If you’ve just recently started (or are about to start) your web design business, you’re no doubt wondering how to get clients. In this episode, I share my experience with how I started getting clients and while the strategies are still relevant today, I wanted to bring on a guest, Levi Myers of ClearViewAgencies.com, who is fairly new in the game but is a great example to follow for getting clients.
At the time of releasing this podcast, he’s less than a year into his business but is already almost 2 dozen clients in and has learned many valuable strategies for getting clients, most of which I experienced when I got my start but he shares some additional methods that are working today as well.
These are all practical strategies that you can apply to your business even if you’ve just started out, to help get clients!
In This Episode
00:00 – Introduction
04:12 – Greeting to Levi
07:09 – Levi’s start
09:57 – Learning sales
13:56 – Network motivation
20:48 – Have confidence
22:13 – Trading at first
24:38 – Lesson learned
28:59 – SOPs
34:35 – Have a money plan
37:14 – Pitch the upsell
39:43 – Referrals request
44:05 – Communication key
49:15 – How to stand out
54:31 – Warming a cold call
1:03:52 – Out of comfort zone
1:21:09 – Staying local
1:28:56 – To say to early Levi
Other helpful links:
Episode #035 Full Transcription
[00:00:00] Josh: hey everybody. Welcome to episode 35. Alright, here we go. The episode, I know you’re super excited to hear more about because we are in this episode talking about a topic that everybody is interested in, particularly for those of you who are about to start your business or maybe you’re just getting started, and that’s how to get clients for your web design business.
[00:00:21] Josh: And for this talk, I decided to bring somebody in who’s fairly new in their journey, but is doing a great. Under the first year of his business with getting clients. And my guest today is Levi Meyers, who has a solopreneur freelance web design business, and he’s based outside of Toronto, Canada. Now, as I just mentioned, he is early in his career and I intentionally wanted to talk with him because I feel like a lot of quote unquote experts in the web design industry get a little dislocated from the early days.
[00:00:58] Josh: And even myself, I’ve been building a web design business up for over a decade now, and I still have a really good, valid memory of right when I started, but sometimes you can lose perspective and I thought it would be really beneficial for you, particularly those of you who are just starting out to hear from somebody who’s knee deep and is also in the beginning of the journey, but is doing a really good job.
[00:01:20] Josh: So Levi, at the time of putting this episode out, is under a year. Uh, with his business and he’s doing a great job. He’s already got almost 20 clients and you’ll hear more about piss stats and his business. But what we decided to do was take what he’s learned in getting those first couple dozen of clients so that you can apply it to your business no matter where you’re at in it right now.
[00:01:44] Josh: And I share a lot of my experience as well with getting clients. Uh, you’ll hear about this all throughout the episode, but essentially what we’re gonna do is break down Levi’s experience within the first year of his business. I’ll talk about what I learned in the first handful of years of my business with getting clients, and then if you guys apply this, you are going to start what I like to call the referral train.
[00:02:07] Josh: There is nothing better than when you get clients organically. You can do this locally, you can also do it regionally or nationally, or even. And the really cool thing is once you just get a handful of clients, you’re gonna be able to put these steps into practice, and it’s gonna spiral in a good way, and you’re gonna get referrals and leads.
[00:02:26] Josh: And if you do a really good job, You’re gonna go a long way and it’s gonna set you up for success in the long run. So I can’t wait to hear how this episode helps you out. Um, yeah, some really great stuff. I’ll just leave it at that before we kick in here. Now, before we dive into this episode, I referenced this quite a bit throughout the episode, but this one’s brought to you by my web design business course.
[00:02:47] Josh: Reason being is that I go into how to get clients. And a lot more tactical details in my course, and I make reference to a lot of the lessons. And actually a lot of these points are taken from the course. So you’re kind of getting a, some, some free chunks of the course here in this episode. Uh, but I wanna help you from point A to point B.
[00:03:06] Josh: You’re gonna get a lot of valuable takeaways from this episode. But if you’re serious about your business and you want to follow a proven path that has worked for me in building a six figure web design business over the past decade, I lay everything I’ve laid learned in that course. I will walk you from the, the ground up, how to start getting clients, how to build your network, how to do projects, how to price your websites, how to do project management.
[00:03:30] Josh: We talk about onboarding, offboarding, collecting cl, uh, content with your clients, making clients for life. Basically every aspect of the web design business side of things I have available for you in my course, and I would love to help you take your business to the next level as well. So make sure you go to the show notes for this.
[00:03:48] Josh: Episode and check out the link, and I would love to help you through my web design business course. All right, guys, without further ado, enjoy the highly requested and anticipated episode on how to get clients for your web design business with my friend from up north leave on Myers.
[00:04:09] Josh: Levi, welcome to the show, man. It’s great to have you on.
[00:04:12] Levi: Thanks for having me, Josh. Really appreciate it.
[00:04:15] Josh: I’m, look, I’ve been looking forward to this talk for, for a while, since we chatted initially, because we’re gonna talk about a subject that is, I mean, everyone’s interested in it, but particularly for those who are just starting out.
[00:04:27] Josh: It’s of big interest, which is how to get clients. And then I know we’re gonna talk a lot about local clients, but I’m sure, and I, I know from experience a lot of these strategies will apply to getting clients across the nation or in different states or even across the globe. So really excited to, to hear from your perspective as you’re pretty new to the, to the game.
[00:04:47] Josh: You’re kind of early in your journey, but one reason I’m excited about talking with you, Levi, about this right? Is because of that, because this is like, you know, you’re brand new into it and you’ve done a really good job. I’m sure we’ll talk about kind of where you’re at so far, but I feel like a lot of times, I don’t know what you feel about this, but a lot of times when you hear like professionals talk about getting clients, they’ve, they’ve been doing it for like decades and then you can kind of get removed from the early days.
[00:05:12] Josh: And even myself, I, I got, you know, I’m, I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, so the first couple months of getting clients, uh, I still have a good memory of that, but I say all that to say, I’m really excited to have you on as you’re beginning in your career, but you’re doing an awesome job so far.
[00:05:26] Josh: So before we dive into that, why don’t you just let everyone know who you are, where you are, and then what you do through your web design agency?
[00:05:33] Levi: Sure. Yeah. I’m, uh, based in Toronto, Ontario. Um, so, well, I’m not actually in Toronto, but I’m like an hour outside of Toronto. Um, my name’s Levi and I own a business called Clearview Agencies, which is focused on web design.
[00:05:49] Levi: And I’m still in my first year, so we’re roughly nine months in here. Okay. And yeah, it’s been an interesting year to start a business, obviously with the current situation going on . But, uh, we’ve seen some success and I’m excited to see where we’re gonna take it because we’re really starting to ramp up now in terms of, we’re starting to see some referrals and businesses starting to come to us, which has been nice because my first probably five 10 clients were mostly all cold calls.
[00:06:18] Josh: Gotcha. Yeah. And I figured we’ll talk about some of the strategies that you kind of employed because you, we were emailing about this and you gave me kind of a list of the top five things that you did, um, for, for finding those clients, which are exactly what I’ve done, which I’ll, I’ll just recap those real quick before we dive into ’em.
[00:06:35] Josh: But it’s to leverage your current network to ask for referrals, which is huge. Um, to do like warm calls, find sites that need work, um, local networking events. And then as I’m sure we’ll talk about as well, recurring maintenance plans, which obviously recurring income is the name of the game. Um, so very interesting, man.
[00:06:54] Josh: So you’re only nine months in, I was thinking it was, uh, you were a little farther along than that, so that’s amazing. If you don’t mind, would you be, would you be comfortable with sharing how many projects you’ve done and, uh, what that looks like so far? Because you’ve got off to a great start for less than a.
[00:07:09] Levi: Yeah, for sure. So in terms of number of like web design projects, I’ve done almost 20, I think I’m around that 20 mark. Um, and it’s interesting, like when I first started doing it, I was just looking for, for projects, that was all I was looking for, like web design projects. And, um, when you’re first looking, it’s important to kind of, um, just, just like you started a business, you just want the money.
[00:07:36] Levi: You just wanna feed your family. You just wanna make sure that you have some income coming in. But then I started to realize as I went, like, I need to, I need to sell maintenance plans because it’s, it’s becomes like a feaster famine situation where you sell a website, you get it all done, um, you take payment, and then it’s, it’s over the relationship’s really over at that point, they’ve, I, what I was doing originally was just setting them up with hosting from, uh, some other provider.
[00:08:03] Levi: So it, you just kind of, it’s, it’s income lost in a sense because. , um, those first couple clients, if I’d have gotten ’em on hosting plans, um, then they would, they would be paying me. So, uh, it’s been a, it’s been a learning experience in that way because if I’d have started right away doing maintenance and hosting and placing a focus on that, I think I would be in a, in a bit of a better position today. But that’s part of my learning experience.
[00:08:29] Josh: Well, and you learn quickly. That’s really good. I mean, I didn’t start my maintenance plan till I was six years into my business, and it’s the biggest regret I have. I really don’t have many regrets. But not starting one sooner was a big one. The cool thing is, is you could even circle back around to those first few clients as well and get them back on your plan, which we can talk about too.
[00:08:50] Josh: I know. I, I did that when I started mine. I circled back around to all my clients and offered it, and then I had a big swarm of people sign up, which was really cool. But it’s a great first point, man, that recurring income. I’m glad you discovered that early on because. Yeah, you, you realize even just the first few projects, you know, with you, you hitting the, the 15 and then the 20 range, it’s like, man, you know, like how many people do you have on your recurring maintenance plan right now? Uh, we have seven people. Okay.
[00:09:16] Levi: So seven.
[00:09:16] Josh: So, yeah. You know, it’s less than half than you’ve done. So it’s like, man, imagine whatever you’re making, you know, per seven clients a month. Imagine if that was doubled, you know, that’s where it’s like, oh man, really gotta push the, the maintenance plan stuff, which is great.
[00:09:28] Josh: Yeah. It’s a great mindset to have. Um, and I’m curious, like when you, right, when you started out, what was your, and, and actually maybe before I ask like exactly how you started, what’s your background before you started this? Because I’m actually curious. I mean, you, you, I’m, I can tell that you’re, you’re business minded.
[00:09:47] Josh: Um, yeah. And I know you’re a creative guy too, but I know that you’re managing sales and a lot of the other business aspects along with this, which is a great place to be in. What was your background before you started this?
[00:09:57] Levi: Sure. So, actually right out of high school. I never went to like, post-secondary. I thought about it like very seriously. I thought about it, but it just didn’t end up being a route that, um, made sense for me. I’ve never really been the biggest school person. Um, I see the value in it, but, but just on a personal level, it, it just wasn’t for me. Um, so I found that sales was an industry I could go in and still make money without having that education, that piece of paper to basically say, Hey, here’s my experience.
[00:10:31] Levi: Right. So I started really in retail. I don’t know, do you guys have Best Buy in? Yep. You guys have Best Buy in America, right? Yeah. So I worked my way up in Best Buy doing sales, and that’s where I got my initial kind of experience. I, I worked with them a little bit when I was still in high school and then I just kept my job out of it and did that more full-time.
