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Hayley Akins

Hayley Akins runs an online education company called Motion Hatch. They help motion designers with their businesses and creative careers.

Building a community
Building a community

Building a community

Ep
107
Nov
18
With
Hayley Akins
Or Listen On:

Building a community.

Hayley Akins runs an online education company called Motion Hatch. They help motion designers with their businesses and creative careers.

If that name sounds familiar, you might recognize it from her podcast, that goes by the same name. It’s great, so check it out if you’re looking for something new.

Hayley and Chris discuss her journey from studying film production, working for Google and the transition from full time to freelance to ultimately, starting her own business. But what’s really cool is that she’s created this unique community to help her fellow creatives and provide a support group of their peers.

There is a lot of overlap with what Hayley does and what we do. So if you’re a fan, then you will enjoy this one. Her and Chris even do a little mentorship role play which is always fun to witness.

Episode Transcript

Hayley:
If you know that you're not the best 3D designer, but you're like really good at 2D and you need some help, get somebody in your corner who is good at that and then you can make that a work. I don't know why people in our industries think they have to do everything themselves or even admin stuff and things that. It's just so great to delegate and automate stuff.

Greg:
Hey, it's Greg. And welcome to The Futur Podcast. Today's guest runs an online education company called Motion Hatch, and they help motion designers with their businesses and creative careers. Now, if that name sounds familiar, you might recognize it from her podcast that goes by the same name. I've listened to it for a while now, and it's really great. So check it out if you're looking for something new. Anyway, she and Chris discuss her journey from studying film production, working for Google and the transition from full-time to freelance, to ultimately starting her own education business.
But what's really cool is that she's created this unique community to help her fellow creatives and provide a support group of their peers. There's a lot of overlap with what she's doing and what we here at The Futur do. So if you're a fan, then I think you'll enjoy this one. She and Chris even do a little mentorship role-play, which is always fun to witness. And real quick, there's a couple of swears in this episode. So heads up, if there are kids around. Please enjoy our inspiring conversation with Hayley Akins.

Chris:
I'm excited to do this call with you, Hayley, it's been a little while. Now I've been doing some digging into how we know each other and the couple of times in which our paths have crossed. And so I'm excited to talk about that, but before we do, for people who don't know who you are, can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Hayley:
Yeah. So I'm Hayley, thanks so much for having me on this podcast. It's pretty awesome to be here. So yeah, I run an online education company called Motion Hatch and we help motion designers with their businesses and careers. So things knowing what to charge, how to get clients, building businesses, working on projects that you love and all of those things that creatives find quite hard as I'm sure you know, Chris as well.

Chris:
Yes, for sure. Now, for fans of the channel who've been listening to this for some time, Hayley and I have some history and I'm not the best at remembering all these things. So I had to actually look it all up. And correct me if I'm wrong because your memory probably is much better than mine because I don't have a great memory and I'm getting old, but I think I was a guest on your podcast. And then you and I met in person at The Futur London event, a different name, different organizers by Wildcard. And then I met you, I think for the first time in person as a real life human being. And then it dawned on me like, "Oh my God, we did a podcast together." And so I'm like, yes. And that's how bad my memory is, but I think that's the first time we met physically together, right?

Hayley:
Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah, I was trying to remember too. I think it was actually Joey Korenman from School of Motion that said, "Oh, you should get Chris on your podcast. He's awesome." Things like that.

Chris:
So what's your relationship with Joey?

Hayley:
How do I know Joey? I think I just was aware of School of Motion and when I started my podcast, I was like, you know I want to get on, I want to get Joey Korenman on. I think he just launched his book, The Freelance Manifesto. So I think it seemed the perfect thing to do because obviously we help motion designers with the business side of things. And that's literally the only book out I think, about that, right?

Chris:
I think it is. You're right. So there's a lot of synergy here and overlapping mission I think, in terms of what Joey is trying to do. He's teaching people who want to get better at animation, specifically for the motion graphics industry. He's written a book on how to live a freelance life, right? And you provide much more bespoke services. And I think from the site, I was able to figure out that you I think you offer two things. Can you tell us about the two things at least I was able to pick up from the site?

Hayley:
Yeah. So we've had a few things in the past as well, but the main things we're doing right now is just about to launch a new course called Client Quest, which helps motion designers get clients more consistently. So we're talking about how to market yourself, what social media platforms you can use, how to use a CRM, all of that good stuff in that. And then we also have a mastermind program. So I don't know whether I should probably explain what a mastermind is, but usually it's the way you have peer support groups that help each other. And we have facilitators.
We actually call them mentors because I feel they offer a lot more than just facilitating for the groups. They offer a lot of help and advice as well. So they're the main two things we have now. We still have a contract bundle, but I decided to get rid of that. We can talk about that with you on.

Chris:
Okay. I do want to talk about that, but just in a second, I'm going to write this down because I had heard that you put together a really nice contract bundle for people in our industry. And it was very specific and very tailored. So before we get into all this, now you have lived a life before doing all this coaching and helping and facilitating and being a mentor to lots of people as a motion graphics artists yourself, right?

Hayley:
Yep.

Chris:
And tell me about your introduction into the industry and then what led you to creating this thing that you have now called Motion Hatch.

