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The 5 Business Bottlenecks Holding You Back From $100,000 Per Year

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Want to know the secret that separates failing freelancers from 6 figure freelancers? It's this one concept:
6 Figure freelancers constantly solved their business bottlenecks. If it sounds stupidly simple, it is, but it's definitely easier said than done. Let me break it down real quick…
There are 5 main parts of any real business (freelancers included). Here they are:
  • Part 1: Lead generation – This is the part of your business where new people find out you exist and that you offer a (hopefully) valuable service.
  • Part 2: Lead Nurture – This is the part of your business where you're staying top-of-mind over a long period of time until the lead is ready to hire you. According to studies, only about 3% of any market is ready to buy “now”, so nurturing them until they're ready is crucial to getting hired.
  • Part 3: Sales – This is where conversations turn into clients (i.e. dollars in the bank).
  • Part 4: Fulfillment – This is where you're actually doing what you've been paid for.
  • Part 5: Lifetime Value – This is how much one client is worth to your over your lifetime. It can be determined by how much you charge, how often they come back for more, how many people they refer to you, etc.
The issue is that ONE of these five areas is your bottleneck right now. Until that bottleneck has been fixed, there's no point in improving anything else in your business.
The freelancers who make it to $100k/year are the ones who constantly solved their ONE bottleneck, took a step back, re-assed their business to see what the next bottleneck was, and dove all-in on that bottleneck until it's solved. Rinse and repeat.
This week's podcast episode dives into each of these 5 areas and what you can do to solve the bottlenecks in your own business.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • Why Brian is wrong for being anti-air-fryer
  • Business bottlenecks: how they related to your personal life
  • Determining what's holding your freelance career back
  • Why lead generation isn't the problem most freelancers are facing
  • Email's not dead – use an email list for your business!
  • Why mastermind groups are important to your success
  • What a fulfillment bottleneck means for your sales process
  • How to solve your biggest bottleneck

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[00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I am your host Brian Hood. I'm here with here with my big bald. Beautiful co-host Christopher J. Graham after


they're part of our show never gets old. I love it.

Yeah. I mean, I that's the only time you get compliments from me, that's fine. That's literally the only time you get compliments for


The only reason I come, this is the only reason. Anyways, Brian, how are you, sir?

I'm good, man. I got my new neon sign behind me. As you can see if you're watching this

on YouTube,

it's it says, it says, something that I say all the

It says P is stored in the


no, It doesn't say that. But if you want to see what it says, go to their YouTube channel and watch this.

I was all I'm going to say, oh, you people are going to feel FOMO now, but it's something I say all the damn time. And I got tired of saying it. So I made a sign

for it. It's behind


Here's the coolest part. I'm going to do a little of this and it's, uh, we can also do these things to look at that. Oh,

Oh my gosh. Okay. This is gratuitous calls to action to go look at our YouTube channel for mediocre

[00:01:00] content at best.

All right, Chris, uh, how you been, man? How

you been?

I have been good. And Brian many times, have I thought about having this conversation with you

Oh God, this has never, that has never the

beginning of a good

no, no, it's a very good one. You know how we get obsessed with like things

No, that's you that's


you you're the guy who spends $3,000, $3,000, on headphones. You're the guy who buys a camera monitor. So you can stare at yourself more when you're

filming things.

Like you're the guy obsessed with



I I appreciate things, you know, I appreciate things. I appreciate my coffee stuff. Cause I, I like making like roasting my own beans, but I don't

mind it. I don't

obsess over them.

You like the coffee stuff a lot. You love roasting your coffee beans. I know because we've talked about this in the past that you do not have an air fryer. And I would like to say to you and the rest of our audience, dear God, get an air fryer. I am in the cult.

my God

It is so awesome.

I got the ninja version. It's got two drawers and my kids [00:02:00] and I are like, Hey, chicken tenders and French fries being, being no preheat time. It's delicious.

Here's the thing is I, I'm not against air fryers. The problem is we have limited counter space in our house and we don't want an ugly ass. AirFryer sitting up on our counter 24 7. So like there's a place on the counter, but there's no place in the counter to store it. Long-term and I'm just not about that life, our coffee roasters.

Big enough. We're not going to get another piece of another

appliance, but

but you know what? Let's just talk. Let's just talk about for a second. I just want to make sure our audience understands. Chris is obsessed. You're the one that talked about your vacuum multiple times on the podcast. You're the one who's obsessed with things and it's always the most amazing thing on

earth that Chris


It's true. This, this might be the most amazing thing on earth because when you use the air fryer, like all the hype, all the tech talks that you guys see that are like fryer. Those are for that. It's so freaking good. It's almost as fast as a microwave. It tastes way better than another.

I, would guarantee that most of our audience does not get air fire take talks [00:03:00] in their algorithm. You do though, Chris, you do because they know you're obsessed with, with products and gadgets.

All right. Let's, let's get to the episode today. So last week on the podcast we talked about personal bottlenecks and it sounds really boring, but it's actually a really interesting episode.

I thought I felt it. Me and Chris really opened up a lot on that episode and just talked about like personal stuff we talked about like, cause the whole, if you didn't go back and listen to that, it's not a hundred percent necessary for this, but you can kinda think of this as a part two. We're going to talk about business bottlenecks today, but the personal bottlenecks, there is no difference between you and your business.

You are your business when you're a freelancer, especially as a creative. So if you have those personal bottlenecks, which just to kind of recap real quick, where time bottlenecks, mental state bottlenecks, we talked a lot about that one skill bottlenecks, just lacking skills that you need to succeed and then blind spot bottlenecks, just not even knowing that you have this issue, those four things can hold you back a lot in your personal life and in your business, those things kind of go over.

But today we're going to focus on business bottlenecks and we have five that we're gonna talk about today. This is actually, I love this topic in general of these five sections of business in general, because these are like the five elements of business, in my opinion. And like most businesses, [00:04:00] they're like the five areas of your business.

And when you think about it through the lens of a bottleneck, it becomes even more powerful because we're, we'll talk, we'll talk you through all five areas of your business, that is that'll be a fun conversation in and of itself. But just understanding that this is one of these five areas is the thing that is holding you back right now that actually opens up a lot of freedom because now, instead of wondering what the hell you should work on or where you should be developing skills or where you should make time to invest in your business and work on your business you now understand that there's just that one, bottleneck, that one thing that's actually holding you back from


And I think what's interesting there that we can break down even further as when you've got a business, one of the things that is so difficult is that there are different parts of the business that create friction. They slow you down, or they slow a project down, or they cost a lot more of your time than they should. There's so many different bottlenecks that you can meet in your business, but 80% of the friction, 80% of that discomfort that I think you and your clients are going to feel it's going to come from one [00:05:00] place like Brian was saying, it's going to come from that one bottleneck.

And this episode, our hope is to help you guys figure out where is that one bottleneck that's causing 80% of my problems in the business.

Yeah. So let me, let me just do a quick overview of this. Cause I've talked about this on the YouTube channel a bit. But, and, and speaking of YouTube, but this is actually, there's a little personal side of this that is going to be talked about today on, on my business. I think I'm talking about last week, how I'll be saying some, I'll be talking about my own businesses in the trenches of why this is an important conversation today, but there are the, let me just give you the five areas of your business and.

And these is your bottleneck. First is generating leads for your business. The second is nurturing leads in your business. The third is sales. The fourth is fulfillment and the fifth is lifetime value. And that may not make sense yet. We're gonna explain every one of those in detail, but chances are just one of those is a major bottleneck for you right now that is holding you back from succeeding.