[00:10:50] Levi: Gotcha. And I found kind of a passion for just talking to people and, and helping them find solutions. . Um, and, and then I ended up doing sales more in the Geek Squad side of things. So I started, um, focusing heavily on their services and that really just like my passion for sales kind of just expanded after that.
[00:11:12] Levi: Um, I ended up getting a few other jobs after that in, I went to furniture sales and then I did business to business sales. And that was when I really started to realize like, Hey, if I can call up a business or a C e O or an owner and offer them something and have that discussion and close a deal, I could do this for myself.
[00:11:32] Levi: So , why would I not do something? And I was fair. I’ve always been fairly technical person. Um, and I had built some websites for fun, like personal projects that I was doing for some music stuff. And I just learned more and more. And, um, I started, I, when I started my business, I went cold Turkey. My wife had a full-time job.
[00:11:54] Levi: So that put me in a very, uh, blessed position to be able to, uh, go out on my own. And, uh, yeah, I, I just think seeing my dad as an entrepreneur his whole life, like having the freedom to make his own schedule every single day. He’s a carpenter. He’s not like a super successful business person, but even like the level of success he had gave him the opportunity to be a very, like, um, free person, I guess.
[00:12:19] Levi: Like just making his own schedule, choosing, choosing the holidays that he has. Like, it’s been very, it’s been very cool to see. But that really, I think, gave me that same motivation and, and, and drive to want to start my own thing. So here I am.
[00:12:33] Josh: That’s great man. And the reason I ask is because I, first of all, I’m fascinated with how different backgrounds translate to web design. And I think it’s really important to get a feel for like where your strong suit and where your, um, comfortability is before starting a business. Cuz a lot of web designers are creatives or they come from a graphic design field and the business stuff can take a while to catch up. Whereas, you know, I think having a good mindset and, uh, you definitely have to balance it.
[00:13:01] Josh: You want to be business minded, but you also want to balance the creativity and, and do something that you love. So that’s great. That’s a great kind of foundation. And the other question I was gonna have for you was, yeah, like what did your family life look like? So you got a wife, now you guys don’t have kids, right?
[00:13:16] Levi: No, we do not. No.
[00:13:17] Josh: Okay, gotcha. So yeah, that’s a great position too. You got a little bit of, of, of, um, flexibility there to where like, you know, when you’re solely providing all the bills. Or providing income for the bills. It’s really important to make sure before you go full-time, that you have all the, the mindset and place processes and systems to really expedite that.
[00:13:37] Josh: So, but yeah, with all that said, you’re in a, you’re in a great position already. I mean, nine months in 20 or so projects, seven recurring maintenance plans. That’s awesome. So let’s dive into it, man. Where did you start? Like were you daunted by the fact of like, how am I gonna get clients? What did it look like in the, the very first couple projects for you?
[00:13:56] Levi: Yeah, so it was very interesting to start out. Like I was very motivated and very excited. Um, and I think, I think there’s that kind of, um, I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but like the shimmery, um, that’s kind of a bad way of putting it, but. I don’t know. The starting a business is very like, um, exciting and like there’s that initial excitement.
[00:14:19] Levi: The butterflies get the, well, yeah, I couldn’t think of the right word, but like, yeah, it gives you like the excitement, butterflies or whatever. And then you start it and you’re like, everything is on me now. Like, I have to bring in the money, I have to do the sales, I have to build the websites, I have to do everything.
[00:14:35] Levi: So, so yeah, it, when to get started, it was just, um, I felt that, that excitement and then very quickly it became extremely real. Like, I’m not getting a salary. I’m not, you know, I don’t have any commission lined up from previous, um, jobs. I’m, I’m fully in this. So that, that was scary and that really was what motivated me to, I think, get going.
[00:15:02] Levi: Uh, but the first thing I did was actually called up people that I knew. It wasn’t necessarily my best friends or people that I. I had really strong relationships with, but I, I called people up. Right. And, um, that’s two things really. That’s networking, but that’s also utilizing, um, cold calling skills and that’s where I got my
[00:15:21] Josh: And your and your personal network.
[00:15:23] Levi: Yeah, yeah. In your personal network, people who, you know, have businesses who you can call and just tell them about your business and, and most business owners, what I found like to hear about, um, other business owners, especially when they’re, when they’re first starting out, there’s, there’s that, um, desire to help a new business owner.
[00:15:43] Levi: So I, I called friends and family basically, and I was able to get a few projects from that. And that really kickstarted things for.
[00:15:54] Josh: Nice. Yeah. And that’s a huge point there. And I imagine it’s the same up north in Canada as it is here in Ohio. Like we’re kind of a big small town. Um, but we’re very community minded and community based to where what you said was exactly right.
[00:16:09] Josh: We want our. Fellow businesses to succeed. Like the people are gonna invest in people in their area that they know, like, and trust. And yeah, that’s one beautiful thing about doing things locally at the start is first of all, it’s a lot easier to close when you’re face-to-face or if you’re, you know, even if it’s just a phone call or something like that, as opposed to like cold online leads just through seo.
[00:16:33] Josh: Yeah. Which we could talk about that too, but that was my experience in the beginning. I did the exact same thing. I just, I was in a band and I was in a church, and that’s where I started. I just started with the people I knew. Some of my first clients were, was a recording studio, um, an auction, an auctioneer.
[00:16:49] Josh: Like, you know, I, I don’t know what industries you’ve hit so far, but Yeah, it was people who were in my existing network and I’m amazed at how many people don’t think to do that. But there is nothing wrong that’s actually, like, I talk about this in my business course, it’s one of the first areas I recommend starting out. Utilize that personal network.
[00:17:06] Levi: Yeah. And when I was doing research on like, , I don’t know. I did a lot of blog reading on like how to get clients and all this kind of stuff. They all said it, they all said network. And you kind of are like, really? That’s like, that’s what everyone says to do is to network.
[00:17:20] Levi: But until you actually go out and do it, you’re not gonna see results. Yeah. And when you see those results, you’re like, wow, this actually really, really works. Because two things happen. The first is, um, what we already said, which is the business owner’s gonna want to help you because you’re new, a new business owner, and they want to see you successful, especially if they’re a friend or family.
[00:17:41] Levi: And then when you build them a totally awesome website, they’re gonna be like, Hey, this is sweet. Um, who else do I know that would need a website? Because I’m gonna tell everyone that I know and they do people, people start to tell. Um, so one thing I will say is those, those first initial websites where I didn’t have maintenance plans, they were definitely not totally a waste because number one, I was paid a design fee for them, which I, I call my design fee now.
[00:18:04] Levi: Um, and number two, I, uh, was able to use them, not use them, but they, they were willingly giving me leads, like willingly saying, Hey, even if it wasn’t a good lead, they’d be like, Hey, check this business owner. I have a friend who has a business. I’m not sure if he needs a website, but you could always ask him.
[00:18:22] Levi: Or, you know, people wanna help you. And that’s networking. Networking. If you don’t do networking at the start, you’re messing out because everyone says to do it. And there’s a reason for that. It’s cuz it works.
[00:18:32] Josh: Yeah. And it doesn’t even, I mean, I’m, I’m a big proponent of networking groups, but it doesn’t even have to be that to start.
[00:18:38] Josh: I mean, what you’re talking about is networking just with your personal network. Yeah. Or professional network or again, if you’re involved in a church or any nonprofit organizations or even extracurriculars or, um, through school, if people have friends through, you know, college or whatever who have businesses, like, there’s all those areas that are un.
[00:18:56] Josh: Potential. And the cool thing about that is a lot of those people already know, hopefully, like, and trust you. So that’s like half the battle right there. Yeah. As opposed to getting a cold lead. Um, so that’s a great place to be in. Now it sounds like you were pretty confident in your services before you because it, you know, like the, my first few website, website designs were not great.
[00:19:16] Josh: They were Okay. I did, I actually, I sold my first website design before I knew how to fully design a site. Uh, I was big on like sales and I really cared about my work. So that kind of sold me at the start, even though my design, well, I guess what helped me at that point is I could actually design, I designed things really nice in Photoshop.
[00:19:36] Josh: Yeah. Um, and this, see this was 2010 for me, so I was using Dream Weaver doing. Hand coded HTML sites so I, I literally, I was at a Bob Evans. I don’t, you guys probably don’t have Bob Evans up there, do you? In Canada? No, it’s like a breakfast spot, but I, that was where one of my first, I actually sold my first website at a Bob Evans and I was at breakfast with this guy.
[00:19:56] Josh: And, um, I had done a few projects before that through my personal network, but this was the first one that was from like a real client. A real client, yeah. Yeah, yeah. And I just put a Craigslist ad out there and I actually got a pretty legit client out of it. Um, cool. But this was kind of step two. But anyway, I, I sold it for 300 bucks.
[00:20:14] Josh: And then I was doing his logo too, so he was like, you know what, I’ll give you a three 50. So that just shows you how far I’ve come from the early days of, I was, I thought 300 bucks was amazing. I was like, holy fuck. Oh yeah. 300 bucks. And, and it worked out pretty good. Like it worked out fine. But, uh, I will say my emphasis was on the care of my service over the actual expertise cuz I was so new at learning the web design aspects.
[00:20:39] Josh: But with you, it’s, I mean, your site is legit. Um, did you feel like you had a good grasp of web design before you sold your first site?
[00:20:48] Levi: Um, I thought I did and I think I would look back on my initial sites now and probably, you know, you become more critical. But yeah, I would say when I would, I was probably more confident than I should have been cause I, I remember looking back at like my own site, I, I redesigned my own site like. Halfway through starting, because I was like, my, my own site was my first site that I did, and then I just kept learning, right? And then you start seeing, um, other designs and you’re like, oh, you know, mine’s not really what I thought it was initially
[00:21:22] Levi: So, um, yeah, I would say it’s so important to have confidence. Um, as long as that is obviously based in, in a decent design. Like, um, I wouldn’t say I did any bad designs when I started cause I, I look back at all my sites and I’m happy with them. Um, but yeah, you definitely, you definitely gain more confidence as you go.
[00:21:44] Levi: And a portfolio, by the way is huge. That’s when, when, once I started getting some, some websites on my own site to show people, I think that helped a lot because people were able to see, hey, other businesses have worked with me and um, these sites look good. They look okay, so why not? Right? Yeah. And that was.
[00:22:04] Josh: Did you do any type of freebies or, uh, offer to design sites for a lower rate just to build your portfolio? Or what did that look like?
[00:22:13] Levi: Lower rate, so my first website was $500, um, 500, not 300 still, but, uh, $500 is the amount of, you know, the amount of time that it takes to do all of the, the template tweaking and like, um, making sure all the colors are properly, uh, designed.
[00:22:35] Levi: It, it takes time. It does take time. Like some people think, oh, you’re just using a, like a template, like divvy, or you’re just using this or that, and you’re like, but actually no, I don’t just use a template. Like I take a template and that kind of gives me a, a starting point, but then I, I go and I cater it to the business, like very specifically.
[00:22:52] Levi: And it, I find personally it does take time. Maybe it’s just that I’m not as good as some people are at web design, but. Um, it, it takes a, a decent amount of time. So $500 is like, definitely, it’s, it’s, um, it’s a good amount of money, but it, it, you could probably, you could definitely charge more.
