Foundations of a successful (freelance) business

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Note: even if I take the perspective of freelancing, these foundations apply to any business

When people start thinking about building a freelancing business, they feel overwhelmed and lost.

There are so many things to learn, so many factors at play. How can you learn and master all of these before making any money?

You don’t.

Honestly, every entrepreneur (that’s you, get used to it) has to wing it at least partly and learn in the process. 

Once you know the rules, you are almost good to go. You don’t need to know everything before taking action. 

On the contrary, taking action is what will help you to learn the job. 

Will you fail? 


That’s when you’ll learn the most.

Don’t be afraid. You will only make progress as far as you don’t give up.

Be in the mindset of experimenting and playing. It’s a game.

What are the rules then?

As I learned from my mentor, Paul Scrivens from PocketBusiness, there is one formula to make money:

Money-Making Formula

Audience (clients) x offer (services) = money

I like to call it the Money-Making Formula or MMF.

It is a simple formula even if you hate maths, but let me explain it further.

To make money, you need an offer (products or services). Something that will help improve the life of your future clients in some aspects: save time, feel better, or make money for example.

Then, you need to present this offer to people (your audience) wanting hard enough the results your offer provides to pay for it.

In our case, the offer will be executing a service based on a skill you already have or will learn. 

It can be as simple as recording a voice-over for a video or as complex as establishing the whole content marketing strategy for a big company. 

Of course, people won’t pay you the same amount of money for those two examples. We’ll talk about that later.

Let’s take a quick example to show you how the formula works.

Imagine you offer a service for $29. For example, you like to draw, and you propose to design a logo for that price.

If you get your offer in front of 1000 people (you’ll do it), and 1% decide to order, you will get:

10 clients x $29 (logo design price) = $290

That’s a start.

Now, if you “convert” (marketing jargon meaning you convince people to pay you) not 1% but 5% of the people who see your offer, the number change like that:

50 clients x $29 = $1450

That’s good money!

Do you see how it plays?

We’ll see more examples in this book and how you can apply the formula to drive your business.

I love maths that makes you more money! Don’t you?

The second rule (or rather framework) you need to know is the 4-step business framework (that I also learned at PocketBusiness) that every business needs to follow to make money:

  1. Be Seen.
  2. Grab their Attention.
  3. Build Trust.
  4. Earn money

I call it the S.A.T.E. framework. 

Because once you apply it, it will sate (i.e. satisfy) both your clients and yourself.

I hear you thinking: “But Frank, it is not that easy. Building and running a business is complicated!”

True, there can be many elements in building a business. 

But the complexity comes from the multitude of tactics you can employ to achieve each step.

The strategy, ie. the S.A.T.E. framework is simple and always the same.

Let’s go into more detail for each step of the framework:

1. Be Seen

People need to know that you exist (and your offer) in the first place. You need to be visible. If you stay hidden, you won’t be noticed by your potential clients, and you won’t make money. 

This can mean a lot of things, from being on social media to using a good quality personal picture on your freelancing profile.

You may not be comfortable with that, but it is important and helps a lot.

You can get away without showing your face, but it is recommended. 

People buy from people.

2. Grab their Attention

Once people have noticed you, you need to captivate them, to grab their attention in a few seconds.

You can do this using different tactics. The principle is to find what would make people stop on your profile or your content and want to know more about you.

It can be the picture you use, your words, or the title of your gig on a freelancing platform. 

3. Build Trust

Now they are looking at what you offer and who you are. The question in their head is: can I trust this person enough to give them money? 

If you show proof of your skills and testimonials from previous clients (even friends for who you did some work for free), they will be reassured and more likely to order your services.

You will often hear people talking about portfolios. This is a big thing, and there is a chapter on it later.

4. Earn money

This is the easy part. 

If you are on a platform like Fiverr, it is straightforward. There is a big button ORDER that they can’t miss. 

If you are doing your own things, there are tools to help you get payments, and produce an invoice. 

I am using one, Fiverr Workplace that I recommend. You can use it even if you don’t sell your services on Fiverr. Nice and very easy to use. My clients appreciate it.

But you can also use a simple PayPal account or bank transfer depending on the case. It is less professional though and may put off certain clients.

Note: some links on this page may be affiliate links meaning that I may earn a commission if you buy using them (at no extra cost for you). Please feel free not to use them if you don’t agree with this principle.

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