Salesforce Freelance Podcast
6 part series on how to go freelance in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Considering the freelance work-life but don’t know where to start? This mini-series will show you how to run a Salesforce freelance business, digging into real world discussions of how to start and thrive as a Salesforce freelancer.
The 3 Work Models & Getting Your First Clients
This first episode features Lucy Mazalon – founder of The DRIP, editor of SalesforceBen, and a self-employed Pardot & Salesforce consultant.
Lucy and I talk about her experience as a freelancer and the different ways to generate business, and how to get clients.
- We kicked off our conversation by talking about why she decided to start freelancing
- The three common models for generating freelance business, and the Pro’s and Con’s of each (Contracting Through a Recruiter, Sub-contracting Through a Salesforce Consulting Partner, Get your Own Clients Directly),
- Even if you have a preferred model of generating business (for instance, if you prefer to work directly with clients), it can be valuable to use the other two models as well,
- How to build strong relationships with trusted recruiters and referral partners,
- The importance of following up with past clients,
- Using online marketplaces (like Upwork) to generate business,
- How to take small steps to move from full-time employee to freelancer,
- Why freelancing requires particular skills, like sales, self-direction and small business management,
- Ideas on how to specialize: by industry, by getting experience/certified in a unique combination of areas…
Salesforce Freelancing: Define Your Ideal Clients
This episode features Susan Baier – founder and chief strategist at Audience Audit, a consulting firm that uses audience research to help companies identify their ideal clients.
Susan has adapted her consulting process into an online course specifically for freelancers, to give them the ability to define their own ideal clients.
- We kicked off our conversation by talking about why defining your niche doesn’t just mean focusing by industry or by Salesforce product/cloud.
- It is important to clearly define your niche in terms of the specific types of problems that you solve for your clients. For instance, while a Salesforce consultant may be a specialist in Service Cloud, they may further define their niche as being an expert in helping users become comfortable using Service Cloud (user adoption). We discuss a number of examples of problem-based niches in this episode.
- How three Salesforce freelancers with the same resume/experience, industry knowledge, certifications and years of experience could have drastically different niches and ideal clients.
- Why defining your ideal client is not a one-time event – it is an iterative process that you work on continuously over time.
- Why your marketing efforts should signal to your ideal clients that you’re a perfect fit for their needs (and should also signal to non-ideal clients that you are not a great fit for their needs).
Salesforce Freelancing: Finding Your Niche - Practical Examples
This episode features David Liu and Ben McCarthy. David is a 7x Salesforce MVP and Salesforce Technical Architect at Google. He’s the founder of SFDC99.com, which helps point-and-click Salesforce admins learn Apex.
Ben is the founder of SalesforceBen, and has various roles over the years working for end users, ISV’s, before founding EMPAUA’s UK office (a consulting partner that works with hypergrowth firms across Europe to implement and optimise Salesforce).
- We kicked off our conversation by talking about goals – what David’s goals were when he started SFDC99.com and Ben’s when he started SalesforceBen.com, plus how goals and personal brand evolves over time.
- Why there are lots of niches still available in the Salesforce ecosystem, but you should define a niche that’s as small as possible – “once you think you’ve found your niche, cut it in half”
- Why David would probably use video rather than blog if he were starting SFDC99.com today.
- “If you start small and put in all the reps…you almost cannot fail” to build a successful brand, and the importance of persistence: setting a cadence and sticking to it consistently
- How to avoid analysis paralysis. You can’t figure out your niche in isolation, you need to get started and make mistakes along the way.
Salesforce Freelancing: Marketing Your Consulting Practice To Clients
This episode features Pamela Slim – author of the books Escape from Cubicle Nation and Body of Work, and an upcoming course called Tiny Marketing Actions that helps freelancers start small and gain traction with their marketing.
As part of this interview, Pam has offered her Consulting Foundations course materials for free. You can get a copy by emailing [email protected].
- We kicked off our conversation by talking about why an effective marketing plan starts with a clear definition of your niche and the types of problems you solve for your clients.
- Why executing your marketing consistently is about developing the right habits. Pam talks about the concept of “tiny marketing actions” and how freelancers can use this concept to develop strong habits and gain traction in their marketing efforts.
- Even though LinkedIn feels more buttoned up than other social media platforms, it is important to express a clear point of view there. It is not enough to just repeat ideas that have already been well established by others.
- Why it is important to thoughtfully embrace your values In your marketing and client work. Pam mentioned that working in an environment where there’s a values clash can be like “kryptonite to your superpowers” (that’s a quote from her fellow business coach Charlie Gilkey).
- She discusses the difference between implementation vs. advisory services, and how it is possible for clients to misunderstand which one you’re delivering.
- The importance of Identifying internal advocates within client organizations.
Salesforce Freelancing: Running Your Consulting Practice
- How Ankit began his freelancing career.
- The number of hours per week a freelancer should expect to spend on non-billable administrative and marketing activities (hint: it’s often more than people expect).
- How freelancers can use project retrospectives to identify areas for professional growth.
- The importance of being aligned with your clients on values and goals.
- Why Ankit prefers hourly billing to fixed cost billing.
- How to determine your hourly rate.
- How to build a professional development plan as a freelancer.
- The importance of setting boundaries with clients, and how to do it effectively.
Salesforce Freelancing: Scaling vs. Staying Solo
- We kicked off our conversation by talking about why running a services business at scale is so different than running a solo freelance business.
- The importance of process management, organizational structure and managing people when running a services business
- Tom talks about how he spends his time: 30% is billable, the rest of his time is spent managing his team and doing sales/marketing. As his firm continues to grow he expects his time working directly with clients will continue to decrease.
- The importance of enabling team members to specialize by industry and product as the firm grows.
- Both Tom and Brian believe that all consultants on their teams should be able to manage their own work from end to end. They expect their consultants to be client facing, manage project schedules, perform client strategy and implementation. They don’t take the approach of having consultants specialize by function (e.g. dedicated project manager, dedicated strategist, dedicated developer, etc). Tom believes this approach is better for the client and is a key to the growth of his firm.
- How Tom evolved from freelancer to having a team.
- The importance of leading with your core competency and then listening to clients on where to evolve.
- The difference between a firm that identifies as marketers and a firm that identifies as technologists.