Welcome to the first episode of the podcast which is an overview of what to expect with upcoming episodes and is also a chance for you to get to know me through my story; from Cabinet Maker/Janitor to Professional Web Designer/Agency Owner & Educator.
In This Episode
00:00 – Introduction
02:08 – What to expect
02:42 – Toiling over name
03:58 – Adding video
05:53 – Being transparent
06:35 – Timeframe
09:18 – Graduation in ‘05
11:42 – Damn good drummer
12:40 – Being laid off
13:38 – Graphic artist
15:30 – Learning design
17:46 – Becoming InTransit
18:46 – Craigslist
19:44 – Drum lessons
21:10 – Coming to Divi
23:30 – Creatives
24:17 – Cute girl @ Panera
25:42 – No “regular” job
26:08 – Divi community
27:33 – Teaching
29:41 – Josh Hall.co
32:39 – Jonathan and baby
37:02 – Courses
43:00 – Tying it up
Links mentioned in the episode:
Episode #001 Full Transcription
Hey, everybody, its Josh here. Welcome to the podcast. Holy crap, I am so excited to get this thing going. I have been talking about doing a podcast for almost a year now. One reason it’s taken me this long to get it going is because I wanted to wait till I was at a place to where I could do it consistently and efficiently. And that time is now so I am ecstatic to get this thing going. What this first episode is going to be is going to be an a kind of an introduction and an overview as far as what the show is going to be like and what it’s going to be all about. So you kind of know what to expect. And then I also want to take the time in this first episode for you guys to get to know me a little better. I’m going to talk about my story and how I essentially went from being a cabinet maker slash janitor, all the way up to now being a professional web designer, business owner, and more recently, an educator.
And I’m not going to talk about my story with any sense of vanity or anything like that. It’s not just to hear myself talk about my story. But I want to give some context for future episodes. So you get to know kind of me and where I came from, which I think is going to be a really good reference point for you with future episodes. And I also want it to serve as some encouragement and inspiration to you no matter where you are in your web design journey. As you heard in the intro, this show is going to be basically about how to build better websites and grow your web design business, with the primary purpose being that you can have a life of freedom and a lifestyle you love through web design.
That’s what this is all about. That’s what my entire endeavor at Josh Hall CO, which is my website. That’s what everything is about. And that’s the main reason I started this podcast is because I have really found freedom and an incredible lifestyle through web design. And I want you to have that as well. So I’m hoping my story will be some good inspiration and encouragement tsl.
Let’s dive into kind of what to expect with the show when I give you an overview before we dive into my story in this first episode. This podcast is not going to be WordPress, or Divi specific, those are going to be central elements in the podcast. But those are not going to be what it’s all revolved around. We’re going to talk about web design in general. As you heard in the intro, the title is officially called the Josh Hall web design shell. And yes, while I feel a little douchey having a podcast named after myself, the reason it’s it’s called that is because it is all encompassing for web design.
I had toiled over what I should name the show at one point, I was gonna call it the Divi webdesigners podcast, which is where I have a Facebook group, I’ll link to that in the show notes, be sure you join that I had had all these different names for and I was like, You know what, I’m just gonna call it the Josh Hall Web Design Show because it is off of my personal brand after all, and we’re not just going to talk about WordPress or Divi we’re going to talk about everything in and around web design.
So the show is going to feature topics that I have found to be really important and beneficial and my experience with building running and growing now a web design business over the last decade to this point. And we’re also going to do interviews with people in the Divi and wider WordPress community, as well as professionals and other industries as well. So I’m going to be talking with people and industries of like social media, digital marketing, potentially photography and videography, and all these different fields that will help you and your web design business and your clients as well. And one thing I wanted to make note of was that some of the interviews I have lined up and plan on doing here are also going to be with some of my colleagues and clients. So even though some of my clients are not anywhere near an industry of web design, they’ve done things with their websites that have really helped.
So we’re going to again, we’re kind of doing a an episode that is going to be all encompassing or a podcast, it’s going to be all encompassing of web design. Some details on the actual episodes, the episodes by myself, my solo episodes are going to be just audio primarily unless I do a vlog or something like that, which I’ll mentioned. And those will be available, of course on my site at Josh Hall, co slash podcasts and you know where you’re listening to it on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. But the interviews are going to be video and they’re also going to be on my YouTube channel. So you’ll be able to hear the audio of the interviews here on the podcast. But and unless there’s a reason that we can’t do video for a guest, it should be on my YouTube channel. So you’ll be able to see the guest you can watch the interview. And of course all the show notes will be on my podcast page.
Which speaking of the podcast page, it’s going to be at my website, Josh Hall co/ podcast. So all of the show notes and every episode, all the links and resources that we talked about will be archived there on each episode page. Of course, you’ll find the episode on iTunes and all the major places you get your podcasts. But all the good stuff is going to be on the show notes on my website at Josh Hall co slash podcast. So you might pay, who knows, maybe you want to bookmark that that’d be awesome.
Episodes are going to be essentially presented and sponsored by my courses. My my courses are what essentially is paying for the whole shebang here. And I’m not currently taking on affiliates are not currently taking on advertisers or sponsors or anything. Essentially, every episode will be sponsored and presented by one of my courses that I’ll mention. And then I will also recommend products that I use and recommend. So these are not people who are sponsoring or paying right now, these are just things that I use and recommend that I would recommend for you and your web design business. So there are some details about the show to give you an idea of kind of what to expect a couple of last things.
A couple last things I want to mention here before we dive into my story is that I don’t plan on holding anything back with this show. I want it to be real, I want it to be transparent. And together, I really want to explore with you some of the most important and challenging topics in web design, we’re going to talk about things that are again, the most important things and lessons learned that I’ve learned in my almost decade experience of building and running my web design business that I know are going to be very beneficial and helpful for you. No matter where you are in your journey, whether you’re just getting started, or maybe you’ve been a solo Freelancer for a while, or maybe you have an agency with a team, this is going to be for you, and we’re gonna do it, we’re going to be real with this.
I foresee that most episodes are going to be between the 30 to 45 minute rains, particularly my solo ones. But interviews, I do not want to do a timeline on those I don’t know about you, but I just can’t stand podcast and interview shows that have like a time limit because I feel like some of the best conversations take a little while to get into which is why you know the conversation needs to go an hour awesome. And he needs to go an hour and a half. That’s all right with me. If it needs to go two hours, that’s okay too, as long as me and the guests have the time to do it. And as long as it’s a good engaging episode. That’s what we’re going to do. So I am not going to this is not going to be a rushed podcast where we’re just trying to bust out a bunch of episodes to get numbers. This is going to be real. And we’re going to get into some nitty gritty of some situations in and around web design. And hopefully, some of the lessons learned we talked about will serve as things not to do for you and your business. So we’re going to talk about the most impactful things in and around web design.
Practically, so I’m launching this in the beginning of November on 2019. I plan on doing at least one episode a week, sometimes two, once the New Year turns a 2020 depending on your listening, when you’re listening to this, we’ll be doing at least probably more on average, like two a week. But for right now, at the time of launching this podcast got a lot going on where leading up to the holidays. Some of you also know that I have my second baby is coming here soon in December. So I’m essentially getting a lot of podcast episodes recorded to kind of schedule those out to buy some time over the holidays and give us some time with a newborn before we hit the New Year big time. So there’s an overview of the show.
Now let’s transition. And again, I want to give you an opportunity to get to know me a little better. Through this first show. And again, I’m going to tell you my story not in any sense of vanity just because I want to hear myself talk about my story. Now it’s because I want to give you a good context of a lot of these topics and to kind of hear where I’ve been in my web design journey. And hopefully this will serve some inspiration and encouragement to you because I truly believe guys, no matter where you are, no matter what age you are, no matter where you are in the world. No matter what industry you’re currently working in, you can get into web design.
Yes, web design is not the easiest industry to get into and have success in but it is awesome. It is freeing, and you can do it. I really believe that anyone can do it. Gonna take some hard work and you’ll need some resources, which is why I have this podcast now and why I have my whole site with blogs and tutorials and courses. But you can do it with web design sell my story Let me take you back to will start and a warm late spring night in 2005. Now we will start in 2005 because that’s when I graduated high school and I had zero Zilch nada idea of what I wanted to do when I graduated high school. All I knew was that I did not want to go to a four year college and rack up a bunch of debt because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I’ll never forget my guidance counselor. Excuse me, my guidance counselor at the time looked at me like I like she was so disappointed and made me feel like total crap that I wasn’t going to a four year school and getting a degree right away. She basically made me feel like I was going to be a bum if I didn’t get a degree.
But I just I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t want to become an accountant or an insurance agent, you know, and to grab up a bunch of debt, what’s nothing against accountants and insurance agents, if that’s what you want to do? Awesome, but that was not for me. I am just not a cubicle nine to five guy. I felt like from a very early age, I’ve had more of an entrepreneurial creative type spirit. And I wanted to do something like that. So I graduated high school having no idea what I wanted to do didn’t go to college or anything.
At that time, I was working at a tour bus customizing shop, I’m based in Columbus, Ohio, and I started at the shop in high school. And what I would do is after high school or after school is out, I’d go and I would sweep up all the floors and clean up the shop, clean the toilets in the bathrooms. Yeah, that’s a job you want to do with a bunch of redneck, blue collar dudes who are lighting the bathroom up, and you get to go clean it up after school. So that was a good time. But I really, I really enjoyed the company. And it was cool. And I knew some people there. And when I graduated high school, I went from kind of a janitorial role to learning how to build cabinets and do some cabinetry in these tour buses and vehicles. So it was actually really cool job. And it was there where I really learned how a sense of detail is crucial for any sort of success because these jobs were for high end clients often.
