During the coronavirus pandemic countless people have lost their jobs or have had to pivot their business dramatically. Luckily, one industry that is thriving and more opportunity every day is web design. Businesses are now forced to take their online presence seriously and connect with their customers digitally through their website.
My guest, Amr Selim, who has been a close colleague of mine for a few years, lost 90% of his income as a tech head hunter in March of 2020 when the pandemic came. Luckily, he had web design as a side hustle and was able to take that full time and has, at this point 5 months later, not only survived, but thrived with his business.
If you’re pivoting to web design, either looking to take a side hustle full time or getting into from a completely different industry, you’re not going to want to miss this case study style episode. You’ll be able to take from what Amr did both practically and through his mentality to get through uncertainty and go full time web design freelancer.
5:26 – Welcome to Amr Selim.
7:49 – Four continents, six countries, now Vancouver.
10:58 – A growing HR business with a side gig.
16:00 – “I lost 90% of my income.”
17:50 – Change in the only constant.
18:26 – Nothing defines you, you define you!
20:38 – Your website should service your clientele instead of just pitching for you.
21:49 – You need to separate yourself from the crowd.
22:44 – It’s better to tackle as a team.
28:22 – If you put something good out there, it comes back to you somehow
30:06 – It’s not like a used car salesman
33:21 – You don’t have to sell yourself. Just be helpful.
39:22 – Think of how your website works.
47:21 – Have a lead generator that gives people a little more.
50:44 – It’s so valuable to get different perspectives.
56:22 – You’re comparing a hosting platform with a fully fledged service.
59:38 – What if somebody else sells and I deliver?
1:03:53 – Do everything at first…then call Amr and learn from him!
1:10:13 – Take what you learn and make it your own.
1:13:09 – Many people with a sucky website now know it.
1:14:54 – Don’t worry.
1:20:20 – Money should not be the motivator for anything.
1:26:49 – In times of distress, look for the helpers.
1:30:40 – I wanted to learn how the internet works. I was fascinated.
1:35:04 – Everybody is thinking what to do next.
View the full episode transcription below.
Amr is known as the “Website Plumber” who specializes in the back-end services of page-load and page-speed optimization.
Connect with Amr:
- Josh’s Tutorial on Manually Migrating WordPress Websites
Episode presented by:
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• Avoid learning lessons the hard way by learning from my real-world experience.
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• Learn how to build recurring income by offering ongoing web design services.
Josh – Hey, everybody, welcome into Episode 51. This episode is a very timely and relevant episode because we’re going to be diving into how to pivot into web design from a different industry. And obviously, this is so timely right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. And I have seen a huge uptick in people learning web design who are coming from different industries. And so for me personally, this has been just an incredible season of my life because to be able to teach people how to build awesome websites and grow their business. It’s just I mean, this is why I do what I do. And I’ve seen a lot of people diving into web design from different industries and for a lot of people they might have had a web design business on the side as a side hustle but then are forced to do it full time. And that’s the case for the guest I brought in for this episode. My guest today is a close colleague of mine, this is Amr Salim and he is my go to guy for anything domain email cPanel database or all the unfun stuff, web design related, we call him the website, plumber. I think it’s a great brand. It’s a great name, but the reason I wanted to bring him in is because he is in the thick of it with completing his pivot into web design full time. So Amr actually only did the website plumbing for me kind of part time that was about 10% of his business. The rest of the time he was doing consulting and kind of like a headhunter for tech companies and he was assisting with with hiring and matching talent and stuff like that. That was about 90% of his business and as you’ll hear through this episode, that 90% of his income dropped completely in March of 2020. So when the pandemic just went wild he lost 90% of his business. He was forced to take web design full time and in this episode, you’re going to hear how he did it. I think this is going to be, I know this is going to be so inspirational for you guys. Even if you’re not in the situation if you just want to know how important it is to have kind of a backup and plan and how to have these different streams of revenue. I mean, this conversation guys is just so valuable through and through. Amr he’s just such an awesome guy. I’ve been working with him for several years now. He is somebody who I just have grown to really love and admire, and I respect him so much, and you will too after hearing this episode, because he is just such an inspirational fella. Man, I’m just I was so pumped up after talking with him. I was just fired up. So I can’t wait for you to hear this. And more importantly, for those of you who are about to pivot, or maybe you’ve been pivoting into web design, I think you’re going to find this conversation super beneficial for you. So make sure you hang around because we talk about valuable stuff all the way through it is a longer one but man you’re gonna love it. Now, if you are pivoting into web design, there’s a lot to it. And as you’ll hear about through this episode, there’s just a lot of things that you need to learn and you can either you know, learn by just googling stuff, you can learn it by years of experience, or if you want to fast track your journey, that’s why I’m here for you. And if you didn’t already know, I have nine web design courses right now that cover a wide range of topics to help you in your web design journey and I have them all bundled up into my web design course bundle. So if you think if you looked at my courses and you think you know, I want to, I want to learn SEO, but I also want to learn Divi and WordPress, but I also want to learn design, and I want to know how to grow my business. You can take them one by one, you’re welcome to do that. But the most cost effective and quickest way to go about it is to join my web design course bundle and actually wanted instead of me just talking about I wanted you to hear from somebody who is going through my bundle right now to hear what she has to say this is Ellen.
