Ep. 10 | Freelance Cake Podcast
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Episode 10|

10 Steps to Help You Use the Right “Packaging” to 4x Your Freelance Prices

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What if you could charge four times what you do now by making small changes to your freelance packaging?

In episode 010, Austin shares an early coaching case study. Robert is a business consultant who signed up for Business (re)Launch, Austin's freelance coaching program. With Austin's help, he developed a new offer. The offer enabled Robert to charge four times what he had previously.

When you package up your services and outcomes and communicate the value as a juicy offer, you make it easy for your audience to get excited.

The Path(s) to Freelance Success

Let's talk about packaging up your freelance services as juicy offers.

Imagine you're on a game show. You're standing there with the host, and looking down this long hallway with doors on either side. The host looks at you, winks, and explains the game.

“Behind each door, you'll find either a prize or a painful lesson.”

That's the game show of freelancing. You can only open one door at a time. The bigger prizes are behind the doors at the far end. You have to open the doors at the front before you can get to the better doors at the back. Making your way down this long hall takes trial and error.

Here's what some of those doors would look like:

Getting locked in to a long project with a startup founder who proves to be a classic narcissist.

Another door, missing another project deadline due to your own poor planning. *Ouch*. You need to stop reinventing the wheel. And you need to follow clearly defined processes.

Another door, you sell a paid discovery session for the first time and jackpot. Everything about the later implementation phase was so much easier because the client paid for strategy. Yes!

It’s All About Pulling the Right Levers

Over time, certain patterns and strategies emerge. You get better at playing the freelance game. You open certain doors, but maybe you start ignoring other doors altogether. You see similar markings on the door, you're like, “Nope, not doing that again.”

You eventually realize that the freelancers who win the game consistently aren't necessarily the most skilled or the hardest working. Instead of falling into that trap of incremental gains and skill, they start to look for advantages and levers.

They start to build business acumen. They realize that success at this game has more to do than just putting out a quality product. They start to look for where a small effort will produce an outsized result.

Marketing is one of those levers.

In his book, Million Dollar Consulting, which I highly recommend, Alan Weiss talks about the true significance of the marketing lever:

“Too many consultants (and freelancers I might add) fall in love with their own methodology. Success in this business comes from marketing, not from the depth of consulting expertise. I know that this is heresy to many of you, but all the nonrainmaking consulting gurus are working for somebody else and merely earning a paycheck.”

Let me repeat part of that: Success in this business comes from marketing, not from the depth of consulting expertise.

Marketing is one lever. Another one is packaging.

Doing Less (Not More) Helps You Grow Freelance Income Faster

In 2018, I piloted a new program called Business Bootcamp for Freelancers with a business consultant named Robert Cross. Better packaging totally transformed his consulting business. Robert’s early consulting clients hired him to help them fix expensive problems.

The trouble was Robert would prove himself so capable that they kept delegating more and more tasks to him. The predictable cash flow was nice, but Robert found himself getting all tangled up in these low level implementation tasks... It started to wear him down.

So we got to work defining Robert’s goals for his business, and discussing his most profitable and satisfying projects.

Together, we identified two primary pain points for his target audience (CEOs).

  1. Many lack margin. They just don't have enough space, enough white space in their schedules.
  2. Many also lack a clear, scalable business model.

Once we had identified those two primary pain points for Robert’s target audience, we used a handful of questions to get at the functional and emotional benefits.

A functional benefit is what the client gets. An emotional benefit, also sometimes called emotional end benefits, are what the client feels.

Here are several questions Robert and I asked:

  • What does more margin mean for busy CEOs?
  • What good things happen in a company, when its executive leaders follow clear, scalable business models?
  • What is the tangible and what is the intangible value of those outcomes?

With those pain points and benefits in hand, we then pieced together what I call juicy offers. We created two of them for CEOs, and then we added up the time required to actually deliver the engagement.

Those juicy offers represented a pivot for Robert, from hourly pricing to value based pricing.

He had been charging $125 an hour, but we use a much more aggressive rate, based on the value he creates, to calculate a fixed price for each offer. That rate was $500 an hour… 4x what he had been charging.

Once we had the new offers and prices, then we developed the new positioning and messaging for them. And we put that new positioning and messaging on Robert’s website and on his LinkedIn profile.

Here's one of the key lines: “I help CEOs escape tactical hell and gain real traction in 90 days.”

Better Packaging Communicates Higher Value

For the record, Robert had been doing this type of work all along. We didn't manufacture or gin up all the stuff that wasn't true. We just repackaged what he was already doing to make the value easier for his target audience to understand.

We changed the structure, we changed the price, we changed the messaging, we changed the packaging. Better packaging communicates higher value.

So Robert and I wrapped up and he sent me a text that went like this:

Him: “I owe you a six pack.”

Me: “Okay, great, why?”

Him: “I have sold six of the offers in five weeks.”

And because we priced the offer at $10,000, that meant he had sold $60,000 worth of new work, new engagements in just five weeks.

If you are already creating significant value for your clients, small changes to your packaging can have a huge impact on your earning.

Again, on this game show of freelancing, you start to notice patterns. You notice that inside certain doors, bigger prizes come and then you learn to open doors with less effort. Because you now have these levers.

When Is the Last Time You Really Considered the Packaging of Your Freelance Services?

There's a difference between services and offers. The same way there's a difference between food preparation and a romantic dinner for two on the beach.

If you need some help rethinking your packaging, here are several really quick steps:

  1. Pinpoint your most satisfying projects.
  2. Clarify exactly whom you want to serve. That is your dream clients.
  3. Identify the pains and problems that plague those clients. For Robert, it was CEOs.
  4. Identify the outcomes they want the most. For the CEOs, it was margin and a clear scalable business model.
  5. Define the functional (what they get), and emotional (how they feel) benefits and the full value of the outcomes that you will deliver.
  6. Change your packaging so that it focuses on the outcome instead of your service.
  7. Use these questions to fill in any gaps in your delivery.
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  8. Use a higher hourly rate to calculate prices for your juicy offer. If you don't know where to start, just use 150% of what you currently charge. Also, if you haven’t read my smart freelance pricing articles yet, go check them out!
  9. Add a bold promise to your messaging and explain the key outcomes. Robert’s bold promise was “I helped CEOs escape tactical hell and gain real traction in 90 days.”
  10. Spend more time showing up and sharing online. No matter how good your offer is, how juicy it is, people can't get excited about it if they don't know about it. Put your offers out into the world. That way more of your dream clients have a chance to see them and care about them and actually connect with you.

That’s it my freelance friends. Change the packaging. Change the value.

Links and Resources from this Episode

  1. Million Dollar Consulting by Alan Weiss: https://www.amazon.com/Million-Dollar-Consulting-Alan-Weiss/dp/0071622101 
  2. Business Bootcamp for Freelancers: https://freelancecake.com/coaching

Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Freelance Cake Podcast. I'm your host, Austin L. Church. The goal of this show is to help full-time, committed freelancers get better leverage.

[00:00:13] As the sworn enemy of busyness and burnout, I have no desire to see you work harder. Instead, I reveal the specific beliefs, principles, and practices you can use right away to make the freelance game more profitable and enjoyable. So chill out and listen in, because the best is yet to come.

[00:00:36] Thanks for being here. Let's talk about packaging up your freelance services as juicy offers. Imagine you're on a game show. You're standing there with the host, and looking down this long hallway with doors on either side. And this is the classic host with like the big hair and the fake tan, and that perfect wolfish smile. And the host looks at you and winks and explains the game.

[00:01:07] “Behind each door, you'll find either a prize or a painful lesson.” That's the game show of freelancing. You can only open one door at a time and the bigger prizes are behind the doors at the far end. You have to open the doors at the front before you can get to the better doors at the back. Making your way down this long haul takes trial and error.

[00:01:34] Here's what some of those doors would look like: getting locked into a long project with a startup founder who proves to be a classic narcissist. And I'm… this is purely hypothetical, purely hypothetical. Like definitely don't want to do that again. Another door, missing another project deadline due to your own poor planning. Ouch. You need to stop reinventing the wheel. And you need to follow clearly defined processes. Another door, you sell a paid discovery session for the first time and jackpot. Everything about the later implementation phase was so much easier because the client paid for strategy. Yes!

[00:02:23] Over time, certain patterns and strategies emerge. You get better at playing the freelance game. You open certain doors, but maybe you start ignoring other doors altogether. You see similar markings on the door, you're like, “Nope, not doing that again.” You eventually realize that the freelancers who win the game consistently aren't necessarily the most skilled or the hardest working.

[00:02:51] Instead of falling into that trap of incremental gains and skill, they start to look for advantages and levers. They start to build business acumen. They realize that success at this game has more to do than just putting out a quality product. I love that word, “levers.” They start to look for where a small effort will produce an outsized result. Marketing is one of those levers.

[00:03:25] In his book, Million Dollar Consulting, which I highly recommend, Alan Weiss talks about the true significance of the marketing lever: “Too many consultants (and freelancers I might add) fall in love with their own methodology. Success in this business comes from marketing, not from the depth of consulting expertise. I know that this is heresy to many of you, but all the nonrainmaking consulting gurus are working for somebody else and merely earning a paycheck.” Let me repeat part of that: Success in this business comes from marketing, not from the depth of consulting expertise. Marketing is one lever. Another one is packaging.

[00:04:19] In 2018, I piloted a new program called Business Bootcamp for Freelancers with a business consultant named Robert Cross. Better packaging totally transformed his consulting business. Robert’s early consulting clients hired him to help them fix expensive problems. The trouble was Robert would prove himself so capable that they kept delegating more and more tasks to him. The predictable cash flow was nice, but Robert found himself getting all tangled up in these low level implementation tasks, it started to wear him down.

[00:05:04] So we got to work defining Robert’s goals for his business, and discussing his most profitable and satisfying projects. Together, we identified two primary pain points for his target audience: CEOs. Number one, many lack margin, they just don't have enough space, enough white space in their schedules. Number two, many also lack a clear, scalable business model.

[00:05:38] So once we had identified those two primary pain points for Robert’s target audience, we used a handful of questions to get at the functional and emotional benefits. A functional benefit is what the client gets. An emotional benefit, also sometimes called emotional end benefits. Those are what the client feels.

[00:06:04] Here are several questions Robert and I asked. What does more margin mean for busy CEOs? What good things happen in a company, when its executive leaders follow clear, scalable business models? What is the tangible and what is the intangible value of those outcomes? With those pain points and benefits in hand, we then pieced together what I call juicy offers. We created two of them for CEOs, and then we added up the time required to actually deliver the engagement. Those juicy offers represented a pivot for Robert, from hourly pricing to value based pricing.

[00:06:54] He had been charging $125 an hour, but we use a much more aggressive rate based on the value he creates, to calculate a fixed price for each offer. That rate was $500 an hour or 4x what he had been charging. Once we had the new offers and prices, then we developed the new positioning and messaging for them. And we put that new positioning and messaging on Robert’s website and on his LinkedIn profile.

[00:07:27] Here's one of the key lines: “I help CEOs escape tactical hell and gain real traction in 90 days.” Now for the record, Robert had been doing this type of work all along. We didn't sort of manufacture or gin up all the stuff that wasn't true. We just repackaged what he was already doing to make the value easier for his target audience to understand. We changed the structure, we changed the price, we changed the messaging, we changed the packaging.

[00:08:03] Better packaging communicates higher value. So Robert and I wrapped up, I think it was July 2018, and he sent me a text. It said, “I owe you a six pack.” I responded like “Okay, great, why?” He said “I have sold six of the offers in five weeks.” And because we priced the offer at 10,000 bucks, that meant he had sold $60,000 worth of new work, new engagements in just five weeks.

[00:08:43] If you are already creating significant value for your clients, small changes to your packaging can have a huge impact on your earning. Again, on this game show of freelancing, you start to notice patterns. And you notice that inside certain doors, bigger prizes come and then you learn to open doors with less effort. Because you now have these levers. When is the last time you really considered the packaging of your services?

[00:09:21] There's a difference between services and offers. The same way there's a difference between food preparation and a romantic dinner for two on the beach. So if you need some help rethinking your packaging, here are several really quick steps. I'm going to go through them really fast.

[00:09:41] Number one, pinpoint your most satisfying projects. Number two, clarify exactly whom you want to serve. That is your dream clients. Number three, identify the pains and problems that plague those clients. For Robert, it  was CEOs. Number four, identify the outcomes they want the most. For the CEOs, it was margin and a clear scalable business model. Number five, define the functional (what they get), and emotional (how they feel) benefits and the full value of the outcomes that you will deliver.

[00:10:24] Six, change your packaging so that it focuses on the outcome instead of your service. Seven, use these questions to fill in any gaps in your delivery. What tools, resources, and methodology do you need that you don't already have? What should your onboarding process look like? What phases, steps, and tasks will the project have? How much of your time will each task and phase take? How can you minimize your time investment without sacrificing quality? For example, an intake questionnaire and some self-guided exercises can replace certain meetings.

[00:11:07] Lastly, what is the timeline from start to finish? Step number eight, use a higher hourly rate to calculate prices for your juicy offer. If you don't know where to start, just use 150% of what you currently charge. Nine, add a bold promise to your messaging and explain the key outcomes. Robert’s bold promise was “I helped CEOs escape tactical hell and gain real traction in 90 days.”

[00:11:39] Ten, spend more time showing up and sharing online. No matter how good your offer is, how juicy it is, people can't get excited about it if they don't know about it. So put your offers out into the world. That way more of your dream clients have a chance to see them and care about them and actually connect with you. That’s it my freelance friends. Change the packaging. Change the value.

[00:12:21] Before you go, a quick reminder. Be sure to check out the Freelance Cake coaching program. The program is for committed, full-time freelancers, and it’s designed to help you get better leverage in your business.

[00:12:35] We have group sessions, a private community, and on-demand trainings. And each week, you focus on implementing a specific lever such as your positioning cheat code, juicy offers, or morning marketing habit.

[00:12:50] The same or better income with more free time, fun, and creative challenges - that’s the point, right?

[00:12:58] So go to FreelanceCake.com/coaching. My friends, the best is yet to come. See you in the next episode!

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