Client relationships are a two way street. In fact, all relationships are. You give, and you take. Both sides expect and deserve mutual respect. If the contractor supplicates to the needs of the client’s needs, it creates a negative relationship, one where one serves the other. The contractor’s time is valuable too, and if it begins dipping into their time too much, it actually dips into billable rate, meaning, every time a bad clients becomes overly needy, s/he is stealing time away.
Take for example a client where you’re being paid $18k over one year to do work. Monthly, this is $1.5k pre-tax. If your billable rate as a freelancer or entrepreneur is $100, and the client demands 80 hours of work monthly, this consulting relationship should have ended sooner. At this rate, you would be doing $18.75/hour work.
The road goes both ways, and for this reason I’ve turned down over $100k of retainerships over the past year. The road to being accepted as my client is a long one - and it boils down to many facets other than merely deal size. You want a client that lifts you up mutually. Paradoxically, you shouldn’t be calculative, persay, in the way that I just wrote above. For example, I like to throw in a 2-hour photoshoot on me once in a while. I’d like to find a way to give back. Giving back is important, because all of these small actions create positive energy. This is what it means to play long game.
A lot of work has turned down, mostly because I thought that the client relationship wasn’t a good fit. There’s no set formula to what you should do, or what you shouldn’t do, but saying no, is more important than saying yes to everything. A lot of it is a cultural misfit, where a client doesn’t understand technology. Sometimes it a lapse of trust - trust being the most important component of any relationship. Sometimes it’s a retainership that is too low. For me, anything below $1.5k monthly is too low to work together; however, you must decide what works for yourself.
I challenge you to consider what your why is, and think about whether or not an organization’s goals and values align with yours and your business goals. From there, you should be able to decide whether it is right to follow through.
As you may know, I’ve been flying my drone and taking videos of SF Bay Area from up above. I’ve learned a lot while flying. How to not crash into objects. How to dodge birds. Most importantly though, flying my drone has given me perspective into how small we are. Every time I fly, I am reminded of how beautiful the world is and how insignificant our problems are. And while I haven’t met anyone else that flies drones, I was able to close a few real estate deals. It’s very exciting to me, and I can’t wait to share this with you.
A lot of friends have asked me how I monetized food photography. It’s quite simple. It took time. This advice here is geared towards the first $10k and not experts. The main goal of business is to provide value to consumers. Initially, I offered my service for free. This meant, reaching out to restauranteurs whose food and dining experiences I enjoyed the most. Once I got some responses, I executed those photoshoots. In total, I did about 20 free photoshoots in the beginning. This was crucial to receiving testimonials and referrals to other restauranteurs. Imagine of each of these restauranteurs provided me with an average of 1 referral. That’s 20 other restaurants that I could do paid work at. From those new 20 restauranteurs, they can refer me to an average of 1 each as well. And so forth. From the first 3 months, this would equate to about a total of 80 restaurants I would potentially work with, with 20 being free. For the first 20 restauranteurs that were paid, I had a flat fee of $500. Now, my fees are base + number of proofs based. My rates have increased by 4x since the very beginning.
Below, I’ve broken down how to make your first $10k from food photography.
1) Create a list of 250 restaurants that you like. From there, you should expect to work with about 20 of them (8%). Your strategy should be to group all the photoshoots back-to-back. A lot of overhead time is spent doing shoots, so you want to minimize that time to increase your ROI.
2) Provide food photoshoot for free. Do your best work. Go out of your way to provide a shot list.
3) Submit your post-processed work as soon as possible and ask for a written testimonial. Your photos will also speak for themselves.
And there we have it - $10k from the first month is possible if you just follow these simple steps.
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Today, we let go of one of our clients. At Dish Crawl Co (and life at large), it's imperative to be working with people who foster a positive working environment. This client unfortunately didn't even come close to positive, so we let them go. Knowing your self-worth has never been more clear to me now, than ever. Whether you're working for a boss in your 9-5 job or working for many as a freelancer or entrepreneur, qualify your relationships constantly. It was a $12K revenue loss, but there's nothing better than the feeling that you won't take shit from anyone.
Once you invest in the things that really matter, good things expontentially keep happening.
Every day brings you the options of how to design your time.
Who to hire and fire from your life.
How to manage your relationships.
How to give yourself what you deserve.
The ability to follow your own vision and evangelize it to others.
Every day, you are the CEO.
“Time you spent being jealous of others’ success is time they spent working,” entrepreneur Jon Westenberg once wrote.
and fly higher.
This is how I look at career. There are many different paths you can take. Most (90%+) take one path. And then the other 10% take another path.
In path 1, this individual is trading away time for money. This is usually the 9-5 hustle. Everyone in this path is trading away time away for money directly, whether this is in the form of $15 dollars per hour scooping ice cream or $100 dollars per hour working in an office.
In path 2, this individual is working on his/her own vision. This is usually in the form of finding one's own passion and marketability to a large audience. The work is rewarding intrinsically, but also pays the bills, because of self-reliance and strong goal-setting. This is what everyone wants to do, but few actually carry out doing. In this path, the sky is the limit. But it's not for everyone, especially if one doesn't have the coachability or resilience to carry out his/her vision.
Time is the most valuable asset and I personally chose path 2 with no regrets.
I often question what my own billable rate is. When I'm spending time outside of my business, every hour has value, whether this is in growing relationships with people or self-improvement in hiking or the gym. These are things that you really can't place a price on it. But outside of this, when I'm at work, it's important to me that my billable rate has no ceiling.
What's your billable rate?
I had a few client meetings in the morning, then in the afternoon, met with another restaurant. After that I had milk tea with one of my closest friends, and took the rest of the day off. While we were hanging out, I had a check mailed to me, and received a notification of $$ coming in. About $5,329 USD came in while we were chilling. We were just listening to house music. An amazing feeling. Thankful for my biz and my closest friends.
To my late grandfather who ascended to the stars 5 years ago. Here I am in Foster City this morning. Here is where the earliest memories I have you eating dim sum with the whole family happened. I still honestly think of you every day. So much has happened within these 5 years. And I'm sitting right by that very dim sum restaurant. It's CNY. I wonder what the next 5 years will be like. Thank you for the wonderful memories.
I'm thankful every single day for the wonderful clients that I am so lucky to work with.
Your attitude determines your altitude. So far, I've been reaching all my goals in the past few months.
This month, I'm determined to close a round of seed funding and Series A funding for my second startup. Wish me luck.
I may not be the most exceptional, but I've got perseverance and grit. And that's what gets you further along in life than anything.
In making friends or hiring people for my team, this is what I'm looking for most.
Without grit, well, you're just damned flaky at best.
This year's travel plans include:
New York City, Toronto
Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore
I will just start with these and take it from there.
I was shocked at the amount of hustle he has. He has a full team under him, and it further demonstrated that anything is possible with the right mindset. Thankful to meet all these cool people in the industry.
It's essential to take some time off work. It helps us regain energy and focus.
More importantly, time off work keeps us grounded in the things that are most important to us in life, lest we forget.
Working 12+ hour days is not healthy, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. At the end of the day, what we do for others matter most. To me, my relationship with my friends, family, and significant other matter most.
In my opinion, focusing on business and clients doesn't keep me warm at night. And warmth is important to me.