Yeah. One of the things I would say, I'm sure there are people listening Right, now. They're like, I don't even know what a lead is,

[00:06:00] Right, right. We're going to talk about that. We'll talk about

I didn't either. At one point, none of us, I didn't, you know, nobody came out of the womb and was like, I'm going to enter these leads in my CRM. Thanks mom. Have a great day.

Google Gaga. Uh, Or were you going to use pipe driver's seat or closed.com? Mom?



You just say what a preposterous thought.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. What did, why did that tickle your fancy of all the things I've ever said?

I mean, I mean, it sounds like something you would like the monopoly man would say pastor his thought.

All right. Do we get, I'm letting you call money. You


down a little bit before we continue on.

One of the pastors thought

What's funny is like, things like that. I know. I know where I picked that up and I would say that ironically, just joking around and now it's become like a mainstay in my

that's hilarious.

[00:07:00] Yeah. Yup.

Oh boy.

All right. Let's talk about bottleneck number one or this. The big section of your business, number one, which is lead generation. And we'll talk about this from the perspective of like how this could be a bottleneck for you, but also just give you some general thoughts and strategies around lead generation because I'll guarantee anyone listening right now.

Most people listen right now thinks that this is their number one issue. What I can tell you right now, it's likely not. And we'll get to that. But lead generation comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and it's not one size fits all here. And this is what makes it so complicated because business is not a one size fits all type of thing in every S especially as freelancers.

Like we, we all have different forms of lead generation. So like, if you are, if you are going to areas where your ideal clients hang out, whether you're like a producer and you go to shows and you're around bands, or you are a designer and you go to business events around your city and you get around businesses that are looking for designers, or, you know, insert yourself wherever, like those are all forms of lead generation.

It's not just all this stuff that you see on the internet, like running ads and [00:08:00] getting your email list built up and building your social media, following those are all forms of lead generation as well. But this is a huge misconception that people have about lead generation is that this is the thing that's holding them back when it's really not.

And I don't know if we should talk more about lead generation and

how to

solve this issue

Yeah. I have an idea on that. So when it comes to lead generation it's really important that you are doing stuff you could call the marketing stunts, to try to get people to notice you. And that marketing stunt might just be like, you wear a purple shirt every day or most every day.

Oh my God,

you stopped doing

that a

long time ago, but

I need to buy a whole new wardrobe and I'm putting it


I'm at a hundred percent agree with you on that? We've talked about this. Your shirts just didn't fit you, Chris. But uh, but I, I want to push back a little bit. I don't like the term marketing stunts, but I do like the fact that you said you need to be doing

stuff because marketing stuff is still more than most people are doing.

That's the thing. So like most people have no form of lead generation whatsoever. So [00:09:00] even though I'm saying it's not everyone's bottleneck, there's still a massive discrepancy here because people are just not doing anything regarding lead

generation. So like,

anything is


than nothing because most people are doing


when you're running a business, if you are thinking like a business owner, you're thinking like an entrepreneur, you're thinking like a marketer, there are going to be times when you're going to come up with an idea of something that you could do that would generate a tension for your business.

Maybe a little bit now, and then non afterwards, or maybe something that will continue to generate attention. So if you're in a situation where you have the opportunity to be interviewed by a magazine and it's going to be, they're going to post an article about you.

That's a great idea for you to explore that or to try to make that happen.

As people continue to find that article, they'll continue to learn about you. That's how people's online. Reputation can grow so fast. This is just so much media out there that people are stumbling upon that points them back at a single person.

Now, So with Legion, it's a struggle, man. When you're trying to find the right [00:10:00] people to get attention from it's it's, it can be a very frustrating process because sometimes you'll get a lot of attention, but absolutely no growth in your business as a result. So when I was first figuring out the content marketing thing, perfect example of this was I saw that national donut day was coming up.


do you remember this


I just noticed it's already a bad idea,

so I knew national donut day was coming up and I knew, I knew like, Hey, there's a ton of people that I want to work with, who like microphone. As a person who masters music, I want to get people who like microphones to know who I am.

No, I think, I think you had just done this right.

When we met

So I made an image just like a little square, 10 80 by 10 80 image that used donuts over the microphone that had the matching shape of the donut for it's like microphone, pickup pattern.

And that went viral. Like it got shared all over the place. And I put like Chris Graham at Chris Graham mastering in the bottom of it. I didn't get a single customer out of it, but [00:11:00] thousands and thousands of people in my industry were like, oh,

Yeah, you got tons of likes and fall and, and stuff on, on social media, but no customers from that. So here, let me, let, let me bring this back up. Cause I think this is an important conversation. This is why I don't like the term marketing stunts is because that's a good, that's a marketing stunt. It's clever.

It was, I, I remember seeing the image. It was actually really well done for anyone, the audio industry. Like they appreciated that and it, honestly, it should have worked in some way shape or form because like the only people that would care about that are our engineers and engineers have a ton of sway over who masters the record.

The problem is like, no, one's going to pick their mastering engineer off of a doughnut meme that came on national donut day. So it wasn't, it didn't, it didn't build you any credibility. It didn't really do anything other than say, oh, this is funny. And maybe I see.

what I struggled with to understand back then that you really helped me understand was there's a big difference between attention and audience. When it comes to lead gen having a consistent game plan to grow an audience is much more effective [00:12:00] than I did. One thing one time and hoped that it generated some Goodwill with the right.

Yeah, I think, I think if you just look at the word lead generation, like if you think about a generator, what does a generator do? It generates electricity. And you don't want that to be an intermittent on and off thing. You want it to be a constant. So when you're thinking about lead generation, it needs to be something that is long-term constant repeatable sources of leads in your business.

And for you specifically, Chris and your business, you were doing stunts like that all the time. But the actual lead generator that turned her business around and turned into a six figure, multiple six figure a year business as a mastering engineer was Google ads. You were doing YouTube ads and Google ad words to bring leads to your, to your business.

And you were getting, you were getting email lists like customers, you were building. How big does your email list get by the end of


your big stint of running ads?



Yeah. And that was the source of, that was the main source of your business. Now you've got referrals, obviously you've got other things from that, but,

[00:13:00] that was your lead gen was.

Well in ads are funny. So. When you're running ads for Legion, it comes down to how much are you spending on ads per quality lead that you get, which ultimately breaks down to how much are you spending on ads per sale?

And so it's cost per acquisition is the, the abbreviation for that seat or customer acquisition costs. That's another


of saying it.

Yeah. So basically if, if I sat down and said, okay, I spent a hundred dollars on ads and I got to $1,000 projects off of it, then I can pretty safely bet that I should probably keep running ads. I

should spend some

more money.

but let me, let me pause. Let me pause you on this, because that is, that is actually the combination of lead generation lead, nurture and sales together. That's an ad funnel. I don't want to necessarily go too far down this because the whole point is the, the paid ads that you were doing were what was generating the leads for you.

That was the lead generation portion of this. And on top of that, Paid ads doesn't have to be the way you go. Like that was just your path, Chris. [00:14:00] But there was always a cost associated with lead generation is either time or it is money. There is, I don't know of any sources of leads that don't cost one of those two things.

So before you say, oh, I'm not doing paid ads, you are, you're just spending time instead of dollars. So don't, don't feel like you're any higher mightier because if your time is worth a lot of money and you're spending a lot of time on lead generation, you're worse off than Chris Graham was spinning. You know, how many, like hundreds of thousands of dollars on

ads in your lifetime?

And here's the thing. I would do it all again, in an instant, know, you brought up such a great point of client lead generation talking about it in regards to a generator lead gen is not a thing that you do. It is a thing that you should build. You should build the generator. You should build the system that.

consistently. Yeah, it's you traction. And what that might mean is that you podcast with a friend about a thing that your customers might be interested in on the weekly

not bad, but I would, I would actually disagree on where a podcast fits in this whole picture here. Yeah. Podcast is not lead generation for me. Podcast is leading nurture. The six-figure creative podcast you're [00:15:00] listening to right now is lead nurture. We'll get to that in a second, but, but it is a system.

It is something that it is, it is running in the background. It's partly. And let me just go ahead and break it to everyone listening right now. there is not a clear boundary between link lead gen lead, nurture sales fulfillment. Some of these things blur lines. So like, don't feel like there's going to be these






and I'll do my best to kind of explain where I believe that these lines should be delineated. So Legion, someone becomes a lead the moment they have expressed interest and you have a way to contact.

It's so true. That's a great way of putting it. So like, if they're on your social media, if they're a social media follower, they they're potentially a


It's hard to, to reach them, but it is, it is,



if they've expressed interest. So if you're reaching out to them and have never had a conversation about whatever it is that service that you provide and you find a way to round that corner with them and, you know, man, love this, love that the picture you took, it looks really similar to a picture that I did that I retouched [00:16:00] recently for my photo retouching business here.

Checking it out. Cool. I love how you both use the lines. Like that's a nice softball pitch. And if they're like, oh dude, I didn't know you did photo retouching. That's awesome, man. I do on my own right now. I freaking hate it. That's a lead son. They have now expressed like an, an it's a need that they have expressed and your way to get in touch with them.

So you could look at it and say Like there's something bef before lead.

yeah, you make a good point, but I do want to push back a little bit, Chris, and just say they don't have to as expressed interest.

They just have to be somebody that, that could be interested because not everyone expresses it. And I'll just give you an example, just T just general digital marketing for anyone like most people in the freelancing world don't even follow general digital marketing practices and email list is by far the best sales tool you'll ever have.

If someone is on your email list, because they've downloaded, what's called a lead magnet, which is something you're giving away in exchange for an email address they're not expressing interest in hiring you as a freelancer, but they're expressing interest in the [00:17:00] thing that shows that they are a potential lead for you.

So they're just because they didn't say I want to hire Brian Hood for, to launch my podcast. One of my businesses is a podcast, a production agency, just because they, they sign up for lead magnet. They didn't express that they want to hire me, but they express it. They're a quality candidate and I have a way to contact them and build that relationship via lead nurture.

So I just want to make sure we understand, like, to me, email list is the way to go. I will, I will praise that till the cows come home, until that changes. It's been the same thing for like the last 15 years. Like email lists has still been the most effective way to actually sell something. Now I know in freelance.

It is not as common, but I still people crushing it with, with email lists. So I just want to put that out there as like, that's the easiest way to understand this whole concept of lead-generation is I am putting something out in the world that they're going to give me a name and email address so that they are living in a database somewhere called my email marketing software.

That is a lead. A lot of the businesses out there already do this is called digital marketing, but we just haven't adopted that as freelancers [00:18:00] because we just don't understand like best practices for online digital marketing and everything is moving online now. And we saw this through. COVID how everything's gone more and more remote.

The more remote we are, the less in-person we are, the more these digital marketing aspects have to be learned and utilized in our businesses. And it's time to stop ignoring it because as freelancers, as creatives, we, we should be able to utilize these better than all these businesses who are just using numbers and data.

And like all this left brain thinking, and they're not being creative with it. You can do so much better. And just because you see some cringy person on Facebook with some crazy ad of them in front of a Lamborghini making you cringe doesn't mean you have to do it that way. You can still do it in a really cool creative way, but that doesn't mean you have to ignore these other things.

You just have to utilize them in a way that makes sense for you, your business and your creativity.

So off soapbox.

I saw a great example of somebody utilizing that. When I was watching videos this week, I was watching videos on YouTube and I was watching camera videos, and I saw like, there's this new camera that came out, that I was interested in.

So this is another [00:19:00] product

that you're obsessed




I would like to have. And

okay. Yeah.

So I'm, I'm interested in this Okay. Okay. So I'm interested in this camera and I'm getting ready to watch a YouTube video about it. And all of a sudden an ad comes on and it's a dude with a huge pair of binoculars and they're pointing right at the camera and he says, these binoculars are so good.

I can see that you're watching videos about Keras. And I immediately, I was like, you are right about that.

That's actually

I will listen to what you have to say you goofball. And like, it was a fascinating way for him to reach out that, like, if that's not true, then the person is not going to click.

It's not going to watch the video and you're going to have to pay for them. But in one of the anyone That's going to keep watching that ad is going to be a very strong potential candidate as all this, a camera nerd. And I'm selling things that only camera nerds would want. So he's qualifying his leads as [00:20:00] quickly as possible there.

And I think that that is, good example of how creatives can do a better job at marketing. the normal business people can because creators like our job is

to make something that gets people to pay attention to it. That's marketing.

So, so just to kind of add on to what you said, Chris, like I think lead generation in our world, I'll be talking about this a lot more you should think through what can I create?

That is very appealing to my ideal client. It could be an ad. It could be a lead magnet. It could be something, but you're trying to create a. And it could be a genuine conversation with somebody that turns into a sales conversation, or it could just be you get a name and email address and they get that thing.

So I would love to see our audience do more of this, but I think we can move on from lead generation. Because again, like I said, at the beginning, this podcast, I don't think lead generation is everyone's bottom line. I don't think it's most people's bottleneck because there's, there's other things in this list that are more people's bottleneck.

And remember, there's only one bottleneck out of these five things. Only one of those things is your current bottleneck right now, holding your business back from where you're trying to go. [00:21:00] So that keep that in mind, listening to this whole episode, you can always fix all these five things, but the F the whole point is get it to a sustainable level, a level where it's like, okay.

And then move the, move the fuck on, move on. Because at that point, we've got to get these other four areas dialed in to the point where it's at least acceptable. And then we can go back and see. Honing in each and every one of these to like a really dialed in wonderful flowing virtuous thing. So let's talk about number two here.

That was lead Legion. And we talked about that long enough. Number two is lead nurture. You have contact info. If it's, if a mailing list you have their name and email, or you have had a good conversation with somebody at a, at an event or something now lead nurture is the part of your business where you are nurturing them.

Long-term because if you look at something called the buyer's pyramid, only 3% of any group of people is in the position to purchase. Right now, there's been countless studies on this only 3% of a given market is ready to buy

right now, yeah, the other 97%, Chris are [00:22:00] not ready to buy right now.

So what do you do with a 97% of an audience that is not ready to buy the service or product

you are selling?

You nurture

No, no, no. W Brian

we're creatives, when, when we have a lead and they might buy from a someday, if they don't respond, they want to buy from us immediately. It's because we are insufficient as creatives, that we are garbage people. And that all of the terrible things that we fear about ourselves are actually true.

And they know it. They found out about it. That's why they didn't hire You the day after you met them.

Yeah, that's where we all think. So this is, you actually make a really good point, Chris. That is the reason people in the, in the creative industry, the freelancing world. That's why we don't do lead nurture. That's why we don't follow up and stay top of mind is because we're afraid of like these, all these internal thoughts, we're projecting onto them about our



So great

point, Chris.

Thank you, Brian. I'm making a joke here because what I just described is a personal bottleneck that we talked about in last week's episode.

Oh yeah. So these things to all tie together, like I [00:23:00] said, there's no difference between you as a person and your business. And as a matter of fact, you could probably like go back and think, oh, lead generation. This is my bottleneck. Well, do I have a time bottleneck with this?

There's a reason I'm not fixing this right now. Is this because of time? Is that my mental state? I have, I have, I have limiting beliefs around this. Do I have lack of skills around lead generation? Do I have blind spots in lead generation? So you could actually probably take those four bottlenecks and look at each and every one of these business model X and put them two and



I love That I am obsessed with that of looking at each of these. This is actually a really great actionable for people listening. So we've got the, but your business bottlenecks are Legion lead, nurture sales fulfillment, which means doing the thing and then lifetime value, which means.

How much are you making from each of your customers? Each one of those things is going to have one of four issues either. You don't have the time to do it, right? You're not, you cannot schedule time to work on your business instead of Fort in that area. Or you have a mental state issue around this. We all do.[00:24:00]

Every single one of us, me. included my biggest mental state issue on the conversation that we're having now is on email nurturing hands hands-down.

I don't know why it's challenging for me.

we're going to come. We're going to come. back to that. We're going to come back to that cause that's a good, that's

a really good



continue on your

thought here.

Yeah. So each one of these

things, the E is either a bottleneck because you haven't put the time in your mental state is not healthy around this issue. You don't possess the specific skills to that part of, of your business bottlenecks. So it might be, you're not a good marketer, or it might be that you are not good at sales,

Or your bad copywriter.

We're bad copywriter.

You don't follow up with them. There are any number of things that you are lacking skills on. And I think probably most of us definitely me from 15 years ago would have been listening to this episode when, as soon as Brian said skills, I'm like, well, thank God. That's not my problem.

Am I right?

I don't know. I think most of the people I talked to understand, they lack the skills when it comes to outside of the creative world, when it comes to like marketing [00:25:00] skills, the skill of building systems out, I think they admit to themselves that they lack those skills. The question now becomes do they have the time to fix it?

Well, again, go listen to last week's episode. If you want to talk about these personal bottlenecks, because they apply specifically to fixing their business bottlenecks, but I want to move forward because you mentioned something about your own personal shortcoming, Syracuse. Lead-generation we talked about how you spent hundreds of thousand dollars generating leads for your mastering business.

Chris Graham, mastering.com. You built an email list of like 40 or 50,000 people. And then now you, I mean, you built a good business off of that, but then lead, nurture. Let's talk about lead nurture because you did an abysmal job of this. It is because this was not your bottleneck, by the way, or else your business wouldn't have worked.

So it didn't really matter that you didn't do this, but it's still, there was a mental issue around this that you didn't follow up with. Those leads. When we first met back in like 2017, we were in our mastermind meetup. And this first meetup this.

is my first time in the meetup. You had told the group that you had finally emailed your list at the time of 30,000 people.

You'd never done it before. You'd finally actually sent an email to that list. That was your first attempt at [00:26:00] lead nurturing.

And I don't know how

it went.

I made an additional 10 grand over

the course of the next month. and it was wild. So yeah, this, that was the first time. that you were at the mastermind group. And I think a week or two before I had like, had this heart to heart with our friend Bjork van and Lidge and Matt and Chris.

And I think there's some other people There too at the time. And I shared guys, I have an email list with 30,000 people on it and I never have used it before because I'm afraid people will think I'm spamming them and they'll judge me in the, and they, and my mastermind was like, Chris, what the F like, get off your ass and begin to email these people.

by the way is a power of a mastermind is, is pushing you, uh, beyond your limits. If you are, if you're, if you're like prescribing, you're struggling because of like insecurities or what we call your mental state, AKA a personal bottleneck, and that's holding you back from fixing one of your business bottlenecks, find a mastermind group.

They're fantastic. They will kick your ass if you're on the right one to actually make you to take action. But the result of that, Chris was [00:27:00] you emailed your list of 30,000 people for your mastering business. You got an extra $10,000 over the next


I call it.

I would say so I could definitely rock me, but here's the funny thing is I learned that lesson and I utilized it.

a lot and I built, basically a nurture email sequence. So what that means for any of you guys that don't, that aren't aware of, what a nurture email sequence is, is okay. They signed up for your thing, they downloaded your ebook, or they got your free guide to setting up of Adobe Photoshop templates, whatever they got something from you.

And then at that point, You sat down and something as easy as MailChimp

Why, MailChimp? Because they should be using easy funnels.io, which is my website butter, which has full email marketing and automation built in where you can actually build out a full follow-up sequence of weeks or months or years if you want to be sent out as specific intervals so that when someone signs up to your email list, you can nurture them with pre-written emails that go out daily.

A seven, a [00:28:00] 14, a 21 with pre-written emails that are helping them solve a pain point that are getting them closer to these cells. That's the whole point of lead nurture, easy funnels.io.

You can

sign up


that right now.

Continue on

Chris. Sorry. Sorry for the shameless

So let's go back to the idea of an email drip sequence. Someone gives you their information, they express some kind of interest in something that you've done, and then you write them. Let's just keep it simple 10 emails and you tell your email marketing software, Hey, send this one right away, then wait three days and then send this one and then wait five days and then send this one.

And you're trying to find ways. And Cochran explained this to me and it blew my mind. He said, you're trying to find ways to get people to delight in receiving an email from you. You want them to be like, Ooh, it's another one of these emails that I got value from last time. If they begin to get excited when they get an email from you, as I understand it, there's a better chance that they'll buy something from you.

Makes sense to me [00:29:00] and getting an email drip sequence set up. I think it's one of the easiest ways to jump into email marketing. So you sit down, okay. When someone signs up on my website, I'm going to send them an email about this thing that might be surprising and interesting to them or an email about this thing, which is perfectly timely to where I know they're at in life.

Yes. So actually to kind of add to that, Chris, like, this is why this is why so many people, you see them make lead magnets, which is just like, just to give you an example if you want to see a lead magnet, go to six-figure creative.com/agreement, that is like a template for a a project agreement, like a agreement contract that you send your clients as a freelancer.

that's a lead magnet that I give away to people for free. And it's really cool. It's really well done. I literally had a coaching client close a. How much it was the $30,000 project from that template that he just stole and swiped for his own thing. And I used the word steal, but like he took it and just adapt that to, for his business and then close the [00:30:00] $30,000 deal with it.

the reason I'm talking about it this way is because when someone downloads that client agreement, I know they're at a certain place in their business. And because of that place that I know they're at, I know what logical next steps they should take in order to move closer to a sale of some sort.

So those emails that follow up after that are related to that. Now, personally, I don't have those emails written out. So if you download that, you're not going to get nurtured emails from me because personally lead nurture is not my bottleneck lead generation is not my bottleneck. My bottleneck is two steps down and fulfillment.

We'll talk about that in a second, but it is worth noting that when you do lead magnets or something that tells you where that person is in their life, It helps you understand how to follow up because the number one reason people don't have followup sequences like nurture sequences, like this drip emails, if you want to call them, that is because they don't understand what to say.

They don't have a clue what to say and understanding the point that they are when they sign up. If your lead magnet gives you any information around that, it becomes so much easier to write those emails. Cause you know, the logical next steps they need to take in order to get closer to the sale. And [00:31:00] that can all be automated through something like easy funnels or MailChimp, if you want to be a plug, but that's fine.

Anything else to say about a lead


here, Chris, before

we move on


Well, I think the most important thing to.

bring up, and I struggle with this is that ultimately lead nurture is about building a relationship with the person. And that might be through something as automated as an email list, or it might be through you just repeatedly asking them to.

hang out and get coffee over the course of several months

That's true. Yeah. Lead nurture is staying top of mind. That is the whole point of lead nurture. Like lead generation is like helping people understand that you exist. The lead nurture is the whole, the whole journey of like, when it comes time, they get out of that 3% into, or out of that 97% of people that are not ready to buy now.

