It’s a great time to hire freelancers, because freelancers are trained to execute.Stefan Palios
Freelancer, Coach and Remote Work advocate
Stefan Palios is a writer and entrepreneur passionate about the future of work. He started writing through his thesis research at Yale University in 2014 and started his freelance business in 2017. Since then he has interviewed over 250 entrepreneurs and produced over 1,000 pieces of content for B2B startups, venture capitalists, and tech media outlets as a freelance writer. Stefan is the author of The 50 Laws of Freelancing and publisher of Remotely Inclined (see Shownotes).
The pandemic changed the way businesses, companies, and other organizations view remote workers, particularly freelancers. When COVID-19 arrived, freelancers were seemingly ahead of the curve, all set up to work from home. Typically entrepreneurial and used to uncertainty, many freelancers are now seen as an integral part of business expansion, including both a long and short term growth strategy.
In this episode of The State Of Work, Maddie is joined by Canadian freelancer and remote work advocate Stefan Palios. As an experienced writer and coach, Stefan joins us on The State Of Work to share his best business practices when it comes to hiring, onboarding and working with freelancers and independent contractors.
As an experienced freelancer, Stefan believes that the best relationships between businesses and freelancers are a partnership, with each stakeholder playing their key role. He draws on his experience of successes (and failures!) to coach other freelancers on sales strategies, the value they can offer their clients and how to navigate this new business economy.
with Stefan Palios
Maddie Duke 00:02
You’re listening to The State Of Work, the podcast by Lano. The State Of Work is about finding your place in the changing world of work as an individual or an organization. In each episode, we dive into some of the benefits and limitations we face when it comes to remote and flexible work. We discuss how we work, how we hire and manage people and how we live in this increasingly global workplace. I’m your host, Maddie Duke and my guest today is Stefan Palios, a B2B writer and freelance coach who’s passionate about the future of work. Stephan joins me on The State Of Work, to share some best practices when it comes to the way businesses and freelancers work together. Freelancers are a highly beneficial resource for business, particularly during phases of growth or expansion. And there’s a lot to learn about hiring and working with freelancers or independent contractors. Welcome, Stefan. Thanks so much for joining me on The State Of Work today. It’s really good to be speaking with you.
Stefan Palios 01:07
Thank you so much for having me.
Maddie Duke 01:10
Could you just quickly tell me where you’re joining us from today?
Stefan Palios 01:14
Absolutely. I am joining in from a small town called Windsor, Nova Scotia. It’s about a town of 5000 people, around an hour away from Halifax, which is the capital city of the province.
Maddie Duke 01:25
Awesome. And I understand you’ve just recently moved there from… is it Toronto that you were in?
Stefan Palios 01:30
Yes, I was living in Toronto for seven years working in tech and freelancing. And now I am freelancing out in Nova Scotia.
Maddie Duke 01:38
Awesome living the dream, the remote life.
Stefan Palios 01:42
Maddie Duke 01:43
And so yeah, you mentioned that you’re a freelancer, a freelancer/entrepreneur, could you maybe expand on that a little and tell us a bit more about yourself and what you’re doing?
Stefan Palios 01:53
Absolutely. So I started my business as a writer, I got cornered at an event and a founder of a startup said, I love your writing, can I pay you to write for me? And I said absolutely, because I want money. And that was back in 2017. So fast forward a few years to 2021. I’m now a full-time freelancer, I have a roster of startups and companies that want to think like startups, and I write content for them, blogs, landing pages, web pages, research, etc. That’s the one half of my business and the other half is I actually coach other freelancers on how to grow their businesses. I do that specifically through my course which is called the Freelance Sales Blueprint, where we cover everything from the psychology of sales mindset, all the way to scripts and contracts and all of the nitty gritty. So that’s what I’m up to now. And I’m running that business from Nova Scotia, my partner and I just bought a seven bedroom Victorian house that we are slowly converting into a freelancer/remote worker bed&breakfast where you can…..
Maddie Duke 03:02
Stefan Palios 03:32
….come and stay… We’ve got fiber internet. I’m recording from the office right now that we’re actually turning into a co-working space. So that’s going to be part three of the evolution that’s coming soon. I can’t put a date on that.
Maddie Duke 03:15
That’s fantastic. We actually interviewed someone who runs a sort of similar, like a co-working co-living facility out here, just outside Berlin in an earlier episode.
Stefan Palios 03:25
Maddie Duke 03:26
Super exciting. What a huge project, an exciting project to take on. I’m really excited to maybe one day come and visit you.
Stefan Palios 03:32
Yeah, you know, when international travel isn’t nearly a crime.
Maddie Duke 03:36
Exactly. So I mean, with what you’re doing and your experience, we’re really excited to be speaking to you today, and hearing your advice for freelancers and also how freelancers can be useful to businesses throughout various stages of growth. And maybe one of the overarching themes that I guess we’ll cover is like the relationship between freelancers and the businesses that use their services. Do you have some kind of core philosophies that you have about how to maintain that functioning relationship as a freelancer with your clients?
Stefan Palios 04:17
Absolutely. So I try to operate my own business on two core principles. One is interest and the other is caring. So first, I often do a quick vet of every person that either reaches out to me or before I reach out to anyone, and I just ask a simple question: am I at all interested in what you do? Because if I’m not, I know that I’m not going to put my best foot forward or you’re going to have to pay me a lot to motivate me to put my best foot forward. And that’s not necessarily the best way to start a relationship with a freelancer because it kind of puts us on weird footing because I really do believe that, as the best freelancers are partners with their clients, where it’s not; you give me work I do it. You’re my boss. I’m a freelancer. It’s: I’m an entrepreneur running my business. You’re either an entrepreneur, if you’re the owner, or you are an entrepreneurial employee trying to get things done. How can we partner? How can we each play our role? So that’s part one: Am I interested. And then part two, as I talk to someone, get on a sales call, get to know them. Or do a trial project with them – which I’m a big fan of doing is… Do I really care? Is it deeper than intellectual? Do I actually feel a connection with you? Do I feel that we have a friendly rapport, or at the very least, a high quality professional relationship, even if we’re never going to be friends, which is totally fine. So those are my two big ones. And then everything stems from there, because if I’m interested, I’m going to give it my all. And if they match that energy, that because they’re actually interested in their work, that’s amazing, if I care about them, and I start thinking more strategically, because as a partner, I care about what’s happening in your business, not just what you’re paying me to do, and that all steamrolls into a really high quality, reciprocal client relationship where they’re paying me to do work. But the relationship itself is more than that.
Maddie Duke 06:24
Absolutely. I wanted to mention something that I saw in an article that you contributed to in Forbes recently, it was a quote that stood out to me: freelancers don’t need onboarding, but they need a clear scope. And this, to me really touches on what you’ve just said, because, you know, as you mentioned, it’s a working relationship, it’s a professional relationship, you’re not coming in there, as an employee, you’re building a professional relationship, where you’re each bringing different expertise to the table, and you may each operate and have a different working culture, like your values, as your own freelancer might be different to those that have the client. And I know that some freelancers come across businesses that kind of want to go bring them into this onboarding process, or kind of project their own cultural values and make and try to kind of force the freelancer into that. Could you like speak to that? Is that something that you’ve also observed?