We had a lot of famous musicians come in as well, I actually worked on Johnny cashes tour bus, which is now in Cleveland at the Hall of Fame up there I worked on Well, I didn’t get to go in but I worked on a piece of metallic as bus one time. And in a lot of like high end people that would come through there. So I essentially was a cabinet maker and a janitor for a little while after high school doing full time now, at this time as well. I have not mentioned that I am a musician and I was all about playing them drums I you know, particularly back then drumming was my thing. I wanted to be a professional musician, I had been in some bands through high school. And after high school, I just knew that I wanted to do something with drums. I’m a damn good drummer to be somewhat modest about it. And I knew that I wanted to do drums and do the music live.
So I actually met up with some guys and we we founded a band called This Fires embrace, which is still available on iTunes. If you want to search my old band this fires embrace. Check out the song beast inside of me, which is probably our my favorite song that we did, where a lot of songs I didn’t care for. But that’s neither here nor there. So essentially, I was playing in a band. We were doing weekend shows and we started traveling all over the US. And the band actually picked up some steam, we ended up doing quite a bit of touring all around. And we were doing the weekend warrior thing until I actually got laid off from my job as a cabinet maker a handful of years later, in the spring of 2009.
That’s shortly after the economy here in the US really got hit. And so being in the automotive industry, we’re doing vehicle customizations, our company got hit pretty bad. I think we when I got laid off in the spring of 2009, I think we lost almost half of our workforce. It was like 30 some employees like 17. So I unfortunately got laid off. But I’ll never forget, the day after I got laid off from that job. I dove into Photoshop, I had an interest in graphic design and art and stuff like that. So I dove into Photoshop, we were doing the band thing. And at that time, the band was really taken off. So we actually all went full time with the band pretty much and we were all working kind of side jobs and stuff like that. But we were doing a lot of touring. And the band short ended up doing three albums, all together over a span of five to six years. But what after that point, once I got used to doing Photoshop and some graphic design, I started doing our band artwork. I started doing our T shirts or CD artwork and a lot of our merchandise and all that. And then I’ll never forget, at some point in two that I wasn’t too long after I started doing our stuff. Somebody asked me when we were at a festival, hey, how much would you charge to design our T shirt.
And it was like a light bulb went off. I was like, wow, I could actually make some money at doing something I love. I had never thought about that before. And I started doing graphic design freelance kind of on the side during our band day. So I started doing artwork for other bands. I started doing t shirts and merchandise and stuff like that. And it really kind of sparked the beginning of my business because I started doing graphic design and print design before anything.
Now, at this time, I was working side jobs. We were doing the band thing. And I remember the shop had called me about a year later, maybe not quite a year later and said that I could go back full time. And I remember saying you know what, I actually am not going to plan on going back because I just didn’t feel like I had the time I didn’t have that desire to go back there. I kind of knew that something better was around the corner for me with my graphic design and I had started making money with that. And then at that time, I was also involved with a local church here in Columbus, Ohio, and I was heavily involved with them. And they knew I was doing graphic design. And they asked me, Hey, we have a website. It was built in Dreamweaver at the time. This was probably back in 2011. They were like, Hey, we have a website, would you be interested in taking it over? And I was like, Oh, well, I don’t know anything about web design. But yeah, I’ll give it a shot, they were willing to pay me. And they will, they were willing to pay for a couple classes at my community college here in Columbus for me to learn some a little bit about Dreamweaver and web design.
So I took them up on that I was doing graphic design for the band and other bands. And I was involved with this church where they started paying me to learn web design. And at the community college, I really enjoyed learning about web design and Dreamweaver at the time. This is well before I got into WordPress and stuff. And I decided that at that point, I was like, You know what, I’m gonna go ahead and pursue a degree. At that point, there is an associate’s degree with digital design and graphics, which I pursued, which was not much web design, it was mostly print design and basic design stuff. So we learned Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, some photography, and color management, and all that kind of stuff. And that is the extent of my formal education.
I’m not an educational Dude, I’m not a higher educational guy, I am not an academic, by any means. – Josh
I am not a I’m not a, I’m not an educational Dude, I’m not a higher educational guy, I am not an academic, by any means. Those of you who read my blog posts, if you see an occasional misspelling, or grammatical error, you know that that’s just not my thing. I’m not that academic type. But I really did enjoy that program. And I did that in a span of two years, actually a little less than two years, because I was kind of working part time jobs and, you know, doing the band thing. And at that point, the band had essentially kind of just fizzled out. I think we were all in places in life, where we made some money, we broke even doing our things. And a lot of our albums are still on iTunes, again, you can check that out as far as embrace, we did get some national radio play, and we did some cool stuff.