Ellen – “Hi, my name is Ellen! I bought Josh’s course bundle after looking at the courses not really knowing where to start. I reached out to Josh and he was really helpful and gave me a schedule of which courses he’d recommend starting fast, and I just bought all of them. And all I can say Josh is, Thank you so much. They’ve helped so much already and I have now completed two of them and on my way to the third and I can’t wait to complete because they’re just so good.”
Josh – So there you go, guys, that’s from one of my students who is going through the bundle and has been seeing awesome results in her business. So if you want that too, check out the bundle today, and I would love to be able to help you in all these different areas of your business so you can pivot to web design quickly, cost efficiently and successfully. And we can do this thing together. Before we dive in one quick announcement now through the rest of 2020 through September, October, November and December, I am going to be putting out two episodes. That’s right count two episodes a week for you guys. This is my goal. This is my pledge to you. I’ve had a lot of people requesting, well, not necessarily requesting more but say they can’t wait for the next episode and they’ve been binging the episodes for, so if that’s you and you’ve been diving into a lot of episodes. You are in luck. I’m going to try this out now that I’ve got a really nice schedule with my podcast, I have a VA, shout out to Kam who’s helping me with distributing my podcast I’m able to put out more. So I’m gonna see how it goes I’m gonna see if two episodes a week is too much not enough I imagine it’s not good enough imagine it’s gonna be fine two episodes a week but hopefully you guys can keep up keep up with it. Let me know if you’re digging the two episodes a week as we go along I want to hear your thoughts and how it’s helping you out. All right guys, without further ado, enjoy my chat with my man Amr and man get ready to get pumped to get ready to get inspired.
Josh – Amr, welcome to the show, man. It’s great to have you on!
Amr – Hey Josh, it’s great to be here.
Josh – First things first. Are you proud of me? Because we’ve been working together for like three years and it’s taken almost that time to finally pronounce your name right but I got it man.
Amr – I you know the first one. Yeah, I mean, this is this is great. I mean, I I love the fact that you got my first name last name right? And the fact like your story is so inspiring. Like there was we’ve been working together for what three years? And only only this year, I don’t know why I didn’t read it before because it’s always been on your website but only this year I learned about the cabinet making part. I didn’t know that.
Josh – Well, thanks, man. Yeah, it is kind of funny. Sometimes you work with somebody and then it’s like, oh, maybe I should check out their about page like a year after we’ve been working together. Because same with you, man, you have an incredible story. And that’s what this talk is going to be, we’re going to talk about how you’ve pivoted and how you’re currently pivoting so this is kind of like a case study style episode. But yeah, man we’ve been working together for a few years now. You are my go to guy for anything email and domain related and the website plumbing stuff, which I know we’re going to talk about that cuz that’s kind of your brand but it is funny. I mentioned pronouncing your name and when I refer you, I usually have to send either an audio clip or a quick video just to say by the way you pronounce his name Amr because, for at least Midwestern folk, it’s it’s a tough one. So, but hey, well I’d love to start out by just asking where you are and what you do, which I know that’s what we’re going to talk about here.
Amr – So I’m northwest of Ohio, I’m in Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada. I’ve moved to Canada in 2016. So I’m in new Canadian, and I still don’t understand hockey, so please don’t take this against me.
Josh – That’s alright, that’s alright. You’re good. I read imagine living in Vancouver you’re gonna have to learn because obviously, you know, I’m a big Jackets fan, but, but that’s alright man. And actually, I I don’t want to derail us right from the get go but I would like to real quickly, I think it would be good as a reference point, what made you move to Vancouver and what did that look like? Where’d you move from?
