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How You Can Build An Incredible Client Base With Jen Berson

Key Takeaways Covered In The Podcast

One of the best ways to find new clients is to decide what kind of work you want to be known for. Once you have started to work for a couple of clients in this area, you will start to become known for ‘your thing’. Whilst taking everything that comes your way seems right to begin with, it can lead you down a path where you dislike the business you’re in.

If you are all things to all people, you can not get in a state of flow.

Finding new clients is all about consistency. Make sure you’re setting time aside each week to focus on outreach and business development, even if it is just five minutes a day.

Your number one resource for new clients is your network.

Although it may seem a little off putting, cold pitching is another great way to gain new clients. It’s all about making that personal connection from the start – you want to let them know you are familiar with their products or their values. Your first point of contact should be to get them to speak to you, so end with a strong call to action.

When it comes to pitching competitors to your clients, you need to consider the agreement you have with the people you’re already working with. If you have agreed exclusivity, you need to honour that. Alternatively, it’s important not to pigeonhole yourself into only being able to work with one client.

To help potential clients see that you’re the person they need to hire, you need to position yourself as an expert in the industry. You need to demonstrate the value you can bring.

The one thing you need to remember above all else…

One of the biggest fears people have when pitching new clients is that they’re worried about rejection. Whilst rejection isn’t a nice feeling, what is the worst thing that can happen? If they say no, move on. You may find that it takes 10, 20 or 100 emails before you get a yes.

Highlights you Simply Can’t Miss
  • Introducing Jen – 04:36
  • Finding Your Flow – 10:30
  • Now You Have Yor Flow, How Do You Find Clients? – 17:24
  • Looking At Your Network And Cold Pitching – 22:30
  • How To Pitch Competitors Of Your Clients – 29:05
  • How To Show You’re The Right Person – 39:20
Links to Resources Mentioned in Today’s Episode
Transcript below

 

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. How are you? You know what I’m really excited about this week’s episode. Last week, if you quarter I hope you did. If not please go back and listen to it. We talked all about selling and how you can sell better in your business with a feeling horrible and sleazy and also some of the things that got me clarity on how I could price my brain which I’m not going to lie, was quite difficult in the beginning.

 

So if you haven’t listened to that episode, I highly recommend you do it was a really good on either is really good on fingers crossed you did too but this week follows on so lovely from it and you know what? It was a complete coincidence. It was not intentional. When I looked at who was on the following week because obviously my interviews are often scheduled much further on ahead. I then saw which it was and thought perfect. So this week I have the super lovely Jen Berson. Now Jen and I met at one of James Wedmore’s next level events which was great. She’s so lovely. You know you instantly hit it off for someone. We have such fun. We laughed lots and we’re also in quite similar industries because her agency does PR with some social media. So we were able to talk quite a lot about our businesses and how they sort of fitted quite well together. The other thing that Jen does amazingly which is why she’s on the podcast is she helps agencies and freelancers and other businesses get more clients. And this week’s episode is a great one because that’s what we’re talking about.

 

We’re talking about how can you get more clients in your business. And she gives us some really great proactive ways which I openly admit during the interview, that I am not proactive enough that we are very lucky and reactively we have had lots of things drip feed in which is nice. However we’ve not gone out there proactively to get clients. So for me this is a really interesting one.

 

And also I think it’s going to be a great one for you to know we don’t just talk about getting clients. We talk about what it’s like to work in your flow in your zone of genius in the areas that you love. Now we’ve all got these clients where we think if I could have 10 of you, my world would be a dream and you know why? Because that’s are our flow. That’s our zone of genius. That’s the work or the industry that actually clicks and connects with us perfectly. That it’s easy that it’s not difficult. And Jen and I talk about this and she talks about getting clarity on those types of clients so that when you do either approach people you’re approaching the right people or when clients approach you you are fully aware of whether they’re going to fit in that or not and if they’re not that you know to say no to them because you know what it’s not going to work in the end. And we’d all like to be in a position I’m sure where we’re only dealing with the best type of clients that we want or the industry that we want.

 

The other thing that was really funny that Jen and I talked about which is odd considering the industry Jen and I work in is how difficult it is sometimes to market yourselves. Obviously our jobs are to help other businesses market themselves. And therefore when it comes to marketing ourselves you’d think it was super easy because we know so much about it. I can promise you it’s not. So actually we talked a lot about how to market ourselves and put ourselves out there and she gave lots of great tips about how she could reach out to perfect clients how she almost had cold reaching out which scared me a bit but actually she gave some great advice about how she can reach out to get those clients and hey she’s now ended up with some amazing clients in her agency. So I hope you’re gonna love this one. Like I said it’s a great one to help me think about how to get new customers. If you’re not an agency or a freelancer Don’t worry there’s still lots of great information in there for you. So without further ado here is Jen.

 

So I’m really excited today to welcome the lovely Jen Berson to the podcast. Welcome Jen.

