Welcome to Recipes of Freelance Success, sharing the stories of graduates from the Kitchen

“I made so much unexpected progress that I ended up making myself too busy! I just celebrated my first $100k!”


industry bake time

2 years
but side-hustling for 15 years

freelance flavour

Recipe dev, food photography, & content creation


Long-standing South Australian food businesses

Chef’s ROI

4x investment (and counting)

Chefs Notes

I remember when I first met Susan, she was this lone freelancer trading as ‘Susan Smith Creative’. While there’s nothing specifically wrong with that (my graphic design business literally has my name in the title), I just never felt like it was quite the right brand for her. Susan knew exactly what type of clients she wanted to work with in an ideal world, but was scared to specialise, fearing it would turn away more clients than it attracted. Six months later, Susan Smith Creative has now rebranded in every way possible. Salt Creative Studio is tackling bigger and better things than Susan Smith Creative ever could, she just hit her first $100k milestone, and I was excited to sit down with Susan and hear about her change.

Ingredients Susan started with…

  • 2 cups of people pleasing

  • 500 grams of serving the wrong clients (aka serving anyone!)

  • 1 cup of doubt when pitching to new clients

  • 1 kg of pricing uncertainty

  • 5 cups of passion for food and creativity

  • 1 healthy handful of knowing she was worth more

Method to Susan’s success

Jaz: Before investing in The Master Freelancer, what problems did your business have?

Susan: I wasn’t clear in my offerings and who I wanted to serve. I was really bogged down and overwhelmed, and I’d become this people pleaser who just agreed to everything.

When I started The Master Freelancer, I didn’t really know what my business vision was, but I knew it wasn’t this. I felt like I was trapped in a fog, working really hard for all the wrong people. I was making ends meet, but I wanted more profit with less stress and more purpose, and more vision and clear strategies to make that happen. I wanted to work with people who would excite me AND pay me what I’m worth.

I was not at all confident in my pricing and the way I’d packaged up my services, and I knew that was holding me back. I needed some validation that it was ok to charge what I wanted to charge, but I knew I also needed help with structuring those prices, so I wasn’t just plucking numbers out of the air.

Jaz: Why did you choose me over other coaches? What made you want to do The Master Freelancer?

Susan: Well, I’d been following you for a little while, and it was like every time you put out a new resource or piece of content, I felt like you were reading my mind. I had all these notes from stuff you’d said or written, and I’d always go sniffing around your website it I needed help with something. You ended up DM’ing me about something on Instagram and I replied within about 30 seconds.

It wasn’t actually on my radar to do anything like this, but I saw a few bits of content about it and I realised that I really needed to actually invest in something like this. Everything you’d said and written really resonated with me, so when you DM’d me, I knew that this program would be perfect for me. I also felt like you were really down-to-earth.

So many other coaches have this real sales-y “ick” factor, but you were just a real and humble human being.

Jaz: You know it’s funny, I remember the first masterclass that you ever came to. When I have new students, I always try and observe how they react to their first class because I want to make sure I’m the right coach for them. I just saw this incredible passion and talent within you but knew that you lacked confidence and weren’t sure how to turn that into a really profitable business. Now, looking at how far you’ve come, there’s no stopping you and I’m CERTAIN of that! What was the main goal you hoped The Master Freelancer would help you achieve, and did it?

S: I went into it really wanting to be clear and confident in my pricing and then use that to pitch to new clients, but once I started The Master Freelancer , all these other goals started to appear. I remember filling out one of the worksheets and realising that there were other things that needed my attention first, like focussing on who my ideal clients actually are and figuring out who could actually serve me in the ways that I needed.

I made so much unexpected progress that I actually made myself too busy and then spent the last few weeks of The Master Freelancer making sourdough during the classes lol.

Jaz! Ha, I remember that! I was so proud that you’d made a return on your investment so quickly. Were you making money before The Master Freelancer? How does it compare to now?

S: I was making money, but I had to work a lot harder because they weren’t the clients that I wanted. I’m now doing $7 – 8k months and I’m quickly working towards $10k . (spoiler alert, since this interview Susan reached a massive milestone of reaching $100k in her biz!)

