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Have you ever found it hard to find the right balance between growing your business and not burning out? Chasing bigger clients and more revenue can cause us to lose sight of why we started working for ourselves in the first place.
In this episode of Freelance to Founder, we spoke with Travis Boyco, a graphic designer who recently made the leap to full-time entrepreneurship. We covered topics like avoiding burnout, scaling sustainably, and staying true to your personal definition of success.
If you’re struggling to grow your freelance business without sacrificing your sanity or personal relationships, this episode is for you. Let’s dive in:
Key Takeaways from this Episode:
- Avoid burnout by focusing on your personal definition of success beyond just revenue. Outcomes like time flexibility and work fulfillment matter too.
- Start scaling sustainably by refining quality before focusing on volume. Resist blindly expanding until your offer is polished.
- Leverage opportunity cost thinking when delegating tasks. Outsource work that enables you to find more clients and revenue.
The Journey to Full-Time Entrepreneurship
When we last spoke with Travis back in February 2023, he was running his design business as a side hustle while working a 9-5 job. The first time around, our discussion focused on when and how he could consider going full-time.
Now, several months later, Travis took the plunge and is working for himself. He officially launched his freelance business full-time in June 2023.
Travis helps companies, teams and individuals stand out in the digital age through services like graphic design, writing, and branding. Though still early days, he shared how empowering it’s been to now have full control over his time and schedule.
Of course, sacrificing the steady paycheck and structure of traditional employment was admittedly terrifying at first. As Travis put it, going full-time felt like “fight or flight” after getting conditioned to corporate life.
But ultimately, the excitement and opportunity outweighed the fears. His passion provided enough motivation to push forward.
For Travis, taking the leap came down to gaining confidence and getting out of his comfort zone. As he put it, the question was whether to actually commit to his freelance business or live with the “what ifs” down the road.
Avoiding the Hustle Trap
With his business finally up and running, Travis wanted to discuss finding fulfillment without burning out. He specifically asked:
“How do you get past comfortability and ensure you’re continuing to push forward without reaching exhaustion?”
This is a critical question for all entrepreneurs. Once the business is stable, it’s easy to become complacent. But pushing too hard in the name of “growth” can be just as dangerous.
Preston emphasized keeping perspective on what matters most in your business and life:
“Is it worth me working an extra 10 hours this week to make an extra $1,000? I don’t know. If that means I have to miss a school play and church event and whatever, a night out with my friends or family, I don’t know if that really is worth it for me.”
He also recommended visualizing work-life balance as a pendulum. The goal isn’t to eliminate the swing entirely, but rather minimize its intensity.
As Clay put it, avoid letting hustle culture dictate your actions. Reflect carefully on your personal definition of success.
Travis added that bringing on team members or contractors should also align with your values, not just a revenue target. Sacrificing quality of service defeats the purpose.
Sustainable Growth Starts Small
With Travis newly full-time, we also explored the idea of eventually scaling up his business by bringing on subcontractors. But blindly chasing growth can easily backfire.
Clay emphasized first mastering your offer and processes, even if you only plan to serve 100 clients total. Refine quality before adding more volume.
As Clay put it, imagine your child was kidnapped, and the only way to get them back safely was making 10 sales this month. You’d likely do whatever necessary to hit that goal, worrying far less about outside opinions.
While an extreme example, the point is to tap into the emotions that drive sales. Attach revenue to the lifestyle and security you want. This can help motivate outreach without burning out.
Preston also recommended starting small when it comes to delegation. Even outsourcing just 10 hours of work can provide huge benefits if it empowers you to find more clients or revenue.
Look at the opportunity cost of every task and project. Just because you’re capable of doing everything yourself doesn’t mean you should. Analyze how time could be better invested.
Of course, bringing on subcontractors is lower risk than hiring full-time employees. You can always scale back if it doesn’t provide a return on investment. But the key is starting modestly.
Ongoing Evolution and Learning
While Travis acknowledged there are still endless lessons ahead, he’s already benefitted massively from taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.
Running every facet of a business rather than just delivering client work has accelerated learning. He now understands the importance of tracking details like billable hours along with maintaining meticulous organization.
Travis also realized the need to spend more focused time on sales and revenue-generating activities compared to his side hustle days. He’s made progress bridging the gap between creative and business mindsets.
When asked what advice he would give others considering going full-time, Travis emphasized believing in yourself and getting comfortable with uncertainty. As Preston noted, you’re far more likely to regret not pursuing such a path down the road.
Of course, individual situations vary. But if you have the financial stability to take a calculated risk, it can pay off hugely. With the right preparation, confidence and support network, you may be far more capable than imposter syndrome suggests.
For Travis, any unforeseen challenges that emerged were dwarfed by the excitement, fulfillment and expanded professional options that becoming a full-time entrepreneur enabled.
Working for yourself provides tremendous freedom and flexibility. But sustaining happiness and fulfillment over the long haul requires bringing consciousness to your actions.
As Travis demonstrated, growing your business doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your values, relationships or sanity. It’s all about understanding priorities beyond just revenue or scale.
By staying true to your personal definition of success, you can build a thriving freelance business without burning out.
Balancing business growth and quality of life is an ongoing challenge for all entrepreneurs. But with the right mindset and priorities, you don’t have to sacrifice too much on either end to build a fulfilling and profitable freelance career.
This transcript was auto-generated and may have grammatical errors.
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Freelance to Founder. My name is Preston Lee with Millo.co and joining me on the air as always is my good friend Clay Mosley from GetDripify.com. Hey, Clay.