 

Hello lovely Teresa. Thank you for having me.

 

Thank you for coming on.

 

Now I’ve said in the intro that you and I met in Laguna Beach at Jane’s event which is radical and we instantly hit it off and had sort of great fun together all right. And I wanted to stay in touch because I knew that what you do not only would help me and some really interesting parts of me are my business but also lots of my podcast listeners. But before we jump into their and telling them how they can get more clients let’s just give them a bit of background as to who you are and how you got to do what you do now.

 

Oh good. Okay. Well let’s see. “So I started actually started my career as a civil litigation attorney did a complete 180. I know it’s kind of like “What were you thinking?” But I guess I just decided one day that it did not match my personality to be a lawyer. I did not feel like it was a career. I felt like it was a job and I kind of just wanted to you know work in a service that built businesses up that helped businesses and entrepreneurs grow and rather than litigation where you’re just spending money and trying to exhaust resources. I wanted to do something that had a positive impact on a company.

 

And I started doing PR on the side it just had an instinct for a certain brand. I reached out to them and I said, “Can you help me or can I help you? I’m willing to work for free. I just need a box of products like random girl that reaching out over the Internet send me a big box of free stuff. But they did and I was able to help this fragrance company get a bunch of media mentions and connect them with celebrities and I love that work so much. I love the almost immediate impact it had on the business and the tangible results. I could physically hold in my hands. You know back in the day when magazines were printed. Yeah. And I just said I want more of this. I want to I want to do more to build up companies. And I also want to be in business for myself. And so I just decided one day I am going to do this and I can always go back to law. Then I started my business and kind of worked for a reduced rate on some clients just to get the experience because I really had no experience no contacts no training whatsoever and I was able to kind of grow a business where I had an expertise in a couple nations and was able to kind of parlay that experience into a reputation in those fields where we’re now sought after I mean now it’s been 14 years but we’re sort we’re a sought after agency for our expertise in the baby and kids space and beauty and cosmetics and we’re able to charge premium prices. And I love the work so much. And I just feel so lucky to have my own business after all this time and now I’m a mom. I have two boys ages 6 and 8 and I have just like love having a business that gives me ultimate flexibility and freedom and I want to teach other women how to have the same thing.

 

Yeah that’s amazing. I’m like I think lots of people starting off they often do the free thing and especially. And know I wouldn’t knock it because I actually only did the same. I volunteered for charity. That was a fairly high profile charity just so. But my name was attached to the marketing so that’s to help me get my foot off the ground even though I’d done it for ages. When you start your own business you’ve got to sort of really get yourself haven’t you. So I do think there is an element tools you’ve got to do a bit of free stuff. Or do a bit of cheaper stuff. What really makes me laugh and I think you get this though probably Botox you reduce so low is when people reach out me and we’ll say even now, they’ ll say you know Do you want to do this? It’ll be a great case to do for you, to read minds who could do good stuff but very slow.

 

Yeah. Yeah. We’re good now. You know I would be at you know when someone is just starting out or you’re really trying to pivot and establish a new niche. It does help to be able to offer your services in a way for the right opportunity that really aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish. What your vision is for your company. You come in for a reduced rate. You look to get that right at the beginning, you know at this point. You know we’re a little bit more established we don’t need those like case studies but it does help and it’s a great way to kind of, Create a path. I like to be proactive in creating the business that you want rather than being reactive and just choosing what comes your way. You can actually decide. This is the kind of work I want to do and reach out to this companies and offer services but only if it is perfectly aligned or very closely aligned with a company like you said a charity that’s very high profile, that’s going to make you look really good. Yeah. Something that is going to raise your profile but also don’t come at it thinking you’re gonna offer the client free or significantly reduced services and then ultimately pivot them to a paying client in the very very rarely happens. So you have to decide, you’re doing it for yourself. And that’s going to benefit you and your and your agency’s profile rather than try to convert them into a paying client because it’s nearly impossible.

 

Yeah I totally agree that once you once you give anything as something for free, they’re never going to then go, “Oh I’ll have it again I’ll pay you.” You know that’s going to be a lot about how do you know it’s going to be a real rare thing. So yeah let me like let me just touch on the fact of what you do the fact that you hope other businesses you help other freelancers and agencies get clients or you teach them and support them and coach them how they can then get clients which I think and especially for the industry that we’re in.

 

So as a marketing, PR, social media. Our job is to help our clients be seen and get their clients which is why it’s so ridiculous that sometimes we find it so hard to get to market ourselves which is really all it’s considering.. That’s what we do for a living. So one question that I get an awful lot from freelancers and agencies.. The thing is how would they getting clients and I get asked how do I get clients and I know you’re gonna be like horrified but I know that you have not been as proactive. I’ve been very lucky and I’ve had always had a trickle of clients coming in and what we need. But I’ve certainly not proactively gone and got clients. So. I’m really excited that today you’re going to share with us some ideas on how people can do that how they can bring on clients and not just any client. I really want to pick up on something you said when you said, “Who do you want to work with?” Because in the early days do not find that the business is that you coach sometimes they just take anything because they’re like, I just need to work that’s fine. I don’t technically do that but I am now going to do that. All I do really want to work with this type of business. But now I’m going to just do this as well to get some money.

