How Jarod Makes $20k/m from UpWork at 20 Years Old
Are you struggling to land high paying SEO clients?
In this episode, Jarod Spiewak explains how, at twenty years old, he makes $20k per month from clients he landed on Upwork.
Even better, he explains how this client acquisition process is almost completely automated.
You will learn step-by-step how to do this to land clients paying $3,000 per month.
Watch it here:
Links and Resources Mentioned:
- Upwork (Freelance site Jarod uses to land his client)
- Moz (SEO site where Jarod learnt about SEO)
- SEMRush (An SEO tool that Jarod uses to help him rank his clients)
- SEO Jungle (The cold email course Jarod mentioned run by Gabriel Machuret)
- Close.io (A resource that Jarod used to help learn the sales system)
07:16 – How to confidently close high paying clients
12:30 – How Jarod gets invited to 50 jobs a month on Upwork
18:01 – Where to find $2,500 per month clients on Upwork
20:41 – Selecting the perfect hourly rate to attract high paying clients
24:48 – How to write the perfect copy on your Upwork profile
45:20 – How to hit $20,000 per month recurring revenue
Daryl Rosser: Hey guys, Daryl Rosser here, I’m here at Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Chiang Mai SEO Conference. And I decided to kidnap some of the speakers, some of the attendees, direct them back to my here, and interview them, just for you guys to get some exclusive content. So, let’s get straight to work, enjoy.
Hey guys, Daryl Rosser here welcome back to another episode of the Lion Zeal Show. In this episode I’m sitting down with Jarod Spiewak, don’t know if I’m saying your name correctly.
Jarod Spiewak: It’s correct.
Daryl Rosser: Ok thank you, and we’re talking about how he’s twenty years old and he’s went out there and built up a monthly recurring revenue now of twenty thousand dollars, um, which is pretty epic, and he also went out there and got three new clients in the past week.
And we are going to walk through exactly he’s done that. How he acquires his clients, and how its almost, not quiet, but almost automated through using Upwork. So most people think you go on Upwork and you get paid like two, three dollars an hour, he’s actually going out there and getting all the way up to three thousand dollar a month clients from Upwork. We are going to break down the process step by step of how exactly he gets clients.
So let’s dive into the interview and enjoy.
Hey man, thanks for joining me on the show today, it’s very awesome.
Jarod Spiewak: I know. So glad to be here.
Daryl Rosser: So for anyone that doesn’t know who you are yet, can you give a brief introduction as to who you are, what it is that you do.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah sure, I’d be more surprised if anyone did know who I am. So, name’s Jarod Spiewak, so I do client SEO, that’s pretty much all I do, don’t really do any affiliate stuff, or any, just clients, I’ve been trying to… I started off freelancing, working with some agencies, and now I’m kind of really focused on actually growing my own agency, so it was kinda been my focus for the past, you know. Like, 6-7 months, and so, that’s the kind of direction I’ve taken recently.
Daryl Rosser: So, one of the reason I’m chatting, is I’ve seen you in a group, in different, before, I’ve seen you in different communities and what not, and you’ve made a post recently and actuallly team, noticed that and called out to me, was that, like, you’re 20 years old, right? And, you just hit $20,000 a month, recurring revenue from your agency. Is that right?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, yeah, so… It was actually… Tuesday, so three days ago, we finally closed the deal, and put me over the $20,000 mark, it’s honestly something that I didn’t think I’d hit for a long time. I have my own revenue goals, it was like, March of next year, that I’d be able to possibly hit this, but yeah, it’s great.
Daryl Rosser: No that’s really cool, man. How long have you been doing the agency?
Jarod Spiewak: So, trying to actually grow and scale, the past two years I’ve actually been focusing on actually trying to do this, but I’ve been doing the marketing touch for about six years, but then for the past two I’ve been actually serious about it.
Daryl Rosser: You’ve been doing marketing stuff for six years?
Jarod Spiewak: So when I was 14, I was actually starting college from when I was 15, I had to pay for it myself. So I need to learn how to make money. So pretty much like everyone typing to Google, how do you make money online, found that like BS, like, surveys and stuff, actually —
Daryl Rosser: Guess you get paid $50 when you sign up.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, you know like af00ter a week you’ve made like 50 cents, and then from there, I found HireWriters , if you’re familiar with that site, so I was actually writing on there, you know, making nothing.
Daryl Rosser: Writing for my PBNs?
Jarod Spiewak: Yup. So that was actually introduced to me, because people be like, “Hey, I want this, like, SEO content, it was like this keyword density , and I’m a very, like, researched-based person, so I started looking into it, probably found Moz 101 for SEO —
Daryl Rosser: You’re still 14 at this time?
Jarod Spiewak: Ah, yeah. 14-15, somewhere along in there.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Jarod Spiewak: Found the Moz SEO 101 guy, started to kind of learn that, started to get a lot more into marketing, I know I wanted to go business for into college, but I don’t really know where it was, so I was like, “Oh yeah, marketing stuff online, I kinda looked into it, and so, after, I just kinda you know, focused on marketing. It wasn’t really a focus on SEO for couple years after that, though the digital side is what was really intriguing to me.
Daryl Rosser: Can I ask, what was your drive? Like, you’re 14 and just Googling how to make money online. What was a 14 year old have to do with making money?
Jarod Spiewak: So, part of it, I’ve always been very driven to kind of like, make money, and I don’t really know why, I was like, you know, 13, like, I want a job, when I was 8, I was, “Oh yeah, I want to start my own business, it was very, I don’t know if there’s anything, it’s just how I’ve always naturally been. It was you know, I wanna grow something, I wanna have my own thing, anytime I’ve ever worked anywhere, I’ve always, like, put way more time in my own thing, whenever I have other jobs, freelancing stuff, I’d always be working on every single second that I could, because that’s what I would.. what I’ll be doing.
Daryl Rosser: You just enjoy the process. Is something like, your parents, are business owners or something like that?
Jarod Spiewak: No, which is, it’s a question I get asked quite a bit, like, you know, “Are your parents, what are they doing” You know. They’re very risk-conservative I guess, like they would never, like.. Doing something is very outside their element, you know, they both have their own things. You know they work for other companies, they’re not very… Me doing this is very scary for them, because they don’t want me to fail, and you know, not have anything. So they’re very risk-averse.
Daryl Rosser: Ah, it’s really interesting where that sort of money focus came from. Which is a really good trait, by the way. I think most should have that. So you’re going to SEO maybe, 14, 15, maybe at this point? Uhm, where did you go from there? How did you end up running your agency?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, sure. So, when I was 17 I still wanted to work for other companies. It wasn’t for a long time that I was really sure that I want to have my own thing, so I was actually hired by a local real estate corporation to do marketing. It’s my first real marketing job.
That wasn’t freelancing. The freelancing stuff I do is really, it wasn’t very, what do you call it, it wasn’t a whole lot of pay. A lot of the time it wasn’t really like, paid work. I was doing it to be able to do it. So when I was doing like the corporate stuff, I really thought, you know, I’m gonna move up with this company, it’s really gonna be something I’m doing.
I really just couldn’t stand. I was always trying to be like, “Okay, I’m gonna set my own processes, I’m gonna scale, I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere”, it’s just I’m so much more interested in the freelancing stuff and getting my own clients. I literally be working at my desk. So I work on 4 different laptops when I was there.
Daryl Rosser: At once?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah. 3 laptops and a desktop. So , what I’m usually doing is there would be working on one of them was on Youtube playing in the background, my earphones and the other one also have any freelancing stuff that I have going. So I was, you know, working on multiple things at the same time. Coz that’s just what I love doing the entire time.
So, when I was 18, that’s when I finished college. I only got an associate’s degree, so I was, you know, in and out two years, and then after that I decided I wanted to leave that because there was actually an SEO agency, that offered me, an hourly, like full-time position as a contractor, and so, I was making over double, over the pay of what I was doing right there.
It was a lot more security, and I was able to kind of do that, and actually do the SEO that I was doing, that I wanted to do, with this agency as well as also, still being able to do my freelance stuff. And from there, just working with the other agencies, just got me really ambitious, to kind of, have my own thing.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, man. So from the age of like, 15, to like, 18, not that long ago actually, you started to learn SEO for like Moz and stuff, and you do a little bit, a freelance, and you kinda worked for a couple different companies, right?
Jarod Spiewak: Yup.
How to confidently close high paying clients
Daryl Rosser: How did you learn SEO initially to have any confidence to go out there and get, like, a job doing it for you?
Jarod Spiewak: So, I think there’s just something I just decided. So I’m not very sociable person, I’m not very out there, like I can never cold call someone. That scares the crap out of me. I can never do that. But I will go on Craigslist.
And in like, the gig section, people be like, “Hey, I need someone to this for me, to do that for me, so I would just be like, you know, whatever, I’d go out and and meet them at the local Barnes and Nobles, you know kinda like in the Downtown or where I live, so sometimes we’d meet at like, the restaurant or whatever.
And I’d just be connecting with them, you know, talking to them in person, understanding their needs a little bit more, and like, learn how to talk to people and I thought I could actually you know, go out there, and I gained a solid amount of sales scale during that process without really realizing that at the time, and then from there, just, you know, “Hey I need marketing work, I’m trying to start this thing”, wouldn’t even charge people I had no idea what I was doing, and yeah I guess that’s how I started getting that kind of confidence.
Daryl Rosser: No idea, I love that hustle. I think a lot of guys like us aren’t really entrepreneurial type guys, uhm, you kinda notice it, early on, when they’re doing like, selling sweets or candy, at school, little things like that. That’s really cool. So how did you get out of there, did you had to drop, did you you quit, or was it like, screw this guys I ain’t gonna do this to myself, or did you slowly build up on the side, or how does it work?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, sure, so when I was working for the corporation, I was still freelancing on the side, but was never something that I felt this though that I would really be able to take on to my own thing. So for most of the time that I was freelancing, I was only charging $5 an hour. I had no idea the value of SEO, I had no idea what people paid for this kind of stuff…
Daryl Rosser: How many hours are you working? Roughly.
Jarod Spiewak: For the freelancing stuff, maybe 15-20 hours a week, so wasn’t really making a whole lot of money, it’d be cool when I get, like, you know, pay $500 a month kind of deal with what I was doing, but you know it was really cool, and then, you know, coz I tried to be like, “Hey, you know $10 an hour” and people will be like, “No thanks” and I wasn’t that good at selling what I was doing either.
So I really wasn’t getting that much stuff, so kind of like, once that agency actually offered me, you know, significantly higher what I was making from that corporations when I was able to kind of like, feel confident, took kind of go on my own.
Daryl Rosser: So you work for the agency, you kind of swore like, “Holy shit these guys are actually making some fucking money” Like you saw, it actually works. And were they any good of what they did?
Jarod Spiewak: So I still work with them.
Daryl Rosser: You don’t have to name them. Just–
Yeah. So, they get results. But the way that they do things is very different from the way I do things. So I’m getting more into the like the outreach type stuff and actually building more brands and like, I really don’t pay attention to rankings anymore for my clients, it’s hey, this is their traffic going again. This is the benefit, this is the ROI.
And you know, there is a lot less ROI focus than I personally am, so kind of from there, I realized that how the agencies I work for, either you know, like, more full time there’s couple other agencies that I work with. I really didn’t want to work for another agency, I want to start my own thing, because I didn’t feel like there was anything out there that was really what I wanted it to be, so I wanted to build my own.
Daryl Rosser: Sure. So you leave the agency, or do you kind of build it at the same time that you’re still there?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah. So, kind of cut back on some of the work. So, I’m a very driven person. So I was working like, 60-80 hours a week. That’s a normal work week for me. 60,80 hours. So I was working 30 hours for them, doing my own stuff. But as soon as my own stuff started to scale, I started to scale back what I was doing with them, I started off about 30-40 hours a week with them.
