In this podcast interview, I chat with John Wooten (Superfly, Artillery Media, Break Into Web) about some of the wonderful options for us web designers to create Recurring Revenue. We dish out strategies on maintenance plans, lessons learned with building recurring income, real numbers, other strategies and other options for recurring business models that you can apply to your business RIGHT NOW!

Recurring revenue options mentioned:

  • Maintenance/security plans
  • Website Hosting
  • Niche industry membership sites/templates
  • Selling layouts, products in the Divi community
  • Courses or trainings
  • Affiliate marketing (links to services or products you use and trust)
  • Retainer/on going client work

Some other options (many of which I’ve done in the past):

  • Social media marketing
  • SEO and content creation
  • Logo & branding
  • Graphic design
  • Print design
  • Video, photography (other media outlets)

In This Episode

00:00 – Introduction
03:28 – Greeting to John
08:23 – Only limited by creativity
08:59 – Hosting and maintenance
12:28 – Only build with one host
16:05 – What DON’T you do
22:04 – Learn from bad stories
29:37 – Insurance plans
31:42 – Charging for yourself
36:39 – How to stay in front of clients
37:57 – Rethinking high budgets
42:24 – Split offers with students
51:57 – Outweighed by recurring freedom
53:17 – Be a 10 out of 10
55:28 – Niche website
1:00:23 – Selling items on marketplace
1:07:24 – Josh’s secret course motivation
1:11:39 – Remove yourself from the business
1:21:04 – Offer value and increase prices
1:29:38 – Relatable recurring
1:36:54 – Follow these steps


Connect with John:

Episode #018 Full Transcription

Josh 0:17
All right, all right. All right. Welcome to Episode 18. Friends. Hope you guys enjoyed my slightly terrible Matthew McConaughey intro there. But this episode you are in for a treat, because we’re going to be talking about two lovely words that are available to all of us web designers. And those are recurring revenue.

Josh 0:36
So for this talk, I brought in my man and colleague, John Wooten, he if you don’t know him, if you’re maybe new to the Divi community, he is a professional web designer, agency owner and a course creator and fellow teacher. And he’s based out of Lincoln, Nebraska. And I brought him in for this talk, because this is something that I’m really passionate about and working on, which is creating more recurring revenue, income streams for me and my business. And he’s done the same. He has multiple outlets. And that’s what this episode is all about. We talk about how you can start building recurring income for your web design business right now.

Josh 1:11
The big thing about this episode that John and I both talk about very openly, is that we have pretty much one regret and our business and it’s not building recurring income and revenue sooner. So I want you to really think about this and apply what you hear in this episode to your business to start building that recurring income. Now primarily, we talk about maintenance plans, which is kind of the most obvious way web designers can build recurring income that comes in monthly by offering a website maintenance plan. So John, and I really get into the weeds of each of our plans, we get into lessons learned. And we quite frankly, we talk very openly and transparent about our numbers about what’s worked for us. And we do talk about some nightmare experiences that will hopefully help you avoid, so you can start building some awesome recurring income.

Josh 1:55
And then towards the end of the talk, we get into some additional options because it’s not just website maintenance plans that will build recurring income for you, there’s a ton of other options available, particularly if you’re using Divi, in your in the Divi community. So I’m super, super excited for you to hear this talk. And more importantly, pull it into your business and apply some things immediately.

Josh 2:14
Now, you’re probably thinking, Alright, I know what’s coming, Josh is going to plug his maintenance plan course, because we’re talking about recurring income, but I’m going to give you a curveball here, we’re not going to plug the maintenance plan course, although I do have that available for you. I’m going to plug my cPanel course, we talked about this in the episode. But when you get into web design, you have got to know cPanel. And even some of the hosting companies that don’t use cPanel. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s the control panel where all your settings for your domains, your WordPress files, your email and all that stuff is you’ve got to know and got to have a really good understanding of that.

Josh 2:50
Otherwise, you’re going to have some nightmare experiences when there’s migrations or hacks. And you’ll find out too, as I mentioned in the episode, if you have a good understanding of domain settings and email settings, you will make clients for life because they’re going to break something they’re going to turn to you. And then you can be a rockstar and be their trusted web guy or web gal. So check out my cPanel course it’s very affordable course link below in the show notes and I would love to help you get a good understanding of that. So without further ado, friends enjoy my very in depth, transparent and real and quite frankly, awesome fun talk with my man, John Wooten.

Josh 3:28
Jay woot. Welcome to the show, man. Thanks for taking some time to chat today.

John 3:33
Absolutely, Josh, thanks for having me. And congrats again on your growing family excited for you on that. That’s cool.

Josh 3:40
Thanks, man. Appreciate it. Yeah, we were talking before we went live about parenthood and entrepreneurship and balancing time and work and babies and everything. And it is it’s a it’s a process. Now we have a one and a half year old and a newborn. And it is definitely a process adjusting. But it’s awesome. And I think thanks to web design, and the freedom of freelance work, and more importantly, the subject we’re going to talk about recurring income has really put me in such an incredible spot to stay at home. And I was telling you before we went live, I actually work a lot less now than I did before I had kids, but I make more. And it’s because I prioritize what’s absolutely most profitable, most important in business. So when I’m sitting here at a screen, it’s focus. So didn’t mean to start that way. But I just wanted to say that’s kind of what we’re all about here. I know you got stuff planned in the future. So man, it’s awesome to have you. I called you Jay Whoo. What do you go by John? What do people call you because you have a cool name.

John 4:39
Yeah, the most common ones are Jay Wooten J dub. Sometimes, Johnny Boy, not a huge fan of that one.

Josh 4:46
Okay, we’ll stick with J. Wooten. It seems to roll off the tongue.

John 4:49
I like that one Yeah,

Josh 4:50
Awesome. Well, I think most people in the Divi community know who you are with your involvements. But for people who don’t know you for those who are maybe new to the WordPress and Divi community, can you just share with us who you are and what you do? I know you have quite a few involvements that we’ll get into here.

John 5:05
Absolutely. So I’ve been designing websites since 2002. So 18 years now, probably more, that’s when I first got into it was 2000 to 2006 is kind of when I was kind of really full fledged, you know, made the business name and went forward with all that. So I’ve been designing websites for a long time been working with WordPress for a long time. Used to roll my own build my own Divi theme or WordPress themes, eventually stumbled upon Divi. But the main company that I work, and that I that I run is Artillery Media. And we’re a small team of three now with probably another five or six subcontractors that we use. We’re on small on purpose. And then I also am the co founder of, or co owner of Superfly with Nathan and Daniel, that is a shop specifically selling Divi themes, child themes and plugins. And then there’s some other things I also do a small motivational speaking website service that I co own as well called Brilliant Site. And then I wrote down some other ones here,

Josh 6:17
I forgot about that one. I think last time, we talked about

John 6:20
The sneaky one That was saying it’s sneaky.

Josh 6:22
It’s a very niche.

John 6:26
And then I also made musician. And so I usually travel and play about 40 to 50 dates per year doing that. And that is why I love the recurring revenue that just has it gives you the freedom to maybe work less and focus more on your family. Same thing with music for me right now. And eventually, when we have kids, it’ll be the same kind of deal. And the recurring revenue is the is the key. It’s the long term game key to this whole thing. Lastly, I’d also co founded last year a web design school called break into web. And same thing when I’m talking to a photographer or videographer on why should they learn how to build websites. But I don’t know how to code I don’t you know what you don’t have to anymore, right, thanks to Divi. But I tell them look, if the recurring revenue that you’re not getting right now, and photography and videography, or graphic design or web consulting, that’s what you’re missing. And in five years from now, if you do this, if you start now, five years from now, you’re gonna look back and be like, Wow, so glad that I started building the recurring revenue.

Josh 7:32
That’s a great first point, because that’s probably perhaps the main thing that I’ve learned to love about web design is just that recurring revenue, and you just hit the nail on the head with other industries like videography and photography, there may be a couple options for some sort of recurring, if it’s like packages that you do once a year with certain families, if you’re a photographer, or with videography, you could probably do like a retainer of services with certain clients. But with web design, as you just pointed out with all your endeavors, there are oodles of options for recurring income. And I think that’s just amazing. And it’s why I’m really passionate about teaching my students and I know you are with break into web about the recurring options, the recurring income options for folks, because it’s really endless. And the cool thing about it too, is it’s really only limited by your creativity, right? Like you can really come up with any sort of recurring model that you want around web design, would you say that’s fair, in the in the sphere of web design?

John 8:34
Absolutely. And there are a plethora of ways to do it right. And some I think are better than others, or some will last longer than others, right? Like if you do a, let’s say you do a social media, monthly retainer type deal. Some clients will stay on that for a long time, like a gym membership, as we’ve mentioned, some will not they might cancel after a few months. But my recurring revenue of choice I’m sure yours is and probably most of the listeners is hosting and maintenance right of the website. They cannot turn that off easily. It’s not like a social media retainer where you can just decide I don’t want to pay for this anymore. Email marketing thing. I don’t want to pay for this anymore. You turn off your website hosting or maintenance and ours is bundled together, your website goes down, get to find the new solution for that.

John 9:23
That pain of switching. Not that our clients want to because they love us. Right. But that pain of switching and that that longevity of the hosting and maintenance. We have clients that have been with us for years, right I’m sure you do too, that have been with us for years that keep paying the monthly hosting and maintenance over time. That builds up. I could tell you our business my business model and goals for the next year since it’s brand new year right brand new decade. My goal is the same boring goal as it was last year and the year before that and the year before that and the year before that, ever since I started attracting this particular goal five years ago, we hit it every single year. And the goal is this, the build and launch 50 websites per year that are hosted with us. As a team, Jake and I are pretty much the the partners, and we do things together. He manages all the hosting, I manage the maintenance security side, we charge $49 a month. That’s our base plan, which is really competitive.

Josh 10:28
Yeah, very affordable. Absolutely.

John 10:31
And I think our cost if I’m being, you know, a liberal cost would be $9. Out of that 49 bucks per month, right, we have to pay hosting that we resell, we have to pay for the maintenance systems, it’s like that. So what that means is every year, we’re taking $40 A month times our 50 clients. So every year we’re adding at least 2k a month on our bottom line recurring revenue. So personally, for Jake and I, that’s $1,000 Each per month, every year. So what that means is, if I’m making if I’m making $1,000 a month right now, and recurring revenue, I pretty much know for a fact, in four years from now, it’ll be at least 12,000. Why? Because we’re gonna keep hitting that goal. Actually, I have a little chalkboard on the wall right now that says hosting 2020. Goal is 50. Right now we’re at one. So we have some work to do. But we’ll we’ll hit it. Last year, we did 52, the year before that we did 55. So that is why I tell folks, that’s the power right there. That’s what gives you the freedom eventually to say no to certain clients or to be more selective, or to eventually even say like we do now, if you’re not going to host with us, we’re not going to build your site.

