BONUS - Community Q&A with Kate Toon and Paul Jarvis

Bonus Q&A Kate Toon Paul Jarvis.png

We've had some amazing Live Q&As in the Being Freelance Community this year.

So as a bonus here's just some of the amazing answers Paul Jarvis and Kate Toon gave to questions poised by freelancers in the group.

These are just SOME of their answers, but you can catch the whole replay of each in video, in the group.

Here we cover topics such as
- personal brand versus business brand
- course creation
- audience building
- getting speaking gigs
- product creation
- email marketing for freelancers
- SEO for your freelance content
- Google My Business for freelancers

Don't miss out, come and join us for more great Q&As and the friendship and support of other freelancers from around the world in the Being Freelance Community.

Useful Links

Kate Toon’s site

Kate Toon on Twitter

Kate Toon episode of Being Freelance podcast

Paul Jarvis site

Paul Jarvis on Twitter

Pauls Jarvis’ book ‘Company Of One’

Paul Jarvis episode of Being Freelance podcast

Transcription of Being Freelance Bonus Episode featuring answers from Paul Jarvis and Kate Toon in their Being Freelance Community Live Q&As

Steve Folland: Is it best to market your services as you, a person, or as under your company?

Paul Jarvis: I don't think that there's always a right answer to everything. It's funny, when I started freelancing, it was the 90s and most people didn't know, like I don't even know if freelance was a term.

Paul Jarvis: I just worked for myself and people didn't understand that I wasn't at an agency and they thought I didn't work 'cause I was at home all day on my computer.

Paul Jarvis: So I have had a business that's just me, that I use the royal we in the writing, which is funny now. And then I switched to using a company name, to using my name probably 10 years in and I found that it just built a better connection with the people that I was trying to work with and it made people and clients understand.

Paul Jarvis: Even huge clients, like I've worked with some Fortune 100 companies and stuff and it doesn't really matter. You don't have to pretend that you're bigger than you're not.

Paul Jarvis: And I think the value of using your own name is people getting to know you as a person and what your personality is and, as well, knowing that you're going to be the one doing the work.

Paul Jarvis: But then it also helps, on the flip side of that, if you want to start say, a podcast or speaking or things like that, people that run conferences don't book companies to speak, they book people to speak.

Paul Jarvis: So I think it depends on kind of what you're looking to do. But I've never seen a downside in using my own name as opposed to a company name. But I have seen it be difficult for some people who always used a company name, to break into places where they need to use their own name.

Paul Jarvis: So I've seen the flip side not work as well.

Steve Folland: How do you test the market for a course before committing to creating it, in terms of pricing/demand?

Kate Toon: Oh, that's such a good question. And I'm so glad you asked that, Dave, because my attitude is, if you can't sell a webinar, you can't sell a course.

Kate Toon: If you can't sell a $27 course, you can't sell a hundred dollar course. If you can't sell a hundred dollar course, you can't sell a $2,000 course.

Kate Toon: I hate the whole funnel approach. I started with a free Facebook group, where people have to commit to giving me that email to join with it. Then I had a free course, which was no commitment whatsoever.

Kate Toon: Then I had a $27 offering, then a $97 offering, and then a two grand offering. It's a big leap, but by the time you've sort of got people into the first things, they're willing to go.

Kate Toon: I think you need to, I think too many people jump into the course thing or even the live workshop thing. It's really hard to sell a live workshop 'cause you're not only asking someone to be interested in what you're selling, you're asking them to turn up in a particular place, on a particular day.

Kate Toon: Like what? Who, what? Who does that? I think you have to test it online first, see how many people you get. And what I did was I sold my course. I have several courses, but the big one is the SEO course.

Kate Toon: I sold it and then I built it. So that was scary. But I sold what I intended to do. I got 19 people to sign up. It wasn't as expensive as it is now. And then I built it, week by week, and was it amazing?

Kate Toon: No. It was okay, but I've developed and developed and developed it. I would not spend three months of my life building a course and then try and sell it.

Kate Toon: I would sell something first, small, then bigger, then bigger. Then sell the course and when people have bought it, then build it. There's nothing like having 19 people, who've just paid a big lump of money for your course, to make you build that course.

