one, two or three weddings a year. So it's not [00:41:00] really much as I love it. And people ask me if weddings could be five days a week.

Monday through Friday, if it could be Monday through Friday nine to five, I would shoot them all the time. I love being in that environment. love being with people in that space and creating those kinds of stories for them. But they're not.

going back to that, the shift into corporate work Or are you doing to appeal to those new clients? Because it was brand new niche. You didn't really have any credibility you seem to have in both instances, you've got your foot in the door at the perfect time in the corporate world and in the wedding wedding videography world, you kind of had the foot in the door project.

Did you do anything else draw those clients, to build your credibility, to like increase their desire, to want to work with you? Like what were you doing to actually appeal to these corporate clients? Because again, these people are serious because they have serious budgets. They have decision-makers, they have processes for selecting who they're going to work with.

Like they have so much more that goes into getting a client like that. And the typical freelance videographer can't just say, I'm going to go target corporate clients now, you know, like what was the process behind making that shift from the perspective of like positioning authority, [00:42:00] differentiation, like messaging, did you have to worry about any of that or was it just, I got my first client got that request for proposal.

I closed it.

I crushed it. And then everything was referrals from the non and hunky Dory.

Happily ever after, that's it, man. That's, that's the whole story. think another thing that I was smart on through all of the years is hiring a branding person. Somebody that is really, really smart with creative and copy in messaging and positioning. my friend DJ Roula who has his branding agency is incredibly talented and really helped set me up for success.

So I had this. Positioning. And I felt like when he did this work for me, I felt like I could do anything. I felt like I had all this power. I'm like, this is me. This is, I mean, he gets who I am. He gets what I want to do. And he said it in a way that like businesses it'll resonate with, so my confidence level was sky high.

If I didn't have a website that had good positioning or, you know, a good logo or good footage or anything like that, I [00:43:00] I think people would probably be able to sense that and it's probably an insecurity of my own where, you know, working in the video world for so long, capturing beautiful imagery, I struggle with perfectionism.

And so there's a lot of things that I just haven't launched because it's not perfect and that's just not good. But I would say that. one of my super powers is networking. And we did the shaft for a university of Michigan and I was like, who can I meet? is there somebody else that we can help?

Who do you know that we could be introduced to? And because people liked working with us, we were like a breath of fresh air, the guys and gals that I hire They're people you want to be around. And, would run into so many other like video people where I'm just like, man, that person is a stick in the mud.

Like if you're going to spend like a full day with somebody, like, wouldn't, you want it to be us, but I think, just being people that are trying to add good into the world and be fun to be around I think a lot of our clients saw that and were drawn to that.

We've definitely had plenty of clients that like don't care about that. And as soon as we can Stop working with [00:44:00] them, we do. And they probably feel the same way. So I think, again like connecting with people online uh, LinkedIn has been a place that I've lived for a long time trying to make connections.

And, you know, today I think my mindset is like, how can I add value? I'm going to an event next week that I'm speaking at, but I'm going into this event with this mindset of like, who can I help at this event? What conversations can I have and can I make myself available? And I think I've tried to do that, like over the years, I think I'm getting better at it, but I think that mindset has really helped other people want to like introduce me or not be afraid to say like, if he's not a good fit, he's not going to try to sucker you into anything.

he's going to be honest. And So I don't think there's been like one thing we've tried a bunch of, you know, blogging and I've launched a couple of different podcasts for that brands. And you know, there are things that have had some traction, but I think relationally reaching out, not being afraid to put myself out there [00:45:00] making a video message and introducing myself to somebody complimenting people to win friends and influence people is at Dale Carnegie book.

I read that early on and I think some of that stuff stuck with me and I was like, yeah, I can do that. I can just like try to be a nice guy and, excellent work. So I think putting myself out there that has helped, I don't know. Is that helpful or is that just sound like this guy sounds like a loser.

stop with the imposter syndrome, Ryan. So just to kind of sum that up, cause you, it seems like that was the common theme for when you even went into any sort of video at first, as you were so adamant about meeting people in person going to coffee shops, meetings with friends and, being a person that is known, in freelancing, especially with creatives. That's one of the things that people tend to naturally struggle with

is just becoming known in general, not even trying to sell somebody, just being known at all. And it seems like that's, again, you said it's a superpower you have, and I'd have to agree with that.

It's like, you're a very personable guy. Like you're easy to get along with. You just need to shout with I'm having a good time talking with you. I can't believe we've ever been talking for 59 minutes and 25 seconds, according to Riverside's recording right now. I'm having a good [00:46:00] time that really translates to getting clients.

But there's another thing we're talking about. Which is you hired help in an area that you're not a natural with. Cause I don't think you're a natural copywriter. Maybe I'm wrong here. You're not a natural branding guy, not a natural messaging guy. So you hired help on that. Can you talk to the process of, working with somebody to

create

the messaging and branding and copywriting around your corporate brand and what that did for you

guys?

It's like one of my favorite topics because early on, I built my logo. And I thought that's what the brand was. It was like cool logo. you know, I try to come up with a cool tagline and I had like five different versions of that.

And then I built my own website and I figured out how to do all the things I was saving all sorts of money by not hiring somebody. And then I was super fortunate that my friend DJ and I played in the band at church together. So he just, we became friends and he's like, he just saw a kid that needed some help. and he said, Hey man can I do like a, like one of my branding sessions for you? and he's like, you don't need to pay me. And I was like, that sounds really cool. So I went through this session and he asked me all these questions, like, [00:47:00] you know, tell me about your personality. Like, tell me, like, what do you love?

Like, what are your goals and your hopes? And what's an ideal client. And, all sorts of questions all about me, in, I love talking to mommy. This is really fun. know, and he asked me work-related questions. And then he, presents me with this document, like after a week or two weeks or something.

And it's this whole like, written up thing about me and about my business and how I'm like infused into this business. And I was like, this is the most beautiful thing. I would never be able to say these things about myself or articulate myself like in this way. it wasn't like fake. It was like, this is so well said.

And to the point I'll, I'm a rambler, I'll just like, keep going. And people are like, yeah, we got the point like eight minutes ago. Like just let's get on the next thing. And so I just realized that in marketing and messaging, like, if you can be. succinct and clear. you are going to be way ahead of other people.

and then adding an element of design to that in a feel with like colors [00:48:00] and fonts and like, you know, those are like the extras, but at the heart of it is like, well, what's the heartbeat? who is this person? What do they care about? Like, how are they different? Like why do they do this work that you get that clear?

And then the other stuff is like, oh, that should be paired with like soft fonts or, harsher colors. there are things that in design that go with the soul of a brain. And so when DJ did that work for me in both brands I just felt like I could sell anything to anyone because I didn't have to convince anybody.

It was just like, this is us, this is me. This is why we do what we do. Just like, look at it, read it, watch the videos. Like it's all there. do you want to hire us? Yes or no?

And I think this is such a great area to invest into because again, it's not a ton of work to learn some of these skills yourself, again, going from level zero to 10. But if you can work with someone who's. Max level, going back to RPG, germs. What was max level in world of Warcraft is like 60 for a while.

Then they bumped it up. I don't even know what it is anymore, but their max level, they're like the ones who's taking care of the young guns, you know, like us, if you can hire someone like that. Great. But if you can't afford it, put some [00:49:00] time effort, energy learning these things, when I coach.

One of the earlier exercises we work on is the messaging. And when I see the amount of confidence they gain, when they nail their own messaging and they start to see all the value they're providing and what they can do for people, and it's clearly articulated in one document for them, I can see visually how much more confident they are seeing that document. And I believe it was the same for you just judging on how you, acted about kind of having that document created for yourself. One more thing along with that is this is, I feel like this shouldn't be needed to be sad, but it needs to be said is when you do work for people, you do a good job.

And that's another part that I feel like many freelancers don't think about is like, you can have the messaging down, you can have a great sales process. Network schmooze people will be so fun to be around. Just be a joy put from work. You put out sucks. You're not going to get referrals. And so, because you are like the full package, you're fun to be around.

You're you're exciting. You're probably a pleasure to work with. I've never hired you. You've got your messaging dialed in, you know, who your customer avatar is. You, fulfill the work at a really high level and they really love working with you because of all of [00:50:00] that, you get a lot of referrals.

So I would imagine you don't have to do a lot of marketing. You don't have to do a lot of other things to get clients because probably one client equals three clients for you. And you just have a really good viral coefficient, which a lot of people don't have because they're maybe not as good as they should be at the craft they have chosen.

