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CoreyinMN

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It was like someone switched on a light switch. 7 or 8 years into a 17-year stint working as a 3D draftsman I had this sinking feeling gnawing away at my soul that I despite what I was told, I did not "make it."

This was a real bummer because previous to this job, I had 7-8 years of factory/grunt work jobs. I went to great lengths to finish up tech college to better my life as a white-collar worker (the script was strong with me).

The kicker for me was realizing that no matter how much value I was bringing to my company/employer, no matter how many thousands of dollars of savings/profit from my ideas and attention to detail, the best I would be able to do was a pat on the back, a few more years of security in the cubicell and with luck a $2000 - $4000 per year raise at review time.

Fast forward 10+ years and I have been working as a freelance PPC consultant for about 5 years After a rocky start due to lack of sales skills, I've been able to surpass my salary and have more control over my time. I have a solid portfolio of great clients in a variety of industries.

But, I have a ton to learn, a personal legacy product/service to discover and a long way to go.

And that is why I read a book like Unscripted, listened to a bunch of podcasts with @MJ DeMarco and ended up here.
 

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Roli

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It was like someone switched on a light switch. 7 or 8 years into a 17-year stint working as a 3D draftsman I had this sinking feeling gnawing away at my soul that I despite what I was told, I did not "make it."

This was a real bummer because previous to this job, I had 7-8 years of factory/grunt work jobs. I went to great lengths to finish up tech college to better my life as a white-collar worker (the script was strong with me).

The kicker for me was realizing that no matter how much value I was bringing to my company/employer, no matter how many thousands of dollars of savings/profit from my ideas and attention to detail, the best I would be able to do was a pat on the back, a few more years of security in the cubicell and with luck a $2000 - $4000 per year raise at review time.

Fast forward 10+ years and I have been working as a freelance PPC consultant for about 5 years After a rocky start due to lack of sales skills, I've been able to surpass my salary and have more control over my time. I have a solid portfolio of great clients in a variety of industries.

But, I have a ton to learn, a personal legacy product/service to discover and a long way to go.

And that is why I read a book like Unscripted, listened to a bunch of podcasts with @MJ DeMarco and ended up here.
Awesome, now you simply have to move to a point whereby you have employees, then instead of swapping your old boss for yourself, you become your old boss, sitting back making money without needing to be there all the time.

Good luck.
 

Zimbizee

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Fast forward 10+ years and I have been working as a freelance PPC consultant for about 5 years After a rocky start due to lack of sales skills, I've been able to surpass my salary and have more control over my time. I have a solid portfolio of great clients in a variety of industries.

.
Congrats on your success, where/how did you learn to be a ppc consultant?. Can you share that part of your jouney.
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

Little Hinges Swing Big Doors
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jun 25, 2018
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Awesome, now you simply have to move to a point whereby you have employees, then instead of swapping your old boss for yourself, you become your old boss, sitting back making money without needing to be there all the time.

Good luck.
Thank you @Roli

Here’s the thing, not sure I want employees. Feel I’d be sort of a hypocrite. If I do not want to be an employee, how can I ask someone else to be.

I am sort of building a team of a few poeple who I look at more as partners. Working with poeple who have skin in the game or are empowered beyond just getting a pay check feels right and feels like where things are headed.

Perhaps it is a little “pie in the sky” but something I’ve been pondering over the years.
 

Pete Wilkinson

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Thank you @Roli

Here’s the thing, not sure I want employees. Feel I’d be sort of a hypocrite. If I do not want to be an employee, how can I ask someone else to be.

I am sort of building a team of a few poeple who I look at more as partners. Working with poeple who have skin in the game or are empowered beyond just getting a pay check feels right and feels like where things are headed.

Perhaps it is a little “pie in the sky” but something I’ve been pondering over the years.
I agree with you on this one, I think there are better models out there than the outdated "employee" one. I can see a day when there are no employees.
 

Roli

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Thank you @Roli

Here’s the thing, not sure I want employees. Feel I’d be sort of a hypocrite. If I do not want to be an employee, how can I ask someone else to be.