Even now I started putting 10, 15, with them, but now, I’m not gonna be continuing with them for very much longer, because you know, 10-15 hours can be doing me a whole lot more with my own stuff. As much as I enjoy working with them, it’s just, the scalability of building my own business is hindered. By me doing that kind of work.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah absolutely, so when did you start this agency, what sort of age were you?
Jarod Spiewak: When I started with this agency, or when I started my own? When you started you own and as you’re leaving those guys.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah,
Jarod Spiewak: So, 19 I think.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, so about a year ago or maybe over that.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Cool. How did you, like you’re 19 years old, like, for me when I start with my first clients, like, I used to be in school, asked me questions like this. How did you go out there, 19 years old and get client like this to pay you decent money?
Jarod Spiewak: So, one of the things I don’t typically do… So I don’t typically get asked my age anymore.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Jarod Spiewak: I think I look old enough now that they just assume that I’m in my like, you know, 20th, they’re like, Oh yeah you’re 22, you’re 23, and I think, you know, they’re typically okay with that. But you know, a couple of years ago it was like, “You’re like, 12?”
So, one of the things that’s actually been super beneficial to me, and that, a lot of people hate is actually platforms like, places like Upwork.
So I figured how to utilize those platforms, to gain over 10 grand of my monthly recurring revenue, thanks to that, so typically this is against their stuff, I can’t say why I do or not do it. But you get on the phone, people let you build them directly and they typically prefer to work that way.
Daryl Rosser: Interesting.
Jarod Spiewak: And sometimes, just asking rather than you have to–
How Jarod gets invited to 50 jobs a month on Upwork
Daryl Rosser: So what’s the process? You’re going to Upwork, do you find jobs and post that say like “Hey, we want an SEO.”
Jarod Spiewak: So, typically not anymore. I was for a while, but I’ve been profiling this pretty well built that it just gets 50 free leads a month, basically you have people invite you to their jobs that they post, so I’ll get invited to like 50 jobs plus a month, and out of those, maybe 10 will be qualified coz you know, sometimes you’ll get like increase my Amazon.
Since I do that. So about 10 of them will be qualified, I’ll get on the phone with pretty much all 10 of them, and I’ll do about 2 or 3 proposals, and typically I close, or call them. So I really only like to get to proposal stage coz I put like 6-8 hours work to create a proposal.
Daryl Rosser: Okay. Wow.
Jarod Spiewak: So I wanna make sure that they’re all qualified and I have a very high close rate when I get to proposals.
Daryl Rosser: It’s awesome. So, we’re going into detail after but when you started out especially then, how did you get like you have, like, zero views, zero rating in Upwork.
Jarod Spiewak: So I was actually working on Upwork when I was working for that, $5 an hour, so you know, I was just on there working for like, $5 an hour. I was pretty much hired to do the type of work that you might hire a VA to do, so I was essentially like a US-based VA, making, you know, next to nothing.
So, what happened was like, there’s 3-4 jobs that I got making like, between 5-6 bucks an hour, got me some reviews, from there I just kinda scaled up the pricing, so I’ve gone, you know the hourly rate is gone anywhere from $5 an hour to $50 an hour, doing that kind of work. Just slowly working yourself up, and as soon as you get more reviews, it’s like, easier, I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing that right now.
It’s like “Yeah, I’m gonna work for 5 bucks an hour, but it’s a lot easier to start like, for less, like if you can afford a work for like, you know, 10, 15, it’s gonna be a lot easier gig, you know. Even if it’s a job or two. Or go after like a fixed price on something small. Like, “Hey we need an SEO, we need…” People sometimes just needs access to your tools. It will be like an agency that’s like, “Hey we don’t actually have Semrush, so can you just actually pull this report, give us a spreadsheet, here’s $5. You know, just something to get a review.”
Daryl Rosser: And that’s all that’s about, nothing else? Just the reviews at that point.
Jarod Spiewak: The reviews really help. If you were going to a restaurant, you know, you might go to Yelp, you might view the reviews, before you look at their menu. So typically it’s not a restaurant–
Daryl Rosser: Yeah before I go outside, I check the reviews on my phone before I walked in. Just to make sure it’s a good restaurant.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, if you know you like Sushi, and you’re going to a sushi restaurant, you generally know what they’re gonna probably have, so you’re gonna check the reviews, make sure that it’s a good place that you wanna go, and that people enjoyed it. So it’s typically the same process because the people that use Upwork, don’t know where to hire.
They don’t wanna search for Boston SEO, they don’t really know where to find someone. So they have very little education generally on SEO so the reviews are all that they can really depend on 90% of the time. There are a lot more savvy people that use it, but the reviews are the number 1 thing that you wanna have.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, cool. So that’s all about… That’s where your credibility comes from. Like, nothing else is… Just look at the reviews. You seem to sound confident and you’re sure in the process. Definitely you go on six hours–
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, so… The reviews is what kinda gets you invited to those jobs. They see that, so the process is some will post the job, you know, they post a job and say “Hey I need an SEO” then after that, they get brought to the screen where it says, “Hey there’s candidates that we found that might be good for you.” So then you can get invited on it or what not, so they can see your profile, so they can see part of your profile, they can see your hourly rate.
So you need something that’s gonna be enticing to them, so if you have like a 3-5 dollar hourly rate, people are looking for you know, someone who’s a lot more serious, a lot more skillful, probably is gonna be interested in you, so you have to play around a little bit, I found like $30 an hour even though I don’t do any hourly-based on there.
When they see the 30 they think that… not that they can’t afford it. Your headline, you have like two lines that hey can actually see when they’re gonna invite you so you have something appealing, I have something in there like you probably heard people before that I’ve gotten results. You want to actually get results?
So something like, you know, when easy call it action right at the top, they go to your profile, you have your own, like, information about yourself, generally mine is written pretty sales-y, and then you can see the reviews, but then when they actually invite me you can also send them another message, and that’s very, you know, typically pretty tailored to them.