Steve Folland: So Louise says, I would love to know your thoughts on email marketing for freelancers. What's the best way you've found to build your email list?

Paul Jarvis: When I was a freelancer, I didn't need an email list of any massive size because I knew that I only had the bandwidth to work with maybe 20 businesses, maximum, a year, so I didn't need that big of an email list to serve them.

Paul Jarvis: Now that I sell things that are like $30 to a few hundred dollars, I actually need a much larger list. So you may not need to grow your list as large as you think you do.

Paul Jarvis: First of all, I think that's something to consider, and I would just think, if the purpose of your list is to drum up freelance business, which the majority, and I'm sorry I'm guessing here, but that's the majority of freelancers that I talked to.

Paul Jarvis: They're really just looking for a way to get in touch with people who are potentially interested in hiring them. In order to grow your list, you have to think of, okay, who is the right person to be on my list, and then what can I give them? Right?

Paul Jarvis: Because if the writing above your signup form is just sign up for my newsletter, nobody wants to do that. Nobody wants to sign up for another newsletter. But if you say something like, and you can even kind of build it towards what I call honest scarcity.

Paul Jarvis: So if you're a freelancer, you only have a finite amount of time to work, right? You can only do a certain number of projects a month, say Louise or anybody. And so if you tell people, if you say like sign up for my list to find out when I will be available next, I typically have two spots available a month. Then potential clients will be like two spots you say?

Paul Jarvis: I could be one of those two spots, right? And then you can use your list and then you're only going to get people signing up for your list who are potentially interested in working with you, which is good.

Paul Jarvis: So even if you get two or three people signing up a month, that could be enough. I think I had 60 people on my mailing list when I was doing freelance work and that was enough.

Paul Jarvis: And then you use the list to say, just be honest about the amount of work you can do the next time it's available. Like say, I have two spots in the next month. I book spots based on having a conversation, signing a contract and getting a down payment.

Paul Jarvis: Then it locks into my calendar. Then that spot is yours. So in doing something like that, you're one, you're kind of honestly pressuring people to pull the trigger or not.

Paul Jarvis: You want to have good clients, but you also want people to, sometimes people need to be pushed a tiny bit into making a decision. They don't want to be like, "oh, I don't know how. Maybe I'll hire somebody this month, maybe I'll hire somebody next month.".

Paul Jarvis: But if you tell people like, "hey, I've got two spots available." And you actually honestly do have two spots or three spots or whatever the number is, then they're either like, "okay, I want to do this, so I'm going to pull the trigger now, or I have the budget for this. I'm going to pull the trigger now. I'm not going to wait. I'm not going to talk to five other freelancers who do the same thing. If I want to do the work, I want to hire the Louise and I'm just going to pull the trigger."

Paul Jarvis: So that's pretty much exactly how I used email marketing, when I was a freelancer, was basically that exact template.

Steve Folland: It's interesting because you're a great writer. What would you say to people who aren't or don't feel like they have that ability to write something? You know?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah. And that method that I just shared is one sentence, first of all, right? I have this availability in this time, so you don't have to, I've never met a word count, I haven't wanted to smash through, but I'm not like most other people who aren't writers. I just like writing.

Paul Jarvis: But I also think that every, show me a freelancer who doesn't write several emails a day, right? Like every single freelancer, regardless of what you do, you are a writer. You are writing, you are communicating, all day, every day. So if you stop telling yourself I'm not a writer, so I can't write which a lot of free, I did that as well. Right?

Paul Jarvis: If we stop telling ourselves these stories, that we then believe, then we can start doing things that make more sense and that ultimately help our business and help make money for our business.

Paul Jarvis: You don't have to have a newsletter like mine, where I write two or 3000 sometimes 6,000 words a week, in a long form post. When I was a freelancer, it used to be like maybe two paragraphs.

Paul Jarvis: This is the work that I just launched. Here's a success story from a previous client 'cause I follow up with clients all the time and I have two spots available in two months and it's first come, first served, based on a signed contract and a down payment.

Paul Jarvis: That's maybe six sentences. You could probably send out six sentences a month. You probably write more than six sentences an hour. I think you don't have to be a great writer. Nobody said you have to be great.

