MANIFESTO: From Freelancer To Free-E-O… What It Takes To Scale. 

PART 2 of 6: The Biggest Mistake Most Entrepreneurs Make and How To Avoid It

So far, we’ve talked about the problem with hustle and “get more clients / make more money” advice.

SIDE NOTE:  

If you somehow read the first page and still DON’T believe over-hustle is a serious problem that is keeping you stuck… or if you just didn’t feel like it applied to you… you’re free to close out of this window and go hustle for a while longer. (And hey, no hard feelings or judgement from me if that’s what you choose!)  

BUT I’ve got a little challenge for you before you go. ;)  

Set a reminder on your phone. (Or outsource it to Siri / Alexa / Google Home lol.)  

If in 6 months you still feel overwhelmed and scattered, come back to 7FFA.com and we’ll take care of you <3  

Because I guarantee you’ll be coming back when you’re ready to try something different. When it’s become too much. When it’s started to impact your business, your day-to-day, your friends & family, your health, your whole life.  

It happens every time, and even though it’s heartbreaking for me to watch, I will always be here with open arms to support you when you’re ready <3  

SIDE NOTE #2 + A WARNING:  

Too much hustle and burnout does lead to health problems, so please be careful if that’s the route you choose to take. Consult a doctor if you start to feel fatigue, weakness, or any changes in your normal, daily routine (like change of appetite, change in sleep patterns, for women change in menstrual cycles, etc). 

I’ve been through burnout and it’s not something to take lightly. I’m still in recovery after many years of working with medical professionals, so take care of yourself!! 

If you DO believe there’s a problem with using hustle as the single magic wand to solve all your business struggles… stick with me.  

But before I talk about how to scale WITHOUT hustle, let’s back up a bit.  

I want to tell you the first of 3 stories about typical entrepreneurs…  

This first story is about The Freelancer.  

This is a person that quit their job to start a business and live a life of freedom.  

A lot of people get into the digital marketing world because they were scrolling on social media one day while on break at their soul-sucking job. (You’ve heard this story before.)  

They saw an ad with some guy posing in front of a sports car, talking about how he built a business on his laptop and now he’s able to work from the beach and he’s “set for life.”  

(The actual experienced business owners are already laughing out loud here.)  

Anyway, they quit that soul-sucking job and started on their online business adventure…  

Only to realize they’d traded one soul-sucker for another *womp womp* 

By this point, their offer has been validated. They’re getting people results.  

AND they’re filling up their bank account.  

Before they know it, they’re making a ton more money than they ever were at a day job.  

This is super exciting!  

This is what I call Money Freedom.  

It’s 1 of the 3 Freedoms that a true “Free-E-O” gets to have in their life and business.

(Note: This client is a little further along in the process but you get the picture. YAY MONEY.)  

Everything is working out for the better with their finances… often for the first time in their lives. They’re finally able to do MORE than just make ends meet. They’re able to spend the money they earn on things that make them happy... AND they aren’t feeling guilty about spending. They’ve got more than enough, and they’re 100% confident that they can generate more income as long as they put their mind to it.  

CONGRATS 🎉 If you’re reading this, that means you’ve probably hit this milestone already.  

But most people get stuck here.  

Money is coming in for The Freelancer, sure... but shit’s not quite right...  

They’re in a cycle of feast or famine... marketing, selling, serving clients, delivering, then scrambling to market and sell again.  

(AKA, hustle-city.) 

To escape from hustle-city, The Freelancer needs to realize that it’s not just about the money or client-getting. It’s about creating a true business that’s scalable, where marketing & sales are just a few pieces of the puzzle.  

Think of a game of football…  

  • Offense = marketing & sales  
  • Defense = systems & team  

You’re playing against the opposing team of burning out, closing down the business, or going bankrupt / in the red.  

You need both offense and defense to win the game.  

So let’s say your team is heavy on offense (marketing & sales).  

You’ll try to score a lot of points (leads & sales), sure...  

But then your defense (systems & team) let the opposing team score points (stress & chaos wins *womp womp*)  

With strong offense & defensive team… You could score tons of points AND prevent the other team (burn out & stress) from scoring any points too (AKA prevent chaos and hustle from getting the better of you.) 

“OKAY KATYA I get it, I believe you, but what do I DO??”  

Your First Steps To Scaling 

First step is to hire team.  

I’m going to cover this quickly because you’re probably already past this part. But if you’re not, here’s what you need to do… 

  • Get clear on your org chart with roles, responsibilities, KPIs, etc.  
  • Create a hiring process for your business.  
  • Hire your first person.  

You need to get clear on EVERYTHING before hiring because the worst thing you can do is bring somebody into a hectic situation where boundaries aren’t defined, responsibilities aren’t obvious, and Key Performance Indicators aren’t set.  

It’s kind of like how in marketing, you’ve got the Ideal Client Avatar (ICA). Without it, you might end up targeting the wrong people and wasting a bunch of time & money…  

Well, here we’ve got the Ideal Business Avatar (IBA). If you skip this part, you’ll hire the wrong people and build a business that’s so disorganized, it’ll drive you crazy.  

I just need some help around here! I’m desperate!!” ...said the overwhelmed agency owner.  

Well, if you’re desperate and overwhelmed now, then adding another person into the mix (that you now need to train and manage) is not going to fix things overnight. It’ll get worse before it gets better. And believe me, it could get a lot worse…


Like that time Jess* hired a VA that ghosted them after being paid for 3 months of work. And the little bit of work they did had to be fixed and redone by Jess anyway, so she lost money and time by hiring them.


Or that time Alex* hired a project manager who took off with all their IP and clients. They’re still going through a huge legal battle over it.


Or the time Kayla* hired an ads manager to help run client accounts and ROAS went down from 3 to 1.4x. Which caused them to be fired by their biggest client and essentially losing them their biggest recurring revenue stream.

* All client names have been changed in the examples above, and future examples, for privacy purposes.

Shit happens, and you’ve got to be ready to hire STRATEGICALLY, not desperately.  

Desperation will kill your business.  

So the first thing you need is an org chart. You need to know exactly where you need help, and exactly who would be the right fit. You need to know what the ideal end result will look like BEFORE you start asking around “if anyone has a buddy” who can help you out with this project or that project. 

This is an example of a client’s org chart that we helped build. This is just the first step. We use this to outline key responsibilities, KPIs, characteristics, and more. Then it’s used as a job description for hiring new team members. The goal is to repace all the "Me" labels under each role.

See what I mean?  

And a lot of the time, when I start talking about hiring with creative service providers and digital agency owners, they say things like “Oh, nobody can replace me. Nobody can do what I do in my business. Nobody can help me with this.”  

Here’s the deal:  

If you want to keep right on believing that, go for it.  

But if you’re ready to let that mindset go, I can help.  

Because I’ve heard TOO MANY PEOPLE say “wow, Katya… I thought I would never be able to hire somebody to replace the work I do on XYZ, but you were totally right. It was possible.”  

And all it took was an org chart, a clear hiring process, and a little faith. 

Let me repeat for those of you in the back...  

This shit saves you SO MUCH TIME.  

You build it once, run it over and over again, and hire A-players that get shit done in your business

The hiring process is the piece that gives you the trust and confidence that you’re hiring the RIGHT person, for the RIGHT position, at the RIGHT time. 

I go more in depth with this with my clients, but it doesn’t need to be complicated at all.

So which is the more helpful belief, here?  

It’s impossible” or “we can figure this out”  

Which one are you going to choose?  

If you want to choose the “figure it out” doorway, let’s move on to the second type of agency owner and the second type of Freedom that Free-E-Os get to enjoy…

CONTINUE