Not really cocky, not really sales-y, just like “Hey, what’s your website, let me help you, here’s a little bit about me, I’m very good at what I do, but I’m not the best of the best” I’m not, you know, putting everyone else into shame, I’m just like, “I want to help you,” you know, “Let’s start the conversation.” Coz when you actually get them in the conversation, then you have a chance.
Daryl Rosser: Cool. And is it all you just being invited, or do you ever apply to any?
Jarod Spiewak: I occasionally will apply to things, but most of the people that are on the platform, 90% on the post jobs are not qualified.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah. Absolutely.
Jarod Spiewak: They’re like, “Hey, I want to pay you 30 bucks a month, and I say, “Yeah it’s not gonna happen. So I pretty much just let the reviews come in, it saves me a bunch of time, I just get emails like, “Hey you were invited to this job, I can just check it out you know if I’m not interested I’ll just deny rather, you can spend like half an hour to find like two or three good things to have to propose yourself to. You can definitely do that and if I did that I’m sure I would get a couple more sales, it’s just not why I’m spending my time.
Daryl Rosser: Fair enough. So if you would break down into more details, afterwards. Imagine it’ll put asses to this question. Like, how did it go from I’d go to Upwork, I hire someone for like $5 an hour and you mention it, like I’m hiring cheap people, and my expectation of Upwork is generally cheap people. You said before your average client was 2000-2500 a month?
Where to find $2,500 per month clients on Upwork
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, so for… So the two marks that I kind of serve right now is either have just links clients, so just like the acquisitions, the very method is usually pretty chill to them, that’s anywhere from 500-3000 a month. Then just SEO, full service SEO is 2000-2500 pretty much.
Daryl Rosser: So even a 500 dollars a month, it’s not challenging to get 500 dollar a month, a thousand dollars, you said 3000 dollar a month, how did you get clients like that up of Upwork?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah so it’s just a matter of… So when you have a good profile, the people who come there, they are large, very large company that will go and use the platform. So there’s a lot of SEO agencies which is a large part of where I get my clients, is that there will be SEO agencies that are looking to find people to fulfill for their own clients, there will be large companies that are just like, “Hey we just want a bunch of proposals.”
Coz when you go on there you can see how many people have applied to it, 50-75 people have tried to apply for this. So you might get you know, 20 really good candidates rather than just trying to find who are local to you, because if you try to match someone and that’s…
Doesn’t want to use platform like that, they’re typically just find someone in their city, but they not necessarily need someone that’s in their city, they need someone that specializes, you know, something specific.
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
Jarod Spiewak: So there’s a very large company, I don’t know if I can technically name. So they’re very large company, venture funded start-up for over like $25 million dollars, and they got into contant with me, and within like one phone call, we close a 3 grand a month for just links.
Daryl Rosser: Awesome.
Jarod Spiewak: So it’s just a matter of… They’re there, you just need to be patient, and build a good enough profile that they’re interested in you.
Daryl Rosser: So when you get invited to your job, right? They see the people to invite, and if they see it, is your name is Jarod, or is it–
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, so, you can set up a personal profile account or an agency profile account. I used to have both so you can, if you have both you can choose to apply under yourself or as an agency. I got rid of the agency, coz I think people like that personal connection, which is one of the main things why I haven’t branded myself at all.
Like my website’s just Jarod, but like I don’t have a brand name, I thought about it, I think just that human connection, helps a lot of people coz they hire a bunch of agencies, generally… You know, ABC marketing, or whatever it may be, and then one on one connection I think really makes a difference for a lot of peope.
Daryl Rosser: You’re just a guy or the expert.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: Absolutely. So they see you as your name, they see your $30 dollars an hour, right? When they invite you to a job you’re gonna apply, firstly I’m curious, what the message is, and how you transition from them thinking they’re gonna pay you $30 a hour, to you saying, “This is an ongoing campaign, it’s not hourly, it’s $500 a month.”
Selecting the perfect hourly rate to attract high paying clients
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah sure. So, some people have very negative reactions. It’s very rare, but I’ve had some people just like, come like, “Hey you’re a scammer, coz you said $30 an hour. But, so the thing is when you create your own listing, when you’re the job poster, you can choose hourly or fixed rate. And typically, they don’t care.
As long as, they just typically want to work hourly because there’s like a time tracker, I take screenshots so they feel more confident, and it’s just a matter of just making them feel confident in you, so my process is very similar to, I think I pretty much stole this from you, it’s like your process of like, I think you do like email, phone call, and then a proposal, a screen share.
That’s pretty much what they do, is they send me an invite, and when I respond , it says, “Hey, here’s about me, here’s my calendar link, there’s my calendar, set up a time to talk, set up my calendar for a 15-minute call. So from there, I have phone calls. And then on the phone call, typical sales you know, what you’re interested in doing, tell me a little bit more about what you do, here’s a little bit about myself, can I just like we size each other up, and then okay, this is how I typically operate.
So I go to my process. And I’m like, typically I work in this type of budget, I really recommend you have at least this amount of budget, and they will be like, “Oh hell we don’t have that” Okay, never mind. You know, you’re just not right fit for me, or you know, it’s just very easy transition, 99.9% of the time, as long as they feel confident, and you know, it’s just a matter of sales at that point.
Daryl Rosser: Do you know roughly, how many did you apply to, that invite you, how many actually will get into the phone and pick up that call?
Jarod Spiewak: Sure. So, I don’t have the exact number, but I can guess around 70%. So typically, the ones that invite me that I’m interested in, that I actually send them a message, will have enough details, that I feel confident that will be interested in talking to me, and then once they find a phone call. So I don’t mention pricing at all.
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
Jarod Spiewak: Until we’re on the phone. Coz there’s a lot of people out there who were just on screens, it’s like sending your pricing over a cold email.
Daryl Rosser: You don’t do it.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, coz you won’t close them. Coz I used to have something like, “Hey, my minimum is this, and I won’t even mention like a minimum, anymore. Just because I feel like there’s just too much of a drop off, even if they have a higher budget than that.
Daryl Rosser: Coz even if they have the budget, they still look at it like, “I don’t want to spend that.”
