Sitting in an office 40 hours a week is not a requirement to having a job or making money. I don't think enough people realize that.
Tell us about yourself and what you do
My name is Jimmy Winskowski and I’m originally from Utah, but now live in Las Vegas, Nevada with my wife and our two children. I specialize in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content marketing.
I started in 2010 by doing local SEO for small businesses and helping them rank in Google Maps. From there I moved into social media, email and content marketing. Social media was a lot of fun at the time because it was still relatively new and people were having massive success with it.
I've worked with a few different marketing agencies over the years and had the chance to work with great clients such as Dell and Discover before making the jump into freelancing in May 2017.
What motivated you to start freelancing?
Having young kids was a big part of my desire to work from home. I didn’t want to leave in the morning, come back in the evening, and only see my kids for an hour before bedtime. Working freelance gave me more control over my schedule.
Another factor is the flexibility to work from anywhere. Within a few days of meeting my wife, she told me she had taken a job in another state and that she would be moving there within a couple months. Being able to go with her and take my work with me was a huge benefit for the both of us.
A lot of people get into the mindset that having a job or making money requires that you give up all your time, or stay in an office everyday no matter how much or how little you enjoy it. In reality, it doesn't make for the best work environment.
How did you get your first paying customer?
When I worked at an agency, I was getting approached by people I knew who needed helped with their marketing but couldn't necessarily afford the agency's rate. I started helping those people on the side, and eventually I made a deal with the agency to become a freelance contractor for them as well.
How are you getting new clients now?
I try to maintain as many relationships as I can from places that I've worked at in the past. If you work with 20 people at a marketing agency, there's a good chance half of them will be working somewhere else in a few years. That's 10 connections at 10 different companies, and each one of them can open up new opportunities.
Another aspect of finding new clients is letting people know that they can come to you for help. You don't need to charge 2k a month to take a quick look at a website and give someone advice off the top of your head.
People you help can later become great clients.
Speaking of which, I also try to minimize client turnover and prioritize longer term clients so that I don't have to find new clients as often.
How do you price your services?
I know a lot of people like tracking hours and making sure that they're very transparent about their whole process, but personally I hate tracking hours. I also find it gets difficult to draw the line between time you spend doing research or testing, and time you actually spend working.
I prefer to set a fixed price for a fixed project based on a combination of factors. I take into account the amount of work I have to do, how much the client is willing to spend, and what their expectations of success are.
Bigger clients can afford to pay more because at scale, the changes I make will have a much bigger impact on their revenue.
Any tips for aspiring freelancers?
It's really hard to work full time at a day job and also build up enough revenue in the evening to totally replace your salary. The day I left my agency job, I didn't have all my income lined up as a freelancer but I was all in.
You just have to pick a date and take the leap.
Ask yourself how much money you need to have saved up to go a few months, and try to line up as many freelance projects as possible for that date. It only took me a few weeks to beat my agency salary, but when you're going freelance you just never count the chickens before they hatch.
Where can we reach you?
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @itsjimmyw.