But we got to a point where I think we all realize, you know, we just can’t do this full time, I was at a point where I was ready to start making some better money, quite frankly. And at that time, we had shortly after that, we had released our third album called In transit. That was in 2010. And at the end of 2010, that’s when I realized that, you know, I really wanted to take my graphic design business to the next level since I was working with the church, and I was doing some community college classes. So I was looking for a business name. And I looked through all kinds of stuff, I’ve realized that with business names, it really doesn’t matter what it’s called. I mean, particularly in web design, in any sort of creative field, you can call your business just about anything, and whatever you do with it is going to work.
But I like that name In transit, which was our third album, and I was like, you know, what I might, you know, maybe we’ll see about using that as the business name. I didn’t want to do like Josh Hall design in case, I wanted to make it like an agency I wanted to make it kind of open ended, and I didn’t know what services I was going to provide. So at one point, I had thought about doing like commercials and all kinds of stuff. So I came up with in transit studios, found out that the domain was available, more importantly, and that it wasn’t registered as an official business. So I made it happen, bought the domain name and InTransit studios com which is my web design business, still to this day. And then I registered it with the state and boom, and transit studios was born at the end of 2010. And that’s when I really officially started my business.
So at that point, to kind of fast forward through all that I was going through my Columbia, my community college at Columbia State learning graphic design and more about web design working for the church, the band kind of fizzled off, and I started taking my business a little more seriously. And I ran some credit Craigslist ads back then. And that got me like nine out of 10 spam emails, but I did land some decent clients. And I started offering basic website designs with basically hand coded websites through Dreamweaver. So this is before WordPress or anything. And primarily I was doing all services from web to print. I was also doing my space pages at that time for any of you who were doing design back then. So I was doing all kinds of graphic design logos, brochures, flyers, t shirts, a lot of which were in the band design community.
So I have the my story here kind of outlined on my website, if you go to my website, and just scroll down to see to click on Meet Josh, you’ll see the story, the story and you’ll see some images. And you can take a look there because I have an image of my first business card which was very grungy, a lot of splatter brushes, things like that, which were popular back in you know 2010 and such. And I also had a service on there which didn’t quite make sense and it was drum lessons. I was doing drum lessons on the side as well and for some reason I thought it would be genius but drum lessons on my internet studios business card.
Yes, that shows you what am I in for business I had back then I actually talked about this in my business course about solidifying your services and I It was kind of a joke example of what not to do as far as putting drum lessons in with web design services. Because once I started getting corporate clients, I remember I met at a Starbucks with a with a construction company, these guys and they were like, I noticed you had drum lessons on there. What’s that about? And that’s and I was like, duh, why the heck do I have that on there?
So I learn a lot about business the hard way in the early days. But yeah, I started doing all those services are really taking my business more seriously. And then I also got into this wonderful tool called WordPress, which changed my life as a web designer. Once I went WordPress, I did not go back to Dreamweaver, as I’m sure a lot of you can attest to. I started learning WordPress. And as I did the same thing that we all did back then, which was to go to theme for us and buy a theme for a company and then do that had to learn all the settings and all that stuff.
And at that time, I started subcontracting for a local company. And that just means that they basically hired me out to help build their websites. I wasn’t on location with them or on staff, but they just hired me as a hired hand to build some websites. And they use this theme called Divi. And at first I hated Divi. And I quickly came around to it. And when I was building a site with another theme, I remember thinking, Oh my gosh, I need divvy I the like Divi is is the theme I need for all of my websites. And I realized it really kind of became that one theme to rule them all for me. And that’s how I got into Divi.
And it was at this point where the ban and winded down I was finishing up my two year degree with digital design and graphics learned a lot about print and all that stuff. Where I kind of came to a crossroads This was in 2013. I’ll never forget it because when I finished my degree, I had totally intended on trying to get a job as a designer or web designer or a graphic designer for a bigger agency. And I remember in 2013, I had made enough money on the side, I think I made about 30,030 or 40,000 in 2013. And I was like, You know what? I made 30 or 40 grand on the side. I was like what if I did this full time, like I’d started my business. And I was thinking, what have I really went for this and did it full time. At that time, I didn’t have my own rent or mortgage. So I was able to you know, my overhead was very low.
So I went for it. And 2013 that’s when I officially went like full time. So up to that point, I was doing part time stuff. And I just went for it within transit studios got more serious about designing websites and solidifying my services. And really the next couple years in transit studios grew like crazy because I was doing it full time. I didn’t have interest in going to another school. So again, my two years of community colleges, all of my academic, that’s as far as I went academically, everything else I’ve learned on the ground, learning the hard way and learning from others, which I think is the better way to go. You will learn so much more by going through my courses. other courses are professionals and learning from people rather than a four year degree.
I mean, I don’t look I’m not against college. I’m not deterring anyone from going to college. But I will say I have found that people who are in a four year degree, particularly in the creative field, like web design, or graphic design are not only so far behind, mainly because web design just moves so dang quick. It’s very like by the time a book is published about it and gets into the hands of students, it’s already outdated. So I’m not against college, but those people just seem to be very, very far behind compared to people who like myself, just dive in and just go for it.