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah coz I’ve talked to people who I’ve spent like a thousand dollar a month mail, and they said, “I don’t have that kind of budget, two weeks later they’re like “Hey, I talked to other people, I have a thousand dollar budget” all this time because they haven’t found anyone else. So I think that it really list to your advantage if you’re willing to get on that phone call, make a connection with them first before you talk about pricing.
Daryl Rosser: And what’s the reason for getting on the call? Why can’t you just use Upwork? Like, I know your reason, but what is the reason you say to them?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah sure, so it’s just a matter of having that dedicated time to get on the phone call. So what I think clients value a lot is making one on one connection, because you can be talking to anyone. There’s a lot of people that use the platform, they’re like “I’m based in Florida”, and they’re charged $3 an hour, and they really aren’t, you can tell them based on a, somewhere else.
They’re just using like a VPN to set out their account so it looks like they are based in the US and what not. And they typically hired, 3 or 4, 5 sometimes even more people that I haven’t gotten results. And most people just don’t take that extra step in getting on the call.
So they find it very intriguing, like, “Hey, what’s going on in there?”. A common method that people use if you read any like blog posts about how to get clients sign up, you’ll say, in your proposal send along a custom video. I tried that, it didn’t really work, but just anything that makes that one on one connection with them. So, very rarely do people not want to go on a phone call, and it’s typically international.
Daryl Rosser: Because on like Upwork, right, we send the cold emails, we sent the video because they haven’t expressed their interest, but on Upwork, they’ll actively saying, “Hey I wanna hire an SEO to do this for me.
Jarod Spiewak: They’re looking to hire someone, it’s just that, not all of them have a realistic expectation. But it’s a lot easier than… It’s almost as if you’re prospecting for cold email, and all the sites that you worked at, three of them have banners on their site saying “We’re hiring, and–
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I’m curious, what does your profile say? Does it say that you’re SEO specifically? Or–
How to write the perfect copy on your Upwork profile
Jarod Spiewak: So you have like a tagline, like a header, almost and then you have like your body where you can put whatever in there. I like to play around with them, to be honest, literally since I’ve been here, I think last night actually rewrote both of them. Just to see what kind of like, gets more… Sometimes I’ll be very like, casual, very short, just like, “Hey let’s talk”, sometimes you’ll be very, you know, cocky, like, “I’m the best person you’’ll ever meet that does SEO. You have to hire me, no one else will get your results.” And now it’s more like “Hey let’s just have conversation”, “This is what I’ve done”, no obligation, but like, a lot more friendly.
So I think the actual headline is just “Link acquisition expert, free SEO and PPC audit”. So the reason why I have “link acquisition expert” is because people typically aren’t looking for full services SEO that have a good SEO budget, a lot of people going at that platform, are looking for just links coz they read how to do this SEO stuff, it’s the number 1 ranking factor. So they just want links, links, links.
Daryl Rosser: Sure.
Jarod Spiewak: So a lot of my link acquisition only clients are just because of that platform, and that’s what they’re looking for, somebody who will kinda serve that market, specifically, charting to them. And then I also mentioned like the free audits, because anytime I get a website, I send them video audit.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, cool. No I like that man, that’s really cool. So you’re just going out there and basically created this profile. You have the reviews, you have the credibility, kinda like building up a blog or anything else. But it’s on this specific platform, people come to you, right?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, pretty much. It’s you know, automated sales funnel. One that doesn’t cost me anything. It’s a free platform, you can pay for it, and it’s really not worth paying for unless you’re actively applying to other jobs listings. It completely automate, doesn’t take a whole lot of time, and the no. 1 thing that’s really been helpful for me is the amount of agencies that hire on there .
There’s four or five agencies that I work with right now, that do or do not bill me directly, and I work with, just because they’re like, “Hey, I’m looking for one person”, they get on the phone with me, and like, oh yeah, and they actually have this team on where they fulfill more than just a single person can, and we create like these kind of partnerships.
Like a lot of people don’t try to reach out to these by design, agencies and what not, work with a lot of other marketing agencies, that either just don’t fulfill on their marketing, that don’t want to fulfill them the SEO that they offer to clients, or that they don’t offer SEO with something that they wanna upsell…
Daryl Rosser: You said that this doesn’t take so much time to do the Upwork stuff, so what is it that you spend your time on?
Jarod Spiewak: Unfortunately, mostly fulfillment. That’s probably… My no. 1 mistake is that, for a long time, I just wanted to freelance, I was building a whole lot business that’s a scary thing to do.
Daryl Rosser: What’s your goal, by the way? When you started that?
Jarod Spiewak: Make money. I’m a very go with the flow type person, I just wanted money. I didn’t grow up with a lot of it. I can actually do something, I can actually make something myself. Yeah, so it was just like freelancing, making as much money as I can, I was freelancing, making a solid 5 grand a month. 18-19 at that time.
Daryl Rosser: Nice.
Jarod Spiewak: And then eventually, I just wanted to kinda do a different thing. But because I was doing all the technical work, if you read, I don’t know, the e-myth. I was just the technician.
So pretty much just that technician doing a lot a lot of the phone myself so now I’m doing processes a lot more, trying to take myself out of that, but unfortunately, 90% of my day is actually doing the work, and then, fulfilling, managing client communication, and then also putting a lot more time in setting our processes , so I can eventually hire a solid team.
I have some people that work for me, kind of like an as-needed basis, they already know how to do that skill, just so I don’t worry about actually training people, but my number one mistake I feel though is not caring about processes, really nothing doing all the work myself.
Daryl Rosser: You have a lot of time, man. Now that’s really fascinating. It’s cool, you got like, you automated like the client acquisition side, it kinda just happens right. Obviously you have to get on the phone with them.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah. Some clients if they watch this aren’t gonna like it, but everything is pretty much automated on Upwork because I just have Google doc files, then when they invite me, copy and paste. That’s it. So literally takes me when they invite me to things, 2 seconds. And then it already has my calendar link in there, and I just see which ones are specialized–
Daryl Rosser: Do don’t personalize it at all, or–
Jarod Spiewak: I used to, and then I found out I just didn’t need to. I’m still getting a really good response rate, being very selective on who I actually work with, so like, the only personalization I do is put their name in there anywhere, you know, put on their name in there, “Hey John, Hey Mark,” whatever if their name is in there.
