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How Can I be taken seriously

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by Ztak07, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. Ztak07

    Ztak07 Regular Member

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    I am 17 (and I'm thinking of starting a online reputation management consultation business. Basically I have had like 6 clients and done very good work for them online. I got these clients from a third party guy who said I did a very good job and did it in half the time of other companies who charge way more. I am looking to reach out to local businesses in my area with bad Yelp or Google+ reputation and with my service pitch. Anyways, I am nervous because I am 17 and they won't take me or my prices seriously. I have done this before and $500 a month is the best price I can do quality work at, I want to get them with a 3 month commitment but I feel the'll be like "lol 17 year old wants X,XXX GTFO." I only plan on getting 4 is customers @ $1,500 before moving everything online or outsourcing the mailings.
     
  2. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    I was 14 when I got my first web design client from an owner of multiple businesses (a multi-millionare guy who knows how to handle a business not an average joe). It's all about how you carry yourself and how you talk. Know your stuff, talk and act like professional and demand respect (politely of course). Get on LinkedIN get endorsements show them other people have tried you and you can deliver.

    The owner of the business handed me a check for the amount I asked for, no debate. I delivered and he stuck with me for about 7 years after that. Eventually we separated ways, but on good terms.

    Let them know Young is good in this business. No one wants the old guy who doesn't know how to type with two hands, people want fresh blood that live and breath technology and know everything there is to know about it.
     
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  3. Ztak07

    Ztak07 Regular Member

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    Thanks man, LinkedIn Idea is great idea and I will start soon. I have no problem dressing up and I am not dumb enough to use slang. Would the 3 month pricing at $500 a month for a total of ~$1500 for 3 months be too much or is that perfect? These are 3 star and below businesses.
     
  4. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    Here's a few notes in regards to your questions:

    *PRO TIP* Don't feel that because you are a certain age you can't demand what you're worth. I was doing multi-thousand deals as a teenager on the international level right around your age actually. Some were closed 100% over email and bank wired. The thing is, if you truly have the skills and you know it, the client knows it, they can either take the offer or let them walk. The fact of the matter is there's always someone else that wants what you have to offer and is willing to pay for it. So don't settle for less than you're worth. At the same time be honest with yourself at least, if you're not damn sure you're worth a million dollars and you know it, they will know it, and you're not going to get that amount. If you're a teenager and they don't trust you, let them get screwed by the 80 year old "reputation management" expert who still hasn't heard of what the internet is.

    --> Just to be clear, nothing against old people, just using extreme examples to make a point. There are many smart old people out there. :)

    With that said, let me move on to my key points:


    1. The key thing is being able to justify your prices regardless of the amount. If you can't justify the amount you probably shouldn't be charging that much or that little. This doesn't mean you can't have nice margins on your products or services, but you don't want to come off as a ripoff/scam person either. Set your prices slightly higher initially so you have at least room to negotiate. Everyone loves a discount so be sure to keep that in mind.

    Sure, you might be able to get away with charging more than you should and if you can that's great, but you better be able to handle that dreaded question "So, what does this include" or "How are the funds going to be allocated". The last thing you want to do is look like a dumb ass or blow a deal because you price gouged without being able to back it up.

    2. Don't be afraid to be affordable when you're first getting your feet wet. A COUPLE cheap deals won't kill ya, and is a great way to quickly build up your resume to get the big money deals. Also, this doesn't mean settling for less than you deserve. It's better to walk on a deal then set the bar low and get stuck there.

    ---> 2b: Explain to the client that you are giving them a lower than normal rate in order to build your list of references. Ask that they agree to leave you a review if they are satisfied with your work. Last thing you want to do is stuck working for less than you are worth.

    3. If you're good at what you do that doesn't mean do work for $1 (regarding point #2), just be fair about it.

    --> 3b. If you feel your work is worth $100/hour then charge it. If they ask if you can do it for $50/hour tell them to take a hike (politely). Don't be a jerk if they ask for a few bucks off and you can afford to do so cut them a small break, maybe $90/hr or a limited discount as a new customer. If you really can't budge on the price, then don't and explain why you can't in a professional manner.

    4. If you're going to charge premium prices be sure to offer a premium level of service. This means if you get an email outside of business hours by 5 minutes you can answer it, just don't make it too much of a habit to the point where it becomes expectations. Essentially you need some unspoken "ground rules", but just be fair and reasonable about things. The more seriously you take your customers the more seriously they will take you.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  5. GigaGorilla

    GigaGorilla Junior Member

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    Age is just an number and confidence in yourself is what sells. I started doing business at a young age too and I earned people respect by not accepting anything else but respect. I can say the same thing about getting dates with girls. Does a girl want a guy walking up to her twiddling his thumbs asking her out. Hell no. A girl wants a man who is confident and on top of the game. Same thing in business.

