Hope is not a strategy: Get a plan for your next business year

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Starting a business is hard!

Keeping it running is just as hard!

You’ve not only got to keep up on your craft you’ve got to learn how to run a business at the same time.

Once you start freelancing you’re no longer a developer or a designer: You’re a business owner.

You’ve got to stop waffling around hoping that clients come through the doors.

You can’t just hope that you’re going to choose the good clients out of the contacts you do get.

You can’t just hope you get your rates right based on some theoretical hourly rate multiplied by the time you think it’s going to take.

The 3 areas I continually hear that business owners ALWAYS get stuck are:

  1. You're stuck trading dollars for hours and can't figure out how to scale to charging what you're worth.
  2. Your clients are left wondering about the details of your process, and because of that, they get in the way during your project.
  3. You don't know who your ideal client is in the first place, so you're left trying to get the next paying gig instead of strategically pursuing partnerships with your dream client.

I floundered for the better part of 4 years

I struggled with all of those things for years. I read lots of books and attended workshops each centered on one of the areas.

Eventually I pieced it all together, but it took a while. It took a bunch of trial and error as I wrote proposals and practiced vetting my clients.

Not to mention all the times I just screwed up and lost the client because of something stupid I did.

Sometimes it went well, sometimes…well living through some of those mistakes was pretty painful.

“Talking with Curtis helped me realize my worth to a client and gave me the confidence to ask for it. Without talking to him I would have left $1000/month on the table on my long term contract.” – Flynn

Let’s save you from spending the better part of 4 years learning and trying out different approaches. In my course “Hope is not a strategy” I’m going to walk you through:

  • How I stopped trading time for money and started having value based discussions with clients
  • How I define my process to clients and use it to vet them as ideal matches for my services
  • How I approach the marketing and positioning of my business and doubled my leads when I got serious about it

To better accommodate your budget there, there are 3 packages available:

The Starter

Get started before the course with the e-book (delivered the week before the course). The e-book will cover:

  • How to talk value with your clients
  • How to position your estimates to anchor on the value you provide not your cost
  • How to define your ideal client
  • How to vet your clients at each stage in the process
  • How to define your target market (different than ideal clients)
  • How to find your ideal clients in your target market so you can market to them

It’s not just the book though, you'll also get 3 webinars with me where I'll answer YOUR questions on value, client vetting, and marketing your business and provide some extra resources to help you nail 2015. Our other 3 webinars will be spent working with experts in these areas.

That’s a total of 6 webinars starting November 3rd running for 6 weeks.

After the webinars are done, you’ll get access to the recordings of each webinar so you can go back and refer to them long term.

The Go-Getter

I addition to everything in the Starter package the Go-Getter package includes my 10 email templates that cover everything from my client vetting initial email to a polite no and an email about why you don’t do RFP’s.

Email templates
  • Client intro email for first contact
  • Sorry I don’t do work for free
  • Sure I’d love to talk about the estimate and here’s how we do that
  • Discovery is a required part of this project, just like a doctor must diagnose before they treat
  • No thanks on the project but you sound cool and I have a recommendation for you
  • No thanks on the project (and I wouldn’t refer you to an enemy) and I have no referral that I think matches your needs
  • Thanks for the RFP, but they waste everyone’s time so you won’t be getting anything from me on it (I’ve used this a few times to shut down an RFP process and win the client)
  • Here’s what I need to start your project
  • Here’s our weekly recap of the work
  • Here’s the plan for the upcoming week

“Curtis doesn’t let me off the hook with easy answers – he’s taught me to ask the tough questions about myself and the way I work. By taking a more critical look at how I operate my business, Curtis has helped refine my vetting process for new clients and say “yes” only to work that’s inline with my larger goals. The result? Better clients and better projects” – Carrie Dils

You’ll be able to have long term access to 3 bonus videos from experts in all 3 main areas. Listen to:

  1. Chris Lema on Vetting Clients
  2. Brennan Dunn on Pricing
  3. Matt Medeiros on Marketing to your clients
Meet Chris Lema

Chris is a daily (even on the weekends) blogger that’s been in software development and consultancy for over 20 years. He’s a published author and always helpful with his personal advice. Heck even if you don’t get the course, follow his blog and you’re going to learn to run a better business.

Chris has a great video telling us how to really get the right clients.

Meet Brennan Dunn

Brennan was my first introduction to strategic pricing with his first edition of Double Your Freelancing Rate. Now in Edition 2 (and including a video with me) DYFR is a great resource for pricing. Brennan is going to spend time sharing some of his pricing tactics with you.

Meet Matt Medeiros

Matt is a podcaster extraordinaire. His podcast The Matt Report explore how entrepreneurship via interviews with people all over the software consultancy industry. He also runs Matt Report Pro, where you can get monthly mastermind calls and exclusive content from some of the guests of his podcast.

Matt is the founder of Slocum Studio one of the top WordPress studios around. Matt’s going to share with us how he markets his business to the right clients.

Client winning example estimates

And how about 3 client winning estimates positioned based on value. So you’ll get the formula with The Starter package and examples of it executed as a Go-Getter.

The Over-Achiever (limit of 15)

Over-Achievers get everything in The Starter and The Go-Getter packages plus 4 coaching calls with me scheduled over the 6 weeks of the course.

It’s great to get all the information, but it’s going to take you a bit to actually try it out and have some extra questions right? Over-Achievers get one group call (with all 15 purchasers) in early February 2015 to recap and see how things are going for you so I can help you work through the process.

“Curtis’s direct approach to business has been very helpful to me. He’s helped me achieve clarity around what I should be offering my clients and given me confidence to price my work at the level it is actually worth. With Curtis’s guidance, I’ve gotten better clients. He’s well-aquainted with the resources available to business owners and entrepreneurs and makes great suggestions based on whatever issue you are having in your business.” – Kate

Finally Over-Achievers get access to a Slack chatroom through the end of Q1 2015 to talk to each other and myself about pricing, marketing and client vetting. That’s some long term support.

If you want to get information on the next release join my email list

It’s time to throw hope out the window and pick a plan for my Hope is not a Strategy course.

Whoa!!! that’s it below here be dragons.

Scroll back up just a bit.

Really do it:

See I said there was a dragon.

You should have just listened. If you cry yourself to sleep that’s not my fault.


photo credit: joriel cc

To get a head start, join thousands of other men and Stop The Struggle.Get my free eBook to help you stop working all the hours without traction.

You’ll also get a weekly email with good resources to help you do family with the same intention you do your work. Both need to run well if you want to win.