But typically, I have a different files for anything like it. It is like in general invite, when I’m not sure if they need something specific and just like, “Hey we need us you going our website” I have one just for agencies, I have one just for link acquisition, one for full service SEO, so I have a different swot files, whatever you want to call them.
Or you just copy and paste, then they get that, they read that, if they’re interested in me, set up a calendar invite, and then I get on the phone with them, so really, between getting invited to them as a prospect and getting them on the phone takes me 10 seconds to work.
Daryl Rosser: Why don’t you hire a VA to do this, and just sit back and just have them apply for the jobs and when you just basically just jump on the phone when they put it in the calendar?
Jarod Spiewak: I think, part of it is that they’re just gonna screw up, and it’s gonna reflect poorly on me, or you know, coz the VAs they do that. I don’t have them touch anything on the client’s website, even like signing up like google analytics, even though it’s very straightforward, that’s just very, I guess I’m just very anal, like I wouldn’t want to hurt a client’s business, I wouldn’t want someone to like.. It’s an unneeded fear.
Daryl Rosser: Sure. You also, you said it’s like, you’re still working on assistants, right, for the fulfillment, but especially the applications and stuff, like that’s all a template. So you could, I guess–
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah that’s definitely something that I should think about a lot more. And honestly something I have to think about actually hiring someone else to do coz my focus is very been on like, the fulfillment, a tentative plan would be like you know, get those processes out, hire people for the processes, and kinda move on to being like a manager until I figure out the processes for management, that I’ve hired the right people, and then hire someone there, you know, be that manager.
But right now, I was thinking like, even on the car right over here, is that I should just hire someone based on the states that’s near where I am, I’ll have my own office space–
Daryl Rosser: It’s just you?
Jarod Spiewak: My fiancé also has her own thing that she does, something e-commerce, actual products, it’s 2500 square feet, more than enough room for just me, so she has her own thing she does there. Yeah, I’ve been kind of playing around with the idea. If I hire a manager, in my office wherever we can work very closely, and have them manage all this kind of stuff, work together, set up processes, I think it would streamline communication, its just very scary step for me to be able to take. Hiring people.
Daryl Rosser: It’s a huge step. Yeah.
Jarod Spiewak: Like I only registered as an LLC this year, like, 2-3 months ago, because it was like, I feel like, oh, that’s a big step even though it feels like nothing’s changed. It was just like the mentality behind it.
Daryl Rosser: That’s cool, though, you haven’t– I can say that right, you going out there, you acquire the clients, it’s just that fulfillment, now like you have goals like that, you like to streamline this. Do you plan on building a team, is that like. I know you’re a little bit worried about it, but is it like, the goal next?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, so the goal right now is to build a team so I can scale. One of the things I’ve gotten away from is having revenue goals coz I think that’s just way too much focus on money. You know everyone’s like, “Hey wanna hit 10k a month?” And then when I was doing that, I would take on a lot of bad clients. Just because they’re like “Hey I’m gonna show you 1500 a month, and “Wow that’s like,…”
The bigger guys are giving me, I’ll definitely take that on, nightmare of the campaign, pretty much just falls apart, way too much time on my hands to kinda handle that kind of stuff. So, I’ve been focusing more on like business goal, so right now the business goal is to grow a team. There’s no like, separate revenue of what I need for that, so right now I really think that I want an in-house team, or local team, that we can, you know, enter the co-working space sort of. I don’t need to keep the office that I have right now.
Daryl Rosser: What is the office for, what’s that– sorry, cutting you off,
Jarod Spiewak: Sure.
Daryl Rosser: What’s the office, what’s the reason in–
Jarod Spiewak: Sure. As being twenty, I still live with my parents. They’ve been very accommodating, so before I got this office I got it in February, February this year I got the office. And so I was just working out of my bedroom, like, little corner, like I’ve been looking L-Shaped Desk, and that was my entire work area. Things were just pilling up —
Daryl Rosser: You still do four laptops?
Jarod Spiewak: Three screens. So I always work with that shit ton of screens. So I’ve like a 36-inch Samsung TV that I was using as a dual screen for my Mac, so I would have that big screen, the mac over here, then a tablet, and my phone.
That always be on something as well. So just crazy amount of screen. Yeah I was just working on a very little space, very cramped, I looked at one office space, it was 500 sq ft, 500 a month, which is pretty hours, about a dollar a square foot, and I found this place, where I’m in right now, which is like kinda like underground like garden noble, and so it’s cheaper because it’s not a storefront, 2500 sq ft, 900 a month.
Daryl Rosser: Nice.
Jarod Spiewak: So there’s no way I was passing that up. It was a big move, and now I have like, there’s like, 2 like, private offices and the full office, and there’s like common area, so like, I’ve like 500 sq ft of myself that I just use, and then I have this whole extra space. I can hire like half a dozen people. And I will have them have that space.
Daryl Rosser: That, coz you want to expand the team, or it’s all coz you get more focused, like–
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, so part of it was I was a lot more focused when I’m there, I’m working, that is all I’m doing, my cats aren’t distracting me and not knocking over shit all the time. You know I don’t have to worry about people coming and going the house all the time.
Which you know, I am here, I’m working, coz I work like crazy long hours, like 12 hour a day is a short day for me. So yeah, it was nice to have my own space, it was a big step for me, I felt like you know, I was really making it. But what really sucked is as soon as I got the place, I lost 5 grand a month in clients, within two weeks of signing the lease, granted both those clients are clients that I should have taken in the first place, it was just, coz I was very money-driven at the time.
