It’s easy for me to teach how to get clients based on my experience in living in a fairly large city like Columbus Ohio where businesses are everywhere and networking groups are plentiful…but what about rural locations? When clients are not right next door?

I’m so excited to bring on Mat Casner of to share how he built his freelance web design business utilizing referrals and his personal network along with his tactics to get clients rurally.

He also sheds light on perhaps the best way to sum up a successful “one person” web design show with his quote “Think like a creative… Act like a CEO.”

In this chat, we cover everything from:

Utilizing personal/professional networks for referrals
Getting clients remotely before Zoom was standard
Embracing a small town service feel for better client experience
Intentionally getting referrals
How to be profitable and sustainable as a one man show
Staying creative while becoming a CEO

A sincere thanks to Mat for sharing what he’s learned in his journey and holding nothing back!

In this episode:

00:00 – Introduction
02:00 – Greeting to Mat
07:43 – Utilizing the network
10:17 – The secret “sauce”
15:48 – Cultivate relationships
20:17 – Retention first
24:19 – Lessons learned
28:47 – Simple things work
33:17 – AI opportunity
38:54 – The new mainstreet
43:19 – A rural niche
49:22 – Passing the knowledge
55:21 – Advice for starting

6-Figure Freelance Design Business Blueprint

Connect with Mat:

Additional links mentioned:

Episode #247 Full Transcription

[00:00:00] Josh: Hey friends, great to have you here in this episode. My guest in this one is Mat Casner, who is a web design freelancer and solo printer who not only built his business by word of mouth and referrals organically, but also did it in a rural area.

[00:00:18] Josh: So Matt is based in Kansas, and if you know anything about Kansas, there’s not that many big segments of population. I remember that from the band days when we did a few shows in Kansas. That’s a whole lot of fields for the most part. However, Matt was still able to build a successful web design business largely through his professional and personal network and did it in an area where there’s not a whole lot of clients right around him.

[00:00:44] Josh: In this episode, he shares exactly how to do that for those of you in that situation. So if you are in a place where your ideal clients are either just not right around you, or you are in a place where you have to travel a long way to get to big groups of people, this episode I think is really gonna be the one for you.

[00:01:00] Josh: It’s different than what I have here. In my neck of the woods being in Columbus, Ohio, because it’s such a booming city that there’s endless opportunities for businesses nearby and networking. So to be able to talk with somebody who built his business rurally was, Ooh, that’s a hard word for me to say.

[00:01:16] Josh: Rurally. Rurally, ugh, it’s getting bad. Anywho awesome to have Matt on. Matt is now the guy behind freelance, where he helps other freelancers become ceo, and he has one of the best taglines before I bring him. That I’ve ever heard, and that is think like a creative, act like a ceo. That line so sums up how to be a professional solopreneur.

[00:01:40] Josh: So I can’t wait for you to hear from Matt. I think his insight’s really gonna help you out no matter where you are in your business, but particularly those of you who are based rurally. There we go. Think like a creative, act like a CEO speaking to somebody who does that well, here’s Matt.

[00:01:59] Josh: Matt, welcome to the podcast. Matt. I’m so pumped to have you on and to spend a little more time with you here, dude. Hey,

[00:02:06] Mat: Josh. Thank you. I’m excited to be here. It’s been a while.

[00:02:09] Josh: You had me on your summit, uh, this past year. The, oh my gosh. Well, I’m so sorry. I’m name blanking on the name, the Purpose to Profit Summit.

[00:02:18] Josh: Is that right? Yep, that’s it. Yeah. Purpose to Profit Summit. Most summits have profit in them, so I’m getting them all jumbled now. Uh, so I wanted to make sure I, I know that right. But man, I really enjoyed getting to know you through that experience. And then you were recently on a good friend of mine, Shannon MAD’s podcast, and I did not know too much about your story.

[00:02:37] Josh: But from what I gather, you built your freelance web design business in a rural area. Uh, I don’t, I cannot say rural. That’s like a, that’s a hard one. But that idea man is like, I get that question so often. Like, how do I get clients if they’re not around me? I do have a hard time sometimes answering from my context, because I’m in Columbus, Ohio, big city. I had a lot of local clients. So if you’re down, man, I would, I can’t wait to dive in to, to hear what worked for you. Oh,

[00:03:05] Mat: no. Uh, open book. And

[00:03:07] Josh: where are you based out of?

[00:03:09] Mat: Yeah, so good question. So geographically, um, I am in a, a small rural town that, it’s called Mount City, Kansas. And uh, I’m straight south out of Kansas City about about an hour. So we’re right on the Missouri border, um, and south of Kansas City. So, yeah. Uh, the town I live in has 650 people.

[00:03:32] Josh: Wow. So yeah, I had one ex, no, I had a couple experiences going through Can Kansas, uh, Kansas, excuse me, in the band days and there’s not a whole lot there between a couple big cities.

[00:03:44] Josh: Uh, it was the first time that I discovered the insane like, Punch you in the face, smell of a lot of cows in one field like we were driving and it was like, oh my God, who did that? And then it was, and then when there was just this massive field of cows, it was like, holy crap. Yeah. Uh, literally. So yeah, there’s not a whole lot there.

[00:04:06] Josh: So I even more interesting context to, to build a business when, in that type of situation. So, I would love to back up to hear how you got started and how you started getting clients, but maybe just to give us some context, would you love to maybe fill us in on, you know, kind of what you do now? Because I know you’re super passionate about teaching what you’ve learned.

[00:04:25] Josh: Um,

[00:04:25] Mat: yeah, so, so I, uh, have spent the past 15 years as a, a freelance creative agency owner, and I’ve done brand web and graphic design for pretty much that entire stint and still continue to do it today. Uh, several years ago. Josh is kind of where I took an opportunity, uh, to start, uh, doing some speaking at Word camps and some other, uh, types of, um, you know, events like that.

[00:04:52] Mat: And I found myself, people asking me questions about freelancing and how, uh, how can I get started? How can I find clients? How should I price my services? And. I know you’ve heard these questions too. I, I really was like, I had a unique perspective because I’d built a business over the past 15 years and, and I, you know, I had some information to share and so that was kind of like the genesis of what my, what my coaching, uh, career started off like.

[00:05:18] Mat: And, uh, you know, fast forward a couple of years, I’m, I’m running. Uh, I run an academy now that, uh, is an eight week course for, uh, for creatives. And then I have a, a group coaching program where we kind of walk through the, the business building journey together. And, and that has become a really, really cool passion of mine over the last couple of years.

