If you visited Money Nomad in 2015, then you’ve noticed that the site looks a lot better than it used to.

Instead of a generic WordPress template, I have an awesome, custom designed website unlike any other online! And I love it.

However, I wasn’t planning on redesigning this website. And even if I was going to make a change, it would have probably just been purchasing a more expensive them. Why? Because the idea of hiring a designer sounded scary (and expensive).

But then, during the last half of 2015, a designer made me an offer I couldn’t refuse…

The email that sold me on a new website

One day I woke up to the following email…


 

We Need Each Other

Hey Rob,

I’m not sure if you are aware but your @fiverrdaily.com email addresses are down at the moment, but that’s not the real reason I am contacting you.

My name is Jason Matthew and I am a Web Designer, I love web design and especially helping other people with the technical side of their online business. I recently came across your blog at http://fiverrdaily.com/ as I am looking to promote my Fiverr gig http://fiverr.com/jason4130.

Now, I noticed your blog is still using the default twenty-fourteen theme. I would love to spruce it up a little for you with a customized genesis theme from http://studiopress.com. In exchange for this I would love it if you could help teach me to better promote my services to others. On Fiverr and as a Freelance Web Designer. As this is something I can see you have done a great job of with your own websites.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Jason Matthew.

JasonMDesign.com


 

Obviously, anyone is going to be excited to receive something for free – as Venngage recently discussed on the SumoMe blog. Having Jason offer to do a redesign was a very appealing offer.

Because I haven’t done much with FiverrDaily for a while, I asked if he’d help me develop a content agency website instead – and he happily assisted me with the design of CornerstoneContent.org. Another website that I’m proud of.

As Jason was finishing up Cornerstone Content, I listened to an episode of the EOFire podcast where John Lee Dumas aired a tribute interview with Scott Dinsmore. From the podcast I came across LiveYourLegend.net, Scott’s fantastic blog with incredibly inspiring content.

After reading his article on how a professional redesign helped his website take off, I decided it was time to revamp Money Nomad.

So, as Jason was finishing up our agency website, I requested a bid to redesign MoneyNomad.com – and you’re looking at the result…

It was a hefty purchase on my part, but well worth it! My traffic and email subscribers have shot up since deciding to get more professional and consistent with my brand image.

So thanks Jason! It was well worth it.

How to make sales and grow your business – 5 lessons from Jason

But rather than dwelling on my website design, I wanted to share a few incredible lessons that anyone involved in selling can learn from how Jason handled his marketing.

Whether you’re a freelancer, creative agency, or entrepreneur, the ability to sell is critical to your success. And, considering you have hundreds (if not thousands) of competitors, it’s not easy to set yourself apart. But it’s critical.

So whether you’re sending emails, submitting proposals on Upwork, or making cold calls, consider these 5 tips to increase your sales, develop your brand, and grow your business.

1. Offer something for free

When you’re trying to make money, working for free may sound counter-intuitive. But it works! Jason can vouch for that; as can SumoMe, MailChimp, and Venngage.

Especially when your portfolio is limited, offering to do a few projects for free (or a reduced rate) is an excellent way to gain experience and build relationships. Although I don’t offer free trials anymore, I landed my first few clients on Upwork by offering a risk-free trial blog post.

In the book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely shares a few studies that reveal the power of free. Give people advice, an ebook, or a trial project for free and you’ll start landing paying jobs much faster.

2. Appeal to someone’s ego – creating a win-win

Okay, so if you take a look at Jason’s email, he made me feel pretty good! He was impressed with my ability to sell and shared that with me.

Particularly when working with entrepreneurs, bloggers, and consultants, remember that they love their business. They are striving to establish themselves as industry leaders. Recognizing their success (or attempts at success) will certainly win their favor.

Of course, you should never be a kiss-up, but praising someone for their accomplishments and efforts can help lead to sales – both from the individual, and from their network.

3. Provide exceptional quality

Jason impressed me – twice. The speed, quality, and detail that went into both of these design projects was incredible.

By treating your clients and customers professionally, and giving them something that’s worth their money, they will inevitably come back again and again.

Whether it’s a small $5 job, or a $5,000 job, make sure that it’s done in a manner that leaves a good memory in the minds of your customer.

4. Build up your portfolio

One of the easiest ways to get jobs is to have past work to show potential clients. Offering to do work for free is a great way to build up this portfolio; as is doing projects for your personal ventures.

I’ve seen too many people who complain about not being able to find any projects – but they have nothing to show other than a paper written 5 years ago or a poster they designed for a yard sale. Create a great portfolio and present it professionally, and clients will start hiring you in no time.

5. Grow your network

If you land 10% of the clients you contact, then the fastest way to get more clients is to grow your network. You can do this two ways:

  1. Contact more people directly.
  2. Place yourself where other people will take notice.

First, Jason contacted me directly. I would now consider us professional friends – and I am sincerely interested in his continued success as a designer. By contacting me directly, it led to a sale.

Because of this, I told Jason that he could include his name at the bottom of both of these sites as my designer. This gives him access to my audience – potentially sending new clients his way.

Which brings me to step two – be where people congregate. Freelance websites like Upwork and Freelancer are a great place to start. Additionally, visit forums, job boards, and Facebook groups where potential clients may spend their time.

I’ve discovered that the best way to grow my freelance sales, and blog visitors, is to increase my network. The more I get involved in both online and offline networking, the better my business ventures do.

It works with “regular jobs” too

If you love the idea of working in a particular role for a specific company, then start working. More and more stories are appearing of people who “volunteered” themselves into their dream job.

For example, Francine wanted to work for Dropbox, so she created a project to catch their attention. What could you do to illustrate that you have the skill set and drive needed to excel in your dream job?

Closing thoughts…

First off, if you need a designer, contact Jason M. The guy is great! 🙂

Next, what are your thoughts on these ideas? What have you done to grow your business? Share in the comments section below.