And they get into that 3% who are ready to buy right now that you're top of mind when that time comes, because it's going to be a different time for everybody. And there's no way for you to know when that time comes, unless they straight up tell you. So those regular nurture drip emails or the regular text check-ins, if it's a personal one-to-one connection or [00:32:00] those social media posts or that weekly podcast episode that you put out with your.

Chris Graham every week, you're staying top of mind when it comes time to, to buy or to solve that problem, or to get that coaching or to get that email marketing software or landing page building software, if you're, going for easy funnels, like this is Lee, this isn't, this is lead nurturing. You're consuming it right now.

We are nurturing you to the best of our abilities. Sometimes they're good at it. Sometimes they're not, I feel like we're

not great today

sometimes. I


this has been a struggle today,



be fair,

it has, we've had some, some obstacles to clear,

yeah, Yeah.

I think it's important. And I've said this a bunch of times on the podcast that when you are doing the lead nurture thing, that you were nurturing leads with people that you respect. And like, and enjoy the presence of, because if you do not like the people you are trying to sell to, you don't have any sustainability, you're going to burn the

F out

that's a great point. That's kind of. That's even more important than this whole bottleneck type of [00:33:00] conversation, because it's going to be really


to fix any of these

bottlenecks. If you hate your customer.

and that's the thing that is

its own bottleneck.

I wouldn't go and call it a bottleneck. I would

just say

that's just a flat

business in general, which I


is a bottleneck, but, but I don't want to, I'm not going to add to this list, Chris, so you can keep that one to yourself. Uh, Let's move on to number four, number three, in the list.

And that is sales. This is easy to explain if you are talking to a lot of people and everyone is saying you're too expensive, or everyone's saying I went with someone else or everyone, no, one's paying you money. You're closing a tiny percentage of your, sales opportunities. Then you have a sales bottleneck here.

there's a lot of other ways to solve this problem, but at the end of the day, it ultimately comes down to what I think sales is at the end of the day. Sales is one thing. It is the transfer of confidence. It is saying, I am confident that I am the best option for you. If you are not as equally as confident you will not.

So the whole sales conversation should be you trying to transfer that confidence onto that person. And there's a specific series of steps you can do. There's things you can do ahead of time in lead nurture there's things you could do in lead generation, just qualifying the right types of people. It all goes to [00:34:00] the, to the top of the funnel.

But in that instance where you're having a one-to-one conversation with somebody, sales is taking, transferring the confidence you have, that you are the best option for them. And by the way, if you aren't the best option, and you know that you're gonna have a tough time selling, which gets us to our number four bottleneck in a second.

But that confidence being transferred onto that individual, if you do a good job of that, you will close them but not everyone can do that because sales is a skill in and of itself. And it takes a lot of confidence discipline in honing the skill. It takes intentionality and mapping out an actual sales process.

Instead of winging the calls. Chris, do you have a sales process

when you, when you

get on

sales calls?

Oh, yeah. I don't have it in a, in a way that would be easy to. Right now, but

And that's fine. I'm not really like, I'm not trying to dissect your sales process. I was just generally, I was just curious

here, I don't think sales is your bottom line either Chris. So it's, it's kind of a moot point. It's the whole point of this conversation is not to tell you how to do each one of these skills.

It's to help you identify that this is a bottleneck and there are things you can do within this area to fix that bottleneck so that you can go fix your next one, because the second you [00:35:00] fix a bottleneck, it's the problem. As a business owner, the second you fix a bottleneck, there's another bottleneck somewhere else, inherently.

You've opened up the flow and your business in this area,

but there's a bottleneck somewhere

else, down or up. There's a

it's actually worse than that, Brian.

Ooh, I like This doom and gloom

this is spin so hard for me,

but when I would realize there was a bottleneck in my business, I would start to fix it. And I have a whole plan on how to completely remove that bottleneck. And I built some automations. I built some systems, I delegate some stuff.

I'd eliminate some stuff. And lo and behold, I get about halfway down. And I would go back through and do an assessment of my entire business. And I would realize that even though I have not finished this bottleneck solution, some of it's been implemented and I am saving a lot of time, energy and money as a result of the half finished system that I have.

And the bummer is that now it is no longer the bottleneck in my business. I didn't get to finish all the things I had laid out. I only got to incrementally improve it a little bit. [00:36:00] and then something else I realized was actually a bigger bottleneck in my business. So I had to go fix that until it wasn't in first place.

And what often happens when you're building a business and you're dressing each one of these bottlenecks is you never completely eliminate any one of the bottlenecks. You just get them down low enough so that they are not the biggest bottleneck anymore.

Yeah. So you make a good point, Chris. I, I don't know if I even fully understood what you said, Chris.

Cause I feel like there's only one bottleneck in a business. There's not multiple bottlenecks because if you just look at the way a pipeline goes, if there's a bottleneck, it all builds up right there. And then trickles through. If you release that all of a sudden, now there's another bottleneck down the down the way it has to be opened up.

So just to touch on the sales bottleneck a little bit more here, Chris, just to give some value and takeaway for people. I'll say one of the easiest ways to fix a sales bottleneck, if you are genuinely bad at sales is to actually get on the phone and talk to people.

One-to-one, it's the scariest way to sell it is the way that most freelancers avoid at all costs. They just want to do things through text, through DMS, through [00:37:00] email. But if you get on the phone, you're going to learn very quickly to read people. You're going to learn quickly why you're not getting hot.

You're going to learn. That's the big thing. When people do sales via text message or email or something, that's a medium where it's like a slow conversation. People get ghosted all the time. And when you talk on the phone, you're essentially forced to have these conversations and you learn what they're looking for, what their needs are, where their pain points are.

You learn, what is it landing with them? Because they're sitting right in front of you, hopefully on zoom or in person even better. And you can learn to lead, to read body language and start to understand. I just said something and they just kind of had a



Exactly. There are pauses in a one-to-one conversation on the phone or zoom or face to face, and those pauses make a big difference in communication. And when you have the ability to monitor those pauses and sense an objection where they're like, that part of his service seems expensive, or I don't know if we're would want that or not.

Maybe we won't get the bigger package. [00:38:00] Th that hesitation is so helpful as you try to figure out how to create the.

biggest win for this person.

Yeah. And I'll add to this. This is the fastest way to improve in sales. If you're talking to a client in person or on the phone or on zoom in a real time conversation, make sure you get to the money conversation. Before the end of the call don't don't cop out and say, all right, I'll send you a proposal, talk money on the call real dollars, and you'll see very, very quickly.

Objection, start to pop up. Well, yeah, we'll get back to you. We'll think about it. That's a, that's a great sign that you you did not put any sort of urgency in the conversation. Maybe you didn't maybe they're just trying to politely get out of the conversation and you can say in that, in the instance of delays, the way to overcome that is what's your main concern right there.

You will always get a reply back right there. Well, you know, we, we're just not sure who we want to work with yet. Oh, that makes sense. Have you talked to other people yet? Well, you know, we've talked to so-and-so down the road and they just seem to have a better blank or they have. More experience with X, Y, or Z.

And now you actually have a true objection that you can either overcome right then and there, or [00:39:00] an area that you can improve. And it's almost always the latter of the two. There's an area that you need to improve as a, as a service provider, as a freelancer, as a business owner that someone else does better than you.

And now you have an actionable takeaway from that call. You didn't just lose the deal. That's fine, but you learn something and you can actually improve that in your business now for the next call. And now when you're talking to somebody and they talked to the business down the street, and that does X, Y, and Z better than you will, you can say actually, you know what, we just changed this in our.