[00:23:11] Josh: Yeah. And I, and it sounds cuz your average rate is what, about like 1500 right now for Yeah. And that’s a lot more worth it to me. Yeah. Uh, and it’s a good place to be in relatively quickly, cuz Yeah. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing either a couple free, be as long as. You have some prerequisites in there in that they give you a review and they give you referrals. Oh, a hundred percent.
[00:23:33] Josh: Just to build that portfolio or doing a lower rate like that just to build the portfolio, which is totally fine, but you definitely don’t wanna stay, like you’re talking about, at that price range for long, because you’re just talking about design. That’s not even content collection, onboarding, offboarding question content collection is the worst.
[00:23:51] Josh: Yeah. Uh, if you’re doing any sort of, it is, it’s, it can be the most, it’s so bad. It can be tricky. Yeah. I do have a whole content collection section in my business course where I lay out everything that works for us. Um, but it’s still a challenge. It does. Like, there’s no perfect way to go about it because you’re working with another person and who knows if they’re, you know, reliable or, or organized, you know, there says stuff like that.
[00:24:14] Josh: But then there’s also, you know, if you’re doing any sort of SEO optimization on the. Um, there’s revisions and feedback. So yeah, there’s all those things. All that to say, you definitely don’t wanna stay at the 500 range long. I would say really to, to what you’re doing right now, you want to get to that 1500 range probably within a few months. Is that kind of how long it took you to go from 500 to 1500 on average?
[00:24:38] Levi: Actually, it didn’t. So this is, this is an interesting story just because, um, I, in some ways I feel like I kind of got burned on it, but I also didn’t because it was worth it to me, especially at the time. My second website, I called up this, this, um, old business.
[00:24:55] Levi: It was, it’s really big like factory building, and it was a business near, like in my town that I’m in, and it turned out to be this like really old stamp collecting company and they’re, they were still in business and they had this really, really old website where you had to submit an order form, like by fax.
[00:25:12] Levi: Um, so anyways, I built them an online store and it, it, I ca I charged them like, Close to $3,000 for it. And it took forever. It took so long, it took so, so long. Cause I hadn’t really done anything e-commerce at that point. And so he sends me his line card and it’s got like, probably, I think it was like a thousand things on it.
[00:25:34] Levi: And it was all this old PDF that you couldn’t copy and paste. So I ended up retyping. It was definitely scope creep, what people call scope, scope creep. But to me it was worth it. And that was awesome. Like I sold, I went from, so selling a $500 site to almost a $3,000 site. And, um, yeah, I, I probably took too long to do it.
[00:25:55] Levi: Like, I think it took me like three or four months in total. To me, especially at the time, it was worth it.
[00:26:02] Josh: It’s a lesson learned, man. I mean, that, that’s what it’s all about. Like, you know, you want to be as profitable as you can, but that first year is inevitably gonna, inevitably gonna be a lot of trial and error.
[00:26:11] Josh: I mean, and this is why I’m so passionate about dishing out what I’ve learned in my experience to help, you know, avoid some of those things. But for sure, at the end of the day, it’s your business. It’s different people you’re working with. I mean, I found that there are a lot of certain types of people on types of projects that are very similar, but every project is unique in its own way.
[00:26:31] Josh: Yeah. And you got the right mindset. It’s like, you know what, learn from it. And now you’ve got a we, uh, e-commerce site in your portfolio and you can say you do e-commerce. So the next time you do that a hundred percent, you will definitely, you’ll probably charge hopefully at least 5,000 for something similar.
[00:26:45] Josh: And then you’ll know, okay, this, these are the areas I gotta get worked out. One of my recent episodes was on how to. An e-commerce project and those are the kind of things, yeah, you want to figure out what, what, and this goes for any project, even a simple quote unquote simple five page site, brochure site. There’s a lot of things like that to, to get worked out. But you’re doing it as step at a time
[00:27:05] Levi: thinking about It was, it was, it was all the things that I didn’t know yet. Cuz I didn’t, I never done an e-commerce site. So how do I know that I have to add in about 50 variables for product? Maybe not 50, but you know what I mean?
[00:27:16] Levi: Like it’s, there’s so many things, um, that you have to do extra for e-commerce. And the, the funny thing about that was, I remember when I quoted him, I was like, oh, this is gonna be too much. He’s not gonna go with it. But that’s kind of okay because I’m not a hundred percent confident in e-commerce. And then he, like, I sent him the price and he like shot back instantly done.
[00:27:36] Josh: And I wow, you’re in it now, man. And then you’re like, crap, I wish I would’ve done it for four or five.
[00:27:42] Levi: That’s right.
[00:27:43] Josh: Yeah. So, yeah, I remember I, I’ve had a couple bigger ones in the past where, um, the first project I did for 15,000, it’s my, the biggest project I’ve done to date. It was kind of a, uh, I kind of, I don’t wanna say I tried to smoke ’em out, but I, I purposely did it a little higher because I knew it was gonna, A lot of those variations and things that were going into this, and I was not expecting them to move forward.
[00:28:09] Josh: I figured if they move forward, then it’s gonna be worth it and they’re gonna be serious and they move forward. So, whoa, that same boat, I was like, holy crap, I’m in it now. Let’s do it. Luckily that project went great, but I’ve had some other big ones. We’re wrapping up a $10,000 e-commerce site right now, and that one has not been very fun or very great.
[00:28:26] Josh: Um, we’re working through it. It’s just one of those where it, well, it’s actually more like probably closer to 15 now, because there was a bunch of scope creep that was out of our initial deliverables. Um, so we’re charging extra four and luckily that’s the client’s understanding of that. But all that to say yes, with any project, give yourself a little buffer.
[00:28:44] Josh: One thing I, I will say, just as kind of a freebie, uh, I talk about this in some videos in a couple of my courses, just give yourself a buffer. Always add, you know, if you think something’s gonna take seven hours, it’s probably gonna take 10. So just account for that. Uh, now did you.
[00:28:59] Levi: That’s a good point. That’s a really good point. And one of the things, one of the things that, like you mentioned, how you learn as you go. Um, I think if I could, if I went back now, I would for sure have gone, like, gone with some sort of a course, because what I’ve found is as I’ve gone, I’ve ended up templating out a bunch of things for myself, um, which maybe still aren’t the best ways of doing things,
[00:29:22] Levi: but I, I’ve come up with every piece of my business, I’ve fi figured out that I, the best way of doing it is processing, building a process for everything that I do so that I know, you know, whether it’s literally just, um, right, like sending, sending a client the initial email of like getting started after they pay.
[00:29:40] Levi: Like what do you send them after that? Do you send them a link to a Dropbox? Do you build them? A content management area in your website, or, you know what I mean? Like, there’s all these different things that you can do and that are way better ways of doing things that you don’t know when you first get started that you learn.
[00:29:56] Levi: Um, but if I’d have bought a course, like I could have had that stuff right away. And, and honestly, I, I think that would be a much better way of doing it because there’s so many, web design is not a new industry, so there’s so many experts out there who know so much.
[00:30:09] Josh: Yeah. And it, and it’s above expertise. It’s just experience. And, and that’s kind of like what you’re talking about are the things that I cover in my business course, which is why like this is, I basically will just walk you through each one of those areas and show you, Hey, this is what works for me. Other people do it differently. Uh, but this is, you know, like all these lessons learned, this is, this is what works for me, which is, yeah, I, I, yeah.
[00:30:29] Josh: That, that idea in itself is huge. You can either learn it yourself, uh, which is very valuable. And inevitably there’s things you’re gonna learn yourself or you can see what’s worked for others and just save yourself a lot of headache and a lot of time. Um, but. either way. Like you’re, you’re in a good spot to where you’ve learned quick, you’re dealing with design, the processes, a lot of the business aspect of things.
[00:30:51] Josh: And I’m curious, as we’re talking about price ranges and profitability and stuff, do you, did you have like an hourly rate that you wanted to try to stick to? Or did you have a goal for this year? Like what did that look like for you? Because I’m, I’m trying to remember when I started, I don’t think I thought about any of that.
[00:31:07] Josh: I was just pumped that I was getting 300 bucks for a site, so I didn’t have any idea about hourly rates or an annual goal or anything like that. I was just curious what that looks like for you being that you’re starting off more business minded.
[00:31:18] Levi: Yeah, so one of the reasons I don’t like school is I’m not the biggest numbers guy in the world. Um, like I know I’m pretty good with like basic math, but as soon as things go crazy, I’m not, I’m not, um, the best at that. But yeah, it’s, that’s been funny. Like being not a numbers guy and trying to run a business has been interesting. Um, you’re right. I was, I’m the same way as you. I started out and I was just like, oh, sweet.
[00:31:40] Levi: 500 bucks. $2,500. Um, and it just like the money starts coming in, you’re excited about it, and then you like calculate it on and you’re like, that’s not actually that much for the amount of like time it’s been since I started my business. So, yeah.
[00:31:53] Josh: Am and, and I’ll say rtu real, real quick, man. I’m right there with you, Levi. Like, I am not a numbers guy. The numbers aspect of the business stuff is like the, that’s the really only thing that I dread . Um, I like it, I like it a little more now because now that I’ve put all the processes and systems in place to, to do all that, I’m seeing it reflect on my bank account, which is awesome.
[00:32:15] Josh: Like those, you know, once your, once your bank start, once your bank account starts going out, that’s when it’s like, oh, okay. Numbers is actually pretty cool. Hmm. But it’s, it’s hard to, I under, I totally understand. Like it’s hard to figure it out in the, in the beginning and then also to your point. It sounds awesome, like, holy crap, 3000 bucks for a site like, man, I’m gonna be rolling 3000 bucks.
[00:32:37] Josh: Well, you’re actually not gonna make 3000 bucks. There’s taxes there. Luckily, expenses and web design are fairly low as far as subscriptions, project management, fees, hosting, stuff like that. But, and then once you get past all that, then there’s the hourly. So you know, three, if you’re charging 3000 bucks, let’s say, after taxes and expenses, let’s just call it 2,500.
[00:32:59] Josh: Well, 20. That means if you wanna make a hundred an hour, then you’re gonna have 25 hours. For that 25 Dows or 2,500. Um, if you end up taking 50 hours to build that out, then you just made 50 bucks an hour. If it takes 75 hours to build that out, which is probably what happened with your e-commerce project.
[00:33:19] Josh: Uh, then you’re making, what, 25 an hour and so on. So there’s been projects an hour, bro. No. Hundred. Oh, there I’ve been, I’ve made, I’ve had some projects where I’ve made five bucks an hour, and I’ve had a couple projects in the past where I literally paid, because I looked at the numbers, I’m like, oh my gosh.
[00:33:33] Josh: I mean, if you’re not hiring work out and you’re doing it, it’s just, it’s the exchange of time. Yeah. Um, but yeah, that’s, that’s the biggest thing to think about is the hourly rate. Like, and, and this is one thing, this is one reason I think it’s really important. I know it’s really important to at least have an idea, like, what do you want to try to stick to that’s realistic?