    How you position yourself is how people will treat you. Go in there and earn it with confidence. People invest in confident people.

    GG
     
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  6. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    I agree with you 100% man.
     
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  7. dome.d0nkss

    dome.d0nkss BANNED BANNED

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    I was 16 , completly newbie on IM and my english it was (and still is) very bad.
    However, now I have earnings around 3-5k/month, so keep doing your job :)
     
  8. igniteimages

    igniteimages Regular Member

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    Really good advice, especially from Demon.

    "If you are good enough, you are old enough"

    That is simple to say but is true. That said there is a big elephant in the room which needs to be addressed - the prospective client will certainly be wondering if you are up to the job - both from an experience perspective, and also a maturity perspective. I would.

    Many years ago in my mid 20s (and looking younger) I had a job providing financial and investment advice to people retiring (I knew what I was doing BTW). The way I overcome the 'elephant in the room' (my perceived inexperience) was to ask a lot of questions of the client and take a GENUINE interest in them and their issues. During this process I would drip feed them knowledge so that as the meeting progressed it became obvious I was actually knowledgeable in the field and I was relating this knowledge to their specific circumstances (far better than you just dumping loads of info onto them).

    At the end of the meeting I would have so much much specific information that we could agree a joint action plan. This, in your circumstances, could be a bulleted list of what you would do for the client and timescales for this to happen. Showing this to a client also helps greatly in justifying fees - people want to know what they are getting for their money as well as the ultimate outcome.

    As has been mentioned you can be flexible on your fees but whatever you do don't go too low or you will just resent the client. Don't fall for the lines like - "I can introduce you to lots of people if you do this for half price" etc - it never happens. There will always be some jobs which could have value greater than the actual job, eg a really well known and respected local company. As an example in a couple of weeks I've taken a job which probably won't pay as much as many jobs I do but there will be a lot of very well known celebrities there and it will be great for my site as it fills a gap.

    Age isn't a barrier for me to hire people. My best assistant has just turned 18 - I first employed him as a runner when he had just turned 17. One day I had to throw him in the deep end, and thankfully he swam! This has now progressed to where he is an essential part of my business and I pay him accordingly - he gets a hell of lot more than if he was flipping burgers!! The key point here is that to me it is of no use that 'someone is good for 17' - I just need someone good!

    Be prepared for rejection - it happens in all sales. Be prepared to make mistakes (tendering, pitching etc) - it still happens to all of us but learn from them.

    Also keep in mind that some companies you approach may actually be crap! The negative reputation may be fully deserved and you may not want to work for them. GET MONEY UP FRONT.

    Good luck. Your age may put some off but certainly not all and if you do a good job then the next ones will be easier to get.
     
  9. gray123

    gray123 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Great to hear stories like this. out of interest, Do you make your money online or offline methods?
     
  10. GameCDKeys

    GameCDKeys Newbie

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    Be confident and serious when speaking with them. You need to come off as "I'm a 17 year old that knows what I'm doing and can help your business" not "I'm a 17 year old that really needs money, please give me money."
     
  11. blackbuck

    blackbuck Newbie

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    just wear your attitude buddy, just keep in mind that it is they who need your services and and not you who need their money
     
  12. RosuC

    RosuC Regular Member

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    So, trying to add more to what The_Demon said I can share you one of my youngest experience:
    I was 17 (that was happening 22 years ago), the computers were an unknown issue for 99% of the population and for like 80% of the business persons. The accounting was made by hand and using paper calculators for recipes. When I've made 18 years my dad bought me a Siemens 286 with 4 MB HDD and 5 inch diskette and on it installed the Lotus Note 123.
    Based on the fact that one of my family was accountant I knew something about the credit/debit accounting and I was watching her smashing her head each evening with the calculations. I told her give me your formulas and let me make something for you. She (a 40 years old accountant) was watching me bossy and said you're not able to make your own tie and you want to make accounting formula, so I "stole" her books and each night I was pushing myself to make the formulas - trust me was terrible - on that days Lotus was very hard to handle and it was crushing each 10 minutes. But I've succeed and when she came back one day I've asked her give me your in/out figures - in 2 minutes all her work of 4 hours was made by Lotus using my formulas - then she promote me at another 20 accounting persons but she never said that was me who made it - she toke the credits.
    But with my Lotus Notes formulas for 2 years the entire neighbors businesses was kept easy without problems - so going to the point is not the age when you start is about the courage, inspiration and a lot of work. Focus on your goals - don't even think about your age think about your brain and develop yourself. If people are looking at your age then they're not capable to make the difference and you're wasting your time but the ones who wants results and quality will never think about and will hire you in a minute if you're capable as you said you're.
    These are my thoughts about you and your beautiful age (I would love to be there again but not possible). Have a good life and work for youself