I’m almost exclusively working only with clients that I want, and one of my current goals is to stop working with the wrong clients all together. I no longer say ‘yes’ to everything and everyone and can be really picky about who I work with. I’ve also got a steady flow of clients and know how to replace each one when the project wraps up.

When I look at where I was before The Master Freelancer compared to where I am now, I’m sooo much closer to reaching my business goals.

Jaz: I look at you now and see the stuff you’re creating and what you’re doing, and I’m blown away that this is the same person who first sat in one of my masterclasses. Even some of the other graduates have commented on the change in you and how incredible it is. What do you think has been your biggest win since finishing The Master Freelancer?

S: Having the confidence and strategy to pitch ideas and stuff, and to create an environment that works for both the client and for me.

I don’t really have that fear or uncertainty of being told ‘no’ or changing something and then losing the client. Working with you has really given me a reframe of things and I now know how to replace a client if I do lose them, and that maybe they weren’t having in the first place. I remember specifically learning about the different types of leads (like warm VS cold) and how to use that to grow the business.

What you taught me was stuff I’d never considered but it’s completely changed my business and allowed me to never run out of work.

Jaz: Yeah absolutely! I’ve definitely found that most freelancers are most worried about not having that steady flow of work and I completely understand. It’s amazing to get to the stage where you honestly just don’t worry about it anymore because you know how to stop it from happening. What was your favourite part of The Master Freelancer?

S: Being part of a wider freelancing community and always having a safe space to ask questions. It might be me harassing your DMs to hear some wise words or reaching out to other alumni for feedback and connection. Even though I’m a freelancer and I work alone, I now have this community of peers and it’s incredible. Shannon and I try to catch up every so often to help keep each other accountable and bounce ideas and stuff.

Jaz: Yes she told me that you still chat and it’s so cool! After doing The Master Freelancer, how long did it take to start seeing positive changes in your business?

S: Umm, like two weeks into the ten-week program lol. Every week I was working on something relevant, and the wins just kept coming. Every Wednesday when we’d do the ‘Wednesday wins’, I always had something to share. It also created a new routine for me where I’d dedicate time each week to work on the business.

That started because of The Master Freelancer and it’s something that’s ingrained in my business now. I do it every single week, and it’s something I just never made time for before. It’s been six months since we wrapped up, and I’m still focussed on implementing things I learned in the program.

Jaz: After implementing things you learned from The Master Freelancer, what has been the biggest change you’ve seen?

S: Clarity on my target audience, knowing exactly what I want to be doing, and then knowing the steps I have to take to get there. I just didn’t have any of that before The Master Freelancer.

Jaz: What do you think your ROI would be from investing in The Master Freelancer?

S: So in week two of the 10 week course, I had a 20 min brainstorm chat with you over DMs. During that chat, we came up with a plan to solve a problem that I had, and that plan resulted in an immediate return on the investment. I literally made back the entire $2k (and then some) that I’d invested to do The Master Freelancer.

Since then, I’d say I’m up to 4 x my investment but there’s so much more that just can’t be valued in a monetary way. I now know exactly what to do each day to make sure my business serves me in the best way possible, and that’s honestly a priceless investment. The Master Freelancer has given me sustainability and longevity.

J: What would you tell someone who’s considering The Master Freelancer?

S: Doooooo iiiiitttttttt.

Going into The Master Freelancer, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t get a return on my investment, and I think that’s probably true for most people. BUT, believe me when I say that you absolutely will.

Just don’t worry about it, you will. Learning those foundations of how to run a successful freelance business means you can go away and just do it. You’ll keep applying those principles for the rest of your working life, and that alone is one hell of a return on your investment. You won’t question yourself anymore, you’ll know to price with confidence and how to pitch with confidence and how to find your next project with confidence and how to confidently turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. That knowledge is priceless.

J: Susan, I can’t wait to see what’s next for you and I’m so happy to have been part of your journey. I’ve dropped your socials and website below so that we can all share in your success.

T: People can find me at @salt_creativestudio on Instagram or visit my website at www.saltcreativestudio.com

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