And what I wanted to say to what’s interesting is in regards to like a musician turning into a creative and a business owner, I found that a lot of people particularly in the WordPress and Divi community, successful designers come from a musician background. I’ve got a future episode here about how being in a band helped me start my business and be creative, because I think there are a lot of parallels there. So if you find yourself as a musician, web design is probably a great industry for you to start making some money either on the side or full time.
But in any case, started growing in transit studios more seriously. And I grew it to a point where I was almost a six figure business up to about 2016. At this time, I also met my wife I was I did a lot of my meetings at Panera, which for those of you who are in the US, I don’t think Panera is outside the US at this point. But there’s a it’s a bread and coffee shop and I did a lot of meetings there locally. And there was this cute girl who was the catering coordinator there and of course I I had her and she had me well at least that’s what I was hoping for. And I remember walking up and she said, Hey Josh, and I said hey, if a girl says Hey Josh, that’s good news. So I straight up asked for her number over the counter in front of a bunch of people.
Could have been devastatingly embarrassing if she did not say yes and give me her number but she did. – Josh
Which could have been devastatingly embarrassing if she did not say yes and give me her number but she did. And the rest is history. We went out and she we got married in 2015. We actually met and in 2012 during my My whole journey then. And then we dated for a while, got engaged and then got married in March of 2015. And the business between that period really exploded. So we were getting close to six figures by the time we were married. And then she was kind of working at a she was working a medical job to where she was like an administrative assistant. And we just she was working night shift and stuff. And it was just awful. And we’re like, you know what, I could have you join the business, you could do administrative stuff. Back then we were doing a lot of print services and all that kind of stuff. And we should be doing webs website updates, which I could teach her.
So she actually joined the business in 2015. So we have not my family. Like I have never, I’ve actually never had a corporate office job. I have not technically had a regular job. I’m in quotes right now, since 2009. It’s been all freelancing, all web design since then. And we’ve been able to support our family through our business the past four years, very well, which is why I’m so passionate about web design, which is why I’m so excited for you to be in web design because the sky is the limit. But anyway, yeah, that’s kind of how that happened.
And then it’s about 2016. I had no idea that barrows a little online community called the Divi community, which is based around the Divi theme. It’s one of the primary benefits of Divi. When you get Divi, and you have an elegant themes, membership, you are a part of the community, which is the best online, you can try to battle with me all you want, but it is just the truth. The Divi community is freaking awesome. And I joined a couple other Facebook groups. And I noticed that the Content Manager for Elegant Themes, posted something in one of the groups and you know how back then on Facebook, it would say like posted from a certain location. Well, it said from a town outside of Columbus, Ohio, which is where I’m at where I’m at.
So I was like, no kidding, the Content Manager Elegant Themes is in Columbus. So I reached out to him, invited him for coffee, we hit it off, I kind of talked about my business. And he was like, Wow, that’s really cool stuff. And then he asked if I would be interested in contributing to the Elegant Themes blog, which was very big at the time, it’s even more massive. Now one, actually, I think it’s Episode Two we’re going to do is with Nathan, the Content Manager, talking about how to do a successful blog and how he runs that wild thing. But in any case, he asked if I’d be interested and contributing to that, I was like, yep, and that’s when things really turned around for me, because that’s when I fell in love with writing. And more importantly, I fell in love with sharing my experience of web design.
At that at this time, I was also which I still am a member of an advisory board here for a local high school for their media department. And for people who want to learn like web design stuff. And I would go in there about once a quarter and they would give me a couple kids who are interested in web design. Although the majority of them were just interested in video game design. But I would show them web design stuff and some graphic design stuff. And a lot of students weren’t interested but I remember the handful that were like I just loved that they were eager to learn. Some of them I hope they’re in the industry because some of them had some really good potential on promise.
But that’s what kind of kind of struck the nerve for me and loving to kind of give back and teach what I’ve learned. And at that time, I decided, you know what I was writing for Elegant Themes. I was you know, doing these things with students periodically. I really wanted to take that to the next level. So the first thing I did was I started a Divi Facebook group Facebook group is what I mentioned earlier called Divi web designers. I had no idea back then how many Divi groups there were for those of you who have been in the Divi community, you know, there are a ton of Divi groups. And I had no idea that there were that many, I started one anyway, just to be a place for community for support to you know, show our website designs and give back. And then that sucker took off ko wick.
At this point, we are just over three years later, at the time of recording this episode, we’re almost 20,000 members, and we block about 40% of the people who try to get into the group to keep make sure we keep spammers and shady profiles away. So we could be even bigger, we could be the biggest Divi group online. But well now that Elegant Themes has an official one, it’s not as big. But in any case, started this group, it really kind of gave me some notoriety in the community. And in 2017, the business continued to grow really good. And I started a couple of different things. I decided that I wanted to have a place for all my Elegant Themes, articles, and I wanted to start doing more tutorials and training resources from myself doing blogs and things like that.
