Most of us became self-employed because we wanted a higher level of freedom in our work and our personal lives.
We wanted to have more control over the kind of work we did. Whom we worked with. When we worked. How we worked. And how we balanced work and personal responsibilities.
But after growing their business for a number of years, some writers start wondering if they should take their business in a different direction and start scaling their operation.
Their motivation varies. Some choose to go in this direction because they see an opportunity to create a business that doesn’t depend entirely on themselves. Or they want to create an asset that could be sold off for a hefty profit in the future. Or they love the creative challenge of building a business that leverages the talents of other people.
Or perhaps it’s simply because they had really good clients they could no longer fully serve on their own. So they chose to grow their operation to serve those clients rather than risk losing those clients to an agency.
We’ve talked a lot about scaling up your business a number of times on this show and in my newsletter. You’ll find some of those discussions and articles here, here, here and here. We’ve also interviewed others who’ve chosen this path.
Today, I’m talking with someone who’s doing this right now. Her name is Jaclyn Schiff, and she’s the founder of PodReacher — a content agency that’s exclusively focused on helping B2B tech companies repurpose recorded content into articles, blog posts, white papers, ebooks, case studies, lead magnets and other powerful content formats.
One of the many things I love about PodReacher is their nuanced focus. This is a very tightly niched agency focused on a very specific set of solutions for a very specific audience. And that right there is a recipe for success, when executed well.
In this candid conversation, Jaclyn explains how she came up with the idea for PodReacher. How she transitioned from solo writer to an agency model. Her motivations for doing so. How and why she’s pivoted and evolved her company a number of times in a few short years. Her biggest challenges. And the biggest misconceptions writers have about scaling up.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.
(00:36): Why don’t you describe for us what it is you do today
I run PodReacher, which is essentially these days I describe it as a niche content agency. We work with mostly B2B companies, and we repurpose content, or what we like to call content transformation.
(03:19): When did you launch PodReacher and how did you come up with the idea that for the business?
I started it towards the end of 2018. Um, so it’s been just over four years now. At that point I’d been a freelancer for about two years. So, I’d been working for myself for two years and I had always had a bit of the entrepreneurial itch, like I’d previously started another company that I didn’t quite have the drive to persevere with, but it was a good way to sort of get my feet wet and understand the right business and what’s required to really launch and bring something into the world and then make it a little bit sustainable.
(09:14): What’s been the focus more recently?
So, the focus is more on a type of client rather than the medium that they’re using, and the client is a B2B tech company.
(14:19): How much do you get involved in terms of content strategy and offering that as part of your solution?
Great question, not very involved and that is an area of evolution I see for the agency. My focus has been I would like PodReacher to be the service provider that creates the best writing based on repurposed content.
(20:16): What is the biggest source of clients for you today?
So, the last few years I think it is because I had some initial success with that cold outreach and I’ve leaned on that a lot.
(24:57): In terms of number of projects you’re delivering, per month. For somebody listening in who doesn’t know, are we talking about you got two or three clients you do this for? Or are we talking about two, 300 or somewhere in between?
It’s probably over the last three years we’ve worked with about 50 clients. I would say that at any given time, we’re probably actively working with 15 to 20 clients.
(27:18): What kind of team are we talking about then behind the scenes?
It is all contractors. Um, I’m technically the only full-time employee in the business. I’d say we have a writing team of about 20 to 25 writers.
(36:31): Where have you had luck finding good people? Has there been a particular source, or has it been word of mouth or has it all over the place?
I think the hardest thing in the world is, is hiring writers because anyone can say they are a writer or decide to market themselves and position themselves as a writer, write, and we can all type words on a keyboard but there’s so much more that goes into being a professional writer.
(38:59): What do you think you guys do well in terms of managing the team and expectations?
I have to give a lot of credit here to the managing editor.
(40:13): I’m curious about where you’re looking to take the business. What, what’s your vision right now? Early 2023?
I’m working through quite a bit, um, at the moment, in part, again, you know, the introduction of, um, Chat GPT last year really gave me pause and just made me consider what is the vision and how do we differentiate and leverage AI. What does that all look like? So, I think that’s something I’m still wrapping my head around.
(43:57): What would you tell to somebody who’s looking to scale up their operation?
If your main goal is increasing your income that’s going to happen a lot more quickly and probably easily and with a lot fewer headaches if you just do it yourself. Maybe you bring in a virtual assistant or a writing assistant.
(47:47): Where can I send people who want to check you out, want to connect with you?
By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book.
It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here
2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]
3. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.