 

Yes. Well first let me go back to what you said about not being super proactive. I am not either but I will say that I know how to turn up the gas when I need new clients. I had a recent month where I had three really large clients decided to move on or not renew or whatever and I lost a significant amount of revenue in one month. Like enough where you would just be like, “Oh my God what am I going to do?” And I didn’t panic and I said if I could do that once if I could land you know now I have three billion dollar brands that I support. Well if I can do that once I can do it again and so that was July and all of August, I just kind of did what I know how to do in terms of getting clients and then by September we were you know my husband calls me even steven. We were right back to where we were. So it helps to know what to do and that’s kind of the first step is really deciding the kind of clients you want to work with the kind of work that you want to be known for because you’ve got to think about this if you go down the path and start getting you know the reason you’re getting a lot of work choices because you’re known for being really good at doing what you do. So the kinds of clients that you serve are going to seek you out knowing that the services you provide are going to benefit them because you’ve done it for other clients like them. So you want to think about creating a business that you’re going to enjoy. You know 1 3 5 10 years from now I mean I’ve been doing this for 14 years and I like the industries that I have been working in for all this time. I still really love them and I’m excited to continue going to work. But I imagine you kind of create a business where you’re reactive and you take whatever comes your way and then all of a sudden three years from now, you’re you’re feeling like you don’t even really like the business that you created because you don’t love the kinds of clients you’re serving or the work you’re doing. So it helps to really think about how you want to establish your expertise the niche you want to carve out. And it could either be the niche that’s the type of client that you serve or the type of service that you want to be known for. And I would not recommend being all things to all people. You can not get in a state of flow. You cannot be really profitable and have a business with not a lot of friction. I know you know this friction when you kind of do something for a client that’s outside of the normal realm. And it takes longer than you expect and you know you have this scope creep or you didn’t expect like maybe this Web site you’re building and all of a sudden you know a six week project to six months. And it happens you know we like to get in a state of flow where we’re doing the things that we do. We’re getting every client into a similar way that we onboard them we serve them we report to them because if you have all these little one off services you can’t get in a state of flow so you want to figure out. Who you serve and how you serve them. And then you can be more proactive about looking for those types of clients and you have more clarity about how to say no and when to say no when those clients don’t match your vision. And that’s one of the most kind of powerful things as an agency owner that you can that you can do is have that confidence and the clarity to know the opportunities that are not the right fit for you. And if you take those opportunities because you’re running your business out of fear because you are afraid either a client can’t pay the rate you want or you’re afraid you’re not going to have enough clients. You’re taking up time and energy from a spot that you can serve your ideal client for your rate that you know that you’re worth but figured in.

 

Like I that I think so many people start off they’re not that clear and they want to be everything to everybody and they want to serve everybody and they can find a way of serving anybody. But then like you said you end up doing stuff and I know some of the clients I’ve taken on where I’ve regretted it because I thought I’ll do that for now. And then you know some of my clients I’ve had for years and years and I mean I started off doing them what we do today. They look to very different things. So actually understanding that to begin with and I never did that I never sat down figure out who do I want to work with what we really good at like you know what can we turn so easily. I mean it’s not difficult and it doesn’t feel invisible because again working with lots of different clients their clients are really hard work. There are industries that are really hard work. There are there are things like being run like you work in very lovely industries you know they are very marketable industries. Yes. Yeah they don’t say. I mean some of the clients that I work with don’t have the most sexiest of products or sexist of service. They’re still great and fine. And then there’s those clients that are manufacturers that you friends do social media for manufacturing you’re a but like okay I’m struggling a bit. But like you said finding that kind of who is it you want to work with. And I do think I’ve personally my own world. I’m not very good at making that and I’m not very good at going. This is where I’m going to stick because like you said you do get mad. But she think you know I’ve got to be really strong to say no matter what comes my way I’m going to turn out fine because I’m going to focus on this. Okay so let’s say we have decided who are ideal clients is how do we go find them.

 

Well that’s the multimillion dollar question right. There are several tactics and I will say and they may seem really obvious but you don’t do them. I don’t do them all the time. It’s really about consistency and kind of being proactive and making client outreach a part of your you know weekly activities and your business. And it could take as simple as you know as little as five minutes a day or you know 20 minutes a week once you kind of get your process down. But the number one resource for new clients is your network. Everyone has a network and your network is your best lead for qualified clients that you can serve and what you have to keep in mind is your friends your family your former co-workers. They have no idea what you’re up to. You think that they know you’re your parents probably don’t even understand what you do. They don’t write obviously you don’t get. See. Right. They don’t get it. They don’t know if somebody said you know what is true is to do what is Jen do. My mom would be like my mom savvy. She would know but my cousin would be like I don’t know. Market and you know they don’t they don’t know yet. So you have to be really clear on what you’re looking for who you serve and how that specific person can help you. So you can let them know we’re accepting your clients. These are the types of businesses that I help. And this is what I do. If you know anybody that I can support please let me know. You know and kind of reach out to people consistently and let them know what you’re up to and who you want to work with and how you can serve them.