I am sort of building a team of a few poeple who I look at more as partners. Working with poeple who have skin in the game or are empowered beyond just getting a pay check feels right and feels like where things are headed.

Perhaps it is a little “pie in the sky” but something I’ve been pondering over the years.
I totally get that, and was wondering how you'd respond to it when I was writing it.

Here's the thing though, a lot of people want to be employees, in fact you yourself did for a long time. Just because you saw it differently does not mean that others will, providing people with steady employment could be one of the greatest things you do as a fastlaner.

Just remember, take an age to hire, a second to fire.
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

Little Hinges Swing Big Doors
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jun 25, 2018
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Minnesota
Congrats on your success, where/how did you learn to be a ppc consultant?. Can you share that part of your journey.
The place I started was investing in a Perry Marshall consulting course. Not sure it is around anymore but it was key for me in getting set up. It was also great for instilling a mindset of being more than a one trick PPC/social media/name-your-service pony to being someone who looks at clients businesses holistically. Anyone can drive traffic, get likes, shares, any other "vanity metric" you can throw out there but it's all about the bottom line, improving sales to improve their life.

Another great takeaway, that I still use, is the idea of onboarding clients with a 30-day Discovery Contract rather than a large, long term proposal. A Discovery contract creates a short-term trial where you find a way to give them value but also get a chance to work with the client (a courtship) and review their entire process before throwing out (errr... guessing) and committing (getting married) to the results I will give them and how much it will cost.

That was a great start but it only took me so far.

Along the way, I ended up swallowing my pride (very painfull but another story for another day) and taking some part-time jobs because I lacked sales skills. Particularly in the area of answering objections, asking for the sale and prospecting.

EXAMPLE 1: Objections / Asking For The Sale

In my early consulting days I would get push back from a client and basically think I was screwed right out of the gate.

BEFORE:

Potential client: "Internet Marketing is a scam."

Me: "oh, sorry you feel that way. I can't help then. Good luck with everything."

AFTER (a stint in a RV Dealership, Grant Cardone podcasts, Dan Pinks "To Sell Is Human" and other deep dives in sales education).

Potential client: "Internet Marketing is a scam."

Me: [Knowing that he is talking to me for a reason but knowing I need more information] "You are right, there are some horror stories out there alright. What have you heard/seen?"

PC: "Well.... [long story about something he read or how he got screwed shady SEO guy he worked with before]"

Me: "Yeah that sucks. Did you ever hear of [a story about awesome results I've had with other clients or stories of success in his or a similar industry]."

Something along those lines until he ran out of objections and then straight up asking for the sale.

EXAMPLE 2: Prospecting

I was hot out of the gate when I started consulting. I had some fairly high profile clients. Two, in particular, taught me some huge lessons.

Client 1 was a local branch of a national employment agency. I was crushing it with Facebook ads for them. After about 7-8 months, they stopped working with me (only to find out later that they figured they just throw more work on their office manager emulating was I was doing... or at least that what they thought [thank you Facebook Boost).

Client 2 was a national furniture manufacturer wanting me to help them with recruiting new employees. They were the type of client where you could throw out any number and they would send the check no questions asked. It was going great for 5-6 months until one day I called, ask for my ONE contact and was told he left the company ( side note: 1 contact = mistake = lesson learned). Huge chunk of monthly income... gone just like that.

The issue wasn't so much that they left (that is part of the deal), but it was that I basically stopped prospecting during the time I thought I had enough clients and was comfortable.

The lesson: No matter how busy I get, I take time weekly (sometimes daily) to find/generate more leads for my business.

One of the top salesmen at the RV dealership I had to work at told me that a huge part of his success is that no matter how good his month is going, he still picks up the phone 50-100 times every day.

Hope that helps.
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

Little Hinges Swing Big Doors
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jun 25, 2018
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Minnesota
I totally get that and was wondering how you'd respond to it when I was writing it.

