SFR 8: How To Cut Through 94% Of The Talentless Freelancers – To Find The Skilled 6% – Stephen Larsen

SFR 8: How To Cut Through 94% Of The Talentless Freelancers – To Find The Skilled 6%

Sep 14th, 2016 anchorwave


All right you guys, I have a little bit of a cool little, I don’t know what you call it. A freelancer hack, or something like that.

Anyway, I was looking at how I built so fast. I built it really quick. It was up, it was live super fast, and I was thinking about it. This will relate, I promise.

Just go on a little journey with me.

I did door to door sales for two summers, and I was also a telemarketer. In each of them, I was one of the top guys, both times. I was making good money, and I remember, I got to this conference that was for people who were doing well.

In the conference, they said, “Eventually, what happens is, you guys start getting good enough, you don’t know what it is that you’re doing that makes you successful”.

They said, “You start to become blind. You don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what you do know. You start to get into this zone where you’re saying things, and you have strategies in your normal work flows that are making you successful.

But you couldn’t teach it to somebody else, because you don’t see yourself working. You’re just no longer aware of it”. It’s true, in your own jobs. In your own businesses.

It’s interesting, thinking about that. Think about what it is you’re doing, that’s making you successful, but that you’re not seeing. Because every one of us who’s working our butts off, we all have these little things that we do, that we don’t know.

One thing that I do, I get up early every day. Super small, but I was thinking about it. I get at least three hours every single day, on top of normal work, to just go work. My family is all asleep anyway, it’s not an extra strain on the family.

I get here at least three hours before hand, times five days a week, at least. It’s fifteen hours, that’s almost a part time job on top of my other job. That’s how I get so much crap done.

There’s also little tiny tactics and strategies that I use.

I was thinking about with Sales Funnel Broker, when I built it, what did I do that made that go up so quick? Here’s one of the things that I did.

This is a freelancer hack. I always recommend, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should be.

I’m not bad with Photoshop.

I’m not amazing, but I can get by with it.

Same with Adobe illustrator, a lot of the Adobe suite. A lot of building stuff. But that doesn’t mean I should always be the one doing it.

There’s somebody else out there who loves what it is that I’m trying to do. Whereas I just can do it, I don’t love it.

When I need images made, the “HeySteve!” t-shirt, things like that, this is what I did. I went on to, and as far as I know, is the only one that actually lets you do this.

I don’t know if UpWork does. Definitely don’t use this for Fiverr. Fiverr is good for certain things, but it’s not good for a lot of stuff, because it’s so cheap. You get what you pay for a lot of times.

All I do is, I go inside of and, I think it’s up on the top right. There’s a button there that will say, “Create contest”. We humans thrive on contests, oh my gosh. It’s all about social status and social ques, whether or not we want it to be.

That’s one of the reasons we do most of the stuff in our life, is because it increases our own status. We want to be interesting, we want to put things out there that help people.

We want to be noticed and recognized. Whether or not we’re actually trying to be, we want to have that.

So I create contests. The “HeySteve!” t-shirt contest, I got on there, and I said, “Hey, I want a sweet t-shirt for my podcast. I want people …”, and by the way, if you haven’t seen that t-shirt, just go to and you’ll see it right there. It says, “HeySteve!”.

What I did is I got onto and I said, “I want this t-shirt, and I want it to have these elements. I want it to have this color scheme, and I want it to look somewhat like this. But really, I’m interested in just what your ideas are”. I got 83 submissions.


There were so many sick t-shirt contests, and there were so many crappy ones. What was nuts about it is, how fast it came in. Within a week, I had three amazing designs. There’s only one design up there right now, at the time of recording this. There might be more now, depending on when you listen to this.

What was cool was, as people submitted, and the deal is I only pay someone, one person. I only pay the person that I like.

The work that’s good. 82 other people of the 83 submissions, they worked for free for me. I’m not saying to take advantage of people, but my gosh. I have spent thousands, and wasted thousands of dollars, hiring a freelancer straight out, without knowing everything they can do.

If you’ve ever used Freelancers, I know you’ve felt that pain before. You’re like, “I don’t really know if this guy is going to do exactly what I want. I don’t know if they’re going to be the best for my business”.

Or you have some serious pain going, “No, that’s not exactly what I wanted”, and you ping pong back and forth. Just screw it, just go create a contest. Get tons of submissions all at once. What’s cool is that Freelancer lets you talk to the freelancer, to the person who actually put the work up.

Throughout the whole week, I was critiquing their work like crazy.

I only put the contest up for a week, and at the end of the week, I had to choose. Day one, I had tons of submissions. Day two, even more, and just ramped up, until day four.