I don't know if you wanna talk on that or not, but I have a couple more things as we

wrap this up that I do want to go into, but I had, I had to mention

that.

thank you for the compliment. And yeah, I would say like this far into my business, there are still things that, that I want to tweak and ways that we want to pivot and things that we want to try. But. the built in referral base after, you know, for doing this for 17 years, it's, like such a small amount of my time is dedicated to like cold outreach or trying to market ourselves. It's just not this next phase of the business is like, okay, what would it look like if this business was really built to sell?

And what that means is like, we do need to do some different things and we do need to have a, a better process. And that means that Ryan doesn't want to do that work. So who can we hire to do some of this outreach? And what does that funnel look like and [00:51:00] how, what does that whole process look like?

I'm assuming you've read the book built to sell by

John Warrillow then.

he's been on my podcast too. You

Oh, man. Okay. All right. All right. I never reached out to him. I just assumed because he's kind of more often in the space of selling businesses and working with business owners to sell their businesses. He's not interested to come on, talk to us, plug freelancers, but that's one of the books that I always recommend freelancers read, even if you don't have any interest in selling your business, it is an incredible journey to go through because it's a parable it's written in a really, clear way of like understanding of, what he's trying to teach you through a story in in characters and, whole lesson isn't necessarily to build a business to sell, but build a business.

That's such a pleasure to run that you don't even want to sell it, that's kind of the spoiler at the end of the book. But I do want to talk about one more area of your business worth diving into, and that is pricing. Corporate pricing is a dark art to me. It's a black box. I don't understand it.

I've never worked with corporate clients before. So I'd love for you to chat about this. In the wedding world, there's kind of like a capital you can charge. It's like. don't know what you could try.

Do you remember why, what was the top you kind of got up to in the wedding world

before you moved on to corporate

25? [00:52:00] I lied. I don't know what I'm talking about anymore. I was like, I was like our whole wedding budget. So I'm surprised you get that just for video, okay. So you were in the higher end weddings, I imagine.

let's talk about the corporate stuff, cause like, it seems like you don't have any issue throwing a big number out there and saying, this is what I charge and standing behind it. Most freelancers are not psychos like you and we struggle. We struggle with throwing big numbers out there.

So like, I can tell you right now, if I went to a corporate client and was offering services to them, I might be like uh, it was 5,000. Good to you. I don't know. Like, is that a lot? No, like the laugh at me. And they'll be like the person, like your, your lawyer client who was like, can you just charge me a hundred an hour because we're billing you plus some to our clients and I don't want to build 25 So let's talk about the pricing thing. Um, what's your approach or your

thesis on

pricing for corporate class?

Yeah, who is a great conversation? Something I'm very passionate about because nobody charges as much as they should. And best advice I was ever given was like double your prices.

That's my most viral Tik TOK. Is we just saying double your

prices and then

following it up with bad math and you get a half million views and [00:53:00] take doc that's the formula guys.

yeah. So the guy that told me that he's like,

okay, I was at a workshop. He's like, nah, nobody's going to actually take that advice. So here's what you do. Raise your prices by $300 every time you get booked until bookings slow down. and I did that model and I was like, man, we actually ended up doing more than doubling our price.

Like we should have done this a long time ago.

our episode with James Martin on episode 2 0 4, just a couple episodes ago. his whole thing was he raised his prices 5% a month, every single month. without fail, like that's just the way he did things. And at the end of the year, it was like, you know, almost a doubling of prices.

So anyways, I like that the slow and steady thing versus just doubling your prices because it's just more,

it's less scary. So continue on your,

your, your pricing for corporate

When on a discovery call with a client who, has some rough idea of a video that they want I usually pretty quickly, you know, ask them, well, what's the budget range that you guys are thinking about whether or not I get that number it's really to figure out where are they at in this whole journey?

are they ready to buy? Because if people are ready to buy [00:54:00] they've got some kind of a number. And if they have no idea, then I know what they're after. And it's really thereafter me educating them on the whole video process. Like, what does this cost? You just tell me how, how much is going to cost nine times out of 10.

Those are not good fits for me. And so I'll just pretty much cut to the chase. Try to figure out what video that they've seen, that they like. And just try to say like, yeah, videos like that, you know, we've done stuff like that. That start at, you know, $20,000. Is that in your budget range?

it's like them asking how long is a piece of string. You're like it's as short or as long as you need it to be. I don't provide short strings, however, but it's

basically saying like, we can spend 10,000 and we can

spend a million. What's your budget?