Here's the thing though, a lot of people want to be employees, in fact you yourself did for a long time. Just because you saw it differently does not mean that others will, providing people with steady employment could be one of the greatest things you do as a fastlaner.

Just remember, take an age to hire, a second to fire.
Yep, I know they are out there. I suppose they will always be there to some extent. But I've watched it slowly changing over the years. I have friends like that, my wife is one of them and so is my 15 year old son (side note: McDonald's has been a great place for him to start earning money plus he is thinking bigger already "Dad, how much would it cost for me to buy a McDonalds"... great dad moment BTW).

When I first started guzzling the Unscripted Kool-Aid (10+ years ago) I would share and get serious pushback from them (which was really surprising to me at the time). But, fast forward 10 years, some of those same friends, my wife and my son grow more and more curious about how I do what I do especially as I achieve more (and can run out of the house at a moments notice to meet them for breakfast at 9 in the morning on a Wednesday on their vacation day).

Think about this, how many people/children would think like an employee if they read and/or were taught the principles in a book like Unscripted?

AND, is it that it is in their nature for employee-minded people to think that way OR have they been programmed...errr.. Scripted to think that way? When you were kid, did you dream of someday working on an assembly line?

#gooddiscussionbtw
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Welcome Corey, great to have ya!
 

Roli

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McDonald's has been a great place for him to start earning money plus he is thinking bigger already "Dad, how much would it cost for me to buy a McDonalds"... great dad moment BTW).
I can feel that pride swelling moment :)

Yep, I know they are out there. I suppose they will always be there to some extent. But I've watched it slowly changing over the years.
Things are changing, I remember reading a book called The New Netocracy, which was written in 2000 (I didn't read till 2014ish) and it predicted as the internet got more and more important, we would move from capitalism to informationalism, likening the move from feudalism to a capitalistic society.

One of the big predictions was the way we would view work, and I see this very much reflected in today's world.

Plus of course we see the fragility of national and global economies as a direct threat to the growing illusion of 'a stable job'.

However it very much depends on what sector you work in, if you are in the knowledge work sector then your flexibility (as long as you keep learning and moving forward) will grow, other industries will always (or at least for a lot longer) support employees and will therefore have scripted individuals to take up those roles.
 

Andy Black

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Welcome. Familiar story.



I still do some PPC freelancing/consulting/contracting- where the client owns the AdWords accounts.

I don’t want to grow an agency though, so now I mostly only take on new clients where I own the account, and the landing page.
 

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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

Little Hinges Swing Big Doors
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jun 25, 2018
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Minnesota
Welcome. Familiar story.



I still do some PPC freelancing/consulting/contracting- where the client owns the AdWords accounts.

I don’t want to grow an agency though, so now I mostly only take on new clients where I own the account, and the landing page.
Yeah, I’m not sure about being an agency either. I have a few that I own but am mostly in the same boat as you. I own a couple but mainly every other is client owned.

I am pondering ways to streamline focus and do more where I own them.

Ultimately though I feel I need a product or service of my own.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Andy Black

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Yeah, I’m not sure about being an agency either. I have a few that I own but am mostly in the same boat as you. I own a couple but mainly every other is client owned.

I am pondering ways to streamline focus and do more where I own them.

Ultimately though I feel I need a product or service of my own.

Thanks for sharing.
My vision in a nutshell:
View: https://youtu.be/Bm6iTjussvU


The details:
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

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Andy Black

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Nailed it. That is the goal. Do you specialize in one niche? Say funeral directors or chiropractor or whatever?

And do you give much thought to google trying to rid the world of lead gen sites?
There’s a few verticals where it works better and I *should* be focused on those. Except I get inbound leads every week from other verticals and have shiny object syndrome.



Sure, Google wants to be more of a directory than just a search engine now. And to take the bookings too. Makes sense.

It won’t happen overnight, and there’s room to create location or vertical specific platforms.



Also... What’s a lead gen site? All sites should be lead gen.

We create pages that have my clients branding on them, often on their domain. It enables those clients to spend money on Google and get more bang for their buck. In Google’s eyes it’s not Thumbtack.

And when we own the domain and put up a page for our client (e.g. blacksmithsonline.com/dublin-blacksmith) then it’s like the Yellow Pages or booking dot com buying visitors from Google.

I’ll use Google while it works, with the eventual goal of acquiring clients who will go direct in future. E.g. Many people go straight to booking dot com now.
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

Little Hinges Swing Big Doors
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Minnesota
There’s a few verticals where it works better and I *should* be focused on those. Except I get inbound leads every week from other verticals and have shiny object syndrome.



Sure, Google wants to be more of a directory than just a search engine now. And to take the bookings too. Makes sense.

It won’t happen overnight, and there’s room to create location or vertical specific platforms.



Also... What’s a lead gen site? All sites should be lead gen.

We create pages that have my clients branding on them, often on their domain. It enables those clients to spend money on Google and get more bang for their buck. In Google’s eyes it’s not Thumbtack.

And when we own the domain and put up a page for our client (e.g. blacksmithsonline.com/dublin-blacksmith) then it’s like the Yellow Pages or booking dot com buying visitors from Google.

I’ll use Google while it works, with the eventual goal of acquiring clients who will go direct in future. E.g. Many people go straight to booking dot com now.
Thank you for the insight. It is a reminder that I definitely need to focus more on this strategy. I've taken a course on this and started down this path but my primary lead source has been a hurdle. The clients I get tend to prefer that they own the AdWords account and pages (which is smart on their part). Plus sometimes they are so niche that there isn't necessarily a play where I can take my leads and find another "quality" buyer. Oh yeah, and shiny object syndrome is strong with me as well. :)
 

Andy Black

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my primary lead source has been a hurdle.
Where are you getting leads from currently?

The clients I get tend to prefer that they own the AdWords account and pages (which is smart on their part). Plus sometimes they are so niche that there isn't
Obviously the bigger clients tend towards owning their own account and landing pages. A €100k/mth spender on AdWords has their own account. But some of the smaller guys will appreciate there being an alternative to paying a larger fee to an agency who also ties them into a long running contract. Also... some of the smaller guys just want their phone to ring. They're used to paying the Yellow Pages and not getting much bang for their buck.
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

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Where are you getting leads from currently?
Highly competitive Freelance websites that lock you into their terms (i.e. hourly rates).

Obviously the bigger clients tend towards owning their own account and landing pages. A €100k/mth spender on AdWords has their own account. But some of the smaller guys will appreciate there being an alternative to paying a larger fee to an agency who also ties them into a long running contract. Also... some of the smaller guys just want their phone to ring. They're used to paying the Yellow Pages and not getting much bang for their buck.
Makes sense and helps to zoom into potential clients.

Million Dollar, Potentially Dumb, Question:

In your experience, it possible to create a 7 figure, Fastlane style, scalable income for this model? Assuming of course that I know what I'm doing and devote 100% focus to it.

(sorry, I suppose I could do the math BUT I'm busy at the moment and you sound like someone how would answer based on personal experience).

P.S. I REALLY do appreciate you having this conversation with me.
 

Andy Black

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In your experience, it possible to create a 7 figure, Fastlane style, scalable income for this model? Assuming of course that I know what I'm doing and devote 100% focus to it.
Ha. Not in my personal experience - yet.



Although ...

MJ built Limos dot com.

You’ve heard of booking dot com I presume?

What about Groupon, the Yellow Pages / Yelp, and all the other businesses that generate leads and sales for other businesses?

I may be a hammer constantly looking for a nail, but isn’t the internet just one big lead generation machine anyway?

I built and ran the campaigns for the largest insurance broker in Ireland. They’d be out of business without a steady stream of sales from either current or new customers.

If you have a method of generating consistent leads, period, then you should be able to build on top of that.


I’m in the trenches, but not much further along from being a freelancer. I’m chipping away at it.

My “problem” is that I’m better technically than commercially, but I’m working on that.

(Commercial skills beats technical skills. The trick, I think, is to own the assets you build.)
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

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Ha. Not in my personal experience - yet.



