Are you being yourself? How can embracing yourself (or your business) create opportunity—or simply feel better? Featuring Alex Medick’s experience growing his digital marketing business nearly 50% as a solopreneur.
The theme this week is simple: Be yourself.
Can you think of ways that embracing yourself (or your business) might help you? Whether it’s closing a deal, hiring someone, or just navigating a tough situation with a little more grace.
This episode features the first guest submission from friend of the show Alex Medick. Alex is a freelance full stack digital marketer—or at least, that’s how he describes himself these days. Learn about that evolution and how his business is up nearly 50% as a result.
Alex and I connected on Twitter through a conversation about Basecamp. Learn more about Basecamp by visiting: https://basecamp.com/
If you feel alone managing your business’ sales pipeline… Welcome! Consider this your invitation to join Harris Kenny for a regular sales Pipeline Meeting. We will discuss finding new business and pricing. Things like getting ghosted. Winning proposals, new technology, and a lot more. Brought to you by Intro CRM.
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If you feel alone managing your business’ sales pipeline. Welcome. Consider this your invitation to join me, Harris Kenny, for a regular sales pipeline meeting, we’ll discuss finding new business and pricing, cashflow, things like getting ghosted, winning proposals, new technology, and a lot more brought to you by intro CRM.
Harris Kenny: (00:41)
The theme for this week’s pipeline meeting is: Who are you? I’m going to give an example of a deal where I was myself, where I really let who I am and what I’m dealing with out and how that affected the deal. And most of the episode, so stick around for this is going to be a recording from my friend, Alex Medick. Now, Alex and I actually connected at the beginning of this year through Twitter. Something with Jason fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Basecamp, something on there… And we’ve been in touch. I admire his work a lot. He’s got a newsletter and he sent out, really a thoughtful post, to his list about how he repositioned his business completely. He’s a freelance digital marketer, or at least that’s how I would describe him now. That’s not how I would have described him before. I’m going to let him tell that story in his own words, but it really inspired me. It was really on my mind this week. So thanks to Alex for sending that in—stick around for that.
A Deal I’m Working On
Harris Kenny: (01:43)
First, here’s an application of this idea of being yourself. (I) had a personal family medical situation over the past week that I’ve been dealing with. And it really prevented me from doing deep work on a proposal for a new client. They’ve built a great business. They’ve grown and the founder is still leading their sales; the founder is ready to take a step back from that and focus more on the product. Focus more on the engineering. This is very common. So we’re talking about how I could potentially help with that transition process or bringing on sales staff to handle that workload. And I just didn’t have the bandwidth to think about it because of the medical situation that we’ve been dealing with in my family. So I just leveled with the founder and I said, “Look, I have not had time to finish this proposal because this is what I’ve been dealing with. [And I gave him a little bit of information.] I hope you understand. I’m going to get this to you tomorrow. I appreciate your patience.”
Harris Kenny: (02:46)
They replied back with an incredibly thoughtful response.
Harris Kenny: (02:50)
“Hey, you know, we’ve actually dealt with something similar in our family and here’s how we dealt with it. I hope this helps. No worries. All good. I was actually taking some time off myself. So no problem.” It was great. It was incredibly relieving and it also signals to me, Hey, this is the kind of person I think I would like working with as a client. It took the pressure off. I didn’t have to come up with some, you know, roundabout reason for why I couldn’t get it to them in time or come up with some excuse. And they totally understood.
So think about deals that are in your pipeline. Think about marketing that you’re doing right now. Are you pretending you’re something you’re not, are you stretching a little bit? What if you went the other way with it? How might that change your business? So have a listen to what Alex is working on and really how he’s transformed his business. It’s up nearly 50% and it sounds like he’s having a lot more fun. So I’m gonna let Alex take it from here and then we’ll go to Outro. Thanks for listening. And I will catch you next week.
Meet Alex Medick
Alex Medick: (03:54)
Hey, my name is Alex Medick and I am a freelance full-stack marketer and website designer from Las Vegas, Nevada. But I wasn’t always a freelancer. Actually, about three-four years ago when I first started getting into this freelance solopreneur world, I was a digital marketing agency owner. My agency was called the new standard and I presented myself as founder Alex Medick, Founder/CEO of The New Standard. I did that for about a year and business was good. I mean, I was making six figures—on average—with my client base, people were hiring me as an agency. I had a trusted team of people that I outsourced to for copywriting, some graphic design work, social media ads, things of that nature. And, I considered them my team members on my agency. But actually, everything kind of felt disingenuous for me. I felt weird saying I was the CEO/Founder of a company that didn’t really exist. It just didn’t feel authentic and therefore made me feel not my best.
Why It Wasn’t Working
Alex Medick: (04:56)
I actually knew there was a problem with it when I started going out, and I felt uncomfortable saying, “Hey, my agency is the new standard and I’m the CEO.”
