Why Freelancers Should Learn From McDonalds

by Kezz
14 replies
Last weekend I was chatting to a fellow with aspirations of freelancing who asked me what major lessons and adjustments I made during my time offering services here at the Warrior Forum.

His goal was straight forward - make enough money freelancing to cover essential expenses whilst leaving time to work on more long term internet marketing strategies.

I gave him some information based on my own experience and the tips seemed to be of assistance. Hopefully they can help you too:


The Number 1 Rule of Freelancing - SIMPLIFY

When I first started freelancing my approach was to offer every service I knew how to deliver in one advertisement. Do you know what the result was?

I got loads and loads of interest but there was a problem.

Because I had so many options on the table the result was I spent more than half of my time discussing and quoting for people and less than half actually doing paid work.

It didn't take me too long to realize that I had to cut down the options I had available.

It became apparent that offering everything at once is like trying to running a burger store with no menu.


What if you went to McDonalds and there was no menu?

You might ask:

"What lunch options do you have?"

to which they would reply

"What would you like? We can do anything!"

You can imagine that the counter staff would spend most of their time discussing a multitude of salad and bread options along with their corresponding pricing.

As a result the number of burgers actually purchased would be considerably lower than it could be.

So, through considering how McDonalds managed to become one of the biggest businesses on the planet it became obvious to me.

If I wanted to spend less time discussing & quoting and more time getting paid and delivering services I would need a simple McDonalds style menu.


THE SIMPLE CHAIN:

Simple Offer > Simple Decision > Simple Service


The "Simple Chain" is a major key to successful freelancing.

Regardless of what kind of service you are offering as a freelancer you are ultimately selling your time.

So if you want to have the greatest possible financial success you need to make the absolute most of the time you have.

Let me break down the three links in the "Simple Chain"


Simple Offer

Here's the deal. People looking to hire freelancers are doing so because they want their business to be efficient.

The last thing they want to do is spend an hour decoding a complicated service offer.

Make your offer as simple as you possibly can. Ideally it should be one item, one price, click here to order, and that's it.

If you are a writer for example you can offer a flat rate per page or per 500 words.

If you do want to offer more than one item then remember the McDonalds style menu and keep it as simple as you possibly can.

Organize two to three package offers at most. Tailor each package to perfectly suit each group most likely to be interested in your services.

For example, when I was doing ghostwriting I knew my clients predominantly wanted to build lists with free report giveaways or to sell their own info products.

So I offered a free report sized book, and an info product sized book. (Later I went to a per page model as it suited me better at the time).


Simple Decision

By keeping your offer simple you avoid spending excessive amounts of time responding to questions that begin with "How much if..."

You're also far more likely to receive orders without needing any preliminary contact at all.

If a clients sees exactly what you are offering and verifies that you are a trustworthy provider they can just go ahead and book their spot with you.

You typically don't need to convince people of the benefits of the actual service you're offering.

A prospective client already knows what they want and the virtues of getting it. All they are looking for is the best person to take care of the job and the best value for money.

Note I said value for money, not the cheapest. Yes, some folks are looking for the cheapest but trying to be the lowest cost provider is a very hard way to do business.

I recommend instead aiming to offer the highest quality service available in a pricing bracket you are comfortable with.

Focus on being crystal clear in communicating exactly what you include in your service.

Keep your offer well organized and always, always, always have a bullet point summary of what the client will receive.

You also need to convey your expertise and your trustworthiness. Make examples of your work clear and easy to access. Give your testimonials pride of place in your offer.

If you have a testimonial from someone you know is well respected by others or one that really glows don't be afraid to place it right under your headline before anything else.

People want to know who they can trust so let them know you are reliable.

Cap all of the above off with a noticeable Add To Cart button. When people have decided they want to order don't make them hunt for a tiny blue link.

Make everything as easy as possible for people and there's nothing as easy as a big red button.


Simple Service

Once you have your new client happy and on board with you it's time for the rubber to hit the road.

You now have to get down to it and deliver on the service you have sold.

Once the payment for the service is in the bank your actual rate of pay depends on how efficient you are.

Now I'm by no means suggesting you ever rush anything you do as delivering quality is paramount. Your reputation is everything in the freelancing world.

What I am suggesting however is that you think of services you can offer at high quality without grinding yourself down to poverty pay rates.

You may have a fantastic idea for a service with all the bells and whistles that will sell for a nice rate, but when you get down to producing a complex service you may find it becomes very taxing very quickly.

As a service begins to tax you it will also slow you down, and then as a result your rate of pay reduces.

Try to offer services with one or two components at most, for example short report plus ecover.

It should be a straight forward matter for you to take an order, produce, deliver, wrap up and move on.

If you want to offer more service components, offer them separately through different advertisements.

Separating your offers keeps each of the three "Simple Chain" links in tact.