Amr – I moved from Dubai. So originally, I’m Egyptian. I’ve been away from Egypt since 1993. I go back visit. Have some holidays there, see the family and so on. I’ve been living well outside of Egypt from 1993. I’ve done 1…2…3…4 continents and six countries before I ended up in Canada. So the last stop before Canada was Dubai in that the UAE.
Josh – Gotcha. What made you look at Vancouver? Is there any specific reason?
Amr – Mainly the weather. When I look at the Canadian map and you look and it’s all minus minus minus minus and then you go all the way to the west and it’s like two. And you know the worst temperature in winter we do get some snow, of course. And we do get some sub zero temperatures but they don’t last so we’re blessed with slightly warmer weather than the rest of the country.
Josh – It rains a lot there right? I imagine.
Amr – Yeah, but with the rain, this is the thing with the rain, it’s absolutely stunning. Like it’s so green and and the the the topography of like, the yeah like you know the nature in British Columbia have a lot of hills and small mountains and bigger mountains and so when you look is like it’s a graded, it’s almost everywhere you go is a picturesque scenery. Even if I like if we were doing this just outside where I live, you wouldn’t believe like it’s like living in the forest.
Amr – And of course we get bears.
Josh – Yeah yeah well and I have heard because in the band days we traveled out west and we were up in Washington, same thing it rained but man it got it got nice one day and it was like dude it is freakin beautiful here. That’s what everyone said they were like it rains a lot but when you get those nice days, man it’s there’s nothing better.
Amr – Yeah, we have a similar weather and I think the nature is also some of our parks are like half American half Canadian. It’s just like one big park. And if you don’t take your passport, you’re in for trouble because if they catch you on the other side.
Josh – Yeah, no doubt I imagine. Yeah. Cuz Vancouver you’re only What? What’s the drive to the US like half an hour? Hour?
Amr – With the first city is Blaine? And that’s half an hour. Yeah. Okay. And then Seattle. Seattle is about an hour.
Josh – Very cool. Very cool. Well, I’m going to get you into hockey that way you and your family can. You don’t have to worry about the weather when you go and actually, so do you have a you have a couple kids? Is that right?
Amr – Yeah, yeah. My son plays soccer. My daughter isn’t into sports. Pretty much. She’s more into design. So maybe she’s the one who will inherit the business? I don’t know.
Josh – Well, let’s talk about that. Man. You got a family. Your business is pivoting. You’ve pivoted for a while. Why don’t you take us back to like February this year, 2020. Right before COVID all that stuff happened? What were you do yeah what were you doing like what your business is human talents and just why don’t you explain kind of what you were doing with that, and then also in the web design world.
Amr – So the name is Human talents itself like when I, when I decided to start my business, so back in Dubai before moving, I used to work for a large software company that was making or selling, implementing and supporting HR systems. So anything to do with an employee in the company, so all the way from the hiring, part, recruitment, hiring, to retirement, and anything in between, you know, payroll, whatever it is, it was like our largest software company, and I was in charge for the team that does the implementation and customer support. So it’s all like kind of back end stuff and how to tie things to work together. And more on the functional end, we used to do like a customer portal and design it and, and the whole thing but of course, first we make it work second, we make it beautiful. So when I moved here, that’s…
Josh – A good way to go. Better to go that way than the other way around.
Amr – Yeah, make it work then make it beautiful.
Josh – Yeah.
Amr – yeah, so when I came here, I had no network. So I’ve chosen British Columbia, as I said, because of the weather mainly. And because it’s beautiful when I came to check it out, I came first on a visit visa. Brought the family just wanted to make sure everyone will like being here, right. And we loved it. So when I moved here, I had no network and knew nobody, right?And I said, Okay, I’ll start my own business. So the first thing that I did, I registered the name Human Talents because I wanted to continue to be in HR and recruitment systems. That obviously didn’t work. To try trying to sell software when you know, nobody. And um, what happened, you know, the people who I met, I suddenly started to realize there were some gaps in some things. So I have switched first to web design, just being the regular your regular web design agency. Pretty much like how you started when you moved to, you know, become like a full time designer. But I also somehow got into recruitment. You know, being in HR systems and this, we realized there’s a huge gap, specifically software developers in both the United States and Canada. If you’re talking about Canada on its own, before COVID-19, of course, we needed some around 280,000 software developers.
Josh – Wow.
