The Freelance Ads Club Podcast

#8 How to nail cold outreach to grow your business with Charlie Williams, Paradigm Media

July 28, 2023 Aggie Meroni Season 2 Episode 8
The Freelance Ads Club Podcast
#8 How to nail cold outreach to grow your business with Charlie Williams, Paradigm Media
Show Notes Transcript

One of my most frequently asked questions is how to win clients from cold outreach.

It's not something I do so, I called the only person I know who has grown his agency quickly in a year by learning the skills to implement a cold outreach strategy effectively.

In this episode, Charlie explains how his dropshipping side hustle, while playing football in Australia, became his new obsession. Soon after discovering eCommerce, it became Charlie's passion and he quit football. The rest is history.

Charlie speaks about working for different agencies, then taking the leap to start his business Paradigm Media. The business has gone from strength to strength in less than a year, now standing at a team of 3 people and growing. 🙌


Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlie-williams-paradigm-media/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charliebwilliams_/
Website: paradigmmedia.uk

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Aggie Meroni:

Hello and welcome to the freelance ads club podcast with me your host Aggie Meroni. Whether you're a veteran freelance ads manager, or just thinking about dipping your toe into the world of self employment, this podcast is for you. Every week, I'll be speaking about my own experiences as a freelance as manager, sharing a freelancer spotlights where I'll have a chat with one of the amazing members of the Freelancers Club, where I'll be asking guests to share their knowledge and experience in ads across all platforms and business. Don't forget to follow and subscribe on your favourite podcast platform so you never miss an episode. Welcome today's episode of the freelance ads club Podcast. Today, I'm joined by Charlie Williams, who's the founder of paradigm. And I had to get Charlie on like Charlie's path crossed mine last year when he joined the free slack channel of the freelance ads Club, which no longer exists. And he was at the time working at an ad agency, starting a side hustle as a freelancer, and then subsequently left his employed job and became a full time Freelancer completely doing cold outreach. Now, one of my most frequently asked questions is, how do I do it? How do I do cold outreach, and Charlie is literally the only person I know that succeeded doing it. So that's why he's on, we're having a good old chats about how it was in the early days, what training he invested in to start get started, and how his process has evolved. And it really is different from the beginning to what he's doing now. And his growth has been incredible over the last 12 months. So if you're nervous, perhaps about the concept of cold outreach, or maybe you've been curious about giving it a go for your own business. Take a listen, Charlie is extremely generous with his experiences, and his tips for getting started. And the resilience you need, most importantly, to make a success of it. So tune in and hear what Charlie had to say. Hi, Charlie, thank you so much for joining me today.

Unknown:

Thanks for having me. How's it going? Yeah,

Aggie Meroni:

good. I think Charlie, you're like the most chilled person I've had on the podcast.

Unknown:

I'm very chill. And I think it's I think it's also the accent as well. The Yorkshire accent, everyone just thinks I'm chilled all the time, even when I'm not having come across.

Aggie Meroni:

Well, thanks for joining me. And before we get started on the juicy stuff, which is your journey so far? Do you want to give us a bit of an intro and how you ended up where you are today?

Unknown:

Yeah, so I, I got into in paid social and digital marketing space around three years ago, when I was living in Australia at the time playing football, came across Shopify dropshipping and became obsessed. And then I kind of just immerse myself in the industry was doing tonnes of classes, listening to tonnes of podcasts, trying to get good at it, and then move back to the UK during lockdown got a job working for a monetary and soup agency based in Sheffield, just as a paid social manager worked there for a little while Ben worked for an agency based in Manchester. And then I started paradigm last February was a side hustle for around five months before I left and made a full time.

Aggie Meroni:

Amazing. So Charlie and I's are my paths crossed probably last year, when he joined the freelance ads club when it was a free slack. And at the time, you were still employed. Yeah. And you had started to plan out the move. So I think a lot of people will relate to this story. Because we have a lot of people that listening. We have a few people in the membership that are still employed, but they're building up still side hustle, really, because they need that financial security before they make the leap. And that was kind of the same situation you were in, wasn't it?