[00:05:38] Mat: Not only am I getting a chance to. You know, share some of this, some of these business lessons that I’ve learned over the past couple of decades. But just getting a meet and hang out with some really cool people who have dreams of their own, you know, people that are wanting to build a business, people that really want to use their skills and talents and experiences and passions to, to make an income, find some financial freedom and, and, and some freedom of time. Um, it’s just been really cool to be with

[00:06:02] Josh: those. Yeah, and you know Matt, your modest, your website is uh, freelance for everyone wanting to check that out. I’m sure we’ll bring this up again here towards the end of this conversation cause I love what you’re up to. But backing up to when you started doing freelance web design, You’re in a rural area, I’m sure things looked way different 15 years ago.

[00:06:22] Josh: I mean, I, I actually think this is less of an issue now because everyone’s doing Zoom calls. It’s not uncommon to, would you agree with that? Like, do you think it’s actually much more common now and easier to do things remotely, rurally?

[00:06:36] Mat: Yeah, a hundred percent. Uh, the pandemic, as bad as it was for our industry, it it, it brought Zoom into the everyday business tool toolbox and, and now meeting over Zoom is, is commonplace. I mean, I literally have my, my daily calendar set up with who I’m meeting with over Zoom and, and doesn’t really matter. Got a great internet connection here where I’m at, and so I can literally meet with anybody who, who wants to do business with me and, and we’ll talk about this later.

[00:07:07] Mat: I mean, I don’t mention that I’m from a ton of 650 people. People don’t ask. People don’t care. They just want what I have to offer, and, uh, they don’t care. How I, where I met when I give it to ’em. And

[00:07:18] Josh: did you find that was the case early on? Like take us back to, you know, 15 years ago or so, how did you start getting client? Like I, I think I heard you talk on Chan’s podcast, you started doing web design.

[00:07:29] Josh: It was very parallel to, to me and a lot of other people’s journeys where sounded like you just got asked to do web design. You start doing it, but then the big question becomes, well, how do I actually make this a business? And how I start getting clients, especially back then when there wasn’t any.

[00:07:43] Mat: Yeah, no, that’s a gr that’s a great question. I, I would say, Josh, that the secret sauce to making it go is, is, is having a good network. Um, I had spent probably the, the, the five or six years prior to moving to Mound City where I’m at right now. Uh, we lived in Kansas City and, um, I was a part of the, the, the, the agency culture in Kansas City.

[00:08:08] Mat: I was part of the corporate marketing culture in Kansas City, and I was doing a lot of entry level work. I was doing a lot of, uh, you know, I was really kind of honing my skillset, working for some different organizations, but I, I really build a network. Um, you know, people that I worked with, clients I served, um, you know, coworkers, bosses, and things like that.

[00:08:30] Mat: When we moved to Mound City, I, I was telecommuting a couple of days. With my job in Kansas City and telecommuting, it kind of kinda date me. It’s, it’s, you know, what remote working was 20 years ago. Okay. And it wasn’t in vogue. It was a little bit more of a, a fringe type of an arrangement. But I was, I was lucky to have a boss that was willing to, uh, let me work from home a couple of days a week.

[00:08:53] Mat: And that was, uh, me here in Mount City trying to figure it out. I mean, this is, this is back in the dial up modem. This is, I had to get a satellite on my roof of my house to pull in anything more than a, you know, a, a dial-up internet connection. So that was challenging. Um, but getting started, to be honest with you, Josh, uh, today would be a whole lot easier.

[00:09:18] Mat: Um, but back then, the reason why I was able to make a business go. Was because I had a really good network of contacts that I was able to leverage early on, uh, people that knew me, people that liked me, people that trusted me, and were willing to give me a shot. And, uh, because of that trust factor, because of that network that, that had, that trust factor is what allowed me to get started and, and to build a.

[00:09:46] Mat: And when

[00:09:47] Josh: did you, so, so you were working in agency, part of that culture made a lot of contacts and stuff, but often that still doesn’t translate necessarily to somebody building their own successful business or being able to go full-time with it. So like when you started doing web design. I, I guess the question, one question I’m curious about is like, what made you wanna branch out on your own if you’re doing remote work for an agency?

[00:10:10] Josh: I imagine there was some stability there. Like what was the desire and pool that got you out of that to go on your own? Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:17] Mat: That’s, that’s a great question. Well, uh, there are a few factors. Number one, um, we, we moved to a small town for, for a lifestyle change. For my, for my wife and family. We had our our two oldest kids were very young at the time. Um, and we knew we wanted to make that shift to the, to the rural community. That’s kind of where my wife and I kind of have our roots, uh, in a similar type of a community. So that’s what we wanted for our family.

[00:10:39] Mat: but the, the business side, um, was something that I had to really, it was kind of an opportunity that presented itself, but I had to really weigh the options. When you, when you step out on your own and become a full-time freelancer, I mean, you’re assuming a lot of responsibility. And for me, I was a sole income earner in our family. My wife was staying home with our two kids. So I felt that additional pressure, um, But I also had a really strong side hustle prior to launching full-time.

[00:11:11] Mat: So while I was working in agencies and while I was working in corporate, you know, America, I was building my client base on the side. And you know, back then you had to be really careful with non-competes. You couldn’t, you couldn’t, you know, take any clients away from any agency work that you were doing.

[00:11:28] Mat: But outside of that, You know, it was really, you know, whatever relationships you could build. And, and this is what I tell people that I work with Josh, is that when you start to get good at something, when you start to build a reputation and, and deliver excellence in a certain field or market, You know, pretty soon word’s gonna get around and, you know, I’m not saying you don’t have to show up and don’t have to promote yourself and get out there.

[00:11:54] Mat: And, and I’m kind of a, I’m a little bit introverted in that way and I really don’t like a lot of outward, uh, you know, exposure. But I am really good with relationships and for me it was, I was able to leverage some of the side hustle work that was going on. And, you know, once I decided to take the step into full-time freelance you know, in some ways it was freeing because the, the, the side work was my passion because that’s where I really felt like my opportunity was.

[00:12:21] Mat: And not gonna lie, when I was working in agencies and I’m sitting in my cubicle working 60 hours a week knowing how much I’m getting paid, versus I know how much is getting billed out to the client, and I’m like, Oh, there’s a lot of dollars in between. Um, there’s, there’s some opportunity here, I think, if I’m really careful with this.

[00:12:38] Mat: Yeah. That’s where, that’s where I was able to, uh, finally, you know, take the step outta the boat and, and, and make it go. And, you know, it was a, It was a process. I’m not gonna say that I was a rockstar business owner right out the gate. I mean, to be honest with you, there was a few years of learning under my belt that I had to, that I had to get.

[00:12:57] Mat: Cuz you know, I don’t have a business degree, I don’t have an M B A I. I was just a guy who could, you know, who was a good designer. And I could, I could solve some business problems. I just had to, had to figure out how to make it work for myself.

[00:13:09] Josh: None of those people are in online entrepreneurship anyway. They’re working for somebody, you know? I mean, honestly, like 99.9% of somebody who goes to college is gonna work for somebody. Yeah. So that’s great. I love that you have that backstory. And I also love that you said that you did. Do like the outbound extroverted, like, look at me. Look at me. I mean, obviously it was very different back then too with video and no social media.

