Former Tech Sales consultant, freshly freelance - critique my strategy!

3 replies
Hey everyone, just introducing myself (I hope this is cool?) - feel free to critique my strategy!

I'm 31, from the UK and worked in technology sales for six years and recently went freelance - offering my services as a technology evangelist and copywriter, while starting to build my first online businesses.

I'm all about quality of life; I enjoy work, but simply require the freedom to live in beautiful places while I do it - where I can surf, snowboard and do sports I love each day - and contribute towards products and technologies that I feel can have a positive impact on the world, or are at least ethically sound.

I am really passionate about technology and its ability to help improve the world - my long-term ambition is to help and build companies pushing socially-beneficial solutions.

However, I need to become as valuable as possible, as quickly as possible, to get there.

I trained as a journalist after university (I studied international relations), joined a political/economic publication and immediately switched to sales, when I saw how much money they made. It was commission-only, pitching CEOs and ministers in Africa and Asia - and fantastic training in cold-calling, hard closing and negotiation. I realised the product was ethically unsound though, which eventually came to affect my ability to perform.

I then joined a FTSE100 EdTech company, where we got great training in consultative sales skills; presenting, identifying/selling to different character types and soft negotiation/closing skills.. Great team, but I've never enjoyed being a cog in the machine, so moved on.

I then did 3 years in an EdTech startup and enjoyed being left to develop international business my own way. I was free to combine hard and consultative sales skills and got great international travel - but realised that no salary is sufficient compensation for having someone else tell you what hours to work and which location to be at, most days.

I flew out to Australia for a brief career break (on a one year working holiday visa, just before I became too old!) and pondered about doing the same EdTech sales role for a company out here.. No doubt being able to surf after work is a massive upgrade, but as I went through interviews, I was able to get a feel for how a 9-5 job could ruin the pleasures of living in even the most wonderful places - especially as a company would own my visa.

I decided to go freelance several months ago and immediately hit-up every entrepreneur I know; offering my combination of sales experience and writing ability, with a dash of humility in regards to being new-on-the-block countered with the fact I'm seriously keen to perform.

Someone I know from school has an education magazine that's been really successful in Europe, which he's keen to expand into South-East Asia - so I took that on and have been cold-calling to sell advertising (commission only). I recently closed my first confirmed business (academic sales is slow!) with a top school and have good leads in the pipeline.

Despite not knowing much about SEO, he's ranking pretty well on Google, due to having focused on sourcing high-quality content from educational professionals for the website.

I'm also sourcing content for him (commission for each one), but think we can milk more out of each article we're securing, by getting smarter about SEO optimisation and social media.

One month ago I knew nothing about SEO, so have been dedicating time to consuming articles and YouTube videos about SEO - as I feel that this is an essential skill to leverage my writing and sales abilities.

I'm also networking with local businesses and getting paid to re-write leaflets, website content and other promotional material; although have identified that a stronger base in SEO is important for me to market myself heavily for producing web content.

I pitched 15 local marketing agencies last week; clearly stating my experience in sales, passion for tech and traditional writing abilities - with the desire to learn SEO and digital marketing.

I interviewed with one yesterday and am waiting to hear back; they're considering a six-month, three-day/week in-house copywriter role, producing content for technology companies they represent. I feel this would be a great way to learn SEO and digital marketing skills, while leaving me with two-four days a week to build my own work.

A friend (a great programmer) and I have also setup our first Amazon store too, with some rebranded sports gear. We haven't spent crazy money on the goods, so are able to treat this like a hobby and build it as we learn more about SEO.

I've got an interview next week with a wearables tech company, who are interested in talking to me about 'something' - I'm guessing copywriting.

I've got another six months on a working holiday visa, which I plan to use to consume SEO and digital marketing experience while building my copywriting and sales revenue streams, before we relocate to Bali and Thailand for the foreseeable future.

My girlfriend's a psychologist and building an online business as a performance consultant, so it's cool that we're able to help each other. She's very structured and organised, but shy; whereas I'm very confident, but have a tendency to shoot-from-the-hip and wing it sometimes, so we're able to help each other a bit there.

If I can make 60-100k a year from my MacBook by working six-ten hours a day, anywhere in the world, that's pretty cool.

However, long-term I obviously want passive income and a network and reputation that allows me to take on roles in technology companies, so building valuable content online has got to be the goal there.

How does that sound? Am I covering the core bases by getting SEO and digital marketing into the mix?

Any other recommendations for skills/knowledge I should be acquiring?

Thanks very much if you've read this far!
#consultant #critique #freelance #freshly #sales #strategy #tech
  • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
    I will be doing that in the next few years, although working no more than 14-21 hours a week, but l will be using a Toshiba, so probably can't help you.

    PS shorten your life story, and you will solicitate more help, l had to skip part of it as it was too long.

    The people here that can offer the best advise are most likely, (like me) very busy.

    Good luck.

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  • Profile picture of the author Richants
    Why don't you freelance to tech companies as they all have blogs, white papers and websites which are usually written poorly. It's easy getting a list together as their emails are easy to find and receptive to cold outreach. Wont be a part time job as you will need to hustle to build up work but will find lots of demand for your skills. Focus on what you got and forget about seo and youtube as its pretty saturated. Good skills to have but hard to make money from..
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  • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
    If I can make 60-100k a year from my MacBook by working six-ten hours a day, anywhere in the world, that's pretty cool.
    60 Hour weeks quickly turn into 70 or 80. My wife and I travel full time and write full time. I can tell you working 60 hours on the road sucs and won't allow you much freedom considering you only have 108 hours left in your week. If you sleep 6 hours a night (probably should be 7 to 8), you're only left with 66 hours. You also have to account for meals and other things we all have to do every day, which probably leave you with maybe 50 hours a week.

    It sounds like a lot, but those 50 hours will likely be hours you're exhausted and still thinking about work.

    If I were you, I'd find a way to need less money to survive so that I could gain some of my time back, especially if your goal is to:

    I'm all about quality of life; I enjoy work, but simply require the freedom to live in beautiful places while I do it - where I can surf, snowboard and do sports I love each day - and contribute towards products and technologies that I feel can have a positive impact on the world, or are at least ethically sound.
    A 60-hour work week isn't quality of life, IMHO. I'd aim for 40 and work very hard to cut it to 30 as fast as possible.

    My wife and I went through this issue when we first started on the road traveling and writing. I was already a writer of about 6 years and she had a year under her belt. It was a transition for sure as you don't notice working longer hours when you're not in a new exciting place. Are you really want to work that 6th day for 10 hours when the waves are breaking just right in a new location you've never surfed?

    Find a way to live off what you can make in 40 hours or find a way to make more in 40 hours than you currently think you can. Then, work on getting that down to 30 hours so that you can enjoy life, take time off and keep that brain fresh so that you're worth something during those work hours.

    Just my two cents.
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