Josh 11:38
Okay, I was wondering how you did that? Because that’s, that’s one of the biggest tricks in web design is, well, what do I do with a client who has GoDaddy, and they’ve been there for two years, and they have they bought like a four year package or whatever, like how that works out. So you guys, you only work with people who you host them, you feel comfortable with the servers and everything that’s involved with the website.

John 12:02
As of 2019 2019, we started that, and we’re still we’re still doing that, that now, for 2018. And 2017, we would still work with sites on other hosts, but they would pay an extra five or $600, which is pretty much one year of our of our our hosting and maintenance that we do we do 49 bucks a month, you know, about $600 a year, we would charge them 600 Extra, if they want to stay on their current host. The reason why is we would tell them, hey, look, our hosting company that we use, we know that back end, so Well, we’re we know the folks that work there, we know the support people, it’s much easier and takes less time and our resources to build your site on that hosting platform. We can work with your hosting platform, but it’s going to add some time on our end, it might add an extra 2 3 4 hours for us to deal with this other hosting company, whoever that may be. And that’s where the $600 charges. It’s not just because we don’t like you, because you’re not hosting with us. No, it’s because it is going to take us extra time. The hosting company we work with now we just have it down to a tee on setting spinning up new sites launching them, it’s so easy.

Josh 13:14
So that’s, that’s it, I was just gonna say it’s such a really important and valid reason to have a different tear in your maintenance plan for folks who and I’ve, I’ve debated that for a long time, I have not taken that step yet. But after just having this conversation with you, I think I’m really seriously going to look at revamping ours to do that as well, because yeah, like most of our clients have either hosting with us or I There’s pros and cons to hosting a client. And I’ve found that sometimes when you’re the middleman and there’s domain renewals, and inevitably, you’re involved with the email situation of your hosting, then that can really bleed into a lot of extra hours. And that can get a little messy if a client is hosting with you. And then you’re like, well, we need to charge more to do your email and stuff like that, that that can open up some doors that have caused me to really just let people sign up for their own hosting.

Josh 14:05
But I do recommend, like, I recommend SiteGround that’s who we use and recommend. And that way, same thing, like we still know, the back end and we feel comfortable. I know they’re secure, and they have good servers and everything. So that’s kind of the approach and the approach that I’ve taken. However, we still host a lot of clients. And mainly they’re the ones who are like, I don’t know, like I can barely turn my computer on. So there’s no way I want to deal with that. So we’re like, that’s alright, we’ll wrap it up. And then we’ll just up at, you know, 20 bucks a month or whatever for for just hosting the website.

Josh 14:36
But in systems, it’s interesting because both models work. And there’s, it’s yours is better from a standpoint of that ongoing recurring income, like you said, and you’re right. It’s one of those things where they can’t just turn that off. If they turn off their hosting their website goes down. It’s not like a service like you mentioned where it’s like, well, let’s stop doing social media as this month where you know, we’re having a couple Little months, let’s turn it on, you know, eventually. So that’s huge, and that there’s pros and cons to both. So I’m glad to hear that you guys have worked out a pretty good system. On that, though, do you find that it’s like, do you? Do you have some costly situations where you’re the middleman between domain renewals and email and stuff like that? Do you feel like that just balances out with the projects that just go fine and are like low cost or low maintenance clients?

John 15:26
Sure. So I guess I’ll speak to a few things there. And I feel like this is good to go into since hosting and maintenance is probably going to be the main way most web designers get get the recurring revenue. The the unicorn, you know,

Josh 15:41
I figured it was the first one we’re going to talk about, because yeah, it’s the most obvious. It’s just awesome. It’s why I developed my first course, website maintenance plan, because it literally I say this, I think almost every podcast, but it changed my life, these two lovely words of recurring income. So yeah, so I didn’t mean to cut you off. I knew we were gonna start with this, because it’s just, it’s obvious. And it’s huge. It’s awesome.

John 16:05
So initially, initially, when I first this is years ago, when I first kind of started getting into recurring revenue. I think there are a couple things that I did. Not quite right. Number one, well, for me, number one was I was buying clients domains for them. And we don’t do that anymore, and haven’t for a very long time. Because eventually, they want to use some other third party service, right? And you’re going to be in charge, you’re going to be that middleman between them. So now we say hey, client, buy your own domain, you own the domain. And you can appoint your name servers to our our hosting. Or if you’re going to be very active with your domain, then just point the a record to it. We’ll log in and get the record over to us. The other thing, I just watched your episode on filler words. So I’m trying to do that. But it’s hard to concentrate when you’re thinking about filler words. Anyway, I know right? For those who haven’t watched the last episode, check that out. Or the one I just watched yesterday.

Josh 17:05
Yeah, I just released it. Yeah, yeah. Just recently, yeah. Public speaking and presenting. And we talked about mixing filler words and such. So

John 17:13
Right, so I’ll do my best to avoid them. Another thing that I did early on was the first couple clients, I hosted their email on the server too. I don’t do that anymore. After two clients of that.

Josh 17:27
The rookie mistake we all make.

John 17:30
I started referring clients to just Google Apps. Google Apps actually has a referral program too. So there’s another way to make some real I didn’t know that they do. They absolutely do it, which is insane. So G Suite and everything a suite has it as an affiliate program.

Josh 17:45
How did I not know that day?

John 17:46
I just found out last year I Same same, of course, right?

Josh 17:50
I’ve yeah, I’ve got like five people on G Suite for the past, I think five months or six months that I referred to G Suite. Yeah.

John 17:57
When I checked it out, I had Jake, Sign us up for it. But when I looked at it, they do cap you at like $3,000 per business. Okay, which is the fine cap, right? Yeah, that’s all right. So ever since the early days, I haven’t messed with email, we just say, hey, Gmail is amazing. Have your own branded Gmail, that’s really what you want. No server email is going to compete with that. So just do that. It’s worth it. It’s the number one way of communication. It’s worth the $5 per month per user. Plus you get all the other things that you get with G Suite. Great. Clients really don’t push back on that. I always surprised that they haven’t pushed back on that. Really ever. They’re all they all seem to get it. So initially, I started hosting sites. And I was on this hosting company, a small one, I had about 25 sites on there. I have got back from tour the day after Valentine’s Day, February 15. I’m out with my wife on it.

Josh 18:52
I know where this is going. I can tell.

John 18:55
And it anyway, as you probably can guess the server goes down. And I had I had all 25 sites on this server. So a couple big no no’s happening here. I’m getting texts and phone calls on the state. That kid you not. And I’m I’m in we’re in Omaha, Nebraska, which is like an hour away from my home, I can’t do anything. I’m trying to enjoy the state with my wife. I’m a people pleaser. And I know clients are being let down right now. It was a just a day ruiner. So after that day, I decided I’m not going to host any more websites.

Josh 19:26
It’s also a red flag to when it’s not just one client that reaches out, but multiple. That’s when you’re like, oh, no, something’s going on.

John 19:35
I had about four texts and about three or four phone calls. But still, that’s a lot. I mean, oh, yeah. Right. Knowing that most of you don’t even know.

Josh 19:43
Right evening hours during a date. That’s right. Not good, right. Yeah.

John 19:48
So sure enough, I’m like trying to check on my phone on this date. It’s just not good. So basically, I get home and I tell everyone Hey, we’re going to move your hosting to more reliable servers. sorry this happened. And, you know, by hosting, here’s a couple links I didn’t know about SiteGround yet. So I sent some some links to other hosting companies, they all get eventually on other hosting companies. But then I so I gained back some like, you know, stress free lifestyle, but then I lose recurring revenue. So eventually I come up with the idea of you know what, I’m going to have my own maintenance security plan that doesn’t include hosting.

John 20:27
And how that started was I had a site and development which when I first working with WordPress, I was building my own WordPress theme, with advanced custom fields, PHP, all that stuff. And I didn’t really I was so naive about WordPress, because one of the first WordPress sites I’d done, I didn’t realize that you have to keep the software up to date pretty religiously, like you would your own software on your on your phone or computer. And the site’s in development, you know, and the client, the client was pretty well off. And it was kind of a side project for him. So he wasn’t really checking the site that often I think this thing when three months in development gets hacked. It’s like attack. And through that hacking, I learned Wow, the rest of the day.

John 21:14
So I, I have no backups either, like no, no backups outside.

Josh 21:19
Oh Man.

John 21:20
I call the hosting company talk to them. something had gone wrong. It’s a one on one. For those of you that want to know I’ll name dropper, I call one and one. They tell me that something has gone wrong with the server. We can only roll back two days. I say well, roll back two days. I guess this is a development site. I check it like once a week. I don’t know when I got hacked. These Viagra ads are popping up stuff like that. They roll back two days restore the website. Looks great. Two hours later Viagra ads start popping up. So now I’m like, What am I going to do now?

Josh 21:53
So they wrote back a hacked version of the site?

John 21:56
Well, they Yeah, they their whatever happened with their server that they couldn’t roll back further than two days?

Josh 22:01
Oh, site had been already in place.

John 22:04
Yeah, already done. So now I’m like, What do I do? Now I have no external backup of my own hosting company doesn’t have a backup for me. I don’t know if that if the files are corrupt, or the database is corrupt. And that’s when I decided, Okay, I’m going to rebuild this site. I’m not going to charge him anything more. This is totally my bad. And I’m going to roll out a website maintenance plan for folks that way. If they do say no. And I thought I just assumed right off the bat, most of these folks are gonna tell me no. But I want it to be like full coverage, car insurance. Josh, if you pay off your car, and you call me up, I’m your insurance agent. And you say, Hey, John, I don’t need full coverage anymore. I paid my car off. I want to go down to liability. And I’m like, Well, Josh, I don’t know. That’s a good idea. You know, if you’re a cause of an accident, you’re like, No, I want to do it. Okay, great, fine. I do that for you. Two weeks later, you cause an accident? And now you are liable for the damages to the car? Are you mad at me? Because I took you down to liability? No, of course not. You’re mad at yourself. Like why didn’t slide that I choose to save the 25 bucks or 50 bucks a month,

Josh 23:10
You got you got to put the ownership on the client, right? Instead of making you the web designer liable, at least present the options and say, Hey, if you don’t do a maintenance plan, this is what is very well going to happen as far as because one thing important thing to remember I thought about this a couple of minutes ago when you were talking about this at the start I don’t want to overlook this is for all web designers, particularly when you’re getting started to remember, clients don’t know anything about this stuff.

Josh 23:36
Most clients, particularly those who are not tech savvy, who are just in their business. They think a website is just a little flat design that you put up online somehow, they have no idea what goes on with hosting how email is connected, how domains are connected, and more importantly, how website hacks happen constantly, and how all the tools that every web designer uses it doesn’t it isn’t just just WordPress or Divi even static HTML sites, there are tools that need to be updated. And yeah, I just don’t think clients realize that a website is something that is just like any other software, it’s got to be updated or something bad’s gonna happen. So I just wanted to point that out because what you’re going into is huge like we’re talking about some lessons learned and headache situations. That can all be avoided with a website maintenance plan.

John 24:23
Oh, the best was when I spent one time four hours Christmas morning fixing a site but I’ll get to that in a second. So then I roll out

Josh 24:30
I don’t know if I want to hear about that one.