[00:13:32] Josh: So the I, I guess the emphasis was probably ideal for you because you had to embrace your current network that you had built up both personally and professionally. Um, communication. I, I, I imagine I, I’ve heard you talk about how important communication is for you and just showing up and just all the, like, Midwestern traits that, um, a lot of successful, like literally, I, I just see a lot of successful Midwest web designers who just, we show up on time, we try to do a really good job, and we care about our work, and that’s it.

[00:13:59] Josh: There’s the secrets to success. So I am curious though. How did you practically start getting clients rurally, though? Did you, like, did you tell your network that you were doing this? Uh, did you go to businesses when you were trav? Like how did, how did you literally start getting your first clients as a freelancer?

[00:14:18] Mat: that’s a, that’s a great question. Well, I mean, to be honest with you, there’s a little bit of, uh, uh, a little bit of hustle in there. Um, with smaller communities. I mean, there are opportunities, uh, there are local chambers of commerce where you’ve got, uh, uh, a collection of local businesses. And, you know, in rural America, especially in Kansas, I mean there are a lot of small little towns.

[00:14:41] Mat: and they’re typically networked, not too far apart from one another. And, and, and honestly, I’m only, I’m less than an hour drive from Kansas City, so I mean, I can get in my car and in, in 30, 40 minutes I can really be, you know, in another city I can be having lunch or having a coffee with a with a business owner.

[00:14:59] Mat: Um, and so really at that point, once I, once I kind of had myself established the way that I was able to find work locally. It was really just plugging in the communities, plugging into those chambers and really starting to build a new network among these, these local business owners.

[00:15:16] Josh: So build a new network so you’re So, yeah. And similarly, like I, I guess in all, all states for the most part, um, there’s like little towns that are not too far from each other that extend out from a big city. Did you. , I guess, was your approach to hit those little towns first before dive because you could have easily just drove in an hour to Kansas City.

[00:15:36] Josh: But it sounds like you took a, a small town approach too. Was that intentional, like going to the small towns, joining commerces, networking, meeting people like that versus just going right to the big city kind of thing? Yeah,

[00:15:48] Mat: no, I mean the nice thing about having a lot of my contacts in the city was I already really I had a really good pipeline kind of established when I started in terms of network and, and I was getting already, uh, a number of referrals from some of my network in Kansas City and, and I was able to leverage that and some of my, and some of my work history as I was building new. Context within, uh, some of the local networks and chambers that I was becoming a part of.

[00:16:15] Mat: Now, I will say this, I, I didn’t litter my calendar with chamber appearances. Um, there were a couple of key contacts that I developed in a couple of local communities, and once I kind of got a hook. Into some of those networks, then that became a little bit more of just a, a cultivation over time. Um, you know, meet a business owner, help them, you know, solve a business problem.

[00:16:38] Mat: And then, you know, at that point that would lead to, to maybe one or two other, uh, opportunities to, to, to talk and, and present. And, you know, here’s one of the cool things about a small town, Josh, is word travels fast. And, and it’s good and bad. Uh, you know, if you’ve got a bad reputation, I mean, don’t worry if you’re in a small town, everybody’s gotta know by the end of the day.

[00:17:00] Mat: Uh, good news is if you take care of somebody and you help them with a business problem and. And I, I’m a little bit of a, a, a unicorn where I’m here in this little small town in southeast Kansas and there’s not too many other people that do what I do. And so it becomes a, one of those things where it just become you, you become known, uh, in the area, and that just become, I mean, you get a lot of phone calls.

[00:17:27] Mat: For, for things that I get phone calls for, things that I don’t do, but that’s just because people have heard my name around and, and uh, you know, I just have to tell ’em I don’t work on computers and I don’t take viruses

[00:17:36] Josh: off. So , right? I’m not your IT person to help out your aunt. That’s not what I do. Uh, I do love that approach, man. I mean, I think like visualizing on a map when you think about networking in a city, particularly if it’s in person. A lot of people’s approach is to go right to the big city and right to the big meetings and a big changer Chamber of Commerce, for example. But there is, I think a quicker r o roi, like maybe you’ll meet more people, but just like any sort of marketing, if you can find niches and places with smaller groups of people, word does travel fast and it’ll make a bigger impact a lot more quick.

[00:18:13] Josh: Like case in point, as I’m trying to visualize this, when I joined my networking, There were chapters all around Columbus and I and I, similarly, I did have a little bit of hustle in the early days to get out to more chapters just to get my name out and be the web design guy that makes connections with people.

[00:18:30] Josh: And I had more success with the towns outside of Columbus rather than the ones that were right downtown. And then I thought, I, I remember, I don’t know how I met this person, but she was some sort of marketing person with the Columbus, Ohio, um, chamber of Commerce, which is like a big. And I thought big was like a couple hundred people or a few hundred people.

[00:18:50] Josh: I went there and there was like 2000 people and I was like, whoa, I, everyone’s in suits and ties and I am in my jeans and a black shirt. I feel weird and I feel like a little kid and everyone, like, these are like real adults that have like cologne on and stuff. I’m like, I, I don’t, I, I can’t, I should not be here.

[00:19:08] Josh: But it was a perfect example of, of this, this story in this framework. You can go to the big city and drive there, but make the connections with the, the, the rural, smaller communica communities, cuz that does travel fast. And I would imagine, correct me if I’m wrong, Matt, did you have to do that for long or did you just make a handful of connections to just do a really. Damn good job and let the referrals come in. That sounds like it went that way. I, no, no, that’s, that’s a

[00:19:34] Mat: great question, Josh. I, I mean, I, I think there are a lot of people that feel like to sus to sustain yourself as a freelancer. You’ve just got to be out hustling and, and cold-calling like crazy. I, my philosophy is this, and, and you kind of mentioned it, find a customer, serve ’em well, be a trusted resource for them and, and they’ll be your customer and referral source for a long, long time.

[00:19:58] Mat: I probably, one of the things that I can say that, that I’ve been able to do really well is retain clients. I mean, of course I have the jobs where, you know, they, you know, they hire me for a project or whatever and then, and then we part ways or whatever. But I’ve been really, really blessed to be able to develop relationships where, you know, I’ve got clients that have been in my business for well over 15. and, you know, some of them are monthly clients in terms of, you know, on, on, you know, retainers sort of a thing.

[00:20:26] Mat: And so, you know, again, it’s one of those things where I feel like as a, as a freelancer, we have a great opportunity to really be an adjunct part of a company that we’re living. You know, most of the companies in, in, in rural southeast Kansas don’t have marketing departments. They don’t have IT departments. They don’t have that sort of staff. But to know that they have a guy kind of on a leash that’s really accessible, that has a, a really, really unique skillset that they can leverage.

[00:20:56] Mat: I mean, to be honest with you, Josh, it’s kind of a sweet gig because you know a lot of these people who would never, ever think of hiring somebody full-time on their staff. You know, I’m kind of the shared, I’m kind of the shared it or the shared web guy. Among the community, so, yeah. Um, it’s worked out really well.

[00:21:15] Josh: I love that it your approach of like retention first. I mean, really what I, what I’m gathering is that you had a customer retention approach from the get-go, which most people, including myself, Come to that mindset later, it’s like, oh, why didn’t I do this for my first 50 clients that could be paying me monthly and I could be, you know, I haven’t talked to ’em in like 10 years.

[00:21:36] Josh: Of course they’re gonna forget about me. So did that, was that just natural for you or do you feel like maybe you, you, did you see like churn and burn in the, uh, the agency world that made you wanna not be. The shady agency that just burns clients. I’m curious like where that came from. You. Um, well I

[00:21:54] Mat: actually saw a couple of those I saw a couple of those relationships happen in front of me and, and you know, when you kind of are able to live vicariously through someone else and you get to see the pain of, of, of a relationship gone bad between an agency and a client and you just kind of think a mental note. It’s like, I don’t want that to be me.

[00:22:12] Mat: You know, one of the things that I learned early on, and one of the companies that I worked for was a, they were a, a web hosting, web development shop. And, you know, I was looking at our, I was looking at some numbers. I was really close with one of our supervisors and, and looking at our, our web hosting revenue numbers.

[00:22:27] Mat: We were hosting, you know, websites for companies, you know, on a monthly, uh, a monthly fee with, you know, maintenance on top of that. And I learned that lesson pretty quick when I started doing website, you know, design on my own. You know, I started looking for a web hosting company that I could resell. and I was like, okay, if I can get into this and I can provide a monthly service to a customer, I can keep ’em long term and I can, I can start to, to to build recurring revenue.

[00:22:56] Mat: And that is, that’s scalable. That’s one of the things that I ans a question I had to answer for myself pretty early on is how can I, how can I scale what I’m doing? Multiplying who I am.

[00:23:07] Josh: And by multiplying the hours you were. Yeah, exactly right.

[00:23:10] Mat: Yeah, exactly right. So that was one answer that I learned pretty early and then from that point I was just like, I would look for other opportunities to, to create those type of relationships ongoing with a client if it made sense.

[00:23:23] Josh: I love that. What have you seen, if you’re comfortable sharing, like what were some of the things that you saw go down in the agency world? Just made you feel like, I don’t want to do that, or I don’t want to be that person. Like I’m happy to share. I remember I, one of my clients, one of my best clients, we turned to this local company for digital marketing services.

[00:23:43] Josh: Cause I didn’t do digital marketing and it was straight up, they treated him like a number on a spreadsheet. Like they had a sales guy who I knew, but then I thought he was gonna be a little more involved throughout the process and nope, he was gone immediately to the project manager and, and then it just went off and it did not go well.

[00:24:01] Josh: Like there was, there was like zero yield and the marketing services not due to the website that I built, I promise you that, but they just basically, it was just like, well, you know, we just need to invest more to make it work. And they really did not. It didn’t seem like they gave a crap, quite honestly. Uh, so I don’t know if you’ve experienced something like that or,

[00:24:19] Mat: um, my, my experience when something like this, and the one that I’m thinking of that comes to mind right now is, is, and, and, and I, I have to be very honest with you that, you know, I’m a, I’m a design guy. I’m, I’m not a copywriter. And, and I, and I’ve never, I’ve never played one on TV or claimed to be one.

[00:24:37] Mat: But the, the one, the one project that I had that, that I can tell you was, was just a horrible experience was the company that I was working for was not concerned about messaging. They were, at the time in the day, it was like, you know, everybody wanted to put out this, everybody’s website needed to be beautiful and everybody, you know, thought that if, if, if you have a beautiful website, you’re gonna get convers.

[00:25:04] Mat: and what I watched some of my senior leadership in this, this, this company was they were not listening to the customer and, and really taking to heart what the business goals of the, of the customer were. They, they kind of, they kind of put their, their muffs on their ears and just kind of decide to do whatever they wanted to do and hey, if we make it look beautiful, the client’s gonna love.

[00:25:28] Mat: Well, I mean, you can probably guess what happened. It was not, we, we rolled it out and it was a flop. I mean, there was Gotcha. The, the client was, was so upset and they had good right to be because literally, uh, as an agency we totally ignored, uh, the, the, the business goals. And so, uh, I, I took that to heart.

[00:25:49] Mat: I’m like, as much as I love design, as much as I love to make something be. Very conscious that the, the messaging to the client has to be baked in. It has, it has to be a high priority and, um, that, anyway, just a

[00:26:05] Josh: hard lesson. I was just thinking, I do think that’s the biggest trend I’ve seen over the last few years in web design is content copywriting first.

[00:26:12] Josh: Messaging first design. We’ll follow function, uh, as, as far as like the, the goals of the customer and the website. All those things are so, so critical. It’s one of the biggest regrets I have. I, I similarly was just concerned about a nice looking site, and then I didn’t, you know, the words were like something I plopped in there at the very end, and then I found that I was doing it all wrong.

[00:26:33] Josh: I was doing it completely wrong. Uh, speaking of messaging though, how did you. Do your messaging and how did you come across when you started getting freelance clients? Because I’m curious, I, I can’t imagine you were a desperate feeling, but did you, like, did you tell all your contacts, Hey, I’m doing web design now, or based off of what I’ve learned and seen in the agency world, I’m able to put that in the practice with everything I know.

[00:26:57] Josh: Like how did you come across in your messaging. Whether in person or on your website?

[00:27:01] Mat: Yeah, so I had a, I had a small email list of, of clients and, and, and I, and I really wasn’t into email marketing at all. Um, but it was a, it was a convenient way to be able to communicate with my clients. And so, uh, there would always be a couple of emails that would go out a year where I would kind of based just like a state of the union, sort of a update on where I’m at in my business.

[00:27:22] Mat: And, and it was really kind of a, it wasn’t really well thought. Um, but I think it was enough communication to keep me front of mind, at least for a little while in some of these businesses, um, minds and, and, and to be honest with you, Josh, I think I even kind of sucked at it in my own website for a long, long time.

[00:27:40] Mat: I mean, I was one of these guys that was kind of relying on the streak of my portfolio to sell myself and I, and I think for a lot of designers, I think that’s kind of where they end up starting. And I was, I started. And I think over time I learned to tell the story behind the project and to me that to, you know, and, and I’ll be honest with you, uh, a lot of things I’ve learned about messaging I’ve had to learn from other people where it’s podcast books, you know, webinars, just trying to educate myself.