Why this is so important

Of course the additional major aspect to keeping your services aligned with the "Simple Chain" is that freelancing should always leave time for other endeavors.

Freelancing is an excellent way to liberate you from your day job, it can be extremely educational and very enjoyable.

However it is finite income source. You should always be working on establishing residual and exponential income sources at the same time.

You can only do this if the services you offer bring you enough income and leave you with enough spare time.

Remember the "Simple Chain" when you next offer your freelancing services.

Simple Offer > Simple Decision > Simple Service

...
#freelancers #freelancing success #freelancing tips #learn #mcdonalds #online business
  • Profile picture of the author Mac Wheeler
    I will add one other small tip to this if I may?

    I have been a freelancer for a long time now, and one thing I have learned.

    If a prospective client comes to you with no clear idea of what they actually want, then walk away. So your simple decision section would need to be revised to include a section about deciding whether the client is acceptable before quoting.

    Some clients are not worth having.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kezz
      Originally Posted by Mac T Wheeler View Post

      I will add one other small tip to this if I may?

      I have been a freelancer for a long time now, and one thing I have learned.

      If a prospective client comes to you with no clear idea of what they actually want, then walk away. So your simple decision section would need to be revised to include a section about deciding whether the client is acceptable before quoting.

      Some clients are not worth having.
      It's true that it is important to have a clear understanding of the job scope with your clients.

      That's one of the main reasons it's good to have a very clearly defined service to which people can say "Yay" or "Nay".

      If they do know what they want and can see that your offer matches it they know they can go ahead.

      This avoids the whole process of quoting entirely as it's a flat fee based offer.

      At most if you have a per "fill in the blank" pricing structure you might have to do the multiplication per "fill in the blank" during an inquiry.

      Additionally this approach filters out what I call "Serial Quoters" - people with the best of intentions and high aspirations who collect quotes but never quite get started.

      Another step you can take after receiving an order is to have a pro forma set of questions you ask all your clients.

      If, after you ensure you explain the questions should it be required, the client has trouble giving you the information you need you can make a decision on a case by case basis.

      In some circumstances I've found that a person just needs a little help and guidance. Sometimes people don't know what they want but a few thoughtful suggestions solve the problem. The client will be happy that you helped them with direction and a good project goes ahead.

      Other times I've found that yes, the person just isn't ready. In that case you can offer to give the person a refund in their best interests and ask them to come back when they're ready. Or you can offer to put their job on hold until they have the info required.

      The main thing is that you're open and honest with people and let them know you have their best interests in mind.

      Some of the best business relationships I have come from saying, "No thankyou, hold onto your money because the truth is you don't need this service right now and here's why".

      Originally Posted by ccd View Post

      Thanks for that post, Kezz. Obviously a lot of effort went into it, and it contains some very useful info.

      I've been trying lately to launch a freelance copywriting business -- and failing fairly spectactularly so far! I think your info will be helpful in tweaking my approach.
      Shoot me a message and let me know what you've tried so far if you'd like Chris, I might be able to help you out.

      Or if you can't PM yet, hit me up on Facebook maybe.
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      • Profile picture of the author Adam Nolan
        This is some really solid advice. People, you should pay attention to this.
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Actually Kezz, I'm dissapointed!

        You make a good point on the simplicity connection, but there is something more profound.

        Here's what I mean...The owner of a McDonalds store has a money making enterprise that works if he gets sick, hurt or is on holiday!

        Question...how many freelancers can honestly say money keeps rolling in if they stop working?

        The freelancer needs to engineer himself out of the position of chief moneymaker.

        There are 2 options to go about this...

        1 Turn your knowlege into digital information products and sell products, not services...

        2 Outsource the services you offer to others and systemize this so you can take yourself out of the business, like a McDonalds store owner.

        Thanks Kezz for bringing up the topic,

        All the best,

        Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author abednego
    So very true.

    I was just thinking about this today when I noticed the Big Mac is on special... 2 for $3.00 here in Phoenix
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    • Profile picture of the author ccd
      Thanks for that post, Kezz. Obviously a lot of effort went into it, and it contains some very useful info.

      I've been trying lately to launch a freelance copywriting business -- and failing fairly spectactularly so far! I think your info will be helpful in tweaking my approach.
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  • Profile picture of the author thaismr
    Thank you for this post, I've seen that freelancers who are getting high responses to their offers do follow this kind of plan: they are very specific about their services, very direct with their pricing, and have a big "buy now" button right at the page.
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  • Profile picture of the author tyroneshum
    Hey Kezz,

    Great points!

    I like your simple approach regarding freelancing and it surely is. Being simple but direct in giving information to your clients is the best way to deal with them and also assure that you'll give them the service that they need at the right price -- one misunderstanding and you lose one. It's better to give them their refund true, if they're not ready giving what they need too instead of risking your reputation. So bottomline, it's a vice-versa basis.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kezz
    Yes, you're exactly right Ewen. No need to be disappointed - what you mention is the main purpose of this post.