John 24:34
I figure Okay, I’ll do a maintenance security plan and basically found a security plugin I really liked put in some options for it. I really liked especially blocking fake admin usernames came up with a list of those that I really liked. Save that as an as an easily easy and portable option thing to set up on a site also came up with the backup solution external of the host right? I went out I bought infiniteWP He put it on my server. It was a one time cost for that back in the day. So I bought that. still use that one time cost is crazy, no monthly fees like I have, you know, 200 sites on that thing. So I offer this plan for $29 per month, I pitched it as less than $1 a day, I’ll secure and maintain your website, you won’t have to worry about updating WordPress plugins, none of that your website is going to run smooth, it’s going to be great.

John 25:28
Start pitching it to clients. But 80% of clients say yes to this thing. And I’m like, wow, this is awesome. I thought most you’re going to say no, but it was going to be my ticket out of, hey, here’s the solution I’m offering you, here’s the full coverage insurance, it’s there for you. If you say no, if you get hacked, you’re not so upset with me. You know, it’s a win win. And if you sign up, it’s a win win. You’re getting security. Great. So I built that for quite a while I think I built that up to maybe 30 or 40 clients. Meantime, I met Jake, I brought Jake on board. Eventually he’s like how can I earn recurring revenue. And I was like, Well, I have this great thing called hosting or maintenance security.

John 26:07
If you want to host websites, you can do that. And we can bundle these together at 49 bucks a month, and we’ll split right down the middle, but you’re going to be responsible for hosting site goes down, they’re gonna call you right now a site goes down. They’re calling GoDaddy or whoever they’re with, they’re not bugging me about it. In fact, I would almost say the maintenance security plan I had that I offered was probably the easiest recurring revenue money I ever made. There’s no hosting involved. So if you’re out there right now, and you’re like, I don’t want to be responsible for hosting, okay, well then don’t offer an offer that middle security layer is what I called it, offer that layer of security for under $1 a day, clients will say yes to it, they’ll be like, absolutely. And also, I had a weekly backup that wasn’t tied to their server. So you know, everyone always says if the server goes up in flames, which like never happens, right? But in my case, if something goes wrong with the server, and they can only really roll back two days, I’m sure that’s rare, but it happened.

Josh 27:05
Yeah. And that’s it. That’s so important, what you just said, because what we talked about in the outset of this was that you guys are primarily doing especially now the hosting and the security and maintenance, which has pros and cons, the pros are to kind of recap that you’re getting a lot more recurring income, even if it’s 10 or 20, extra bucks a month, times 100 clients. That’s pretty that’s not too shabby. That’s all good recurring income. Yes, you’re the middleman periodically with domain questions or email and stuff like that. But it sounds like you guys have found a sweet spot to where you and Jake are managing that. And it’s, you know, obviously, if it was killing you guys on time, you would Nix it or figure something else out.

Josh 27:43
Whereas my method was more like we still have some of those clients. But I prefer to have people handle the hosting through SiteGround as long as it’s a host that we approve, because if somebody says, Well, I want to stay with Bluehost or GoDaddy, not not for us, we’re not doing that anymore. But so yeah, you could go both ways. And I totally agree. And it’s funny, you mentioned that, John, because it’s the first thing I say in my maintenance plan course, is that I hate to use the term easy money. But it’s easy money for web designers pay the maintenance and security plan because once you know how to sell it, it’s very easy to maintain. It’s very generally low time per month to be able to do those things. And I’m not sure what you guys are using now. But I use managed WP. So we have all the backups, all the updates, the monitoring, and everything else on that. And we do the same thing. We we I set it up initially to where we do an external backup on Dropbox, but you could put it anywhere. And so we have two destinations for backups. So God forbid something happens. We’re in a clear or not liable, like we’re protected. So yeah, huge, huge stuff.

John 28:49
So ever since we started launching the maintenance plan, and then later adding the hosting to it any site that’s ever been on our plan while the site was on our plan, no hacks, zero, not a single one. So I did have a client refuse the main security plan. And they’re the ones that got hacked Christmas Eve. I spent Christmas morning that’s this might be a lesson here. I spend Christmas morning I get their sight because we’re waiting for family to come over. You know, we weren’t kind of really celebrating yet. Go from eight to noon on Christmas Day. I can’t remember what year this was. I went through there. I went through their WordPress files, cleaned out hacked code on the Wii ever done that but you know,

Josh 29:34
I just hire security.

John 29:37
And I put their site back up and then I read pitch them the main security plan thinking that you’re obviously going to say yes now and they still said no, gotcha. That was the start to be like, Okay, I don’t want to I don’t want to claim these sites again. Then have clients tell me no, you know, what, do I really want my name on a website that’s hacked? No, I don’t. So maybe start requiring requiring this for clients. And that started, it took a couple of years to finally make that decision. Concrete and Okay, that’s it, we’re not going to put our name on a website that we can ensure is not going to get hacked, get hacked. So that’s it. So eventually, that’s why we made that decision.

John 30:19
Other thoughts that we had about lower teirs, because $29 a month, less than $1 a day, but I had flirted with, maybe I’ll do if you don’t want to do $29 a month, maybe I’ll just do a $9 a month, like a Netflix plan. And we’re just going to make a backup to your site every week. That way, if the worst does happen, and your hosting company doesn’t have a backup, then we have one at least. But in the end, I decided that’s not worth the trouble for nine bucks. Right?

John 30:47
So those are some other ones. But all Yep. As you said, it’s all in how you sell it. So what I tell our students is, you can’t just go tell a client, hey, host with us, it’s $49 a month. Because if a client is somewhat tech savvy, they will know well, I can go to GoDaddy and get hosting for 499. So the way I sell it is this, we offer hosting, maintenance and security all bundled together 49 bucks a month, a small portion of that pays for your hosting. The rest of that is us going in and making sure your site is up to date, we’re watching it for spam or watching it for bots trying to break in when a bot does try to break in with a fake username. We add that to the security plug in the block them. And I give them stats on our on our page that just are overwhelmingly how many 1000s of times bots have tried to break in.

John 31:42
So I don’t, so I I don’t let them think that, Oh, I’m going to pay $49 for hosting. That’s not what you want them thinking you’re hosting as part of this maybe a third. And we use premium hosting. So in their mind, I want them to think, Hey, I’m hosting with them. It’s set up for WordPress, that cost is probably maybe 1015 20 bucks out of the whole 50. The other part is they have a team that’s going in and checking my site. I think that’s a mistake some folks make when they first try to pitch hosting, or they feel bad about pitching it. Why can I pitch hosting for $49 a month when I know it’s cost $4 A month, because you’re offering so much more than that you’re offering yourself as that middleman. And that’s what they want exactly that nerd on call, as we say, to be there for them.

Josh 32:28
Yeah, and again, that goes back to where it’s there’s pros and cons to each you may be a little more involved. However, particularly if you’re getting started out, and you’re looking for recurring income options, doing hosting and maintenance together, you really can get a handful of clients. And you can find out very quickly that holy crap, I have a lot of recurring income, one of my students, it was he went through the course my website, main span course. And I think three weeks after he went through the course and started selling, he was already at 1500 a month in recurring income with hosting and maintenance.

Josh 33:03
Like it’s amazing. And it was all based off of just what I have laid out. Because what I’ve gone through, it’s why I’m so passionate about that. Because, yeah, like you really don’t need too many clients to start building some really good recurring. And then before you know it, hey, my car payments paid off this month with recurring income. If I didn’t get one of the job, my car already paid off. And then it’s like, oh, my my car and my gas and electric are now paid off. And then it’s all my mortgage this month is taken care of by my maintenance plan. That’s when it really gets cool. And and now like, we’re still at the point where, as we talked about in the outset, I have two babies now. So expenses have gone up dramatically. But we’re still to the point where our maintenance plan almost covers our living expenses still.

Josh 33:47
And in full transparency. Ours is about 40,000 a year recurring. Now that was at closer to 50. But we and I’ve talked about this, I forget if it was on a podcast, or maybe a recent video I did. But we did maintenance for a white label client. And they dropped, I think 15 sites. So it was a pretty big dent in our income. And it was just because they didn’t need those sites anymore. And they moved on to a different platform. So it was a pretty big it was a dent but like it wasn’t the end of the world. I lost $10,000 10,000 bucks a year in recurring. But you know what, it’s not the end of the world because I have the the other 40,000 that we’re continuing to grow to your point.

Josh 34:27
Like once you get it in place. That’s the beauty about a maintenance plan. It’s scalable. And that’s what’s so so cool about it is it’s fairly easy to scale once you get that all in place. And I think one thing I wanted to mention, too, that you talked about was you fixed your client site, and then they didn’t sign up with you the big they had that for anyone who goes through this, particularly if you’re getting started out. You want to offer the maintenance plan to say hey, here’s what we offer. Here’s why you should join and if you don’t go with us this is these are the consequences. You could get hacked. You might get spam or malware a lot of other problems could happen to your site. And inevitably, when it happens, that’s your opportunity to close.

Josh 35:05
It sounds like a little bit of a shady kind of thing. But I’ve done that I’ve had numerous clients, actually one of the I do a case study in my course, on the emails that came in from a client who got hacked, they declined our plan. And then a couple years later, they got hacked. And they were like, Hey, we know you offer this maintenance plan, you know, now we’re hacked. So we’re gonna sign up whatever you need to do, and I was able to onboard them. And it’s been great ever since. So, yeah, a couple really important.

Josh 35:32
They’re important things there. You want to essentially protect yourself as a web designer. And then inevitably, when because you’re not going to lay in 100% of clients, but for the few who decline it. That’s where maintenance really comes into play in the future. Because once I do get hacked, you got it. You got a new client right there. So and I think it’s important to not to be like, Well, I told yourself, it’s got to be done in a nice way saying, like, yeah, that’s why you know, it’s why we do this, we want to make it a win win. And we want to not only protect our work, but protect you guys, because look how costly it is. So

Josh 36:04
I do want to say that too. You don’t want to be like yep, told you da, because I see some other designers throwing that stuff out on social media. It’s like, Dude, don’t don’t go that route. You’re gonna burn yourself. But yeah, in any case, good stuff, man. That’s definitely I mean, website maintenance plans, like we talked about, they’re huge that I think it’s the most obvious. And it’s huge for recurring income stability. And just I mean, it also I’ve found, do you guys find, too, that, for me, it just, it’s a win win, because we stay front and mind of our clients. And they kind of remember us, because we send them a report each month.

Josh 36:39
So whereas before launching our maintenance plan, I would build a website, I would launch it, and they would just go their own separate way. And it’s not that the client didn’t want to work with me in the future. Again, it’s just that they forgot about me or they’re not, you know, if we’re not in, in their presence front of mind every month, they’re likely just gonna forget like, oh, yeah, who did our website like three years ago? Or if it’s a business and they have turned around internally? They’re like, Oh, yeah, who did? Who did the website like three years ago? So with a maintenance plan, you stay in front of mine? Have you guys found that it has opened up more work for you guys. And ongoing edits and things like that?