[00:28:11] Mat: I feel like as creatives as. It’s probably one of the biggest things we can do to give ourselves a lift is, is to invest a little bit and, and, and make sure that at least as designers we’re thinking about messaging and making a shot. I think if we take a stab at it, it’s gonna have a way better result than not thinking

[00:28:29] Josh: about it at all. Great point. And I have to ask about these emails, like what? What type of emails did you send? Were they helpful? Were they educational? Were they just like, I had a burrito for breakfast? Like what, what were the emails that you sent? You know what

[00:28:42] Mat: I, so, so I didn’t know what I didn’t know, Josh, and literally I would just sit down and I would say, oh, okay. I haven’t, I haven’t communicated to my customers in a little while. I guess I better write a letter, and so I would just kind of, you know, write, I would start writing and just kind of talk about what I’d been doing the past six.

[00:28:58] Mat: And, uh, you know, I’d, I’d have a conversa, I’d talk, I’d mentioned a couple of projects that I just completed, which I didn’t realize that at the time, but, you know, it was, it worked really well. It worked, worked. That’s it worked. And it wasn’t, it wasn’t flashy. It wasn’t like some big multimedia email production. It was a. It was, it was a text document that I BCC’d all my, all my clients in the email line and blasted

[00:29:21] Josh: it out. I literally have chills right now because we just, I’ve in, in my membership, we just did a monthly training with, uh, the CEO of my agency, Eric, and it was about email marketing and what we’re doing within Transit studios, my agency and.

[00:29:36] Josh: I mean, he has a, a pretty robust like system for emails. He’s a couple years into it, so it’s like an advanced level of email marketing. But I had a lot of questions about what, what I would do if I were just getting started, and I literally said, what you just did, I said I would probably do like an email every couple months or maybe once a quarter and just share some recent projects and some wins and results we got.

[00:29:57] Josh: It wouldn’t be anything fancier, flashy. It would just be here’s, here’s some projects, here’s what went really well. Here’s what we’re doing, here’s how we could help. We’d love to help you. Moving forward and that was it. So I’m, I’m so, I got chills because like what you did worked and, and that’s the best way to start.

[00:30:13] Josh: So I would encourage, okay, challenge time, everyone come back. If you’re multitasking, come back. If you’re driving, pull off to the side of the road and start and email right now and send it out to your clients and just do it like every three months. That just shares. You know, some, some wins and some successes because I guarantee everyone could boost their, their projects right now and get a boost with, with sales, even if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, by just being front of mind in, in top of mind.

[00:30:44] Josh: And yes, you’ll get some unsubscribes. Don’t take it personally. I don’t know what that looked like for you, but that’s such a genius way to go, man. And it just strengthens the relationship. So I, I love hearing that. Like I don’t feel like you’re giving yourself enough credit, Matt, for the quote unquote simple things you did, because it’s the simple things that.

[00:31:00] Mat: well, you know, and today I, now that I think about it, Josh, I mean, with the way, I mean, we really are, I mean, today email marketing is such a science and, you know, everybody’s, you know, concerned about open rates and click through rates and, and that sort of thing. You know, opening up a, an email and just typing an email as such a pattern interrupt.

[00:31:19] Mat: In the inbox and you know, if somebody, you know, that one of my clients it, it’s not unlike, you know, a client to reply to one of those emails and just say, Hey, thanks for sharing this with me. It’s cool to hear what’s been going on. Good to get an update. And I’m like, well that was cool. You know.

[00:31:38] Josh: Yeah. And well, and to that point, like, I think it’s actually now, I think because email marketing has become such a, like, Scientific data-driven measurement thing. I actually have seen and and personally feel that there is a big resurgence in just authenticity and stories.

[00:31:56] Josh: So to your point earlier, like you, you, instead of just having a portfolio, you learn to share the story of that client, that project. I can’t encourage that enough. I’ve, I’ve shared publicly here, um, I’m almost wrapped up with putting together a handful of success stories for my students because I’ve done a good job at getting quick testimonials and snippet.

[00:32:15] Josh: And I’ve done a lot of podcast interviews with students, which are essentially case studies, but I haven’t really intentionally got like stories and really pushed those out. So my encouragement is for everyone to like pick a few good clients and get their story, talk about where they were before they met you and your services and where they are now.

[00:32:35] Josh: Some results you got and if you can put some heart and some story into it that will cut through all. Scientific noise with email. Like the only emails I read, I like, I have a few that I’ve signed up for from colleagues and stuff who are doing like quote unquote newsletters, but they are just like real honest thoughts.

[00:32:53] Josh: And so I’ve actually even considered doing maybe like a weekly, just like from the heart, here’s what I’m thinking about stuff, here’s where things are at. I. I don’t know. I, I, I don’t know if I have the bandwidth for it quite yet, but I, I am considering doing that. Just like maybe just sharing some of the resources I dished out this week and learned and here’s some challenge.

[00:33:11] Josh: I don’t know. That’s something I’m thinking about. Yeah. You know,

[00:33:14] Mat: it, it’s, it’s, it’s crazy where we’re at right now, Josh. I, you know, you probably have seen the chat. G t P now is like, Buzzing. Everybody’s talking about ai, everybody’s talking about, well, I can get an AI to, to write my blogs and write my email.

[00:33:29] Mat: And as I think about that and I think about the time saving and, and just, you know, what that could mean for us as, as business owners. AI cannot tell a story. AI cannot have nuance. AI cannot share a, share a lesson. And to me, I feel like I, in this world of AI and automation and save time, I think there’s an opportunity there. I think there’s an opportunity to cut through the crap and, and share something personal, which I think is gonna land even harder.

[00:34:02] Josh: I, my perspective, I totally agree, is that AI is not going to win because it can’t share experience. AI is like that college entrepreneur who has read a lot of books and has listened to a lot of podcasts and everything they say, and I’m not against that.

[00:34:17] Josh: Obviously you, we all borrow each other’s information, but there is a very big difference between two entrepreneurs who you can tell, one has actually built a business and done some stuff and has come into his or her own and learned a lot of lessons that you wouldn’t learn in a book or on a podcast.

[00:34:34] Josh: And then there’s. Again, that college entrepreneur who’s like, okay, I’ve heard all this before. You’re just regurgitating everything you learn, but you haven’t actually done anything. That’s my perspective. I don’t know if, if you, you’re in a similar mindset, but I totally agree. I do not think AI is going to be overtaking, and in fact, I, I agree. I think there’s a even more opportunity for authenticity and spelling mistakes and things that keep us. Yeah.

[00:34:58] Mat: Yeah, I agree. I’ve looked at stuff that AIS has cranked out and it looks great, but it looks collegiate, it looks like. Yes, yes. Something that someone put together for a paper, it’s like.

[00:35:09] Josh: Too good.

[00:35:10] Josh: Yeah. I had, so recently I had, uh, uh, Katie Sandell, a guest on my podcast who, uh, was really great entrepreneur based in Texas and she, uh, she had me on her podcast and for the fun of it, she told me, she was like, I’m just gonna try putting your stuff into chat. Uh, G P T and just see what the questions it kicks out.

[00:35:30] Josh: And they were good questions, but they were just, like you mentioned, they sounded like textbook questions. It was like, how would you start getting clients for your web design business? How would you price your services? How would you scale your business? Uh, it was just like, but there wasn’t any human. It wasn’t like, like, I don’t know if AI would ask, what did you see in the agency world?

[00:35:50] Josh: You know, personally made you want to do something else, like the question I asked earlier. So I agree, man. I am not worried about ai. I’m just not. In fact, I’m actually a, I’m kind of excited to embrace the challenge of being more human, being more real and being un robotic and intercollegiate and unacademic.

[00:36:10] Josh: It’s probably not even a word, which shows you I didn’t go to college. So, yeah, I, I’m super excited about your, your mindset. We’ll be the, we’ll be the mold breakers Yes. Anti AI agency with Matt and Josh. Uh, so I am curious, you, you started growing your business. How long did it take to go full-time income?

[00:36:29] Mat: so when I started, when I started freelancing, like I said, I, I was doing it as a side gig. In, in 2005 is where I, I mean, I, I mean, I, I, I gathered all my eggs, I put ’em in the basket, and, uh, I, I gave my, my two weeks to my, to my company and, um, And, and didn’t look back. And in the back of my mind I was like, well, this may be, this may be a short run.

[00:36:55] Mat: We’ll see how long this thing lasts. And, uh, it’s 2023 right now, and I’m still going. So that means something. But no, 2005 is when I, I totally stepped away. I had about four months of savings of, of income put away and I was like, okay, we’re gonna see if we can make this work. And uh, I had a, I had a couple of retainers that I was able to, to get a hold of before I started and that was kind of my, that was kind of my, uh, my security blanket.

[00:37:24] Mat: Yep. Uh, in terms of allowing me to have a little bit of, of faith that I can get this going cuz that was taking care of, uh, a pretty good chunk of my monthly. Uh, my monthly financial need. Um, so yes, uh, 2000, 2005. Um, we’re

[00:37:42] Josh: so just a few years. Am I, am I getting the timetable right? A few years doing a side hustle, building it up. Yeah. I

[00:37:48] Mat: started, I started the side hustle while I was in Kansas City. Um, I was, uh, you know, this is, this is really old. I mean, this is, this is back in the early, early days of the web. I, I built my first website using Netscape Navigator Gold. Um,

[00:38:03] Josh: so yeah, I got started during the Dream Weaver days, so yeah. You were before that and front page I think. Yeah. Front was that front page, Microsoft front page. Yeah. That was like never got into front page. That was a dream weaver guy. Well, you’re a pioneer man. I, I really, I feel like it’s a shame that, uh, well, now that you’re, you’re coaching and have a podcast and other things, the world is gonna hear about this story that, uh, more need to hear about because not only did you do it in a, in a way that is like organic and rural and stuff like that, but.

[00:38:36] Josh: You did it with technology being very, very different. Now, the caveat to that is that is much more saturated now. So, Ooh, that’s a good question. Uh, I think it’s a good question. What, what’s the difference now in a saturated market versus you? Back then when I’m sure there wasn’t that many freelance web designers.

[00:38:54] Mat: Well, here’s, that’s, that’s a great question. I just, I just did a workshop the other day about Upwork and you know, is, is Upwork still a place where you can get good jobs? And I mean, I, I say yes because yeah, there is more, there are more producers in the market like you and me, but I, I can tell you what Covid did.

[00:39:18] Mat: For my small little town when, when Covid happened, and this is, this is a, uh, an indication of what happened around the country. You know, when, when restaurants and stores had to close their doors because of mask mandates and, and because of Covid, it pushed all of these small little companies. To find ways they had to adapt and they had to adapt quickly.

[00:39:41] Mat: They had to learn how to get their menus online. They had to learn how to do the curbside and do the online ordering. And so, you know, there was a huge ground swell in awareness with even small businesses in like towns like Mount City, and it was all around the country. I mean, you know, as well as I do that Covid killed a lot of businesses because they could not adapt.

[00:40:05] Mat: Many of them did. Yeah. And it created I think, even more opportunity. Um, you know, there are, I mean, I’m, I’m tied into to a couple organizations here in the state and, and Main Street in America is Resurging. And you’ve got main streets across the country that are in small to medium sized towns that now have leadership funded by state organizations.

[00:40:31] Mat: To, to revive the markets that they’re in and, and with, with what happened during Covid. All these small businesses are now getting introduced to. To, to digital branding and marketing and e-commerce services that I don’t think they would’ve been on their radar 10 years ago. Yeah,

[00:40:50] Josh: definitely.

[00:40:50] Mat: It’s created, it’s the covid created by virtue of these companies being aware, brand new demand.

[00:40:58] Josh: I’m so glad you said that. I, I’ve been share, I’ve been preaching that message recently, like there is such a demand now, so the opportunity is greater than ever. Yes. The market is flooded with, you know, more demand opportunity means there’s a lot more fish in the sea. But I, I don’t know if you agree with this, but one thing I’ve seen, and there’s a couple quotes that articulate this, but it’s, it’s basically to the point that just because there’s a a, a lot of people doing what you’re doing, it doesn’t mean that there’s an abundance of quality.

[00:41:27] Josh: and if you can stand out and be really good and quite frankly everything we’ve talked about so far, Matt, if you show up on time, you communicate well and you really care. There it is. That is all you need to stand out from everybody else. Cuz I guarantee for every one designer who really cares and who communicates well and is learning and sharing what they’re learning, there are a hundred designers who are after a quick dollar who would burn that client in a heartbeat to get a quick payday.

[00:41:52] Josh: So be the 1% that’s the. That’s the message on this. I love that you mentioned that cuz there is, there’s such a demand now and I, and I do think a lot of companies are taking a hybrid approach to where they’re like, okay, we can open up our brick and mortar store, but we’re, we need to also have our online presence cuz hoop golly knows that that’s gonna happen Again, something similar.

[00:42:13] Mat: Well, and that’s, you know, here in, in a small town, Mount City, uh, there are a lot of businesses that have found their revenues going up because they found a market outside of the local area. You know, they’re, they’re, they’re catching, they’re catching the bug. I mean, when you’ve got, you’ve got crafters on Etsy and you’ve got people that are doing stuff on there where your market is global, uh, you know, the buyers are worldwide.

