Welcome to the Talk Local Podcast: a weekly chat with business owners in Victoria, Vancouver, and throughout British Columbia to learn what they’re doing to create stronger connections with local customers.
This week’s episode is sponsored by Time2getonline.com and hosted by Alan Ford.
We chat with Derek of Derek Ford Studios about his exponential growth, having grown from being a local photographer to an international success.
The Origins of Derek Ford Studios
“I originally started out as a freelancer,” Derek says. “When I left my first business, it became the opportunity for me to do something I was really passionate about… which was photography!
“Coming from a business background, I knew that grassroots marketing would be the cheapest and easiest route. As my business grew, I moved from in-person networking events to building my social media and web presence; it was amazing, because at the start we spent $200 – $300 on paper ads but had no way of knowing who our demographic was… but social media has given us the opportunity to really dial in on who it is we’re connecting with.”
The Feast and Famine Freelance Cycle (and How to Break It)
The feast and famine cycle is well-known within the freelancing world; however, Derek advises that there are ways around it. “The best bit of advice that I’ve received from a mentor about the feast and famine cycle is to have a sales funnel,” says Derek. “The top of the funnel is that initial line of contact, and then within that funnel are those who have already asked for a quote, or images, or are intending to purchase at a later date… and at the bottom of funnel are those who are already engaging with my businesses and have purchased services. To keep your sales continuous, it helps to visualize that funnel and not just focus on the creative side of things.”
To stay focused on the business end of things, Derek also recommends:
- Under-promise and over-deliver when it comes to client deliverables
- Treat your client base well
- Make sure your services are keeping you profitable
- Value yourself and your time
Especially for those who don’t have a background in business, Derek advises you to go to networking events (either in-person or online) to both stay social and ensure you benefit from other freelancers’ tips and tricks.
The “Secret Sauce” to Staying Successful as a Freelancer
To stay successful as a freelancer, regardless of what industry you’re in, Derek recommends staying focused on yourself vs. being concerned about competitors’ pricing, services, or offers. “Be creative, stay curious, always look to learn, and speak with your own voice,” he says.
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