What’s going on?
So what’s going on is we are catching up today with Travis Boyko who is also on the air with us. Hey Travis. And what’s cool about Travis is you’re on the show, we were just talking before we hit record, maybe six or eight months ago. And unfortunately, Clay, because of crazy weather, wasn’t able to join us on the show. So I’m kind of introducing the two of you today, but we’re going to catch up with you Travis and learn how your business is going since we last talked, what you’ve learned.
Maybe answer a few more questions you might have and just kind of kind of catch up for a minute. So welcome We’re excited to have you
Thanks guys for being here.
Well, let’s start off, let’s remind the listeners a little bit about your business. If we could, Travis, tell them what you’re working on and maybe paint a picture like if they, you know, what they might recognize you from talking about six or eight months ago and I really should know that number more solidly, but I don’t. And then, you know, what you’re kind of working on now.
Yeah, absolutely. So, hey everybody, my name is Travis. I’m a graphic designer and writer. I’m based out of Ottawa and Canada. So I basically help companies, teams, and people stand out in digital age through a variety of visual and communicative mediums. The last episode that I was on, I think it was, we were kind of discussing like, how it was possible to make things work. At the time I was working full time at a company and was doing some freelance stuff on the side.
It was really taking up a lot of my time on the free time that I did have and I was just chatting with you just to figure out, hey, like, when would be the right time to really do it? What were some of those markers that might help me determine, hey, now, just go and do it? So yeah, that’s what we were chatting about. Wait, so you’re full time now? Yeah, full time now. So I quit my job and I started things fully in June of this year.
Wait, so you’re full time now?
Oh man, I love it. That’s a huge deal.
Thanks guys, yeah, it’s been fantastic.
Yeah, if you want to listen to Travis’s original episode, I found it here in the archives. It aired on February 9th of 2023. It’s October right now of the same year as we talk. And the episode is called, Can You Make This Work? And so yeah, you know, Travis was, as he said, he had this side hustle going, he had a full-time job that you actually, I mean, you enjoyed it, Travis, if I remember right. But the question is just like, should I ever, should I ever really consider quitting my job, taking the business full-time?
What do I need to know before I do that? What kind of safety net might I need? Those kind of questions. And so it’s really cool to hear that you were able to make that leap. I’d love to hear how you got to that point. Like how did you decide, you know what, I am going to take the leap. I am going to take this full time. What was the catalyst for that?
Yeah, honestly, it’s such a good question. And I totally agree. Like when we were chatting, I was in my role and I was not hating it by any means. It was a lot of fun. The people that I was working with, my team was amazing. The content that I was working on was fantastic. But at the same time, I was doing my own business on the side. I had basically been doing it for four years at the time, just kind of carving out some time whenever I can. And the big catalyst for me was just like,
I think just listening to you guys, listening to other entrepreneurs kind of do their own thing and start their own businesses, I just kind of reached a point where I was like, I either take the opportunity and see if this works out or I don’t and be kind of like plagued with the idea of the what if, if it never happened, I never took the effort to really commit myself to it. I also just reached a point where I was taking on a lot more work.
And I physically couldn’t do it with my full-time job. So I reached a point where it was like, well, if I open up some more time by leaving my job, it would give me the flexibility and the opportunity to really work with the clients that I do have, take more projects with them, find new projects and new clients. So it just, yeah, just really opening myself up to more opportunity.
Yeah, I love that. I, you know, I heard a long time ago and I can’t remember where I heard this, that I guess it’s statistically shown that you tend to regret more things that you didn’t do than things that you did, right? And for me, that was always like when I was, cause I was in your same shoes, I did the side hustle for eight years or something. And then the whole time I was like, man, should I take this full time? Should I try it? Should I do it? The whole time I’m thinking like,
I would have regrets if I didn’t do it more than if I tried it and failed. Right? And so, I guess what advice Travis would you have for people who are maybe a year behind you in progress or whatever? And I say progress, this is only if you actually want to take your business full time. You don’t necessarily have to, of course that’s kind of the premise of the show, but like let’s say there’s someone in your shoes, they got a side hustle they’re really enjoying, but they’ve got a job they maybe enjoy. They’re not going to get fired maybe from their job or whatever, and so they have to actually make this decision and say,
You know, when should I take my business full time if ever? You know, what advice, what would you say to them?
Yeah, it’s a great question and I think even if I was just speaking to like my previous self I think it’s just have the confidence and really try and get out of your comfort zone If you are able to do it, I know it’s it might be difficult for some folks are in different financial positions They have different family lives and things like that. I was in a position where I Had a nice backing. I don’t have any like kids that I need to support and things like that So it was a little bit easier of a decision
But for me, a huge thing that was keeping me from doing it, it was a lot of imposter syndrome, a matter of, well, could I do this if I really push myself to it? If I leave my job, will people think that I’m a fraud or they think I won’t be good enough? And that’s so not true, and that’s exactly the opposite of what turned out. I think, if anything, the problems that I thought would arise.
did not and some other unforeseen problems arose that I would not have thought of. So I think my main advice is just if you have the passion and drive to do it and you’re really looking to try something new, 100%, like you said Preston, I think I would regret not doing it.
You know what’s so funny is I always tell people that worrying works because like 95% of the things that you worry about never happen. So if you don’t want it to happen, go worry about it.
It totally works.
Yeah, Clay, do you have any, well, I want to come back to Travis in just a minute. You can be thinking, like you said, there were some problems that came up that you weren’t expecting. So I’d like to get back into that in just a minute. But Clay, is there anything you’d add for someone who’s in Travis’s position a year ago, going like, I just, you know, should I do, should I try this, should I take the leap? When’s the right time to do that? What advice do you have for them?
Hmm, you know, this is this really I mean it’s really depends on like this is the most annoying answer it depends But really every person’s situation is different. You know, it’s there’s financials. There’s there’s family. There’s You know who if like your spouse who you’re married to what do they think? It’s it’s I mean there’s so many different things my I would say that
It all comes down to what does your gut tell you? That’s what usually does it for me, is as long as you can comfortably feel confident in saying that if you went and made the full leap full time, that you can pay your bills and you would be okay, go with your gut.
Because, you know, I don’t know. This is a tough question for me to answer because, and same thing with you, Preston, because I was fired from my job. I had no choice. So I’ve never been in that situation where I had the actual choice of should I quit or should I not? Because quite honestly, I don’t know if I would have quit just thinking back on my personal situation because I was comfortable.
Yeah, yeah, Cammy and I have talked about this where my wife and where I’m not sure we would have. Like I thought about it almost every day because I was doing it on the side, right? But yeah, it takes a lot of courage to do what you’ve done, Travis, which is to just say I’m going for it, you know?
Yeah, I… Mm-hmm. Yeah, same.
It does, yeah.
It’s a bit nerve-racking, but I definitely appreciate it.
Something though I remember is like whether you’re forced into it or whether you make that decision, I feel like the adrenaline kicks in so much that actually helps you. Like some days I wish I had a little more adrenaline in my business, in the way I work in my business. I’m pretty like comfortable right now, you know? And things are going smoothly and like, yeah, we try new things and we build new revenue streams, but I’m not nearly as hungry as I was when I first started full time because I was like…
I have something to prove. Like I’m six years in, six and a half years in now, and it’s like, yeah, I’m good. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone now. I’m in business, I’ve stayed in business, I will stay in business. But there’s like that, and it’s kind of fun, right? It’s kind of a thrill a little bit. Yeah.
That is a fun stage, that is a fun stage. Also the most nerve wracking.
I was gonna say maybe it’s more fun in hindsight, right? It’s like one of those things you look back on later fondly, but in the moment you’re like, man, I’d really like to get some sleep and not worry about where my next meal’s coming from or whatever, but.
Yeah, I mean, for me, it was definitely nerve wracking. And I think right when you kind of decide to make that decision, it is really fight or flight coming from like a corporate environment where you have your kind of set hours, you have your salary, you have your days that look similar in certain ways. And they’re structured in certain ways where I quit my job, came back to start my own thing.
the world was entirely open, my schedule was entirely open, it’s entirely up to me to start moving. It hits you pretty quick, but I think for me at least, the excitement and the opportunity that could be had there, I think kind of overcame that a little bit. It made it a bit easier and it wasn’t as terrifying.
Yeah, I agree. And I, I like, I was way more excited to get up for work during that period than I think I ever have been in my life, including now, even though I love what I do, um, you know, and I love getting up and working on my own business, but there’s just something about that. Maybe one year period when it’s just like all or nothing, right? This is the moment that I’m either going to make it or I’m going to fall on my face and, uh, and you kick it into the next gear and you, and you either make it happen or you don’t. And I think.
And maybe this is sort of survivor’s bias a little bit, right? But I feel like most people make it work. If you take, like you said, Clay, trust your gut enough and you’ve crunched the numbers enough and it makes logical and gut sense, like you take the leap and most people, it works out.
Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think, you know, I wish somebody had told me, like, because us as human beings, what we do, the way we’re motivated just in general, is that I think the majority of us are motivated to avoid a negative situation, versus motivated by pursuing a positive situation, like a reward, right? So I think that’s why, like,
both you and I were both motivated, because I don’t know about you, my back was up against the wall. And so I was trying to avoid an even worse situation. And again, I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from. And so that’s kind of actually the mentality. For those of you, I think, who are looking to make that voluntary choice of leaving a full-time gig and going…
freelancer. I think, and this is super tough to do, but I think working on that mind frame of that, like everybody thinks of, oh yeah, like what if I had like a seven figure agency? What would that do? Like, yes, that’s motivating. But I think simultaneously, I think we need to think about a negative situation we’re trying to avoid. And so even to this day, like right now, like,
Nowadays, one thing that I try to put in my head is, so my daughter’s name is Georgia. I always think, what if somebody had kidnapped Georgia and said, you have to go make 10 sales this month, otherwise you will not get her back. And so I would have no problem going and find 10 sales and I’ll figure it out with zero judgment from.
Yeah, you’d have no problem.
whoever right? Like I, the judgment in my mind goes out the door. Like what will people think? You know, because that’s a, that’s a real valid thing. It’s like people are afraid to make sales and do sales calls and DMs or whatever because they’re afraid of what people would think or like fear of rejection. But I’m like, but if, if your family members kidnap and that was the only way you can get that person back, like I’m guarantee you, you’re not going to really care about judgment. So.
It’s way more motivating in my opinion. I think it’s like a 70-30, 70 to avoid 30 to pursue something positive.
Hmm, yeah, really interesting to think about it that way and let that fear motivate you, right? So Travis, I wanna hear from you. You said earlier in the show, there were some things that as you made the switch, you thought were gonna happen that didn’t ever happen and some things that you never even thought about that did happen. What are maybe some of the unforeseen, if someone’s listening and they’re going, yeah, I’d love to do what Travis did, but I really just don’t know what to expect. What are some things that you didn’t expect that did happen?
Thanks for watching!