Yeah. And I use the, you know, you don't go out with a real estate agent looking at houses without telling your real estate agent, roughly Like what you want to spend.

Ooh. I love that. I've never heard that before.

I'm going to steal that from now on, and then I'm going to take full credit of that

by the way.

I probably stole it from uh, Chris Docker or whatever Ducker.

Uh, So I think a great way, like when you're just like, well, I'm not really sure,

[00:55:00] like, I'm not confident enough ask them that.

Cause that's like bold. Ask them for the budget. I pretty much get like everybody to either tell me their budget range. Or it's clearly they're not ready book, so I'm not, there to educate them for 30 minutes. Remember I'm I want to have a 15 to 20 minute call. Not that we wouldn't have, more stuff to send them or ways to educate them, but it's not going to be me on the phone for 30 minutes doing.

So I think a great question to ask people is when you have this video your clients are seeing it, or wherever, whatever you're going to do with it, do you want to happen? going to make money from it? is the goal for it to save you time?

Like, what is the dream scenario here? I might just say like, over the course of the next year, how much money could this video generate for your business? a, lot of times people aren't thinking like that they want an ROI on this thing that they're going to do, which is why they're doing it.

I had one client who we were gonna it was a health device, like a medical device. And it turned out that if they sold one device through the video that we were doing, I mean, it was like a two or [00:56:00] $300,000 piece of equipment.

So the guy was like, we just need to sell one. And I was like, okay, the bar's really low. But then I know he knows. And I'm like, I'm not going to charge you, you know, a hundred thousand dollars for the video the other question I like to ask is like, maybe you don't know the number. Maybe you can't think like what, what this could be worth or how much time it's going to save you by having this.

I can help them figure that out. But of it like this. What if you don't do this video? will it affect anything? what will happen with the business or with this launch? Or if you don't have a video and if they don't have an answer, like, if they're just like, well, I don't know. Like we know we need to have one. Then I know that they don't value me. They don't value the creative. they're not going to put the money behind this. they really don't care. but if they say, man, if we don't get this video, our launch, our whole campaign video is like the most important thing.

Like, oh, okay. So we're value. We're really valuing this thing. Okay. So if you're really valuing it and maybe I have a sense of like what this could do then when I tell you that. I think, you know, a piece [00:57:00] like this might be like 20 or 30,000 bucks, like that should make you balk. Right. so that's just an easy way to kind of like, feel like when you do value based pricing and say like, How much are you valuing this in? What do you think you can get out of it? Then it just makes it a lot easier to come up with pricing or talk about your pricing than just say, I charged a hundred bucks an hour. Oh, sweet. Like let's hire you. get you for 20 hours. And that's like 2000 bucks and wow.

We just saved a lot of money and you call Ryan and Ryan's going to charge 20,000 bucks for the same thing. And it's just, I asked a couple of different questions and didn't like, throw my hourly price or my day rate out. Cause that's not what they want. they want results. And if they can see the value, then, for them to pay $20,000 for their, potentially like million dollar product launch that they're going to have. Yeah. They're going to pay 20,000 bucks.

And so just to kind of, to break that down, it sounds like on these calls with these corporate clients, you're trying to figure out. Whether or not, they have put any thought into what the value of the video is going to be. First and foremost, if they've put no thought into it, then you [00:58:00] probably don't want to work with them anyways, because they're just looking for a butt to sit in a seat and to do things for you.

edit the video, shoot the video you want a video monkey, right? Like and that's not who you work for. You work for people who understand the value that you're providing as a videographer or as a video creator.

so when you get to this conversation, you are tying the, video to the outcome that they want and putting a value on that. And that's essentially what allows you to charge so much for the same services. Somebody might be getting $2,000 for, because they aren't finding a, the clients who are finding value in what you're providing and be tying the value you're creating for them or the value they're going to get out of it, to the thing that you're doing for them.

Only question I have now to kind of follow up that whole thought process. What happens when. Someone else can provide the same or similar value at one 10th of the price. I'll say this from the perspective of someone who has hired freelancers before I hate fiber for the freelance community, I will always tell our listeners don't get on Fiverr.

If you can help it because they become reliant. You got to pay the 20%, five or tax. You're going to always be dependent on them, feeding you versus you actually planting [00:59:00] your own crops and growing your own crops and harvesting your own crops. And living off the land as a freelancer is supposed to do.