We just implemented this. We hired somebody for this, or I just got this amazing freelancer on board with me who handles this for me now. And here's what his stuff looks like or sounds like, or feels like or looks. Now you have a solution for that deficit in your business instead of every single person having that same objection in these conversations that you're having, that you don't even know about because they didn't even tell you because you didn't go for the money conversation, the money, the money topic in the call to where you got to the true objection, money will bring up objections on the call a hundred percent of the time if you're willing to dig in,

but it takes

bravery to


so. It's scary to talk


on a call, [00:40:00] but it's the

fastest way to



that was such a good, a good, spiel man. Like I'm, I'm challenged by that. I honestly, sales has not been a bottleneck for me, but I do have fear around talking money on the phone. It just feels unnatural and you know, it's funny. Cause I think as, as an insecure creative, like the rest of us, talking numbers is funny because you, you already know that that's when the objections will come up So w we hesitate to talk numbers to talk money with people, because we don't want their objections because those objections can challenge our identity as creatives, which is

hilarious because the danger of you having to get a real job, is most probably tied to your inability to close this.

Yep. So I will say that this actually goes back to the mental state bottle and personal bottleneck. If, if that's the way you feel about objections in the sales conversation, it's probably a mental, it's a mental flaw personally, because I love objections on a sales call. I love them because that helps me [00:41:00] understand where they are at mentally.

And then it helps me cause, cause here's the, here's the situation. If you are genuinely the best option for that person as a service provider, as a freelancer, as a creative, whatever you are, if you are genuinely their best option and their next best option is inferior to you, then it is your duty to sell, to get over the objections or else they're going to hire someone else or do it themselves and get a lesser product.

So the reason I love objections is because now we're getting to the truth of the matter. And in objections, I actually have. Process actually have answers. Bullet pointed answers to every single objection I've ever. Like if I've got an objection more than once I come up with an overcome for that, it's called objection, overcomes.

This is a great exercise for anybody right now. If, if you get the same objections on a call, which you will, if you do a lot of calls with people, you start cataloging those objections and come up with really good. You may not have a good one on the spot, You'll have these, these shower comebacks with these objection overcomes that will come to you later on, and you can write them down in your whatever document editor you like to use. So that's some more takeaways on sales bottlenecks. I will, I want to wrap up sales [00:42:00] bottlenecks here, but I'll say this in most cases, sales is not, is not the freelancers bottlenecks.

Surprisingly, I think number four is the bottleneck and maybe number five as well, but let's talk about number four here, which is fulfillment. this is my personal bottleneck was six-figure crave. And I want to talk about that and what actions are taken from that, but fulfillment is, is an interesting one because it actually encapsulates a lot of different areas.

Fulfillment is you actually delivering on the service you've been paid for? So someone you've had a sales conversation, you've promised all these things they've said, yes, they've paid you money. Now you have to fulfill on those promises so that you have happy, happy customers and clients, right? this is the bottleneck for a lot of people who are listening right now who think it's lead generation who thinks lead, nurture, maybe they think it's sales, but the reality is you likely have one of two issues in your

fulfillment. One is a skills bottleneck or a skills issue, and this is your bottleneck and fulfillment because you're bad at what you do. You can't put out a good product and this actually trickles up to sales. If you're bad at what you do and you know, your better way you do, or you have the inkling that you're bad at what you do are not the best at what you do.

Portray confidence in your sales [00:43:00] conversations. And earlier, when I said sales is the transfer of confidence. If you're not confident in your abilities to delivery, then now trying to transfer that lack of confidence onto this potential client of yours is going to show so you can't close people. So that, that can be the true cause of the sales bottleneck lead generation and lead nurture.

If you're bad at what you do. I mean, I can, I can give you a super bowl ad. I could pay for it for you, and you're not going to get clients. If at the end of the day, you're offering an awful service that nobody wants because you're bad at it. So this is, this is like a wake-up call, tough love. You know, your, your main friend, Brian, who has, who speaks his mind saying like, listen, if you're not the best at what you do work towards it, at least be the best in your area because like the skill of being creative, the skill of whatever you're doing is the most important skill.

Brian, I love what you said about confidence and about when you have a fulfillment issue, that it might be a skills issue. And I think for most people, they hear that as a creative is no, that is not it I put my heart and soul into my art [00:44:00] and it's good. And I'm awesome at this. We're not disagreeing on.

I think where most people go wrong with this is they begin to do other things that they are not great at there. They meet a client and they're like, oh man, this client's not really perfect for me. And they wanted to this service, but I don't really provide that service. So I'm going to find a way to do this service so that I don't feel like I'm losing out the FOMO again, back to the personal, the.

mental health bottlenecks that we experienced. I think this is where it gets the most difficult psychologically to be in a situation where you're like, okay, someone has offered to give me $10 to do a thing that will take an hour. I normally make a hundred dollars an hour, but because I can't bear the thought of losing that $10 that I say yes, and that is, that's hard.

We've talked about this so many times in the past. Henry Ford. It talks about this idea of your ability to walk past a [00:45:00] small pile of money that gets to a bigger one. And if you can do that, your confidence when it comes to fulfillment and then sales is going to skyrocket because you know that you are in your wheelhouse,

I want to add to that. It's really easy to say. Like, I sh you should never take that $10 project when you use it takes an hour. When you usually earn a hundred an hour, that's easy. Like, duh, anyone sitting here is like Chris, who would do



I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying it's, it's easy to, to objectively look in and say, that's stupid. But the thing that people mess up is when you do get offered a hundred dollars to do that gig, that will take you one hour and you typically charge a hundred an hour. That's a no brainer. You would do that.

But the problem is when it's a service, you're not the best app or service you're not naturally gifted with. And then now you've, you've taken on something that you're not very good at. And you start offering that as a service. And that's when you get to these people. And I see this in our community, I'm going to call it our commuter right now.

I said, go to your website and you have three to five to eight services listed on your website. I'm going to say it. I say it all the [00:46:00] time. I'm gonna say it again. People do not buy services. They buy outcomes. They don't care about the 10 services you offer. They care about the, the outcome you're giving them at the end of the day.

So if it takes 10 services, fine, if as long as you've at least got people in place to help you with those services that you're not great at, or if you're good enough, but the end product is what really matters at the end of the day, not the 30 services it takes to get to that end product, it's hard enough to be the best geezer example, Chris, to be the best mastering engineer.

It's hard enough to be the best master engineer, but if you do music production, you do mixing, you do mastering, you do sound design, You do like beats. you're a songwriter, you do all these things. There's no way you're going to be the best at any one of those things.

And that's where we get into this whole, you're trapped as a generalist. It's because you're taking on these one-off projects that slowly become more and more of your income. And you think if I can just make five or $10,000 a year from each of these five services that I have, I'll have a business. And the problem with that mindset is it doesn't work.

The person who is the best makes a significant amount of money more [00:47:00] than the second best and the third best all the way down to the hundredth best. There's a massive difference. It's just like in the Olympics that the time that separates the first and second place or the first, the fourth place is like less than a second in most events, like less than a second separates first from fourth place.

But first place gets the gold medal. They get all of the endorsements in the, in all the notoriety fourth place. You haven't heard about fourth place cause they don't matter.


don't really matter. Like you can say I was in the Olympics, but fourth place on the



of things, you're not



the big sponsorships. You'll still get sponsorships. It'll be fine. But it's just

fourth place Olympian. So fulfillment. There's the skill side, right? That's that's one bottleneck. That's, that's not really my bottleneck because I know my, my value and I know where it lies. And I focus on that. My bottleneck is on the second issue you can have around fulfillment and that is a systems.

That is time bottlenecks within your fulfillment. What happens inevitably as a freelancer, if you're good at what you do is that you will get more and more clients, those clients will refer people to you, or you you're good enough to have [00:48:00] a good system in place to generate leads, nurture leads, sell those leads.