Unknown:

Yeah, I mean, the hardest thing for me during that period was just not being able to do any of that organic marketing or anything, just because I was full time employed. And you know, my company that I was with had a big profile on LinkedIn anyway. So I couldn't really do any LinkedIn outreach or anything like that, I had to focus on what I could do, which was called outreach, anything where, you know, people didn't know that was employed. And that's kind of the only pillar I had to lean on to get me out and get me out on my own. And that's

Aggie Meroni:

exactly what I've asked you to come and have a chat today because one of the most frequently asked questions I get is How do I do cold outreach, and I'm very open in that I've never done it like not really in a strict like, in any kind of stretch strategic way or with any plan. So I was like, I think you're the only person I know that's managed to grow their business from doing it. So that's what I was like, Charlie, you need to come on. You need to tell us all your secrets. Well, it was many You're willing to share anyway,

Unknown:

I don't want to share. I mean, I think there's enough food for everyone to eat right? But yeah, all that we just taught, it's tough because it's a very competitive industry that we're in. So I think that what I've learned in the last year of doing it, and I'm still doing it now is like this entire lead generation source format for my agency, it's where all my leads come from. But what I've learned is you kind of have to have a solid offer, you need to have a great landing page. And you need to have case studies, you need to have video testimonials. Those are kind of the needle movers, when it comes to cold outreach, it was a lot harder at first, because I didn't have case that it didn't have video testimonials. So then it was it was more about kind of betting on myself and doing performance based deals to get me out of the door and get get me some opportunities. But now cold outreach works well, because I've got, you know, solid case studies, I've got very good video testimonials on the website. So so that's why it works well.

Aggie Meroni:

So I'm gonna ask you to like rewind completely to like the day you decided, this is the time, I'm going to start building up my own thing. You know, on the side, while I kind of established myself, how did you actually start your cold outreach? So did you have a lead generation agency? Did you do research? Like how, what was your process?

Unknown:

I, if anyone's on Twitter, they might be familiar with a guy called cold email wizard. I did his course. He's just like a Twitter guru in the E commerce space. And in his course, on Gumroad, I think it was like $100. And that's basically about having success with cold outreach and building an agency base from cold outreach. So I did that course. And it's all about like warming up, warming up domains, mass mass email, outreach, personalised emails. So I did that course. And then literally just implemented everything I learned step by step from the course. And that's, that's kind of how I taught myself how to do it, and then did that. And then obviously, as you can get better, and you learn what works and what doesn't, it's just, it's a game of error in there. But that's how I got the foundational knowledge.

Aggie Meroni:

I remember, ages ago, we were talking about this. And you said to me that you're buying your leads, is that something that you still do now,

Unknown:

or Yeah, so I have a couple of different people I buy leads from now. I have a woman who reached out to me on LinkedIn a couple months ago, and she didn't she she delivers a certain amount of lead to me. And then I have a personal lead gen guy who works on tools like Apollo and builtwith, to get me leads from those platforms. So I have a couple of different people I buy leads from now a couple of people that I trust that I've worked with for a while. But at first, I literally just went to Fiverr and put a job up for E commerce, e commerce regeneration, and decide the first guy that I came across on there. And he got me probably the first five to eight clients at paradigm from his lead.

Aggie Meroni:

And what's been the toughest thing for you like doing cold outreach? Or is it hard do you like or do you enjoy it?

Unknown:

I enjoy it. Just because I've gotten to a point now where I'm kind of a little bit better at it. At first, it was hard because you get like, you get a lot of angry responses, like you get people come back and just say to eff off or tell you to leave them alone or really Yeah, people like you do get because obviously it's very saturated, right. So these business owners, they receive about five to 10 emails a day from people in our industry. So under the same, the same services. So you do get angry responses from people and start when you just, you know, trying to earn a little bit of a side hustle. It's a bit offensive, and it has a little bit when you meet investors like that. So that has been the most stressful thing. But you just you just kind of learned to deal with it. And it's part of the game.

Aggie Meroni:

I think that's the mindset that comes with it. Right? Yeah, come a bit resilient to it realise it's not personal.

Unknown:

It's not personal. Exactly. These people are just they're not annoyed at you. They're annoyed at the email, because obviously, you know, he already probably on that day. So you just take them off the list. Don't email them again, maybe apologise for it, and just move on to the next one. But yeah, it is in the early stages called outreach is you need to be resilient, because you're gonna fail a lot. It's just something you have to accept.

Aggie Meroni:

Do you think it's definitely a numbers game as well?

