Lets start off by saying I hate click-bait style headlines.
They often lead to articles that contain very little real value or regurgitated formulas that don’t work in reality.
Can you really believe a “How to Earn Six Figures While Sitting on the Toilet” kinda post? If it looks like shit, and smells like shit, it’s probably shit!
But there are times when a bold headline is needed to communicate truth, like the one I’m gonna share with you today.
A Five Figure Business Lesson
Twenty years ago I was a freelance designer struggling to make ends meet. With a family of four, I was desperately trying to survive. Had my best friend not sent me a couple cases of military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), we probably would’ve starved. It was that bad!
Then one day out of nowhere, a guy named Rick called.
He was an older gentleman building a successful grant writing business and he needed professional help with graphic design services. So we talked for 30 minutes about his needs and I told him I’d meet him the next day at his office.
I was not prepared for what was about to happen.
Rick was a very unassuming man, extremely soft spoken, and had a dry sense of humor. He was hard to read and the hour long meeting felt a bit intimidating.
After my presentation about how I could make his new brand awesome, he just sat there quietly, staring at me as if I was completely out of my mind.
Immediately I started to think about how I botched everything and lost the job — meaning my family would be disappointed once again by my lack of ability to provide for them. But then Rick broke the deafening silence.
How much will it cost to get started?
There was a glimmer of hope, then a moment of panic. I didn’t know what to charge. In my preparation for a great razzle-dazzle about my abilities and what I could do for him, I forgot to consider the pricing. SHIT!!!
So I doubled what I thought I should charge, took a deep breath, and told him it would $2,500 … which is WAY more than I ever quoted at that time.
Rick looked at me and said OK.
Then he took out his checkbook and wrote a check for the entire amount upfront. No official proposal and no invoice.
I. Was. Stunned.
Not only did Rick save our lives financially that day, he became the perfect life long client, and ultimately a close friend of our family.
So how in the hell does this translate into making $80,000?
A couple years later, after doing numerous high dollar projects for Rick, I asked him why he chose me out of all the other talented people he contacted for that initial job. I was just curious.
He looked at me and smiled then said, “You showed up.”
I was blown away!
It wasn’t because of my talent or client list, but because I was the only one who had responded to his call and showed up to meet him. #BOOM
Rick told me he had contacted a dozen other designers yet not one person returned his calls or emails. And because I followed up, it earned me over $80,000 worth of business with Rick over the next several years.
He was the perfect client who was never difficult to work with and always paid in advance. BUT WAIT, there’s more!!!
In 2015, I wanted to launch a new company but I needed an investor. Guess who stepped up? That’s right.
Mr. Short wrote me a $25,000 advance check with no formal agreement and told me to go kick some ass.
Just like that.
Here are my key takeaways.
Besides discovering there ARE perfect clients out there, the two most important things learned from that experience are:
Always be confident in your abilities and pricing.
If you don’t have the confidence in what you’re doing or what you’re worth, no one else will believe you and you’ll never reach your potential.
Always follow up or show up.
I‘ve earned tens of thousands of dollars with other clients simply because I responded promptly to calls or emails. I showed up and won.
These two things were pivotal in transforming my business and my life.
I spent 10 years struggling to survive in the creative world before these lessons changed everything. It's valuable advice that worked then and still works today, so please use it to your advantage.
Finally, I‘m forever grateful to Rick Short. I wouldn’t be here today and have had so much business success without him.