Paul Jarvis: I don't even think I'm a great writer. You just have to write and all of us spend most of our time in our inbox writing anyways. So we just have to get over ourselves because this it literally the exact same thing.

Steve Folland: Anna, I'm going to paraphrase this one. Forgive me, Anna. So Anna says, I was at a talk recently and the SEO speaker was talking about Google My Business. It struck me that this was mainly good for local businesses rather than people like me, who work with anybody all over the world. Should I care about Google My Business?

Kate Toon: Yes. 1000 billions, yes, you should. Because even though they want to work with people all over the world, we all have to start somewhere. We have to be a fat chubby fish, in a slightly easily uncomfortable pond.

Kate Toon: So when I started out, there's a place in Sydney called New Town, which is kind of cool, it's kind of like Camden or something and that's where I was. So I started to try and rank the copyrights of New Town.

Kate Toon: And when I built up my ranking for that, then I kind of went, well, New Town's in kind of like West Sydney or North London. So I'm going to try and write with my copyrights in North London.

Kate Toon: And then I'm going to try and rank for London and then I'm going to try and rank for England, and then I'm going to try and rank for the world. So yes you should, but the reason, as well, that you should is that Google My Business is free real estate, from Google, and people love anything Google-y.

Kate Toon: So if you have a Google My Business page, what does that let you do? If you type in your name, it will generally pop. It's called the knowledge graph. It sits on the side of the search results.

Kate Toon: So you've got the organic results and then you've got this little panel that's all about you, with pictures of you and your opening hours and reviews and questions. It's free from Google.

Kate Toon: Why wouldn't you? You know? And the biggest thing, though, is if you have a Google My Business page, you get reviews. Now, if you Google Kate Toon, Sydney right now, if you're watching, my knowledge graph should pop up.

Kate Toon: And I have something like 230 five star reviews. The person underneath me has five. I just did that. I meant Matt, has five reviews. Who are you going to click? Who are you going to click? You're going to click the 200 person or the five person or the person with no reviews?

Kate Toon: So Google rewards Google-ness. The more time you spend on Google or YouTube, which is owned by Google, the more time you interact with, Google Plus just died, which is sad, but it was crap, so we don't care.

Kate Toon: But the more time you spend on Google and interacting with Google's platform, the more Google rewards you. Now they will tell you that that's not true, but they are egalitarian and they don't care and it doesn't matter, but it's not true.

Kate Toon: Believe me, the more reviews you have, the better your Google My Business page is. These days you can publish content, products, offers, events, everything, to your Google My Business page.

Kate Toon: Do it once week, spend 15 minutes on your Google My Business page. Boom. Your ranking will improve. You'll get more conversions and the people that are searching for you will just be like, wow, this person owns this real estate, but they really own the first page of Google. It's their website, it's their knowledge. Then it's their LinkedIn.

Kate Toon: Who would you want to work with? Somebody whose website is on page 72 or somebody who owns their brand name, owns their business name. I'd want to work with the person who owns it, because I want that for my business, you know?

Steve Folland: Wow. What an answer!

Kate Toon: Sorry. I'm-

Steve Folland: No, don't say sorry. It's amazing. But actually, within your business, you have lots of different things you, yeah? Your SEO, the copywriting, your actual, you know, Kate Toon brand as a person and everything that comes under that.

Steve Folland: So when it comes to Google My Business, do you have separate things for each of those or do you focus on Kate Toon and then put references to all of that?

Kate Toon: So I made foolish decisions. I mean, I've been doing this for a long time and so five years ago, I was like, people aren't gonna to like me. People aren't going to buy stuff because of me. So I'm going to create these separate brands that has a bit of distance from me, so that I could maybe one day, I don't know, sell them or do something with them.

Kate Toon: I have a Kate Toon Google My Business page. I have a Clever Copywriting My Business page. I don't have a Rescue Me Business Page. Rescue by SES Success. Maybe one day I'll create it.

Kate Toon: I have seven websites, Steve. I have seven Twitter accounts, three Instagram accounts, two YouTube accounts, five Facebook accounts. Don't be Kate Toon. Don't do it.

Kate Toon: Always try and keep everything under one brand, one website. It's better. People understand, you know you can have sub brands. That's what I should have done and it's a bit hard to roll it back, once you've rolled it out. So don't follow what I did. Keep everything under one umbrella brand and it's going to be a lot easier.

Steve Folland: Amazing. And I think Kathy, that'll answer question, as well. There you go, she's already written, answered. Dave says, "so true. I was at a talk where Google My Business was chatted about. I already had a GMB page and refined some things after the talk. About a month later my site had started turning up on page one of some general local terms. Really useful.".

Steve Folland: Graeme, "just got my 11th five star review on my Google My Business page last week." Go Graeme!

Kate Toon: Graeme, I would say to anybody, if there is one really big thing you can do for your business, set up a Google My Business page, fill it out as much as you can. Commit to spending 15 minutes a week adding content to it.

Kate Toon: There's an app on your phone that will actually send you a reminder saying, "hey, your post is about to expire, add a new one." And get reviews. Don't get people to email you reviews.

Kate Toon: Get people to put reviews on Facebook or LinkedIn or true local or whatever,, your yellow pages or whatever you have there. Every single person that you know. Tomorrow, just send them an email.

Kate Toon: This is best tip for tonight. Tomorrow. Every client you've had for the last 10 months or a year, just say, "hey look, I'm really trying to work on my business, my branding. Do you have five minutes or three minutes to pop a review on Google My Business?" "Here's my link. I'd so appreciate it.".

Kate Toon: And I tell you, most people will do it and the best thing you can do is also go, "hey look, here's three reviews I've already got." Because most people don't leave reviews, because they don't have time or because they're worried that they can't write and they're going to sound like an idiot.

Kate Toon: So if you give them a template or an example? It makes their life so much easier. And if you do that, I guarantee you'll get at least two reviews tomorrow. I honestly think it really works. It does.

Steve Folland: I want to create a side project that I can build up into a revenue earner slowly. But having a hard time deciding what brackets. I'm interested in all the things. Have you any advice on choosing where to focus attention and your thoughts on specializing/niching down versus catering to a larger audience?

Paul Jarvis: Yes. I'm glad I'm talking to a brick 'cause I can say niche, not nich. Just sound, niche just sounds weird. It's like the...

Steve Folland: Oh no, we go for the 'niche'.

Paul Jarvis: You go for the niche?!

Steve Folland: Yeah.

Paul Jarvis: Oh no. At least you use Celsius and not Fahrenheit. If you tell me you use Fahrenheit, this call is over.

Steve Folland: He wants a creative side project, but doesn't quite know how to focus from all the things.

Paul Jarvis: Yes. So I guess I would start to, I always kind of liked to put, and I don't think I covered this in the book. I probably should have. I think it's good to start by thinking about the type of people you want to reach.

Paul Jarvis: Start with audience. I think a lot of people, myself included, I started with, before I started making things for an audience, I started trying to figure out who the audience was.

Paul Jarvis: And starting to reach them and starting to just like write content or make videos or do podcasts or audio. Do something to build an audience first. Because once you do that, they're going to tell you what they want from you. So I don't know how to build a product without having an audience for it, because I would just be guessing at everything.

Paul Jarvis: I know how to build an audience and then listen to them. See what they want, see what they're struggling with, see what they, they like, why haven't you? That's pretty much that how I make every product or write any book ever.

Paul Jarvis: Paul, send me the link to your book on this. And it's like I haven't written a book on that. And then like a hundred people say that and I'm like, hmm, maybe I should write a book on that or teach a course on that or make us offer a product like that.

Paul Jarvis: So I think that the product will come from the audience. It's easier to make something based on demand than make something and go and look for demand. It's possible to do it that way. I think it's actually very difficult to do it that way.

Paul Jarvis: It is possible. But I think if you work on building an audience. Who are the type of people you want to reach? You get to choose who your audience is. A lot of creators don't kind of consider that, but you get to choose who your audience is.

Paul Jarvis: And in choosing who your audience is, you write content or make content specifically for them and weed out the people who shouldn't be. It's just like I have a swear word in my welcome email on purpose, because I don't like four years later I'll have, well, I don't even swear that often.

Paul Jarvis: I've like one swear in an email and somebody will get super offended. So I'd rather end the relationship right away. My welcome email, seems like it's such a silly thing, but it comes up far too often or it used to come up far too often.

Paul Jarvis: Another thing is, I tell a ridiculously silly joke in my welcome email, because I'm a ridiculously silly person. As you've seen in this call with Steve.

Paul Jarvis: Like that's just my personality. And I have a lot of, I think I even less like these are the contrarian views that I hold in that email, because I really like having an audience of, well one, ridiculously good looking and intelligent people.

Paul Jarvis: And two, I like people who aren't looking for just the tips and tricks and hacks, but the people who are looking for the deep. The why, the possibly contrarian stuff and that's the audience that I actively really want to foster.

Paul Jarvis: That's the audience that I like. That's the audience that I like communicating with. That's the audience I like having conversations with. And then in building that audience and I just have to listen. I just have to be like, what are y'all talking about? And then I can see okay, well, they want a course on the business of freelancing.

Paul Jarvis: So I mean creative class, they want a course on MailChimp. So I'll make Chimp essentials. They want privacy focus, website analytics, which is such a random requests from people. But I'll make fathom for that.

Paul Jarvis: So I think it makes more sense to me to start with the audience and then build products by listening to that audience.

Steve Folland: Paul says, "Kate, you seem to be doing lots of speaking. Do people come to you because you're famous or because you went to them?" He's kind of asking how do you get speaking gigs? Seems to be the question.

Kate Toon: Yeah, you know how you get speaking gigs? You ask for them. Yeah, so the biggest thing for me this year was that I spoke at Yoast, in Yoast Con, in the Netherlands.

Kate Toon: Yoast is a big plugin for WordPress. It's big. It's famous. They put up a thing for speakers and I pitched. You know? I was so sure that I wouldn't get in, that I didn't even proofread my pitch and I'm a terrible speller.

Kate Toon: Even though I'm a copywriter, but they picked me. Now I'm going to be totally honest with you. They don't pay me. I paid for myself to go to the Netherlands. I paid for my hotel. I paid for my flight.

Kate Toon: It wasn't cheap, you know, it was an expensive thing to do, but it was absolutely one of the best things I've ever done. Now, yes, I've paid for that to go there. But I asked and the number of tweets and followers and Facebook fans, the kudos, the clients, the everything, was absolutely worth it.

Kate Toon: So that one I pitched for. I spoke in New York, as well. I pitched for that one, too. These days in Australia, people ask me. I did 37 events last year, which was a lot and many of them were not paying you anything.

Kate Toon: And now people ask me and people when I say, well, my fee is X, people will pay it. It took time, though. So I had to turn up to the opening of an envelope. I had to kind of prostitute myself around a little bit and get the runs on the door.

Kate Toon: And also I wanted to get to the point where you can tell me to speak about anything and I can speak about it. There's no stress, no worry, no anxiety, no adrenaline, nothing. It's all good. So I broke myself of that. It was hard. So it's a combination of working for a long time and asking.

Kate Toon: Then you get the, it's not fame exactly, but people know who you are. But also, having a podcast, being on podcasts, being interviewed, all of that builds up to this. Steve's been famous for years.

Kate Toon: I've been doing this, I'm on eleven years in, I'm up to my armpits. You know, it's not like I turned up last week and got speaking gigs. It's taken years and years.

Kate Toon: So don't look at me and think, "ooh, look at her. She's all great." It's taking years, you know? And also, don't think speaking is the be all and end all. It's exhausting. It's cool.

Kate Toon: But it's exhausting. Especially if you've got a family and kids and a real job. I'm not Pat Flynn. I'm not Gary Vanyerchuk. I don't have a team of 20 people. I'm just me, in my kitchen, with my dog. So you know, I love it, but it's not the be all and end all.

Steve Folland: Stuart says, "what do you think of the fact EVERYONE in Caps Lock is doing a course these days.".

Paul Jarvis: Sure everybody's doing a course, but everybody also has a podcast. Everybody's written a book. Whatever industry you're in, everybody does it because that's where you pay attention, right?

Paul Jarvis: Maybe everybody's a web designer, if you're a web designer, because all you see, it's just like when you buy a red car. It's like everybody has a red car. It's like this is just what you see, because this is the bubble that you're in.

Paul Jarvis: So I don't think that it's a valid concern. I think that, and this is actually in the book and I'm glad I put it in. I was curious one day because people, consumers in general, have the ability to basically buy something from anybody, right?

Paul Jarvis: If they want to hire a freelance web designer, there's tons of them. If they want to read a business book, Amazon has literally thousands and thousands of them. They want to buy a course. There's, like they said, a lot of courses.

Paul Jarvis: So I asked my audience, why do you buy from me? It just seems like such a weird question to ask, but is actually probably the most telling question that I've ever asked.

Paul Jarvis: And the answer that pretty much everybody gave except for some smart alec's, because I'm sarcastic, so I attract sarcastic people to my audience. But the overwhelming majority of people said that they buy things from me because they like the way that I show up. They like the way that I write content. They liked the way that I have like a sense of humor.

Paul Jarvis: They like the way that I share and it's not just, I'm not saying this is just like me and I'm the best or anything. I'm just saying that this happens for anybody that shares online.

Paul Jarvis: This happens for anybody that has a stance or point of view on a subject matter. And so I'm not competing with other course makers. I teach a course on freelancing. There's tons of those.

Paul Jarvis: I'm not competing with other freelance course makers, because if my audience wants to buy a course on freelancing and they value what I have to say, because I communicate with them every week, then they're just going to buy it or not from me.

Paul Jarvis: Same with my book. There's so many books, so many, so many books and people want to buy from me, because they like the way they show up. They like something about my personality for some reason. They like the way that I write. They like the way that I tell stories, so I don't think it matters that there's, everybody has a course.

Paul Jarvis: Because not everybody's going to want to buy everybody else's course. You need to show people that you're only just competing with yourself or maybe their pocketbooks for how much they can afford to buy. It's not a matter of like, oh, they could buy mine or somebody else's.

Paul Jarvis: It's like make it a decision where it's just you. Even if you're a freelancer and you're thinking and you're talking to potential clients, you don't want to be competing with Google for a client.

Paul Jarvis: Being like, oh, maybe I want to hire Sally the web designer, but I could just Google web design and try to find somebody. You really just want to compete with yourself.

Paul Jarvis: Where you want to convince the other person that like, this is what I know. This is how I approach the work that I do and and would you like to buy? Is now the right time, basically, for you to buy this thing from me?

Paul Jarvis: And then it's just a matter of do I want to buy from Sally instead of do I want to buy from the top result in Google for web design Manchester. Something random like that. Right?

Steve Folland: Yes. I think, also, that probably speaks to Terry's question. Terry has asked, "do you have any advice on how to use our skills and knowledge to create courses ourselves?".

Steve Folland: He asked that just before you answered that, although-

Paul Jarvis: Sure.

Steve Folland: I mean that that covers one part of that. But I think, I mean, another part could be for a topic might seem so overwhelming that you just don't start.

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, I think a lot of times, especially with products, we want to make these massive things. We want to, even for a creative class, I think I want it to have like 30 or 35 lessons in the beginning.

Paul Jarvis: That was gonna take me like half a year to make. So I picked seven and I'm like this course will fall apart, unless there's these like seven things. Right?

Paul Jarvis: And then I made the course and it was only seven instead of 30 something and people still bought it. And then I listened to what they wanted in the course and part of the email sequence, after they bought the course, was what did you find the most valuable and what did you think you would learn but you didn't?

Paul Jarvis: And then I just started iterating. I started to make more lessons based on feedback, because then that was based on what people actually wanted instead of what I thought they wanted. Which is slightly riskier.

Paul Jarvis: So I think if we're making products, we need to start with the smallest version of it. Maybe it's a course with a couple lessons. Maybe it's a book that's 15, 20 pages, instead of a 272 page book.

Steve Folland: There is a big WordPress community in the world. Yoast SEO is probably the leading SEO plugin for WordPress. Some people misunderstand its use. Do you think it's a useful to tool for non-techies or an un-useful one that you would/wouldn't recommend if you use it.

Kate Toon: I love that question.

Steve Folland: For non-

Kate Toon: NO I totally get. I totally get it. So this is a conversation I actually have with Yoast, at Yoast Con. And I was like, you know, that bloody traffic light system that you have drives you fill up the wall, because everyone goes through the green light and sometimes really great copy, really great blog posts. They will not get the green light.

Kate Toon: So I don't get the green light on most of what I write, but because I understand SEO copywriting, I understand how it works. I don't need a tool to tell me that I know what I'm doing.

Kate Toon: But if you're uninitiated, if you're brand new, you're going to rely on that. And if you don't get the green light, you're like, "oh dude!" Yoast said himself, and I love this. He's a cool guy. He's very sarcastic and funny, and he's like, you know, I regret the traffic lights. I regret it.

Kate Toon: The number of people that come to us and say, go and give it a go with the green light. And blah blah blah. And they're not getting what we're saying, they're not getting how we're doing it.

Kate Toon: The paid version is more subtle, but you know, we don't want to pay for shit and the paid version is better at kind of understanding the content. But a tool is just a tool.

Kate Toon: And this is my problem with SEO in general. Somebody would be like, "oh, you're worried about? Try this tool." A tool is just a tool. It's not human.

Kate Toon: And you know, I speak a lot with John Mueller, who's kind of like the mouth of the Google or the massive Sauron from Lord of the Rings. He's the mouth of Google. And he says, you know, you're all taking it too serious and you're all worrying about these percentages of keyword density.

Kate Toon: This amount of speed and this amount of responsiveness. Honestly, humans lead Google. If we see humans enjoying your content, if we see humans interacting and spending time on your site. If we see humans clicking on your result more than other people's, that's what's going to lead us.

Kate Toon: Have a good site. Write content that people like. Be engaging. Build a brand. Be personable, be friendly, sell in a non-overly aggressive way and Google will follow.

Kate Toon: I think we all overthink it way too much. We try and make metrics and tools and things that are going serve us. But if humans like it, then Google will like it, too and a classic example of this. 'll give you two.

Kate Toon: So people obsess about speed. Speed. What's the exact speed that Google wants? There's not an exact speed. How long will you wait for content to upload? How long will you wait on your mobile phone for a page to appear?

Kate Toon: How long does it take you to go, I'm going to click something else? You know, do you get frustrated if you click on a result that's supposedly about piglet jumpers and you get there and there's not a mention of piglet jumpers.

Kate Toon: 95% of SEO and UX and usability and everything is just common bloody sense, if you ask me.

Steve Folland: Are there any red flags for us as freelancers, if our company's growing too much?

Paul Jarvis: Yeah, the number one would be is if you're forsaking profit now in the hopes of profit at scale or volume. If you're saying that it's okay that we're not profitable right now, because if we grow by 10 or 20 X, then we'll probably be profitable to them?

Paul Jarvis: That can work out, but it's super risky. It's not a risk that I'd be willing to take in my own business. I think the other red, that's an easy pragmatic one.

Paul Jarvis: The other one would be is, is this rapid growth affecting how I like to spend my day, right? For me, work is like when, the nuts and bolts of work is what you do all day.

Paul Jarvis: So for myself, like when I was freelancing, if I was booked months in advance, I could have said like, "oh I'm just going to hire like a designer, developer or project manager and office assists.

Paul Jarvis: I don't know people in businesses and income offices, but like hire all of these people, have an office and stuff. Then I would be effectively promoting myself out of the job that I like.

Paul Jarvis: I'd be promoting myself out of being able to sit and design all day into having the sit and manage other designers all day. Right? So I think if we think about just those two things, it becomes really easy to kind of steer the ship and this is an area where growth does make sense.

Paul Jarvis: Or this is an area that maybe affects my profitability, because size doesn't always mean more profitable. Size a lot of times means less profitable, but profitable at volume or scale.

Paul Jarvis: And then the other one, like I said, is how you want to spend your day. If you like the way you spend your day, then protect that. Don't forsake opportunities for the way you want to spend your day, because the opportunities are really just obligations or debts that have a fancy bow.

Paul Jarvis: So they seem like they're really nice, but every opportunity has an associated maintenance cost or obligation attached to it.