John 37:15
Yes. So usually, like I’ve mentioned, we have about at least 50, that sign up per year, sometimes with the 255, usually between 50 to 60 per year. And we usually lose about two to three sites, on average, per year, some years, it’s one some years, it might be four. And that’s those are usually folks who maybe went out of business or it’s a side, a side hustle, they’re not doing anymore, every once in a while, that will be someone who does go to a bigger agency. And that’s fine. Sometimes we have clients that their new website, they’ve grown their business to the point where we don’t want to necessarily do their new website, because it maybe it’s too it has too many functions, features that we want to mess with. Honestly, if someone has a $20,000 budget, we’re probably not the best fit for them. We’ve done a couple of those last year, we did some 15. Once for in my experience, once it gets 10 or more, it, it might not be worth it. It might for me, for me, personally,

Josh 38:11
I’d rather I had that same conversation. I did a webinar on my business course. And one of the questions was, Do you like those because we’re wrapping up at 10,000 right now. And I’ll be honest, I think I’m going to do a case study podcast with Jonathan, my designer, we’re going to talk about lessons learned because it has not been a fun project. And it’s where it’s like six months into it. And it’s a huge ecommerce site that just grew legs and got really messy the clients not unhappy, like they’re, you know, but it’s just, it’s like every party involved is just, we just all want to be done with it. I would much rather do the 2500 small business website and knock it out and a few weeks and have a nice fun experience and do multiple those. And I think we talked about this last time we talked on my scaling series, but you get more people on your maintenance plan. If you do go that route

John 39:03
And more word of mouth to go and client clients. Clients refer clients like themselves, you know, so if I’m if I’m, if I’m working with a respectable small business owner, who’s fun to work with. The folks he hangs out with the other business owners he hangs out with probably more like that person, him or her and they’re going to send me more people like that. So every every big project that you do there word of mouth is going to be other other CEOs at decent sized companies that come hit you up and and go through that whole deal.

John 39:37
But yeah, no, we so we also send out a year end email that kind of says, Hey, here’s how many WordPress updates we did. All clients and these are, here’s how many plugin updates we did. Here’s how many theme updates we did updates in general and zero sites hacked right that’s the smallest number down there. So then clients really get to see wow, look at all they’re doing all the work that doing on my behalf every single month or whatever, however often each quarter yearly, however often you send them out.

John 40:07
So yes, absolutely does keep them keep you in their mind. And also, you have to know that every once in a while some of these owners are hearing from other owners, they know that maybe are going through a site hack at that moment and how terrible it is, or whatnot. And they might think, man, thank God for intransit studios, you know, or thank God for artillery media. So if you’re newer at pitching, hosting, maintenance, you if you’re newer starting out in web design, I do feel like there’s a, it’s going to be hard at first, because the clientele you’re working with might be lower budget, right? They might not be able to afford the $49 a month. That’s where I recommend having another plan, maybe just hosting or just maintenance only. And security. That’s just mean security at a minimum. Yeah.

Josh 40:54
You know, one thing, one thing I talked about too, in my course, is a backup plan or a fallback. I don’t advertise this. But right now, our main plan is 59. And then they have hosting or two sites at 75. And then we like E commerce is 95. And we have some higher tiers. I’m kind of reworking how I go about that. Because even that is very affordable. Like you guys are definitely on the lower end.

John 41:18
Yeah,

Josh 41:18
As far as other maintenance,

John 41:19
Our lowest layer. Yeah, we have to the tears. Yeah.

Josh 41:22
But what I do is if somebody just declines that and they say, Listen, you know, we just don’t make that much. It’s just a portfolio site. We don’t want to do that I do have a backup. I say, Well, we do have this $39. It doesn’t include everything as far as like our week, because we offer hourly retainer if needed for other clients, I’m not sure, maybe figure out what you guys do with that. But that’s been a big sell for us. As we say we’re in your corner every month for small updates, and they’re covered as long as it’s under an hour of our time for this website’s covered, which works out pretty well. Some clients are needier than others. But for the most part, it’s only like two or three clients who you do do that every month. So it works out. But I say that to say I have like the $39 backup that’s just doing the updates, monitoring, and backups. And it goes through managed WP, so to your point, we’re paying maybe $1 Something for that site, and it’s 39 bucks extra. And in the end, they can always scale up if they say look, we want to do more with our website, let’s move up to the full plan. So we get an hour a month if we need to.

John 42:24
One thing that we offer our students and and you can take this if you want to. And I think maybe eventually we’ll open it up to simple Divi sites is when you’re learning how to build a website, I think the trickiest part sometimes is setting up a test site, right depending on which host you’re using, if you have to deal with with but setting up a test site can be tricky. And then launching the website. Right? That seems to be a tricky part too. Because there’s I don’t know 20 ways to

Josh 42:52
Talk about going from like a subdomain to a real live site migrate.

John 42:57
Or if you’re if your test site somewhere else or whatnot, so that we decided, hey, let’s let’s as break into web, let’s offer our students reselling resellable hosting maintenance security plans. And so basically, hey, for 20 students, you sign up your client, our cost is $24 a month. And here’s what we’ll give you for that 24 bucks a month, we’ll give you a test site with Divi ready to go. So you don’t have to worry about setting up WordPress and loading Divi and a child theme will do that for you. We’ll load up our our break into web child theme.

John 43:28
Boom, you build the site, client eventually loves the site, yay, they want to launch it will launch it for you give us the domain access, we’ll launch it for you. We’ll roll it live, do all the checks, make sure it’s all good. Set up Yoast or whatever. And then boom, now as yours, we recommend that you charge your client at least $49 a month for the service. Here’s a premade pricing table with three tiers and Divi that you can put on your own website. And here’s the task every month. And so basically we get $24 a month just for hosting it, maintaining security. And then at the end, then at the other levels, we start introducing stuff the student is responsible for like an hour of edits or a strategy phone call, we’re not going to do that we’re not gonna do that it’s we’re not going to do that stuff. We’re just gonna host and maintain the website right security. Now for that service Kelly runs that my partner in breaking the web and she uses Flywheel for all that.

Josh 44:24
So it’s kind of like a white label maintenance, absolute service.

John 44:27
It’s higher, but we’re doing a little more than let’s say you can get reseller site ground hosting, right and pay what four or five bucks per site, but they’re not gonna they’re actually they probably would set up a set test site for you because their support is phenomenal. Right?

Josh 44:42
Yeah. You know what, though? And one, one thing about hosting and I wanted to mention this earlier, I’m glad you’ve kind of reminded me to mention this even is as awesome as SiteGround is you never want to rely on your hosts for backups security support, because and that’s one thing I I think every web designer, you found that out the hard way. I found that out the hard way. I once oh my gosh, talk about nightmare. I know we’ve all had these situations. But let’s see, this was 2015. Teen, I launched this site for this real estate company that was further agents. So we had like the customer site that we built. And then we did this these agents sites, and they were two, there are three agents sites, there was like one landing page, and there was one for Florida one for Colorado.

Josh 45:26
Well, long story short, there is issues with this hosting company they were using. And something happened when the server where we went live in like two days later, said that but with the server, and I went in and tried to fix something and I accidentally deleted the databases. And I didn’t know I didn’t have a good understanding of cPanel back then. And that’s, I hate to keep on plugging my courses. But that’s why I did a course on cPanel. Because that is so important. But I had no idea how the databases were connected. And I accidentally deleted the sites, the databases, and the client called they’re freaking out, they adjust push this huge promotion out for these sites.

Josh 46:04
It was Yeah, I was I was at dinner with my wife’s family. Same thing. I was getting calls like, Oh, crap, I love and then I called this coasting company. I’m like, Hey, can you roll back these sites and like we don’t take we don’t have like restore points or whatever. And I was like, what, like, you don’t have that. And I didn’t back them up. I didn’t have them. And it was a night, I had to recreate the sites. The next day I spent I think I worked like 20 hours straight. And I rebuilt the site’s as best as I could. Luckily, I kinda it was all fresh in my mind, and I had all the graphics and stuff, but I had to reinstall WordPress, redo the site, and I had to literally build like three sites in 20 hours to get them back up. So that’s just a good lesson learned. So number one, why you don’t want to rely on hosting companies for that. Number two, why you want to make sure you have a security and maintenance plan. And you have backups in place just for that. And number three, you also want to make sure you have a good understanding of cPanel. Because you build websites, you got an OC panel.

John 47:03
So if you’re watching this right now, and you’re overwhelmed with technical overwhelm,

Josh 47:08
yeah, we did. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to take us down.

John 47:11
I did it. But if you’re like, Wow, guys, it sounds this recurring revenue sounded great at the beginning of this. But now these stories, these nightmare stories. Well, guess what, you don’t have to go through that they’re cut, we’ve already thrown out a few options. Number one, you can take Josh’s cPanel course his recurring revenue course. And you can learn up and train yourself up on it and be prepared. So you don’t make these dumb mistakes that we made. Learn from our mistakes, right? Or number two, you can hit up, you can hit me up. And if you want to take advantage of that, Hey, John, I just want to resell your guys’s hosting may security and have you guys take care of all that stuff. If the site goes down and database and maybe Josh has something similar. But you can do that, too.

John 47:56
That that’s why I wanted to offer to our students was hey, look, I know this sounds overwhelming. But yeah, if you’re, if you’re able to sell this at $49 a month, which is very reasonable, and we’ll help you sell it, and we’ll give you the pate the sale page for it. Then, every month, let’s say you sell it for $10 a month student every month, you’re going to get 25 bucks a month and you’re not logging, you’re not pressing the Update button and manage WP or infinite WP or who cares? Who cares? It’s not as not on you, the site goes down, you’re not dealing with any of that stuff. You’re just collecting 25 bucks a month. Or if you can sell it for 59 or 69 More power to you. Now you’re making right 35 or 45. So that’s why we wanted to offer that.

Josh 48:38
Yeah, I really liked that you do that because particularly for people who are just getting started out and it can be overwhelming learning everything about web all at once. I like you said I do my courses to empower people to know as much as they can and to handle that and make more. But your option is great to have an option for somebody else to handle it while you kind of level up and while you’re learning which I think that’s huge. And I think one important thing to know, because you’re right, like we have gone down. I did not intend for us to have so many hard lessons learned. But I’m glad that we’re talking about this, John, because we’re we’re explaining like what we’ve gone through.

Josh 49:13
I’m surprised that either one of us have hair on our heads after some of those, like almost like most people in industries, I mean, every industry has their hard times. But there’s just something about web designers to where we go through some stuff that most other industries and it’s why a lot like I had some designer friends who tried to get into web and they as soon as they got into the cPanel hosting stuff, they’re like nope, not even I’m just gonna stick with this other industry because, but the cool thing is, is once you get a good understanding of it, it ain’t rocket science. And the cool thing about it is you really don’t need to know too much before you you understand it. And there are a lot of tools and services that we’ve talked about that will help but the really cool thing is it just makes you more valuable.