Yeah, definitely. And I think for me and back to what we were just talking about being a motivator, like I think for me, like money is a big motivator and being able to have that regular paycheck, the regular income. And that was one of the things that was really holding me back against doing this. And when I jumped into things, I very quickly realized like, oh, if you put your time and effort into it, there will be an ability to gain that.
So it’s not as much of a stress. The things that I didn’t expect, honestly, it might be really, really boring, but I think just because of the nature of my business, like I’m a designer and I’m a writer, I don’t really have much overhead. I do everything completely digitally, all remote, nothing that I really, really have to be too concerned about, no like storefronts or anything like that. The things that I didn’t expect were just the administrative work. A lot of like the financial aspect,
making sure everything’s in order, I’m keeping track of everything, making sure that I’m paying attention to the hours that I’m working and following up with clients more rigorously and things like that. All the stuff in the backend that I wouldn’t have traditionally done, especially as a full-time person, because it’s just part of the job, you’re just doing it as part of the nature of your work. Those things I didn’t really expect and especially before when I was freelancing on the side, there were more like…
smaller projects so someone would come to me for a couple graphics or a couple things here and there where I wouldn’t really have to put much client interfacing in where I now if I’m looking to do bigger projects I’m looking to get more work looking to meet new clients looking to do all that was the more unexpected thing it seems obvious but I think the amount of work that it takes and the time that it takes was just I just didn’t expect it
Yeah, that’s really interesting. I, you know, people who have listened to the show a lot are maybe going to be bugged that I keep bringing this up, but there’s this book, the E-Myth Revisited. If you haven’t read it, you have to read it. And it talks about service providers or craftsmen or makers. I don’t remember what he calls them. It’s been a few years since I’ve read it, but basically people who are talented at something like what you’re talented at Travis, which is like graphic design, writing, creative work. Right. I remember he gives the example of a baker, for example, and he, and he’s, he’s like the best baker. He works at a bakery.
And so he’s like, I’m going to start a bakery and cause everyone’s telling me how delicious my, you know, my baked goods are or whatever. And he starts a bakery and all of the sudden he’s not a baker. He’s a business owner and now he has to manage finances and he has to manage customers and he has to pay rent and he has like all these administrative tasks. And he’s like, I have no time to bake. Uh, because now I have to run a business. And I think that’s what a lot of us don’t see, which is like.
particularly if you’re working in-house in the thing that you want to go into business as graphic design or whatever it might be, you don’t see all the stuff that people in the business are doing that you’re not doing. Well, while you’re doing graphic design, someone else in the building is doing the accounting and someone else in the building is doing the HR work and someone else in the building is doing the marketing. And like there’s all this stuff that someone else is doing that once you go on your own, it’s on you. You’ve got to do it. Or a business can’t function without some of those basic.
needs being met.
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, I remember our previous conversation, that was one of the things that I mentioned and that was a huge reason why I was kind of humming and hawing about making a decision was like, I’m not an accountant. I have very little knowledge of how money works in the business sense. Like I understand how to get clients and I understand how to charge for like billable hours and things like that. But beyond that, like taxes are terrifying, making sure.
all your filing is done in a certain way, making sure you have all your seats, putting it all in order, tracking everything you do. Like that for me was a huge sense of anxiety. But I mean, in a certain sense, and maybe better for folks listening too, you kind of figure it out as you go along the way. I think I had a tendency to look at the whole picture as like, I have to figure out.
all my taxes I have to figure out, all the administrative stuff, the minute I basically start my business where it’s a pretty iterative process and you learn as you go, so maybe just not looking at it as this big insurmountable wall.
Yeah. You know what’s good about the beginning is that you learn how to do kind of everything so that you understand everything. That doesn’t mean you have to do everything forever. It’s like you have probably done enough accounting and financial stuff where you’re just like, okay, I understand this. Now let me just go hire a CPA or an accountant to just do this going forward. Because I think it’s good to like understand it.
but like you just don’t need to do it, right?
Yep. At least to have a basic understanding of how each piece of your business works. Right. And, and until you have hundreds of employees, like I feel like at least you should have, you should have a pretty good grasp on, on what each of your. Like if, if I, for some reason had all of my teammates leave the company today, it would be awful and I would suddenly not have any time besides work time. Cause I would just have to do everything they’re doing, but I think I could do most of what they’ve done.
Right? And that’s not to say they haven’t contributed uniquely to the team and to the processes, because they obviously bring their own skills and talents to the process, but like the basics of what has to get done for our company to keep running and making money, I understand. Right? And so I think that is important when your business is a certain size, that you understand how those things work. And then you’re right. I mean, I went through a few iterations of how I handled my bookkeeping and my taxes.
until I finally hired this company called Collective, which I can link to. And now they just handle it all for me. But I went through like spreadsheets and then I did like a QuickBooks thing and then I did a service called Bench and like I just tried all these different things. And you’re right, Travis, you’re not gonna get it right out the gate. Things are gonna change. And that’s, in my mind, that’s kind of the fun of business is like, okay, here’s what we’ve been doing and I’d like to try this different thing.
and see if it’s more successful and if it grows my company and frees up my time and helps me grow the business. I just think that’s all really exciting. That’s kind of the fun of it as opposed to like a dead-end desk job where it’s like, well, nothing ever changes here. You know.