Stefan Palios 07:25
Yes, and I’ll say two things. So one, I don’t think any of that’s ever done in malice. So I don’t think anyone ever approaches a freelancer and is like, I’m going to screw you over by forcing you into things. I think that it’s just because we have such a mindset, sometimes that freelancers are nothing more than temporarily unemployed employees, where you, you know, you must be an employee, you must want employment at some point. And you must operate best in an employment situation. And that’s not necessarily a conscious thought. So many managers are just used to doing that because they have an employee that treats them like an employee, that makes sense. But when you have a freelancer, it’s a different mindset. So when I have a client that pushes me on that kind of thing, or tries to, I try my best to avoid it, I usually take one of two routes. So first of all, to your comment about core values, I’m a pretty big believer that it’s hard to be interested and care if you don’t align somewhat to their core values. So I try to find the common ground. And then when it comes to the literal onboarding flow, if someone tries to treat you like an employee, where they say, Oh, you know, Stefan, you’re…we have a complex working system here, you need to really focus and like learn about our company in order for you to deliver value, I have a slightly different way of thinking that because I’m so used to employments that I don’t fully understand freelancers. So I will say, first off, all of my client relationships have a kickoff call, because I firmly believe like, I don’t know about your business, I do need to learn a little bit. But that kickoff call is focused on what I need to know in order to execute, not knowing the whole ecosystem of the business. So I will look to my client, and in so many words say, I need you to tell me exactly what I need to know in order to execute because you’re paying me to execute. So let’s align our actions to the financial incentive here. Because otherwise, you’re going to be paying me to just sit in meetings, which is sometimes an offer that they really want. And so I’ll say, look, you have my hourly rate, if you needed me to sit in extra meetings, do you want me to sit in 15 hours of onboarding? Because at that rate, I will, but otherwise, can we find a better outcome?
Maddie Duke 09:54
Stefan Palios 09:57
And that all boils down to something that I talk a lot about from a sales perspective, which is what outcome are we trying to achieve here? And will these actions get us there? So very often, companies will hire freelancers because they need execution, they need someone to do something, whether that’s a super specialized skill, they don’t want to hire full time for whether that is a desperate need, but not a big enough need to justify a full time hire. Or they just like working with this specific person. But either way, they need to accomplish something. If they keep pushing, I’ll say, do you mind if we try maybe not for this like, first thing. And then if it is awful, I promise I will apologize, I will eat crow and I will sit in your onboarding. And that has never ended up happening. So that’s my thought on that. I don’t think it’s ever done with malice. But I also think that if freelancers don’t creatively push back, it makes your business unsustainable, and it actually doesn’t help the client anymore. So it’s literally a value destroyer. It’s not even though they’re getting more from you, and you’re getting less, it’s just everyone gets less.
Maddie Duke 11:06
Absolutely. Well, what that really says to me is that there’s such a need for freelancers to know how to kind of manage up, you know, a manage, I don’t know how you would describe it, but manage that relationship. But what about the business side? Like what can we say to our listeners who might be employees of businesses that are kind of doing freelance and management? What is it that they need to know like, what it seems like there’s this disconnect between what freelancers know about employees and the way that businesses operate? And then the reverse?
Stefan Palios 11:39
Absolutely, because I’ve had this happen as well, where my direct client contact knows exactly how to work with me. But then the moment they say, oh, you know, could you chat with this person? And then it’s like, oh, let’s book a three hour meeting and like, have lunch break? I think there are two types of people. And then two things to do. So the types of people is: are you managing freelancers directly in your role as an employee, or are you just an employee engaging with a freelancer on a project. But then, on the freelancer side, or rather, a company looking out to the freelancer, first, you want to know what you actually need to accomplish, or at least what direction you’re heading in. And then you need to know what kind of freelancer you’re dealing with. Because there there’s kind of that scale of freelancer to consultants to think about where I described it, as I’m not claiming this as the official definition, just so I understand that: a consultant will tell you what to do, a coach will teach you how to do it, a freelancer will just execute on your behalf, you’ve got to understand what kind of freelancer you’re dealing with. So I define my own work as very much in the freelance, because I execute, I will actually write the content for you, not just teach you how to write. But I do a little bit of education as well, because I’ll explain why I do a certain thing, or I’ll explain a trend that I’ve seen with my other clients and something they might want to consider for their business. And that’s on the writing side. And then of course, on the coaching side with my course I am actively teaching people the methods that I’ve used to grow my business. So on the company