Unknown:

100% 100%. And that's where I struggled in the early stages, because I wasn't doing it mass. So I would do. I used to use a tool called mailshake, where it's more personalised and I would send like 20 to 30 emails a day. Now I use instantly and we send in like three to 400 a day. So it's like, wow, yeah, now it's like mass is just what I've learned, we call our ages. It is just a numbers game. You need to land in someone's inbox at the perfect time for when they're looking for your services. Otherwise, they're just not going to respond. So the more emails you send, the more the more the more people you find at the right time, the more calls you get booked in. So it is absolutely a numbers game. Yeah.

Aggie Meroni:

Interesting. I also love how your process has changed over time. So you've obviously iterated your process from when you first started, and it was very like, tentative you weren't sure how what was going to work That's what was gonna land. And now you just like it's a process, I know that people are going to get, you know, going to not answer. Lots of people aren't going to come back to me. But there will be a few that do and they're the ones that I need.

Unknown:

Yeah, make sure that that's that's the game. That's that's what it is like. In the early stages, my process was just so time consuming and meticulous to the point where it was just it wasn't, there was no leverage in it, it wasn't worth my time, I would sit because I used to watch a lot of like John and plan and Iman guards, these videos and people like that, I used to kind of copy their techniques, and I would sit and record like loom video after loom video and just send them directly to decision makers. And it was so time consuming, and nothing ever came of it. And then I kind of realised over a period of time of iterating on the process and being like, this is just a numbers game I forget about the loom videos just ramp it up. Instead of selling 20 a day, get five more domain sent 200 a day, four of them are gonna work for me and two of them your clothes is literally just a game a game of numbers.

Aggie Meroni:

Amazing. I have to say I have sent a video to someone before like it was a local business. And they never replied. And to me, it wasn't I wasn't surprised they didn't reply, to be honest, because I've been on the receiving end of receiving loom videos. And first of all, I never click a link from someone I don't know. And the videos are always a link to like a loom or a Vimeo or something like that. I'm just too nervous about hacking to do that. But also like who's got the time, but honestly, like, Who has the time as a business owner to watch a video. The only time I think video works is if you already have a rapport with that person. So maybe you've been like chatting on LinkedIn, or they've engaged with your content a bit and they are aware of you. And they know that you're who you say you are, that if you send them a video maybe on LinkedIn, they will respond. And I have heard from other marketers, that strategy works for them. But I wouldn't say that's necessarily cold outreach, because then you're not completely unknown to them. Yeah, but yeah, your strategy is completely different.

Unknown:

That's kind of the tweaks that I've made over the years, and now I'll wake up dead leads with video. So if there's a lead where I've had like, a good interaction with them, and maybe it's just the wrong time in or they're waiting for investment, or whatever it may be, I will then wake them back up with a video or analysing their ad library or whatever it may be. But I'll never ever do, I'll never ever send a loom video with someone who doesn't know who I am, again, because it's just a waste of time. And it's just so discouraging when you can see on loom like this person watched, you know, 80% the video and they just don't come back. And it's like, there's just no output coming in from that. And it's time consuming to just sit there and record, you know, these videos. So now it's something I'll do as you're just saying to Henry Hill warmer lead, I will never do loom videos to cold leads ever again. Which is not it's not worth the time. Yeah.

Aggie Meroni:

So at the beginning, when you were reaching out to people, you were offering them because it's how based on performance that you were work with them or how what was the offer so that you could hook people in without, you know, your testimonials or anything like that.

Unknown:

But first, the last February, there was no performance based offer, I would just have like any generic flat retainer model, that I would try and get people on calls when nobody would book a call, nobody would respond to me. That was how it started. First it was like flat retainer deals, nobody's booking a call, I need to change this offer. And then it was like performance based deal based on blended rollouts is what I changed it to, then the call book rate went up a little bit. Then people started booking calls, it was like, right, okay, now it's working a little bit more, then I changed the offer to be like performance based deals. When you when we went in that order, then the cobalt rate really started to move and then I started to get more people on the phone. So at first I did a flat retainer, it didn't work at all through cold email. At first, we have no case studies or testimonials. So I had to again, iterate, change it or get people on the phone. So then I tweaked it to be performance based. For me, I had to do that because I had no sales experience. So I wasn't confident selling anyway. So it was I'll take all the risk. You know, I know I'm good at what I do. You can just pay me after I perform. That was the offer at first for me.