Hayley:
Yeah. So it's a long story, so I'm always like, "Why should I start?" But I guess, I studied film production at university and then I ended in London. I'm actually from Durham in the North East of England, but I ended up moving there because that's where most of the jobs were at the time. And then worked my way up to be a motion graphics designer and then I got a job at Google. So I was actually full-time for seven years, which is most... so much more than other people. I don't recommend that other people do that. But I think it gave me a lot of experience like leading teams of animators and things that.
And then I went freelance and I basically started my podcast in 2017. So that was called Motion Hatch too. And then the business has grown off the back of that. I mean, I could go more into detail into some of these stages, but that's the briefest overview I can do at the moment.

Chris:
What was the inspiration? You were working as a freelancer and how does one go from that to starting this thing that you're doing?

Hayley:
Yeah, it's pretty funny because what happened to me actually, I really was getting into listening to podcasts and things that. And I find this podcast called Location Indie, which was basically a podcast for people who wanted to be digital nomads and stuff that. And I found that because I was trying to do my traveling as a freelancer and I was really interested in the idea of traveling while working and having more freedom and that thing. And then they had a community also called Location Indie and I joined that community and I was like, "Hey, someone should do something this, but for motion designers because no one's really teaching us how to freelance or change our mindsets around imposter syndrome and how much you charge and things that."
So I was like, "Oh, okay. That's cool." So I think it took me quite a long time to figure out, "Oh, maybe I could do something." And then I came up against some obstacles because I was like, "Oh, well, the obvious thing to do would be to write a blog, but I'm not very good at writing and I'm dyslexic." So I was like, "I can't do that." We make all these excuses for ourselves. I'm sure you've been there too. And then I met my now podcast editor who was like, "Hey, you could create a podcast.
I know someone who does a similar thing in the video industry. I'll send it to you." And I was like, "Oh, I like the idea of this. I like talking to people." So it just went from there and it just made sense. I just saw in the industry that people really needed this and these conversations to happen. So it just inspired me to go for it, even though I was absolutely terrified.

Chris:
So it's the age old adage where you scratch your own itch. You wish for something and then nobody's going to make it for you. And on a recent conversation I had with somebody, they said that you're only allowed to complain about something once after that it's called whining. And what does that mean? It's like if you complained to something that doesn't exist, then next thing you have to do is you actually have to be the solution or make the solution yourself. And so that's what you did. What's not clear to me, Hayley is this gap. So I've looked you up and I've done a little bit of research and I see that early on in your education, you studied psychology, philosophy, and religious studies.

Hayley:
Wow, you have to do research.

Chris:
I have. Then you studied film production, where does the business and the marketing and the mindset stuff come in, aside from the psychology, I could see where that relates but if somebody listening to this, they're going to think, "Who the heck does Hayley thinks she is teaching people about business? What are her credentials? What are her bona fides?" Like how did you learn this and when did this come into play?

Hayley:
Yeah. So I think, like with most people's paths of how they ended up doing what they're doing, it's a few things that compound over time. I don't know. It's strange for me because I did do a business, like GCSE at school and I realized that it was actually the highest grade that I got and I was like, "Huh, I must have enjoyed that." And then also there's a lot of businesses in my family. So when I went freelance, I was like, "Oh, I really liked this. This is what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to run my own business. This makes sense to me." Whereas everyone else around me seemed to be really struggling and charging much less and even people who I thought, "Oh, your work is so much better than my work. Why are you charging less? It doesn't make sense."

Chris:
Oh, I see.

Hayley:
And it was just like seeing what other people are doing and feeling like, "Oh, well I don't feel this is as much of a struggle," and that thing. And probably influence. Having a lot of influence from my family and that sort of stuff. And then just getting into the digital nomad community and then learning about online business and learning about that and being like, "Oh, this all applies to freelancing and getting clients as well." And then just taking a big deep dive into all of that stuff and reading a ton of books and doing the most research and just trying to figure out how the things that I learned, from what I'm trying to learn for my business, how I can apply that to other people, other creatives and other the motion designers and how that might help them.
And I always think, I know that some people would be like, "Oh, well, how have you got the confidence to do that?" But I'm like, "Well, I know a little bit more than other people. So if I could turn around and help them, that's going to be beneficial to them and I'd really encourage everyone else to do the same thing as well."

Chris:
So this is where people get all bent out of shape? And I think you and I were maybe not in the same boat, but in similar boats where people are like, "Well, how can you back this up? What do you know and what have you done?" And that's the general attitude that people take. And it's really weird because you're obviously, not you, these people are obviously seeking answers, but as soon as they hear something that sounds like an answer, they are quick to dismiss it. And I love this part where you said, "Well, look, I'm not going to beat myself up over this. I know a little bit more and if that helps you, I'm going to share it with you.
If it doesn't, don't worry about it." And I like that. I mean, I haven't met that many people who share that same philosophy because then they're like, "You're a charlatan, you're a snake oil salesman. You just learned this." And I'm like, "Yeah, I did and I don't even hide it. I just learned it. I'm just trying to share with you. If it doesn't help, no problem." So have you had your share of people throwing stones at you saying, "Well, who the heck are you?"

