Business Bootcamp for Freelancers

Being your own boss is the new job security. But there’s a catch.

Apply for the bootcamp

Working from home became the norm in 2020 almost overnight.

As everyone got up to speed with remote work, where you live became less important. Thousands of new companies became open to the idea of working with people outside of a certain city, zip code, or time zone.

Demand for talented freelancers who can manage themselves has never been higher. We have the pandemic to thank for both the opportunity and the problem of more competition.

59 million Americans freelanced during the pandemic

a 22% increase over 2019. (source)

Millions more people got a taste of the freelance lifestyle.

No commute, no rushing home during lunch to let the dog out, no weird guy from accounting hovering at your desk—I mean, what’s not to love?

What got me hooked on freelancing is the flexibility and freedom.

However, if you’re like me and you’re committed to being our own boss, then you’ve got to face the reality of stiffer competition.

We’ve got to ask ourselves, “What’s it going to take to win?”

This quote from Seth Godin offers a clue: “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

Okay, we must stand out. Noted.

How do most freelancers try to stand out?

As soon as we’re not tied up with client projects, we spend our time sharpening our skills.

I’ve come to think of this tendency as The Skills Trap.

Over the last 12 years I have met many freelancers whose skill was undeniable. They were insanely talented, and they were still broke.

Meanwhile, I met freelancers whose work was only so-so, and yet they were turning clients away.

Then, I figure out what was going on.

The creative skills that get us into freelance—writing, design, photography, etc.—differ from those we need to grow the business.

My friend Tim told me a story that made this real for me.

He attended a Joanna Wiebe training event where writers could choose between two tracks— “Write Better Copy” and “Make More Money.”

The “Write Better Copy” track had twice as many people, so many in fact that Joanna and her team had to ask writers to go to the “Make More Money” track instead!

If you’re anything like me, you love honing your craft. Give me a calendar free of meetings and a sandbox full of words, and I’m a happy camper.

Mastering my craft, putting in my 10,000 (or however many) hours, also happens to be my comfort zone. And after twelve years of freelancing, I can tell you that my biggest breakthroughs have come through acquiring new skills outside of my comfort zone.

Basecamp and Hey founder Jason Fried hits the nail on the head in this 2011 Inc. article:

“One thing I do know is that making money is not the same as starting a business. For entrepreneurs, this is an important thing to understand. Most of us identify with the products we create or services we provide. I make software. He is a headhunter. She builds computer networks. But the fact is, all of us must master one skill that supersedes the others: making money. You can be the most creative software designer in the world. But if you don’t know how to make money, you’re never going to have much of a business or a whole lot of autonomy.” (bold mine)

Skill can certainly help you stand out, but if you want to win at this freelancing game, you’ve got to learn how to make money, plain and simple.

Is this new territory for you?

Does the idea of truly committing yourself to the skill of money-making cause some discomfort like eating too many tacos?

I can relate.

During six years of post-secondary education (B.A. and M.A.) I never saw anything like “How to Make Money As a Writer” in the course catalog.

Liberal arts programs and art schools don’t teach this stuff. I had to learn through trial and error how freelancing really works.

In order to make more money in less time and have a lot more fun, you have to pull the right levers. The freelancers who pull those levers become what I call “Smooth Operators.”

Frustrated freelancers who blend in
  1. Sell services based on skills
  2. Serve anyone with a budget
  3. No obvious authority
  4. Their value is hard to quantify
  5. Stray from their zone of genius
  6. Not building an audience
  7. Inconsistent with marketing and lead-gen
  8. Work harder with no standardized process or support
  9. Low prices
Smooth operators who stand out
  1. Sell offers based on special mix
  2. Serve specific niche
  3. Obvious authority
  4. Their value is clear
  5. Stay in their zone of genius
  6. Building an audience
  7. Consistent with marketing and lead-gen
  8. Work smarter by defining processes and building a team
  9. Premium prices

Do you want to do good work and stand out? Do you also want to learn how to make money and become a smooth operator?

And do you believe that being your own boss is the new job security? Are you ready to build your dream business? Great. You’re in the right place.

Let me save you years of trial and error over a 6-week period.

My Business Bootcamp for Freelancers (BBFF) will help you put all of the pieces together:
  1. Find your special mix, so that you can zero in on the work you’re best at and enjoy the most.
  2. Make your authority obvious (aka, stand out), so that your dream clients want to work with you, not someone else.
  3. Define 3-4 juicy offers, so that your value is easy to see and understand.
  4. Rework your pricing, so that your prices truly reflect the value you create.
  5. Nail down your 1-page marketing and content plan, so that you stay consistent, use your time effectively, and not chase every squirrel. (Any Up fans out there?)
  6. Nail down your 1-page marketing and content plan, so that you stay consistent, use your time effectively, and not chase every squirrel. (Any Up fans out there?)
  7. Build a strong pipeline, so that you aren’t scrambling to get projects and tempted to say yes to less-than-ideal projects, clients, and timelines.
Here’s what the core BBFF program looks like in practical terms:

Core training content to help you complete six crucial pieces: 1) Find Your Mix, 2) Show Your Authority, 3) Create Your Offers, 4) Rework Your Pricing, 5) Nail Your Marketing, and 6) Build Your Pipeline

6-week “sprint” to help maintain the sense of urgency and get results

1 group call each week

Weekly assignments related to the 6 milestones above

Deadlines for those weekly assignments

Expert critiques → My team reviews your work (e.g., your new offers) and gives you thoughtful feedback and pointers.)

Access to the resource and playbook library that I have amassed over 12+ years

Invitation to a small, private community

$2,250 for 6-week program

HERE’S WHAT THE 6-week program INCLUDES

01 – Find Your Mix

Each of us has creative skills, personality traits, and specialized experience that make us special. We’ll kick things off by finding your unique mix. The mix adds to your authority and influences your juicy offers too. Your most joyful work really can become your most profitable work.

02 – Show Your Authority

We pinpoint your key differentiators, refine your value proposition, and position you as a trustworthy expert in your niche/industry. You will then use that positioning to develop new messaging for your website, LinkedIn profile, and marketing materials.

03 – Create Your Offers

We identify specific expensive problems that your target audience experiences. We figure out how those problems intersect with your most profitable projects. Then, we create 2-3 juicy offers that have seven parts you need to sell them effectively.

04 – Rework Your Pricing

We explore different pricing models and map out any needed transition to help you bump up both your rates, profit margins, and Return On Time. Together, we make the changes needed to separate your earning potential from the number of hours in the day.

05 – Nail Your Marketing

Marketing is making something more desirable, spreading the word about it, and giving people a chance to care. Consistency trumps everything in marketing, and simplicity gives you a competitive advantage. We will create your 1-page marketing plan and pinpoint 15-minute marketing tasks you can actually schedule.

06 – Build Your Pipeline

We’ll map out a repeatable, systematic method for attracting high-quality leads and converting them into high-paying clients. That way, you aren’t constantly scrambling to get projects and tempted to say yes to less-than-ideal projects, clients, and timelines.

The best is yet to come, friend.

My team and I are excited about helping you have a record year. I want to add your testimonial to the ones below!

The future belongs to the freelancers who learn how to stand out and charge more for the work that brings them joy.

Apply Today

If needed, I’ll follow up to schedule a quick call, ask clarifying questions, and hammer out any final details.

FAQs

When does BBFF start?

All the BBFF training is pre-recorded, so you can start immediately. In the past we’ve had several folks all start at the same time, and when that happens, it’s fun to do a cohort and have camaraderie. In either case, the sooner you start, the sooner you finish the program. The sooner you finish the program, the sooner you see results. It’s like working out.

Can I pay extra to get 1:1 coaching sessions with you?

Yes. If you need to get clarity around a specific business problem or one of the BBFF core concepts I outlined above, then we can get you in my calendar.

What do you use for the private community?

Slack. Past Campers had strong feelings about Facebook, so we went with an alternative.

Do you offer a payment plan?

Yep. 3 payments of $750. If you do one up-front payment of $2,000, you save $250.

What Campers had to say about BBFF…

“Whoa, Austin, did you make a hell of a thing! I am so glad I signed up. The weekly training and group calls lit a fire under my butt in the best possible way. I love that the feedback focused on what is already working and in really specific ways. That kept me motivated and helped keep my brain in creativity mode. Listening to you coach other people gave me ideas for my own business too. Bravo, bravo, bravo, you business bard.”

Alex Muck, Writer & Writing Instructor

“Coming into this felt like a huge risk for me, both financially and emotionally. Thanks for making my first coaching experience a good one!

Austin is a weird, wonderful combination of Ben Franklin and Matthew McConaughey—good, solid business sense steeped in the finest Southern chill. His pragmatic, down-to-earth coaching style is the icepack on the forehead you’ve been craving—the perfect antidote to a sweaty, manic solopreneur culture that puts too many business owners at risk of burnout.

The program I took part in was a highly valuable, tightly packed 6 weeks of coaching, brainstorming, and fun. We covered all the steps involved in taking a business idea from (very) rough sketch to fully functioning freelance practice. My business—and my head—are in a much better place. Thanks to Austin, I’m leaving this program with a clear, viable plan, which is way more than I had coming in.

Just as importantly, I feel more grounded. Using clear examples and lots of encouragement, Austin reminded me that it’s okay to be patient and pragmatic when it comes to building a business. No one has to become a ridiculous, flamboyant internet personality to make it work. You don’t have to sell your soul to sell your stuff!

As a result of our work together, freelancing feels like an attainable career path, and not just a pipe dream. I have the confidence that comes with knowing I can provide for myself—and a path to follow on my way towards doing more of the things that are really important to me, like loving my neighbor and writing fiction.

Thanks for helping me kick-start my freelance career, Austin. You’re the best!”

Myles McDonough, Brand Strategist & Copywriter

“Good news, I’m VERY busy. I have had to hire 2 subcontractors to keep up with my work I’ve picked up last month. Would love to share more later. Thanks again for your help in getting me to this point. I come away with a confidence boost every time we talk. Means a lot that you have believed in me and my abilities to this point.”

Bryan Terrill, Design Strategist

“I took Austin’s advice on productizing my services and signed my biggest client retainer to date. I now have almost more freelance work than I can handle.”

Kate Jaramillo, Freelance Publicist

“Working with Austin was key for me and my work. He is an incisive thinker – together, we were able to rework my products and pricing which was instrumental to the growth of my business. By shifting to productized services, I was able to generate $60,000 in new business in five weeks, effectively doubling my rate. That’s a big win in my book.”

Robert Cross, Business Strategy Consultant

“Business Bootcamp was just the right amount of friendly pressure, just enough to be really effective. I didn’t feel overwhelmed. The weekly homework and deadlines felt very doable, yet very intentional. If I’m working under a deadline, I’ll know I’ll get it done. I also appreciated the encouragement and kudos throughout the week. Having people to celebrate my wins with me felt really good.”

Amanda Uher, Content Specialist & Pinterest Expert

“Before working with Austin, I charged too little money to customers who hedged and dallied on projects they cared little about. I had no tracking system. A pipeline? Haha. LOL. Starting over using the 4Ps has already set me up for success. The after picture compared to my business in July can’t be more stark. I’m employing several tactics and strategies you suggest, all of them outside my comfort zone. I now have 1) a straightforward USP/outcome, a brand new website with a single productized service. (I’m very good at coaching. I see that now.) However, the single biggest change for me has been creating a pipeline. Tracking follow ups is much easier now. Given I never tracked anything I’ve improved by 1000% improvement. Meanwhile, I’ve hammered out a template and reduced the time from interview to report from about ten hours to four. I’ve thus quintupled my old rates!”

Jay Sennett, Email Marketing Consultant

“I hired Austin because I needed help with the consulting side of my business. Austin has an incredible talent for mining the gold out of normal conversations, and his straightforward approach and well-designed exercises cuts the fluff. Together, we zeroed in on my biggest differentiators, crafted a clear, solid value proposition, and defined my core service offerings. He helped me discover where my clients are truly coming from and figure out how I should be spending time and finding new project leads throughout the week. Austin’s experience and coaching around negotiation were incredibly beneficial as well. He was key in helping me land one 3-month retainer worth $25,500 and another 12-month retainer worth $165,000. He and I are already talking about the next project. Thanks again, Austin!”

Jacob Milner, Finance & Operations Consultant

“I was helping a few clients wherever I could, but I had no real direction or company identity. I needed to make the investment to take myself and the business seriously. After looking through websites of freelancers and consultants, I sought out Austin specifically. Coaching has helped me to identify the parts of my life and career that have gotten me to where I am and has given me the confidence to lean on that experience and know that I can earn a living teaching what I’ve learned. Austin has so much great material that gets to the heart of what I was trying to uncover. Also, the weekly meetings really helped me focus and realign my priorities. I’m not saying it’s easy but I get up each morning knowing what I should be doing with my day. For example, I have created several offers that I can go out and sell and have already closed my first project doing exactly what I want to be doing. As my approach to my business and long-term goals continue to crystallize, I’m excited about using the clients I have now as case studies moving forward and making my first course.”

Greg Smith, Process & Growth Consultant

Want to accelerate your progress?

Over the years, I have worked with business coaches to develop my business skills. Coaches accelerate your progress. If you’re really serious about growing your business and earning more as a freelancer, work with a coach. Use the link below to apply for my program, and I’ll follow up with you.

Apply Today