0120 – Content Marketing & Collaboration w/Brian Casel

Brian and Chris discuss content marketing for freelancers, how collaboration can help you build a team without taking on employees, and how Brian diversified into products.

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You can find Brian on Twitter and his blog, or visit his business AudienceOps online for help with your content marketing.

Started freelancing as designer in 2008

Went through transitions

2010 – sought to diversify into products

Wanted to build something of value

Grew into something bigger than a solo but smaller than an agency by outsourcing

Restaurant Engine was first product leveraging freelancing skills

Built as a standalone & able to run without Brian

Goal: build systems & processes, put people in place, build a machine

Liked the “Solo operator building a team of specialists” due to flexibility:

  • Helps you learn to manage & collaborate
  • Helps develop partnerships

Found that higher-rate freelancers are much easier to outsource to:

  • Professional
  • Reliable
  • Better skills
  • Better w/clients

How to manage skilled freelancers:

  • Try to be a good client to your team
  • Upwork & overseas labor at first
  • Hire better people as you grow & get better projects for higher rates

Having a chance to team up w other freelancers helps to combat isolation

Sometimes it’s easy to miss the camaraderie of working a regular job with a team

Agency experience was critical to learning the process of managing web development projects for clients

Merely having the technical skills is not enough

First few projects came by referral Got a number of jobs from job boards, craigslist, and maintaining a portfolio:

  • Job boards are a numbers game
  • 100 contacts > 10 conversations > 1 closed job

Won a job because of being the high bid:

  • Realized not all clients are price-shoppers
  • Confidence to bid higher
  • Some clients use your prices as a proxy for competence/skill/reliability

Used guest blogging to develop personal brand:

  • Clients responded to the demonstration of expertise
  • Used tailored pitches to approach accessible blogs

Content marketing works best after you know exactly what product/service you’re offering:

  • This is why content marketing is of limited use to generalists
  • Better to get specific and niche down
  • Automate your editorial calendar

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