    That's why I made the point that efficiency in freelancing is so important because you need time to work on more long term strategies.

    Take your mention of selling info products etc. This should absolutely be the goal but it takes time to get new ventures up, running and profitable.

    Even if you only take a week to create an info product, create the graphics to go with it, write the copy, build and launch the site, and setup marketing operations that's still a week you need to have spare.

    By keeping your services efficient you can buy yourself that time you need to move into selling your own creations.

    Or, you can build up the funds you need to outlay to get someone else to put something together for you.

    And the same thing also applies to outsourcing the services you sell. You still need to have everything as efficient as possible to make the sales process efficient, and to make organizing your staff smooth.

    Just a note on mixing freelancing with outsourcing - remember that it's your reputation on the line. Be very careful what kind of material and quality you associate yourself with. I've never elected to outsource my own services for that reason. I always wanted people to know that if they hired me, they got me and not someone they knew nothing about.

    Whether you want to resell someone else's services or move across into product creation, it is absolutely imperative that you are as simple and efficient as possible in how you structure your freelancing setup.

    Originally Posted by tyroneshum View Post

    Hey Kezz,

    Great points!

    I like your simple approach regarding freelancing and it surely is. Being simple but direct in giving information to your clients is the best way to deal with them and also assure that you'll give them the service that they need at the right price -- one misunderstanding and you lose one. It's better to give them their refund true, if they're not ready giving what they need too instead of risking your reputation. So bottomline, it's a vice-versa basis.
    The other really good thing about being willing to do this is you can build relationships on a foundation of trust and basically get people who'll never go to anyone else but you.

    For example, I was helping one guy spruce up his blog. He was brand new to affiliate marketing and following a pro blogging course.

    He asked me how much I would charge to create a full minisite type of design through which he could promote the products he was shooting for commission on.

    Now if I was a butt-hole I could have quoted him and he would have just paid me. The thing was he would have gotten absolutely no benefit from the service, for various reasons related to his circumstances.

    I explained to him why I thought he actually didn't need the service and told him he would be better off investing those funds into what he had going at the time and getting some returns.

    Next thing I know I get an email from the guy with a link to a glowing testimonial he'd just recorded and put up on YouTube with no prompting from me whatsoever.

    He was so glad that I showed I was interested in seeing him succeed over just taking his cash.

    He stayed a loyal client the entire time I was offering website related services. Even after I stopped he still didn't want to go to anyone else and I still keep in touch with him now.

    Plus now that I'm moving into product creation myself he buys my stuff, which is nice.

    Honesty and consideration is somewhat rare in business circles so a little bit of it goes a long long way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dheer
    I'm a freelancer from past 2+ year and what I think is we need to make sure that we deliver quality work to our clients a must. If we offer them quality work they ll come back and we ll have a residual income source.
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  • Profile picture of the author InternetM39482
    Great points, and an awesome approach!

    Although I'm not a freelancer, I agree that simple is better. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    Kezz, excellent post! This same paradigm also applies to offering IM services to offline businesses, if you aren't very clear or precise on what you offer, you could waste lots of time just explaining your different services to business owners instead of actually DOING the work which you get paid for! In other words, you waste a lot of time consulting for free with clients instead of doing paid work - definitely not a good thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Jackson
    Thanks Kezz!

    Yes, freelancing is a great way to make some extra income online. I think there are a few rules you should make when you run an offer, because they will save your ass bigtime...

    1. Make your offer crystal clear - Terms and conditions, what exactly they will be getting (don't just write, i'll write you an ebook - give a ballpark figure of how many words and whether it's a specific topic or general).

    2. Lay out your TOS - Some people will take take take if you don't lay down the law. I had a guy send me a 3000 word transcript he wanted me to model for a sales letter, AND he wanted me to go through x000+ word transcripts of 6 DVDs for $100 while running my WSO for testimonials and portfolio.

    3. #2 Brings me to my next point. Don't deal with people who have unrealistic expectations. I know how hard it is cutting off people in fear they might review you negatively, but in all honesty, if you deliver, the positives will far outweigh the negative.

    4. Have your customers fill out a questionnaire
    with whatever offer you are up to. Whether it's graphics designing, article writing or sales letters. Make it as detailed as possible and try to get everything you need so you don't run around waiting for days on replies to emails and end up forgetting about them.

    Just my 2c,

    - Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author TheOverall
    Awesome post. However I'd suggest to go with "added" strutures.

    As in.

    $10 wiill get you a 900 word article!

    +$2 will get you extensive keyword research = better SEO rankings
    +$3 will get you a free masssage
    +$5 and we'll submit the article to X amount of directories

    Make your initial offer crystal clear, and then have your client go "oh, yeah, why not add that".
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