[00:33:53] Josh: Like, Levi, are you starting out if, if like, if 50 bucks an hour, like if, if you’re working, say 35 hours a week and you make on average 50 bucks an hour, Then my recommendation to you is to try to hit that range, whatever your hourly, ideal hourly rate is gonna be, and then whatever, ideally, you know, hourly rate you’re gonna make per week and per month.
[00:34:15] Josh: You just multiply that by the year and then that’s where, okay, I wanna make 50,000 this year. Well, um, you just divide 50 by 12, that’s per month. And then whatever that monthly cost is by four, if that’s what you wanna make each week. So that’s just kind of what I base the numbers off when getting started. Cuz I’m the same way. I hate the numbers stuff, but, um,
[00:34:35] Levi: no, I think that’s so important for anyone listening, like definitely don’t be like us, like start with a goal or, or definitely kind of map things out a little bit more than we have. Um, or like what we did when we first started. Um, one thing that I’ve done with the maintenance plans is set myself a goal because to me that’s really exciting stuff.
[00:34:56] Levi: So I, you know, I just took like, okay, how much do I want to make reoccurring money per month? And then you multiply that by, um, how much you charge per maintenance plan. And then that kind of gives you a really kind of cool goal, right? So you take, like if it’s, you wanna make 3000 a month, you divide that by how much your maintenance plan is per month, and that tells you how, how many maintenance plans you need.
[00:35:17] Levi: Um, so that’s one thing that I did. And then you, you, you take your number that you want and then you kind of, um, you reverse it, reverse engineer it, and you figure out, okay, this is, this is how many maintenance plans I need to sell.
[00:35:30] Josh: Yeah. Now bigger, do you, do you have different levels of maintenance plans, like one that’s cheaper for a basic five page portfolio site versus the e-commerce site? Uh, what does that look like for you as you’re just kind of getting that.
[00:35:43] Levi: Yeah. So, um, I put together some, like different packages and what I’ve found is some of the smaller businesses that I’m working with are a little bit more hesitant to go with like a $50 a month plan. Um, so I’ve kind of just made like, just just a hosting plan, um, where it’s basically just bare bones.
[00:36:05] Levi: Like all we do is host and give you security and, um, like we don’t make any like web website changes. Gotcha. So, yeah. So, but my $50 a month plan, we do like half an hour per month. You can’t bank it, but it’s like half an hour per month of like maintenance. Um, and then I have a bigger package, which is like $70 if they need extra time. And so I’ll kind of do it like that. I’ll like add an hour or whatever if they need more time than that, but that’s how I’ve.
[00:36:34] Josh: Gotcha. That’s a great system, man. That’s a great setup. Yeah, the price points are a little bit different, but that’s essentially what I teach at my web most maintenance plan course is have a few different levels.
[00:36:43] Josh: What I do is I have a standard one that’s just 59, and then I have a bigger one for e-commerce. And then I have what I call kind of my fallback, my plan B option. It’s not out there in the public, but if somebody declines the 59, I say, well, look, I do have a $39 option that will at least allow us to do the updates and backups and stuff, and then we’ll do quick updates if needed.
[00:37:04] Josh: Uh, and that’s worked out. That’s worked out really well. That really helped me. Uh, like really high, really high rates. Just an idea. But it sounds like you’re off to a, it’s a good idea to do the hosting and stuff too.
[00:37:14] Levi: Yeah, and I’m learning a little bit to kind of include it in my pitch. Like when I, when I speak to a business owner, I always try and pre-sell it in their mind. So I’ll mention it. I’ll just say, Hey, like, we, what we do is we have a design fee, which is our, like initial upfront actually building the site and putting it together. And then all of our clients, for the most part, we’ve, we’ve been hosting on our, on our hosting account. So we store all the information online in the cloud for you.
[00:37:40] Levi: Um, and then, uh, more than that, most of our clients like to go with, um, what we call our maintenance plan, which is basically just allowing you peace of mind to call us whenever you need. Um, if you have, you know, any questions, technical concerns, or if you wanna like, add little things to your site, like you have a staff change or something like that.
[00:37:59] Levi: And I find when you kind of reframe it like that, as part of the whole. Package, then people are a lot more receptive to it versus if you sell them, um, like a website and then afterwards you’re like, well, now we also have this. Yes, absolutely. And then it’s kind of like they’ve already bought a site, so why would I need that? Versus you’re building like a long-term relationship. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Framing it that way is better.
[00:38:24] Josh: Yeah, it’s a great way to go. When it comes to the sales aspect of that, and imagine your background with retail and stuff probably fed into the early days if you sign up websites, it sounds like you’re already thinking about the ongoing, which this goes back to what we’re talking about with getting clients, is preparing them for like what’s ahead and what’s really gonna contribute to their success moving forward.
[00:38:45] Josh: Because one of the biggest things I’ve found in web design when it comes to getting clients is, number one, you’re not selling just a product or a service. You’re selling an experience, and you also need to sell the. Kind of the plan, like the path towards success. Cuz most business owners, they have no idea what’s gonna make a successful website and what’s gonna help them down the road.
[00:39:07] Josh: So they need, they need to be guided and just sales 1 0 1. It’s your job to guide them in that first call or the first meeting as far as like what the plan is now, what the plan is moving forward and prepare them. So you’re hitting out a couple really, really important points that I think attributed to your success, man.
[00:39:23] Josh: For sure. Um, so let’s, I’m curious about a couple of the, the logistics that we talked about, like, you know, starting with your, your personal network leverage, your personal professional network, um, those helped give you referrals. Did you intentionally request for them to give you referrals or did it just come as kind of a byproduct of doing a good job?
[00:39:43] Levi: I knew that I would, but I, I don’t know. This is, this is kind of funny. Like the one thing I did was like, Hey, can I get a Google review from you guys? Nice. And I, uh, that’s one thing I’ve kind of slacked on a little bit, but I should do more with like all my customers is ask for a Google review. Cuz that’s really helpful for seo.
[00:39:59] Levi: But, um, I, I wasn’t super aggressive about it now that I think about it, and I probably should have been because I, I would’ve probably seen more results. But people, what I found was people were, were calling me and like saying, Hey look, there’s a business two, two doors down. I think you should talk to them.
[00:40:16] Levi: I was talking to their owner and he is looking for a website and I mentioned you. So that happened, which was exciting. Um, and that’s happened a few times now where either like a family member now knows that I’m doing this and they know a business owner or one of the people I’ve worked with has recommended me to somebody else just because in conversation I came up.
[00:40:37] Levi: Um, so yeah, I can’t stress enough how important that is and will be for me. Like I think the, the larger my business grows, the more I’m, I’m gonna be able to focus on referrals and, and how. , um, important that is for my business because the feas or famine is real, like in this, in this industry here, that it’s kind of like, I don’t know if that’s like a catchphrase that you hear in this industry all the time, like feast or famine, but definitely is Yeah.
[00:41:03] Levi: It’s, it’s real. And like you want to get outta that as fast as possible. Yeah. Um, so there’s a couple ways you can do that. One’s recurring revenue, one is referrals because you’re not, you’re not hunting for business at that point. It’s coming to you. Um, and that makes a lot of difference. Another way is seo, right?
[00:41:19] Levi: Focusing on your, on your website’s, SEO and, and making sure people are finding you on Google. I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but like, there’s a lot of web designers in my city and, and some of them are really good with seo, so that’s gonna take me some time, but
[00:41:31] Josh: it’s, yeah, don’t even worry. I don’t even worry about competing with them on seo. Yeah. Like I do get quite a few requests now from people who just Google Web Design Columbus or web design firm, Columbus, um, mainly, and I really, I don’t even really do much as far as SEO on my site. My business is primarily referral based. Um, whether it’s through my networking group, through my personal and professional network.
[00:41:56] Josh: Uh, and then there you go. Of course, what I’m doing with the divvy stuff, with my divvy tutorials in this podcast, that’s brought in a whole nother segment of clients. But the other thing I’m finding now, which you kind of hit on, is now I’m getting repeat or referral. From people who are just finding the sites I designed.
[00:42:12] Josh: So like we did a barbershop here in Columbus a couple years ago, and they’re a pretty big barber here in Columbus. So they, they have a lot of Google reviews and they really got a big web presence boost. And then I had a barbershop from Philadelphia contact us and moved forward because they just googled barbershops in the US and found the site, loved it.
[00:42:31] Josh: And then that’s how they came to us. So that, you know, those are like longer game strategies, but that does, that’s what happens. And side note, that’s why you want to have a site designed by the company and the footer, uh, to make sure it links back. But it also goes back to number one, getting referrals from your clients, or excuse me, getting reviews.
[00:42:49] Josh: Which, what I would recommend for you, Levi and everyone listening, particularly if you’re just starting out, just be really intentional about that. Don’t worry about bugging your client. I mean, if, if you’ve asked them 10 times and they don’t, then let it go. , I generally say at least three times cuz people are busy.
[00:43:04] Josh: Yeah. So I don’t ask for a referral right when a project goes live because they’re likely still, you know, working through everything. But about a week, about, about a week after I found is perfect to follow up. You can give them the opportunity to leave your referral right away, but, or excuse me, a review right away.
[00:43:22] Josh: But about a week later, following up with a personal note with a link to leave a Google review is great. Then you can use that as a testimonial on your site. There’s platforms like I use platform called Magnify for video testimonials. Following up with that is a great way to, to get that social proof that you can add on your site.
[00:43:37] Josh: And then, yeah, and then being intentional. One thing I neglected to do, which I kind of wish I would’ve done, was to be more intentional about asking for referrals. Like, it was great to work with you guys, if you happen to know anybody else that’s looking for a site or just if you happen to run across anyone who says, you know, my website sucks, let you know, send ’em my way.
[00:43:56] Josh: Let ’em know. Cause most clients are not gonna think about that. You wanna kind of empower. Your clients to be your own sales force for you, but definitely to you, it’s up to you to do that.
[00:44:05] Levi: So this goes back though, to doing such a good job when you’re building their site and communication, like communicate with your customers like every day. Even if, even if, you know what, even if things maybe like are, are a little awkward. Cuz I, I feel like sometimes it can get awkward waiting for content if, you know, if you just leave it and just leave it in their hands.
[00:44:24] Levi: Like, just contact them and just say, Hey look, I’m just calling you. There’s literally no pressure from my side, but I just want to remind you, like, we can’t really do much more on your site until you send us content and they’re happy with that. But if, if you don’t Yeah, well if you don’t tell them that they might be like, oh, like. I knew you needed it, but I didn’t know you needed it that badly. And then you’ll find my, you.
[00:44:42] Josh: You have to, you have to be, you don’t have to be a jerk, but you do have to be stern. And I’ve found that you do have to ask, add some urgency and give your clients a push with that. And you gotta guide them as far as how you want to collect that content. Cuz they have no idea. You can’t just say, Hey, send me the content for the website. A client is gonna have no idea what that means or how to do it. So yeah. Yeah. One email at a time on.
[00:45:05] Levi: So get a guide started. I was getting, oh, I was getting emails of like pictures and just like, oh, it was such a mess. It’s so hard to go back and look through. And yeah, you need to set up like something, like a Dropbox or something, but that’s what I meant.