Amr – Like the Canadian software companies and tech companies in order for them to grow and just, you know, reaching their reach their milestones, they need that large number. Now, Canada is an immigration country. The total number of immigrants from all walks of life is about 300,000. So there’s no way you can have 280,000 software developers out of the 300,000 right. So what what I did, I linked with a with a company, a local company in Vancouver that specialized to bring talent from anywhere in the world. Pretty much like the United States used to do in the past few years with the thing is called the H1N visa or something. If I’m not mistaken. Where people have a certain, you know, skill set that’s needed, are given a work permit. So they don’t have to have a green card. They don’t have to be a US citizen. They can just come work for a couple of years and leave. And of course, some of them would stay and after some time they become citizens. So it’s pretty much the same. But so I got into that. And it worked. And it was so self fulfilling, because you’re also helping people change their lives. Like, you know, you get developers from other countries who are dreaming about becoming Canadian, and they want to come here, they want to raise their families here, but they don’t know how. And you’ve got the local companies who need the talent, but are a little bit, kind of scared. What does it entail when I sponsor somebody’s work permit. And my job was like, the matchmaker, it’s pretty much I used to say it’s pretty much like dating you, you know, the two sides very well, and you try to make the right match. And that was great. And at the time it constituted 90% of my income. Now, comes February 2019, sorry, 2020. Things slowed down a little bit, but they were okay. Comes March and it’s a complete halt. And that’s when, by the end of March, it’s when the government closed everything. The shops and the malls and the offices and, and everybody was forced to work from home. And you could see the Canadian tech companies. They’re not hiring. Not only that, but some of them were laying off. So it was a you know, it wasn’t pretty and I as a person and as a business, I lost 90% of the income.
Josh – Wow! And you were still doing the web design stuff with like, the stuff that we were collaborating on with site optimization domains and basic web services. But it sounds like that was only what 10% or so
Amr – Yeah, it was kind of on the back burner. I was I wasn’t advertising it and I wasn’t getting any new clients. So I had some clients on my maintenance on the on my monthly or annual maintenance plan. Sorry. And then I had the some of the jobs that would come from my partners like you, when people wanted to move their emails or their website is too slow or something broke and they wanted fixed. So all the plumbing and back end stuff and I would rarely accept any project for a new website. I just didn’t have the time.
Josh – Gotcha. Gotcha. That makes sense. And and you were doing that under Human Talents.ca right. That was still which is…
Amr – Still the case. Yeah.
Josh – Which we’re going to talk about my recommendations for ya’ cuz I you go by “The Website Plumber”, I think It’s a great brand, I think it’s a great name. And it’s truly what you do like you do the stuff that I don’t want to do. And you’ve been a great referral partner. But this is fascinating man because, like what a valuable story and valuable idea of having this little recurring side income, that is now what you do, and that’s what I want to talk about, like, what I imagine there was fear, panic, uncertainty, overwhelm this mar…this past March, like, what, what, what did you do? Did you realize like, I’ve got to really ramp up my web design stuff. Yeah. What did you do at that point to get started?
Amr – I was tongued and kind of I wasn’t angry because things happen, right? You know, I always say changes the only constant in life. So there was no anger there, but there was kind of like, boom, it hits you like a train. You don’t know what happened. It’s kind of like, oh, like nobody told me anything. I just realized customers aren’t hiring anymore. So I’ve got, I’ve got no clients. That’s it.
Josh – It’s all it’s also a period, it’s a season too like, you know, it’s gonna snap out. But that doesn’t…you don’t know how long it’s gonna take and you’ve got bills to pay. You got a family to feed.
Amr – Yeah. So I realized, you know what, okay, so and this is something that I’d like to tell our audience. Nothing defines you. You define you, right? You’re should you should we shouldn’t be defined only by what we do for living. We’re all like a mix of, you know, intelligence and feelings and like a lot of good things. So yeah, so I didn’t get scared. Because I’ve, you know, I’ve changed my my career quite a few times. And you know, and I’ve changed where I lived quite a few times. So, it doesn’t scare me. Uncertainty doesn’t scare me. I just like thinking head on. So I’ve decided, you know what, okay, I’m going to be the best website plumber there is. The first step was, let me try and figure out, how do I get my message across? And I’m still figuring it out. But since I know that, you know, designers, web designers, specifically, most of them, I would say not all, but most of them hate the back end techie stuff, especially when it comes to emails and DNS and all that stuff.
Josh – 99.9% of web designers, I can tell you with full confidence, hate that stuff. Yeah. Myself included.
Amr – And yeah, it’s all kind of like, and and, you know, the thing is, over the years, like previously, I mean, I learned HTML and was it 1997 or 98? So previously, when we used to just do like an HTML based website, basically all what was there is just text and a few images. There’s nothing, there’s no interactivity, there’s no services. Now it’s all like kind of building a software. It’s no longer just a website. It’s kind of a, I don’t know, like, a big pot that has all the services inside.
