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Do 5 to 10 jobs for free. Not skimpy stuff either... really put the time in, overdeliver, and bust your ass on these and go for real excellence. It'll pay for itself. At least, it's been good to me. Here's some good questions to measure your success by --


Measuring Production/Service – Questions To Ask At The End

“Did they give a testimonial? On a scale of 1-10, how glowing/awesome is the testimonial?”

“Did they give us referrals? How many? How many sales did that lead to?”

“Did this job become an outstanding addition to our portfolio? Why or why not?”

“Did they purchase any relevant upsells or services?”

“Subjectively, did it feel like it ‘went well’?”

“What was the cost in time and money to do the work? (Did any of the money/time cost relate more to general asset-building, knowledge, etc, than the fulfillment itself?)”


If you play it right, you'll have 5-10 awesome testimonials )(you can actually say, 'What do you think of my service? What do you think of my promptness? Friendliness? Looking out for you?' Etc, to get quotes on relevant topics. You'll also very likely get at least a couple referrals out of it (aim for 3 on average per client to start, you might not hit it depending but it's a good target), and probably 1 or 2 of them will choose you for significant work later. It's really just a win, if you don't mind hustling and working. Sadly actually, some of your best free clients you'll have to run down and really bust your ass to get them to even agree to take your work for free! But it's worth it, it works.

Never work for free. The reasons are many, including: Clients not willing to pay for design will have no respect for you or design. On the other hand, you could get skewed customer experience information. You are undercutting other professionals and by the way, those other pros are where a big piece of your business will come from as a small shop. You won't know how much to charge your first client. You'll probably charge too little.

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