And I think that’s one of the reason I was only back again , I have my own space, kinda playing around with the idea about hiring a local team, and then also having a VA based team, and then that’s it, some of the smaller stuff. And having the US-based team, be more of like the manager, the overseers, of the, you know, outsourcing wherever they may be.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, so you said you work 12 hours a day.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, on a short day. Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: What do you do? Like–
Jarod Spiewak: So they’re not all 12 productive hours. So that’s the important thing there, so I have ADHD, so it’s nice when I am focusing at work, I can work. But when I’m not focused at work, I cannot focus on it. So sometimes I just find myself walking around the circles like half an hour, so that’s one of the issues that I have.
Daryl Rosser: Okay.
Jarod Spiewak: Because I do so much of my own fulfillment, it’s you know, anything under, like actually working for 10 hours isn’t reasonable, which really sucks, but also really enjoy it. Like I still get up everyday, you know pumped up doing what I’m doing.
There are some days where I completely hate what I’m doing, that I feel like, I screwed up. From the way I’m doing things. But you know, most days, I get up and get jump right into these days that I’ll stay at the office all night, I work all night, I sleep for 3 hours, I wake up, I start my meetings, and I’ll just continue on that work day.
It’s not something that I love doing or will do all the time, but I will end up full enough about what I’m doing, you know, that I’m able to connect, you know, when I do it. I don’t the mentality of Gary V., when I just you know, keep going 24 hours a day.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, but I enjoy what I’m doing, something that I’m able to do that without hating myself.
Daryl Rosser: What is it that you love, and hate actually. About, like this business, like what is it that you’re doing?
Jarod Spiewak: I really love business development, it’s the thing. So ever since I was 8, I wanted to have my own business. I would go online and go to places like Hungary and like armor games economy now we always played business tycoons, like oh yeah I’m building this big things like, things like pretty much everthing.
Yeah. But like, “Oh yeah, I took this lemonade stand, I was making 25 cents and now I’m a millionaire” It’s just that, some sort of things like that always have an interest of it. When I was working for other businesses I was always trying to do my own freelancing stuff. When I was working for other agencies I always try to re-define how they’re doing things, To the point where I was like you know, “I shouldn’t, this is how they want to do things, this is fine”, but I always want to do things differently.
So really into just growing something on my own. Like, two weeks ago, it was like a hundred hour plus work week, because I re-structured everything that I do, I made things more transparent for clients, I really just took it ho do I want to be portrayed by clients?
How do I want other people in the industry to know me by my processes, by, I just re-structured everything and I love every single minute of it. And the fulfillment side of things is where I’m starting to lose a lot of interest,
Daryl Rosser: I can see that.
Jarod Spiewak: It’ll be like, you know, I do 2-3 pages on the website for the On-page, and then after that, like you know, just fun for the first couple pages, but it’s a 2,000 page website. I really don’t want to sit on that for the next three weeks to do this. Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: So right now, like who’s holding the goal is that slowly reduce the fulfillment side, and sounds like you enjoy the business development, scaling it all up, which is building a team and actually doing all those stuff.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, so I’m slowly working on processes. So the way I’m working on my processes right now is that I– so I just closed three clients within the past week. So they’re all fresh no work has been done on them. So it’s been really nice.
I took a spreadsheet, every single step that I’m gonna do for their campaign is already marked out, so then I also have a column that’s just for you know, an SOP link, so I’m just taking Google doc, and like, it’s lilke setting up a google analytics. I’ll do it on one site, and then I’ll just make bullet points.
You know, add tracking code to website, set up conversion tracking, and whatever I am doing, then for the next one, I’ll get more detailed. I’ll be like, okay, check if they already have Google analytics, if not, these are the exact steps to set up an account, you know this is the account log ins, just get more and more coherent, just so I’m not sitting there, coz you know, coz you can take like an hour reigning up an SOP for something simple, could either strain thoughts and everything.
So it’s kinda like very slowly working on it, and doing it enough times, that I can see like, “Oh, I’m actually missing this step coz I have to do it three times for the same clients”, and I was just doing something where I was actually making a new spreadsheet, and importing like a CSV into it, and like I forgot to mention that in the SOP.
But because I just wrote that SOP and I’m actually doing that for the second time in a row, I can see where I’m kinda missing and get more and more like anytime that there’s nothing that’s outside of like exactly of what’s on the document, I may able to add it in, So it’s kinda like using these three clients for.
Daryl Rosser: Okay
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah.
Daryl Rosser: That makes sense. So you’re figuring out all the systems that feel like that now, so you can later on bring someone else in, so rather than, like a random service we do, this is very systematic. Is that right? From day 1 to day, the end, they follow this process
Jarod Spiewak: Pretty much. One of my things early on when I was just deciding, you know, whether I want my position in the industry, what tactics I want to use, what I want to be known for. One of the big things I had against a lot of agencies I work with is that they had very you know, factory line workflows for their SOPs, they would be like, it doesn’t matter, you know.
If they weren’t niched down at all, they’re like dentist in Miami, that’s the same thing, as a roofer in Boston, as long as they have the same budget, or they niched down, it will be, you know, a law firm in Miami, get’s the same thing. It has the same type of law firm, and Boston, even though those two companies may have different goals.
So my thing at first is I want to be fully customed. You know, what do you need, I want to customized everything you, but the issue with there is that, if you want to build a team for that, you have to be paying people like six figures a year, you have to have those very high level people, because everything is gonna be different most of the time.
So that was a big issue that I finding there, I was trying to create SOPs for them, like everything I do is very different, that I will only do once for this one client, and never do it again, so now I’m kinda focused on like, ROI now, working with business goals, but still having, like, this is what pretty much everyone needs, here’s something that people don’t always need, like, content marketing.
Feel like getting into that a lot more of, I have one client, gonna be hitting content marketing a lot, so I have SOPs for that, but not every client is gonna get that, coz not every client needs that. So it still have a lot of flexibility but not to the point where it’s impossible to scale.
Daryl Rosser: It’s not fixed, it’s kind of,
Jarod Spiewak: It’s like puzzle pieces —
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, it’s like puzzle pieces, much better, yeah. You said it much better that I did. Okay, interesting. Is there any sort of advice you would give someone that’s like maybe 19 or 20, or it doesn’t matter, young or either way, better start now, and trying to get like into client SEO and build up an agency. And a lot of SEOs has been struggling to get like paying clients, I just thought now. Is there any advice you have for those people specifically?