[00:45:19] Josh: Base we use Basecamp or any a sauna or any project management or wherever you want to collect that content. Yeah. And you could just do a little video, like just do a little video that says, you know, here’s how we collect our content.
[00:45:29] Josh: You can drop images here, set up a folder and it’ll really save you a lot of time. That’s just some smart, some strategies that’s worked for us. And I will say, and you don’t have to do that per client, you can just have a general video. It’s just unlisted video on your channel or whatever that you can, that you can put out there.
[00:45:43] Josh: It’s really helped us. Um, the other thing, as far as like talking with clients during the process. One thing I’ll say too, cuz this goes back into doing a good job to help you get clients, I recommend at least having some communication once a week at minimum. Even if it’s just a non update update, just to say like, Hey, we’ve got all our content, we’re, we’re working on the site, we’re working on the homepage now on a subpage.
[00:46:06] Josh: Just let your client know. And then the other thing that can really help, particularly in the sales process, because a lot of this stuff is daunting, you can get really overwhelmed, you can have a lot going on. And one thing I’ve found to be helpful is to always respond within 24 hours. Now sure, you don’t necessarily need to respond fully or do everything in 24 hours, but just respond.
[00:46:29] Josh: Like if a client says, Hey, I’m just checking up on an update, well you don’t need to get the first front page ready within that 24 hours. Just let them know like, Hey, yep, we’re working on it. I’ll give you an update. And ideally be proactive. Like you want to be the one to reach out to your clients and let them know. Keep them in the loop. Before they reach out to you first, cuz then it looks like your plane catch up. So, yep. Just just a few things.
[00:46:50] Levi: And just on that, yeah, just on that. Like I, this is something I’m really passionate about because I feel like. My competitors, uh, not everyone obviously, but like a lot of, a lot of my competitors I’ve heard from clients that I’ve gotten because my competitors aren’t very good at this.
[00:47:06] Levi: Yeah. Communication piece is just like, oh, like they started the project and like three months later, I, I literally never heard from them, aside from like the initial response. Yes. You know what, it’s something I’ve already heard and I’ve not been in this industry too long. So,
[00:47:20] Josh: and that’s one of the most empowering things at when you’re starting up, because let’s face it, when you’re starting your web design business, you’re probably not gonna be the best designer yet. There’s a lot to learn as far as SEO and WordPress and all the backend stuff. And then we’re not even talking about the, the business side of things, which is again, why I’m putting out everything that I’ve. But one thing I will say is that if you care about your projects, you care about your clients and you offer really, really good customer service and communication, that other stuff is secondary.
[00:47:51] Josh: Yeah. Like you can have a website, that’s okay, but as long as you knocked it outta the park with communication, the client is often gonna look past that. Cuz that’s exactly what happened for me. Like my websites were not the best in the beginning, but I would stack my customer service up against anybody in the Columbus area or outside the area for sure.
[00:48:10] Josh: Uh, and I still feel like that today. Like we’ve had a ton of clients who have come to us from agencies where they felt like a number and they just, yeah. You know, they just had a terrible experience and vice versa, maybe they worked with a freelance web designer who was unreliable and they just disappeared.
[00:48:24] Josh: Which is kind of why I say that we’re right in the middle where like, and you can do this as a solo web designer I did for years. I said that I’m an established freelancer, so. You know, I’m not gonna disappear halfway through your project. It’s not gonna take me a week to get back to your email. Yeah, that’s true.
[00:48:40] Josh: And all the tips that we’ve talked about so far help with that. So yeah, man, that’s, I, I just hope that’s empowering for you as you’re finding out and everybody else. It’s like, don’t expect to be an expert. Then, then you’re gonna feel the imposter syndrome and you’re gonna feel like, oh my gosh, my design suck compared to Levi’s design, or Josh’s designs and or my, you know, competition.
[00:49:00] Josh: It’s like, you don’t have to feel like that. Just offer the, offer the best customer service possible, and do the best job you can do, and one step at a time, it’s gonna get better and better. And then you can start charging more and have a more confidence. And then that’s when things get really fun. Yeah.
[00:49:15] Levi: It, it just all goes back to sales, right? Like this is part of your sale. Like your sale is not done until you’re done. And another point, that’s good. Your phone is your best friend. Use it. And I’m not talking about this, I’m talking about this. Pick it up and call your customers because so many people aren’t doing that.
[00:49:33] Levi: It’s so funny, like, I don’t know if it’s, if it’s just like our generation, like my personal generation or what, but like there’s so many people who just don’t like using the actual phone for calling. And I find that even that makes you stand out. Like just having that, that will abs interaction.
[00:49:49] Josh: That will absolutely make you stand out. One thing with local clients, um, it is time consuming and I wouldn’t suggest doing this, you know, frequently throughout the project, but an average, let’s say two to three month website build maybe. One or two meetings in there is gonna go a long, long way. Um, yeah. Now I do for sure video. I do video previews for website previews.
[00:50:14] Josh: Like I’ll record a little screencast video and walk them through the design. So do I. Yeah, it’s so good. Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, so you don’t have to do that part in person per se, because doing that in person get a little tricky. But I will say if you mix in an in-person meeting or a handful of calls, to your point, that will absolutely go a very long way.
[00:50:31] Josh: It’ll build that trust and they’ll be more inclined to do ongoing services with you because they feel like they know, like, and trust you even more definitely than they did. And you’re right, it’s a generational thing. I think. Um, I have found, I will say, depending on the. And depending, depending on the type of client, some people are very, very phone, like they wanna be on the phone constantly.
[00:50:53] Josh: And this has been an issue. I’ve actually, I’ve gotten less, uh, open to doing phone calls. I’m very big on scheduling. And the reason, and it’s not because I don’t want to, I don’t like to as much, uh, that’s kind of part of it. But to be honest, I just cannot do that anymore. At this stage in my career. I’m also running my, you know, this endeavor with my podcast and my courses and stuff.
[00:51:15] Josh: Uh, and I just can’t do what I was doing previously with like being on the phone as much. Now that said, I do go out of my way to schedule those and I will accommodate clients. I just, you know, I, I just generally can’t pick up a random phone call. Uh, the other aspect to that, that’s a little tricky is with family and boundaries.
[00:51:36] Josh: Um, I have had clients where, like, I, I, I used to get text at like two 30 in the morning on a Friday night Cool. From a client asking about content stuff. And I’m like, what are you doing at two 30 in the morning on a Friday night? Like, there are, there are some boundaries when it comes to u utilizing your, your cell phone and your personal number for sure.
[00:51:54] Josh: Um, and I would just make that clear, like, you know, I answer these Monday through Friday, nine to five or whatever, you know, your, your timing is. Uh, I just had a client that reached out on a Saturday morning. I’m sitting there trying to play with my girls. Uh, he’s asking about something that is, was not really pertinent or an emergency by any means.
[00:52:13] Josh: I mean, if a site goes down, yeah, I will jump on it no matter what time of day or night. But there are those boundaries where you have to set, just be a little stern and just like, Hey, I’ll get back to this, but I’m off right now. So the weekend I’ll, I’ll we’ll get back to our first thing Monday for sure.
[00:52:25] Josh: Um, uh, and clients are gonna respect that as just do it in a respectful way. Clients will respect that. Uh, you definitely don’t wanna be a slave to just, cuz then the thing is, is once you, you know, you can do those kind of things at the start to be a really big people pleaser, but sooner than later, pretty soon, uh, you’re gonna get to the point where that can be very dangerous.
[00:52:44] Josh: So just wanted to mention that as some lessons learned because once you have 50 clients, you’ll be on the phone non-stop. And then you have to decide, okay, am I the salesman and the project manager, uh, with this many clients? Because if you are, then you’re gonna have to get help with designing the rest of it.
[00:53:01] Josh: Or if you’re gonna stay a solo printer, you’re gonna have to really block out your creative time. Uh, yeah. So, you know, I’ll, I’ll just lessen. I don’t wanna stray away too from the getting too far from the getting clients, but I mean, those are all like, let’s basically No, it’s a really’s a good point. If you’re doing that stuff, you can’t get clients.
[00:53:17] Josh: Like, you can’t have the time to invest in new leads. So it all, it’s all it’s communication. All this is, yeah, communication. And it’s all connected. Uh, now sp speaking of calls, you talked about like the idea of a warm lead. Um, yeah, I hate hate, I hate cold calling. I don’t do it. I’ve never, I’ve, I’ve tried it out before and it’s never worked out.
[00:53:36] Josh: So this is why I’ve taken the path, what we’ve talked about. Now, what I will do as far as like a warm call is just what you said. When somebody refers you, Or one of your clients is like, well, Levi’s my web design guy, you know, here’s, maybe they get you connected and then you set up a call, or maybe you call them.
[00:53:54] Josh: Um, that’s, that’s when I would do kind of a, a warm call, which is great because it’s a warm lead. It’s not a cold lead. And one thing about cold calls that I think is tough with web design, number one is it’s not a cheap product. Like you can’t just call somebody and expect them to pay $3,000 Right. Then.
[00:54:12] Josh: That’s right. They need to know you and have a need for it. Uh, which is why warm calls and wor warm leads are, are the way to go. Um, but, but that said, you’re already in sales. So what did that look like for you? Like, did you do complete cold calls? Did any of those work or did you just focus on the leads that were coming in and referrals? Yeah. What did that look?
[00:54:31] Levi: Yeah. So when, when I first got started, and this is something I would say is, is this day and age, you should never, never have a cold call because every single person that you’re calling, you should be on the, on Google doing research. You should find out as much as you can about the company and figure out who the business owner is.
[00:54:51] Levi: Um, figure out how long they’ve been in business, figure out if their website’s ugly, figure out if there’s a problem with their website. Figure out if they don’t have a website. And what you’re doing is basically you’re warming up the call, that’s, that’s warming the call. And so by the time you’re ready to pick up the phone, in that sense, it’s not a cold call because you already know if they need a website or not.
[00:55:11] Levi: And if they don’t need a website, you should maybe ask yourself, why am I calling this person? Right? Because there should always be a reason. Um, for the people that you call because, um, that way you’re gonna f you’re gonna have a much better conversation at least. And, and you know what? There’s still a little bit of, um, awkwardness that can obviously happen and maybe they don’t understand the fact that they need a new website, but at least this way, the majority of people you call either know they need a website or like they do need a website and they don’t realize it.
[00:55:40] Levi: So, um, it’s really kind of shifting your perspective away from cold calls and looking at it as a warm call. I’m not calling this person up outta the blue and just offering them something that they might not need. I’m offering them something I know they need. It’s just whether or not they know that yet.
[00:55:58] Levi: Uh, and that really frames it differently, first of all, for yourself because your, your psychology is, is a lot more positive towards the phone call at that point because, Um, you’re looking at it differently. You’re not looking at it as I’m interrupting this person and offering them something. It’s like, no, I’m, I’m, I’m in, I’m, I’m calling this person up and offering them a service that I know that could be valuable to their business.
[00:56:23] Levi: And the other thing I should point out, um, in relation to cold or to cold calls, or warm calls as I call them, is you’re not ever trying to sell them something. You’re, you’re never trying to sell somebody something Right, right off the bat because you, you still don’t, even though it is a warm call, you still don’t have enough information.
