Disclaimer: There were some technical difficulties when recording this episode so please excuse some of the poor quality audio. It's worth persevering through!
This is a tough love episode and the advice Jon shares is invaluable to anyone who runs a business and either is dealing with late-paying or non- paying clients, has endured those clients before or is worried about working with them in the future.
Hopefully, his tips will help you avoid stressful situations in the future.
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Hello welcome to the freelance ads club podcast with me your host Aggie Meroni. Whether you're a seasoned freelance ads manager, or just thinking about taking the leap into self employment, this podcast is for you. Every week, I'll be releasing a bite sized episode, I'll be sharing mistakes I've made and lessons I've learned from my own freelance business. I'll be showcasing some of the amazingly talented freelancers in the freelance ads club. And I also will be speaking to some incredible guests who generously be sharing their knowledge with us to help us keep updated with industry trends. And I really hope that after listening to this podcast, you will come away full of confidence on how to win great clients, how to charge correctly, and most importantly, retain those dream clients so that you build a successful and sustainable business. Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the freelance ads club Podcast. Today I'm talking to John McCulloch, aka Evil Ball genius. And John will be sharing with us today, how to avoid late payments, chasing payments, dodging clients that don't pay all those things with his very tough love approach. But I think it's definitely a useful listen to those of us who have been in that situation before or currently in that situation, or anyone that is really worried of that situation happening to them in their business at some point in the future. So settle in, grab a coffee, enjoy a walk, whatever you're doing while you're listening to this, and listening to what John had to say. Hi, Joe, aka the genius. Thank you so much for joining me today. out the first thing I asked when it comes and this to me on the podcast is who you are and how you ended up where you are today.Unknown:
QUESTION I'm 58 off first slide. So it's a long story. I am John McMullen. Otherwise known as evil genius. I basically started out as a computer programmer a lot of things now about 20 years ago, my wife left me and it was a choice of either let her have the kids and keep the job or pick up the kids myself and lose the job. So I lost the job kept the kids and they thought I need to make some money. So I just started writing it started writing sir. manuals, technical manuals for software businesses. And then I got onto a Dan Kennedy book went to a thing in the States and that was 18 years ago and the rest is history. I was a freelancer for a long while then I started teaching it to other people about a dozen years ago. And now I almost never write copy for clients and far too expensive for that.Aggie Meroni:
So you were a copywriter? Yes started freelancers, yourself?Unknown:
Yeah, I sorry. I kind of work with all kinds of business owners because marketing is marketing is marketing. But I now have a natural affinity for freelancers, particularly copywriters because I was one.Aggie Meroni:
And the reason we were put in touch because I put a shout out on LinkedIn to say, the members of the freelance ads club, I'm seeing more and more posts about people struggling to get paid from their clients. It looks like the businesses are having cashflow problems, can anyone help me to recommend someone to come and speak to us today. So what we're going to talk about today is more about what you can do to prevent being in a situation so that you're not having to chase payments. So it's very much kind of like the processes you put in place, how to how you pick your clients and things like that. And having had a look at your website, I'm equally terrified.Unknown:
That's what it's supposed to do. That's actually a very pertinent point, though. Nobody coming into my world has any illusions about what they're dealing with. So, I mean, you often you often see on LinkedIn, people posting about how they have rules and boundaries, and I work with just anybody. That's what they say. But what they do is completely different. They will work with just anybody. And that's very clear from the the next posts they write or that the subsequent posts I write about, they're being ghosted. They're being ripped off, they're not being paid. They're having clients treat them like dirt. So there's a there's a discontinuity there between what they say they're doing, what they're actually doing. Now, that's really important.Aggie Meroni:
So I'm linked to this because I think it was really good. I watched YouTube podcast years, earlier today, and it was about this topic about how not to be ghosted about being not being paid. And there were three things, your criteria for vetting clients before you even see them. Isn't that what you want to just run through those?Unknown:
Yeah, they, yeah, I'll give a bit of background first. Because otherwise if you stand in isolation, It's a little bit perplexing. If you think about it, your business is a little bit like an hourglass, in that you've got leads coming in from all over all kinds of businesses, all kinds of industries, maybe all kinds of different platforms online and offline. And they all funnel down into one place. And then they all go out into the different products or services you sell. At that choke point is a thing, what I call triage. And that's the gate, right? That's the bit where I decide whether or not it goes any further. Now, this is predicated on the idea, I don't know what your numbers are, or what your listeners numbers are. But for me, about eight out of 10 people with a view to working with me either one on one mentoring, or project work or something, probably eight of them don't go anywhere. So statistically, if I get an inquiry, there's an 80% chance, it's a waste of my time. So I need to get a no with 8% probability as fast as I possibly can to save as much time as I can. Now, some people have told me they they closed 90% of their business inquiries. I'm a bit sceptical about that. But even if that's true, then what I will say is, they're almost certainly underpricing themselves. Because if you're charging an appropriate amount, you won't close 90% of business. Nobody's like, good. I just don't believe it. So I want to get to know as soon as possible. So I've got three criteria. And how you ask the questions are the last one is easy to answer, but how you ask the questions is entirely context dependent. But you need to ask them three questions. The first is, can I help you? If you can't help them? There's no point in talking to them. I know it might sound rude to say can't help you. Sorry, but it's actually more respectful than wasting their time, taking up their time and your knowing that this ain't going anywhere. So can I help? You know, do I know anyone who can't Well, maybe push them out? Or just say, Sorry? Not my problem? Can I help you? And I don't think anybody thinks it's morally correct to charge people for not helping them if you can't help anybody do that. Do do it. But they know it's not right. The second question is, do I want to help you? This is a bit more problematic for most people because it almost goes against the grain I want to we want to be helpful like to help people. Well, I know from experience that you know, one bad client one pain in the ass is worse than having 10 good ones. What I mean is having 10 Good Times does not make up for one bad one. So what I'm saying, and because 10 good clients, they'll give you a good business, but you don't leap out of bed excited to speak to them every morning. But that one bad client can give you sleepless nights it can harm your relationships at home with your wife and children, your husband and children. It can make your entire life a misery, just one bad person moaning and whining, whining, whining all the time. So do I want to help you? If that's a no, again, it's more respectful to say, I don't really want to get involved in this. And you can give reasons if you want to. I had a lady that while ago, she was JP she wanted my help to help her promote her new business, which was multilevel marketing something like Avon for the sake of argument. And I just said no, I can't help you. But I'm not going to because multilevel marketing is a to me, it's a dishonest business model. The people at the top make a bit of money, but no one else does. I don't want anyone like that. Is this dishonest? So that was a very clear, no, not gonna help you. And the third answer. The third question you need to answer is, how long will you pay me for my help? What if they can't and won't pay you? Again, it's a waste of your time unless you listen, you're not a charity, unless you're a charity. So why would you work for free? Why would you get on a call to help people solve their problems? We're not going to pay you how to answer that last question. The first two are easily answered with questions. Just simple things like watch the problem was giving you the headaches and you get a feel for the kind of person they are with the chitchat that goes back was a direct message. But the easiest way to get the answer can and will you pay me is okay, I think I can help you from what I've heard so far. Next step is a paid consultation. 150 pounds for the our sake of argument. If it turns out, you get your money back if it turns out I can't help you, or we go on to work together further. Anyone who won't pay you for that consultation was never going to pay you at all. They just weren't. You know, okay, maybe occasionally we will lose a good prospect but the ones you get, once you do get will more than make up for it. One of our guys in our call control programme just messaged me. Sunday morning. He's had six consultation calls over the Christmas period when all of his competitors are quiet because nobody's buying which is nonsense. Six consultation calls 600 quid and they've all converted to paying clients at 750 pounds. That's how well it works. It's like magic. It really is.Aggie Meroni:
Yeah, I have to say it. That situation happened to me like, probably about a year ago, an E commerce brand got in touch saying oh, I've been referred to you. Our ads aren't working. We don't know why. And I was like, Look, I can do an audit for you but it's gonna cost you this much. And I just got a reply going well, no one else is charging me so why should I pay you and I was like, well, we're not gonna work together. I just couldn't I couldn't believe the response. It was just so aggressive. I was like, Okay, well we're definitely not going to work together.Unknown:
You will get that I had a guy asked me if I did corporate training when I do. I cheap as you can imagine. And he tried it with the the the carrot, the donkey carrot saying I've got 14 salespeople, half of whom are okay. I want you to and the other half are not going to train half a team. Because tough people do it one way or the other way, be nonsense. So he thought he thought I'd have this, all the stars in my eyes and 14 people, today programmer can at least 2530 grand or something like that for 14 people. So all our section was okay. He says, Could you hop on a video call? I said, Yeah, fine. 750 quid was way, I'd say, I'm not used to paying for consultations, I've got to get approval. Well think about that. He's got to get approval to spend 150 pounds. How on earth? Is he going to approve a 30k programme? He can't he was what he was doing was I almost guarantee this what he was doing was his boss had probably told him scope out some training for our salespeople, what's it going to cost, et cetera? And he wanted me to do the donkey work for him. It's not that kind of party. No, no, definitelyAggie Meroni:
not. I just go back to that video I watched earlier as well, your colleague was talking about being a Facebook Ads Manager and giving too much information when he was doing discovery calls, which is such a common pitfall it happens. So often, you're trying to be good when we can share expertise. And then people will take all that information, and then just don't book him with you afterwards, and then apply partially what you've told them because they don't really understand it, get it wrong, and then say ads don't work. So this is also like a really common mistake that people make. As an ads manager, there are lots of tech things you need to know to kind of pre qualified people. So I've got rubbish site, rubbish products, all that kind of stuff, you kind of consents those things, but whether you want to work with them, if they're ready to work with you, you can kind of gauge how much money they probably make from what they send you made before or something, which is what my process is any other kind of way that you would say that if you don't do a form, how to kind of cut those calls? Sure. Because going on so many discovery calls all the time obviously eats up time as well, doesn't it? And it takes you away from making money. Is there anything that you'd recommend, like how you would like word those discovery calls? Or do you just book in 15 minutes with someone? Or is that how you keep them shorts?Unknown:
Oh, for any inbound marketing, I never do free discovery calls, okay, with the natural conclusion of my triage process. Assuming this is the case, two answers can I will can I undo I want to help them if they're Yes, I always send what I call the magic message. And that is, from what you've told me, I think I can help you. The next step is a consultation call, where I'll give you a blueprint to take from where you are now to where you want to be disappointed to Japan prosperity, and you'll get your money back. If I can't help you, we'll be going to work together further. If you want to go ahead, all I need is your business details, your VAT number, and an email address. Their question marks it. That's all I do every single time and it does work like magic. That's why I call it the magic message. Because it always gets you the right answer you so don't always get it. Yes. We always get the right answer. Sometimes you get ghosted, great. Sometimes I come back and I swear I do great. Because that really happened to you. Sometimes. Yeah. On the same way as that guy got aggressive with you. Yeah. Things like all with people like he was always about the money, isn't it? Well, you want me to help you grow your business to make more money. But somehow when I want to make money, that's wrong.Aggie Meroni:
That's crazy. happens too. And doesn't it?Unknown:
Yeah, the the problem is, and I always get into trouble with people when I say this, because it's a harsh truth. And I think they get so angry about it because they know it's true. Freelancers get the clients, they asked for, you know, what every client who comes into your business is a client you've attracted, in some way shape or form, you put a message out there, they resonated with no matter how good or bad it is, that's what happened. That's the first thing. Second thing is every person you work with you take on your books, is someone you've allowed into your life. You don't have to you can turn it away if you want to. And then pick the Freelancers will say, Oh, we don't have any choice we need to work. That's not true. You're gonna get in trouble. McDonald's, if you want to know there's no right or wrong here. There's always Choices, choices, actions, and consequences. And then everyone you allow into your business, they will behave in ways you accept if you don't change their behaviour, you're accepting it. And worse, if you're not challenging it, you're condoning it. And freelancers moan about this all the time, and they hate it. When I say it's your own fault. You could have stopped this. And then they'll say it's victim blaming. Well, we don't say it's victim blaming. When we tell children not to get into cars with strangers. We don't say it's victim blaming. When we say yeah, we know people shouldn't break into your house or walk into your house and steal your things. So lock your door. That's not victim blaming. So why is taking actions to stop yourself being ripped off as a freelancer? Why is that