[00:42:38] Mat: I mean, it, it, it may take some of these smaller, these small town businesses a little bit longer to get the picture. , but I mean these, I mean, the business owners that I know around me, they’re hardworking. They, they, they sell a good product and they care about their customers, and now they’re, now they’ve got customers now that are all over the world, not just within 10 or 15 minute drive of small little town.

[00:43:03] Josh: Ah, that’s great man. And I’m, one thing I’m curious about too, did you, did you market yourself or get out as a generalist or did you go niche in any way? Like, what did your. What does your services look like? And yeah, who did you help once you really, I’ve always, I’ve

[00:43:19] Mat: always kind of, of, of positioned myself as a brand web and graphic designer. And I, and I’ve really loved being a part of all of those. I, I, I love just that creative side, so, so web design just becomes a, an extension of who I am as a, as a creative, um, But you know, because I am a freelancer, because of my limitations in terms of how much I can take on at a given point in time, I really have to look for a certain client and I have to look for a client number one, that’s that’s got a budget that wants to do something, but I’m not probably gonna go out and bid that $50,000 job.

[00:43:56] Mat: Um, because that’s probably gonna take more resources and probably take more coordination that I’m gonna wanna put forth as a business owner. So I had to really determine, you know, what’s my sweet spot product? And if I could stay in that five to 10 to $15,000 mark, um, that is something I could do and, and really good, good at.

[00:44:16] Mat: And I could, I could, I could make that a, I could build a business on that. And again, You know when, when people see what you do, again, in small towns and even big towns, people start to know what you’re, you’re all about. Yeah. They know what you’re good at. They know who Matt is, they know who Josh is. They know what Josh is really, really good at, and if you need blank, you need to go see Josh.

[00:44:39] Mat: I mean, that’s just once, once I kind of got that started in my business, it kind of took on a little bit of a life of its own. I mean, I’m not gonna lie to you right now. I mean, I, I probably say most of my business that comes to me now is through, through referral. If it’s not through my website, I

[00:44:55] Josh: was gonna say this much later. Yeah. You probably don’t even need to mark it. You have such a No, I, I do very, very little.

[00:45:00] Mat: I, I’m active a little bit on social media, um, but

[00:45:04] Josh: almost, almost not. And I do agree, I think this sweet spot is five to 15. I think that’s a, and the good news is a $5,000 job doesn’t have to be any different than a $10,000 job.

[00:45:15] Josh: You just price it more and you just share your value. Cuz there’s plenty of jobs I did for 5,000 and then I had a couple years later was doing ’em for 10 and I was like, damn, it should have done this three years ago. Uh, so that’s the good news. Like there are, you can do a brochure style conversion based, good messaged, well designed website.

[00:45:34] Josh: With solid SEO Foundation, all the things I teach in my courses for. Five to 15,000 and there you go. Now cuz you’re right, like the $50,000 projects, bigger is not always better. And then usually in my experience, when you have to do a an R F p a request for a proposal or one of these, it’s like you’re basically, uh, a part-time employee for like six months.

[00:45:56] Josh: And, and I would rather. Instead of getting one big 50,000, I’d rather do five really solid $10,000 and get them all on my maintenance plan and, and go that way. Um, so I love your smile tells me that’s exactly what you recommended as well. Oh yeah. Yeah. I love it. That’s great, man. And, uh, I would like to tr transition to, um, to what you’re doing now, because I know you’re, you’re, you’re running your business.

[00:46:20] Josh: Are, did you scale at all? Did you ever bring on employees or did you just figure out how do it as a solopreneur? No, I’ve been, I

[00:46:26] Mat: have been a solopreneur for, for, for, you know, um, my f my freelance career. Um, I. And have worked with, uh, you know, contractors on a, on a limited basis, depending on, uh, needs for a project or whatever. But, uh, as far as, you know, full-time staff or whatever, no, it’s

[00:46:44] Josh: just me. That’s great. I, so I’m actually literally putting together an upcoming po. It’s probably gonna be released by the time this comes out, depending, but I’m putting together this framework based off of the four stages of web designers that I’ve come to realize and see and that I progress through, and that is number one a freelancer doing work for, and I wanna see if you agree with this or if I’m missing anything. Freelancer works with businesses doing everything, him or herself often white label. So they’ll work with other agencies to build sites for them.

[00:47:14] Josh: Then there’s the sole opener who dedicates still running them. Themselves. Maybe they’ll hire out some work every once in a while, but it’s them. They’re doing all the sales, all the project fulfillment, but they’re not working for other agencies. They’re just working for, for their own business. And then there’s the business owner that’s who is gonna scale the business and isn’t in the weeds doing, uh, project work anymore.

[00:47:35] Josh: Um, they’ll. They’re, they’re running the business. They’re working on their business, working on marketing and things like that, and growing. And then there’s the web printer. There’s the you and me of the world who are teaching, getting online courses. Maybe we’re still doing some client work, but we’re primarily, you know, in the web design world entrepreneur space. Do you agree with that or do you feel like I’m missing anything in there? No, I think

[00:47:54] Mat: you’re right on. I, I think that, uh, you know, and, and I would say that I missed the business owner thing just because I liked the work too much. I, I, I left, I was, I left my agency job because I didn’t wanna micromanage. I didn’t wanna be the, the management guy.

[00:48:09] Mat: I love building. And I loved having a relationship with the clients, which is something I didn’t get in agency work. And as a business owner, if you’re not doing the work, you have to bring the work in. You’re doing biz development. Um, but no, I I love to have my hands in the, in the building. That’s, that’s still too much fun for me.

[00:48:24] Mat: And I, I’m

[00:48:25] Josh: glad you got that point up because that, those stages, it’s not to say that that is the path everyone should take. Neither one of those are right or wrong. Yeah. Some people go through, like, I went through all four basically phases, but you skipped a business owner and you like being a solo printer, and that’s,

[00:48:40] Josh: Like if you can do all the work and manage it and raise your prices and do a lot of good work for a small amount of people and just get referrals, that’s, that’s fine. That’s the way to go. Some people would rather not do any of the work and just focus on business stuff, and that’s fine too. Like I, the thing that’s cool about that realization and that visual to me is that there are these like main paths and maybe.

[00:49:02] Josh: Different paths in and outside of that, but those are the four paths that I’ve seen work for different style web designers and Lance. And they’re all available to us. Like I, I don’t know if you had in your mind to teach and have a podcast one day, or if one day you were just like, I’ve learned a lot, I should share this stuff. Is that kind of how that came into play for you? Um,

[00:49:22] Mat: I mean, the, the podcast is, I mean, actually it’s been a, it’s been on my mind for probably five or six years. I just, I, I just, him and Hodden didn’t pull the trigger on it. Um, but as far as the teaching and stuff like that, Actually kind of accidental as I, as I started speaking, you know, at some local conferences for web design, um, you know, I started getting questions and they were all questions about business.

[00:49:44] Mat: Um, and so it was kind of like, well, you know what, it seems to me like there’s a lot of people got these questions and I have to have the answers. I kind of lived through it. Uh, so I kind of felt, I felt like it was an opportunity, uh, to somewhat give back and, uh, I had a conversation with myself at that time.

[00:50:01] Mat: I’m like, you know, if I could go back in time and, and have a conversation with my younger self, what would I tell myself? And, uh, you know, I, I made a, you know, I made a list of things and I’m like, well, I, I can’t help my younger self. But there are probably some people out there right now that probably could use this information.

[00:50:17] Josh: Yeah. Well, I love, I’m looking at your What is really cool is it seems like you’re bringing people out of employee corporate jobs too. Probably one of the first two categories that I mentioned is that, right? Like you’re helping people become freelancers and, and solopreneurs. I, I personally feel like the difference between the two is that a solopreneur is a freelancer with a business focus.

[00:50:42] Josh: Whereas most freelancers are just winging it. They’re just trying to survive, get job to job, do whatever, mow the lawn, whatever. Uh, whereas like the solo printer is, is the CEO of their freelance business, as you would probably frame it.

[00:50:55] Mat: Yeah. I, to me, I would say most of the people that I’m, that I’m working with right now, um, have been in some form or fashion in industry.

[00:51:03] Mat: You know, whether they’re working in corporate or they’re working in agency, or they’ve, or they’ve, you know, uh, maybe smaller, big company. And they’re, you know, they’re, they’re trying to say, Hey, could I, could I make this go on my own? And, you know, as far as the, the c e o, you know, tag on the, on the title.

[00:51:19] Mat: Yeah. It’s to me, um, when I, and I, and I probably, you know, wearing the term freelancer really does have some negative connotations in the, in the business world because it does seem like, you know, they’re, you know, here today, gone tomorrow, uh, you know, flighty, you know, not stable. Well, I, I’ve always called myself a freelancer, but I’ve always been busy building a business.

[00:51:43] Mat: And I, and I, and I’ve, I’ve always looked at it from the standpoint, and I’m not looking for my next meal. I’m looking for, I’m looking toward to my last you know, how, what, you know, you know, I have an end in mind. I that this is not, you know, tomorrow is not the end. My end is somewhere down the road and I’m working to build something for that.

[00:51:59] Mat: So, um, yeah, having a plan and helping others have a plan and just, just like you said, Just so they’re not winging it as they’re, they’re going along trying to make, make some money.

[00:52:09] Josh: Yeah. I love that you’re the tagline on your homepage. Uh, think like a creative act, like A C E O. I absolutely love that. I’m totally gonna pull that and make sure we put a graphic together when we kick this out, cuz I That’s a great mission.

[00:52:24] Josh: Like Yeah. Balanced, creative, creativity and c e o. Cause I do feel like in my experience, especially in the graphic design world, my gosh. I came from that world. So I understand. It’s like you’re solely focused on artistic expression and, and art and things that aren’t profitable and, and things like you could do if you have, if somebody else is worrying about budgets and things like that.

[00:52:47] Josh: But you gotta hit a deadline. You gotta get something done. And, uh, there is a very, very thin line between like being creative and artistic and being profitable and having some mind of, you don’t need to be like this crummy, uh, greedy c. Guy or gal you know to to be a CEO or a business owner, but you do probably want to make sure you make money and stay in business otherwise it’s a hobby.

[00:53:12] Josh: You better have a job somewhere. So I love your mission, man. I think it’s awesome. Thank you. I appreciate that. So, yeah, perfect segue, I guess to, to wrap this up and to ask you, I have a final question for you here, Matt, but where would you like people to go? Is there a certain resource or something or do you have any, um, like a, I don’t know, a free guide or anything that you’d like to, to send people to?

[00:53:30] Josh: Um, yeah, so

[00:53:32] Mat: probably. Probably recommend is, uh, freelance is probably one of my, uh, one of my best freebies. It really basically is a roadmap that I’ve put together that shows people what they need to have in their business to be successful. Um, it’s, it’s not, uh, it, it’s not a, a long book, but at least shows enough detail that somebody wanting to get a better idea about what it takes to be successful as a, as a freelancer. Um, that, that’s just basically a really good guide that I re.

[00:54:03] Josh: Awesome. We’ll make sure we put that in the show notes. And yeah, I would recommend everyone check out, uh, your website, Matt freelance A lot of great resources. I love what you’re up to. And then your, um, your freelance site, red, if anyone wants to check that out. Uh, lot. Uh, you said earlier you’re not the best with copywriting, but I don’t know if I agree with you because I love your messaging on your site. I mean, I’m sure it’s been refined over the years, but it’s very clear that you’re helping people get their message out.

[00:54:31] Josh: With everything that you’ve done through your site. So yeah, man, that’s super cool. I, I love your, your journey, your progression and, and really everything that you’ve shared today. This has been really, really cool and you’ve backed up a lot of, uh, my teachings and, and advice for just like stay organic nowadays, like you mentioned, there’s more opportunity than ever.

[00:54:53] Josh: So it doesn’t matter where the heck you live, as long as your. Actually, internet’s not even that big of a deal cuz you could just match your calls together and you don’t have to worry about a video call. So, exactly right. Uh, yeah. I, I, yeah. Thank you so much for, for sharing your journey, man. I, one, one final question.

[00:55:08] Josh: If you were starting today and you did not have a personal network that you came from, what, and you were rural, what would you, what would you do? What would be like one strategy you would, you would do?

[00:55:21] Mat: You know, I think if I was getting started today, I, I would, I would get crystal clear. On the value that I bring to the market.

[00:55:31] Mat: You can’t sell yourself to a business owner if you can’t clearly articulate what business problem you solve and what results you can get for a client. To me, I, I wish Josh. That I had done that a long time ago when I got started today. If I was getting started and had no clients, that would be where I would start.

[00:55:52] Mat: I would look at what skills I have and and how they impact the marketplace. Get crystal clear and be able to tell someone. What you do and what value you provide and how you can help them in their business. To me, I feel like if people can do that, they can walk up to just about anybody and, and, and have a conversation. And if that person doesn’t become a customer, they at least know what you do and can share that with somebody else. So there’s my number one tip to leave.

[00:56:24] Josh: What a tip to end off man. Boom. Thank you so much, Matt. This was gold. Thanks for taking the time, dude. You bet. Dude, it’s been fun. Josh, this has been fun.

[00:56:32] Josh: I really enjoyed getting to know you better and, uh, and diving into this man won’t be the first time. Won’t be the or won’t be the only time. It is the first time, but it won’t be the last time. There we go.

[00:56:40] Mat: Yeah. Yeah. And I thank you. I thank you for that and uh, uh, be watching for the invite. I would love to get you on my

[00:56:45] Josh: podcast here very soon.

[00:56:46] Josh: I’m in. Let’s do it.

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