 

Honestly it’s as simple as that your network is going to be the biggest driver of new business opportunities. And I’m really guilty of this. I really enjoy my office environment. I really like being here. I don’t really feel like I have to be proactive and go out for coffee and networking events. But in the beginning I did and if I needed to drum up business quickly I would get out there and meet people face to face. And you know take them for a cup of coffee and let them know how I could support or serve them or who else they may know that I can serve people genuinely want to be helpful. And if you tell them how you can help and how they can help you like what the next step is they will take action for you if you make it really clear what you need from them. So your network is number one and you know make it an active part of how you run your business but also called pitching. And I know that that may seem for a lot of people very off putting. There is a way to cold pitch businesses where you are not sleazy and you’re not a bottom feeder. We are strategic you know entrepreneurs growing our businesses in a in a savvy way and cold pitching is part of that strategy and the way that you can go about doing it is when you have your niche establishing you know who you serve and how you can serve then you can start to think about ideal clients that fit in that realm and start looking you know maybe starting with businesses that fit your niche that you use you love your wife. You’re a customer of and it’s all about making that personal connection just like you know with PR. When we pitch we want to convey to the editor or the writer how we’re positioning this content just for them and their audience. The same thing goes with cold pitching. You want to let that company know you’re familiar with their products. You’re a customer of their products. Again I serve on brands with physical products but if it’s an expert you can let them know you follow their content you appreciate what they’re up to.

 

However you can make that personal connection. Now the person is paying attention and you then want to give them something that you noticed that they could use your support with like maybe on their Web site their press section. They haven’t had any content in a little while. Maybe they’re not being proactive or they had a recent product launch and they didn’t really do any promotion around it. And it’s a missed opportunity. You know you’re not giving them a ton of strategy you’re not. And again you’re not putting a ton of information the first e-mail the first point of contact is just to get them to want to speak to you and get them on the phone. And so always end with a strong call to action. You know what is the next step. What’s the next thing that person can do to connect with you. But being proactive with companies that you feel a connection a connection to. Like if I had a business and someone reached out to me and they made a really compelling personal connection with my company and said I want to help you I’m an expert in X Y Z and I feel that I can benefit your business in this way. I think you’d be a fool not to at least just get on the phone and hear them out. And that’s the first the first step.

 

So there’s some really good points that I want to pick up on. So firstly let me just go back to looking at your network now. You are so right. You as the person in your business you think everyone knows what I do. You know I’m always picking stuff. I’m always you know there’s always something natural this whatever but you’re right they don’t have the faintest idea what you do. And I think the other thing that puts people off maybe doing this is you don’t you don’t want to bombard them and you don’t want to irritate them and you don’t want to. And also people have very they will immediately think well they’re not my customer so they’re not going to know you know or this isn’t going to be appropriate to them. But of course who do you know. I mean I’m from a big family my parents are like my mum’s one of a my dad’s like when to 6 or something. So I have lots of cousins and lots of aunties and uncles and I have no idea officer who’s in their network. I never even thought and again all my friends and never even thought go hey I’m taking on clients, this is who would be great for me or this is who I help but how I could help them. I mean that’s just kind of amazing but there are I think a lot of people that a would be too nervous to do it. Oh too nervous to think about doing it because they don’t want to offend or upset their family. And both people but actually like you said people want to help and if they are genuinely your friends and family and connections they’re not going to mind that because I guess if someone came to me and said I’m looking for clients for this genuinely if I knew someone well yes so-and-so is really good and I would happily you know put that connection in. And when you were talking about the cold pitch.

 

Oh my God. That left send shivers down my spine because one thing I am really bad at is like I can I now am quite comfortable with closing. However going in cold and introducing myself the fear of being turned down or ignored all like How do I get to..Do you get lots of no’s?. You just have to get really thick skin.