Aggie Meroni:

Did you do a lot of due diligence, though, on those companies? Because obviously, some brands you look at them, you think you're just not ready. There's a lot going on here, which I can't help you with that's outside of ads. So obviously, when it's performance based, you really do need to be careful that the people that you're helping can be helped.

Unknown:

Yeah, I only I only signed people on a performance based deal. If I've seen their back end seeing the numbers and knew that I could actually come in and make a difference. There was a couple of people who lie. I remember one business, they lied to me about how much revenue they were doing. They were like, why are we doing that fit? Okay, I'm all for that things are really good. We're not running any ads. And now that we put hands on to this, we can blow them up. And then when during the onboarding when I got access to their Shopify stuff, they were doing like zero an hour like, there's no way I'm working with them. So I just told them I'm not doing it. So there was a lot of pre qualifying you have to handpick the businesses that you choose to work with. And because as you said, people are going to be all over a performance based deal because nobody else is doing it. So you do have to be careful of who you pick, of course, because as we both know, it doesn't always work, right?

Aggie Meroni:

I have to say, though, just like hearing you talk about this, this is a testament to you being a good marketer, because you're like looking at it and going, okay, something's not landing, like something's not working. And this is what we do for our own clients, isn't it? If something isn't quite hitting the mark, it's like, right, let's take a look at this, again, like what could possibly be stopping people from taking the action I want them to do. So flat rate didn't work. And I think the flat rate Thing, Thing, charging model. I think that works better when people come to you. So when you're doing that content marketing piece, like you know, when you're putting yourself out on social media, or maybe someone's come to you through word of mouth, that's when you can hit them straightaway with your these are my rights, take it or leave it, you've obviously approached me because you liked me. So that that can work. And that is what I do. But I do know that if people that if people don't know you, they need something that's so juicy, they just can't resist I need to come in. So how did you feel when you got that first booking when someone said, Yeah, I want to call you like, Oh my God.

Unknown:

Yeah, it was crazy. I got a couple I got a couple on the last deal that I was offering. At first, I got a couple on the blended rise deal. And then none of them asked, I didn't sign any of them. Because once they were just like fully qualified, like the numbers were terrible. And that's why interested them. So I didn't sign any of them. I was patient. But then on the on the performance based deal, where as a percentage of revenue from ads, it was I was just so excited. I remember being like a kid in a sweet shop like it, there's no better feeling than getting calls booked in from your emails, because every call it gets booked in, you think it's a potential client. So it's like, right, I'm one step closer to where I want to be. Just like when we sign a new client. Now, he's still that same feeling, isn't it? Definitely. Yeah, it was, it was an amazing feeling. And I just remember being so scared, because as I said earlier, I had no sales experience. Even at the agencies I've worked at, I had account managers who do under client comps, I was just the media buyer who sat behind the computer that day. And so when I had to sit on Zoom, or my camera on and pitch people, I was so scared. I used to shiver before calls, I'm not even kidding, I will be shivering. He was so scared. You have to

Aggie Meroni:

be brave, don't you, if you run your own business, there's literally nothing you can do to get away from sales. If you can't make a sale, you just can't have a business. It's as simple as that, isn't it? Yeah, but you learn, you're brave enough to carry on, I think you have to be so resilient when you have your own business and just have your eye on the goal. Because I remember, it took me like five months to get my first client in my business. Like, you know, when you see all those things online, and it's like, oh, you know, I'm fully booked after like, 48 hours, and I'm earning six figures in my first two weeks. It's just not real. Like it takes a lot of like trial and error before you start landing those repeat, like, you know, those like having a constant flow, I think of leads.

Unknown:

It does. And I think the problem with online is, those things are very vague. So like, you never know what that person's background is like, if I had a good sales background, I could have closed three deals in the first week of outreach and didn't sell for me, it took two free months of outreach before I got one deal, that we're all we're all we all have different backgrounds. And I think that the online stuff doesn't doesn't show you that. So it's very easy to look at people on LinkedIn that are going well for him. It's going, you know, awful for me, maybe this isn't meant for me. But like if you have sales experience, and you don't know, I mean, that's that's a massive factor.

