Kind words from readers, listeners, students, and colleagues.
Care to add yours to the list? Awesome! Drop me a line here: email@example.com
Jonathan is worse than my old rugby coach. Comfort zone? What comfort zone?!
– Kevin Whelan
I’ve been following Jonathan's emails and podcasts for a long time but it’s great to have a lot of the info collected in one place with The Freelancer’s Roadmap.
– Brian Ward
Loving The Freelancer’s Roadmap! The one thing that I see as very helpful to me is the succinct presentation of the roadmap, which goes through “productized-ville” first. I like that idea as a starting point, before moving ultimately into value-based proposals. It’s an easier transition for me.
– Brent Giesler
The info in Value Pricing Bootcamp is so good!
I spoke to a potential client on the phone yesterday, that by using these methods, I was able to already establish their budget for the project could be around $100k, way more than I would've thought to quote initially. This was just the very first conversation and I still need to qualify them and the project in other ways, but hey, that was a great start!
So thank you again - looking forward to finishing the course and the next steps.
– Rocio Villalobos, VidroMedia
I just finished reading The Freelancer’s Roadmap this morning and of course, I loved it.
Your clear/direct writing style is pitch perfect for my needs.
Keep up the good work, Jonathan :)
– Clint Walkingstick
GOD I LOVE THIS.
What a fabulous email.
– Tom Kerwin
I've been reading your material for quite a while now, but The Freelancer’s Roadmap really shifted my thinking. In case you're interested, I can get a little more specific with how you've helped:
- me: career's been everything from emergency aid worker to policy wonk to futures trader (what I currently do).
- my issue: I've been joining small startups in roles that quickly become generalist. First 3 months, I can point to great results - sales, new revenue streams, repositioned products....but 6 months later, I'm burned out, underpaid, and not really that useful.
You've helped me with that issue in two ways:
A) Better positioning...specifically around the idea of strategy vs commodity. When I picked up TFR, I was focused on raising my copywriting rates....but soon realized even at $500/article, I wasn't really going to hit my income goals AND I didn't have any real creative control over what I was writing.
I'm not "there" yet, but I've been working hard to really hammer out a true value I can offer that's more strategy-based. Since my initial reply to you, I went from booking copywriting jobs from $250-$600 to much more specialized roles. These include onboarding startups to Hubspot and Shopify, writing interview-based case studies for a couple clients I thought were way out of my league, and delivering marketing + growth strategies in either written form or as online workshops with the decision making teams...
B) ...which leads to pricing. I got aggressive both in my outreach and in my pricing. I'm rebuilding my client list much more quickly than I can keep up with, and the result is crazy. If I just land half of the deals I'm negotiating, I'll have made more money in the last month than I did in all of 2018.
Again, emphasis on the "I'm not 'there' yet" bit....but making real progress.
So, when I said your book shifted my thinking - yes, it did. And that's translated into better actions and better business (higher paying, better clients, more interesting work, etc).
Thanks for helping open my eyes. I really mean that. Thank you.
All the best,
I've thoroughly been enjoying Jonathan’s Ditching Hourly podcast. It's changed my life, even though I haven't fully integrated those practices into my daily routine; that's a longer story. 😉
– Robert Hall, Co-founder of DataSynq
I've generally been skeptical of fixed vs. hourly pricing debates. It seemed like both options required a conversation with the client if and when things started to go over budget. It just seemed like a semantic difference.
It didn't click until I read The Freelancer’s Roadmap. Jonathan described value pricing as an option during the proposal process, where you charge a premium for taking on the risk of a bad estimate.
This can also start to solve an additional problem in my business which is we are just starting and currently eating a lot of over-estimate time ourselves.
Definitely adding a value-based fixed price to my next large proposal!
– Trevor Carr, Default Value
The Freelancer's Road Map is the first book I have read cover to cover without falling asleep... just realised! Thank you for that, well worth the money and is now a 'bible' I am bouncing back to for ideas when work is quiet, thanks for that too.