And now you're on fulfillment. That's the bottleneck because you don't have the systems in place to actually fulfill on that work in an efficient manner. So you ran out of time and you literally cannot take on more clients. And this is actually to me, one of the easiest ways to visualize a bottleneck.

Let's just pretend you have incredible lead generation, which at six figure creative, we do incredible lead nurture, which is six figure creative. We do incredible sales, which is six-figure creative. We do fulfillment. However, in my coaching program, which is what I'm specifically talking about here, I can only take on a certain amount of.

The way it's set up right now. And that is my bottleneck. So that despite the fact that we have tens of thousands of leads that we nurture every week with this podcast, and I can close very large percentage of any sales call that I get on my bottleneck is in fulfillment of the coaching program. So I've got to revamp things in a way that makes it more scalable so that I can scale it up.

So that's my, it's a systems bottleneck in six-figure creative right now. And the fact, and this is actually me doing real talk right now, the fact that I'm [00:49:00] doing a podcast and a weekly YouTube video on top of trying to fulfill on all this stuff is utterly idiotic, which is why I stopped doing YouTube.

Why do to lead, nurture, lead generation activities in your business when your bottleneck is somewhere else? It makes no sense. It makes no sense to invest time, effort, and energy and an area to double down in an area when your main bottleneck is in fulfillment. That's why bottlenecks should be soft one area at a time.

And until you solve that one bottleneck, it makes no sense to overly invest in other areas. It doesn't mean you stop the other things. I haven't stopped lead generation. I haven't stopped lead nurture. I haven't stopped sales, but I have completely bottleneck fulfillment. And I've got to solve that before I start devoting other resources, which is why YouTube has been cut for me, man.

It was a hard conversation cause I was like, I'm going to commit for the full year. But then I heard of a conversation between, I can't remember the name of the guy. I heard this, basically this conversation we're having now about bottlenecks. It was a very short episode on a podcast. It was like 12 minutes long, but it was enough to get me thinking about like my own business.[00:50:00]

And I must have listened to the episode 10 times, Alex, or that's the guy's name? highly recommend him. If you are doing more, what six figure creative is, which is like you call it like info information, like selling information. That's what six figure creative is six figure home studio is courses, coaching, consulting, anything like that. It's more relevant for scalable businesses like that and not so relevant for freelancing.

So I don't, again, I don't know if it would really pertain to our audience or not, but brilliant guy. And I just thought, man, why make two pieces of content? When my bottleneck is somewhere else. And I've just got, I've been working on fixing fulfillment as my bottleneck for number four. For the last couple of weeks exclusively I've, I've really, I've really put heads down to fix this issue.

And so it's a big one for me. So systems billing out systems on this area for me for fulfillment. And that's some of our, some of our more advanced listeners. Usually, if this is your, if, if the systems around fulfillment or your


you're making

at least


figures a


in most cases.

So anything else to add to




we move on to



and, and a business


let's take just a quick swore

[00:51:00] soiree and, just banter for a second to get our energy up because it's late in the day for us. and we are powering through this episode. I wanted to share with you guys during the pre episode, I was eating a can of Pringles

which if you're watching on YouTube



what you should,

uh, He's got the

can of Pringles right next to his

Brian pointed out that the Pringles

guy's like a white circle with a big black mustache. And he's like, that mustache looks like your old mustache. And I was like, dude, what if for Halloween, I like got a giant. And cut out a circle for my face and then made the whole tube into a can of Pringles But I grew my mustache back.

So I was the Pringles guy. And it seems, it seems less funny now that I'm telling it in real life. But let's talk about lifetime value. Let's talk about not just, what do you charge? Not just, what do you make, but how much does a customer spend with you over their lifetime? Are they one and done?

They give you $5 and you never hear from them ever again,

or did


that's a tough business or is it something where they're giving


500 bucks a month?

It's a [00:52:00] better business.


So lifetime value can, it comes in a bunch of different flavors. There is

a selection varies. How much has one client spend in their lifetime with you? This is actually the conversation between our business models, Chris, because for the longest time, me mixing music and you mastering music, our business models were completely different.

And the lifetime value of our clients was completely different. So we had to set up our businesses completely differently. So you, as a mastering engineer, your lifetime value for a client was

like a 10th of mine because you were charging relatively


amount per project. You were doing lots and lots of little projects and it all added up.

So that meant fulfillment was usually your bottleneck. In most cases, it was almost always your bottleneck was fulfilling on that many projects. Really? Your bottleneck was lifetime value at the end of the day. I think I told you, I don't know how many times I told you to raise your price,

which would have



your income

and you never did.

no, I did. I did.


it took, it took,


took years though,

it did. And again,

that was that was, a personal bottleneck. I had some kind of mental blockage that was like, throw, raise the prices, [00:53:00] that'll ruin everything. And like, it.

was a consistency thing and looking back, and, and now that I've done, you know, the work on myself and really dug into.

My shadow side and tried to understand, like what motivates me, you know, it's eventually figured out like, man, there's some sort of weird fear issue around raising prices.

So raising prices is not the only way by the way, to increase lifetime value of your clients. Raising prices is the easiest way by far just charging more. It's the easiest in the means of like the next conversation you have with the client and you give out a price, you can charge the most you've ever charged for a project right then and there.

And it's up to them to say yes or no, but you can at least attempt to, but these other areas are much more difficult. Uh, Number two is recurring. So that means they're coming back to you on a regular basis. So like a retainer, which is common in like good fortune media, where clients have retainers, they pay every month because you you're doing ongoing services, but there's also something called reoccurring.

Chris always messes this up. Reoccurring is when they come back to you. Again, does it matter when it's just, they come back to you again, [00:54:00] maybe once a year, maybe twice a year, but it's not on a regular occurrence, but just as repeat customers, they come back to you maybe next year. And that's common for a lot of music.

Producers, a client will hire them to produce their album and then maybe it's another six months or a year, 18 months before they come back again. But they come back to that same producer. That means that that client's lifetime value has just increased because they came back to you again for their next album.

this is really hard to do because you have to be great at what you do. And not just that on the fulfillment side, I didn't even talk about this on fulfillment, but you have to be likable for them to come back to you

again, increased our LTV. And that was my biggest areas. You can tell my personality, especially in the day like this, when I'm low energy, I get prickly as hell.

Listen, Chris, I am so much better than I ever was. As a music producer, as a

music producer,

this was


at my

best. I was an

ass back then.

if you go far enough back, I'm not sure that we would have gotten along at all, like 10 years ago, if we had met each other back then with


because We were both

yeah. We were both [00:55:00] like,

we both would

have been like,

oh, I'm the smartest guy in the room. No.

these are, engineers. It's not, everyone's like that. But like, man, when you're working with a client day in and day out, sometimes you can get that way. But I'll be honest. It was more of a, it was more me running on dirty fuel. As we talked about last week, I was running on dirty fuel. I was not in a mentally healthy place.

I had just moved to Nashville and I'd come back from my rock bottom as a, as a business owner where I've talked about this story a couple of times where I literally lost an entire album of my hard drive and had to rerecord it for free for six weeks plus two extra songs to make it up for them.

Cause they had to come back to the studio again. So there was six weeks in a row where I was working for absolutely free. And that was a tough time for me. But Let's talk about LTV a little bit longer. Cause this is one that I felt, I think is a lot of peoples is a lot of people's bottleneck is you may have a good amount of clients and they love you and they refer people to you.

But if you're not charging enough or they're not coming back to you enough for a real business to be made, this is going to be tough for you to scale into six figures or whatever your goal is. It doesn't have to be six figures. Um, Lifetime value is everything. It means that, people are referring [00:56:00] clients to you because that increases lifetime value as well.