Josh – Right? And there’s WordPress data…yeah, databases, files, emails, I don’t want to scare anybody. But yeah, there’s, there’s a lot to it. Which clients, it’s kind of our job to help explain to clients. It’s not just an image online, there’s a lot of moving parts here.
Amr – I mean you have MailChimp or you have a calendar that that you know, where people can book you or, like, you always have to have a service, like your website should actually be servicing your clientele, instead of just pitching for you is also, you know, otherwise they won’t come.
Josh – Great point.
Amr – And that’s, that’s, that’s funny, because like also, recently, I’ve had some conversations on Facebook. Because I’ve realized many local businesses and I’m sure like you see the same in the states and over the world, they rely heavily on social media and neglect their websites. Yeah. And that’s very dangerous. So so yeah, so anyway, so I’ve decided, you know what, okay, instead of me trying to compete in a market that has so many other web designers, and some of them are way more established than me, older, they’ve been doing it for longer, whatever. You know, I mean, I’ve been doing this stuff from 2000. But not full time, I was more interested in the server side and making things work in the functionality.
Josh – So yeah, I mean, it sounds like you, you realize, like, yeah, you could put yourself out there as a web designer, but the market is saturated. It’s harder to get into that certainly means what I teach all my students how to do it. However, particularly if you want to go mainly online, like if you want to get mostly remote referrals, you really do need to separate yourself from the crowd and either become an authority or do thing and capitalize on what you do best. And that’s exactly what you did. Like, it sounds like you realized, I like this stuff that nobody else likes and yeah, you roll with that. And I, I saw that you kind of updated your website. Is that what you did and you just kind of take those services and highlight those as far as, like what you do best?
Amr – Yes, and that’s what I’m trying to do, because it all boils down to, you know what I like doing and and what I think will help people the most is to find the the person like you know that, who you’re gonna call? “Ghostbusters”. So I’m your I’m your Ghostbuster.
Josh – Yep.
Amr – You know when when the plumber,
Josh – You’re the plumber man! You are the website plumber.
Amr – So and I realized that, like so many web designers who need help with this, like so it’s better to tackle things as a team. You know, it’s better for me, I get some work, better for you, you get your customer stuff done professionally, and you know, you have the confidence that when the you know when things are not going well,
Josh – yeah. Hi. Yes, I will say As a referral partner and colleague of yours, it saves me so much time and more importantly, sanity. Like I’m good when I’m good now, and I have a whole course on cPanel, as you know, because I realized there somebody needs to teach people about this stuff, because it’s crucial. Like I’m good with databases and SQL and my PHP MyAdmin and all this stuff. However, I still don’t want to do it. Yeah. Like I hire you out. Because you take the client, you run this bet, particularly, email, email is a whole other ballgame. And how like, so one question I have for you is do you separate these into different services? I kind of know this when I asked you this, like, how does how does your services?
Amr – I, I don’t know. I mean, like, Okay, I’m shooting myself in the foot, if I say I’m not good at marketing, but like, I am good at marketing. I just don’t spend enough time doing my own. Like if I do it for a client that takes the priority to make sure that things are working well for the client and they get the results that they should be getting. But then when it comes to doing my own website or my own stuff, oh God, like you gotta like Tommy’s…
Josh – Yeah, that’s the struggle we all face, right? Yeah, we all Yeah, web web designer with a terrible website or it’s like a auto mechanic that has a crappy car that doesn’t work, you know?
Amr – Exactly! And it’s like I do sometimes professional websites assessments and when I do mine, oh my god, there’s so much that needs to be done.
Josh – So when you when you pivoted and you realized, crap 90% of my work just dried up, I’ve got to take it to the next level, it sounds like you embraced what you did well and you did you know you kind of even know you may or may not package them separately. You do have these services and kind of explain what you do. What did you do like right then to get clients? Because I know you talked about you know, not marketing yourself. However, you had to get yourself out there. So in a way, I know you have like, what did you do? Did you go through Facebook groups? Did you call your existing network? What did that look like in like March?