But as a business owner, I will hire off Fiverr all the time. And the reason being, even if something's valuable, sometimes, sometimes it is a button, the seat kind of job. So like how do you set yourself apart from somebody who can say like, I can create just as good of as Ryan for a 10th of the price, how do you differentiate those sorts of arguments?

Because I know our listeners have those same thoughts in their head of like, yeah, I can 10 X my price, and I can tie it to value all day long. But the guy next to me who can do just as good a job for a 10th of the price. So there's no way I can get 25 or

$20,000 for the.

So we started doing this thing, about six years ago. And when somebody calls me, I know it's either going to be an agency clients or a, not an agency called. And so there's just a couple of questions that I'll ask them Hey, tell me about the video projects. And so tell me, and I'll know, like through their job company that they work for, if they're an agency or not, but I won't bring that up.

I'll ask them like, okay. So work with people in two different ways. One way is that you have [01:00:00] this video that you need, and you're going to provide like some guidelines, maybe some storyboards, you just need to like a really good cameras and are smart people that know how to run cameras and can push buttons the way that you want us to do that.

So you're going to direct this project and tell us what you need the other way is we come alongside you as a creative partner. You know, maybe you've done video in the past. Maybe you haven't maybe you have like a vision. It sounds like you do have a vision for what this, but you're not super confident that that's the right vision.

We would come alongside you and help you articulate what a good video needs be in this sort of situation. Which one sounds more like you nine times out of 10, especially if they're not in an agency, they say like, oh, that second one. They're like, you know where we come alongside you and want you to be the expert.

I'm like, great. So in that case, what we do with people like you is we a two-hour workshop. So before you hire us for production, before we start storyboarding or anything like that, we're going to sit with you and your team, the stakeholders of this project for two hours, we're going to ask a bunch of questions about the goals.

We're going to start with the [01:01:00] end in mind, and then we're going to go through our video making process and we'll go through story and just kind of like talk about some of the things that we need. We'll come up with some

key

pillars.

quick question about that. At this point, are they your client yet or are you still like

in sales mode? If you're doing a two hour workshop.

the workshop is a paid workshop.

So I tell them like, You know, I'm still on the phone with him. Like I'm kind of painting the picture of what This workshop is the workshop cost $2,500, but I'm not going to let you hire us to do this workshop unless you have a budget range in mind for your project.

And I can tell you, most of the clients that are hiring us, our average budget is it starts at around $20,000. So if you don't have $20,000, at least for this project and your project could cost 30, 40, 50, a hundred thousand dollars, but we just need to know, like, what is your range because you shouldn't hire that.

For $2,500 workshop. If you only have $5,000 for your video, like that's just doesn't make any sense. So people will hire us to do this workshop. We sit with their team, we go through this whole process from there, we create a blueprint we're just [01:02:00] regurgitating everything that we went over in this meeting with some creative context, some, maybe some sound design ideas or a sample videos, and then we'll come up with two or three proposals, so in this blueprint they're paying us $2,500 to give them this guide.

And then from there they can hire us to do any three of these options that we set before them. Or they can take that to the Fiverr guy and say, Hey, here's, the blueprint. Do this now, you think anybody has taken our blueprint and gone to somebody else to do it? No, because we're sitting in this room, we buy him lunch.

We're hanging out. They're like, man, these guys are they're fun. They're friendly. They're smart. And they have a process dialed in. So we've done this workshop, dozens and dozens of times, which has led to like millions of dollars of work,

This is so brilliant. Like, don't know why I haven't thought of this myself, but you're taking like a piece of the project, which is like the planning process. every freelancer does this in some way, shape or form, but correct me if I'm wrong. The funnel [01:03:00] looks, something like this.

they are referred to you or they find your website. They learn more about you, whatever book, a call with you discovery, call, whatever you do this 15, 20 up to 30 minute call, maybe to kind of chat about the project, what they need, what they want, trying to find budget range.

And then you say, okay, great budget seems like it's on kind of within the range that we're looking at. our next step would be to do this workshop, it's $2,500. once we go through this workshop, we'll have a full plan, a full blueprint for you. once we have that blueprint, you have options to either take us and hire us to create the video that we just blueprinted,

or you can take it wherever you

want.

is that the process? Is it the

sales process

I'm getting

That's it? what I didn't mention is that I do tell people, Hey, if get to the end of the two hour workshop in you're like, this is a waste of time. I'll give you your 2,500 bucks back.

You're tying your guaranteed to the workshop instead of the 30 or $40,000 video project. Okay. this is brilliant, by the way, what's your conversion rate from paid workshop to full video?

A hundred percent.

Okay. Yeah, as I figured. All right. So if you sell them on the $2,500 project, this, this kind of goes back to like the old [01:04:00] school marketing Russell Brunson tripwire offer, like in your world, when you're doing a $50,000 project, the $2,500 project is the trip wire.

Right. and then they're naturally going to take the next step with you because you've added so much value, but you're tying the guarantee to that smaller thing. So that if it just isn't a good fit at that point, have you had a refund after that?

No zero refunds. it's a two hour investment of our time versus, you know, an 80 hour, a hundred hour, my friend Preston, who is, it came from the world of us. He's like, dude, if you could offer a money back guarantee to your clients, I'm like, that's impossible. Like I can't offer anything back after we've invested

I hear that all the time and freelancers, because you put so many hours into it, but this is like, I'm stealing this by the way. Thank you. I'm going to put this in multiple businesses that I have, but that's so cool. on your website and your about page you have on there, written in there through our own video business. he meaning you, Ryan has booked multiple six figure jobs. so this to me is the. Between closing a 2000 or $5,000 video project and a [01:05:00] six figure video project as Ryan has taken the time to build a whole process around this I love that. I mean, I, this is probably a good place to wrap up, cause I didn't realize we're an hour and a half into our conversation. I said, I said, oh, we're usually 45 minutes to an hour. And then I completely disrespected the time. But, um, is there anything else that needs to be said before we wrap this up?

Or where do you want to send people to connect with you? learn more about what you got going on.

if you go to a studio, sherpas.com/blueprints, you can see, an actual blueprint that we did for our clients. And, I mean, you can take that and maybe reverse engineer it.

I do sell our process and I've got like actual clients that we've gone through, you know, the workshop with that you can watch and all that stuff, but if you get the blueprint, you'll eventually get introduced to this whole thing that we sell. but the blueprint should be really helpful because you're like, wow, he sells this, this is 2,500, it looks great.

But not even just about the blueprint. It's about the whole process. in the trust that we build with these clients that has led to, massive clients, but also like, Our team [01:06:00] has like really clear direction. I think that's been like one of the best things is like our clients know what they're getting now.

It's not just like the person that we talked to on the phone. It's like the stakeholders. CEO is not seeing the final video when everything's done, but the CEO is usually a part of this workshop. And so when the CEO is seeing the video, she's like, yeah, that's exactly what they said they were going to do for us versus like, what is this, why did we do this project?

This, I don't like the font, like what's going on here. so there's, buy-in from everybody. So it's just been a, it's been a massive win for our company. so anyway, I've got that. Um, and then obviously the grow your video business podcast. I have super fun guests on there. Brian, hopefully I'll get you to come over there.

Uh, it would be great to spend another hour and a half with you. you know, on my

Yeah, I've got to do tit for tat. I got it. I got to spend an hour and half, but it was just funny. You said, um, earlier in the conversation you were like, and I'm not spending an hour on the phone with these corporate clients, but if you call on the podcast and spend an hour and a half chat with me

on here,

I was hoping you would buy like a six figure [01:07:00] video from me or something

I mean maybe, maybe eventually I that's one area that I am not strong is my video production, so,

so we'll have a link to that blueprint and obviously as podcasts in our show notes, if you go to six-figure creative.com/ 2, 0 6, we have links to all of Ryan's stuff I'm going to be after this episode, I'm going to be going to your website and telling that blueprint myself. Cause I want to, I want to reverse engineer what you've been doing. That's been successful. So thanks again for coming on here, man.

Yeah, dude. Hey, this has been super fun and congrats on being over the 200 episode mark. I've listened to your show. Uh, you have so many relevant topics. I know you're making a difference in a lot of people's lives, so, thank you, for doing that, really just trying to up-level people's lives and their livelihood.

I just think that's honorable work and appreciate what you're doing.

I appreciate what you're doing, right. I've again, I've been listening to your podcast recently as well, gearing up for this interview and, I love what you're doing over there as well, man, you're obviously a, a real good dude. And uh, if you're in a mastermind with, Graham Cochrane, then,

Oh yeah. You guys know him. Yeah. That's fun.

For years. I'm sure everyone knows that if he wants associate with Graham is also a good [01:08:00] person. So I've got to have you on man.

Thanks so much, Brian.

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