Hayley:
I think maybe in a different way. When I first started the podcast, what encouraged me is because I got a lot of people emailing me being like, "Hey, this is awesome. Thank you so much for doing this. This is really cool." So I was like, "Oh cool. That's really great." I think where you probably, people come up against this more is when you start trying to charge for stuff. This is the way people get upset.

Chris:
Yes. 100%.

Hayley:
So they're like, "Oh yeah, you did this free thing. That's awesome. We love you." And you're like, "Cool, awesome." And then you're like, "All right, well, I'm going to..." So for example, what I did, "I'm going to pay some lawyers to help me make this contract because this is a need that I see in our industry and I wanted to help with that." So I was like, "Right. If I'm going to pay some lawyers." And I'm like, "Okay, well I probably need to charge for this then because I've got a lot of expenses and a lot of time to make this thing." So it just made sense for me to charge for something like that. So that's how I got started and probably how I got over a bit, because I was like, "Well, I've got to hire other people to help me. So I can't give it away for free." It's that kind of idea where I think that helped me get my first product under my belt.
And then I think after that I was like, "Well, in order to do this and make this successful and now I'm trying to hire more people to help me with Motion Hatch and stuff that and build a small team. In order to do that, I need to have some sort of paid products and stuff that." I've just built a whole course and the amount of time and effort and money that goes into that is absolutely ridiculous, which I'm sure you know as well. So it's like you have to charge for some things and I think the way you get around it is just make sure that you provide tons and tons and tons of stuff for free and tons of value for free. And then there's always going to be people who want to go a bit deeper with you and want to get more of your help. So then you can say, "Cool, well, we've got this course and we've got this and that." And then that helps you do more of the paid stuff and more of the free stuff and that's how I get my head around it.

Chris:
During this time in which you're developing these contracts and forms and building out a company in podcasting, are you also working as a freelance independent contractor and doing motion graphics?

Hayley:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. So that's pretty insane. People need to remember that, right? It sounds like you've been able to navigate these very treacherous waters with this very fickle public designed Twitter, if you will, or motion design Twitter, where people get really bent out of shape when people you, who've done a lot of good for the community all of a sudden decide one day, "I'm going to charge for something because you know, God dang it, I spent money and I need to recoup that. And I'd to do more of this if this is helpful to anybody."
So you test this idea, but you've been able to do that in a way that I think there's still a lot of Goodwill for you, whereas I can see on my end, there's a lot of heat and hate and that's totally okay. It comes with a territory. I'm totally fine with it. So I admire that you're able to navigate that. Tell me about this first product, this contract. How much was it and what did you all put into it and why aren't you doing it anymore?

Hayley:
Yeah, so I think it was £229. So basically I hired a lawyer in the US to help me make it and I hired a solicitor in the UK, which is just essentially the same as a lawyer. We just call them different things. Yeah, they just helped me put it together and I had to reread through all these contracts for such a long time and all that.

Chris:
Yeah, fun stuff.

Hayley:
But now I feel grateful for that because I feel I have much more knowledge about that thing and obviously I'm not a lawyer which comes on to a problem, but anyway, yeah, put this stuff together and it went really well and it's fantastic and people are still asking me for it and why I essentially got rid of it was because I felt I was getting a lot of questions about legal stuff and legally you're not actually allowed to answer these questions, right? So, because I want to serve the people, my audience the best I can, I felt like my choices were to either try and bring on a lawyer on to the team, maybe as a freelance or whatever, to help with that or just get rid of that product because I'm not willing to do things by halves.
And I feel I was doing a disservice to people by not being able to give the full support that I would feel comfortable with for that product even though everybody said it was really good and things that. And also I wanted to make space for these other products and services, which I felt like I was in a better position to provide for people.

Chris:
Okay. Well, just for full disclosure, we actually do something called the Legal Kit. And it's funny because I don't actually get any questions about the forms at all. It's wild. So maybe you put more effort into it or maybe I'm just disconnected from our audience. But we realized the same thing that over the 20 plus years of running a business, there's all kinds of legal forms that we need. And they're quite expensive for you if you commission them one at a time and it doesn't make sense. Most of this is what the industry refers to as boiler plate that you change a few variables and it's good, right? So attorneys will charge you money to draft these things up. They're not literally writing them all the time custom for every person. They're just changing the variable. So it makes sense, especially if you have contracts that apply to the local laws, that's really important.
Okay. So you're getting bombarded with these questions. Obviously, you can't answer them because you're not a lawyer and you shouldn't be giving those kinds of answers anyways, right? What they say. It's above your pay grade. So that's for somebody else to deal with. So then now you've got these two other products or ideas and I want to learn more about these things. So like you mentioned before, one's called Client Quest and then the Mograph Mastermind. Let's start with Mograph Mastermind because I like this. And we do very similar things. So this is just two people geeking out over the same thing, I think. So I'm going to ask you lots and lots of questions here. Okay, Mograph Mastermind, you talk about accountability, feedback, encouragement, and community.
And these are very small groups from what I was able to gather. And the groups are somewhere between four to six people and it's an eight week program. And you've got a whole curriculum. The idea is you would meet your peer group, whatever your mastermind group and then at the end of the eight weeks, somebody would help you write your plan for the future. Can you share with us a little bit of maybe some examples of plans that have been formed for some of the people who've gone through the mastermind program?