I just absolutely love, love, love, love, love doing courses. It’s been the most rewarding thing ever. – Josh
So I launched this little endeavor called Josh, Josh Hall co my personal brand. This site is again, all about what I’m doing with dishing out pretty much all the resources that I haven’t learned with building and running a web design business. So this site has all my blog posts from Elegant Themes. All my vlogs I have layouts for Divi, I, the past couple years, I’ve been doing more and more courses, which I just absolutely love, love, love, love, love doing courses. It’s been the most rewarding thing ever, but has all my resources. And I just fell in love with doing that.
So started small, I started doing tutorials. And at that time, the business was really growing to where I had hired out and does some some sub contracting periodically, in 2016, and 17. To where I had some local people who kind of helped me out with some stuff, some situations went really good and some didn’t go so great. Some people worked with me, but then got full time jobs elsewhere. So I had started dabbling into kind of going from a freelancer to an entrepreneur, which that’s one of my lessons in my business course. And just kind of a teaser on that is that you are as a web designer, essentially, a freelancer meaning you do everything yourself, and you do good work, and you get paid for it. And you have a close relationship with all your clients.
Or you’re a freelancer or excuse me, an entrepreneur where you’re actually building something bigger than just you, you have a small team. And it’s more scalable and not you know, one is not right or wrong, one’s not better than the other. I feel like if you’re happy being a freelancer, go for it. And my course actually shows you how to do both how to be a successful one person shop, or if you’re ready to take that leap into a team to do that as well, because I just didn’t feel comfortable with scaling my business yet. A lot of people pressured me to scale and I had some competitors that started hiring and getting offices and I felt a little imposter syndrome with that because I felt like I was lagging behind but I just I’m all about having a sustainable freeing lifestyle. And I just never felt like I was ready to do that.
Until I launched my endeavor Josh Hall CO and then time became more scarce with the business because I started dividing my efforts. And I really feel like I wanted to kind of get some more people on with with my business. So the beginning of 2018 I did a series on the Elegant Themes blog on how to scale your Divi web design business, I was really serious about doing this. So what I did was instead of going through a course, which I probably would have had in hindsight, I probably would have gone through a course back then to help me expedite it. But I essentially did a interview series, which is still on YouTube. I’ll link to it below because I did a whole series on scaling your Divi web design business. And I interviewed successful website designers and Divi and WordPress, I did nine interviews, I made a whole blog series on the Elegant Themes blog about it. Those are all still found on my YouTube channel today. It was kind of like an early version of a podcast because I did these interviews.
Maybe one day I’ll take all those and kind of morph them into like one episode, like the best lessons learned or something. But we’ll see about that. But in any case, I did that. And that actually brought me some people who are still with me to this day, I a guy reached out to me, Jonathan, my shout out to Jonathan, who is still my lead designer to this day, he’s in Australia, he reached out to me and said he was getting into web design, I would love to hear you know, love to be a part of the business even just to do some work on the side or whatever. So I gave him some stuff to get going on. We hit it off. And then shortly thereafter, had him basically go to almost a full time role. And a couple other people reached out to me during that series as well. And I had them assist with other areas in the business depending on their specialty.
Which this episode isn’t about hiring. We’ll talk about that plenty moving forward. But I was interesting doing that series gave me a really good way to hire to bring talent and people who are like me, they say that your vibe attracts your tribe. And I have found that to be completely true. So I really started scaling my business because and we were already at six figures to this point, we started doing a six figure web design business in 2017. So at this point, I had a little more leeway to be able to start divvying up roles, no pun intended. And that’s when we started really taking the business to the next level.
Now, side note, in the beginning of 2018. We were also pregnant with my first my little baby girl, my first daughter, and we were expecting her at any point we had a high risk pregnancy It was very stressful week to week we didn’t know when she was going to come we thought she may come as early as 28 weeks, because we have some developmental issues going on. And when I started scaling the business thank God is right before my daughter came because she ended up coming in April 2018. And it was just a couple months after I started scaling my business. And then when she was born, we immediately had a two month NICU stay. Those of you who followed me through that time, probably remember seeing me post some things. It was a very challenging time on me and my family.
But luckily with Jonathan and Amanda and a couple of other subcontractors I had my, my, you know, my toolbox at that point, they were able to keep things going and I kind of started overseeing the designs as opposed to doing everything. And so I was working from the hospital from a coffee shop across the street. And those of you who are curious, my daughter Fine, thank goodness, she did have a cleft lip and cleft palate, which are both fixed now by the time recording this. She has a meeting and developmental problems in the beginning. But we got out two months later, and she’s just amazing. Best thing ever. She’s so freakin cute.