 

Yeah. You know honestly it’s just like getting the media. The worst thing that can do is say no. I’ve built my entire business on that premise. The worst thing someone can do is say no. Yeah. And usually it’s not a no. You know I want to swear. Off but it is maybe no not right now you know. So you know doesn’t hurt you were business owners were trying to earn a living. We’re trying to create a company and you can’t do that if you’re running your business out of fear. It’s also a way that people decide that they’re going to position their prices and what they’re going to charge it’s not based on the value you bring. It’s based on what you think a client is able to pay. Yeah. And you don’t want to lose that opportunity so you price yourself out of fear and I will say whenever we’ve positioned our we’ve positioned our services as premium option based on the value that we bring we attract a much higher caliber of client that also tends to leave us alone and let us do our thing because they know they’re investing in the best and you know the right the right service provider for them like the higher our rates are the better caliber of clients and I know you see that too. So usually you can’t you can’t come at it and yes it’s always scary. But you know thinking they may say no but so what. So what if they say no. Or if they ignore you you know it’s kind of a numbers game you might have to send out 10 emails or 10 you know called pitches to companies that may result in one lead but when you come at it from a place of adding value contributing wanting to serve you know rather than thinking well I’m like a you know I’ve got to send out these pitches because I need to land a client and and I don’t really care about this company but I’m going to send it anyway. No it’s the wrong mindset and you’ll probably end up attracting not great caliber clients but when you want to serve you want to add value you want to contribute. And when you have that mindset and that positioning when you craft your your pitch it’s going to come through and they’re going to know that you are coming from a genuine place and you can add tremendous value.

 

And again you know it’s really funny the way you’re talking about this because I have seen and obviously we do social media so it’s a very visual medium for us to see how someone is doing right. So there are. And my husband does it all the time is a Oh my God look at this person’s account oh so we’re a huge music fans and there’s a band I won’t name and shame but because we’d love them. But Big Love not even just UK the international huge bands. Social media is appalling. Like literally so bad. And he always says to me you should contact them you should say. And I always fear that I didn’t want to come across like you’ve got a terrible account and I’m amazing and I can help you I know what I mean like yes is it just I’ve just got to word it properly or I’ve just got to get over myself like is that a real thing.

 

You know both honestly. Like when you have that mindset of you know I love this band and they’re awesome but their social media doesn’t reflect the quality of the band the kinds of fans they have their content wouldn’t resonate with their audience. Yeah I can see that. You know I really know that with that I can add value. And you know I can reach out in a way that’s so personal and connected and say Gosh I’m such a fan of yours.

 

And you know I follow you on social but what I hear in the music doesn’t always translate in the feed and I have some ideas just knowing that you know you can use your social to impact your fans in a certain way and maybe there is more you could be doing there. I would love to chat. It’s you know you’re not putting them down you’re just. No maybe there’s a missed opportunity.

 

And then I think there is that isn’t it. It’s like yes I’m looking at going I love these guys while getting more. You know they’ve got like hundreds of thousands of Facebook likes on their page like literally every post tumbleweed like nothing.

 

You know it’s like look for you to know about five people or something and it’s like oh mom they should be doing so much better than this you know. So it is always from a genuine like I want to help. I want to get back yeah the other thing on ask when you were talking about finding your your niece funny he got away. So I’ve got a gym client that we manage their social media and it’s a really stressful.

[00:29:16] Yeah. I know the fact that I have a gym. Normally I know in my office is like gym et cetera.

[00:29:22] So that’s hidden at the moment. It’s like we do a great job for them with your little competitions we do advertise. And in August I am really well. And they have a huge following and their business is built on their social media.

[00:29:37] But I’ve always been cautious in the past of going to competitors. So how do you… Where do you sit on that because obviously being in a niche is great because you can go. I am the number one gin marketer. Like if I wanted to do that I’m not saying I am by the way I’ve just said you know. But how do I fit. How do I sit with going OK I’m going to market that gin and that gin and that gin like is that not a kind of stepping on each other’s toes?

[00:30:09] How do you feel about?

Jen: [00:30:11] Yeah I hear you Jim might be really specific. Maybe your you’re a marketer of spirits. Okay. And you can go a little more broad and then they’re not going to compete. But if there are two gins. If they’re branding their brand positioning is so distinct and I would also get my clients to sign off on it and to be really candid I do not take competing brands. I don’t I don’t feel good about it and I don’t have a clause in my contract that says no exclusivity or anything like that but if I’m going to choose let’s say in my knish I represent Silver Cross which is it is a pram. You know I had a silver cross. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. So I mean they’re absolutely beautiful but we help them launch their contemporary line here in the US and I’m eliminating the opportunity to work with tons of other competitors. And so it better be worth my while. I mean I’ve been reached out. We’ve gotten companies proactively coming test because we’re known in that space so I’ve had to turn down three or four companies that are like Oh my God I would love to work with them but it’s a conflict with Yeah Silver Cross strollers and prams so I wouldn’t take a direct competitor in that specific product range but I would definitely work with you know a car seat company is complementary just something that we’re not in the niche that we’re known for. So you’re not completely like limiting yourself in some way. You don’t have to be the Gin Gin marketer but you can be a spirits marketer. And then with regard to to clients that are completely the same you know products you can look at their branding their brand positioning the brand message to their target customer is and if it’s distinct enough then ask both of them are you OK with this and I think. And I always tried to position it to. This is going to benefit you because we got a lot of clients coming to us in this realm and now it’s it’s people come for them.