Aggie Meroni:

I think also something that a lot of people don't factor in to these success stories is not just whether they have a sales background, but if they have a background in the niche that we're launching in. So your network is your net worth. If you're coming into this and you don't have any network in the industry that you're going to be working in, it just takes a bit longer, because people need to get to know you, they need to get to trust you. You need to find your feet as well. But but you know, once you've done a few calls with people, you kind of get into the rhythm of what you need to say, for me now and I have a disk discovery call. It's like a script. I asked them loads of questions. I know straightaway if it's a yes or no. And then I know whether it's a goer or not. And there's a lot of pre qualifying probe and get on a call. But that comes with experience before you get there. You kiss so many frogs. You waste so much time. But I think that's how you learn isn't it?

Unknown:

It's so true. I did the exact same I think went out when it was a side hustle for me. I trick myself into believing that things were progressing, having calls in the calendar all the time, only to get on them and they were just pre there wasn't qualified and it was just a waste of my time. So I learned the hard way to kind of write I need to be pre qualifying these people and stop wasting my time. tricking myself into thinking that I'm busy when really I'm just basically burning time. So is it just takes so long is the only answer like you just gonna have to fail for a while before it starts to work. I just think that's that's the only way in my opinion that

Aggie Meroni:

is the nugget of this session like needs to fail everyone I speak to has that experience, no one gets it right the first time. And I just think that when you if you were to believe everything you see on social media, and I do think LinkedIn is really bad for this. There's a lot of BS on LinkedIn about how people are doing. It makes people feel inferior, and that they're doing something wrong. But actually, you need to get it wrong. And that's how you get it right.

Unknown:

Yeah, it's so true. I remember when I first started paradigm, it was the same for me. But on Twitter, Twitter was so bad because I go to Twitter, and I see like these 2223 year old guys who just started their agency, and they were doing 20k In the first month. And I was like, Am I doing something wrong? Or am I just not made for this or that was because I'm Mumphrey. And I've only got two clients and they're on performance based deals, I don't even know if they're gonna pay, like, that was my situation. And I was like, but then after a certain point, you're just like any stop comparing myself to these people and just get on with it. Now,

Aggie Meroni:

stay in your lane. That is the kind of mantra for all business owners, I think like you can't compare your journey to anyone. And it's something that I talk about a lot. Everyone has different strengths, different talents, even if we're all doing the same job. So we're all managing ads, we all have really different personalities. And all of us have come from different things. So what is comfortable for you now that you're like that cold outreach wizard is going to send like chills through someone else's spine to think I just, it's just not for me. And to be honest, I'm kind of in that camp. I think I'm just too sensitive. I think I just take rejection really badly if I was to do cold outreach, but Okay, so let's go back to your journey into cold outreach. So you're month three, there's Twitter people going, we're doing 20k months after like, you know, our first month, you're thinking there's something going wrong here. But you're landing your first couple of deals, which is amazing. Already, you probably don't think that's good, but it is if you're starting from scratch as an ads manager, and then it kind of snowballed from there didn't it? You kind of start finessing your process more and more. So how did you go from doing performance based to having this like slick process where you've got a landing page and testimonials? Like can you talk me a bit through that?

Unknown:

Well, I mean, I didn't get I didn't actually get a proper landing page until January, I just had this terrible website that I built on Squarespace myself last February. And that got me all the way up until January. And then in January, I was like, right, let me buy a proper landing page. Now there's actually done by someone proper and not myself. And so the landing page came a bit later on down the line. But I actually stopped cold outreach in like September, just because I wasn't my capacity. I couldn't take on any more work because it had gone from like not working at all up until like June to then this is working really well at my capacity. And I don't want to take on too much and drown in q4. So that was kind of that what that process looked like. So I paused it for like four months didn't do any call outreach, because I was at my capacity. Does that answer your question? I've just gone on a little bit of a tangent.

Aggie Meroni:

No, I think I think that is a good testament to how things can go. So this is not uncommon in any kind of marketing, where you feel like you're shouting to the abyss, like no one gives a shit about you and like you're not winning any business. And then suddenly, it all comes in and you're thinking Shit, I don't want to. And this is something that we have to work like Be careful of us as managers as well, getting totally excited that loads of people want to work with us taking it all on and then they will leave us because we can't service it properly. So you actually did a really good thing that you just close your books because retention is obviously where the money is as well. It's not that you just keep churning all your clients all the time. So you close your books for q4 and then I don't know if it was this happens to you but a lot of brands sometimes pause after q4 they scale back and they think I'm like really readjusting my budgets as we go into the new year. Is that what happened to you in January?