Hayley:
Yeah. So I think this is what I consider a mastermind sprint now because I've actually started a six month program, which I feel like is more drawn out. But it's a bit more behind the scenes, I guess. So yeah. The eight-week mastermind, you say, it's usually four people because I feel like that was the best because I want to give everyone enough time to be able to talk about what they want to do. And six sometimes feels like it was pushing it a little bit. So yeah, they get a mentor based on where they are in their careers. So we have Jess Peterson who runs our own studio in New York. So she's more taking the people who want to build small animations studios, that thing.
And then we have Christopher Bernal and me who take on modest freelancers. But I got Christopher on board because he's in San Francisco and I'm in the UK. So it became a bit of a struggle to facilitate and mentor all these people in the US so that was why I did that. So yeah, it's really good and basically for the future plan we go through and we just help and support people, but we answer any questions that they have as they're going through. And they have three hot seats as they go through because that's how we break it up in the eight weeks because there's four people and that's how it works quite nicely. So we're trying to encourage them in the beginning to prioritize what they want their hot seats to be.
So it sounds scary but it isn't. Basically when you're in the hot seat, you just have a chance to ask the group and the mentors like, Oh, like your questions. And we usually encourage people to do it around one topic because you don't have tons of time. So there'll be two people in the hot seat each week. So it's 30 minutes each. And then, yeah. So it's just brainstorming about your business or about where you want to go. Well, we have whips which we use for feedback for reels and all that stuff. So usually it's people, if they want to start their freelance career, it's like, "Well, okay, have you got all your ducks in a row basically?" So their future plan might all be about, "Okay, I want to go freelance in September," or whatever.
And then throughout the eight weeks we can help them and be like, "Okay, we'll have a look at your reel this week and then we'll have a look at your website and see if that makes sense." And they can submit different things and things like that or if you want to build a small studio, it's like, all right, well, have you figured out who your ideal clients are? And there's lots of stuff that crossover between groups a lot of the time. But I think it's pretty free flowing like a mastermind should be. I mean, I've been in tons of masterminds and I felt it was probably the thing that's changed my career and my whole life. So I was like, "Of course, I'm going to give this some motion designers."

Chris:
Oh, okay. This is interesting. I've never been in a mastermind group before. So this is wild.

Hayley:
Really?

Chris:
Yeah.

Hayley:
That's very surprising to me. That's hilarious.

Chris:
I'm just as surprised as you've been in many mastermind groups.

Hayley:
I've been in tons.

Chris:
So what mastermind groups have you been in?

Hayley:
Yeah, so I was in one with that group Location Indie. So part of that community, they provided... they paired up people into masterminds. I've been in some with friends of mine, who are doing similar businesses. And then now I'm in a nother mastermind through a business coach as well. There's probably been some other masterminds too, but they're the main ones.

Chris:
And these are always small groups?

Hayley:
Yeah. So, they're four to six usually. That's how I based my program on that, because they're usually the same amount of people, like four to six people and yeah, you usually go around and then you have a hot seat format and then some people have extra stuff on that they add into the program. So for example, in our six-month one, we have guests that come in once a month and talk to our six people in that group. So there's six month when we do six people because there's over a longer period of time. So you have a bit more time, so it's a bit easier. And also the value is when you have more people, obviously you're getting different perspectives from people as well.

Chris:
Okay. So how much is the eight-week program and how much is the six-month?

Hayley:
Yeah, so the eight-week one is an £897. And the six-month one is currently, I think it's about £500 a month, 497 probably. But I think that's probably going to go up.

Chris:
497 a month.

Hayley:
Yeah. So people pay up front and stuff like that too.

Chris:
Right. And how many of these eight-week things are you running concurrently between the three of you?

Hayley:
So we usually do three to four groups each.

Chris:
Okay. That's a lot.

Hayley:
Yeah. So it's an hour and we usually do an hour and a half too because we like to give people as much time as possible. So we do an hour and a half, like three times a week, something that each. But we're not running them all the time. So we have sessions. So we only do it three times a year for the eight-week one.

Chris:
I see. And then you take a break in between or something?

Hayley:
Yeah. The summer, because otherwise it's too much.

Chris:
Yeah. It's too much.

Hayley:
Yes, quite a lot of work.

Chris:
I think this works really well because you're specifically tailoring people in the motion design industry so that if I join a mastermind group, it's not there's an architect or a web developer where I don't really learn something from their hot seat question. So I get that. Now I want to ask you this question. What is one of the most common questions that you get from people sitting in the hot seat?

Hayley:
It's not really a question, but a thing that comes up a lot is imposter syndrome. Surprise, surprise. People want to talk about that and they're always like, "Hey, can we have a chat about imposter syndrome? Because I'm feeling my work isn't good enough and stuff that." And I think actually that's probably one of the biggest benefits is just having more of a 360 view on your work, on what you're doing and that thing. Because it's just hard when you're sitting on your own somewhere being like, "I'm trying to get clients. I've been there, everybody else has been there. So I think it's just nice to have a group that you trust, that you can talk to and say, "Hey, what do you think of my reel? What do you think of my work? I've been feeling really down lately because this client didn't get back to me. What do you think of that? Is there anything that I can do?" All of this stuff.