Like if, if my client refers another client, to me, that's a new lead. So that's like helps with lead generation. It's a new client, which helps my business overall, but it's also basically growing the whole pie in my business. So referrals, I would kind of lump into this lifetime value conversation, but then there's also something else that people don't think about.

It is something called Ascension. So if you are a service. I know I said don't start offering extra services, but sometimes it makes sense. I'm not going to give blanket statements for everybody and something, but sometimes those other services don't make sense on your main website to be offered publicly.

There are things you offer when the opportunity rises, and those can be what are called upsells. You hired me for um, this called music production, but you really need a session musician in the studio because you're not good at your instrument or you don't have a full band. Well, I have a team of session musicians that I employ that you can hire onto your project for X dollars.

That's an upsell that increases the lifetime value of that client, but it's not something you're advertising everywhere all the [00:57:00] time. It just confuses people. When you have all these other things that you're trying to advertise. That's why I'm really, really, really stubborn about having one service or one outcome or one offer on your website as a freelancer, because it becomes

so much

easier for them to

make a


on whether or not you're right for

Well, and here's the perfect example. A really lucrative business for creatives is not super sexy, but it's wedding photography and wedding photography is the type of business where there can be an awful lot of Ascension. Good example of that is let's say you know, if you're a wedding photographer and

you get to know these people and you get to know their wants and their needs and their desires, and then maybe one day you ask them, Hey, have you guys thought about hiring a videographer as well for the wedding?

And they might be like, oh my gosh, that sounds so cool. We've thrown on that idea. We just didn't even know where to start. And you could say, well, I could take care of all that too. I have a buddy that offers amazing videography that would essentially, you know, triple the price. Of of what we've already agreed upon, but here's his, the portfolio of work with this person.

Many times they'd be able to, [00:58:00] you know, take some of my pictures and put those in. As part of the video, there would be a, they would do a really great job and you have an arrangement with This other service provider so that they become a subcontractor and you're essentially charging a large lump sum to project manage.

And then you bring in this contractor and they provide a service. Wham, bam, Ascension

This is incredibly common in agencies, but freelancers never take advantage of the same thing. Usually freelancers, the people listening are the ones hired by the agencies and agencies are charging bookoos for your service. And then they're just paying you whatever you agreed on. Yeah. Bookoos is a good word today.

Yeah. So I want to talk about one thing that you did. We talked about ahead of this episode, Chris, on customer lifetime values. you


talked about,

Talk about hunter to


There's a really great essay by a man named Kevin Kelly. That is just legendary amongst artists. If you've never read this, this essay it's way better than any of our episodes, you should go read it. It's free.

It'll be in our show notes.

And the idea that Kevin

Kelly had he wrote this essay called [00:59:00] 1000 true fans, and this is a, probably the most legendary essay among content creators and artists, because this essay, it was written a long time ago, I think like 2004 or something like that. But Kevin Kelly saw the internet economy evolving for freelancers and for artists, and he knows. That if you had 1000 true fans. say as a musician or a photographer or a podcaster

We're just an artist.

or just an artist, whatever it.


to be that you would be

okay, because a true fan is willing to spend a hundred dollars per year. And if you have a thousand true fans and you come up with a hundred dollars where the things that they could buy each year, you will make a hundred thousand dollars.

Kevin Kelly came up with the formula for the six figure creative and it's 1000 true fans. If you were in the service industry and you are providing creative services to other people, this math starts to get a little different. I think it can be 100 true clients. If you have a hundred shoe [01:00:00] clients, they will be willing to spend a thousand dollars a year with.

Absolutely a thousand dollars is right where that mass starts to make sense. So all you have to have is a hundred people that are true clients that just every single year that are going to come back on, they are going to hire you again and again, and again, if you can do that, you will consistently make a hundred thousand dollars a year, but there's a caveat.

And the caveat is this. There are certain services that are not repeatable. There are certain products that people don't buy a second time. A great example of that is a wedding ring. If you are in the wedding ring manufacturing business, or perhaps there's a, there's a girl that lives here in town who makes these amazing wedding rings. She is not going to sell hopefully more than one wedding ring to a customer. And no one's going to come back to the same person for their second marriage. Like that's just not going to happen. Like, oh, I promise honey, this person did a great job with my ex their craftsmanship was incredible. I want you to have a ring, just like my last wife, like. [01:01:00]

Just like

Martha is a good ex wife name.

Just like Martha

Oh my gosh. She was a tire that Martha I tell you what, but so you see what I'm saying here. So if, as a freelance creative, you make amazing signature wedding rings, engagement rings. You're not going to have a whole lot of opportunity to sell them a second thing a year from now, you might be able to help them ascend to also purchasing, purchasing a wedding band,

Yeah, there there's other opportunities. If you don't have a recur, a service that is open up for recurring or reoccurring, then 103 fans isn't or a hundred true clients doesn't necessarily make sense. But for those of you who have especially a re a recurring service, mean like a monthly retainer or a monthly recurring service or reoccurring where you have them coming back to you once a year, then a hundred true fans and 102 clients holds up really, really well.

And it's a solid goal to shoot for. I don't know if I've ever really done the math, but I think that's

probably a

pretty accurate


for you, Chris.


was a little different cause

that'd be a [01:02:00] thousand true,

It seems like it was a hundred clients

a month back in the day, like

it was a hundred and 117. I think it was

the most we ever did in one month.

it was fun, man. You know, it's funny as crazy as my life is right now. I do miss having the simplicity of just doing one. And just being really, really good at it.

And it being predictable and knowing what I was going to, what I was going to show up for at work. But the flip side of that coin is my life is really exciting and there's all kinds of stuff going on in the background stuff that Brian, I'm not even allowed to tell our audience about as far as activism stuff goes, so stay tuned.

that's called entrepreneurial add. We both have it. So that's fun. But let me just, let me just say, let me, I'll kind of wrap this up. So we've got these five areas right now, and everyone wants to jump to the fund, sexy, like lead gen stuff. At least I do. I'm like the nerd that loves marketing and loves to talk about it.

And some of you are like that. Some of you are not, but only one of these is your bottleneck right now only one of these things is your main major battle. It could be fulfillment. You're bad at what you do, or you don't have time. You're you're, you're have systems [01:03:00] bottlenecks around. It could be LTV. Your, your clients are worth so little that you're no matter how many, how many leads you have and no matter how well you nurture them and sell them and fulfill on it, no matter how that matters, they're worth so little, you can't have a real business and it could be Legion.

It could be that


just have the most amazing sales process and fulfillment, and you're charging a lot and people are happy to pay it. And nobody knows that's a common thing too, but there's only really one of these and the key to this. And the thing that Alex Moses said on that episode is the key to this is get one to a manageable level.

minimal acceptable level of each of these five areas and move on to your next bottleneck. Because again, there can only be one true bottleneck at a time. And the better we get as entrepreneurs at identifying what did these five areas is?

Our true bottleneck right now, the better we're going to be at solving that bottleneck and the faster our business is going to grow. And so we don't look back a year from now and think I should really fix that same bottom line. I've had it for the last year, which is literally the same thing that I've been thinking the last year, Chris I've had the same bottleneck for this business and [01:04:00] I haven't solved it yet.

It's because I I've been so distracted with other So this is me publicly saying, I'm going to fix this bottleneck. It's not going to take me another year. It's going to take me a few weeks, maybe a couple months at most

and I'll have it soft. And then you'll see me launch the YouTube channel back up,

maybe by summertime.

But that's a, that's where I'm at a lot of passion in that one because I'm personally





Well, Godspeed on that, Brian, this is a fun episode, a fun pair of episodes.

Yeah. See you next week.



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