Amr – Part of it was a little bit of luck. And a lot of it was hard work. So I’m a member of the local Chamber of Commerce, and I’m one of their ambassadors, which means I attend lots of, you know, events and things like that. And when everything closed, everything became Zoom. So in the past, I wasn’t able to attend all of the events because like, I don’t want to drive or I’m too busy somewhere else. But when it’s a Zoom, and it’s just sitting home, it’s easier. So I’ve attended so many of those. And my other nickname, I know I love the website plumber more, right? Because it’s new and it’s funny and it was bestowed upon me by clients, by the way. Like when I was trying to explain what I do said, Oh, you’re like the plumber. So…
Josh – That’s the best way to get a name…people call me, I’m kind of go by the Yoda of Divi and that’s somebody in my Facebook group is like you are the Yoda Divi and I was like, Oh, I like that. Also I’m a big Star Wars fan. So I like it even more but absolutely.
Amr – Oh god. Yeah, me too. So yeah, so the other nickname is “The Internet Guy”. And and that nickname was was in surface 2000. Because when I’ve decided to make this, my specialty like I studied, you know, all the servers and the networking parts, the you know, all the boring stuff, TCP IP, whatever, at the time. And because I would set up all these systems, like I used to set up internet servers, you know. A lot of people back then used to host especially big companies, they wanted to host their own websites in house for one reason or another. Maybe they don’t want to be hosted outside this specific country because they have some sensitive information. So they want to have their own email server and their own web server in-house and I used to set that up So at the time, I was nicknamed the Internet Guy. I was, you know, the ones who make it possible.
Josh – That makes sense that that’s more like a broad based type of IT personality, however, yeah, The Website Plumber is much more specific to web design, which obviously is what your capitalize on, excuse me capitalizing on now. And did you? So yeah, like I mean first of all great idea with the making every zoom meeting because that’s the same thing my networking group did we met on Zoom. And I encourage a lot of my students to do that, like you may not have, I mean, honestly, that’s what’s a great thing about COVID is that there’s not a lot of groups meeting in person. You can just go through Zoom.
Amr – You don’t have to go anywhere.
Josh – And as web designers, that’s right down our wheelhouse. We meet on zoom, we can teach people you know, like, here’s the link, you could do some basic training on that. And then you’re like the trusted person and then that’s a great lead to web design. So that that’s a great point. Did you do anything on like social media, I know you’re involved in some Facebook groups.
Amr – Yeah, so I was always in these Facebook groups, I wasn’t as active so I started to become more active and try and help as many people as I can. I suck at pitching anything, so I just give you the answer. And you can go and do it yourself. You don’t have to hire me. But you know, that’s, that’s the best way you put something good out there something comes back to you somehow. And I linked with a gentleman, very nice guy from Scotland the other day and he said that my reputation on the group is quite good. And like, I didn’t even know I had a reputation on the group.
Josh – I’ll tell you this Amr and I’ll tell this to everybody listening, the worst way to sell yourself is to try to pitch. All you have to do is to be helpful and to teach whether that is a Facebook group, because that’s what I did. Like I just started helping people in Facebook groups. I started saying like, Hey, here’s how you can fix this. And of course, I started making tutorials and I said, Hey, here’s what you could do. Here’s a free tutorial on it. That’s how I built my brand, that’s how I became an authority. And quite frankly, that’s how I sold websites for over a decade is I would just, you know, with my network people on my networking group or leads, we would sit down and I would just ask them about their problems. I tried not to come across salesy. I just tried to help them and just laid out a plan. And, I mean, it takes all of the weight off of sales, if you just be yourself and just teach and just share what you know, that sales baby, that’s it, and that’s what you’re doing.
Amr – Like, we are more of, like, we’re wired as delivery people, like we’re not, we’re not your average sales person who will be pitching and moving from one place to another, because we are the ones delivering the actual service. It’s different because in a, in a big agency, you’ve got these two… this thing, you know…
Josh – Sales and service or delivery. You know what, and I didn’t think about this, but I love that you said that because and so the question would be like, Why? Why are we that roll? And I know it’s because when you sell a website or web design service, you are starting a relationship that’s going to last a long time. It’s not like a used car salesman, that you sell a car, you’re done, you get commissioned, you’re never ever going to hear that person, again, from that person again. As a web designer, you’re starting a relationship so that’s why it’s so important to come across like that. And particularly, most everybody who listens to this, or solopreneurs, or freelancers or small agencies, you’re gonna have a more personal approach, you’re not going to, like you said, have that agency mindset where you’ve got a sales team, they make the sale, then they turn it over to the designer. No, for us, it’s worth engaging in a relationship and an experience that’s going to last a long time. So I love that you took that approach, because it’s definitely the right approach to take, particularly when you’re getting clients online, remotely. And I actually wanted to ask you to now that we’re talking about some sales strategies is one big method I mentioned to my students, and I really promote is to take a different approach. Don’t do ads, don’t do stuff where you’re, again, you’re pitching yourself, take the more organic approach, make relationships, do networking, help people. But one thing you can do, which is what you did, is to interview people or to do some sort of podcast or interview series or something like that to where you bring people together. And then particularly like in a Chamber of Commerce, if you do an interview series with members of that Chamber of Commerce in your local area, what a great way to build relationships and become an authority. And just for everyone’s reference, that’s how you and I met you were doing interviews for Human Talents, and then you reached out to me I had just started Josh Hall Co. I don’t know how you found out maybe it was Divi or something how you found out about me, but yeah, so you, you reached out and you wanted to interview me? And I was like, Yeah, I checked it out. Look like you were legit. You weren’t like, Hey, can you send me leads? It was like, hey, I want to interview you. And you didn’t even tell me what you did. So I agreed and it’s still on my website. I’ll link that in the show notes. For this interview…
Amr – It’s a very old one. It’s too long. Yeah.
