Turn Free Work Into Paying Clients

Jul 11, 2013
I’ve recently asked my private email list: What’s The One Thing You Have Trouble With?

I got some really great responses. And I’m going to share with you what one reader had problems with.
I’ll edit out specific names, locations, etc.. because I don’t want to be a bozo put subscribers on the spot.

Today we’ll cover:
How To Turn Your Free Work Into Paid Work (just a few simple steps) and also….
How To Get Clients That Pay For Value And Trust Your Service

So What’s the MAIN problem you face earning a living as audio engineer?

Enter: Tim Baker

“I’ve been engineering and mixing for quite some time. Of course I was offering free services in the beginning until I recently had the confidence in my sound and quality from experience and getting my schooling in Arizona for Audio Engineering in multiple areas.

So I am in a transition stage to get paying clients and they still want it for free. I’m building a portfolio of music as I go of recent work. And I’m trying to use social networking to reach out to artist other than just local artist.

And another thing I find an issue with is the area I’m in isn’t so supportive of other artist in the area to better themselves and think they can do it all and are closed minded so it’s hard to get people to accept my services.

Any advice on what direction I could take would be great. And secondly turnaround time I feel is a big thing as well for mixes. How would you keep a consistent turnaround time with clientele changing on you?

And to answer the last question Yes I would be willing to invest in myself with a premium course if I feel like I’ll gain more from it than looking it up online. But yes I would invest.” -Tim

My response:

Hey Tim!

Thanks for your response.

It seems like you may be asking the wrong types of clients for your service if they expect it free.
I’d suggest to position yourself and your service as something premium that will attract only the serious artists that will gladly pay premium rates for value.

One quick fix I’d suggest that I did was to charge more. If your rate is $25/hour, bump it up to $50/hour.

Using human psychology, your higher rate will cause your prospect to perceive you as a top notch pro that’s able to command higher prices, and in turn, provide higher quality work.

The perceived value is “If I pay Jimmy $50/hr, I will get the best work done!” Versus, “Bob down the street only charges $20, I wonder what the quality is like?”

Think of Apple charging triple the amount for computers vs. windows based PC’s. PC’s have the same tech/specs if not better than Apple, but Apple has the perception of being top quality. “I’ll pay more for Apple because it’s better” But in fact, it’s the same technology.

Charge higher, position yourself as the best, attract better customers, that pay MORE.

Another interesting case you’ll find in charging higher rates is you’ll quickly filter out the serious artist from the fakes. You’ll have better clients, more money, and have more fun! These higher paying clients also complain less and you’ll have lesser challenges working with them. They are also usually smarter and will trust you to do your job.

Where as the lesser paying client will demand the WORLD, MOON, and STARS from you and complain a lot. I know this from personal experience and also from interviewing top performing engineers.

You might think, “if I charge more, I’ll lose out on more customers”. It’s okay to think this though.
You may miss out on a few low paying clients that will use you and never return, but you’ll gain a higher paying client that’ll will stick around and keep hiring you as long as you did a good first job.

And keeping these higher paying clients coming back will make up for the lost business of problematic cheapo flaky artists. The higher client is loyal and doesn’t want to have to find another engineer.

But when you charge a higher rate, be sure your prospect client knows EVERYTHING included in the price.

You DO have to justify why they are paying this price. I’ll teach more of this in the premium course I’m getting ready to launch.

Ask yourself, “Why am I this price?” “What value can I provide?” “Am I faster, do my mixes sound better, do I give the client more stuff than others?”

Most of the time, just understanding what problems the client has and being able to help them fix this problem will put you at the top of the ranks.

Remember, you’re solving the Artist problem of sounding radio ready and getting their music sounding so good it will impress their friends and make them stand out from the crowd.

They want to focus on the music while an engineer/producer works behind the scenes to ensure their vision comes out of the speakers properly.

When you pitch your service say things like this: “Artist, I can help you make your music sound amazing so you can promote it, sell it, and reach your fans. All you have to do is focus on the music, while I worry about all the tech/audio/wizardy”

Talking like this will make clients think of you as “Jimmy can really help solve my problems.”

One of the secrets to staying booked as an engineer is this subtle psychology that goes into making people comfortable with you enough to not only hire you, but pay you a lot of money.

It’s all about them not you. Talk endlessly about them and their music. Talk about their goals, dreams, and music. Get a good understanding of what they really NEED and then pitch them your service and explain HOW it fills their need. “My service will help you get famous by sounding professional.”

Hope this helps. I know It’s lot to digest. But digest it and you will get paying clients. I guarantee.

Oh and as far as mixing turnarounds. I have this problem a lot with new starting new sessions everyday and getting backed up with having to complete mixing on old sessions.

The trick to fix this is to don’t sleep and work everyday, lol. If you have this problem then it’s a good thing. Your booked solid!

Also, try using templates to speed up your workflow. I use a Pro Tools template for recording that’s also set up for mixing and mastering. All my tracks are routed to buses with all the plugins I need. So when I start a new session everything runs smooth, fast, and easy. I also do editing and rough mixes as I’m recording.

By the time everything is tracked, I’m about 60 percent done editing and mixing. This takes lots of practice and I’ve learned this from billboard chart topping engineers when I used to assist with them.

Do free work to develop relationships, build a demo reel and increase your credibility to shop for new paying clients. I talked about this in my [="https://gumroad.com/l/JLJm"]ebook[/].

If you’re doing free work now for friends or whoever, that’s okay, you can use your finished work as your demo reel to share with the new clients that will ask for samples of your work. You can put the samples up on a website or soundcloud and prospect clients can hear that you know what you are doing.

Key Take Aways:

  1. Increase your rate to seek better clients (value perception, remember Apple computers)
  2. Understand your customers. What do they really want? What pain do they have that you can fix? Ask them.
  3. It’s all about them (the customer). Most of them don’t care what gear you use. I’ve only been asked that a couple of times. Work relentlessly hard to uncover what your customer’s needs are and ALWAYS talk about them. Build rapport first, before you ask for the sale. Read books on persuasion and sales (it’ll help you become a better engineer) My favorite is [="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049U4INC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0049U4INC&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwbackpackmu-20"]Enchantment[/]. It’s every popular book on relationships and business boiled down into one easy read.
  4. Do free work to build up a portfolio of at least 3 finished projects that you can use in your marketing arsenal for reaching out to new paying clients.

Now go out and get to work!


What’s worked for you? Have any success stories with these tactics? Please share with us in the comments.

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