[00:56:43] Levi: You need to talk to that person a bit more. You need to have, um, a real warm, warm phone call. And the purpose of a, a call initially is just to, to set up another time to talk. That’s good. Cause it’s very rare that you’re gonna call somebody and they’re gonna be like, oh yeah. Half, half an hour to talk.
[00:57:00] Levi: Now if that happens, that’s great, but the, the chances of that are unlikely. Like, what are the chances of someone calling you in the middle of the day? Josh and being you having a half a talk, I’m like, probably that goes back to why I don’t take calls. Really? Yeah. Yeah. Like I just, yeah, there’s, you don’t have time and, and business owners, you and I know this, like I’ve already started getting Yelp and um, yellow Pages calling like all the time.
[00:57:23] Levi: So you get a lot of phone calls as a business owner. So if you can differentiate that call and show them you’re not wasting your time and just try and set up a time to talk, then they’re gonna be more open to talking to you.
[00:57:36] Josh: Now, how did you do that practically? Like did you. I imagine the majority of your projects have come through by the way, of referrals and network and just one project at a time, you know, through the work you’ve done. But did you have any success with these, like, warm calls? Did you, were there like business directories that you looked at, like certain businesses in the area? Was it like a chamber of commerce list or like, I’m just curious about practically, cuz this is not a strategy that I did. I’m kind of gl I still don’t, wouldn’t probably go about it that way.
[00:58:05] Josh: I would much rather focus on the organic stuff and then making people want to come to me as opposed to me going to them, which really boils down to becoming an authority. And then next I figure we’ll talk about networking events and really making yourself look like an expert and then getting in the, in front of businesses who know, I can trust you, but, but I say that say like, yeah, like, did you have success with these calls or for sure.
[00:58:28] Levi: Anything like that. Um, I would say this, if you don’t have customers right now and you’re just sitting there trying to get customers and you’re, you’re trying to network and maybe that’s working for you, maybe it’s not. If you don’t have customers, you gotta be doing, it might not be cool, call ’em, but you have to do something to get them.
[00:58:44] Levi: And for me, the first, the fir actually the first site I got was through it. It wasn’t really a warm call, but I, I could, you could call it a warm call cuz I was calling up a business owner that I knew through a friend and I was able to give, get them a website. That was the first website that I did. The second and third websites that I did were both cold calls.
[00:59:02] Levi: So that stamp website that I was telling you about, okay. I called the owner of that company, he answered the phone. I just said, Hey, I’m just calling about your website. I noticed a few things that could potentially be driving, like, losing, losing business from would you have a time to talk about that?
[00:59:17] Levi: And he is like, sure, like let’s set up a time to talk and that that guy’s local, but it didn’t have to be local cause they did everything over the phone. Um, the second. It was a, it was, um, me and my wife when we drive around, she’s been really good for like, helping me find businesses. So she noticed the new business that was recently established on like a chiropractor, and she said, check this guy out.
[00:59:40] Levi: And I was like, oh, yeah, look, he’s, he’s new. So I called him and I said, Hey, I noticed you guys set up a business in, in the area recently. I’d love to, to chat with you about a website. I noticed I, I couldn’t find one online. And he’s like, oh, yeah, totally. Um, let, let’s talk. So we set up a time to talk. It’s all about, it’s not, you’re not trying to sell them something.
[00:59:58] Levi: You’re trying to provide them value. You’re trying to set up another time to talk. And even when you’re talking to them the second time, don’t assume that they necessarily need you. Try and try and think of it more as you are trying to figure out if they’re a client that will be a good fit for you. Just like, um, they’re trying to figure out if, if, if you’re a good fit for them.
[01:00:17] Levi: So it’s really just figuring out Yeah. Yeah. It’s figuring out if you’re a good fit, but. Cold calls, like people aren’t calling businesses anymore as much, as much, I don’t think people are doing cold calls, especially in the web design industry anymore.
[01:00:28] Josh: Not for, yeah, not for creative services for sure.
[01:00:31] Levi: Yeah, because like you’re, you’re pretty big in the web design industry. Like you’re, you’re obviously a well known figure in web design and you’re not doing it. So, um, I think that means there’s an opportunity for some of us who are willing to. You don’t need to at this point, but someone like me, I still should because it’s business, it’s business that’s gonna help me hit my goals faster, so,
[01:00:49] Josh: well, and it it’s a good, it’s a good point. Like, it, it really, for one, it’s just good like confidence booster because you’re, you’re getting out of your comfort zone. I mean, you’re comfortable with sales, so maybe you have a little more, uh, maybe you’re a little more warm to that idea, but that’s like terrifying for most web designers. But I will say your success is right outside your comfort zone.
[01:01:11] Josh: So you have to do some things that really make you, first of all, it’s gonna make you get, get creative. It’s gonna make you sum up your services quickly instead of rambling on for 30 minutes about what you do. You gotta get that down to like a 32nd elevator pitch kind of deal. Uh, but it more than anything it, it also plants a seed.
[01:01:29] Josh: Like, well this is one thing too. Like one call with somebody D like maybe you don’t close that deal right then, but that’s all right. Some of my best projects have come to me a year or two after I met the contact initially at like a networking event or something like that. Sure. One of my best clients to this day, I went to a network, there was a ribbon cutting for a local business that was opening up and I was there and I was, you know, I had my little pad and my business cards and stuff and a guy that I didn’t really know, well, I think it was some church or something, found out I was doing a web design and he said, oh, that’s really cool.
[01:02:07] Josh: That’s good to know. Well, like six months later he introduced me to the guy who does his print work and he was connected with a bunch of people who needed website designs and I ended up getting one of my best clients to date about a year later after that. So this just shows you like, It’s really all about delayed gratification too.
[01:02:25] Josh: I mean, you want to pay your bills quickly and get some projects. Yeah. But don’t think that just because you’re trying hard and you’re planting these seeds and it’s not gonna go anywhere. If you, if you stay consistent, you keep at it, it will build So valuable lessons learned with that man. And I actually, I wanted to ask you about networking, because I’m a big proponent of networking still for in transit studios.
[01:02:46] Josh: Over half of our business comes from my networking group and through, here’s the big thing with networking, and this is why I love it. When you get into a networking group or something that’s a B2B group, which means business to business. You’re not only in front of those people, like let’s say there’s 20 people in that group, but you are automatically connected with their network.
[01:03:09] Josh: For sure. And this, this is why I tell web designers who like, if you are doing everything, if you’re a solopreneur, whether you like it or not, you are the salesman. So you need to have a foot in the sail. You can’t just, you can be the best designer and coder ever, but if you can’t sell your services, you’re not gonna go anywhere unless you’re working for somebody.
[01:03:28] Josh: So you’ve gotta do that. And the cool thing is it doesn’t have to be feared. And like I said, if you have a group of 20 people like I do with my networking group that know, like, and trust you, they are going to be your sales force. So automatically you’re, you’ve got a foot in the door to what, 500, 600 people who are all professional. Like that is the power and that is insane. Um, this goes back now, did you?
[01:03:52] Levi: Yeah. This goes back to, um, Going and doing things out of your comfort zone. Um, for sure. Like, like doing this podcast, to be honest, is out of my comfort zone. That’s why I purposely do these things, because I know that’s, that’s on the other side of fear is growth.
[01:04:08] Levi: Like on the other side of, of action is, is those all those opportunities that that can bring you, um, success and like, actually I, I, I feel like I went to a networking group, um, in my, in my town, and I, at first I was like, I don’t know if networking’s for me, um, just, I don’t, I don’t know why, but like, that was one, it was one of my attitudes towards it because I was just, I just thought like, um, I don’t know, maybe it’s more confrontational because you’re going in person and you’re, and you’re just pitching people like your elevator pitch or whatever, and I just didn’t.
[01:04:45] Levi: I wasn’t, I didn’t have a super positive attitude towards it, but man, I’ve gotten some sales out of it recently. I, I, I only went like two or three times. It was like this business group where they offered like free seminars in our, in our town for, for up and coming businesses. Um, so I just went to those and they had a little thing right at the beginning where you’re supposed to pitch, so they’re just like, Hey, um, it’s, it’s run by the government and basically it’s just like encouraging entrepreneurs, um, to learn and to grow.
[01:05:12] Levi: So they have these seminars that you can go to. At the beginning they said, pitch your business to the room, and there’s like 10 or 15 other businesses. Most of them are new because they’re, they’re also in my stage, like starting up. Mm. Yeah. Which is, is good. And, and maybe, maybe not so good because you want, you want established businesses, especially for maintenance plans because you want them to keep paying those maintenance plans.
[01:05:32] Levi: But it’s great when you’re starting out, like me, like I have gotten sales from that, I, from that networking group now, I think two or three now. Awesome. So you, yeah. So you definitely, definitely should do those, um, networking events. I understand. Um, I am, it’s so funny, like my wife tells me I’m an extrovert.
[01:05:52] Levi: All my friends tell me I’m an extrovert, but like, I don’t feel extroverted, especially in situations where I don’t know people. Um, yeah, I, I love social interaction, but I’m not the most, I feel like I’m, I’m a little bit socially awkward when I’m in person with people, so I get that. I know what that’s like. But yeah, it’s funny. It, yeah,
[01:06:11] Josh: you’re, you’re probably, I think you’re like me, Levi, in that you’re probably an introverted extrovert. That’s kind of how I am. Like, I love talking with people and I love the sales aspect of things and I’m very, now, I’m really confident with going to like a group, particularly if I don’t know anybody.
[01:06:26] Josh: But like early on I struggled with that and I still to this day, like I still get a, you know, a little bit of butterflies when I go to social stuff, even if I know their group for some reason. That’s just, um, yeah, I, I was, it’s normal and I, yeah, like, and, and it’s okay to feel like that. Yeah. The cool thing about that, I talk about this, uh, what episode did I talk about?
[01:06:44] Josh: Public speaking. I forget what number it was. Um, where we talked about when it comes to like speaking in a group, you can actually channel that nervous energy. Like it’s good to have that, but you can channel it in a good way. So like, if you’re feeling nervous to go to a networking group, that’s all right.
[01:06:59] Josh: Cool thing is you can use that as like good positive energy. Cuz a lot of times what happens if you don’t feel comfortable is you just turn into somebody who’s completely different. Or you’re like stone-faced and you’re kind of weird and that you don’t wanna be like that, you want to be you. Uh, and you can use that nervous energy and kind of channel it to a good like, you know, just energetic kind of state.
[01:07:18] Josh: But, um, you know, I it really good networking itself cuz I had the same aversion in the beginning. Um, I remember somebody tried to get me to go to a local networking group and I was like, I found out it met weekly. And I was like, oh my gosh, once a week, there’s no way. There’s just no way I’m gonna do that.
[01:07:34] Josh: Well, um, through a series of referrals, I ended up going to a networking group and I got a lead right away and I was like, okay, maybe there is some value in this. And then I found out that there was a local group that was starting right in my hometown and I knew one of the other people who was starting it.
[01:07:52] Josh: So I was like, you know what? It might be a good chance for me to, to try it out. So I was early on in helping develop that. And the rest is history. That was in 2012 and you know, eight years later, a mass, I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars have come through that networking group. And it started with branching outta my comfort zone.