Although ...

MJ built Limos dot com.

You’ve heard of booking dot com I presume?

What about Groupon, the Yellow Pages / Yelp, and all the other businesses that generate leads and sales for other businesses?

I may be a hammer constantly looking for a nail, but isn’t the internet just one big lead generation machine anyway?

I built and ran the campaigns for the largest insurance broker in Ireland. They’d be out of business without a steady stream of sales from either current or new customers.

If you have a method of generating consistent leads, period, then you should be able to build on top of that.


I’m in the trenches, but not much further along from being a freelancer. I’m chipping away at it.

My “problem” is that I’m better technically than commercially, but I’m working on that.

(Commercial skills beats technical skills. The trick, I think, is to own the assets you build.)
Oh yeah, Limos and all the others. AirBnB I suppose as well. And yes, I am walking the line between Tech and Com skills a well. Thanks again. Somethings to ponder for the rest of the day.
 

maverick

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It was like someone switched on a light switch. 7 or 8 years into a 17-year stint working as a 3D draftsman I had this sinking feeling gnawing away at my soul that I despite what I was told, I did not "make it."

This was a real bummer because previous to this job, I had 7-8 years of factory/grunt work jobs. I went to great lengths to finish up tech college to better my life as a white-collar worker (the script was strong with me).

The kicker for me was realizing that no matter how much value I was bringing to my company/employer, no matter how many thousands of dollars of savings/profit from my ideas and attention to detail, the best I would be able to do was a pat on the back, a few more years of security in the cubicell and with luck a $2000 - $4000 per year raise at review time.

Fast forward 10+ years and I have been working as a freelance PPC consultant for about 5 years After a rocky start due to lack of sales skills, I've been able to surpass my salary and have more control over my time. I have a solid portfolio of great clients in a variety of industries.

But, I have a ton to learn, a personal legacy product/service to discover and a long way to go.

And that is why I read a book like Unscripted, listened to a bunch of podcasts with @MJ DeMarco and ended up here.
Your story resonates with me as I've followed a similar path.

What has helped me is to view life as a sequence of phases. In each phase I define goals and work to improve myself by accomplishing these goals. Once all goals are done, you move to the next phase.

This is not a rigid schedule I follow but feels much more fluid and ever-evolving i.e. a state of mind.
 

Andy Black

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What has helped me is to view life as a sequence of phases. In each phase I define goals and work to improve myself by accomplishing these goals. Once all goals are done, you move to the next phase.
I like the idea of phases.

These podcasts really helped me:


They introduced me to a few sliding scales:


The three year plan:
  1. Learn a skill (aka become a technician)
  2. Sell that skill (aka learn to consistently generate work)
  3. Scale that skill (aka become the business owner)


And another sliding scale (paraphrased):
  1. Student
  2. Intern
  3. Employee
  4. Contractor
  5. Freelancer
  6. Agency (bespoke services)
  7. Agency (productised services)
  8. Platform/SaaS
 

maverick

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Nice
I like the idea of phases.

These podcasts really helped me:


They introduced me to a few sliding scales:


The three year plan:
  1. Learn a skill (aka become a technician)
  2. Sell that skill (aka learn to consistently generate work)
  3. Scale that skill (aka become the business owner)


And another sliding scale (paraphrased):
  1. Student
  2. Intern
  3. Employee
  4. Contractor
  5. Freelancer
  6. Agency (bespoke services)
  7. Agency (productised services)
  8. Platform/SaaS
Nice sliding scale.. I'm skipping 6 and 7 though ;-)
 

Andy Black

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7 or 8 years into a 17-year stint working as a 3D draftsman.... I have been working as a freelance PPC consultant for about 5 years...
Hi Corey, welcome to the forum.