Josh – Oh long is good man. I love long. I think most of my audience like the long form stuff, because it’s good. It’s detailed, but it’s not rushed. Anyway, you interviewed me and that I…
Amr – I wanted you to tell the people my audience, what does a good website… what’s a good website? Like? What are the what are the right?
Josh – You know, the ingredients?
Amr – Yeah, yeah, the ingredients of a good website.
Josh – Yeah, yeah, we did that interview and then we were talking and then I kind of asked you like, so I just wanted to find out more about kind of what you did cuz you didn’t sell you didn’t pitch to me, which was just the perfect way to go. We built that relationship and trust first, and then when I asked you a little bit more about what you did, you were like, I really like database and domain and email stuff. And I was, I was like, What? You like that, as I’m hiring you immediately and then more. So just going back to sales and in general, this is crucial this isn’t off topic with what we’re talking about, because this is how you pivoted and this is crucial for everyone getting into web design from a different industry. I know a lot of my students have come from, I’ve got a couple Uber drivers who are now doing web design, I got teachers, I’ve got people from all different industries now getting into web design. And this is it. You have to build a relationship, and you need to get people to know like, and trust you. The beauty and the great thing about this is you don’t have to sell yourself. So if you’re terrified of sales, that’s fine. So am I! So don’t don’t sell yourself, just be helpful. That’s exactly what you did. And then we built that. And then when I asked you, then you told me what you did. But more importantly, here’s the important part. You actually came through. Like when I gave you a job, you did really good and you are punctual. You didn’t disappear. You helped me and my clients out, like in the early days, I remember the first couple of referrals when we did email migrations and stuff. First of all, I learned from you I learned like I watched your process doing email migrations and domain so it was a great learning experience for me, which is another great part of like hiring other people to do something, but I kind of oversaw it. Like I linked our calls up, we would talk to the clients together. Now I just say, Oh, you need an email transfer. Here’s Amr talk to him. Here’s how to say his name. And then I hear good things. I get an email back a week later on the clients like, hey, he was great, man. He’s like, my god… And I know it’s funny, because now a lot of our clients are emailing you directly, right?
Amr – Yeah,
Josh – Yeah. Yeah. So so let’s just agree, I just I don’t mean to, you know, take a take us off on a tangent, but that’s a great lesson on how to sell particularly during this COVID-19 time in this pandemic, where a lot of the stuff’s online, and you may not be able to do as much locally you still can, but that’s it, man. I mean, is that is it safe to say, you kind of capitalize on that strategy to really start building your business?
Amr – Yeah. The good thing is like I realized that you know, I always think, what is stopping any any business owner from being successful online? Like what was the issue number one? Usually it’s tech. So you people, a lot of people that want to move forward, and they’re either scared of tech or think is too expensive or like one way or another, it will be related to tech. And the fun part of it that I realized that even sometimes I ended up and I’m still doing it fixing laptops. Like I ended up sometimes, like, you know, driving to the chamber, for example, to meet someone, I just opened my car’s trunk, and then they’ll drop eight laptops or take them home, fix them.
Amr – It’s like where we’re dealing weapons or something like…
Josh – Yeah, here’s the laptop.
