Bram Vergouwen helps companies increase their website traffic with targeted content and data-backed SEO. In this ProChat episode, he talks about getting new clients, what motivates him, and why it is important for entrepreneurs to have mentors.
Vince Comfort: Hi Bram, where are you from?
Bram Vergouwen: I'm from the Netherlands but grew up in the UK.
Vince: I appreciate you talking the time to talk to me. So who are your clients?
Bram: I work with people and companies from all around the world, from India and Brazil to African and European countries. It's great work and very rewarding, especially when you get to experience so many different cultures and add value in so many different places.
Vince: That's true. It's very interesting to work with people from different cultures. How long have you been in business?
Bram: I've been freelancing for about 2.5 years now, but have spent a considerable amount of time working on side-projects and ventures of my own too so it hasn't solely been freelancing. It has been a steep learning curve but it's something that pays off once you start building out your network of clients.
Vince: Over the years I really didn't put a lot of effort in building networks and relationships. Now I'm doing that, and I know why it's very important.
Bram: Yes sure, it's very important.
Vince: So where do you get your clients from?
Bram: When I first started, this was on all of the major freelance platforms that are so commonly used among freelancers. However, the pay rate on most of these platforms is dreadful, and they take ridiculous amounts of your hard-earned money on fees.
Some even charge you to be a part of the platform and then go o to charge 10-20% on top of that… The clients on these platforms are also mostly looking for cheap, which often makes them very difficult to work with. That being said, I have met some great people there, so it's not all bad.
Really, my favorite way to get clients is from referrals. Sometimes company employees will refer you within their own company, and sometimes you get referrals to other companies, both are great. Referrals are great because they're often a lot easier to work with, and already know what to expect.
They are hard to get though… The best ways to get referrals is to deliver high-quality work and be very proactive in adding value to your clients without always needing something in return. Asking on occasion can also help.
Vince: Do you sometimes feel down, and unproductive?
Bram: Of course, I think everyone does. Even though I've always got multiple side projects going on at the same time and am always busy, sometimes you don't feel like you've gotten the most out of your day.
It sucks, but it's part of life and it's something that everyone experiences. Feeling down or anxious only really happens to me when a group of clients all pause their projects at the same time…
Since you can go from earning 1000EU one week to earning a few hundred the next, it can be kind of worrying from time to time. However, I've found that once my network reached a certain size, there's always a new project just around the corner.
Even though it's not ideal, it is what makes freelancing more fun! It's a matter of trusting the process and staying on top of the marketing of your own services.
Vince: Where do you get your motivation from?
Bram: There's not really anything specific I do to get motivated… If times are slow then I'll spend a lot more time on my marketing or on my side projects. Networking is also a great way of distracting yourself when you're not feeling optimal. The more opportunities you open up for yourself, the better you feel!
Vince: Do you listen to any motivational speakers?
Bram: A lot of my motivation stems from being able to help others in the best way possible, so it's mostly educational content that motivates me. Audiobooks work great, some podcasts will do the trick too. Tony Robbins, Seth Godin & Gary Vaynerchuk are all great to listen to aswell though!
Vince: Gary Vee is my guy! He is a MUST follow for any entrepreneur.
To wrap this up, what advice would you give to the new freelancer or solopreneur just starting?
Bram: Learn your craft thoroughly before removing your safety net (this could be a job you're in, or a place you live etc). Find a mentor to help you, ideally someone who already freelances for a living.
This is something I didn't have access to myself, but it's something I offer to others and am currently working with one mentee which feels great!
A good coach or mentor can not only help teach you your craft and the ins and outs of freelancing but most often, they can also get you work the moment you're ready.
After this, just stay professional, do your best and be relentless in marketing your services – it's not easy out there and platforms, even though it's an easy way to get some work, won't provide you with any kind of stability in the long-run.
Thank you so much Bram Vergouwen for your time and sharing with us.
TAKEAWAY #1: Learn your craft thoroughly before removing your safety net.
TAKEAWAY #2: Find yourself a good mentor and do your best work while you network and ask for referrals.
ProChat With Vince Comfort is a mini interview series where I bring you one business expert in the fields of freelancing, blogging, internet marketing, and brick & mortar business owners that are leveraging the internet to grow.
For more interviews like this, please check this page. ProChat With Vince Comfort