Jarod Spiewak: So I think there’s only two points I could really make that I think would really drive home for them. Is look at the opposite side of the table, so one of the things that really helped me especially, let’s say on Upwork, I created a client account, I learned the process, what do they have to go through, what do they see when they’re trying to hire someone, what is it like for them, what are the type of proposal that are working for them, what are people saying to them. So I was like, okay, 30% are just crap, I have to get–
Daryl Rosser: Did you just say call up an agency or something? Or like, pretend that you’re a client, or how did you see that–
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah so, it was more, so some of them are just hey talking to people, “Hey, what did you do, did you get like these cold email” Like, the cold emails I get like all the time like “Hey we could do your SEO for your site” just analyzing people, what are those people all doing that is completely crap, like, what makes it obvious, like just from their subject line, that they’re just like, some spammer.
Like in Upwork, there are the proposals you are getting, this is what’s crap, you kind of identify trends, just kind of understand what’s kind of happening to the other side of the table, so you’re able to set yourself, as I able to be unique.
Even connect with other people I do what you’re doing. You’re trying to do cold email, connect to the other people that are doing cold email, coz they’ve already done some various testing. Like Gabriel, who, I can’t remember his name, he has like his own old email course–
Daryl Rosser: That tall skinny guy?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah. I feel bad, I can’t remember his last name. But you know, he does a ton of cold email stuff, he has a great videos out there. Connecting with someone him, just you know, don’t like to mooch off him, I expect to get everything from him, but to connect with people that are doing that, so you’re on the other side of the table, connecting people, you don’t want to start from scratch, and another thing is just putting in the hours.
Daryl Rosser: They have to do 12 hours a day though?
Jarod Spiewak: No but putting in enough to… It’s going to work. You know, if you’re sending cold emails, it’s gonna be very discouraging if someone sends 50 and they get 2 clients out of it, and if you’ve sent 300, and you haven’t gotten any response, but it’s going to work at some point for you, you just have to, you know, figure out what’s going wrong, don’t just give up, if you’re not getting email, if you’re tracking it, if you’re not getting opens, change your subject line.
Play around with those. If you’re getting calls but you’re not closing people on proposals, change up your proposal. Putting in hours to actually make a difference, don’t just like send 300 emails, and then not get anything from it… I don’t want you to have to send 3000 and get nothing from it, at that point you screwed up by not fixing whatever your underline issue was.
Daryl Rosser: Of course.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah. Put in the hours to actually make a difference for whatever you have to put those hours into.
Daryl Rosser: And question for you, do you actually enjoy working 12 hours a day? Like, what would your ideal set up for like, work-life?
Jarod Spiewak: So, I have no issue working this amount of hours. I’d like to really kind of have a better schedule for work-life balance, coz it’s just pretty much non-existent at this point. You know. Work?
Daryl Rosser: We’re in Thailand at least now.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, yeah, I know. Yeah it’s really cool to be able to kind of do this, I’m still working the entire time here, I love to be here. I’d love to be able to kind of working a lot less.
Putting in the hours, is fine, putting them in where you need to is the way for us like, from the start, if I’d only put the hours in the place which should be, getting a client or two, figure out processes, you know, get enough clients that you can live off of, figure out your processes then hire pretty much right away. I’d be able to manage to work 6 hours a day, I’d still probably put in, 10-12.
Daryl Rosser: Yeah, okay. So, I think you already went through, what you are looking to achieve now, which is the next step is build a team for that. You ever had, like you hit 20k recurring very recently right? You ever had any big sort of realizations, from like this to getting to this next level, even in the past few months as its grown more and more, probably bigger than you, originally you thought it would?
How to hit $20,000 per month recurring revenue
Jarod Spiewak: Sure, that fulfillment doesn’t matter. Which sucks for someone who spends 80% of their time on that, but sales is all that matters. If you look at any really large agency, like how they grow like a hundred million dollars a year, and they consistently don’t get results, it’s because like they have like a 30-40 persons sales team, that’s where they invest all the time.
It doesn’t matter how good of an SEO you are, how good of a social media marketer you are, if you can’t get clients in the first place, so I really encourage people to spend more a lot more time to learn sales, you can try and go through the very sensible site like Zig Ziglar you know, like sales.io no, I think it’s close.io , they have a great sales blog, and they also have a sales product that I’ve been looking into a little bit, but just you know, sales is what really matters.
And understanding that 10k isn’t 10k. You have business expenses. You’re gonna have a lot easier life through freelancing, than you are as an agency, if there’s a lot more commitment, there’s a lot more you have to worry about, if you’re trying to build.
I think it’s very nostalgic, it’s very talked up to being a business owner, travel the world, hire people that do all this work, you know, be Ty Lopez , but you know, figure out what you want to do, you might just want to freelance, you might wanna have an agency, you might wanna service just one particular market, figure out what you wanna do, and don’t just do things because other people talk about it and it looks cool.
Daryl Rosser: Absolutely. I think there’s a good final thought to kind of wrap it up on this some cool advice, you’re doing pretty well man. So yeah, congrats on all the three clients on last week is it?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, three clients closed from the past 7 days.
Daryl Rosser: That’s awesome. and getting 20k. When did you hit that? Wednesday?
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah I hit that Tuesday night. I think. Honestly I think Im dropping it down to 15 when I get home.
Daryl Rosser: Because?
Jarod Spiewak: Some clients I just shouldn’t have taken on in the first place. Some clients I’ve out grown . I won’t be able to scale, having them, it’s not going anywhere.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, take a step back so you can go forward even more.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, trying to not focus on money as much as I have in the past, coz I think you just take a lot of wrong directions doing that.
Daryl Rosser: Okay, cool man. I appreciate you joining me. It’s awesome.
Jarod Spiewak: Yeah, I enjoyed being here.
Daryl Rosser: Thanks for coming.