Alex Medick: (05:07)
I felt uncomfortable and it didn’t feel real to me. And I’m all about being a real individual and being your best self. And I didn’t want to hide it anymore and I didn’t really know what to do. And that was about… That was about until earlier… I guess early 2020, late 2019. I was talking my friend, Dan. Dan’s been a freelancer for a long time. You’ve definitely seen all of his work. He’s a great guy. But he and I were talking about how I didn’t want to be a digital agency owner and I didn’t know what to do because I loved working for myself, loved doing what I was doing, but it just didn’t feel—it didn’t feel right to say.
Alex Medick: (05:42)
And he said, “Well, Alex, what’s your end goal?” And I said, “Well, what do you mean? He said, “Well, do you want to own an actual physical location? And have employees? And grow to be a real agency? Because if that’s the case, go ahead and do it. Fake it til’ you make it. Bullsh*t your way through all this and make sure you say you’re the agency owner, because one day you will be an agency owner. But if you don’t want that, then it’s time for a different discussion. And I said, “Well, now that you say it, I don’t really want that. Not at this time of my life. I like the fact that can be a digital nomad. I can crack open my laptop and work from anywhere in the world that I want to. And clients don’t know that I work asynchronously, and I get out great results.”
Alex Medick: (06:25)
And he said, “Well, then why don’t you just be a freelancer and stop beating around the bush about it? Because you don’t want to be an agency owner. Be a freelancer. And I thought about that for a while… Is there a weird connotation of being the freelancer versus a consultant versus an agency owner? How would that impact my business? Well, one day, you know what, I’ll be honest, I was a little drunk and I said, let’s take the leap. So I went on my social media pages and I changed everything to say freelance full-stack marketer or website designer. And then I made a personal website, AlexMedick.com. And I rewrote all the copy in my own language, to offer my services—that I was always offering at the new standard, the same services—but I used it in my language, not in a corporate professional language for who I was trying to target before with an agency.
Trying Something Different
Alex Medick: (07:19)
And I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The next thing I knew, I start getting all these new leads coming in. People started writing me more often, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter. People started writing me, asking for work, how can I help? How can I do this? Am I available for work? And I was kind of blown away by the reaction. Full transparency here: In 2020, I’m actually up 45% on my business year over year. And I’m actually on track to make, up to $220k this year, depending on if these projects that I have booked still continue/stay. I’m actually booked right now through the remainder of 2020, which is fantastic. But that’s not to show off or anything. That’s to show that that was weird, how that mindset shift changed. And people started coming to me.
Alex Medick: (08:08)
And when I asked clients about why they were coming to me, and they said, “Well Alex, we didn’t want to hire an agency. We don’t want to spend a buttload of money to work with an agency. That’s just there to have another client under their belt. We want to hire someone that could be a valuable member of our team. And also, when we’re on your website, we read what you were writing and it was funny. And you were real and authentic and it felt like someone we could actually work with and have weekly meetings with and collaborate with. And that would equal someone we want to work with in the long-term.” And I really took that to heart as what do—how do I want to present myself and how do I present myself from now on? On social media before when I was an agency owner, I actually kind of cleaned it up a little bit and tried to post professional things.
Alex Medick: (08:53)
But really, the second I said, I was a freelancer, it felt more real. I started being me. I started giving off my personality saying things I wanted to say, not being afraid of who are pissed off. But knowing that the people that liked what I had to say would come to me because they know what my personality is. And the people that didn’t like what I had to say, or the people that didn’t like my personality, it kind of weeded them out of the door from the beginning. That helped with a lot of stress and a lot of qualifying new clients as well. So if I have anything to say to solopreneurs/solo digital marketers, out there: “Cut the bullsh*t.” I know that every guru on YouTube—and I’ve fallen for this—has also said, “Be a digital marketing agency owner. It’s okay to say, you’re an agency owner.”
Lessons For You
Alex Medick: (09:41)
You can say you’re a digital marketing consultant. You’re a freelance digital marketer. Do that. People sometimes—especially in 2020 and beyond—people don’t really want to work with agencies. They want to work with freelancers, small individuals where they feel like they’re getting a bargain by hiring one person instead of an entire agency. But they also feel like they’re hiring a team member to collaborate and communicate effectively with. So if I have any advice, stop saying you’re a digital marketing agency owner. Start saying you’re a consultant or a freelancer. I prefer freelancer, because it also says, “I don’t just do the strategy. I do the work as well.” But consultant works just as well. It felt more real. It allowed me to be more honest with myself and hopefully if you make that leap, it’ll let you be a little more honest with yourself as well. And that helps the cause.
Alex Medick: (10:30)
So all you solopreneurs out there, I wish you the best of luck. And if you need any advice, you can always hit me up on Twitter @alexjmedic. And shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll answer any questions you may have. Thanks for having me on this podcast, Harris and team, and I hope everyone has a great day!
Thanks for listening to Pipeline Meeting. The theme music is by Neighborhood Vandal and is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution—or CC BY—license. To learn more, read the show notes, and continue the conversation, visit IntroCRM.com.