Yeah, I definitely agree. And I think that’s one of the things that’s been super rewarding about the actual business ownership aspect of this whole thing is the fact that you have that kind of complete control, which is just not available in other settings. With all these tools and accounting softwares and all these things that are available online now, it can be overwhelming, but there is some sort of freedom in it where you can see that you can be flexible. You can test the things.
that work for you. They might not work for other people. They might be platforms or things that some people argue against, but if it works for you and you like how it functions and it makes your processes more streamlined, then hey, that’s fantastic. And at least you have the choice to do that.
Yeah, yeah, that’s true. That’s what I think that’s what I love the most is like you don’t have to go ask anyone if you can change it. You don’t have to like have a recommendation for something awesome only to have it fall on deaf ears or red tape or whatever. Like yeah, you have the flexibility to control your own processes and your own path in your business. I wanna talk to Travis. I know you said you had a couple of questions now. You’ve been in business for yourself full time for a little bit here now. What questions have arisen that you think
You know, we’re maybe a couple of years ahead of you, a few years ahead of you in this process of being self-employed. What questions could we try to answer for you today before we wrap up this call?
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, I have like two large questions. I know you guys talk about scaling quite often. So if we have time, maybe we can talk about that after. But one of the things I did want to ask about is kind of like, I guess, the opposite of burnout. So like, I’ve always been kind of like vehemently against this whole like,
hustle culture, like, rise and grind, and like, working every single waking hour. Like, if that’s your thing, like, you do you. Whatever works for you. But I’ve personally, I’ve felt the impact of being burnt out and being overworked, and I know that it can be just as bad as like, not doing anything. But now that I’ve like, started my business, I have regular work and clients coming in, and I’ve finally gotten over the initial like, terror and the leap of faith of actually doing it.
How do you get past an aspect of like comfortability and ensuring that you’re continuing to push forward without kind of reaching that state of exhaustion?
Yeah, this is such a good question. I’d be interested to hear what you say, Clay, but like, that pendulum has swung back and forth so many times for me. But my motivation has never been like to grow up millions and millions of dollars worth of revenue. I just, I wanted the lifestyle that comes with being self-employed. I love money, don’t get me wrong. But yeah, I’m kind of with you. I, that sort of.
And I admire and respect him, but that sort of Gary Vee, hustle at all costs culture, that’s tough for me. I don’t resonate with that. And so yeah, I fall on this too sometimes where it’s like, oh, revenue was down this month and I didn’t even notice because I was off hanging out with my family or whatever. And for me, it’s just about identifying what’s most important and then also giving importance or weight to the things that…
that deserve it. So obviously revenue in my company really matters. But does an extra $1,000 this month matter that much? Well, at this stage of my business, maybe not. It wouldn’t make or break my business, whereas in the first few months it may have. And so for me, it’s about keeping things in perspective. Is it worth me working an extra 10 hours this week to make an extra $1,000? I don’t know.
If that means I have to miss a school play and a church event and a service thing and a whatever, a night out with my friends or my family, I don’t know if that really is worth it for me. So for me, it’s about keeping it in perspective. And then there are some months where it’s like, well, if I don’t work really hard this month, we are going to be in trouble. I’m going to have a hard time paying my people. I’m going to have a hard time making a profit. And so, okay, this month I am going to buckle down and I am going to miss some things with my family or I’m going to miss some things with my friends.
But again, it comes back to that flexibility you’ve talked about Travis, which is like, sometimes I’m gonna give way more time to my family or whatever else. Sometimes I’m gonna give way more time to my business. And we’ve talked about this on the show too, Clay, which is like, there’s no such thing as work-life balance when you’re self-employed. It’s just kind of like work and life intertwinement, right? And like integration, yeah, that’s right. What else would you add, man?
Yeah, that’s a really good question. As someone who has been on both sides, when I first was a freelancer, I was definitely in that hustle grind culture. And that’s just because I didn’t have kids. I didn’t have any hobbies. What else am I supposed to do? So I just worked my ass off and I worked like 80 plus hour weeks. And that was just not because I had to, I just, I liked it.
Now that I have a daughter and just for transparency, a marriage that I actually like being in. I was married before first marriage. It’s different now. And again, I’m with Preston. I love money. So my thing is, but what does that money do for me?
Right. It’s not about like how much money I have in the bank. It’s like, what is that money actually accomplished for me? To me, that’s the real the real motivation behind that is like money is a superficial answer, in my opinion. It’s like, what is that going to do for you? Is that going to allow you to.
uh, do some things with your family that you would not have been able to do, you know, cause I, I like, I grew up super dirt poor. Um, I can count on way less than one hand, how many family vacations we took as a kid. Like we didn’t take family vacations. Um, in fact, I can count on one finger how many times we actually went out to eat like at a restaurant my entire childhood. Um, so
That’s for me, that’s kind of the motivation is like, I wanna be able to provide the experiences for my kids that I was not able to do, you know? But as far as like tactical things, because Travis, you’re motivated by money as you mentioned before, I am too. One thing for me, there’s a couple things as far as tactics here.
I get really burnt out when I’m doing a lot of things for a long time and I don’t make a sale.
Because it just like messes with my mind. And I think, what the hell am I doing? Like, why am I doing what I’m doing for so long? It’s not working because I haven’t made a sale yet. Right? So in order to deter that, I have a mentality of one sale a day. Not saying that I do make a sale a day, that’s just my efforts every single day. So what does that mean? It means
I make sure before I do anything else, every single work day, is I make five pitches to like opportunities, people who are on my hit list, right? Like people I’ve prospected with or networked with or whatever. And then I also do five follow ups. So people who I’ve already pitched to, but I’m just doing a follow up. I do that every single day. Because I have this mentality of.
I need to make a sale, like one sale a day. So that ensures that I have some sort of sales activity every single day so that I don’t have like these big sales slumps. Because sales as a business owner is priority, right? Like that’s super priority. Yeah, for sure.
Well, if you don’t have sales, I say this all the time. If you’re not making money, you’re not in business, right? You have a great hobby, but if you’re not making money, you’re not in business.
Yeah, I mean you may love to do like graphic design, but yeah, again, at the end of the day, if you don’t have sales, like what’s the point? So I think that’s one thing. Another thing that really changed my business was the, I think we mentioned it before on a, I think we mentioned it before on a podcast. Hang on one second. I’m going to pause for a second.
Sorry, you’ll have to edit that out in post. So I think we mentioned this on one episode, the book Traction. Have you read that book, Travis?
You had to, you had to sneeze.
No, I have not
It’s by Gino Wickman. Preston can link it.
Yeah, we’ll link it for sure. You’ve brought this book up a couple of times, Clay.
Yeah, so kind of the whole premise of this is people track their business success, I guess, by revenue, right? How much revenue I got coming in. The problem with that is that they do that after it’s done. So what I mean is like we’re almost at the end of October. I’m going to go
Did I meet my goal? No. Well, shit. Like, it’s too late for October because it’s already done, it’s in the past. Can you do anything about it about October? No, because it’s already done. So, what traction talks about is having what they call scorecard. And the scorecard is just a list of like activities that affect things like revenue, right?
So it’s almost, it’s like, did you do five sales pitches? Did you do five follow-ups? Did you post on social media? Did you write that email today? It’s the activity that generates the result. So you track the activities and that gives you a pulse of your business in any given snapshot in real time. Right? The results follow, yeah.
And then the results follow, is that what you’re saying? This is kind of like what we talked about with Zach last episode, which is like, there are some things that you can control and you can guarantee, and there are some things you can’t control. And you have to focus on the things that you can control, both with your client work and in your own business. I love thinking about it that way. And I would also recommend, Travis, as you’re talking about this un-hustle culture, how do I?
How do I find the right balance between hustling and growing my business and being satisfied? There’s this book by Paul Jarvis called Company of One and he talks a lot about just being satisfied with not growing, just being okay with that and not feeling guilty that your business isn’t growing and particularly not growing super fast. But to figure out what’s important to you and if revenue is the most important then yeah of course then you hustle for the revenue.
But if free time, if flexibility, if fulfillment in your work, if those things are more important, then you hustle until those things are met and then it’s okay to not feel like you have to be hustling all the time. So I think for me, that’s how you find the happy medium is you say like, why am I really doing this? If I’m really doing this to become a millionaire, well then yeah, I got to hustle until my business is raking in that kind of money. If I’m really motivated…
to do this because I want that free time, I want extra time with people I care about, or I want extra time for hobbies or whatever, then you hustle until you reach that and you find that good balance. And I think you can kind of sense it. It’s like, oh, I’ve probably taken too many days off, right? Or I’ve cut too many days short and gone to play pickleball or whatever it is. And you can kind of sense when that gets out of whack. And I think the goal is to keep that lined up because you can also sense when
Thanks for watching!
You’ve been putting in too many hours at work and you’re starting to feel burned out or ignoring people who you care about. And so for me, it’s all about just like that’s that pendulum is gonna swing. How can you minimize the intensity of that swing? Right. Um, to stay in the middle as much as you can. Yeah.
Mm-hmm. That’s why I like traction, right? Just keeping up with your activities because it’s a controllable thing. The sails will come in waves, but it will come in consistently. But if you do all your activities that you’re supposed to track, then it should be okay. It should help with burnout.
Yeah, I definitely agree and I like the analogy of the pendulum and making sure that it’s not swinging so heavily and clay with what you’re saying in terms of making sure you have kind of these kind of like low intensity tasks that You can just do regularly And they might not seem like it’s a whole lot on the day But over the entire span of the month, they really do add up and then that way you’re not just kind of
What are you hearing over there, Travis? Yeah.
burning yourself out, trying to blow through it all in one go, trying to catch up for missed time. Because I definitely noticed that. I think one of the struggles of being a business owner and doing things on your own terms is that you are holding yourself wholly accountable. And there are times where…
you might not feel like you have the ability to put in a couple more hours, so you might just take the time off, but then you’re like, oh, actually, now I need to really ramp that up the next day. So it’s swinging way, way too heavily. So yeah, I definitely agree. I think that’s something that I could definitely put in place, um, just a little bit more structure, maybe making sure that there is some sort of accountability, but not so much accountability that’s unreasonable or not even achieving the goal that I want.
Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Cause you don’t want to, you don’t want to build a business or set up a situation to where you’re hustling all the time and have no time for this other stuff that you care so much about, right? The whole reason you got into business for yourself in the first place, if you want to work long hours, you can go find a job where they will work you as long as you want to be worked, right? Um, and so, yeah, I think, I think for me, it’s just all about that balance. Clay, did you have more?
Yeah, there’s another book I would highly recommend. It’s by the guys from Basecamp. Rework, yeah. Remote. They have a couple of remote. And then it’s something called like work socks or something like work doesn’t have to suck or something like that. Yeah. So I’m specifically talking about rework.
Oh, rework. Is that so good? And their other what’s their other one? It’s on my shelf. I’m gonna look
It’s not a mishap.
Oh yeah, work doesn’t, something like that. Yeah, work doesn’t have to suck or.