Those of you who follow me on my Facebook, you see some pictures from time to time, She’s a cutie. But yeah, that was I mean, thank goodness that I started scaling my business at that point, because it freed me up during that time, that was very, very challenging. And try, I would have made it work even as a solo freelancer, I probably would have just been a little more transparent with clients on what I mean, I told my clients what was going on. But that was huge. That was huge for me.
So that also really got me to the point where I was like, wow, I’m like, I’m ready to take this to the next level. And that’s when once we got to the NICU, I really got serious about scaling the team handing off all the actual design and development I have not to this point at the at the time of recording this I actually have not designed fully one of our sites in a year and a half. It’s been since that NICU time that my lead designer, Jonathan has taken on everything. And I’ve overseen overseeing it and essentially been the mediator between clients and now he’s doing more client stuff.
So in any case, it was it was amazing, you know, kind of scaling my business at that point. And then that really lit the fire in me to be the business owner going from Freelancer to entrepreneur business owner. And that’s what I love about website dying website design because you can do whatever you want you can do when you’re ready, you know, whatever the situation looks like. That’s kind of how it all went about.
Now, it’s interesting, because that series that I did, gave me some contacts remotely. Now if you’re in the Divi community, you’re going to be able to talk with people remotely anyway, because there’s awesome Divi designers all over the world. I do have a couple local people I work with. But Jonathan, my lead designer is in Australia, a couple minor subcontractors, ones and Ireland. One is one travels between South America and the Netherlands. So it’s so cool. You can that’s one reason I love website design, particularly if you’re in a community where everyone uses the same tools as you.
So at this point, as well, as when I really started taking my Josh Hall co endeavor to the next level, I started doing more tutorials doing more things on video. And I had debated on doing a course, because I was interested in just sharing my knowledge because you can share stuff and blogs and tutorials. But there just is nothing like a course, of course is a dedicated start to finish plan on guiding someone to really take the next level and whatever the topic is. And I decided that after my NICU experience, one of the first course that I wanted to do was on how to build a website maintenance plan.
The reason I was so excited about that as because when I created our website maintenance plan, it changed my life, it changed my life, it changed my family’s life, I created ours and the fall of 2017. No 2016 is when I started doing some updates and basic maintenance. And then I really took it to the next level in 2017. And by the time we had our daughter, all of our bills, our mortgage, and all of our living expenses were paid for with recurring income from our maintenance plan. And that’s why I was so passionate about having this be the first course because it changed my life.
I don’t know, if we would have got through our NICU experience financially without our maintenance plan because our bills were covered. Well, yeah, we had other expenses. And God knows medical expenses and stuff, but with the projects that I was overseeing with my new team that was kind of being taken care of. And our maintenance plan was essentially covering our bills. So in any case, I launched my first course, which is still available today, you can go to my courses, just go to Josh, I’ll click on courses and you’ll find my website maintenance plan, which I’m going to be revising here soon too with some updated stuff. But I launched that first course and loved it. I had I think I had over 70 people in the first enrollment. And it just rocked my world. I just absolutely loved it. I loved building courses.
Somebody asked me I did a webinar for one of my courses yesterday and somebody asked what I’m like best at and it takes me longer to do coding and development stuff and troubleshooting and support. Those aren’t things that I necessarily love doing. But I will tell you this, I love teaching. I love doing courses writing and structuring a course and building a course out is a freaking ton of work. But it is awesome. I feel like I’m pretty good at getting a lot of information out of my head and organizing and structuring it I think during the Elegant Themes blog the previous year to help me with that, because it helped me kind of learn how to structure ideas and have a good start finish and like start to finish and I really helped me with my courses.
So when I did my first course I just loved it. I decided that to go ham on courses. I started working on my CSS course next which launched at the fall in the fall of 2018. Still a big one today that has helped out so many people with customizing Did he with CSS. And then the beginning of 2019. I launched four other kind of smaller courses one of my web design process, one on as a Divi beginner course, we WordPress, one on WooCommerce. And then one learning about cPanel, which by the way, if you don’t know, cPanel, you need to know cPanel, even for these hosting companies that don’t use cPanel, you still need to know about PHP myadmin, the file manager, all that gets, you need to know about DNS, MX records and all that stuff when it comes to domains.
Because we even if you’re not a professional web designer, if you’re just doing it on the side, or you’re trying to build your own website, you’re going to figure out very quickly that when the hosting company tells you to change a seed name or add a TXT record, you’re going to be like, oh, what the heck does that mean, and you don’t want your hosting company going into your cPanel doing that stuff for you to mess up your websites and your domains.
But in any case, so I created courses that I was very passionate about. And then I was really, I felt like we’re needed for students. So that’s been basically this entire year at the time of recording this. So we were continuing to grow the business now I’m really taking the role of business owner. And you know, my lead designer, Jonathan is now full time and I still have some other awesome subcontractors that assist on a more regular basis, and some just as needed and when they’re available. And so I love the Course World did a lot more with Josh Hall co this year and grew my business.