Chris:
Yeah. Okay. I'd like to do this with you. Can I put you in the hot seat right now?

Hayley:
Sure, yes.

Chris:
Okay. I want to ask you, I mean, this is a very common, so this is very broad. And so everybody that's listening to this right now can receive or get some value from our conversation. So I'm going to be my hot seat. I'm going to say to you, "Hayley, sometimes I just don't feel what I'm doing is worth anything that it just feels pretty average. And if I'm being honest, maybe below average and I feel guilty for even charging the money that I'm charging. I only think it's a lot of money." How do you respond to that?

Hayley:
So I'd probably say why do you think it's below average? Is it because you're not confident in your work, in your skills?

Chris:
I see all this work that other people do and it's so good. And I just see this really big gap between where I'm at and where they're at.

Hayley:
Yeah. That's true. That does happen in the industry a lot. There's a lot of work out there, but your work is probably just as good as a lot of other people's work. And I would say to Chris, that you should remember that your value isn't just in the work that you produce because to you it's all about personality as well and about how you get on with the client and your relationship that you've built with them and that's actually really valuable because you can be a great motion designer, but you could also be a bit of an asshole or whatever, and people might not want to work with you. But you might bring something else. You might bring a different background or different perspective as well. So I'd definitely consider that. But if you're worried, maybe you consider doing some personal projects to build up some skills and things that. What do you think?

Chris:
You know what? You've triggered something inside of me and all of a sudden I realized that this imposter syndrome monster I've just grown up in a family where my parents were very judging. They didn't want me to do this and I have very successful siblings that are professional people, doctors, attorneys, that kind of thing. And then here I am, it's just really black sheep. I'm always hearing their voice in my head like, "You're not good enough. This isn't it. Go do something serious with your life." How do you overcome something that?

Hayley:
Well, yeah, I think from my point of view that creatives are like really great people because we come up with ideas and we help people. So what I would do if I was you I'd go away and think about what clients that you want to work for and how you're helping them solve a problem, because that might help take the focus off you and put the focus on to your client and who you want to serve and how you want to help other people and that thing. I don't know whether you think that would be a valuable thing to do?

Chris:
I think so. I could try that. Okay. So that's how you would do this, huh?

Hayley:
Yeah. So I try and ask people questions and then give them suggestions with what they're doing and also with a mastermind, you have to remember, it's not just me there, it's other people. So maybe other people are like, "Cool. Yeah. I totally felt like that too and I did this thing that helped me as well." And it's all of that stuff as well, but yeah, that's all the time we get stuff like that and I think just having people to talk it through with as well and be like, "Oh yeah." Other people feel that as well. I think that's really helpful.

Greg:
Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back with more from Hayley Akins.
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Welcome back to our conversation with Hayley Akins.

Chris:
All right. I want to circle back to two things, but first, the first thing I want to circle back to is you said that you got interested in this thing. You started reading a ton of books. What books have been formative in terms of the way that you think in business and psychology and coaching?

Hayley:
I know there's a book called The coaching habit. It's really good.

Chris:
So those of you guys that don't know The coaching habit, Michael Bungay Stanier, it's a series of questions. I think he has seven questions and it's a great just general philosophy about learning to ask questions more, to talk less, and to be slower to give advice. And that the person that you're talking to probably has the answer already. You just need to help them find it themselves. Okay, very good. What other books have been formative in terms of shaping how you think about business, psychology, marketing, whatever.

Hayley:
Yeah. Probably recently Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller and Marketing Made Simple, that's his new a book, but it's all about not confusing your clients and your customers and how to bring them through a funnel to work with you and that kind of thing. So it's really, really good. Marketing Made Simple is really good. If you want to work with more direct clients rather than agency clients and stuff that, because I would approach it slightly differently, I think. But if someone's out there thinking, "Yeah, I want to work more with direct clients and brands." Then I would definitely read that book. I think it's really good.

Chris:
Very good. I've read StoryBrand and I'm yet to read marketing made simple. I have the book it's sitting on my shelf and a long list of books to read. Okay, fantastic.

Hayley:
Yeah, I could keep going, but there's so many business books. I've got like them all behind me. Obviously people won't be able to see because it's a podcast, but.

Chris:
Do you want to name one more or should we move on?

Hayley:
I love Superfans by Pat Flynn. I think that's great. I don't know whether you've read that or whether you know Pat Flynn.

Chris:
I know who Pat Flynn is. I have not read his book.

Hayley:
Yeah. I think that's really good because it's something that I'm focused on a lot at the moment, and in my course in Client Quest, we talk a lot about advocacy and about how you should try and make your clients fans of yours and how that can get you more work and stuff that. And I think that his book is really good to think... especially if you want to do stuff content marketing and online business stuff as well, Pat's book is amazing.

Chris:
Excellent. I will pick that up after this for sure. Okay, so the other question I wanted to follow-up with you on this is that you said originally that you got into Location Indie because you thought this digital nomad lifestyle was pretty cool. So I have to ask you, are you a digital nomad today?