[01:08:12] Josh: And it really just, again, that referral train. It just, and, and I will say too, when it comes to networking, doing it consistently just like anything else, when you’re consistent, it really does lead to success. Sometimes pretty quickly. And then definitely ongoing. Um, cuz I went every week. And then as you go weekly and you get to know these other businesses, number one they get to know you better, but then they get to trust you more.
[01:08:37] Josh: Cuz it’s like, well shoot, Josh has been in this group for like two years, like, and his business is growing so he probably knows what he’s talking about. Maybe I’m finally gonna work with him. Like, there’s a lot of value like that. Now with networking groups, uh, I will say there’s good ones and bad ones.
[01:08:53] Josh: It doesn’t mean that the first networking group you go to is the one you’re gonna stick with. You really have to find a group of people who you feel like is a good group, but they’re out there. And if they’re not out there, you can start one that you’re vibe tracks go to.
[01:09:06] Levi: Hey Josh. Are the ones that you, you’ve seen success at paid because I know you can pay to Yes.
[01:09:10] Josh: To go to a lot of the good ones, I would not do a free one. Uh, okay. The problem with free stuff, and I, this is I don’t do anything free, even when I purchase stuff, like I’m, I’ve realized the value of actually paying for something. Um, number one, because it makes it more valuable because it forces you to like, get something out of your investment.
[01:09:28] Josh: But also the free stuff is usually just junk. Just like free tools are junk. That’s, or free courses are junk. You know, the, the, what I found is with, and look, networking is still dirt cheap. Like if you do some sort of printed ad or any traditional marketing, it’s freaking expensive. So expensive. Yeah. My networking group is 300 bucks a year.
[01:09:47] Josh: That’s nothing. So it only takes. Like I could, you know what, if I’m charging three grand on average for a site, it’s, it’s a 10th of, of what I would, I would charge, you know? So yeah, the ROI is huge, but yeah, it’s, it’s paid and it also, like that in itself is gonna bring people who are serious and for sure.
[01:10:06] Josh: That’s one really cool thing about networking groups to, that’s a good point. If it’s a business group that they’re all paying to be there, they’re gonna be serious. Now you can, that’s a really good point. Yeah. I mean, you can go to free stuff, you can go to free networking groups, but I’ve just never, I, I’ve never got too much great value out of that.
[01:10:21] Josh: I’ve met some cool people and made some decent connections, but, I’ve really never, I don’t, I can’t think of any aside from that ribbon cutting that turned out pretty good. I mean, I’ve had a couple experiences like that, but my best projects and my ongoing monthly plan clients have largely come from my networking group.
[01:10:38] Josh: Um, because they’re serious and back to what we talked about in the beginning, they want you to succeed too, just like you want them to succeed. And on top of that, when you’re in a networking group and you do a project for somebody in there, you better do a good job. Because if you don’t, it’s gonna be awkward.
[01:10:53] Josh: And so it actually gives you like some accountability. It gives you some accountability there and it makes you really want to do a good job. And then when the automotive place that you do a site for in there, when they say like, Josh did my site, or Levi did my site and they did awesome, like, check this out.
[01:11:10] Josh: Then you’ve got a bunch of other people who are really interested. And again, last point I wanna make on this. Yeah, yeah. Starts flowing. Last point I wanna make is that it’s not just the networking group, but it’s their. Their networks as well, which is huge. So if you, if there’s a financial advisor in the group and she’s working with a chiropractor who’s, you know, they’re like, yeah, don’t even go to my website.
[01:11:31] Josh: It sucks. Then she’s like, oh, you should talk to my guy, like my web design guy. Boom, there it is. Like that, that is what I’m talking about is literally how my entire business has grown over the past decade. I’ve noticed organic, I’ve noticed all of my competition are in those groups.
[01:11:47] Levi: That’s one thing I’ve noticed, like pretty, pretty early on. Like all the big name web designers in my town are there. Um, and there’s only like, I think there’s only like two or three of them generally speaking in those groups that I know of. Okay. Um, but they’re the, they’re the main ones in my site, in my town and everyone seems to know them. So, you know, if you’re that guy that everyone knows , then yeah, I can see how that would be very.
[01:12:11] Josh: Yeah, that, and the cool thing about that, that would separate you cuz you could feel a little, like, you could feel like an imposter if you’re like, well crap, there’s a successful agency who, they have a rep in there all the time. Well, the thing is, the turnover in agencies, any creative or web design agency is unbelievable.
[01:12:29] Josh: So the cool thing is, if you stick with it and you stay consistent, then this company that has people in there, they’re gonna have like three people filter in and out while you’re in there. You know? And then it can then you, they, your clients or your, your network can see like, well, do I want to work with a company who I’m gonna get a different rep every three months who doesn’t know me or my business?
[01:12:49] Josh: Or do I want to go with this trusted person who’s doing a good job and is learning? So that’s, that’s another area with that, that’s really helped me. Um, but yeah, it was the same thing. Like we’ve had reps from digital marketing agencies and stuff and, uh, I used to be intimidated by that, but then I realized pretty quickly that clients wanna work with somebody that. They, they know and they can trust. Yeah. And again, that they, they like going back to the, I like trust.
[01:13:14] Levi: Yeah, your point is helpful for me as well, because that, that makes a lot of sense that someone who’s willing to pay for those services is gonna be serious. They’re gonna be a business that has some money at least. I really like that. I think that’s, that’s important.
[01:13:26] Josh: Yeah. Even if it’s just a little bit, you know, I mean if somebody has to pay, if it’s 10 bucks for something, it just adds this, there’s another level to it that just shows you that somebody’s, you know, a little more serious. Um, I’ve taken that and seen it across all industries.
[01:13:42] Josh: Same thing with courses. It’s why my courses are, my courses are kind of like mid-range price point. Um, they’re not your $10 Udemy course. My stuff is too valuable for that. Like I don’t want to get a thousand people who are, you know, gonna wanna barely pay 10 bucks and be upset about that. I want people who are serious about their business so I can really help them and make a bigger impact.
[01:14:04] Josh: Like that’s, I found that to be true in in every, and, and the same thing for pricing with your clients. Like once you get to that point where you’re confident in your services and you’re getting some clients, you don’t want to devalue yourself, number one, but you also don’t wanna be scraping the bottom of the barrel.
[01:14:18] Josh: It really is okay to do some of the people who have like no money or who are really cheap at first just to build your portfolio. But let’s be honest, the cheap people are the biggest pains in the asses to deal with. So, Like if you’re working with a bunch of cheap people, you’re gonna be miserable and you don’t wanna do that.
[01:14:35] Josh: Yeah. You wanna work with quality people who are serious about their business and that’s where sometimes, like going back to when I bid my $15,000 project wasn’t for sure they were gonna go for it. I was like, let’s see if these people are legit or not. And they were, and it ended up being a great relationship still to this day.
[01:14:50] Josh: So, um, yeah, I kind of trailed off there. I didn’t mean to derail us, but those are just some of my thoughts as far as you know, no, I think it’s the value of investing in.
[01:14:59] Levi: It’s so important for, especially for new guys like me, like I don’t do enough networking. I know that. But hearing you say things like that, like that, you’ve gotten hundreds of thousands of dollars out of it. It’s like, oh, I need to get in there,
[01:15:13] Josh: yeah. I mean, yeah, literally. Literally it’s, yeah. And not only just, and it’s not, you know, I do have a lot of my clients that are members in the group, but again, it’s their networks that you’re a part of, which is just, I mean, look as, as painful as networking can be, particularly if you’re an introvert, it’s way better than cold calling.
[01:15:32] Josh: And it’s way better than, yeah. Try like seo, you can do it, but it is hard and it’s very expensive. Often now, one of my colleagues is a developer dude through and through and he built his business off of seo. Uh, however, he had years of experience mm-hmm. in the web design development world, and he knew how to pimp out his site through seo.
[01:15:57] Josh: Like the average person just getting started is not gonna know how to do that because he has design strategy, content strategy, SEO strategy, he knows how the algorithms work, all this stuff. Um, like that is very, like, he had probably hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of training and experience before that to get to that point.
[01:16:15] Josh: So, I mean, just to kind recap all this, for the average person getting started wanting to get clients, or maybe you’re just a couple years in and you want to get more clients. Number one, utilizing and leveraging your network, like you said, Levi, that is huge. Asking for referrals. Getting those warm leads to warm calls, that’s a big one.
[01:16:34] Josh: I like what you talked about with kind of the idea of planting the seed and just getting them to do another call. Maybe it’s a consultation or an audit or or a meeting or something like that. That will go a really long way. You gotta do a good job. Um, and then, you know, that’s automatically if you do a good job, or again, if you’re not an expert in design or development yet, if you care and you really just do amazing customer service, that’s gonna go a long way.
[01:17:00] Josh: And those would be the first steps I take potentially before even going to a networking event. Because I would say you’d want to have at least three clients, three projects and a few testimonials before you go to a networking event. Yeah. You’d agree. You don’t have to. You don’t have to. But ideally, and this is one thing I’ll say too, you know, you were, you were pretty fortunate to get some paying jobs right up front.
[01:17:21] Josh: But I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. There’s nothing wrong with doing a couple freebies just to build your portfolio. Oh, for sure. I’m with you on that. You don’t need to have, yeah, and you don’t need to have 20 projects. Just have three, yeah, three projects looks great. And that’s all you all, you, you could say like recent featured projects, they don’t need to know you’ve only done three.
[01:17:41] Josh: Just say like recent featured or something like that. I was going to do that, Josh. I was going to do that. I was like, that was in my plan. Like if I couldn’t find people, why would I not take the time to build three sites and, and basically give them away for free? Um, cuz that like, You’re going to get other clients from that.
[01:18:00] Josh: If they’re good sites and you’ve built them for someone for free and you’re giving them out, like you’re providing so much value to that business, someone will take you up on that and they’re going to tell people about you because they’re gonna wanna help you out cuz you help them out and what a great training.
[01:18:15] Josh: Like you can, you can, I mean, you can figure out how to design a site yourself and going through courses, but there’s nothing that beats actually working with a client, getting content, figuring out the onboarding, the offboarding processes and all that. So what a great way to have like a headfirst training as far as how, how that works.
[01:18:33] Josh: Again, I, I don’t say that lightly. I do, I will say you need to be very careful with that, and I would limit the amount you. For three, I would not do more than three. I would never do more than three. I would also limit the scope of the project. So you don’t get yourself into a That’s right. Precarious position three, do page websites three.
[01:18:52] Josh: Max there you go. Yeah, there you go. Exactly. The other thing you could do too in that regard is you could, if they’re interested in ho, like if they need hosting in a maintenance plan, and you could say, well look, you know, we’ll design the site for free. Y’all do this, and then we’ll do the hosting and just our maintenance plan moving forward, which will cover security and everything for us.
[01:19:09] Josh: So you can actually do a site for free, but then get them on your maintenance plan, which is another great way to go wave this setup fee.
[01:19:15] Levi: I’ve thought of doing that too. Yeah. Yeah. Yep. Just, just to get, just to get, um, to get clients on your maintenance and hosting plan. If, if you have a, like me, I have a goal of getting to a certain amount per month, and if that’s one of your main goals, then maybe that’s what you need to focus on as well.