– Jenny Howes, Jenny Howes Design
Dude you’re a genius! Thanks for this! This is a severity 1 priority 1 problem that’s really made me reconsider building websites for a living. I always knew it wasn’t the clients fault, but couldn’t find the words together to challenge their small budgets, now I have weapons!
– Virgil Shelton
Jonathan, you are good!!
I read every email you send. I love your style and how you use analogies to get readers to understand what you're teaching.
Thank you for your consistency and wisdom.
– Terri Podlenski, Founder at Smart Creative Labs
Holy sh*t, nuggets like this are why I love your daily mails.
– Jeff Jenkinson
Your emailed pearls of wisdom are quickly adding up to a serious jewelery collection, thank you most graciously for your insight and inspiration.
All the best
– Jacques Naude
Charge MORE for the stuff I find easy and enjoy. I LOVE this idea!!!
I’m going to spend some time with this, because it makes complete sense to me. Now just to figure out where to find those clients who’ll pay for that. 😉
I love to get an email that makes me stop and think. Thanks for consistently writing to us each day. It’s much appreciated!
— Dina Pruitt, Chief Strategist at Glowfly Marketing
This is solid gold! I have been struggling with how to deal with this myself. Thank you so much for sharing this.
– Tommy Carouso
After hearing about Jonathan on Wes Bos’ Syntax podcast, it was honestly a life-changing moment to read what he was teaching. As a self-employed developer, it aligned with my goals for my business growth, and the offering I wanted to provide clients.
I read Jonathan’s books, listened to his podcasts, and then engaged Jonathan to help me with a client proposal. He helped me lock down on a proposal that resulted in my client signing off a proposal for double their communicated budget.
This put me in a position for the project discovery, where once I would be concerned about scope creep, I instead knew that I had enough of a budget to provide outstanding value to my client, do everything they wanted, and give 150% to the project, with a large ROI for the client. Win-Win for the client and me. This is how working with clients should be.
– Alex Murton
Jonathan, The Introduction Game exercise has been SO INCREDIBLY VALUABLE! And has secured your newsletter as the best one I’ve ever read! Thank you!
– Katie Milton
Jonathan Stark’s campaign against hourly billing made sense to me when I first heard it, but I had no idea how to put it into practice. Also, Jonathan seemed to be talking to such big companies, I was wondering if my situation would be really something to trouble him with.
As soon as I asked my first question, my concerns were dissolved. Jonathan’s a master at active listening, no matter how messy you think the problem is, and he comes up with creative but practical solutions to help solopreneurs to punch above their weight.
– Anthony English
Jim Thomure from St Louis here... just a quick note to you... I’m really enjoying your books "Hourly Billing is Nuts" and the supplemental texts.
Looking to put these ideas into action with my upcoming projects, the way you lay out your ideas make it super simple to follow and implement. I can tell right away you’ll be someone I need to pay attention to in order to help grow my software development practice.
— Jim Thomure, TimeSaver Software
OK. Mind officially blown.
You’ve left me speechless with how much you’re helping me.
I’ll start assimilating all of this and work on the mindset shift.
You’re the “Freelancer’s Adam Levine”.
Thank you, Jonathan.
– Brent Giesler
Thank you, Jonathan!
Your emails are so valuable, I just realized that I’ve been marking every single one of them with a star. I’ve never done that to anyone else’s newsletter.
All the best, Chris
— Chris Howard
Jonathan’s book increased my revenue by 1000%! I’m actually winning projects at 10x the hourly rate I used to make. In the past quarter, I banked six months salary. Honestly, the feeling of knowing you have 6mo in the bank is freedom beyond anything I have ever experienced.
— Marcus Blankenship
Jonathan, I landed a $25k monthly contract on account of the advice in your book. Thank you a thousand times over!!
— Sam Selikoff
I used Jonathan’s retainer template to land a support and mentoring contract. The client got peace of mind and the assistance they needed, and I got an effective hourly rate of close to $1,000!
— Ben Clinkinbeard
Jonathan - I used your proposal as a template for a job I pitched yesterday. They LOVED it. Not only did they love it, they picked option 3 (the highest priced option) and want to put me on retainer after the final project payment. And as you suggested, I asked for 50%/50% with a set final payment date and they agreed - it’s freaking brilliant! Because of your instruction this month, I had the balls to ask, and the client didn’t bat an eye. I never thought about fixed date before but will never do it another way. Thanks!
— Lisa Ellington
WIN! just got back a signed proposal for a retainer client using Jonathan’s exact template and won the deal! Client went through my ISO roadmap first and was happy to move forward with the planned proposal. The extra awesome thing is she wants to move up to option 2 of the proposal in 3 months!
— Isha Bell
Amazing talk today, Jonathan! In one fell swoop you have solved a few of my biggest frustrations (niggly scope creep, competing on price, etc.)
— Meredith Eisenberg
Jonathan, I watched the Altitude of Involvement recording last week and now I have your worksheet etched in my mind. It will change how I run my business. Thank you!
The Altitude of Involvement webcast was sooo eye opening! I realized that I have what it takes to be a consultant because when I do implementation work I always get “opinion” questions from my clients.
And the crazy thing is that that’s how it’s been for years, so I couldve BEEN a consultant years ago lol. I also realized that I was trying to charge consulting fees for implementation work. I was convinced that clients didn’t value my consultation without implementation work added in.
This worksheet and webinar is GOLD! Thanks Jonathan!!
— Isha Bell
Jonathan should have a warning label on his head. His advice will shake your world.
— David Trejo
I would never be where I am now–in this short amount of time–without Jonathan’s assistance. So, the return on investment from that perspective is priceless.
— Katherine P
If I could, I would round up every consultant I’ve ever met and pull them into Jonathan’s presentation on Value Pricing and make them watch it with their eyes forced open “Clockwork Orange” style.
– Matt Inglot, Freelance Transformation
I can’t believe how much I got done in the time that we started the coaching sessions. I needed to have someone who could listen to all my ideas, give me unexpected and invaluable feedback, and keep me accountable and on task. I wouldn’t have my new business plan on track without his guidance and resources.
— Geneve Hoffman
Jonathan, I just read your article on asking for 100% payment up-front. It’s not too often you come across something life-changing. Muchas.
– Aaron Wrixon, Content Strategist
Hey Jonathan! Your newsletter is one of the best, if not the best, that I’ve seen. I think you’ll be able to easily compile these lessons into a mini-ebook and sell it. Keep up the good work!
– Greg Navis
Being on Jonathan’s daily emails is the next best thing to having him with you when you’re with the client. Answers just come to your lips, and suddenly you’re no longer a hands-on techie; you’re respected as a consultant.
– Anthony English
Jonathan, Your email list is amazing. I’m on other lists, and some of them have an occasional useful email stuck between sales pitches glued to a billion different unrelated stories. I look forward to each of your emails, and I’ve referred back to them more than once already.
– John Tseng
I love, love, love your e-mails. It’s like a daily shot of B12 for my business. Keep ’em coming.
– Peter Doern
Just noticed something I felt I had to share with you, and it gives me an excuse to thank you for your extremely valuable emails.
I am absolutely obsessed with maintaining Inbox Zero; my email inbox is reserved for messages that require immediate action or content I need to re-read and commit to memory. I’ve attached a screenshot which basically shows that every email you’ve sent over the last week has been stuck in my inbox because I keep re-reading them.
Can’t describe how much I appreciate your content. Thanks!
– Eric Grubaugh
I read all your posts in one sitting, and the proposal. Pure genius.
Thanks for the insights.
– Timothy Solomon
Your daily emails are pure gold for a commoditized .Net contractor like me.