managing freelancer side, if you’re managing a freelancer, you need to know what you want. And you need to know who you’re dealing with. Because if you hire an educator, consultant, freelancer, and then expect them to do everything, you’re going to get a lot of strategic pushback, because that person is going well, my business is education, not execution. So that’s something to note. And if you’re working, yeah, if you’re interfacing with a freelancer, if you’re an employee, and this has happened a ton, it’s just um, I think the best question you can ask is, what are they being paid to do? And I know that people don’t like talking about money. And I know that there’s an interesting tension, because freelancers will often make on an itemized basis significantly more than employees. where an employee is salaried at whatever a freelancer doing the same book of work would make a lot more, they also get no benefits, no pension, no health insurance. And so when you’re that employee, first ask what are they being paid to do, because realistically, if you reach out to a freelancer on your team about something that they aren’t being paid to do, most people who are professionals and actually considered themselves you know, freelance entrepreneurs doing this for real, are going to be courteous. They’re going to offer a couple ideas. They may even hop on a call if they either charge an hourly rate for it or just as a courtesy, but you’re not going to get very far. And, and that’s because they’re just not incentivized to do that. They don’t have the same total benefits pack and total comp package that you do in that incentivizes you, as an employee to think more broadly,
Maddie Duke 15:04
Absolutely. You’ve got some really good philosophies and like a really fantastic overview of how you kind of have the framework that you operate within, and how you approach things that’s really inspiring. And so maybe we can talk a little bit about when it makes sense for businesses to work with freelancers, particularly when we’re looking at companies that are at different stages of growth, they might be expanding, but not yet ready to hire or expanding globally into new markets and perhaps working with contractors remotely… maybe what are some examples of when it makes sense for businesses to work with freelancers?
Stefan Palios 15:44
Yeah, so there are three areas that I found to be really beneficial for hiring freelancers. So one is this concept of micro employment. One is the idea of specialized execution. And then one is different growth trajectories. So micro employment is the idea where you have a business need an ongoing need, but it’s not enough to justify a full time hire, or maybe strategically, you don’t want a full time hire for that role. So a freelancer is a great person, you have them on a retainer, that they actually do attend some of those onboarding meetings. And they act almost like part time employees. I’ve had one client like that, for my entire freelancing career, they were my first client, I just submitted something to them this morning, before I go into call with you, and they don’t need me full time. I don’t want to work full time for them. But we have an amazing relationship, then we get to the specialized execution. So if you do need something that is either spot or even ongoing, but as specialized, it can often be way easier, and way faster to just work with a freelancer. So working with someone like me, for instance, as a writer, I come into writing from the perspective of I’ve tried starting my own startup that failed. I’ve worked in a bunch of startups of all sizes. So I understand the startup mentality. So if you are a startup that’s trying to grow and you need content, I might be a lot faster than trying to hire a full time content person. And it actually nets out to almost cheaper working with a freelancer, in many cases than it would be to you know, pay a hiring agency or that the internal resources to hire and then the onboarding and the laptop and the blah, blah, blah. The third tier is kind of what I’ve come to call like phase two growth. So you talk about the early stuff, where you’re figuring it out, you’re building the initial ecosystem, then you have phase two, where you got to run the wheels, just get it going. And then phase three, maybe you need massive scale. And that’s where maybe an agency might be a fit. Phase Two, is a great time to hire freelancers, because freelancers are trained to execute. And if you think back to what I said earlier, you really just need to know what you want. The moment you’re able to go to a execution focused freelancer, someone like me that actually does the work and say, This is what I want, can you do it? And then they say yes, and then you do a trial project, and then you’re off to the races. That is an incredible time saver. And I’ve had this as feedback from clients, but then also myself hiring other freelancers for different parts of my business, the mental bliss, of knowing that a piece of work is just going to be delivered, is really good. And I’ve had that feedback from clients where they’re like, the real value here wasn’t just the blog post you wrote, that’s great, thank you. But it was that I didn’t have to think about it, I sent you an email about what I wanted. And then a blog post happens so that I could focus on other things, knowing that that piece was going to be coming in and I could plug it in. That’s a valuable time to work with freelancers. So those are the three. The fourth are kind of like three “a” is if you aren’t sure what you need, then a freelance consultant who’s going to help you sort through the problem could be really valuable. You just want to be aware of costs and budget at that time, because paying a professional to help you experiment can get very expensive.
