With two other freelancers already under his wings after 4 years in the business, Ryan Scollon is powerhousing his way through his freelance journey and certainly making a mark on the PPC industry.
Read on for some honest words from Ryan on his freelancing adventure so far:
What is your name and what do you do?
I’m Ryan Scollon, a PPC freelancer and owner of a micro PPC agency, specialising in lead generation and PPC audits.
How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?
I technically started freelancing in 2018, as a side hustle alongside my full-time job at a marketing agency. Initially, it was just one or two clients for a bit of extra money to fund luxuries such as holidays. But one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was working every hour possible outside of my full-time.
There was a point where I was earning just as much from freelancing as I was from my full-time job, despite working less than half the hours. I had also reached full capacity, as I only had a few hours each evening and on the weekends to fit it all in. It was at this point that I knew I had to make a decision. Fortunately, I made the right one and handed my notice in at the agency and pursued freelancing full-time.
There were multiple reasons why I decided to become a freelancer. One reason is due to where I live, as I’m out in the sticks, so there’s not many choices for jobs around here. I also love the lifestyle of a freelancer; the flexibility to work when you want with whoever you want.
What strategy do you find most effective for attracting new clients?
I’m quite different from other freelancers when it comes to attracting new clients. Most people that I speak to say they get it from referrals etc. But I get nearly all of my new clients through my website, thanks to my strong rankings on Google. I spent many years at my last job learning and executing SEO, so I’ve been able to use that experience for my own website.
What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?
Asana is a must have for my business. With two other freelancers under my wings, it can get very busy with the various projects we have going on. But Asana keeps it all under control and allows me to keep on top of projects and scheduling.
Do you research prospects before a call or meeting? If so, what information do you look for?
Before I speak to any prospects, I send them a short list of questions which helps me understand more about their business and if we are likely to be a good fit for each other. I’ll also spend 5 minutes having a poke around on their website before offering a call or meeting.
What do you do to help maintain positive mental wellbeing?
Keeping fit helps me maintain a positive wellbeing. I have a cocker spaniel which forces me out of the house for at least an hour a day and I’m part of two football teams.
Another big help has been the DMU. It’s a small community specifically for digital marketers but it’s full of the kindest and most helpful people I’ve ever met: https://digitalmarketingunion.com/
Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than you had first anticipated?
I didn’t really know what to expect when I was going freelance full time. I never expected to work fewer hours, it was more about working as and when I like.
What are the most common objections you’ve had from potential clients? How did/do you overcome them?
It’s very rare that I get objections from potential clients. I price my services fairly (if anything, too fairly) and I explain everything in detail during the initial discovery call. You’ll get the odd person who haggles on price but you can’t blame them for trying.
Have you ever turned a prospect away? If so, why and how did you do it?
To begin with, not so much. I think like most newbie freelancers, you’ll take any work that you can get your hands on. But over the last 6 months, I’ve started to be really picky with the clients that I work with, ensuring that we are a good fit for each other and that it’s going to be a long term relationship.
During the initial discovery call, I’ll ask a bunch of questions that will usually reveal any red flags. After the call, I’ll review anything and if I feel like it won’t work out, I simply let the prospect know that it’s not a good fit for me and wish them all the best.
What do (would) you do when a client ghosts you?!
Move on to the next one. There’s so much work out there, there’s no need to chase after people if they don’t have the decency to reply. I’ll sometimes follow up with one email just in case they didn’t receive the email or were a bit busy. The most precious thing as a freelancer is our time, so don’t waste it on things not worth chasing.
Are your motivations now the same as they were when you started freelancing?
Not really. Initially, the goal/motivation was money as that was the scariest part of going freelance. But after 12 months I had finally gotten used to the financial ups and downs and had a much better idea of what a typical monthly income would look like, I realised that money was never the goal. For me, it’s getting the balance between a healthy paycheck, fun but challenging work and a healthy work life balance.
What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?
I think with freelancing, you find out the real ‘you’, and that’s what I enjoy most. Pushing yourself to the limit and finding out what you really can accomplish if you put your mind to it.
What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?
Specifically, with my type of work, it’s difficult to have proper holidays as I don’t have anyone to take over my responsibilities. With PPC, you always need to keep your finger on the pulse so it can be difficult to switch off. But I always remind myself how lucky I am in so many other ways.
What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?
That it all takes time. I was so eager in the first few months to get everything figured out and sorted. I would look at other seasoned freelancers who had their shit together and I wanted to be like them. But I just needed to take my time and follow the process.
What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers?
Make time for your own business. It’s so easy to push your own business aside to focus on your clients. But a few months (or years) will go by and you’ll realise that you’ve let your business go stale. Use some time in your schedule to work on your own marketing, personal projects, strategy planning or even training.
You can connect with Ryan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and website.