How I Built the First 3 Rungs of My Value Ladder

Nick Nolan
6 min readNov 29, 2023
Image via Unsplash+ | @heysupersimi

When I started freelancing in 2020, I had minimal experience, zero budget, and no real strategy. I had a bit of experience blogging, but had never made more than a few dollars writing.

Looking back, I needed to create a value ladder. I did eventually, but things would’ve been much easier if I had done this sooner.

A value ladder is a set of steps or rungs of things you offer. The first step of your ladder is a freebie or low-cost product, then it moves up to more expensive products as customers climb up.

Most people won’t buy a high-ticket offer straight away. Spending more money = more risk.

The value ladder brings people in at a low-risk offer. They can give you their email, a few minutes of their time, or a few dollars in exchange for something valuable. This builds trust, and they become more comfortable taking a bigger risk and spending more money on a product or service.

Your value ladder can be as many steps as you need. The most important steps are the first 2–3.

Those look something like this:

Step #1 - Low/No-cost product or service
Step #2 - Low-ticket product/service
Step #3 - Core offer / Flagship service

Here’s how I’ve created the first 3 rungs of my value ladder and tips for building yours.

Low/No-cost products and services

You can get clients and make money online without a lead magnet or offering any kind of free work.

The benefit of having a low-cost entry point is that it helps you create inbound leads. Without this first rung, you’ll need to do way more outbound lead gen.

I made the mistake of ignoring this for a long time. I relied on job boards to find work. No one was coming to me because I didn’t provide any free value.

Since then, I’ve created a ton of different lead magnets. Surprisingly, my best lead magnets are what you’re reading right now — articles on Medium.

I didn’t view these as lead magnets when I started, but it’s exactly what many of my articles are. I write an article that helps my target customers solve…

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Nick Nolan

Freelance marketing consultant | Writing about Copywriting, SEO, and Social Media