Maddie Duke 19:22
Yep. And what do you think about, like if a company is like, well, when’s the right time to fill a position instead of going with a freelancer? Do you think that there’s a point in time that that that that becomes a clear decision, or do you think it’s a separate thing?
Stefan Palios 19:39
I think there’s a certain amount of company values to that question. So I know a couple entrepreneurs that just really prefer full time employees. So they will hire one the moment they think they can and maybe even a moment before, then there are others that prefer the leaner team. So working with freelancers on that more like micro employment structure works really well for them. I don’t have a specific rule of thumb. But the gradient that I’ve seen is when you have too many extra contextual questions, so it’s not just, you know, we need 50 blogs for our new launch. It’s we need someone to play on how the launch fits into other pieces. So when it’s no longer, either really neatly nicely box, that’s the ideal for a freelancer that you can handle freelance for that box and they run with it. It’s when you have to start connecting across silos. That’s where employees are actually incredibly valuable to play that quarterback role to play that jockey role to use a couple sports references, even though I don’t watch either sport, but I digress. Employees are incredibly valuable for connecting the dots. Freelancers are incredibly valuable for providing the dots or you know, coloring them in order to connect with other things. So that’s, that’s the best mental framework I’ve seen of I know, like the client projects have had that haven’t gone well have often been ones where the real project was a connector project versus an execution project. And that’s not saying you can’t hire a freelancer to do that, or a consultant to help you do that. But again, that gets really, really expensive. And if you have the budget, and you want to speed it up, that can be very valuable. Sometimes it’s not really a question of dollars, it’s a question of time. So think about that for your business. But generally speaking, I’ve seen that employees are amazing connectors and freelancers are amazing dot providers.
Maddie Duke 21:50
Love the analogy. So when it comes to, kind of, finding who to work with from the business side, and we will go a little bit more into the other side of this, of how freelancers can find those clients, how can businesses kind of make sure they’re looking at a diverse enough pool of freelance talent when they’re looking to kind of expand those dots basically.
Stefan Palios 22:15
So the recommendation that I would put forth and ask businesses to think of is start outcome first, don’t start talent first. So one of the questions that I really like to ask my clients or prospects, actually, during sales calls, is, what problem were you facing that made you think that I might be the right solution? Or more specifically, what problem were you facing that made you think content would be the right solution.. because I’m a content freelancer. And that’s a question I think people should ask themselves, if they suddenly think I have a lot to do, maybe I should hire a freelancer. The next question should be what problem are you facing or what outcome do you need to achieve that you think a freelancer is going to help us with? Because there are a lot of instances where that’s correct, and a freelancer will help you but then sometimes not. And sometimes you need to buy software. Sometimes you need to make a full time hire, sometimes you need to hire an agency instead of an individual. So start problem or outcome first (problem you’re trying to solve/outcome you’re trying to achieve). Let’s assume that that is a simple package, scopeable thing; a new web design, blog posts or research posts, like coding something, whatever. If you can create that scopable package, then yes, a freelancer might be a great thought. Then you treat it, you can treat it almost like a recruiting process. except you’re not asking people to apply. You’re asking people to book a call with you, and talk to them, actually book a sales call because you’re having a sales conversation, not an employment conversation.
Maddie Duke 23:56
Stefan Palios 23:57
The ways that I’ve seen companies do it vary widely. You can sponsor freelance newsletters that go out to certain types of freelancers. You can post it on your own social media, if you have accounts on Twitter is a pretty big platform for this. So getting the word out, is really just a matter of talent sourcing, and it’s thinking for anyone who is looking at me, where could they find me? And then on the flip side, think, where do freelancers hang out? And that would be freelance newsletters, freelance communities, there are some freelance job boards and like LinkedIn, for instance, even has a note where you can tag if something is freelance. So it’s a very standard process, but it only is effective if you know what you actually want, which is also the barometer I think for, should you hire a freelancer, if anyone asks you that, my question is, what do you need done? And then they say, Oh, well, I’m not sure yet. Okay, don’t hire a freelancer at best, hire a consultant because you’re just going to be so all mad, and the freelancers are gonna be so mad. And you know, you’re gonna get nowhere, which is another question I like to ask them all of my prospects is, what do you need to achieve to feel justified in spending any money on this? And if they don’t have a good answer for that, we have a problem.