And just recently at the time of recording this, at least I just I’m actually at the tail end of finishing all the final lessons in the webinars of my web design business course, because I wanted to do a business course from day one, excuse me, but I wanted to feel like I knew, I wanted to be at a place where I was doing six figures consistently, and really refining all of my systems and processes before doing that course, so that I basically worked on the course almost the entire year. And in the summer is when I actually wrote it out started recording. And I just released that a couple months ago. And it has been amazing. I’m getting such great feedback from people who are in the course and are starting their businesses and taking it to the next level.
So it has just been so rewarding it I love courses. And I just feel like it’s what I’m meant to do. So I’ve just absolutely love that. So right now I’m in the process as we kind of move into where we are right now as the time of recording this podcast. I’m very, very serious about courses and everything I’m doing with Josh Hall co which includes this podcast again, I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, finally at the place where I can do it, do it consistently now. So super excited about this, I’m going to be doing more vlogs more tutorials and, and courses moving on. And I’ve got some stuff I’m thinking about for the next year here. I’ll elaborate on that on my Facebook and in my email list.
So make sure you follow me on Facebook, you can just go to Josh Hall, co just go to Josh, all that CO and then click at the bottom, you can click my Facebook and my YouTube links. Follow me there and make sure you join my email list because I always post all my podcast tutorials and upcoming news and stuff in there.
But that’s where we’re at right now that is essentially my story on how I went from being again, somebody who had no idea I was gonna start a business back in you know, 2009 2010. And now not only am I a business owner and entrepreneur, but I have this side endeavor which is my, my courses and my education and stuff like that. And that’s actually kind of my my big passion right now I would love to be able to do it full time eventually, still kind of getting myself out of the in the roles in the business and working on the business. So there’s a little lesson for if you don’t know, haven’t heard that expression, you want to try to make sure you work on the business, not just in the business.
But I’m really excited about this. And like I said, hopefully the story. Hopefully this gives you some encouragement and inspiration depending on where you’re at. Because again, I truly believe no matter where you are, no matter what age you are, no matter where you’re at, in life, what industry you’re in, you can do web design, and you can create a life of freedom and a lifestyle you love, which is what the intro says. I mean, that’s what this is all about. I was debating on kind of what I wanted this podcast to be all about. And that’s what it is. It’s I mean, I just love web design is amazing. Comes with its challenges. Yes, but it is amazing. And I remember, back when I got started, I think I was like 24 I was talking to one of my buddies. And we were doing because at that time, I was doing some side work. I was working for a cleaning company part time. And I was like, dude, you should really get into web design man. He was like, I’m too old. He was 24 He was my age.
Inspires me because you can do it no matter where you are, no matter what age you are. – Josh
I was like, Dude, that like Id somebody just sent me an email a couple weeks ago. This guy is 70 I hope I forget his name off to look through. I hope he’s listening to this podcast because you inspired media 70 years old, and he’s getting into web design because he’s really interested in it and he just wants to do something and start kind of a new career. And that’s awesome. And he can do it like I you know, yeah, it’s gonna be some more learning on technology and stuff like that. But that just amazes me. inspires me because you can do it no matter where you are, no matter what age you are. It’s freaking awesome.
So there you go guys, there is an overview and an introduction to this podcast. And that’s kind of an overview of my story. Again, you can actually find the story a recap version with text and images I actually have pictures of everything I talked about from me as a cabinet maker working in that in that business you can find some shots of me and my band you can see my business card you can see pictures when I met Nathan from Elegant Themes and and all kinds of stuff you can see some pics of me and my family to kind of see where we’re at. And yeah, it’s all on my my website you can just go to Josh Hall CO and click on me Josh, you can find that all there. But there you go guys. Hope you enjoyed this first episode a little longer than I anticipated but not surprised I can get a little long winded but hopefully you stuck with me there through all that hopefully again, this serves as some encouragement to you. We got some awesome episodes lined up so I will see you on the next one. Thanks for tuning in.
I always appreciate the words of experience, wisdom, and instruction provided by Josh. And now to have some of the backstory has made it all the more personal.
Excellent first episode Josh! It was great to hear your story so far. I’ve learned a lot about web design and Divi from your website, Elegant Themes blog and your YouTube videos. Please keep ‘em coming’!
Such an inspiring and human path you followed Josh! I got to see my Divi business with a much clearer and relaxed view since I followed your courses. Thank you so much for your passion and dedication to spreading the love of web design to everyone!
I can’t deny I may be biased here (being closely related) In choosing to listen in, but since I’m starting my own business—I’m looking forward to hearing the next episodes and applying the transferable principles that have worked for others in running their business. So glad you chose the podcast route—so easy to listen to while walking or driving!