 

[00:32:17] It’s going to serve you because you can also position you alongside them and you know in a way where there’s maybe a product Roundup or something like that and like you said it’s definitely more generally an agency life you learn from one sort of campaign with one client even a complete different client different industry. You can learn from those things. But as long as like you said they’re not competing directly because there are many different types of. In fact let’s listen to him. Seth Godin on come of it as a means or James. Yeah I heard I heard both of them and I have listened to my. And he was talking like crisps and he was basically saying you know if someone’s come into the market to buy now so you have Laz in America and it would be like both for us if they come in to market to do that and you sell a luxury high end really expense because they’re not looking for your product. So you’re not where you come I guess like a dog you will see the sense in saying okay that both crisps but how I’m going to market this luxury product is not how I’m going to market the on the product. So actually you’re not competitors of each other even though you are the same product.

[00:33:29] So you actually I get or even like to go back to the stroller example you know Silver Cross is a luxury brand those programs are you know upwards of three thousand dollars here in the US and then their contemporary line is about sixteen hundred dollars. If there was a down market that was geared towards let’s say athletic parents like it was a jogging stroller collection those target audiences are completely different. And I would you know if you are creating a niche where you are an expert and your expertise has a lot to do with your depth of knowledge in a certain industry you want to be paid for that. So either they’re paying for exclusivity and there’s a higher value on that contract and you’re then eliminated from using that expertise to benefit another brand or you decide to take you know an upmarket and a down market and definitely you want their sign off on 100 percent always above board and you want to make sure your clients always know that you are thinking of them and you have their best interests in mind no matter what you’re doing in your business but on your expertise in that industry has value and you want to be compensated for it and that means that you’re able to you know you’re able to work with other brands. I mean I will give you one example I’ve had two times in my business where I’ve had quantum growth where I experience when I checked into a certain a certain tactic I had quantum growth. The first is right after I first started I had a business mentor that told me that I needed to hire a team. And in the beginning I was very concerned about spending any money on a team and I felt like I might be you know very stressful. And he said less Jen equals more money and you need to work on the business. Not in the business and all of that resonated. I hired a team and I had quantum growth. I was able to you know focus on revenue generating activities and get out of the day to day. The second time I had quantum growth was when my very first client I worked with them for my first paying client. I worked with them for 11 years. And again we started at a half rate. And then over time we increased but very you know very small increases time because it’s hard to go from I’m brand new to like OK here’s market rate but I increase a little little little. And that client. Always had us under their thumb a little bit because we were new when we started and they felt like they we should oh all of our expertise and their need to then make their business. Right. And so every single other. Client in that realm was a quote unquote competitor. And this woman that was the CEO would say well you can’t work with them they’re a competitor. And she completely limited our ability to work with these other clients. And I was operating my business out of fear and I allowed that to kind of keep me at a rate that was very low and very below market for the amount of expertise we had after a decade of working in that in that industry. And one day I decided that I would have a business no matter what. If this client went away and that I wasn’t going to allow fear to keep me in a certain space and I kind of you know before I would answer the phone at all hours of the night and on weekends and I was totally responsive and I just said you know what this is not the business that I created that I that I want to have I want to have more control over my time. I don’t need to be accessible to clients 24/7 and I don’t need to work out a fear to kind of serve this one client and then over time we sort of grew apart. And you know it was it was just the perfect timing. It was such a it was just the ideal time for me to be able to spread my wings and go beyond that. So I literally like we lost them let’s say on a Wednesday which was I was so happy I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off me. And on Thursday my dream client like if I were to say this company is my dream client this is exactly who I want to work with. They’re innovative they’re coming up with new products all the time. Everyone likes at the price point. Great. I mean dream dream dream client. They contacted me the next day and I said my rate is triple. They didn’t know I tripled it. But in my mind I said you know what given my area of expertise and what I know how to do my contacts my level of experience we were stuck at this rate for a decade were really worth triple what that is. And without batting an eye they said where do we sign up. And so that’s when I experienced quantum growth the second time was when ice really checked into what we know the value that we brought to the market and the deep expertise that we had and no longer let fear guide how I was going to run my business.

Teresa: [00:38:22] That is amazing. And. I’m such an amazing opportunity like you said because potentially food so got them you wouldn’t have taken this new client on because you thought well I can’t because it’s competitor or in the same industry or whatever. So but let me just go back to one thing just that then when about taking on your team. Right. Because one of the things I’ve been thinking about which might relate to this but one of the things I was thinking about is how do you get these big clients when no I’ve worked as a client for Landry best so he international brands marketing budgets. We work with huge agencies. It worked for them and I know they wouldn’t even because they were such a big company. They look to agencies a certain size. In those early days. Trying to pitch to those big companies how can you convince them that you are. You are the right person for it. And I guess you kind of maybe answered by saying you’ve got a team fairly quickly to do you think that was it or not.