Josh 50:00
If you as a web designer, and I’m sure you’ll back me up on this when you become that web guy, or that web gal, and a client has an email go down, and they’re like, I changed my domain, and what is what’s an MX record? What is this? And you’re like, Oh, well, your MX record points where your email should go, then they’re like, oh, my gosh, I didn’t, I didn’t know that you can really be like you, I don’t know. You just become so much more valuable. And you can literally make a client for life with knowing some of this stuff. Because you figure somebody’s email problem out, or their domain breaks, or their site gets hacked, and you get them on a maintenance plan, and you get it fixed, you will be a savior to some of these businesses. And listen, businesses and business owners do not realize how valuable their websites are, and domains and email are until it goes down.

Josh 50:50
And I know you’ve seen this too, like, as soon as something like that happens, the web designer is the most important person in their network. And not only should you be compensated fairly for what you know, but you will make a client for life like I have a I’ve dozens of clients who I’ve helped out with stuff like that, and they’re still with me today. So I don’t know, I just wanted to say that because yeah, we have covered a lot of probably things that are like, Oh, this sounds like a nightmare. And yes, if you don’t have the a good understanding of it can be a nightmare. But I think what else is important about this is that even if you don’t do a maintenance plan, or you don’t think you want to worry about hosting or maintenance, you’re going to experience this stuff at some point.

Josh 51:29
If you build a website, and even if you just give it to their client, they’re gonna get hacked one day, and they’re gonna call you or their emails gonna go down, and they’re gonna call you and they’re gonna be like, Hey, what’s going on? Why my email go down? And you’re like, I built your website. I don’t know anything about your email, like it’s all interconnected, which is why so important to have a good understanding of and I know, John, that’s why you’ve been passionate about sharing what you’ve experienced and learn, which is the same as me. So yeah, I didn’t mean to get on a soapbox. But no, I just wanted to point that out. Because it’s so important.

John 51:57
The reason we had hair on our heads, besides genetics is because of recurring revenue. I’m telling you, if you’re listening to this right now, and yes, it can be a struggle at times, but those struggles are greatly outweighed by the freedom that you get, once you are pulling in three, four or 567 8k a month recurring revenue. So and at some point, at some point, we’ll just hire, you know, a part time employee to do ours for us, right. Now, you will get to that point eventually, too.

Josh 52:30
You can also share it like my wife does our updates in reporting, right. So once a month, she sends out the reports and you can automate that through manage WP, but we like to, to keep it personal. And she actually combs through each report to make sure the analytics are popping up correctly and stuff. So there’s a lot of options like that to where yeah, if you have a family member, or if you’re a stay at home mom, and that’s something you could do, or you could hire out to shoot. I know people who have teenagers now and they’re utilizing them for assistance with stuff like that, instead of working at McDonald’s, they can wait,

John 53:01
Teenagers.

Josh 53:03
Right? How cool is that though? Like it’s, it’s amazing. Yeah, to your point, man, the freedom that comes with it. I have one regret in web design. And it is not. It’s not starting a maintenance plan before 2016

John 53:17
From day one, from day one. And if you if you’re like, I don’t know how then then yeah, partner up with someone who does and just upsell upsell their service? Yeah, yes, you can be and I tell them to our students, you can be a seven out of 10 designer, even a six out of 10 Designer. But if you’re a nine out of 10 on client communication, and being there, even if you don’t know all the answers, but you know where to go get them whether through Google or the hosting company, that’s going to keep people with you long term, rather than I’m an amazing designer. I’m a 10 out of 10. But my communication is horrid. And if your site goes down, get back up for three days. So it’s real. I know, it’s cliche, but we are really in the customer service industry. We happen to have websites and have happened to be decent designers. So

Josh 54:10
We are Yeah, sorry. I was gonna say we are absolutely we are web designers are more customer service than anything. And yeah, and I talked about this, too. I’ve talked about this in a few podcasts. But when you get a web design client is not a one and done service. I mean, they’re, you know, maybe if they do a project, and they just go on elsewhere, but nine times out of 10. That client, either ideally is going to be on your maintenance plan or hosting and you’re going to keep in touch with a monthly through report and there’ll be a client for life and your income will continue to grow month after month after month with recurring income. As you get more of those or even if they move on, you’re still that web guy or that web gal and three years down the road. They need to make website updates or they haven’t hacked or like you know, like I said who did the website, then they circle back around to you are going to be in that person’s life for A very long time. But anyway, I think maybe this is a good time to segue to some other options for recurring income because we are there at once. Yeah.

John 55:11
So I’ll just run down through the different ways I get recurring revenue or what I think is recurring revenue. And then you can correct me if it is or not. And then I’ll kind of give you a rough idea of what, what per month that is. So obviously, the main one is hosting and maintenance that we just spent a good chunk on.

John 55:28
Another one I’ll talk about is a niche niche website service where you just charge monthly. So for example, brilliant site is a one page website solution that we offer to folks who are either an author or want to be a motivational speaker. And how that happened is I teamed up with a guy who has an online school to help people become motivational speakers. But these these want to be motivational speakers were using Wix and Squarespace to build their sites, they were doing it themselves. So even though the themes on those platforms are gorgeous. These people are putting unedited photos on there, the copy too much copy, not a great ideal thing. But they don’t have 1000, or two or $3,000 or more to spend on a website, because they’re just trying this motivational speaking thing out. So we offer a 49 bucks a month, we’ll give you a gorgeous one page website. Three, three designs to pick from all of them have been run through by Josh who’s like the speaking guru guy that they all look up to. And so having him be kind of that that proof that it’s Josh approved, right. So that does pretty good, too. That brings in, I split that with another guy that only brings in maybe six or 700 a month. The biggest issue with that one

Josh 56:50
Nice car payment right there, though,

John 56:51
It’s a nice carpet. But the biggest issue we have is churn rate. So about half the folks that sign up, end up end up quitting, like, under two years, I see. So we’re kind of at a we’re kind of at just like a treading water point with where now if we don’t, if we don’t put any extra money into marketing outside of the guru in his school, it’s just going to stay at that level, which is fine with me. But just letting you know, if you do niche down to a certain market like that, I think the motivational speaker market, it also be similar like a fitness coach market. Yeah, they might, someone wants to be a fitness coach, they might do a year with you maybe and they’d be like, hey, my fitness coach business isn’t really happening.

Josh 57:33
I just It’s funny you mention that, because I just got approached by a guy. I’m in a networking group that meets every Friday morning, and we had a guest, who is he works for publishing place with like upcoming authors. And he asked me about the same thing he’s like, I just want to set up like a one page template that all of our authors can have as a part of our membership, would you guys want to design the site? And I said, that’s not really what we’re, you know, that’s not an ideal project for us. But I will say if number one, if you can work it out to where it’s profitable even if and it’s a low cost plan, it could work out and in particularly for those who are just getting started out to where an extra 600 bucks a month. If that’s like when you’re starting out. That’s awesome. 600 bucks a month recurring. That is huge. So there are Yeah, niching down like that. I think if I was earlier in my career, I would have taken that more seriously. But yeah, I just kind of said, you know, we’re at a place where we’re doing specialty sites and stuff like that. But yeah, great, it’s a great option.

John 58:33
So the author, one wouldn’t be too bad. Because if you think about it, so the motivational speaking one that’s really easy for someone to give up on as a dream to be a motivational speaker. But if I write a book, and I pour an hours into this book, and I have a webpage that’s costing me 50 bucks a month, that’s that’s about my book, and an Amazon link to buy it. Me shutting down that page is almost like me giving up on selling my book. That’s harder, harder, harder to do, as opposed to the I thought I wanted to be a fitness coach. I talked to some friends. I had three clients, they all kind of fizzled out, I decided I really don’t like it. So a book one I’d probably maybe even that would be better than motivational speaking. So I guess all that to say, you know, just just pick that niche carefully and try to do things that folks will have a hard time giving up on like, I wrote this book I spent all this time shutting it down means I’m giving up on that book.

Josh 59:31
That’s a great point as opposed to like say like a trainer to where they might give it a shot for a few months and say I want to do this anymore. Yeah,

John 59:38
So that’s that’s one answer. And so we’re actually going to revamp how we do so I built we built those designs pre Divi before I knew about Divi and we built it with advanced custom fields. So the back end is really easy. It takes about 30 minutes to set up one of these pages, but we are going to redo those three designs in Divi and then one of our Pro features is going to be now you can have unlimited landing pages With split testing, well guess what, we’re gonna get the split testing from Divi guess we’re going to get the landing pages from the layouts, you know. So now we’re just extent we’re just like, hey, now we have this vast library of 100 landing pages you could have have a book oh, here’s three options have a course there’s three options and they’re all in that library. So that’s, that’s one thing we’re going to do with brilliant site.

John 1:00:23
Another way I make some recurring revenue obviously is with Superfly. So we sell Divi child themes and plugins, I helped design a good chunk of those I’m a part owner of that that brings in some some some money as well so there’s always that you can start your own store and it’s it can be tough but you can get get that goes

Josh 1:00:45
Also marketplaces like Divi cake. They’re not as popular as they were, I think a few years ago, but like Divi cake, oh, a couple other marketplaces I think are out there. For you know, if you’re if you’re what has to be quality, for one thing, like, yeah, you can, you can start your own store like like you guys, it was super fly. If you do the other route, they take a percentage. But yeah, it’s got to be quality. And it is a cool way to get your name out there in the in the market, though, as far as Divi goes,

John 1:01:13
A cool thing that might be happening soon is the is the The Elegant Themes marketplace, which

Josh 1:01:21
I’ve been hearing about that for like three years I so I don’t know.

John 1:01:24
It’s getting it’s definitely getting closer. So we’ve got we’ve got some correspondence from Elegant Themes on it. And so we’re kind of prepping products right now for it. But when that launches, that might be a good time for a new purchase. Because right now the challenge is if you’re a new store, it’s really hard to break through the noise of all the other stores in the groups. I kind of got into it when there’s only like maybe four or five other solid stores. And so I kind of feel fortunate that it was a it was a it was a timing thing. But you got to be ready for that right. And you have to be ready for that opportunity when it when it pops up. But that’s just one that’s just one way and

Josh 1:02:03
You say to Can I say to sorry, John, real quick on that like, one thing to consider too. I’ve thought about this with because I only I just have a handful of layouts. I just I my focus is on my courses and not layouts or child themes. But if I did focus on that, the cool thing about that are my designs are based off of my real world experience with real clients, nothing against Elegant Themes or some of the layouts, but a lot of that stuff. Let’s be honest. It’s like, well, here’s a cool design, but it’s not real world tested necessarily before it’s rolled out. Yeah. So that’s one thing like I would not start your career with building child themes, because it’s probably not going to work out. But if you if you did, if you’re a designer, and you’ve worked for a year or a couple of years, and you did a really nice automotive site site for a chiropractor or something, you’ve got some really good designs. How cool is that to be able to not only share that with other people, because it’s based off of things that are hopefully actually working. But you can Yeah, you can empower other people use it for their clients, and you can make money as well recurring. So yeah, it can be a win win.