Unknown:

I think I lost one I lost one it for January who's basically like a seasonal brand value so socks and stuff. So they are two Christmases a year their Father's Day which is Christmas number one and then Christmas. So I lost that client who were one of my bigger clients in January over the night didn't lose any everyone else stayed which was nice. But yeah, I kind of took it from January. My like my biggest goal in January was I wanted to move away from being just a freelancer it's actually more of a business way it kind of ticks whether I'm there or not. That was where that my mindset shifted all along. I just wanted to be a freelancer. But then when it comes to like going away and things that were freelancing was difficult and I'm like, you know, I was in a way with my family and new year and I'm literally sat on a laptop all day every day. I was like right now I want to build that process and get the People on way to machine almost. So that was kind of where the launch mindset shifted a little bit. Because this is

Aggie Meroni:

one of the questions I wanted to ask you like, what, how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as a freelancer, or now the shift is moving more into an agency owner. And you've just answered that, you know, you're starting to put your processes in place. When we briefly spoke earlier in the year, you said you had you had start outsourcing the actual ads management to others, is that something that is ongoing that you're growing, or you're finding your feet with?

Unknown:

So I started to use hired a couple of contractors in around February, one of them I've now hired full time, never ones that don't work anymore. So I've got one contractor who well is now full time he's a full time employee. And then obviously, I've got an account manager starting next week, who's currently working at notice. So I think now I would say I'm a small agency owner, if you asked me two months ago, I would have been a freelancer still. But it's been a it's been pretty much to be honest, it's it's grown really quick, but I would not, I had a couple different contracts on my accounts. But I'm very funny about the way I've in my accounts, like I wouldn't be I'm watching like a hawk watching every move. And I was just seeing stuff I didn't like, have very high standards as well. So I was like that, okay, I'm just gonna go with one, spend the time to train him, buy some courses for him to teach him properly, the way that I like to do things, and then hiring full time. So that's what I've done was the media buyer. So he's really in like, you know, probably seven of my accounts at the moment. And then I have an account manager started a few weeks. So yeah, I'd say that I'm now a small agency, I think

Aggie Meroni:

Yeah. And that's just gone from strength to strength. And that's on the basis of cold outreach basically, isn't it?

Unknown:

Well, literally, I was running the numbers recently. And at the moment, I've got 15 clients on board, right. And I think eight of them came from cold outreach free of them, or referrals from the clients or gambling call outreach. So the business has just been literally built on the back of cold outreach. And then I got a really good white label deal, like just before q4 Last year, which has helped the business massively. So that's there's been white label and cold outreach is what got me here today.

Aggie Meroni:

Amazing. I didn't know about your white label side of the business. So is that right, that it's another agency that maybe don't offer the paid social side? That's something that you do for them?

Unknown:

No. So they do, they are specialists in the paid social side. It's a big agency based in the UK. And they are specialists at the paid social side. But what was happening, they just wasn't getting the results required for their clients going into q4. So I met with the owner, and we had a chat. And they just kind of gave me all their biggest accounts to paradigm and a white label basis for q4, which is obviously another reason why I paused the call outreach. Because I've gone from work, you know, doing this cold outreach thing, having my own clients to working with huge brands on this white label deal. So back in October, November last year, that white label deal was probably 60% of the business. Now it's about 30. So I've managed to shift it around a little bit and kind of move as I move it away from being entirely white label. The majority of the businesses, my own clients now, which is nice. But for a minute, it was like mainly white label back in like q4 of last year.

Aggie Meroni:

It's really interesting, isn't it when you have your own business, like the flexibility that you can have, because it probably wasn't on your radar, maybe when you started but you would do white label to that extent, like to have such a big deal. And then suddenly it came in, you think brilliant, let's just shuffle some things around. And let's do it.

Unknown:

Literally, it wasn't even on my on my radar. But then again, that's just a game of it array in because I'd heard from a couple of other like freelancers that they aren't big white label deals. And then I literally sent this guy a message on LinkedIn, it's only LinkedIn outreach I've ever done. It's the only message I've ever sent on LinkedIn.

Aggie Meroni:

I had a good rate of return for you.