Jen: [00:39:24] Oh my gosh I love this question so much for so many reasons. You know I used to feel very self-conscious about running my business from home. I mean you can see anywhere on camera I am in my home office. I’m so happy here we’re able to be lean and mean because I run a lean agency I don’t have a lot of overhead expenses and I serve a billion dollar clients not just one not a fluke. I have three brands billion dollar brands huge budgets. They are now a billion dollar companies. Large companies are seeking out smaller companies who can be more nimble more strategic that can get more senior people supporting them. When you go to a large agency there are so many layers of collateral. You have the senior people selling the services when you’re onboard and you are farmed out to the juniors. Yeah. And maybe they’re getting trained working on your account you know. And I will say all of my billion dollar clients came from within my network or from past clients that I had that went on to other companies.

[00:40:26] I’m very clear you know I used to be nervous people would say oh what can we come to your office and meet you and I’d say oh well we’re getting our offices being painted and meeting at a coffee shop and now it’s like you know what.

Jen: [00:40:37] I work from home. We can zoom. I’ll happily do face to face or I’ll come to you whatever. I have zero hesitations in that regard. It’s like if you feel like the results we got are not good enough because of where we’re sitting. Then that’s you know not the kind of client that I want to work with but it’s really kind of easy in the beginning to position yourself as having the experience the contacts the big strategy big sinking of a large agency with the handholding the personal connection and access to more senior people of a boutique agency and really show them you know big companies are leaving the cold and impersonal world of large agencies and seeking out nimble were quick to evolve. That’s the media landscape is so quick to evolve and we’re able to make those quick moves better than a large agency. So we get big my dream client that I mentioned they are owned by a three billion dollar publicly traded company. We survived that acquisition we’re still on board. All of our work is is that company sees it work they’re exposed to what we’re up to and they love it. Their main the main parent company doesn’t do what we do and they’re in there. We’re like the scrappy you know that small brand. They didn’t touch when they acquired them they didn’t change it because it’s working and we’re like the scrappy get things done agency and they love it. So you can easily position yourself to these larger clients and say look you know you can go to a big agency and getting them to change strategy is like steering a cruise ship. You make a move and three is three months later it actually turns in that direction or you can go with us.

[00:42:28] We’ll be nimble, were quick and we’ve got your best interests in mind here.

Teresa: [00:42:32] And you know that is such a good point we were a big client and we weren’t big agencies. I can only tell you a few once a like you said the person that dealt with me had less experience than I did and I know I had my degree in marketing I’ve worked denouncing and she was being trained up but was exactly that right. So she was being trained up if I wanted anything done it took Eva because so let’s say you want to set in designing well they would have to come and fill in the design brief and then what’s the design brief they have to then go back and brief the design. The design of them is to think about it. The design of them maybe comes up with something that then comes back to the client manager. They then review it. So that could take weeks.

 

[00:43:15] Then the plant manager will come up to us and it is like today we can…

Jen: [00:43:19] In the world of social media that does not work that doesn’t work. And one of our other you know billion dollar companies that we work with is using us because we can get. They will contest and say gosh we’re so sorry that we have this promotion and we want to run it for our social channels. How quickly can you do it. And the answer is how quickly can we get you to approve it. Yes we get it done fast. You’re going to be the bottleneck and that’s how it is. You know they gave inside us about a month into it like we’ve never worked with an agency that’s a farce. When you strip away those layers of approval and it’s like saying something has to be done a certain way because that’s how it’s always been done. That’s no longer going to fly. When you have businesses like ours where social media is a huge part of the service and it happens so quickly changes happen quickly you have to stay on top of things. Social media is supposed to be an in the moment type of thing. So how do you react. Yeah. How do you bridge that gap for a large client that wants to plan and have approvals and have everything laid out weeks and months in advance. You have to find a way to you know be proactive and make things happen quickly but also understand I mean we have we have everything with this one client has to go through a team of scientists and the legal department and you can imagine up there. So you know it’s we work within that that restriction and we still get things done really quickly and if you then added a layer of like a huge agency having to get 10 people to like onboard and approve and concept and all of that nothing would ever get done.

Teresa: [00:44:56] And I just there was something you said which I have felt exactly the same. So my team a virtual you know they all work from their own offices that they’re in the states they’re in the UK and I have thought when a client said can I the office and meet your team and they were fairly big iron and I was like panicking thinking what I’m going to say like How could I lie. Can I drop people. And then I I just got. I was like No. Because that’s not how I work. This is how I work. Like you said if if we’re not for you if you need an agency where you could physically go and sit in an office and see the designer and see the tech person and chaps this was then that’s fine that’s not us. So you know you just have to decide whether that’s for you or not. And then the other thing I was going to say was talking about agencies and the fact that because of what we do because you and I work really hard to be really good in our industries you know so I speak a lot. You do your coaching. We are the constants you know up and coming thing. We are constantly developing learning getting the next thing testing it. Speaking about it right in a blog post about doing a podcast about it and I know having an I worked in an agency as well where I was an employee in an agency as well as being a client side. I know. There is no way on this earth that someone within an agency who is employed is going to those efforts. So I know that like even social media people within agencies the level of learning that I have to get to because I put myself out there to the world as this expert is way above and beyond. So even though you might think well haven’t got the fancy office I’m not based in London and you know we didn’t have 60 staff and a whole team of designers or whatever but you know what the stuff I know is like. Worth that and if you want that then great. So I figure as. As freelancers or agencies small agencies we need to realize that you know. We have something to add and we have value and we just need to demonstrate that to our clients or as well.

Jen: [00:47:09] Absolutely yeah. Absolutely. And things are changing where this is going to become you know less of a kind of a different model and more wide widely accepted and you can easily say I love how you address that. When someone said I want to come in and meet your team and you just owned it and said This is how I run my business. No one gets to tell you that that’s not any less valuable. Like you’re not spending all this money to employ all these people. I mean you bring people and you can scale down or ramp up if you do and you let them know that allows me to work with the best of the best. I get to hand pick the right team. Yeah yeah. And so it’s all how you position it. And I think that’s fantastic when you can own that and notes you you know this is this is a very profitable way to run an agency and you’re doing it on your terms and anybody who’s gonna come in and say well you should really do it this way it’s like well then you really shouldn’t be a client of mine.

Teresa: [00:48:06] Yes it’s not for you is it. This is how we work. So Jen honestly this has been so so good. And I want to thank you because this is like set is an area that I’m sure so many people of my listeners will be sitting thinking but how do I get clients how do I get some of those things that you’ve said. Like you said they are then not like some crazy tactically you’ve never heard of but how consistently. Am I cold pitching I’ve never done it. No. Well you know we should be. And if I want those ones that you know if I want the team to work on the really good stuff or the they’re really stuff they love working on then I should be doing that. And also. I never use my network. In fact I’m ashamed to say it but I have my Facebook setup in a way that if I’m sharing a work post I sometimes don’t share it to my friends and family because I don’t want to irritate them. And actually that is just crazy because. Like you said they should be there supporting you and kind of you know helping you along. So that’s awesome. So thank you so much. I’m going to hook up to everything in the show. Next you’ve got some great content out there and obviously this was just the tip of the iceberg. I’m assuming there’s so much more so I’m going to hook up to everything and they’re all Jen’s links and everybody can go find it. And Jen thank you so much for being on the podcast. It’s been brilliant.

Jen: [00:49:28] Thank you. Thanks for having me. I always love chatting with you.

Teresa: [00:49:31] Thanks.

[00:49:31] So as always I really enjoyed that episode. Jen is such a lovely lady she’s so smart she’s got some great ideas. I love the fact that she talked about what enabled her to have quantum jumps in her business.

[00:49:45] The first one bringing on a team and how scary that might be. And I know from experience it is scary but actually she’s so right it gives you time and freedom and space to work on your business not in your business. So I totally agree with that one that was great. And then the next one which again is in fact funnily enough this has been something that lots of people been talking about recently. So it really resonated when I read listen to it. The fact of having clients that have been with you from a really long time may maybe from the beginning who aren’t paying the market rate and therefore your selling at your service at a much lower amount than you would be if you were to then quote that client today. So and the damage that might do to your business. That’s a really interesting one. I’m not saying that’s an easy one to get over. I’m not saying that’s an easy one to get out of. It does mean you’ve got to charge the more or you’ve got to fire them as a client which is never nice but it does make you think actually are you holding onto people in your business where you shouldn’t be holding onto them and actually that client or that customer is holding you back from your growth or stopping you from earning more. So for instance let’s say when you started you were charging at your hourly rate at one hundred pounds an hour and now you’re charging eight 500 pounds an hour. Well obviously if they’re only paying 100 pounds an hour you could be earning an awful lot more by having a new client now or by saying to them I’ve got to increase your prices. But you know what I hear you. This is a tough thing to do. This isn’t an easy thing to do but it’s definitely worth just having in your brain and maybe just playing around with the idea of that and looking at the numbers of that in order to start getting used to the idea of may be thinking about something to do that. And you know what I’m definitely gonna address this in further podcast coming forward in terms about having some of these awkward conversations with your health and making some of those tough decisions. So we’re definitely gonna focus on that at some point as well. Anyway hope you enjoyed it like I did. I thought it was great. I got some great tips from it. I really enjoyed talking to Jan. She was fab so next week back with a solo episode and you know what I’m always really keen to hear what you want me to talk about if there are particular subjects or things that you think I want to hear more about that. What’s that about then please do let me know. Because at the end of the day I am doing this for you guys. I want to serve you. I want to give you great content so that you are able to make big strides in your business. So please let me know please come if I’m male social. I’d love to hear from you. But until then have a great week and I will see you this time next week.