John 1:03:05
So our Yeah, our top selling theme, Josephine, which has been out for quite a few years now. Yeah, that is exactly how that happened. I did a website for you’ll know him Peter furler. Christian musician

Josh 1:03:16
Yeah. Was it? Was it?

John 1:03:18
Yes. And he wanted the Squarespace theme really bad. And I was like, Hey, I don’t work with Squarespace. I work with WordPress, but I’ll make kind of make your design look like that. And then can I take your design afterward? I’ll swap out all the content put put different photos from Unsplash in there, right. And I will can I sell that as a theme? He didn’t care. He was like, Absolutely. In fact, he actually paid me half in half in cash, half with a snare drum that he used to use.

Josh 1:03:48
Oh, nice.

John 1:03:49
I have that in my in my in my closet over here. But now you’re

Josh 1:03:53
Only drummers would take that sort of payment. Yeah,

John 1:03:57
That was so that was an example of hey, the market is kind of missing the Divi market community is kind of missing this look and feel. So sure if you’ve done and a lot of times, you know, a reselling a construction theme, or an attorney theme doesn’t sound that great, but that’s the kind of websites we’re all doing. And so it’s always nice to have multiple options. So getting involved that’s another way to get some recurring revenue is either either latching on to a store and selling your products in that store or maybe the upcoming Divi marketplace.

John 1:04:29
That’s another way obviously, through Superfly also have the CSS for Divi course but a courses whether it’s through the Divi community or break into web that’s another way to make recurring revenue that both Josh and I have Josh more so than me.

Josh 1:04:44
Well, I think one thing important too with courses is I just love courses. It’s awesome. We probably need to do a separate episode on on courses but it’s amazing to be able to share what you know and then see impact other people And I really encourage that. I know I’ve had a couple people reach out to me recently asking about like bloggers, a few other web designers and people in other industries who have been like, how do you do it? One of them was in a personal training industry. And he approached me about courses. He’s like, Hey, I see. Are you doing courses? Like, how’s that working out for you? What have you learned, and no matter what industry you’re in, once you get to a certain point, you’re likely going to be viewed as somewhat of an expert.

Josh 1:05:28
And I’m using quotes, quotations there, in that field. And even if you don’t consider yourself an expert, it is totally fine to share what you know, as soon as you get to a place where you feel like, I might be able to make a course on that, even if it’s just a, you know, a 10 part, like, you know, 10 posts that are wrapped up into a part, maybe it’s 29 bucks or something. Yeah, that’s good recurring income right there. I’m this year, I’m planning on doing a course on sales and marketing or something to that effect, and maybe even one on speaking and communication, because I’ve learned so much with that, as you found out my last Podcast, episode 17.

Josh 1:06:04
But like, last year, when I have ever thought to do a speaking course, heck, no. But now I realized, you know, what, I’ve been approached so many times, and I’ve been asked about it, that there may, this may be a viable thing. So I just wanted to say that to encourage anyone who’s getting asked about, you know, their knowledge, if you can turn it into something as some sort, of course, or a training or a workshop, I highly recommend you do it, just do it. What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe you don’t sell as much as you want it to. But you’re gonna learn a lot. And you may sell a lot more the next time you go for it so well.

John 1:06:38
And we, we run our interns and subcontractors, if need be if they need the training, we run them through the technical part of break into web. So it solves a couple of problems and solves the problem of us getting our interns or subcontractors to know how we build websites. And then now with every student that goes to break into web, now I have a pool of people who all know how to build websites the exact same way. Not only is are not only as our private Facebook group, initially, it was more about question and answers, right. And we have a monthly live q&a too. But now we’re starting to see students working together and sub contracting each other. Because guess what, they all know how to build websites the same way.

Josh 1:07:20
They’re in the same tribe. Right? They’re like, same mindset same.

John 1:07:24
Yeah. Can I say in the same way? Yeah.

Josh 1:07:27
I’m going to share with you a little, a little hidden motivation for my courses that I’ve never expressed publicly.

John 1:07:34
Ok wow!

Josh 1:07:36
I don’t know, I don’t intend on selling InTransit studios. But I’ve been very public about the fact that I’m kind of getting myself out of a lot of the in the business roles. Jonathan, my lead designer now does all the design. He’s moving into more of some of the project management and some of the operations side of things. But I say that to say, with courses, one really cool option is that one day, if you ever do decide to sell the business, if I ever one day decide to sell in transit, not only am I going to have the business and our recurring income, which side No, you could if you get a website man’s plan that’s bringing in let’s say, $2,000 a month, you can sell that for double that if you wanted to, at least at least because it’s recurring. It’s automated, it’s easy money.

Josh 1:08:21
But I say that to say, one day, if I sell and transit, not only am I going to have the recurring income, the business, all my contacts and my decade at this point of experience, but I’m going to have a bunch of training courses, about business about our web design process, about cPanel. About the maintenance plan, everything is laid out in detail that normally, I would have had to create like back in, like I would have essentially had to create all those courses anyway, as training videos, right? Behind my business is that now it’s like they could go through that. And it could be really levels up the value of my business. So that’s one thing anyone could consider as a course as an asset to the business.

John 1:09:01
Yeah, absolutely.

Josh 1:09:03
And same for you guys. Like, I don’t know what your guys’s long term plan is with artillery media. But one day, if you sell it, you guys have breaking the web and all your experience laid out in these videos that could be applied to anyone who purchases a business per se.

John 1:09:17
Yeah. And will have a recurring book of business monthly of who knows how much Right, right. Yeah, by selling 10 years, and we do 50 A year, that’d be roughly 500 More Sites paying that paying the 50 bucks a month, right?

Josh 1:09:32
I mean, yeah, or even more than place and if it’s over 100, then yeah,

John 1:09:36
Yeah, it’s hard to look down too far down the road. Because we don’t know what technology will come in and stuff like that. But we’ll adapt. We will adapt like we always have, and we’ll think of more. Ways to enhance that recurring revenue maintenance hosting, who knows what that’ll look like in 10 years. But even then, let’s say eventually, like I mentioned, you know, you know, say let’s say you’re, you’re doing better So you’re doing 25 sites a year, and you’re charging 49 bucks for your hosting and maintenance. And let’s say you’re profiting $40 that I think a freelancer can do 25 sites a year, that’s about, you know, selling a site every two weeks to probably do that. As a solo guy, right? Or gal, so 25 sites times that, you know, 40 bucks a month in profit after the $9 as to K, that’s 2k. And re I think that’s 2k. Reader. Yeah, that’s 2k Every year you’re adding, so five years down the road, you’re you’re, you’re 10k a month, 5 10 years down the road, you’re 20k a month, now, well, you want to sell that you might or you just hire someone and give them two grand a month to run it all for you. And you just keep collecting it. So whether you end up selling it or not. I mean, I’m a big fan. You know, I’m a big fan of the book Built to Sell.

Josh 1:10:48
Would you really love that book? I’m so glad you recommended that to me.

John 1:10:51
Because it’s really a catalyst of, of me trying to turn us into as many productized services as possible. That’s really what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a bunch of recurring products, right?

Josh 1:11:04
Yeah, I think it’s it’s one of the first books I recommend in my business course. And I everyone I talked to, or who messages me about like, good, free, really low cost, like trainings or something. I’m like, read Built to Sell. Because not only again, John, I’m glad you reminded me of that. Because yeah, you recommended it when we talked this time a couple years ago. And I like the title, even though I had no interest in selling my business. I like the title. And yeah, the biggest thing I got was productizing, your service to where you essentially just focus on what’s most profitable, which as you and I have very clearly stated are some of our recurring income options.

John 1:11:39
I believe the tagline is building a business that runs without you. And and you said a few times in this conversation. I’m removing myself from the business. I’ve removed my so I like design. So I that’s all I do. Now. I don’t do Client Onboarding. I don’t do proposals. I don’t do. I do I do design? And I do the I do a lot of the invoicing for all the invoicing for the for the maintance plans. I do. And then Jake does invoices for sight bills. I like I like invoicing for the monthly and it’s automated through Fresh Books. But I like seeing that come in and kind of Scrooge McDuck, counting the coins.

Josh 1:12:15
Well, that’s the beauty right? recurring income opens you up to like one of the one I focus on, what do I like to do?

John 1:12:22
Oh 1,000%. So a couple final things, here are a couple of ways to make some recurring revenue. And then we’ll review we’ll review the list but one is okay. So when you’re doing a course, or when you’re doing tutorials, there’s affiliate money to be made. So obviously, when we when someone goes through our course we pitch Divi, they need it, they need to buy Divi, they use our affiliate link, we pitch either Flywheel or SiteGround hosting, they have to buy that we have affiliates for that, if they want to get an email marketing and use like AWeber or ConvertKit. There’s affiliates for that those actually pay a monthly SEO affiliates. Another big one, there’s two SEO folks that we use, they both paid monthly, SEO. So right now artillery has about a grand a month coming in through SEO affiliates. I know folks that have a lot more than that. That’s I don’t, that’s how much we have. And then

Josh 1:13:15
Even put folks who aren’t doing courses or anything you can do the affiliate money with hosting like, so if you don’t want to take on hosting yourself kind of like I prefer, you can have your affiliate link. And side note in Ohio. I’m not It must not affect you guys, but SiteGround there’s a tax in Ohio on digital sales. So I cannot have an affiliate account now with SiteGround. And I’m so upset about about it. So I don’t get any affiliate sales for hosting now because of some digital tax law in Ohio. But I did for a while and it was awesome. Because every time a client would sign up for SiteGround I get 50 bucks. And then I think it was like it might be for you guys. If you get like five people to sign up that link then you get like 75 bucks a sign up. So anyway, yeah, you don’t have to be a course creator or an influencer to start generating affiliate income, because it could be on tools to, like you said Divi like your client, more than likely you’re going to use your version of Divi or whatever. But if for some situation, you know, there’s a there’s a way that you can have your affiliate links out there for for clients or professional networks. A little bit of affiliate income that never hurts and that’s the beauty about that is that’s not recurring income. That’s passive income. So you’re not

John 1:14:28
Yeah, yeah, we can’t, we can’t count on it. I think I think over time with the course there’ll be an average that we can come to rely on some way with with some of that, but you’re right. Yeah, I was gonna say something on that. But But oh, I was gonna say the first decent hosting company, whether it’s SiteGround or flywheel, the first one that comes out with a monthly recurring affiliate will will just kill it. I don’t know why they know. I don’t know why they don’t. Five bucks. Hey, instead of giving me $50 One time, give me five bucks a month or you know, I’d much rather take that I know it’s gonna cost them more, but then I would be a little more fanatic about about them. And about getting that going the last way I have written down which is, which is I do,

John 1:15:11
I do have one retainer client, there’s one client, it’s a ministry, I’ve done eight with eight websites for him, I do music events with them, and they pay me a decent monthly retainer, just to build new stuff and, and manage all that. So with all those combined, so I’ll go over them really quick. Our preferred method is a hosting and maintenance security, I think the easiest one is probably made security by itself. Then there’s niche market sites like brilliant site, we talked about selling a site monthly on a $49 month plan Superfly is about to launch a separate Superfly sites deal, same kind of deal, you just pay a monthly fee for your site, no big front up cost thing, there selling products through a store or your own thing like, like, what I do is super fly off. Obviously, there’s courses or having folks buy courses or having folks pay monthly access to a course you might have or a membership that you might have. Affiliate, which is more passive, the retainer which I talked about a buddy of mine and I actually have a few music pieces on Audio Jungle dotnet, that brings about maybe $10 a month in,

Josh 1:16:22
You know, I’m still making, I’m still making money from my old band, man. It’s, it’s 30 bucks a month, but that’s 30 bucks a month.