victim blaming when I say you should be doing that? And it's easy to do all you say no. When people say will you work for free, because that's what they're doing effectively. Every time you work for free. With the idea of being you you invoice after the fact you are actually working for free and I promise to pay you later. What you're doing is extending. You're extending a line of credit to an institution or an individual with no due diligence, no security, and then you wonder when you get ripped off. And this it's easy, it's trivially easy To stop just by taking payments from a lien if they won't, you know, because some places won't do that fine, then you have a choice. You go, you say, No, I'm not working with it find someone else, or you can put things in place to make it less likely, you're going to be ripped off. I personally wouldn't if the white pine the upfront, rather substantial deposit, then we've done you know, I'm just not getting her entertain the idea. But if you must, there's escrow payments, payment trusts, there's payment on completion, not delivery, there stays payments, where they pay you every month, regardless of the progress of the of the job, because that what that does then is that stops you being in that position where I would put the frog on hold for six months, and you've got two months work outstanding, but you can't invoice because the projects not bending. They are state payments. You haven't won a retainer where you get paid at the beginning of the month, at least set up a bloody direct debit with gocardless So when you do invoice them, it gets paid back over to chase them. But freelancers want to do it or not, they can't. They won't they feel awkward and embarrassed and unassertive. A great book, great tip for your your listeners, which I presume are mostly women, aren't they?Aggie Meroni:
Let's go actually, it's the mix. Okay, fairUnknown:
enough. For everyone, there's a book called A woman in your own rights by Elaine and Dixon. It changed my life 35 years ago or more. It's a book on assertiveness. Okay. It is brilliant. She has a really nice lady. I've corresponded with a privately. He's a really nice lady. And she's just brought out last March, the 40th anniversary edition, man I got that's how old I am. But it's it's absolutely brilliant. AndAggie Meroni:
that that's timeless advice. Okay, I'm definitely going to link that in. I always know that whenever I sent like the pre email before we record, like, send me your links and stuff, I always know we're going to touch on other resources to add into the notes as we chats. But what you've touched on here about the kind of discussing with your future clients about when they should pay you a massive issue or a challenge that freelance ads managers have, and I'm sure most copywriters to an agency will apply to work with you. And they'll say, Oh, we really need your help by an our payment terms of 30 days in arrears. For me, I don't usually work with clients that have those payment terms, because for me, personally, it's risky. And I have had agencies pay me up front. So I know it's possible. But there is massive pushback with agencies because they will work on the 30 day minimum payment terms with their own clients. So they have this massive cashflow issue. So do you have any advice for any freelancers listening that have that pushback from agencies,Unknown:
just do what you did stick to your guns? And if they won't, do it go somewhere else. That the I'm pretty sure that unless that's unless you sign a contract to the contrary for for an agency to turn around to you and say, and I don't do this, I know, for an agency to I'm going to say, well, we've not been paid by the client yet. So we're not paying you. That's the legal, your debt has nothing to do with their debt. It's the bare minimum. I don't I don't know details of this because I don't I don't do it. I don't get paid at all. Don't do it at all. But there's a lady called Catherine gladwyn, who works with vas, you may know her, but she's got some free resources where she talks about what you should put in your terms, your own terms and conditions so that if they don't pay you, you know, can your invoice goes out on the close of business on Friday for not paying you want the Monday, then you've stopped putting things like stocks on their bank accounts and making claims and charging them interest straightaway. And then your terms and conditions. I strongly suggest if you're a freelancer and you really don't have the stomach for being assertive and looking for clients who will stick to your stick to alternative conditions, then at least you do that most fun because most most actually, there's a drug, it's called hoping they think it's gonna be okay. I hope it's gonna be okay. Well, I bet you've heard this one yourself. Maybe not recently, because you've seen quite assertive yourself and you know what you're doing? And I bet your listeners have heard this one, where you look at the cylinder conditions and they'll say unfavourable terms. And maybe they'll query it with the client and those clients, I don't worry about that we'd never enforce it. I swear.Aggie Meroni:
Don't sign anything you don't want writing, it's in writing.Unknown:
And they say they're wanting things. They won't enforce it, then why that? They got it in there in the first place. There's no, there's no, it's hopium. As I say, the problem with most freelancers is they look upon their job as a hobby, that well that's how they treat it. You're running a business. And if you don't treat it like a business, you'll be eaten alive by some of these people. Because there are probably two kinds of people that there are clients out there who are just just ignorant. They're not business owners. They are business owners. They're not business people either they're just winging it as well. But then they're also the predatory kind who do this kind of stuff routinely. See how they behave? This is what they do. You know it's it's shocking, but again, it's it's all on the Freelancers shoulders. You don't have to say yes to any client.Aggie Meroni:
I think as well like as a freelance aren't so you're not always charging five figures, there'll be like smaller services that you offer. And if someone holds back a payment, it's really not cost efficient for you for your time and your fees to actually go to Ames or to, you know, someone else involved to claim the money back. And that's kind of what some people prey on as well, knowing your while to chase them for the money. And you end up giving up eventually, or though in March, you just won't want to carry on.Unknown:
Yeah, I mean, it's true story, I learned this lesson early on, at least, it was just after a Candlelighters. There's nearly 16 years ago, there's still an American out there has been $4,000. And I remember it not not because I'm I'm angry or bitter or anything else, I remember it because it's an object lesson. I don't work in a race, because He still owes me four grand, he's welcome to it. Because as far as I can see, the way I look at it, using the very stoic way of looking at things is, that was quite an expensive lesson in how to run a business. Now, that was an education. That was you don't work for free, you get paid up front, but I'm happy to expense it because the amount of money saved me in the last 16 years, nearly, is phenomenal. And people say clients won't do this. But they will. Because we work with guys in construction, right. And there's three big things in construction that caused a problem. There's a thing called retention, where the client keeps money back in case there are faults later on. remedial work. There's what they call main contract discount, which is just give us some money off because we're a big client. And the third one is payment in arrears. We've got construction guys who get paid up front, no main contractor discount, and they don't allow retentions they sign a letter of indemnity instead. And I have people telling me, God can't do that. It's impossible. But we've got guys doing it one at a time when the sun isn't rising in the morning. Everything has to listen to this. And you know, you're an ads manager and probably got ad managers that your clients, I don't care what kind of relaxed you are, or a coach, or a consultant, or a lawyer, or an accountant, any service provider can do this pay get paid up front, when I stopped working with a brand new client, I get into three things. And it cost them nothing. And in 30 days, it changes it revolutionises their business. The first is you get paid more, they put your prices up, just do it. The second is you get paid for everything that you say you don't work for free. And the third is you get paid up front. So retain and get paid, you're gonna have a much more direct debit, and it changes lives. And anyone can do it, it costs you nothing. And if I'm wrong, just go back to your old way of working.Aggie Meroni:
Yeah, I think it's just so simple tweaks that you can implement at the beginning. I guess the hardest thing is if you're in a trap moment where you've got clients that are just messing around and taking up your time stressing you out, just filling up your pipeline again, so you can replace them. Because I hear lots of freelancers have been treated so badly. And I was like, you just need to get rid of them. And it's all but I don't have anyone else to replace them. It's like you just need to stop marketing yourself. You need to get back out there. It's the only way but I guess sometimes time energy sucker like latching on see that it is the cost isn't it's your business. It's taking time. Yeah. When you can't be marketing yourself.Unknown:
It's, it's, that's a manifestation of the sunk cost fallacy. I'm so far into this. Now, I can't give up. But that's, that's that is a fallacy because whatever's happened in the past, you can't change it or replace it. So the only the only sane place to start from is where you are right now. So pretend the past hasn't happened. This is where I am now. What should I do? Well, obviously, you're working for dickhead clients paying you you stop, and they're only 10,000 pounds? Well, you ain't gonna get it. And so if you keep working, and are you 11, or 12, or if they're if they're 60 days late, they're going to be 90, they're not even 20, you're still working for me, or something, you know. So really, you need to look at where you are right now. So those good clients who do pay on time in arrears, you've got a judgement call, keep going. Sometimes you can do that, or put them on a transition. So you start invoicing every month, maybe invoice every three weeks until you've caught up in your reports at the beginning of the thing. My clients do this, I get them to do it. And they don't get pushed back for a few queries, but they don't get any serious pushback. And if you are getting pushback from it, the chances are you're not actually delivering what you should be delivering anyway. Because if you're serving a client's needs, and they're really happy with it, you're making their life easier. Why would they object really, and here's another thing, if a client won't use something like escrow, or stage payment terms or anything like that, or payment on completion, not delivering the three things are likely to be the truth. One is they want to cheat you to they want the option of cheating you or free the most likely is they don't have the money to pay you right now. And they're hoping that between now and when your invoices, do it maybe a few days later, they would have made that money, hoping it's a terrible drug.Aggie Meroni:
Yeah. And I've noticed more. I'm fortunate that I've kind of learned my lessons. And I've kind of I've put my kind of boundaries in place. But even now, I'd say in the last since like maybe six weeks I've noticed There's people getting a bit later with pay me even though I charge up front. I'm like, I can't start until I get this pizza like keep postponing the start of this invoice is clear. But I can see be cashflow problems happening now. And I think that's kind of what's happening in the economy. So I think this episode is so well times, because I know that there's things going on freelancers are being sacked. And because of budget cuts and things. There's a slight whiff of desperation, some in some places, because people are panicking about not getting clients. So it's really tempting. Just take anything that comes along. And that is just the most dangerous thing you can do, because it will actually cost so much money down, don't you think?Unknown:
Oh, without doubt, I actually predicted this. If you go back in my old posts, and my old videos and the old podcast, I predicted this will happen as early as last April, when the freelance market really started to take off. Okay, because it was obvious there's going to be a recession after COVID was over. And the first thing to go and recessions is always marketing departments and advertising. And who's right at the forefront of all that business? Well, freelancers, you know, so what you've got is a perfect storm of loads and loads of freelancers, because everyone dived in during COVID, because it was an obvious thing to do. And all of a sudden, less and less work. And the freelancers who dived in during COVID probably did quite well. So there's no need to write and run a business. They just needed to better do their thing. Okay. Well, now you can do your thing, okay, but there's no thing left to do. Because no one needs their thing doing anymore. Well, they want they needed them, but they, they won't pay for it. So you've got these, like, lost children when it comes to their job, but they've got no idea how to get business. And what makes it worse is I'm not on social media, I was sending my email to my daughter looks after that for me. And that's quite deliberate because I don't want to be pulled down into that swamp. And it is a swamp on LinkedIn. What you see most of the time more often than not, is freelances moaning about their situation. Now, that's not only damaging to them, because you know, you start writing about how Ship Your life is, your life will remain ship it really well, you know, it's a self fulfilling prophecy, but also everyone else can see it ship to so you were going to attract those types who, you know, if you're desperate, and you say I'm desperate for work, you're gonna get people who will prey on someone who's desperate for work, you know, predators, this is what they do they go for the week. And perhaps even worse than that, if then the echo chamber dives in, hey, we're all miserable. That's all been miserable together. And what a mess really? What a mess. Do you really want to run a business in that situation? So even though I'm not in that situation, I just don't go on social media, because I don't want to read that kind of nonsense. pointless,Aggie Meroni:
I think is a very fine line between telling people that you're you don't have work and telling people that you're available for work. So whenever I have capacity, I post that I have capacity. And it no Freelancer does this. Like hardly ever. I never see anyone say I've got a space for a client back with me. I've never had any say about posting it. And I always would work from and it's usually current stuff I want to track. So that's good. But this this time, when I the last time I did it was maybe end of November, early December, I got other freelancers saying good luck, good luck getting work. And I was like, How dare you? I was actually so shocked that someone would say that to me. But I mean, I had the last laugh, because I got a client from it. But I was it was just so interesting to me how attitudes were changing on LinkedIn, just a subtle, she must be desperate. I thought I didn't think I came that way. I was just broadcasting. So I think it's really interesting how that's perceived, like whether it's just additional whether you're just marketing yourself,Unknown:
you're of course you can't, you can't control how others perceive you. And I might as well post away, I post sometimes when I have private mentoring clients, and I had a few spaces open and begin of the year because people just naturally come to the end of the three or six months. I didn't get any takers. Well, that's fine. I don't think people can afford it because it's not cheap, but I'm okay with that. Because it's not my sole line of business I want I wanted the clients because my wife has some health issues and I'm gonna have to take time out of business to kind of do stuff with her more. So I wanted for me the entry is the biggest bang for the buck for me and also for my clients. It is what it is. Things are definitely getting worse and in the freelance marketplace and this isn't good news. I'm afraid it's gonna get even worse. One of my clients has been a client for probably 12 years now and a friend of mine has an accountant and one of his clients is a lot of the call them the wind up companiesAggie Meroni:
And they know it's not insolvency something else anyway. They won't they won't companies up and just before code, they're gonna have COVID She had herself and four members of staff so there were five of them. Now, she's got 43 members of staff that are 44 of them, and they're overworked. Wow. Yeah, this is because this and this is this is relevant to freelancers. What's happened is, and it's relevant to freelancers, probably mostly because their clients will have done this. All the bounce back loans and stuff from the free money from the government. Well, a lot of it's got to be paid back. And all of these people took the money and used it for things like buying cars, especially in construction, Land Rover and stuff. So we've got this again, perfect storm now of we've got to pay back all these loans. There's loads of crap work out there, which is not profitable. And the marketplace is oversubscribed. It's too many people to do it. Like there's too many tradesmen around, and all the work out there is rubbish work now. It's, it's awful, it's a mess, and it's gonna get worse and worse and worse. And like I say, freelancers are at the forefront right now. We can't change any of that. Now, we're all in the storm together. But what we can do all of us every single one of us is we can you know, we can change the set of our sail. And it does take courage and it takes resilience. It's a It's fortitude to sit there when you're not busy and get an email inquiring and ignore it for 12 hours. Because hey, if you're busy, you're gonna have time to answer email. If you are I mean, it's simple my head ologists used to call it in. Terry Pratchett novels head ology, if you're getting messages and inquiries in For God's sake, all of you listeners now, please don't jump on a message straightaway and reply, give it at least six hours, at least, if they go elsewhere. In that time, there were never good prospects anyway. Because they weren't coming for you. They were coming for anyone with a pulse. If they if you do wait six hours, at least or the next day, preferably in the morning, then you position yourself because what we should be doing. And this refers back to what you said, right? We're going to use our websites, you're terrified. Okay. We are expert advisors. Think about this in any situation in life with a client. I mean, are you familiar with transaction analysis with the parent child type thing called transaction assets, it was very big in the 70s. Of course, I am a child of the 60s I was I was there. It's basically in any any we've got the got the parent child relationship, but to to boil it down even simpler than any relationship between a client and an a, an SEO freelancer, you've got someone in the slightly senior position and someone in the slightly subordinate position. Now traditionally, the client is in the senior position. And the Freelancer is down here just a little bit. So what happens they get crapped upon bringing the client calls all the shots. Now what I do in all my work starting right from the beginning, what from the moment you read my website, by chance that I am in the senior position here? Yeah. When people work with me, I am the trusted advisor, we do things my way, and we don't do them at all. That is the complete reverse of the way most freelancers do it. Consequently, when I work with a client, there's no concept of write, let's all sit around this table and review this copy for three hours. And so everyone has an input to it. No, I am the copywriter. If you want to change it, that's entirely up to you. But don't expect me to be involved in it. This is what you get, as long as it's honest, truthful, doesn't misrepresent, misrepresent you or the brand. And it's not in contravention of any rules or your professional bodies. That's what you don't, if you don't do it, great, but you're still paying me you've already paid me. And that's what you've got. But a completely different way of looking at it from most people, Dan Kennedy said is a brilliant quote, and I can't live my life by this one. People are walking around and umbilical cord in their hand, looking for somewhere to put it in. What you need to do as a freelancer is you want your clients to plug into you. But you can't do that. If you are dropping your cap, jumping on calls every five minutes for free and being treated like the hired help. You know, you don't ask a gardener for anything but the most menial hope in the garden or your cleaner, or the scullery. Mind. You, I'm not being disrespectful to these people, but you don't ask them for high level advice. They are the hired help. We're not the hired help. We are trusted advisors. And if they weren't treated like that you're gonna find someone else because I'm not playing.Aggie Meroni:
I think that's a massive challenge as an asset manager is when you're interested, Oh, can we just jump on a call? It's like you get our mum, do your review. And I charge extra for extra calls. Oh, okay. But it's so hard. If you've not had to say that before. And so have that response. It's so it makes you feel so icky inside, doesn't it? Actually Oh, no, maybe they'll be angry, and maybe they'll terminate me and you get all these crazy thoughts in your head. But actually, the world doesn't end. When you do say it the first time.Unknown:
Well, this is why I recommend that book. By the way. I'm Dixon, she talks a lot about this kind of stuff. But also, if you set this position from the outset, writing the very first thing people read, you're congruent with it. rules and boundaries. And rules and boundaries you don't enforce are not rules and boundaries at all their suggestions. If you have rules and boundaries, everyone can see what they are either explicitly or implicitly. And every time they try to break them, they come up against its moveable wall. They'll stop doing it. They're like a dog. A dog only do a dog on it put his nose on the right hot radiator once well people say learn it. Unfortunately most freelancers I work With a women now, it's not unfortunate that women I actually prefer working with women because they are, they tend to do, but there's less ego there. So they tend to do what I tell them to do. So they get better results, and it's more fun as well. But unfortunately, the way the the way the world has worked, it's been put together is women, when they're girls and young women, they are basically taught to be more compliant aren't as subservient, which is wrong. But it's the way it is. And I think women need need to face that truth. It's not fair. And it's not right. But it's the truth. So they, they've got a steeper hill to climb to be more assertive than men have, like, it's just the way of the world. It's not the way it should be. But it's the way it is. And of course, every time you argue and fight against reality, you lose. offend any women listen to this, I'm not being sexist at all. I'm just being realistic.Aggie Meroni:
Do you know what is so true? It's just it. I've come from a sales background. So I think I was kind of unconditioned from it a bit earlier. But I still get that a doubt. Because when you're your own business, there's no one else to hide behind. You know, you're the frontline. And that's it. I have to say the the only support I have is if I ever have to chase an invoice. My VA is the one who does it for me. But I am going to test using a man's name. Because apparently that works more efficiently if a man is chasing the payment. I bet it does. Yeah, shouldn't nobody does. It's like your head of finance or your accountant or something of that. Oh, okay. We need to pay them. So yeah, that's a tip that I've had since we've. Yeah, make sense. Since I put that LinkedIn post, I had so many people messaged me about it. And one of the people said, Get get people to chase as a man. I was like, Okay, I will test that.Unknown:
I remember some years ago, and my stepdaughter was having trouble getting a deposit back from the place she rented when she was at unit. And all it took for me was a message on the guy's mobile was. All it said was, I don't wanna have to come over here with you personally. Do you understand? He paid it the next day? So yeah, I get that. Yeah,Aggie Meroni:
I do think there are a lot of businesses. They think that women are a softer touch, and they pushed around a bit. So they might just be unconscious as well. It's not that they're like, you know, they're hating women or anything. It's just think it should be fine. Should we be more flexible? Yeah. So yeah, be assertive, I'm definitely gonna check out that book. I hope it's affordable.Unknown:
I don't know if it's audible. I don't listen to two books. I just read them. This hasAggie Meroni:
been so refreshing. It's definitely tough love. And I'm, I'm on board. I think sometimes you just need to hear the truth, but just not fluff, you know, advice and things like that. So I really appreciate you coming on. I'm really grateful that I was recommended you. So come and join us today. And I really think that everyone that listens to this will take a lot away from it. I hope. Yeah. I mean, if they do it, too. Yeah, me too. Like, before we finish, do you want to just let everyone know what they do and how you can support them if they're interested?Unknown:
Well, the easiest way I guess, is freeware, and I will put this at the end of all my LinkedIn posts. There's three ways to get well, the first one is to watch the podcast. Okay, so upon YouTube is the welfare business podcast. The second way is to get my book welfare Freelancer at well fed freelancer.com. It talks about triage process I mentioned before, but it also talks about what you do before triage. And after triage, it's end to end I mean, most books you buy, they'll talk about what to do and why you should do it. And then they you have to pay for the house. I guarantee if you get the book and follow this instruction, he will get the How to as well. And if you don't like the book, you get double your money back on a free pizza. personal guarantee is the third way to get the help. It's just a message me, if you if you email me at EBG as an evil genius DBG at evil genius.com We can maybe talk.Aggie Meroni:
That's amazing. Well, thank you so much for your time. Thank you very much,Unknown:
anytime, anytime. Bye, bye.Aggie Meroni:
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