Hayley:
No, because I realized that I didn't actually traveling that much. But life had... No, no it's true. So I do traveling a bit, but I don't want to be a digital nomad in the sense of you literally travel around the world all the time. I quite like having a home base and that thing, but what I liked about that community and about what they would teaching is, there's a big cross-section with building an online business and building a bit of a lifestyle business and stuff that, which I feel like Motion Hatch probably isn't a lifestyle business now, but that's because my mission has changed in what I want to do with it, I guess.

Chris:
Okay. Now I want to ask you about the other product that you have called Client Quest. And this was all new to me when I was doing the research. I'm like, "Whoa, she's got this whole thing going on." So Client Quest, I think is what you were talking about earlier about how you're able to create a system to find clients consistently. And it's a nine-week program and I think it's $596 US a little less for pound Sterling. And talk to me about how this came about.

Hayley:
Yeah. So because we have the mastermind program, talking to motion designers like every day, day in and day out and do the podcast and everything like that. And I was like, "You know what? We should just take all these questions that we keep getting and make a course out of it." And the biggest problem that everyone has is getting clients consistently. And just through all of what I've learned through studying a lot about this business stuff and about online businesses and freelancing and talking to motion designers for a few years, I've managed to put a lot of things together and I was like, "If I just put this in a course, then it can help more people."
Because the problem with the mastermind is we can only take a certain amount of people like we've been talking about. It's four people in a group, we can only do about 30 people each session, something that. So I was like, "Cool. So how can I give this information to more people?" And an online course just made sense to me.

Chris:
Okay. So now I'm looking at the different modules that you have. I think there are nine modules. So I'm going to ask you some of the questions in the lessons. Okay, so obviously, you know the answer already. It's not a trick question here. I see in module seven about contacting clients and agencies, how does one send emails to get clients? Because cold email, that's a tough thing to do.

Hayley:
Yeah. So the first thing I would say is you shouldn't be sending cold emails. You should be trying to warm your clients up before you send them an email. So what I would do is I would go to Instagram, like some sort of social media platform, see if they've posted recently and start commenting on their posts and trying to give some value to them. So I wouldn't just post an emoji or something that. Actually, comment on their work and really try and engage with them and to help them a bit if you can. And then what I would do is after maybe a week or so, it's a bit Instagram stalking, but don't do it too much and be really weird about it. The other day, someone on Twitter was saying someone just added me on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook all at once.
So don't do that. But do a little bit of that. It's doing a little bit of research whilst your engaging a bit with them because if they're a small studio or something that, they might actually remember who you are and they'll be like, "Oh yeah, I saw Hayley, the other day commented on a piece of our work. She obviously knows who we are and she obviously cares a bit about our business and stuff that." Then for the email, I break it down into four sections. So you want to say hello to them. Say, "Hey, I'm Hayley. I love that recent project you did that I saw on Instagram or whatever." So this is the personalized introduction part of it. Then what you do is you want to tell them the reason that you contacting them.
So it can be really simple. Just I wanted to reach out, introduce myself. I'm a 2D motion designer based in whatever location you're based in. I've got a passion for this and that, and this is where you can dig into what they and see if it matches with what you and try and personalize it to that studio. The next bit that I call authority, because you want to say like, "Oh, I previously worked with such and such clients." If you think that they've heard of them, but if you haven't worked with anyone before, then it's completely fine. You don't have to put random people that they wouldn't have heard of. It doesn't really matter. But if you have some good clients that you've worked with previously, who they might have heard of, or who maybe are competitors of theirs or something that, then you can definitely put that in there.
And then obviously have a link if your motion designer to your show reel and make sure it's really clear. And don't just put a Vimeo link, put Hayley Akins show reel or something that. And then you want a clear call to action that doesn't sound too desperate. So something like, "Feel free to reach out with any questions that you might have about me and my work," or something that. So that's how I'd break it down for an agency. If you're emailing direct clients, you usually want to talk about a problem that they have and how animation can solve that problem. And I think this is really good and everyone should just follow this formula. But the most important thing is following up because this is what people don't do because people don't email you back and then you get scared and you're like, "Oh no, they didn't email me back and I followed the formula and I did all the things."
And it's like, yes, but the power's in the follow-up because I'm sure Chris, people email me and you all the time and other people and sometimes you're like, "Oh yeah, I'll get back to the person." And then two weeks later you're like, "Oh crap, I haven't got back to that person." So don't worry about it. You've got a followup with these people and just be nice and just remind them of what you put in the email. Maybe you can shorten it down and things that. But I think the power really is in the follow-up.

Chris:
Okay. So in this modern day and age, everybody's trying to get work from somebody else through DMS and cold emails. So I have developed some kind of allergic reaction to these things now and they pop up in my inbox all the time. "Chris, the last email about this opportunity that we can do this and collab, can I just get 20 minutes of your time, et cetera?" And I don't respond to any of them. Most of them just auto delete. So I'm curious two things, one is what have you heard back from your students who do this and what success rate have they had and how do you react on an individual level to getting these warm to cold emails?

