Notes on "Double Your Freelancing Rate" book

23 Dec 2012

I have just finished reading a rather interesting book by Brennan Dunn, "Double Your Freelancing Rate" (you can get the  "Interviews" part of it from Amazon here.

Double Your Freelancing Rate Book Cover

Brennan calls himself a "premium freelancer", and runs a custom software development business In this book Brennan shares his experience on how he managed to differentiate himself from a crowd of "tech web guys" by shifting the focus of value proposition from technical aspects, such as particular technologies to more of a business value creation, such as bringing more sales, customers and alike.

I have been taking short notes while reading the book and then distilling those into actionable items. It's too early to say whether doing so has helped me to achieve the proverbial "doubling of my rates", but it definitely made me think and question a lot of the assumptions I had.

I'd like to share those notes here, so you may get a better feeling of what the book is like. My goal is simply to help people in similar situation to be more efficient at what they are doing. Lastly, I am not affiliated with the author in any way.

I think it's interesting primarily because Brennan is driven by his desire to uncover the business objective, need or a problem, and he's not trying to come up with a solution straight away as the competitor did.

Make it easy to contact you - don't hide the "contact me" link somewhere in the footer. Look at your favourite websites from web developers or designers - there's a chance that at the top they have contact links.

Make sure that:


Your New Sales Strategy


At this point in time he does not discuss any timelines, deal details or costs. He also says that confidence is important - acting like there's no doubt whether he'll get a contract or not.

During the first stages of the discussion he focuses on figuring out what's are the real motivations for client to start this project. Then he verbally offers some ideas and experiments that can get client closer to the goal.

In his conversations with a client Brennan puts an emphasis on the concept of open-ended roadmap that - something they are going to produce together. After they figure out together what the roadmap should look like, what are the particular steps in it, Brennan lets the client know that he needs to do the estimation process.

When estimating a particular piece of the roadmap using all the information collected from client, Brennan inflates the estimate based on the uncertainty of his his understanding of this item - higher the uncertainty, more the inflation.


When writing proposal, focus on the economic value to the client that you are going to deliver. This should be further reinforced by experiential benefits that working with you brings. In your proposal include a section on what it's like working with you, your rate, estimated time and total cost, and your requirements to the client - things like response time to your questions (say 24 hours).

Client is most likely to focus on the budget side of the proposal. You need to let the client know that if the budget is higher than he expected, it's up to them to limit the scope of the project to fit the budget.

Brennan plugs his SaaS product in here,, that allows to manage the proposals and expose those to a prospective client. Client can prioritise and remove tasks to fit into the budget.

After client is happy with the proposal it's time to close the deal. Brennan requests a two week deposit so he can include client's project into his calendar.


Initially went to lots of meet ups and drink ups for small business owners, advertising himself as a person who did "web development" - something he compares with telling a future home owner that you cut wood and hammer nails.

Instead try to ask what sort of problems people are facing with their businesses - ask a lot of questions, such as what are they currently struggling with? Are they happy with their sales? What did they do to grow their business - and what has worked and what didn't?

When you take that position of proactive interest in their business problems people will be amazingly open and share a lot of intimate details about their businesses.

Contacts via your sales website

When getting contacted via website (either through organic traffic, or your business card, ads) - send a short reply ala "Thanks for getting in touch, just letting you know that I've got your email, I am out at the moment, sit will get back to you as soon as I can!".

According to his clients this is way better than getting a delayed response.

After receiving an enquiry, qualify the lead. You need to figure out the following

Brennan lists an example email, that asks the client questions like:

Throughout the email he puts and emphasis on business benefits/value for the customer and ways he can help to achieve those, without mentioning any technologies or any other tech specifics.

Often contacts are "tyre kickers", do not spend too much time on those but make sure to leave great impression - they may come back to after few months with more concrete interest.


Project your confidence in winning this contract - you are a seasoned business veteran, helping another business to achieve their goals - this will give you a leg up against the competition.

Your client has a goal of minimising his cost and maximising the returns.

Talk to them about what their business looks like today and why it suffers without this project. Then present them with a nice picture of how future will be better when this project is delivered.

Focus on the goals, not the roadmap to get there (software or designs) - this will differentiate you from the competition.


Five Year Plan

You became a freelancer to be your own boss and control your own destiny. Ask yourself - what do you want to do in 5 years from now?

Earning money is just means to an end - to get you things you want - more free time for yourself and family, etc. Increasing your rates allows you to work less hours.

Answer questions: