Spend a few minutes with Jamie Leigh Hoogendoorn and it’s clear she’s one of a kind. This Vancouver-based web designer and developer is warm, talented and stylish – and she loves to learn. Jamie Leigh has been a freelance web designer for the last three years (after previous stints in freelance web hosting, visual anthropology and network administration), but she’s always hunting for new ways to strengthen her business.
Enter the Creative Class.
Jamie Leigh signed up right out of the gate. No stranger to e-courses and online training programs, she was eager for something more concrete. More actionable. “I like that Paul keeps things simple,” says Jamie Leigh. “And when I heard the price, I said, ‘Really?’ I thought it was extremely low.”
Jamie Leigh has made changes to her business based on nearly every module, but says the Pitch lesson had the biggest impact. “I used to get a lot of tire kickers,” says Jamie Leigh, “and I would put my heart and soul into them.” For every client inquiry, she would pore through emails, examine pain points, create a detailed custom quote, and respond in excruciating detail, which took 8-16 hours – before anyone had even signed on the dotted line. By creating clear, automated systems, she has cut that onboarding process down to just one hour. Max.
In addition to weeding out flaky clients, Jamie Leigh says her projects are steadier, she’s booked at least four months in advance, and she’s working half the number of hours, but earning nearly 40% more than last year. Her confidence is higher, too. “I’ve raised my level of professionalism,” says Jamie Leigh. “It feels like clients trust me more. And I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to make all the parts work for people.”
Chatting with other freelancers in the Slack channel has also given her a welcome sense of community. When you work from home, or work on your own, it’s easy to start questioning your instincts – and your sanity. “You start thinking, ‘am I going crazy? Have I taken a shower this week?’” says Jamie Leigh, laughing. “It’s nice to hear other people’s experiences and kind of get out of the basement.”
Do the math and you have a happier, more efficient freelancer (who did shower today, for the record). Jamie Leigh finished the Creative Class several months ago, but says she continues to learn from the monthly Office Hours calls and has teamed up with a fellow student for an upcoming project. She also goes back to the lessons when she wants a refresh.
As for anyone who’s still on the fence about joining the class, Jamie Leigh didn’t hesitate to share a few words of advice (and we’re not paying her – promise):
“Take it. I think it’s invaluable, and it’s so freaking affordable!”
To summarize, Jamie: