If you had to make an extra $100 this week, could you do it? Most people would probably say yes.
But what about an extra $1,000? Hmm…now that’s quite a bit harder. Most of us might have a difficult time getting that amount of money together at a moment’s notice.
How about an extra $5,000? If you had an emergency, could you pull together a spare $5k for an unplanned expense? For 99.9% of the population, the answer is a resounding “Hell No!”
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In today’s article, I’m going to show you the step-by-step process I used to make almost $24,000 in a single month — that’s just about $6,000/week.
I didn’t borrow the money from a rich uncle or do weird, illegal things to get it. I simply used skills I already had to pitch myself and start a freelance business.
I’ll break down exactly how I did it below — and if this article helps you, read to the end, where I’ve created a free bonus full of advanced material + strategies.
“Sell yourself first, if you want to sell anything.” – Burt Lancaster
When people ask me what the best ways to make money are, sometimes I laugh. Not because the question is stupid, but because, well, there really is no “right” answer. The truth is that almost anything can make money. But first, you have to change your mindset.
You must start viewing your skills and experiences as bankable, valuable resources worth paying for. You (yes, you) can help someone with skills and knowledge that you already have. The easiest way to do this is by freelancing. (If you’re struggling to think of valuable skills, here are some ideas and specific examples.)
All that being said … I have good news and bad news for you.
The good news: There are several online freelance marketplaces like Elance and oDesk that allow you to offer your services, get clients, and start making money quickly, even if you’re a complete beginner.
The bad news: These freelance marketplaces can be extremely competitive and overwhelming. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the competition can be very intimidating.
But don’t let that discourage you.
Today, I’m going to show you the simple “hack” I used to make $24,000 on Elance in four weeks designing simple WordPress websites. (Note: the strategies here apply for any freelance skill, not just web design.)
If you stick around until the end, I’ll also give you some tools to help you get an even bigger jump on the competition.
Step 1: Use sneaky research on your competition
Before you start, you’ll need to know what exactly you’re getting yourself into.
Specifically, you need to know:
- Exactly what strategies your successful competitors use to stand out in the crowd
- How you can completely obliterate them by being ridiculously over-prepared
To find the answers to these questions for myself, I posted a fake job to see what types of responses I would get. I recommend you do the same!
Here’s what I posted on Elance:
One note here: It’s not really necessary for you to post a fake job like I did in order to get good results. The big idea here is to show you what happens when you actually test your process and then act on those results.
Here’s what I learned with the results from my test …
Step 2: Analyzing the results
Within 30 minutes, I received almost 100 proposals — and I learned two very valuable insights:
- Over half of the applicants to my job were non-native English speakers.
- Most people were submitting “canned” proposals without any personalization.
Once I figured these critical pieces of info out, I knew I had a unique angle. Why?
Well, most people hiring freelancers are from the US/UK — which means that oftentimes, there’s a language barrier. People are always more comfortable communicating in their native language.
And because of this language barrier, most proposals were very dry and uninteresting.
Here’s one that I received …
You can do much better. Here’s how …
Step 3: How to stand out and start booking jobs
To stand out against a sea of freelancers, you have to show that you understand your potential client and provide them with a reason to give your proposal a second look. Your approach should feel warm, engaging, and above all, personalized.
Nobody wants to feel like they’re #573 for the day.
Research your prospective client’s profile beforehand and look for these details:
- Purchase history — Do they regularly hire on Elance? If so, this is a good sign that they are serious.
- Feedback history — What type of feedback do they have for freelancers they’ve hired in the past. What have they liked/disliked?
- Personal details — Name, interests, location, etc. Anything you might be able to relate to and build some rapport.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out.” – Dr. Seuss
The knockout punch: video “mini-pitches”
Once you’ve rounded up all this information, use it to create a short “mini-pitch” with an unlisted YouTube video.
Your “mini-pitch” should:
- Be 90 seconds or less
- Introduce youself and give a very brief background
- Tell them why you like their specific project (so they know you actually read it)
- Offer a simple “call to action” to get in touch with you
Bonus: if you can include some relevant personal details that you have in common, it helps.
From there, the process is simple. Rather than sending a regular proposal like everyone else, just send them a quick message with a link to your custom video.
This method works SHOCKINGLY well because it differentiates you from the crowd and shows that you truly care about what they’re working on.
You can’t fake that.
Get the step-by-step strategies, videos and scripts I used to make $24,000 in 4 weeks
At this point, you’re probably wondering what this approach actually looks like in REAL life.
I put together an extended guide on “Hacking Elance” that includes:
- The exact scripts and screenshots I used to book jobs and negotiate with clients
- Real “mini-pitch” videos I sent that resulted in thousands of dollars
- The biggest mistakes people make when trying this approach (and how you can avoid them)
- A checklist for dealing with common client objections
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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make
Are you completely new to networking?
Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.
It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?
Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.
Rock up with confidence
If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.
Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!
Where to go networking
If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.
For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!
If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.
Get more leads and referrals
This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.
Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.
When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!
Grow your business
By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.
We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.
2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.
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