...riveted, waiting for the next one.
BTW, the conversation last week on the FS podcast with the guy that owned an agency, was mind-blowing. I’m that guy, only as a solo dev, not an agency owner.
– Brent Giesler
Your email series is pure gold. Particularly I’ve been stumbling upon the "coming too early with the why" problem you mention here and once I refrained myself from doing it, things made a dramatic change.
If I had to limit myself to just one advice for the new comers it would be this: let them talk first!
Thanks. This is really helpful.
– Mauro Chojrin
Hi Jonathan! I am going to print this email out, laminate it... and read it every morning before I start work :)
– Anna Sabramowicz
Man you don’t stop - these emails are so stinking good. Keep it up and thank you!!
– Sam Selikoff
Re: How to determine the client’s perceived value... This is so smart and right and true -- I want to cry!!! Thanks J-man!
Jonathan gave me a blueprint of exactly how to lay out a proposal, step by step, follow the numbers. Having this blueprint means now when I create a proposal I just have to follow the plan, check the boxes and I’m done. (Ok it takes a little more effort but that’s how easy Jonathan has made it now).
– Casey Stevens, KissAutomation
Jonathan, you finally convinced me to drop the hourly rate. I’m done. I’ve now sent out two quotes without hourly rates. Just wanted to say thank you.
– Greg Colker, founder & owner of In Media Res
Hi Jonathan, Thanks for your retainer example. I recently emailed you about it and did land an agreement. It’s not a purely retainer based format like you mentioned in a previous email, but more of a “I do x work for you per month, you pay me Y.” Baby steps, but I’m totally loving not working hourly and so does the customer. Even in the two short weeks it’s already proving to be an improvement over any kind of hourly work.
– Barry van Someren, founder & owner of CoffeeSprout ICT Services
@jonathanstark Just used your proposal template for the 1st time. Landed our larget client ever. So thankful for your talk at #dyfconf
– Julie Cabezas
Jonathan is a wonderful mentor. He goes out of his way to help you and will ask and and say the things that – though you might not always want to hear them – are crucial to being successful.
– Don Levan, Vanguard CS
I wish I could turn back the clock and I would have hired Jonathan when I first started my business - it would have saved me years of struggling. I always thought I could do everything on my own - but I hit a wall and realized I needed help to get to next level of my own game.
– Geneve Hoffman, 16 Hoops
Damnit, I wish I had the Stark mojo two months ago!
– Chris Ferdinandi, Go Make Things
Jonathan coached me on refining my business’s positioning to better address my dream clients. End result? I’m making more money, working with better clients, and much happier. His insight and business advice is incredibly valuable.
– Kai Davis, author of The Traffic Manual
Hey Jonathan -
Just today I closed a new client, the first one where I borrowed a few pages from your playbook to get the initial engagement. I pitched a short ‘Tech Assessment’ for $3K, due %100 up-front. I actually used your proposal template, including the de-risking guarantee.
They read the proposal and just responded asking how they can wire the funds, as sending a check will take too long. ZERO pushback :) Granted, its a small initial project, BUT these guys are a canonical example of my target ideal client, so I’m very pleased.
Thanks for your continued inspiration and excellent guidance! Keep on, brother!!
– Terry Bissonnette
These tips are just facepalm moments when I think "why didn’t I think of these!
Thanks for all of the value you provide! Especially around value pricing! I’ll never bill by the hour again!
— Steve Palacios, Team Rampage Software
I had a potential client haggling with me about a quote. I took Jonathan’s advice and within 48 hours the client had agreed to my original price and was ready to get started immediately.
– Philip Morgan, author of The Positioning Manual
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jonathan in a mastermind group over the last three months and his advice has consistently helped me to grow my consulting business into a top rated boutique agency.
– Kurt Elster, MBA and co-founder of Ethercycle
Looking for more? Check out these long-form testimonials from past mentoring program students:
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