Maddie Duke 25:18
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And what sort of answers would you expect from a client or prospect at that point? Like, we want to achieve this ROI, this kind of lead gen figure or like, what it
Stefan Palios 25:31
No…it’s actually far more practical. It’s, you know, what, what do you need to achieve? Okay, this blog post has to exist. Because I’ve even had that level where I, you know, I’ve talked about business goals, and they’re like, okay, we’re, you know, we’re trying to appear as a thought leader, we’re trying to, you know, have high quality content, our brand is very high quality. So we need high quality content, it’s like the quality trap, everything you do has to be high quality. So when I say what needs to happen, they say it needs to be good and it needs to exist. That’s awesome. Now, you might also get the, you know, we’re looking for revenue growth. But realistically, you’ve got to dig more than that, because I can’t hand you revenue growth, I’m only going to hand you the inputs for your project. It’s like my outcome is your input. So when you’re saying revenue growth, do you mean revenue growth through content marketing? If so, do you mean that content is supposed to generate a call a sale a review? You know, you’ve got to suss that out a little. So there’s got to be a bit more specific, because obviously, almost every business project has to result in revenue at some point. To some extent, or, or, you know, the the closest thing to revenue. So it’s not enough to just say those things. It’s it’s what are you trying to actually achieve here? And I, as a freelancer will often ask those secondary questions of okay, growth, what is growth to you? And then okay, now that we know what growth is, what is it like, what step is this in the project? Yeah, that’s when we can actually start working on a real project scope, because otherwise, I’ll say, okay, I think you probably need a strategy kickstart. And I can help you identify your problem. And for some people, that’s perfect. But for others, they kind of aren’t happy with the idea that someone has suddenly pointed out that they don’t know what they want. And it can cause tension. But the problem is, if I signed the contract, I would either be really, really frustrated, or I’d have to just kind of mentally resign myself and kind of know that what I’m doing is not going to help them. But they’ve asked for it, and they’re paying me so I’m going to do it. And I don’t like taking those gigs, they don’t feel good for me. And then I’m not helping my client, which is useless to them, they’re wasting their money. But then it also harms my business in the future. Because when I go to get another client, they’re gonna say, Well, what have you done for other clients? And they’ll be like, well, they paid me. And that’s not fun for anyone. So that’s why I’m very strong. If you don’t know what you want, and you have the budget, still go hire a consultant. But otherwise, don’t ask for a freelance call, unless you have a project in mind. It doesn’t have to be perfectly scoped, but you’ve got to have a project in mind.
Maddie Duke 28:32
The state of work is brought to you by Lano. making it easy for businesses to hire and pay employees or freelancers in over 150 countries. For freelancers, Lano provides a free all in one platform to manage clients, track time and tasks, create invoices and get paid on time. Find out more lano.io.
Let’s take a look into the freelancer side. Have you seen any, like new or emerging trends in like sales and marketing for freelancers, particularly over the last couple of years where the whole world has changed and everyone’s had that experience of working from home and companies are more they’ve realized like you can trust people to work when they’re not sitting right next to you. How do you think that that’s changed the way freelancers can approach sales and marketing of services?
Stefan Palios 29:33
Oh, good question. And it’s interesting, because I actually don’t think it has changed. I just think it has evolved. And I know that’s a little bit of a cop out. But let me explain. So the fundamentals of selling relationship-based sales specifically is what I’m referring to because as a freelancer, you’re selling to another individual. It hasn’t really changed. It’s still focused on building rapport, it’s still focused on scoping the project, it’s still focused on the professionalism that you present. And what I like about this evolution is that each one of those things is getting a little more flexible. So we, you know, the freelancing world used to carry this stigma that you were just in between jobs, that is now lessening. And because of that, there is an opportunity to present yourself as a business owner, not just as an individual freelancer, that part’s been great. We have this time flexibility element, were a big thing about COVID, specifically, as people stopped caring about time zones as much. And you know, you’re catching up with your friends who lives across the country now. Because once you’re Zooming with your neighbor, what’s the difference between zooming with your friend across the country, and that has manifested really interestingly for freelancers, because now you can start selling more internationally. Because people are less afraid to look internationally that that’s been great. So when I say evolution, I mean more flexibility, more opportunity, but the same fundamentals. And then that last piece of solving a problem. Before we had what I call the old way of freelance sales in the Freelance Sales Blueprint, which is that the freelancer had to wait to be told what to do, by a client by a temp agency, or something like that. And they were price takers. What’s happened now is because we expect freelancers to be entrepreneurs, in some regard, you are able to come forward as a freelancer and become a project scoper, you’re allowed to ask what the client wants, as opposed to waiting to be told what the client wants, you’re allowed to challenge the client. Now, because you’re a partner with them, you’re not waiting for the temp agency to assign you to something. And because of that, you can also become a bit more of a price maker and say, This is the value I provide, this is the outcome I deliver. And here’s what I charge for that outcome. Now, let’s talk about if that makes sense for the value you are trying to achieve. So it’s more choice, more evolution, it’s more of the same in different ways. Yeah, yeah, what I love is that it is giving freelancers way more freedom. But part of that is more responsibility, you have to be able to manage your own time, you have to be able to manage your own space, we all experience that working remotely, can be amazingly productive, but also wildly distracting. So you have to know how to build your own environment. And you also have to show up, you have to book that call, you have to run the agenda so that it’s a comfortable, fun experience for someone remotely, because they’re not going to get any fun energy from you in person, you have to send your own contracts, because not every company knows how to work with a freelancer. So you need to know how to work with every company, you have to send it with digital signatures, because no one’s going to print and fax things. You don’t even have a fax machine, I almost guarantee no freelance listener of this podcast on the fax machine. And it’s all of those things like those are the underlying pieces that I focus on in my course. Because it’s easy for me to get on a podcast and say, yeah, you have to do it. But it’s a lot more difficult to actually get it done. And that was why I built the course because it took me three years to build that ecosystem. And I put it all in this thing. And I was talking to one of the students in my course. And she was like, oh, it would have taken me three years to figure this out on my own. And you just taught me in six weeks like that alone is worth the cost, not to mention the new clients I’ve closed. So it’s all of that because the interesting thing is, so many clients have told me this, and I’ve noticed this with other freelancers. As soon as you are one level more professional than other people, you will close more deals. So your best advantage while you’re working on your craft, while you’re getting better at what you do for clients is to get better at building the ecosystem around your business to make value delivery easier. And it would be a huge mistake to think that the sales experience is not part of the value delivery. Because you’ve got to start how you mean to go on, if you don’t start acting like a partner who values a client. Nothing’s gonna change when you close that client. And if they don’t see that you value them from the first moment. They may not even want to work with you.
Maddie Duke 34:33
That’s yeah, super, super valuable advice there. There’s so much more I would want to ask you that we don’t have time for today, Stefan. So I will wrap it up there but I really want to thank you so much for your time today and where can people find you?
Stefan Palios 34:48
Yeah, I am most active on Twitter @stefanpalios. My DMS are open so if you ever have questions, let me know if you want to learn more about the course. It’s Freelance Sales Blueprint calm. And my book is the 50 laws of freelancing, which is available on Amazon.
Maddie Duke 35:09
Awesome. Thank you. Thank you. The State Of Work is available wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also find us on Instagram or Twitter by searching for “the state of work”. For more information on anything we talked about in this episode, including links to Stefan’s website, check out our show notes at podcast.lano.io
Thanks for listening and see you next time on The State Of Work.
One platform with everything you need to build and pay your global team. Do you have questions about pricing, plans, or Lano? Fill out the form and a global hiring expert will be in touch shortly.
Verified Partner since 2021
4.9/5 on Capterra
Confirmation: Lano Intro - 30 minutes
© Lano Software GmbH 2022