I see a LOT of light manufacturing, custom design and packaging type of medium size businesses as I drive around the Twin Cities. As you know this is an area with plenty of intricate, high tech, biomedical business history, from the pacemaker to the supercomputer. What kind of shops did you do the CAD work for? I'm wondering if you might be able to have a niche of helping these kinds of businesses to get great new clients and promote their specialty products. It seems you have some experience there that would put you ahead of the generic SEO/PPC consultant when it comes to working with some of these businesses.

With everyone's participation, especially Andy's, this is one of the most enjoyable conversations on the forum I've yet had the pleasure to catch up on.

Corey, I think you could do really well with Andy's style of phone conversations as a very soft sell, to people who already know and like him from his forum participation. For you, the marketing funnel might be something else. But I think the respectful business calls are a great way to go.

I wasted most of last year with a client who imposed his own demands on what I do, while also being a broke cheapskate about it! I made the mistake of thinking some money was better than none. But I was wrong. I had to cut ties and do a dumb day job through the winter and spring. This year, I learned my lesson. Just landed a big project now where the project launch took a lot longer, because it was truly respectful back and forth meeting of the minds. I'm looking now at how I make the process more systematic, to start working with other worthwhile clients. I'm still learning about this, would be happy to share what I've found so far with you.
 
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If I do not want to be an employee, how can I ask someone else to be.
Here's the thing though, a lot of people want to be employees, in fact you yourself did for a long time. Just because you saw it differently does not mean that others will, providing people with steady employment could be one of the greatest things you do as a fastlaner.
Roli beat me to it with exactly what I was about to say!

I am sort of building a team of a few poeple who I look at more as partners.
That's a valid way to work. Most Hollywood productions are done with virtual teams who form a company to make one show, then they all go on to their own next projects.

Another great takeaway, that I still use, is the idea of onboarding clients with a 30-day Discovery Contract rather than a large, long term proposal.
I want to learn more about this. I have extensive enough ideas and knowledge about this initial research, that it should be paid for rather than done for free. But I don't understand yet how to monetize "I'll poke around and make some suggestions."

McDonald's has been a great place for him to start earning money plus he is thinking bigger already "Dad, how much would it cost for me to buy a McDonalds"... great dad moment BTW
How cool! Something like half their restaurant owners worked their way up. It's also a great chance for him to see what works in customer service, and in how a business can scale with systems.

my wife and my son grow more and more curious about how I do what I do especially as I achieve more (and can run out of the house at a moments notice to meet them for breakfast at 9 in the morning on a Wednesday on their vacation day)
That's cool!

What has helped me is to view life as a sequence of phases. In each phase I define goals and work to improve myself by accomplishing these goals. Once all goals are done, you move to the next phase.
In the academic world, there's often a sabbatical. After around six years of service, there's a year with extra personal time and off, and also lots of time to research, explore, investigate, learn something new. Sometimes it results in great new ideas and techniques that can bring a new energy to the existing career. Sometimes it's the turning point to launch a new career. I'd like to work that way for the rest of my life... probably good for three or four work + sabbatical cycles from now til retirement, unless longevity medicine gets a lot better by the time I get there.
 
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CoreyinMN

CoreyinMN

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That's a valid way to work. Most Hollywood productions are done with virtual teams who form a company to make one show, then they all go on to their own next projects.
Never thought about that but it makes sense. I always thought about it like being a contractor. You build the house but you need a team made up of plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc, etc to get it all done.

I want to learn more about this. I have extensive enough ideas and knowledge about this initial research, that it should be paid for rather than done for free. But I don't understand yet how to monetize "I'll poke around and make some suggestions."
I learned about it in a Perry Marshall consulting course. I don't work for every situation but many. What in particular do you want to learn? Maybe I could whip something up.
 

Late Bloomer

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Never thought about that but it makes sense. I always thought about it like being a contractor. You build the house but you need a team made up of plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc, etc to get it all done.
Yeah that analogy also works perfectly.

I learned about it in a Perry Marshall consulting course. I don't work for every situation but many. What in particular do you want to learn? Maybe I could whip something up.
Is this something you've already done? In general, how does it work? Do all new clients pay for "first date project" no matter what? I'm just trying to visualize what's involved.
 

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