Your salary is the bribe they give you to forget your dreams.
Are you willing to forgo the bribe and start working on your own dream instead of someone else's?
Tell us about yourself and what you do
My name is Daniel Reifenberger and I'm in Boulder, Colorado. I work with local and small businesses to help them generate more leads, improve their conversion rates and increase their online sales.
What motivated you to start freelancing?
I worked at an Apple store for 8 years, and my goal was to work my way up to the top and eventually take over for Steve Jobs. I quickly found out that wasn't going to happen and instead I found myself working evenings, weekends and during holidays. Any time people had off and were shopping, I was working.
When I was growing up, my grandfather had his own veterinary clinic and he always did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He carried $5,000 in cash in his boot, and I always thought that was super cool.
I started reading entrepreneurship books and I began to realize that by working at Apple I was helping build somebody else's legacy instead of my own. I didn't want to do that anymore and one day I decided I was done with that rat race.
How did you get your first paying customer?
My job at Apple was to train customers and employees on how to use the products and software. Everyone knew me as the “Apple guy” and would come to the store when they needed help with an Apple product.
When I left Apple, I decided to continue doing the same work. I told all of my friends that the same thing they knew me for at Apple, I was now doing for myself. Instead of going to the Apple store, they could come to me directly.
Within a couple of days, I had a friend refer me to a client who needed help with their Mac computer. I helped her fix the problem and she referred me to her whole family. After only two months I was up to 20 clients or so.
It wasn't until later that I started working in lead generation.
How are you getting new clients now?
I'm still getting clients the same way. I reach out to everyone I know and I let them know what I'm doing. I make it very clear that it's OK to give out my contact information to anyone they think I could help.
When I meet someone new, I mention what I do in conversation. They might be a business owner or they might know someone who needs my services. I also try to talk with people who know a lot of other people such as realtors or well connected entrepreneurs.
Over the last 4 years I've worked with a lot of online companies that have done extremely well, helping with their product launch and lead generation. Experience and a good track record also helps with referrals.
How do you price your services?
My first step when meeting with a new client is to figure out what the problem is currently costing them and what's the increased revenue potential of my solution. I usually charge 10-20% of that amount.
My cost and time investment is similar from one industry to another but it's more profitable to do lead generation in industries where leads are worth more. If their upside is bigger, it means I can charge more as well.
Any tips for aspiring freelancers?
My number one recommendation is to start freelancing on the side. I had money saved up when I started, but I hadn't replaced my income entirely. It took me a long time to get to that point after leaving Apple.
It might sound like the “romantic” thing to quit your job and hope you'll figure it out before you run out of money, but the truth is that it puts a lot of additional stress on you and it makes it even more difficult to run a business.
Everyone has at least one hour a day they spend on freelance work. Any day that you have off from work, you can make those your business days for your freelance gig and get the ball rolling this way.
Where can we reach you?
The best way is to email me at email@example.com.