Unknown:

And literally, I kept seeing their ads all the time. I kept seeing ads on Facebook, this agency and I literally just found the CEO on LinkedIn messaged him, I was like, I keep seeing your ads. I love like kind of love the way that you're doing things. I think we should have a beer or a chat next time in Manchester. We did. It went from a message on LinkedIn to having a beer with this guy to all sudden, Amanda and all the biggest accounts and a white label deal. So I mean, if there's anyone you keep seeing on social media, it's hugely my message. You never know what might happen.

Aggie Meroni:

There's actually something you've touched on there without you probably even realising that I'm a massive advocate for and I think it's from my background, and that is actually meeting people. Because in our industry, everything is very digital and online. And that's one of the benefits. We don't actually have to meet anyone if we're extremely introvert, there are that you can definitely be a very successful business owner by never meeting anyone in person. But I make time in my diary to meet people in person, because your business just comes to you when you meet someone. It's crazy. Like people trust you so much quicker than like interacting for months on social media. A lot of my referrals come from People I've met online.

Unknown:

Yeah, I think there's a lot to say, as you're saying about this being like a fully remote industry, I think the old fashioned like meeting person iContact handshake goes a long way. Like, that's what I've learned this year as well, I've started to get out more to networking events and things like that. And I've met a couple of good leads and got one from it as well. Just like start people in person shaking their hand, telling them how you can help them that kind of thing goes a long way versus just an email or a message on LinkedIn definitely does help. 100%

Aggie Meroni:

I think as well, when you meet someone in person, you're not just going to talk about what you do. But you're going to talk about them, what their interests are, what lights them up, if they're an eight and other agency, it's not always the business, that is their passion projects, usually funds their passion project. So finding out what that passion project is, you connect with them even more. And I always find as well. And you've touched on this earlier as well. Just because you meet someone at that point in time, does not mean it's the right time that you'll work together that but you know, at some point in the future, your paths will cross again, like they will think of you when an opportunity comes up, or you know, their situation changes. And suddenly they're like, Oh, crap, I need someone that can help me with this, or a really trusted contact needs some someone goods to help them with this thing. And you're going to be the person that comes to their their mind.

Unknown:

This is what I've learned, again, the hard way, because I let so many leads go dead last year without even thinking about this. But this year, I've now implemented systems to make sure that I'm just touching base with people, when it's just been the wrong time. Like, yeah, you can, you can be a perfect fit. But if it's slightly the wrong time, or they're not quite ready to pay the retainer, or whatever it may be, you can lose that deal. But as you were just saying, sometimes it's the wrong time, and a little emails to touch base and just ask them how we're getting on can sometimes say things down the line. So that's something that I've learned the hard way, because last year, I lost so many deals, just not by having that in my in my head, just thinking that once a deal is gone, it's gone. That's it. It's just not the case.

Aggie Meroni:

So I think, and I don't know if you know this, but I do have a sales background. But it wasn't like aggressive rock violence kind of sales. It was very much like account management, relationship management. And it has put me in good stead doing what I do now. Because I really appreciate the value of relationships. And I spend time nurturing them for that reason. But I think what a lot of people, and this is whether they have a sales background or not, I think if you do you're probably more aware that you're like this, if someone says no, it doesn't mean no, no. And I think you've got touched on that. It's just a no right now. And something that comes to mind talking about this. So I was actually having a chat with a agency, a web development agency, and they were like, and they don't deal with Shopify, it's like a different ecommerce platform. I don't really want to say which one because there aren't that many of them. But they're like top league in what they do. But they were struggling to get new business. And the like, we know in the UK, there are only 200 ecommerce businesses using this platform. And they're very big businesses. They're bitcomet like ecommerce brands. And we know that our competitors are rubbish at what they do. But for some reason, no one is working with us. But it's really hard for us to close any business. And they wanted me to run LinkedIn, LinkedIn ads for them. I was like, Well, have you got a list of all the companies that are using the platform? So yeah, we get access to that information. I was like, okay, so you don't need LinkedIn ads, like you literally just need to make relationships with those businesses, like you don't need to spend money on advertising. It's like they had the names of the people to contacts. They had the names of the businesses. And in some cases, they knew which agency was servicing them. And how awful the agency was as like, knowledge is power. People like this isn't like an ADS thing like this is just to pick up the phone or email them or go for a coffee or something or find out what events they will be at and start networking with them.

Unknown:

Virtually. Yeah, I mean, if you've got a list of them, just just reach out to the decision makers and get on the phone isn't it is much, I wish, I wish my college was that easy.