They’re a big shtick of what they talk about in the book is creating these arbitrary revenue goals. So it’s like people say, oh yeah, I want to have a seven figure business. Okay, where did that number come from? Is it just because other people say it or whatever? Like, or they’ll say, oh yeah, I want to have, you know, make $10 million a year. Okay, why? Like, where did that number come from?
So their big thing is like, as long as you’re growing every single year over year, like what does it matter? It doesn’t. Like, you don’t have to, you don’t have to set this goal, this very finite number because if you go from like, so for example, my first year as a freelancer, I made, my goal was $100,000. I made $97,000.
I was not very happy because I missed it by three grand, but first year as a freelance, that’s pretty good. And then my second year, I don’t remember what my exact revenue was, but my second year, I think I did like $340,000 in revenue. I remember my third year though because I had a goal of, okay, I’m going to make $500,000.
Dude, we did like $488,000. But the point here is that, oh, and then the fourth year, we wanted to make a million. I think we technically made $998,000. I know, like, so my point here is that I miss the mark every single year, quote unquote, according to these arbitrary numbers I set aside. But if you look at the reality, I grew by over…
Clay, you’re such a failure. Yeah.
what, 300% from year one to year two, almost 100% from year two to year three, and 100% from year three to year four. Like, people would freaking kill for those numbers. So like setting these arbitrary numbers, it’s just, it messes with your mind. And that’s how burnout happens, right?
So just for context really quick, the two books are called Rework and it doesn’t have to be crazy at work. And both highly recommended, I’ve read them both, they’re so good, I’ve read Rework a couple of times. Yeah, like the cover for it doesn’t have to be crazy at work, it has a big red X with phrases like this behind it. 80 hour weeks, packed schedules, super busy, endless meetings, overflowing inbox, unrealistic deadlines, can’t sleep.
Sunday afternoon emails, it’s like, no, all this stuff that we believe this hustle culture has taught us we have to do, we don’t have to do that. And, um, these guys are like living it. They’re building their business base camp on these principles and they’re doing really well. Right. And so it’s really a couple of inspiring books, highly, highly recommend. I think that’s four books we’ve given you now to read Travis and listeners, but, um, definitely some good ones. Yeah. What else is on your mind, Travis? Anything else?
We’ve got some light reading to do.
Yeah, no, I mean, honestly, that was a good transition because I think on the topic of growth and scaling and things like that, I know you guys talk about scaling quite a lot. I listened to a few of the previous episodes when folks had questions about scaling. I think mine might be a little bit more nuanced when it comes to scaling, but it’s really understanding maybe signals of when you could be able to scale. So like, for example,
when would you know that you are able to hire like a subcontractor? Is there like a certain financial benchmark? Should you grow incredibly slow if that’s the only way you can grow and plan and set expectations to do so? So like say if I only had 10 hours of work a month to give to a subcontractor, is that beneficial just because I am at least growing at some pace?
Hmm, this is so funny because we just talked to Zach about this, for listeners last week for us an hour ago, we were talking to Zach about this and yeah, he had the same question. He’s like, what comes first? Do I get the big clients to fund hiring people or do I hire people to offload my workload so that I can then find the big clients, right? And so very, very similar question. What we told Zach and maybe we’ll, I mean, we’ll tailor the question a little bit knowing your situation, but.
But in my mind, to answer your question about like, well, should I just do 10 hours a week just because I can? Yes, I think so. Because what you’re doing is everything has an opportunity cost, right? And so those 10 hours, yes, you could do the work or you could pay someone to do the work and then you could go out and find two more clients in those 10 hours or whatever, you know, whatever it equates to in your business. And so every time you take on work, whether it’s administrative work or deliverable work,
billable work, whatever you want to call it, everything you say yes to is an opportunity cost in your business, right? Where you’re doing 99% of all the things in your business or maybe 100% at this point, everything is an opportunity cost. And so my opinion is yes, if you can afford to hire someone even for 10 hours a week or 10 hours a month, if it’s something that would free up time for you to make more money or grow the business in other ways to achieve, again,
coming back to this idea of like it’s not all about money right money’s not the end all be all but if it would help you achieve the goals that you want to in your business whatever those are then yes 100 it’s worth that investment.
Mic drop, I guess. Clay, do you have anything to add on that?
Yeah, one second
Something crazy is happening, Klaze. I don’t know, does that resonate with you, Travis? What do you think? Yeah.
It’s the next storm. Um, yeah, no, I definitely agree. Like I think when, like even the concept of growth, like for me, speaking personally, and I’m sure other people would probably feel the same way as someone still relatively new, like I’m only in this for five months. Like the idea of growth and bringing on someone else is like, I’m just trying to keep myself afloat and pay my bills. But I think…
there’s gotta be some sort of mentality shift in terms of understanding that kind of opportunity, the available opportunity where I could put in some more time or give someone else the time to do it and create like kind of exponential opportunity, right? I think it’s still wrapping my head around that because I’m just so like process and operation driven that I’ve not considered what that might look like. And maybe there’s gotta be some sort of
understanding on my end even from a financial perspective of like what that what that looks like
Yeah, and we talked about this with Zach too, which is the nice thing is if you start with contractors or subcontractors, you can always ease off, right? If you pay someone a couple thousand bucks this month and you’re like, whoa, that was not worth that investment, then next month you say, hey, sorry, we gotta push pause on this for a minute or whatever. Like as opposed to hiring an employee, which it’s like, I’m hiring you for $60,000 a year and.
We’re obligated to each other, and it’s this whole big deal. You can just hire freelancers to help where it actually makes an impact in your business. And then you can be very selective about, OK, I think if I spend $1,000 here or $500 there, that’s going to actually free up my time or generate more revenue or whatever and help me achieve the goals that I have in my business.
Okay, so I have some thoughts. Finally. Sorry, I had a distraction. I had a distraction over here. Okay, so I’m going to say something. I don’t think I’ve ever said on a podcast. I think slow, healthy growth is priority first. So here’s what I mean by that. I think people get so caught up in, oh, when can I hire somebody so I can take on more clients?
I think the mentality needs to change first. I think the mentality needs to be, if I, so Travis, if you had the mentality of I’m only going to get 100 clients, right? Not 100 active clients. I mean like you only can take on 100 clients whether they leave you or not.
Just 100, so as soon as the 100th person purchases from you, that’s where you can no longer take clients. How would your service and your work change? So people would be like, oh, I’m gonna make sure my service is top notch, right, because I need to make sure that I can keep all 100 of those clients. To me, that’s the mentality that
needs to happen first is act like you are only able to take on 100 clients total.
And then refine that process, get your work, your quality up super, super top notch. And then at that point you can look at hiring somebody.
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point because I think, like it’s funny you mentioned that, because one of my next questions was like, how would I prepare my clients for onboarding another contractor or something like that, and potentially sacrifice quality? Because that is something that I am, I hold myself to a very high standard, and I make sure that what I deliver is like me 100%, and there is like no sacrificing that.
And if I’m trying to rush to get someone in the door just for the sake of growth, and I’m potentially sacrificing that quality, I’ve completely lost the plot then.
Yep. I wish somebody had told me this when I first started my agency because we grew super, super fast. I mean, super fast, but our quality sacrificed. We fixed it, but I wish we had not grown as fast as we did. Yeah.
I’ve yeah, I’ve had the same experience where you hire because it does free up your time, but you don’t, but, but then you, you maybe haven’t hired well enough or, or you haven’t taught well enough to where your quality stays where it needs to be. So then you have to kind of go backwards and either let people go find new people or you have to retrain, which is hard. And so yeah, it becomes really complicated. I’m with Clay. I, I’m, I’m a very slow growth kind of guy. I mean, I’ve been doing.
my business either on the side or full time since 2008. And we have four people, depending on the time of year, four to six people on the team. I mean, we are not a big company and I’m sort of intentional about that, right? I don’t wanna spend most of my working hours managing a team of 50 people, so that’s part of it. But yeah, I prefer to grow. It’s so funny, these tech startups, they’ll talk about growth in terms of how many people they’ve hired, right? And it’s like, well, no.
What if you hired fewer people and made more money? That’s a real winning business in my mind. We’ve increased revenue every year, at least since I took it full time, and we have not increased personnel. So something’s really working there. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Does that help, Travis?
That’s scaling. Yep, that’s scaling.
That’s really interesting. Yeah, 100%. I think it’s coming from my perspective, when you hear the terms like growth and scaling, you automatically think that the dollar amount should be proportional to the personnel amount, right? When that’s not always the case, I think it’s like you were saying, being able to do it in a way that’s smart and actually works for you, but also meets your values.
That is also scaling too. I mean, obviously the benefit is more financially with too, but if it doesn’t meet up with everything else, then what’s the point?
Yeah, yeah, I think it seems like everything we’re talking about today comes full circle to that idea of like, what do you really care about? What’s really important in your business? Money of course is important in any business, right? But besides money, what else do you care about? Right? What kind of business do you want to be running? Do you want to be managing a team of 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 or 100 people? Or do you want to be managing a team of two or three people? Or do you just want to work for yourself? Like it just depends so much. Again, coming back to Clay’s answer, it depends, right? And that’s hard. But um…
but it just depends on what you really want out of your business. And I think, you know, getting the clarity on what you really want out of working for yourself is a really big deal. And some people skip that step and they let other people decide what success looks like in their business. And when you let other people do that, then you succumb to this hustle culture or this way too laid back culture or whatever it might be. And that can be really dangerous. And so I think, yeah, I think…
You’re in the perfect place in the age of your business to now say like, and it sounds like you already have an idea, Travis, of what your vision is for your life and your business. But you can get so much clarity on that. And I think that’ll just drive the decisions you make as you move forward.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think coming back to the, even the whole idea of the podcast of like where you are in freelance to founder, like I’ve very clearly made the decision that I want to grow my business, but how that looks, I think that’s something I never even really considered beforehand. It’s just like, you either have one or you have the other. So getting into the nuance, yeah, very important.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it’s been a lot of fun chatting with you, catching up with you, hearing about your business. You’ve had some really unique questions today. Thank you so much for joining us on the show. Travis, will you remind people one more time where they can find you if they want to work with you or network with you or whatever?
Yeah, absolutely. So my business is Travis Boyko Creative. You can find me at travisboyko.com or if you wanna shoot me an email, it’s just travis at travisboyko.com.
Perfect. And if anyone is still listening an hour later into this conversation, if you’re having as much fun as we have, I have said a few times, Travis’s website, his portfolio site, his website, is exactly what you should be doing as a freelancer to actually convert site visitors into paying clients. He’s just done, not only is he a talented designer, which is of course important, but he’s thinking the right way about calls to action, about how to reach out, about showcasing work, about talking about himself.
about talking about his clients. He’s just doing it all really, really well. So have a look at his website. We’ll be sure to link to that in the show notes as well, but travisboyko.com. Travis, thanks again, man, for coming back on the show. It’s been a real pleasure. And Clay Mosley from GitDripify. I’ve been Preston from milo.co, and we will all talk to you later. See ya.
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