John 1:16:30
And then all the while some of these recurring revenue streams can go into building a sellable business, but not so now not to I want to be I guess I want to be real, I don’t want to come off. I don’t want to come off haughty or cocky or bragging or anything like that. But to be real with you. So I’m quite a bit older than Josh, I think I’m turning 40 this year. But all these streams

Josh 1:16:54
You can pass for 32 John.

John 1:16:56
Now, because the low stress is good recurring revenue it keeps

Josh 1:17:01
You are looking old until you add all the nice recurring income stream and then it just gets

John 1:17:08
to the reason why I go on rants, I go on rants in the in our private Facebook group and in our monthly live calls. Just about Gosh, build this recurring revenue over the long term. You will

Josh 1:17:22
It is a lot it’s a long term game, right? It’s not hard it absolutely. It’s a long game,

John 1:17:26
You will at at the beginning, it’s tougher, because it’s not a lot of money coming in, right? Unless you’re Josh’s star student that gets $1,500 a month, like in three months or whatever that was. But you’re gonna look down the road, however many years later. So I think we started

Josh 1:17:44
I guess I should say two, he also had pre existing clients. Right. So I think I just was swayed by people thinking like overnight, I can just, you know, yeah, that was he had an existing network. And yeah, but you know,

John 1:17:56
We have one client right now who’s on our. So just as our hosting has three tiers. When I was doing the maintenance and security by itself, it had three tiers 29 49. And like 79, I have a gal on the $49 security and maintenance plan. And she’s hosting with GoDaddy. And she and I’ve tried so many times to get her come over. She’s on Go Daddy’s old hosting. So it’s not even the new the modern cPanel it’s like way back. Like it can’t go past like what PHP 5.0 Yes, I’m like that. And so she’s got that notice in WordPress about the PHP, we have to do, I keep hitting her up, like, I’m like, her name is Marcy. I’m like Marcy, if you roll to our hosting, it’s $49 a month. That’s it, you’re paying $49 a month for security and maintenance, and you’re paying GoDaddy every you will save money. If you just and we’ll do all the switching for you. It’ll be so easy. And she she just she just won’t, she just won’t do it for whatever, for whatever reason, but but we have a lot of clients that we converted from non our hosting to our hosting.

Josh 1:19:01
Nice.

John 1:19:02
So all that to say all combined my goal for the end of 2020. And if we just do if we just do the regular 50 sites, I’ll hit it. My goals 2020 is about $10,000 a month in recurring revenue. And that’ll happen if we do the 50 sites barn we don’t lose 10 or 20 sites.

Josh 1:19:20
The quality guys are not far from that right now. Like even if you do 30

John 1:19:24
I’m at 89 8950 or something like that right now recurring per month. Yeah. But But if that retainer goes away, that’s $1,500 of it. Right? Most of it. Most of it is a hosting and maintenance and and Superfly but hosting and maintenance is the is number one. And and that’s the one I can I can count on that. That’s the one I’ll keep doing it. Like for example break into and break into web Kelly wants break into web to be your main job someday, which is great. May I want to keep building these websites and like you through Jonathan, you’re continuing to build websites.

John 1:20:01
So if you’re out there, and because here’s the thing, I know when you’re younger doing web design, it might sound boring hosting, maintenance security, it’s not as fun. And you’re kind of still in the phase where each new websites like a new adventure, right? It’s still fun, you know, I’m saying, but eventually you’re going to get burnout, eventually, you’re going to get burnout. And eventually, you’re going to want to filter, what projects do you take. And there’s only two ways to do that. The preferred way is to have enough recurring revenue, to where you can be picky and say, I don’t want to do that $10,000 Bank website, it’s just going to be the other money would be nice, but it’s going to be a hassle or that

Josh 1:20:39
200 hours later,

John 1:20:41
Or that medical one that has a bunch of HIPAA requirements, and it has a bunch of accessibility requirements. And, and the other way is just to raise your prices, but, but as which is, which sounds great. But as you raise your prices, and like I said earlier, I think once you get above that, that that 10k, five figures or more, it’s going to be more red tape, and you’re just going to not like it as much. So

Josh 1:21:04
Also need to be more value got to offer more value, if you’re going to raise your prices significantly. I’m a big fan, just to do it. Yeah, I am a big proponent of like, if your prices are 1500, for an average build, raise them a little bit, even with what you’re doing right now, I guarantee you’re more valuable than what you think you are right now. Raise it to 1750, or even 1997. Like you can raise it in that same what I call pricing bucket, and you’ll likely still get the majority of the clients you’re getting, you’ll just make a little more each time and that will free you up with a little more money. And you can also use that to become more valuable. But yeah, like if you want to jump from charging 15 on average to 3000 to 4000 on average. That’s where it’s gonna take some work gotta become more valuable. Gotta go to some courses go through some training, no SEO, no copywriting no design better conversions. Yeah. Sorry. And every

John 1:21:59
and everyone that I know that’s been successful at web designing for multiple years, Josh Fang one, myself being one, Kelly, Kelly being one, number one regret, number one, regret is not starting recurring, some kind of recurring revenue from the get go. And specifically, maintenance security, and in some cases, hosting, hosting, if that’s your thing. You know, Jake was fortunate just to start off pretty much I think, a year and he was like, Okay, I see you making this recurring revenue. How do I do that? Yeah. So that’s my biggest thing. I know this whole episodes on recurring revenue, but I’ll tell you what we’re about to I just actually just found this. Yeah, I found this website for remote working, remote co working, and like the minimum stays 30 days. And so from March 2 to April 2, my wife and I are going to Hawaii to work there for 30 days straight and then come back. Now there’s fortunately, like I said, we’re gonna we’re gonna probably start having a family later this year. So but but without returning revenue, we couldn’t be able it’d be it’d be a lot harder to do things like that, you know, saying,

Josh 1:23:08
Well, I don’t tell you this man. Oh, sorry. Good.

John 1:23:11
Oh, say recurring revenues. That also opened up my time from building websites all day to even build a Josephine theme or to even build a break into web course.

Josh 1:23:21
Right. gave you the other opportunity. Yeah, yeah, you wouldn’t be able to do those are other opportunities. Yeah. And I know, from a family perspective, one thing I’m excited for you is when you guys do start having kids, we were fortunate December was the least amount I’ve worked. Ever since I started my business, I worked less hours, in both endeavors within transit and my jobs, all that CO stuff. And it was actually the best month I’ve ever had, mainly because I did sales with my courses. But I still had a huge chunk of recurring income through in transit. And I was able to do that even we’re at we’re recording this at the end of January 2020. But even this month has been a very low month as far as time for me because we’re getting used to having two babies. And it’s, it’s a lot of work and unfortunate to be in a place where I built up recurring income. And I’ve got some systems in place to where I’m delegating more, and I have a small team to where Yeah, it’s, it’s opened the door up for freedom. So I’m able to use my time to work from home in segments in like smaller segments. And I don’t have to spend nine to five at an office somewhere or even nine to five here at home. I can work from nine to 11 Take a break, take my dog for a walk, hang out with my babies, do some lunch and then do another segment and then hang out again and do a little segment later. Like it’s really it’s all about freedom once you say I mean it really opens you up to do what you want to do.

John 1:24:54
So I’m I’m I’m a numbers guy, but I also am a feeler and so um, but I would like to everyone who’s listening to imagine, let’s say, the next two years 2020 and 2021, you do 25 websites a year that’s selling that selling to two websites a month, and then sneaking one in on one of the months. I think everybody, everyone can sell two websites a month, and you get them on that $400 dollar a month plan. And you’re you’re at least making $40 for a month. Like I said earlier, that’s 2k a year. Let’s say you do that for two years. That means you have roughly 4k A month coming in roughly 48 grand, let’s say 45 grand to be safe. What does that mean for you? What does that mean? To have $45,000 in recurring revenue come in that you didn’t have before.

John 1:25:42
Maybe that means you can bring your wife home from her job, retire her from her job to have her be a stay at home mom, and just kind of help you run the business to even grow that number even better. You know, maybe that does mean a new house or whatever. But I want you to really think what that means to you and to let you know you’re talking to to guy you’re listening to two guys here who have who have done that who have made that goal happen. Or maybe it’s $3,000 a month maybe that’s what you need to cover the mortgage and all your bills or to bring your bring your spouse home from from that job. You know, that’s what that was one of Jake’s goals was to bring Haley right home and I think you’ve done the same. So it’s a I cannot How can I say enough that it’s so it is so worth it? It only thing you ever hear me say is recurring revenue, it is so worth it. Do it. It’ll be so good. I promise you, you will look back five years from now. And hopefully think about this episode and be like, Man, that was the spark that got me really thinking I saw those two guys on that podcast talking. And I wanted that lifestyle. And I’m telling you, it is available anywhere.

Josh 1:26:49
Yeah, well and the stability is huge. It is I’ve said this from day one. When I started my maintenance plan, I realized it put an end to the feast and famine of web design. Because when you go project to project you’re gonna have awesome months, and you’re gonna have terrible months. And there’s gonna be some times where you end up launching three sites at once and you make like five grand or six grand. And then there’s gonna be months where it’s like crap, I have no projects coming in right now but we’re still in the midway of all these other projects. I’m not gonna make much at all this month with recurring income, it will slowly but surely and fairly quickly, you’ll be surprised make up for all that and it can put it in to that feast and famine. So I think that’s huge.

Josh 1:27:30
I also one thing I wanted to mention to John with you me like we’re Midwest dudes. We’re not lavishly living like we’re I think that’s one where a lot of the entrepreneurial space is hard to relate to most of the not only most of the country, but most of the world is when I see a Facebook ad for a dude who’s making a million he say and I’m making up to 150 grand a month. I’m like, first of all, I can’t even fathom that right now I think it’s possible and I want to I want to get there but I’m like a few years ago before I started my business I was pumped up about making 15 bucks an hour so I’ve had to go through a lot of personal development to even be at the place where like you’re talking numbers I’ll talk numbers. Our recurring income right now is through a maintenance plan is 3500 a month right now and again I was closer to like 45 there for a little while until but but still but I have my other stuff now too I have some of the things you’re talking about with affiliate income with the courses are huge I’m actually making more with courses I told you this for went live and making more with courses and in transit, which is really why I want to take that to the next level. And then there’s the hosting and then yeah, everything you said there’s retainer work so all those things considered like well I’m making enough to support a stay at home mom to baby’s hungry golden retriever and we live in a nice house in Columbus Ohio, which is one of the top housing markets in the nation. Now are

John 1:28:54
And putting money away for retirement and putting my two episodes ago check said 16 Yeah, one is and that was huge to check that one out.