Aggie Meroni:

That's what we thought. And I was actually on the call with another ads manager, because we were going to partner in supporting them. And we were actually having a chat with them about helping their clients with ads. And this is how this whole conversation came at that like we actually need help as well as a company. And I was like, I don't actually think we can help you. Like there's nothing that if people know that you're there. And you know who those people are. You're kind of the one that needs to make that connection like that and actually have a sales call. It's not really a marketing thing, because you've got such a niche target audience. It would actually just be really expensive to do that outreach through ads. I don't know sometimes I think brands are a little bit lazy that ads are not the only way to get business.

Unknown:

Yeah, because direct response is the quickest way that's why business owners love it the most like I've been advised in a couple of my clients to like, Look SEO for long term purposes. And they're like, we just kind of want to spend on ads right now. And I'm like, Yeah, but, but you need to play the long term game as well. Like, can't just rely on ads, just because it's direct response, you know?

Aggie Meroni:

Yeah. I mean, that's a whole different conversation is that to have clients about how they should just rely on you, Manager, like, they've got to have a way bigger net of ways to get people in. So I'm gonna start wrapping this up, because you've been so amazing and so generous with your insights and what you've been doing. But if you were to look back on your journey, and I know it's a really cliche way of saying it, but say, since you started launching from like, the day that light bulb happened, and you're like, right, the side hustle was happening. So where you are today, what has been like your biggest lesson?

Unknown:

There's been so many lessons, I think the biggest one has been met relationships with people because that goes back what would you say my me send him on LinkedIn message, someone who I've seen their ads, too quickly became like a huge white label deal that was like half if not more of business. So make relationships with people reach out, don't always ask them ask for stuff. Just Just be nice to people like offer free value, make relationships with people the biggest lesson over then that would probably be also don't rely on people too much people let you down in terms of like contracts and stuff. I have a horror stories with subcontractors where they just don't care. And they just brilliant, right? reimage. And these accounts, because it's yours and not theirs, and they just want to get paid. And so be careful when you when you do start to outsource things don't rely on people understand that you have to hold yourself accountable for these people's actions, make relationships with people. And in the early stages, if I was just looking to make the jump now and start my freelance business again, I would say to people take the risk like, like I did do do what I did take the risk in the early stages, you know, go out on a limb, roll the dice, but on yourself, do performance based deals because you can quickly turn them into flat retainers, you need to understand this a saturated market and these business owners are getting pitched you know, five times a week, so you need to have something fair to offer.

Aggie Meroni:

Amazing. And what would your finally has it been worth it

Unknown:

100% I love it. I I went to his left Blackboard and wanted to be a freelancer. That was my only intention at the time I'm going to be a freelancer. I don't ever want to be responsible for people. And now six months later, I'm sitting here with like two people pretty much on board. I do. I do really like to run the business. I like eating while I kill. I like having pressure to deal with and things. I always felt too comfortable in employment to be honest, just from my experience. So I think it's worth it. I love it. But of course there's long days. So I work

Aggie Meroni:

definitely. And obviously everyone's journey is gonna be completely different, like how they get to what they want to do and what their goals are. So yeah, it's been really lovely. And I don't mean this in a patronising way, which is how it sounds. But it's been really nice to see you going from like, quite anxious slight about setting up your own thing to like thriving. It's been amazing. So I've like been in touch for probably about a year now, haven't we? If anyone would like to get in touch with you? What's the best way for them to reach out?

Unknown:

So business is paradigm media.uk You can find me it was a you can find my email at Charlie at paradigm media Wk find my LinkedIn is just Charlie Williams. My Instagram is Charlie B. Williams underscore. So yeah, reach out.

Aggie Meroni:

So all of those links are going to be in the show notes. So yeah, you'll be able to get a direct line to Charlie if you want. Hopefully, you're not going to be locked in undated Charlie. But thank you so much for your time. I've absolutely loved this chat. It's extremely refreshing to hear like such an honest take on what it takes to start your own business and like what you have to go through in the first year. And yeah, we'll be in touch right way.

Unknown:

Yeah. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. And I will forward to listen to that.

Aggie Meroni:

Thank you for listening to this episode of the freelance ads club podcast. If you're a freelance ads manager, don't forget to download the free Client Onboarding Trello you can find in the show notes. If you're a brand or agency looking for support from one of our community, visit our website at the freelance ads club.com to access our member directory. Tune in next time