[01:19:30] Levi: Like, or, or just severely discount. Just say, Hey look, for any customer that signs up this month, I’m giving a discount on my designer. Set up fee. I’ve thought of doing that. I haven’t done it yet, but it might be something that’s worthwhile.
[01:19:41] Josh: Yeah, you could definitely try it out. And that’s the other thing with this stuff, like just try it out. See what works. If you do one of those and it just doesn’t seem to work out well, then nix it. You know, it’s not the end of the world.
[01:19:50] Levi: Yeah. And just a point on that, I would only do that if I know the scope of the project’s gonna be pretty small. Like, I would not do that for a, for a big site. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. It’s just not worth, it’s not worth the time. Um, you need the design fee. You, you need it for the upfront, um, for the money, so. Right, right.
[01:20:07] Josh: Now to wrap this up, Levi, we’ve, we’ve talked a all about the local stuff. Do you have, I’m just curious, do you have any intentions or desire to get national stuff or stuff that’s strictly online? Cuz a lot of my audience are in areas where maybe locally is not the best market.
[01:20:24] Josh: This probably needs another episode, but there are a lot of strategies for getting. Clients abroad and just through online. What I found, and I talk about this in my business course, but what I’ve done in that area is first of all, you have to become an expert in, of authority with videos and things online for people to find you.
[01:20:41] Josh: Um, like I talked about earlier, a lot of our local projects have spawned outside, you know, projects outside of states and stuff. Um, the other thing you can do is with Divvy, the divvy community is amazing. So if you have a solid site and you present yourself well, you can get a lot of white label work and work that’s abroad anywhere.
[01:21:00] Josh: Um, you can also do things strategically through seo, through certain markets, but that’s a whole nother ballgame. Like do you have any interest in that or you, are you cool with staying local?
[01:21:09] Levi: I do act, I do have interest in that. Um, I would just say this, like, I don’t know who specifically you’re talking about, but most, like I live in the smallest town in Ontario. Like I live in such a small town and I see that as a. almost like a good thing because people know each other and, and word can spread. Um, and I’ve been able to find business in a very small town. So if, if you don’t, if you’re in a small town like me and you don’t think, like, I’m an hour outside of Toronto, which is one of the biggest cities in Canada.
[01:21:42] Levi: Um, so I could go even spread my wings a little bit and go further, like closer towards there. , but I don’t need to at this point. Like I’ve got small towns around me and the amount of potential out of like two or three small cities is, is gonna be like enough to feed me. Like I don’t, that’s, I don’t have to go outside of it.
[01:22:02] Levi: I will because I think, you know, projects are gonna come along that aren’t people are, people are gonna know people that aren’t in my town or or outside of my geography.
[01:22:10] Josh: I was gonna say it’s gonna happen either way probably, but I just didn’t know if you were intentionally thinking about a national type of strategy. No, but you know what? I will. That’s a great point, man. That is really a great point. And honestly it’s just the way to go. Like, same thing for me.
[01:22:23] Josh: So I live in Grove City, which is about 10 minutes outside of Columbus. So it’s just a suburb. So a lot of my clients are in Columbus, but when I started my business at the very start, my networking group is, A lot of the first businesses are in Grove City.
[01:22:37] Josh: And it’s funny, you can drive down the old street with like all the majority of like the hometown businesses are. And what’s really cool now is I, I think about this almost every time I drive down there, I’m like, oh, that’s one of my clients. Oh, there’s one of my clients that’s one of my clients. There’s one of my clients.
[01:22:52] Josh: Like literally I think I have 10 or 11 clients on one street in Grove City. And that’s amazing. Like, yeah. And I don’t say that boastfully, I just say like, if you focus like you’re talking about on what’s around you in your era, you can really capitalize on that. And this is one thing too, from an SEO perspective, this is one thing I tell my clients who say they wanna be on the first page of Google.
[01:23:13] Josh: Well, I’ll tell you this, your keyword or your term on the first page of Google for, let’s say automotive, for example, if you wanna do automotive repair shop or something for Columbus, that’s a whole different ballgame. Yeah. But if you want to do automotive repair shop for Grove City, the suburb outside of Columbus, we can do that.
[01:23:33] Josh: We can get you to the top on there. We can do, you know, that’s So it’s the same strategy for business as well, like to your point. Yeah. Even if you live in a small town or something that you might feel like, well, I’m outside of, let’s say Chicago or something. Well, no, there’s still opportunity. Yeah, absolutely.
[01:23:48] Levi: There’s still opportunity. My cat is in here. I didn’t even realize. Let me just let him out. Oh, it’s all right. . I’m sorry. No problem. I didn’t even, he was in here . I didn’t even know that until I heard something meow and I was wondering where that’s coming from. like, what? ,
[01:24:04] Josh: but no, you’re right man. Like that, that is the truth. Like you really do not have to. Be consumed with being the biggest in your town? No. Like that’s, and it, it can be really, it can be really tough when you look at your competitors. I, I’ve struggled with that my whole career feeling like, man, should I have built my agency bigger? Well, I used to not now. I used to really feel like that.
[01:24:25] Josh: And now I’m like, you know, I’m so glad I’m, I’m much more like lifestyle focused because now I work when I want, if I want to take off, like after this, I’m gonna go for a walk and have a long lunch with the family. Like, I can do this stuff now without being at an office, having a staff. And as we’re in the middle of the pandemic right now, like, I’m not stressed about paying a bunch of employees.
[01:24:47] Levi: I have a couple subcontractors, but things are going fine. Things are stable. So that’s huge. That’s so important. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:24:54] Levi: So I, I, I think that’s definitely the way I’m headed as well. Like, I, I, I think I’m gonna hire people soon to do some websites for. , um, just like probably contractors as well. Um, yeah, I don’t really want to, I don’t think, deal with employees. Um, but yeah.
[01:25:09] Josh: Yeah, just do a 10 99 subcontractor, man. Yeah. I could help you out with, with some of that. Um, and you know, the cool thing about that being that you’re more business focused and sales focus, you could focus on what you want to do. So if those are the areas you’re good at, and obviously they are, I mean, I know, I can tell you’re a good designer and developer, but if you feel like you can hire that out and people can do it better than you, then tell you what they, once I started scaling my business, man, I wish I would’ve done it a lot sooner. I, I have never looked back. Yeah.
[01:25:38] Levi: Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we, yeah, that’s something I want to do for sure. Like start, start outsourcing My, my development, it’s just, I’m scared to let go, you know?
[01:25:47] Josh: Well, I would get your, so what I would do is get all of your systems and your processes, the way you do things in place. And have some sort of type of, um, I was, I was gonna say, so p which is like a standard operating procedure. It’s kind of a corporate term, but just No, no, no.
[01:26:04] Josh: Something systemize everything. Yeah. Like if, if somebody, cuz you don’t, what you wanna do is you want to have somebody come into your business and have things fairly laid out to where you could walk them through like, here’s how we onboard a project, here’s what the systems that we use, here are the passwords.
[01:26:18] Josh: All those, all those little things. Because everything right now, man, is right here in your head. So you gotta get it outta your head and on paper, on file. Yeah. Um, but the cool thing is though, with that is you can, you can do that and then you can just go one project at a time. Well, the subcontractor, yeah.
[01:26:32] Josh: Whether it’s a percentage base or an hourly based, depending on how you work that out. And if that goes good, try another project. If that goes good, try a few more. And then like, now I have a lead designer. Now I don’t do any design. I haven’t done design since the beginning of 2018. Um, and it’s been amazing.
[01:26:47] Josh: Like I smart still stay fresh on that stuff, but it’s allowed me to be able to do courses in this podcast and everything. Um, definitely. And share, share what I’ve learned. So. I really like it. Just, yeah. Yeah. I think you’re, I think you’re in a good spot for that. And yeah, it sounds like you could probably do that.
[01:27:02] Josh: You know, if you’re, particularly if you’re at the 1500 range on average now, and you’re bumping up to the two to 3000, uh, I, I probably wouldn’t bring somebody in less than 2,500 on average, just because if you’re bringing in a thousand bucks on a project for anybody decent to design a side, you’re not gonna make much at all after taxes.
[01:27:23] Josh: And, um, really the way I look at it that way is you have, like all the different roles of the business. There’s the salesman, the project manager, designer, developer, you know, all those other roles, and each one of those is gonna take up a percentage of the project. So you gotta decide like what role you want to fill, and then we wanna make sure you get compensated for, for that too.
[01:27:43] Josh: So, um, definitely. But yeah, man, I mean, even if it’s, you know, there’s some projects in the beginning I found. You know, you may not make as much, but as soon as the subcontractor or whoever you’re working with gets used to the process and they start working quicker, then it’s just, it’s awesome. It’s awesome all around.
[01:28:00] Levi: Yeah. No, no, it sounds good.
[01:28:02] Josh: Well, I’m excited for you, Levi. You’re off to a great track, man. We talked about some great stuff. I mean, leveraging the network again, asking for referrals to get those warm leads as warm calls. We talked about the power of networking and, um, just above all, just doing really good quality customer service, which will bypass the expertise that you need right away.
[01:28:20] Josh: I mean, all those things are super valuable. Your path is essentially what I did. You’re just expediting it. You’re going a lot faster than what I did One step at a time. Um, with all that said though, man, I know you’re early in your journey, but I’m really big on like, you shouldn’t feel like an imposter to come on here because you’re new.
[01:28:38] Josh: Like you’ve had ave you’ve had a lot of valuable lessons nine months in. Uh, what would you say to somebody, you know, the Levi of nine months ago? What would you say to him or anybody who’s just starting out or wanting to start getting clients?
[01:28:51] Josh: Yeah, just stick with it. Um, it’s not, you know, success doesn’t come overnight.
[01:28:56] Levi: Um, there’s no, I wouldn’t, I would, I don’t believe there’s really. There’s no such thing really, especially in web design, is overnight success. Um, it takes time. You’re building a business and if you want to build like a business for the long term, it’s, it’s gonna take, putting in the hours it’s gonna take, putting in, you know, the processes and the systems and taking the time to try and build sales and going out of your comfort zone.
[01:29:18] Levi: And, um, but it’s worth it for, like, I’m the same as Josh. I’m trying to build a life of freedom where I’m able to, um, make my own schedule, make my own hours, and be able to dictate when I take, um, time off and also be able to really build something for myself that I’m proud of, of a business that, um, you know, is successful. So yeah, it’s, it’s fun. It’s cool. It’s, it’s, it does take work, but it’s all worth it in the end, I would say.
[01:29:45] Josh: That’s great, man. That’s awesome. Well said. Well, Levi, great chatting with you, man. Excited about everything you’ve done so far. I can’t wait to see. Where you’re at a year from now, man, like I said, maybe we’ll do a, uh, maybe we’ll do another one, uh, maybe a year from now or something to see, uh, phase two of your business to see what you’ve learned, and then we’ll go from there.
[01:30:02] Levi: Man, thank you so much for, uh, for your time and the opportunity.
[01:30:06] Josh: Absolutely, man. Well, cheers. Keep at it.
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