All I did is, throughout the week, at the end of the day I got on and said, “I like this, but just shift it over here to the right”. Or, “I like this, but I don’t know who’s looking at this wrong. I said I want the shirt color to be dark, not white. All the other shirt colors before hand were all white”. Until Wednesday or Thursday. Everyone’s switching their designs up, and it’s such a huge contest.

My comments were public, and it was interesting, people started going through and reading other people’s comments, and going, “Crap, I’ve got to switch to that”. They would go take their design, and make it better, and work it and tweak it, and do what they’re good at. Do what I’m not good at. I would just tell them what I like and don’t like, over and over again.

I did that throughout the week, and after a while … 83 submissions from 50 freelancers. At the end, throughout the week, I just kept rejecting the ones that I knew I hated, and I could rate on the bottom with stars the ones I like.

Everyone’s looking at the 5 star ones, the top ones, and modeling after that. Then I get dozens and dozens of attempts at the same thing, over and over again, and it made the work really quality. I was like, “This is freaking cool”.

I got really awesome work over and over and over again, and I only paid 100 bucks. You can choose the amount you want for the contest, you can make it 50 or whatever, but you get the work that’s a little … I just wanted to excite people, and I wanted to motivate people.

I was like, “100 bucks, probably motivating for someone who does this all the time. They can probably whip something up quick, so I want them to fight for it. I want to create tension inside of my contest”. So I created it, and just boom, started rejecting, rejecting, rejecting, rejecting. I rejected so much stuff. I think overall there was 8 pages worth of submissions, and 7 of them were all rejected. I’m sure it was disheartening for some people, but it made the ones who really wanted it want it. It made them really hungry.

There were two or three at the end that I really liked. I awarded one person the 100 dollars, and then I went back and purchased the designs of the other two.

I started using that same model for everything else. Images, that header image on Sales Funnel Broker, there’s also a footer image. There’s also … I started using it for everything. What was cool is, it worked every single time. Whereas in the past, all I would do is, I would look through different freelancers’ credentials, or I would just post the job up and I would get a million people telling me, “Hire me, I’ll do your job”. Anyway, I was about to say something a little derogatory.

I would speak with people who didn’t clearly understand what it is that I was trying to say. Because they didn’t speak fluent American, from ‘Merica. Which is totally fine, but it made it hard to communicate and actually get done what I was trying to do.

No disrespect if you’re not from America, that’s totally fine, but sometimes it was really hard for me to get across what it was that I wanted, and I ended up wasting thousands and thousands of dollars. Which I totally have. I’ve paid people to make websites just because I was like, “I could make it, I just want to go focus on this other thing, so why don’t you go make it, and I’ll just go focus on this other thing”. But it turns out, every single time I’ve done that, I always end up building it again on my own.

In this way, you don’t have to. Instead, just put prize money out there, and get tons of attempts from people who are already producing work first. That’s my whole thing. Go make value first, get paid later. You’ll get paid more money like that, doing that. This model totally falls in line with that.

Go create a contest, and get people to submit, get their work first, and create value. What’s nice is that, now I can follow up with all those freelancers that actually did do a great job, and I can tell them, “Hey, I’ve got another project for you. Hey, I’ve got something else for you”, and they’ve proven themselves to me. I’ve cut through the fat of 80 other submissions to get to the three that were good. Think about those averages and those odds.

Anyway, that’s my little freelancer hack. I don’t want to keep beating it to death. But that’s one of the reasons I think I got up so fast, was because of that. I just outsourced to other people, but I made them work before I paid them, and I only paid for good work.

That’s all I expect you guys to do. If you guys ever hire me to build a sales funnel or whatever, I collect a little up front, I go make a super sick sales funnel, and then I get the rest in the back.

That’s how it works with sales funnels in general anyway. You deliver value up front, get their email address, get contact information, whatever it is that you can use to follow up with them later. Then you get the real money after you finish the break even sales funnel. This is just using that same sales funnel model inside of It’s really cool.

Anyway guys, that’s all I’ve got for you. I hope that is a great day. Go produce more by hiring freelancers, and create sweet contests. If you do this, please let me know, because I haven’t heard of anyone else who leverages this the way I am, and it’s really been effective for me.

It’s been an awesome thing for me to go do. Any software piece you need created, any art you need created, any type of creative, make people do good work before you actually pay them, and make them fight for it a little bit. I’ve noticed the hungry ones create really good stuff.

Anyway guys, I’ll talk to you later, and again, please let me know if you’re doing this. Bye.


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