Hayley:
Yeah. So I think you make a really good point. So what I would say is we have this whole funnel system in the course, which is what this has taken one piece of that. So I think we're missing a lot of the other pieces, which is what you're getting at, I think. So basically in the course is based around this, what I call the four A's freelance funnel. So it's awareness, attraction, action, advocacy. So this is where you want to be trying to draw your clients through down this funnel basically. And that's how when I send you an email, it wouldn't be as cold and you be like, "Oh yeah, I know Hayley." You know, exactly how we've built our relationship. We built it over time, very slowly and things that and it can be annoying to people I think, to do that.
But what I think is trying to do this thing where we're always doing outbound marketing instead of doing a combination of inbound and outbound marketing, where we're doing some content marketing, social media, things that, connecting with people, building relationships over time. And we're doing emails and following up and all of that stuff as well. So I think it's difficult because you could have... In the course, we've got a ton of things that you could do in awareness, a ton things that you could do an attraction, lots of things that you could do in action and advocacy. And it's like I present all these tools and I'm like, "What you need to do is you need to build your own path and system through this funnel for what works for you and your clients by doing a client and social media audit."
So we keep coming back to that in the course and we keep getting people to take it to test out these different things or test out what they're already doing and what's working for them. And it's all based on what kind of clients you want as well, because not all of the tools are going to work for every single client either.

Chris:
Right. Okay. Fantastic. All right. I love that. I want to ask you, where is Motion Hatch in five years?

Hayley:
Oh, this is a good one. Motion Hatch in five years. Well, I just want it to be the best place to go if you're a freelance motion designer, if you want to get into motion design and you want to learn more about the business side of things or you know how to start your career and that kind of thing. So I just want it to be the number one place for that. And I think that we're going to focus more on YouTube and stuff that because I think the podcast is going really well, but it's also a limited place. But as you know, YouTube has a bigger reach. So I think I want to focus more on YouTube and building my team and stuff that, which is quite difficult sometimes.

Chris:
Well, you said that in five years, you're the number one resource for people who want to learn about the business side of motion. Are you the number one source today or is there a different, bigger player than you right now?

Hayley:
I guess, I am the number one source. But the thing is it's like-

Chris:
Mission accomplished.

Hayley:
... I think it's about just awareness like we've been talking about. Just making more people aware of you. Like if anybody says, What I want to happen if anyone says, "Oh, I want to be a freelance motion designer." "Oh, you have to go to Motion Hatch." And like, some people are saying that now, but I want more people to say that for us because I want to help more people.

Chris:
I love it. And so part of that is continuing to do what you're doing, but to expand into other areas where you could bring a different audience. And you mentioned YouTube and are you currently executing on this plan now and how's that going so far?

Hayley:
Yeah. So I've been dabbling in YouTube. I wouldn't say that I've launched my channel because if I was to do that, I would have a full strategy and things that. But I've been testing things out. So hopefully that we can launch it well properly next year, I think. It's just a lot of things are happening with Client Quest and with the Mastermind and everything that. And I want to make sure that we get all those pieces in place before we start moving into a new platform. We can talk a bit about that too, because what I've learned going through this is that you should focus on one thing at a time. So that's why I really focused on the podcast for a long time. And now I'm like, "Cool, I got that bit down." So now I can move over into what I would see as another content marketing piece and then try and learn all about that and then get that bit down.

Chris:
Okay. Very interesting. So I'm a Mister dabbler, because I tried lots of things all the time at the same time. So I'm not as disciplined as you are and it probably shows some of the things that I do. So some months I'm really hard into YouTube like, "Let's crank out the content team." And then I'm on Instagram or I'm on LinkedIn, I'm just all over the place or speaking. And it's kind of like probably could learn something from you on that regards in terms of focus. So I have another question for you. If you're busy doing all these things, do you still find time to do freelance work yourself? Are you still an active motion designer?

Hayley:
No, I'm not because I made a choice when I was like, "Okay, I can either..." When I was doing the contract bundle, it was very difficult to try and do that and do the freelance work too. So I got to a point where I was like, "Okay, if I'm going to make this Motion Hatch thing work, and it's going to be a proper business and it's going to help as many people as I want it to help, then I have to work on it full-time or I have to decide to be a freelancer and maybe just do the podcasts or something that."
I don't think I could do the Mastermind course and hopefully multiple courses in the future and all of this stuff if I didn't make that choice to go full-time on it. And some people will be like, "Okay, but why did you do that surely you want to work in the industry and stuff that." And I do, but I think that this has had more of an impact on other people's lives. So I see a lot of value in that and that excites me. So that's why I chose that path.

Chris:
Okay. So I'm going to throw a question at you that I get more so than I'd to get is, well, Hayley, I mean, you're not in the industry anymore, is the information you're sharing with us still relevant? Are you doing this now because you can't hack it and now you've become one of those guru teachers who are teaching things that they don't even know how to do anymore?"

Hayley:
Yeah. So I think what I would say to that is I talk to so many motions designers all over the world every single day about these problems and I see what's working for them. And in my Mastermind I have, in my six-month one, especially we've got people trying out new things, new ideas and stuff, things from what I've learnt, things that they've learned themselves. And then I take all of that information. And then when I feel like it's ready for the wider audience, then I can share more with them and things that. I feel like now I get more experience because I have all of these different people, all of the time doing different things. And I can see what's working on a broader scale than maybe some other the people who don't talk to lots of different motion designers all around the world every day.

Chris:
Okay. Very good. Another question for you is, are you using your own skills to create the promos? I watched the video promos and I was like, "Darn, these are slick." Nice writing, cool voiceover and there's really sweet animation. Are you making those or are you hiring that out?

Hayley:
Yeah, so I hire out, but I see myself as a producer/creative director on it. So I'm trying to work with the different animators and animation studios, but I'm not. I do, do some work sometimes. I dive into after effects and to premiere all of that stuff. But I see the value in hiring other people that are frankly much better than me at doing that stuff to help me to grow my business. And I hope that other people would do the same. So you basically think, "Okay, cool. In my business, what are the bits I like doing and what are the bits I don't like doing?" Or that someone else could do much better than you and then you delegate that and that's how you grow, I think.

Chris:
So you're following your own medicine or you're taking your own medicine there. You prescribed this advice and you're taking it yourself and people who are still, I guess, new to business, they don't understand that. They think that they have to have their hands in everything because they're the only ones who can do it all. And that's probably one of those mindset issues that you probably tackle in module one, right?

Hayley:
Yeah, exactly. And I have this in my Mastermind all the time. People are like, "Oh, I've got too many clients. I can't do anything or I'm working with this client that I don't really want, but it's okay. It's bringing in money and we have a good relationship." And I'm like, "Can't you hire someone else to help you?" And they're like, "Oh no, but I had this one person one time and it didn't work out." And I'm like, "That was one person." And I'm always telling them to get some freelances a corner that they can work with before they need them as well. I think that was really good advice.
I've had it so many times where I'm trying to hire people and I'm like, "Oh my God, we need someone now." It's really painful and then you get the wrong person and stuff that whereas if you prepare this stuff and you have time to interview people, to talk to people, to build relationships, then you you'll have much better working relationship with them as well.

Chris:
Yeah. That's like the parable of The Ant and the Grasshopper, right? Where the ant prepares all year long for winter and so that they can ride winter out and they survive while the grasshopper sings and dance and eats and has a lot of fun, come winter they all die. That's just the nature of the ant and the grasshopper. So when it comes to having resources, people that you trust, you want to have a pretty deep address book or Rolodex as they used to say, so that depending on the budget, the specific style, and their personality, you can find that perfect fit. And it'll give you a lot of confidence when you get that job so that you're not panicking. You have in the back of your mind, "Mary, Susie, and Jake are going to be great for this. If any one of them are available, this is going to be easy for me." And you need to do that work upfront.

Hayley:
Yeah, and I know that you've talked about this before. It's just like, if you know that you're not the best 3D designer but you're really good at 2D and you need some help, get somebody in your corner who is good at that and then you can make that a work. I don't know why people in our industries think they have to do everything themselves or even like admin stuff and things that. It's just so great to delegate and automate stuff. And I'm still learning all this stuff. I'm in it every day and that's where I think the experience comes from too is growing any business. You're still growing a business and that's basically why I'm teaching other people to do as well.

Chris:
Before I let you go, Hayley, I want to ask you just to quickly summarize for us what you think are your best three tips if you're in the motion design industry, what you have to do to get work.

Hayley:
Yeah. So I would say like we've been talking about is building relationships is obviously the most important thing and probably doing it slowly is pretty important, but I understand that people need to get clients quickly as well. So there's different strategies that you can do to get clients quickly, but then obviously you need to build your relationships slowly as well. We have a challenge coming up that I think if you're worried about getting clients that might be helpful, you can go to motionhatch.com/challenge. And in that I'm going to teach people quick ways to get clients, but also how to build their relationships slowly. Because I think over time that will help more. And also talking a bit more about inbound marketing and outbound marketing as well.
I think definitely thinking about how you can help other people can really help in your career and in getting clients, because even if you're helping others in your industry and people who maybe feel like aren't as experienced you, building up an audience can help you to be seen as an expert in your industry, which is really, really helpful for getting clients. And also, I would say the most important thing that I've learned is try and learn from people who are ahead of you as well, and get mentors and people to help coach you and things that, because I think it really, really helps to grow your business and also to help you with all of the mindset issues that we've been talking about in this podcast too.

Chris:
Fantastic. Okay. My guest today has been Hayley Akins. She's based out of the UK and she teaches motion designers how to build a successful business and career via her company Motion Hatch in 2017. She currently offers two products that you can buy. One called Client Quest and the other is the Mograph Mastermind. And how can people reach out to you if they want to follow up with a question?

Hayley:
Yeah, they can just either reach out on Twitter or Instagram we're @motionhatch or if you want to email, you can just email hello@motionhatch.com. I'd love to talk to some people who listened to the show.

Chris:
Fantastic. Hayley, thank you very much for being a guest on our show today.

Hayley:
Thanks so much for having me. This was great.  Hey, my name is Hayley Akins and you're listening to The Futur.

Greg:
Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Futur Podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Barro for editing and mixing this episode and thank you to Adam Sanborne for our intro music. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by rating and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better.
Have a question for Chris or me? Head over to thefutur.com/heychris and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefutur.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creating business. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

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