Josh 1:29:03
That was a big one isn’t it? Yeah man saving for retirement food. That’s a i that really got me inspired to start jumping more in there but but yeah, all that to say like, I’m living a good upper income Midwestern life right now through recurring income. And I don’t say that, boastfully I say you can do it. And if you’re in another part of the world where you’re in a lower income, place or country, you can white label throw the Divi designers, and you can do a lot of things to where maybe 500 bucks a month would be amazing for you. You could do it not I don’t want to say fairly easily, but very, very practically. And realistically, you could do it.

Josh 1:29:38
So I just had to say like, I hope this is more relatable to people because for me, when I saw these people who said they were bringing in six figures a month. I’m like, I would be happy to your point. Like if I can make 10 grand a month recurring. I’m in the same boat. I’m really close to that now. That is like, I’m kind of hitting that point now. And that’s why I I’m so passionate about sharing what I’ve learned same for you, you’re to that point where you freed yourself up, do you have the same passion I do to give back and to share that. But yeah, now it’s like, we’re at that next level to where I feel like 10 years ago, I was pumped up about making 20 grand a year, 30 grand a year. Well, now I’m pumped up about making between 120 or 200,000 a year. And then in five years from now, I’m probably going to be maybe even sooner than that I really need to be making a quarter million a year, but it’s kind of one step at a time. And for web designers, where we’re at right now is a prime example that with the right training and mentorship and resources and community between us and the Divi community, you could get to this place, potentially within a few years. It’s very, very possible.

John 1:30:48
Absolutely. And there’ll be a few things that will happen. Number one, you won’t care as much whether you sold that website for 3000, or 4000. Because your recurring revenue will be the thing, it won’t you’ll just be like, Oh 3000 All right, we’ll do that, because we’re going to get them on our plan. Another cool moment is, you know, for some folks, there’s these key moments in life that happened that are big deals like paying off all your debt might be like the day you pay off all your debt or whatever. And you get that that wait, that’s gone. For me, one of those times is when you realize through, either through just doing it for so long. And you’re maybe you’re just consistently you’re in demand or whatever, or through recurring revenue or combination of both the day you realize that you’ll never work or never have to work another eight to five again, I don’t know that moment of being like, I don’t think I’m ever gonna have to work another eight to five again. And I think that that fear of six months down the road, three months down the road, recurring recurring revenue tackles that, that fear. So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s never been easier to build recurring revenue. And to get into an

Josh 1:31:55
Amazing, we’re living in such an amazing time to where not even outside of web design, which is why I’m so passionate about web design, because it’s freed me up to do what we’re talking about in you. But you can do things with other industries as well. I just think web design is more practical and low cost to get into and easier to, to work your way into. And the need is huge for web design, but also to like, with recurring income, you know, this, I’ve talked about this, but life happens should happen sometimes. And recurring income can give you a very important buffer when that kind of stuff happens when my daughter was in the NICU, when she was born. We were in the NICU for 56 days. And thank God for my maintenance plan, because that covered our expenses.

Josh 1:32:39
It was still rough couple months, I I had a hard time concentrating, thank goodness, I Jonatha and a couple other subcontractors to help me out with keeping projects going. But there wasn’t that like, I can’t work and I have zero income coming in. It was well, at least our expenses are covered. You don’t need to worry, obviously, we’re at the hospital all day anyway. So we’re not going out. So we’re not you know, spending as much as we normally would, or going shopping or anything. But you know, that was Yeah, was huge. And that was for me, I think that was my that was my big life changing thing was, I knew the importance of it, I was super glad I got into it. And after that, that’s when I was like, you know, seriously, I have no idea we would have made it, we would have worked it out, we would have missed our mortgage a couple times. But we didn’t have to, because the maintenance plan so.

John 1:33:26
And also you got to be you have to know that when you do see those ads on Facebook. I’m a web consultant, I make 80k a month. They they might but it’s an entity, it’s a business MC, it’s not just that one person, they have a team around them. And through that whole effort that might bringing in that might be bringing in that 80 or 120 or 250 50k. But if you just want to be like like Josh and I and just have like a small team of three or four people that you kind of work with, you know, Jake and Haley are my employees. They’re just they have their own LLC, I subcontract them, they sub me, you know, it’s just a nice relationship. And I have no I’m not responsible for their income, you know, I’m not respond. I am.

John 1:34:10
I am a I am an individual freelancer. And there is a cap on on there is somewhat of a cap by yourself on what you can do with recurring revenue, but it’s a great cap. It’s a great cap. And I think that for is great. So don’t be don’t be deceived when you see the Lamborghini and bookshelf behind in the garage or the or the guy saying I make 50k a month in web itself and what’s wrong with you? How come you’re not selling websites for 25 grand but I’ll tell you why. Because I choose not to because I choose. I choose to live like you know the Bible talks about living lightly and freely. And that’s how that’s what I want to do. And recurring revenue is one tool that allows me to live lightly and and to live freely. And yes, it’s so worth it, though. Revenue

Josh 1:34:57
Building and maybe the the intro to my podcast is great lifestyle you love. So what is what does that look like is it to to your point, you’re able to free up drumming and doing some traveling and stuff. For me, it’s spending time with the kids, while these precious years are flying by, like, I don’t have to

John 1:35:13
Imagine when your kids are in school, you’re gonna be able to, you’re gonna be able to help coach if you want, you’re gonna be able to.

Josh 1:35:19
We just talked about this, my wife and I were talking about this yesterday, we’re like, what are kids going to say when they get into school and all their friends parents work and they’re in jobs, but like mommy and daddy are home all day. And or, like worse, you know, what I do often is go to a coffee shop to work. Or one day, I might do like a co working space and just have that option of the kids are too wild at home, and I need to bust out a good segment of work. But like, Yeah, I’m uh, we’re talking about that a lot. Like, what are our kids gonna going to say when they’re like, you know, they go to school, when they’re going to like, what your dad goes to work behind a fire.

Josh 1:35:55
You know, it’s gonna be wild. And I’ll tell you this, man, I’m sure you’ll be the same way when you guys start having little ones, I am going to introduce them to recurring income and entrepreneurship. A immediately, like, I’m a big thing. Like, they don’t want to go to college, cool. I don’t care what they do, as long as they love what they do. And they work hard, and they support whatever life they want to have. But yeah, like a lot of my family, you know, when inevitably, relatives are always gonna be like, gotta say, you got it, you know, the college fund, and I’m calling ours complete side. No, we just decided we’re gonna call it a Future Fund. So they want to use it for college, school. But if they want to become an entrepreneur and have their own brand and have this or this or this, like, that’s awesome, I would prefer that they can, because to your point, there is a little bit of a cap to what you can do by yourself at some point, but it doesn’t take too long, a little bit of help. And to put other systems in place to where even a cat by yourself, you could easily make six figures by yourself with everything we’ve talked about, as you can scale. Yeah, there.

John 1:36:54
So some action steps, I would say if you’re watching this, what I would, what I would suggest is to review all the different ways you talked about how to build recurring revenue, and pick a couple or maybe just the one that really speaks to you. That’s like, I’m doing that or I want to do that. Step two is tie that to the number of clients that you think you could get per year on that particular service. Obviously, I used the example of 25 sites a year so it was tied to websites launched. But then once you figure out what that number is, and you decide what your tiers are, how much your product is going to be. Then just like I have this chalkboard up here that says how many to go until we hit 50. Do the same thing. Write that goal down, I see this thing every day. And I know it sounds like psychology mumbo jumbo. But there is something about seeing that goal every single day that that puts my mind back when you buy a car. Yeah, I bought a bought a beetle, a Volkswagen Beetle. And then like a week later, we start seeing all these other beetles around town, because we’re conditioning ourselves. So look for same thing. Look at this, look at the school every day, you start thinking more and more about that goal, and you get better at presenting and pitching. So

Josh 1:38:04
That sounds like a great analogy.

John 1:38:05
Those are the couple action steps, I would say. And then number three, just be consistent. You know, it’s the story is consistency over a long period of time, using a proven plan that works. That’s what that is success right there consistency, over a long period of time, using a proven plan that work me being consistent in launching 50 websites per year on our maintenance plan, using our web design process, a proven plan over a long period of time. 10 years gets me predictable results.

Josh 1:38:36
And you know what, I dare say it’s much better than quick or overnight success. Because when you’re consistent and when you enjoy the process, and when you take one step at a time. And when you start making a little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more, you grow as a person, and you’re able to handle that because this is I don’t mean to get on a soapbox, we’re gonna wrap this up. But this is why people who win the lottery lose it like 99.9% of the time because they don’t know how to handle that. So step at one step at a time. And then you get to the place where once you get to a few 1000 A month recurrent, You’re conditioned to handle that. And yeah, it just builds like personal character and professional character to be able to handle that too, which is huge. So

John 1:39:21
You said earlier stability, and that’s what you needed, right? That’s when you need to when when, when you’re when your daughter was going through that in the hospital, he needed some sort of stable stability and in a world of chaos, and and that stability plus your team that you put around you. That was key man So dude, props, props to you for doing it. And look, yeah, my final thought if you’re listening to this, do it now. Do not put it off my biggest regret Josh’s biggest regret. Do it now and number two, you can do it clients will pay for it.

Josh 1:39:57
Beautiful. I didn’t even have to ask you for a final thought. Man, that was awesome, John, that’s perfect, man, I’ll get a list out, I’m actually jotting down the main methods you went over, all gonna list out those action steps you just listed because those are really good too. All I’ll list out a couple additional ones, too, that I mentioned in my business course that we didn’t talk about in regards to see SEO or social media because there’s other ones too, if people are familiar or feel comfortable with those, because I used to do photography and video as well, which were kind of recurring, but anyway, I’ll list those out. So we’ll have all these in the resources, John. Thanks again, man. I am not surprised that we did, by far my longest episode, but I’m not mad about it. I don’t think anyone else is mad about it. People are like us podcast should be over a half hour. Let me tell you something. My longest episodes are some of the most popular so far. So this one may take a full week for people to get through. But I do that. I don’t know if you do that. But I listened to half hour segments of podcasts all the time and get through. If you listen to the Joe Rogan show or something, you’re gonna, you’re gonna find a lot.

John 1:40:58
Well, let’s do it again some time because obviously, obviously we can talk for quite a while and because we’re passionate and we’ve been around and we know we know what’s up. We’ve been around it.

Josh 1:41:07
Yeah, true. That man, John. Thanks again. Really appreciate your time in this extended interview, and we’ll definitely do around too soon.

John 1:41:13
Absolutely. All right. Take care, y’all. Thanks, Josh.

Josh 1:41:15
Cheers, man.

 

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