Josh – Yeah, but you know, like having those additional services and what I like to call secondary services, is great to open up leads for your primary services. And I did that for years. For years the main thing I did was website design. And then I also did logo design, branding, print, stuff like that, and then eventually I moved away from that, because my web design business took off, and it was so reliable that I just did website design, maintenance and SEO, and then I would hire out the other stuff. But I’m a big proponent like if you have secondary services that you enjoy, and that get you those leads, then by all means, go for it. Even if it’s not exactly in the same industry, I mean, I’m leery about people being too spread thin, no different services, however, yeah, if you can manage it, and still do your primary service. I mean, like when I was doing print design, eventually, again, it just came to the point where I realized it just you know, it opened a lot of doors in the early days, and it was great. However, it wasn’t as profitable as web design. So once I got to a certain point, I knew I had to cut it off and hire it out. However, that said, I can’t tell you how many great three, four or $5,000 Website Design jobs I got off of a business card design, initially. I would do a business card and then they’d be like, Oh, it was so great working with you and I say like, you know, awesome, I’m really glad you enjoy it. If you need anything else. You know, here are some other services I do. And then like, Oh my gosh, you do websites? Yeah, I need a website. One of my best clients, a steel company here in Columbus, Ohio, I got referred to them for a brochure, they just needed a brochure and then they went to my site and found out I did web design. That turned into logo, brochure, branding, photography and a big website design. So you know, same idea, the secondary services can really translate to a lot more work.
Amr – I would say do not add services only based on you know, that these things are in demand. The first thing is, do you enjoy doing it like this is the thing like for me, for example, graphics, like when you say print and graphics, I get scared. I learned Photoshop when I was younger. And but I realized that because I was at the time, like pretty much a perfectionist it could take me the whole day just to get one logo and then I’ll sleep and wake up and do some more edits. Like never ending so I’ve decided I’m never ever going to touch graphics again.
Josh – So that’s why that’s why you’re so great at the back end stuff because there is a right and wrong way to do website migrations and Email Setup. So I’m sure for a personality type like you, it’s very gratifying. Like, what 1…2…3…4 it’s done, you know, like, it’s done, right?
Josh – I love that you’re using plumbing analogy to keep keep streamline with your brand.
Amr – Yeah. So if if you want it to show at 800 pixels by 640 pixels, well actually make it 800 by 640, and then upload it, don’t upload it a 3000 and then go and tell the browser, hey, I wanted to resize this one, the user is requesting it, because the browser will take a few seconds to actually, you know, do the interpretation of what size you want before it gives it to the user. Yeah, and that’s reason number one. websites are slow. is big images. Yeah, like this.
Josh – Yeah, it’s funny. I see people like, I have like, 500 lines of CSS, is that a problem? But then they upload like a five megabyte, megabyte, you know, slider image and it’s like, Nope, that’s your problem. Right? There is a problem. Yeah. So so I’m glad you’re talking some technical stuff because again, it goes back to that you know about that that’s, that’s what you’re promoting, well, not promoting, that’s what you’re helping with people. And that’s leading to sales, like you’re doing those things that quite honestly, you know, there’s a lot of resources out there. And I’m putting more out on optimization and speed and something I’m working on myself. But that is kind of like your bread and butter. I love that, you know, you’re doing those things. But again, going back to how you’re helping people, like you’re getting into the nitty gritty, you’re explaining stuff. And again, you’re doing that sounds like your Facebook groups, you know, local Zoom meetings, Chamber of Commerce and stuff like that. As I mentioned, you interviewed me for your internet guy. So are you still doing that at all?
Amr – No, not anymore. I’m a little bit more active now on YouTube again, after you know neglecting YouTube for a few years. And I’ve just started to see the results of that and I’m having a lot of fun. And I also would love to start doing some mini courses specifically on optimization. I’ve like one of my latest YouTube videos was to teach people how to select the hosting, because most people select the hosting based on the company name. And that’s wrong. You shouldn’t select your hosting based on the company name, of course you want to host with someone who’s reputable because it’s dangerous to host with those, you know, companies that no one has heard of. But it’s not the company name or the cost is what’s in the hosting plan. Like what’s what’s the technical stuff like how like, you know, so I’ve decided I’ve realized that everybody even after I made the video, I shared that on some of the Facebook groups, I still feel the question, Hey, guys, do you recommend this hosting company or that hosting company? And sometimes I I, you know, I want to give them a link to the video but it looks a bit cheesy. So I ended up just typing whatever is in the video because if I put the video they think I’m trying to pitch so…
Josh – Well what so what you could do in that case is you could do give them some free info say like here, you know, it’s more important to, you know, to look at the server specs what you need technically and then, you know, given the answer, but then say if you want a little more detail on this, here’s a free video. That’s kind of how I go about my tutorials. I don’t just say watch this, I say, you know, here’s, here’s what I recommend doing. Here’s why. And if you want more info, here you go. That’s honestly that’s, that’s one of the best ways to get people to, you know, to engage with your stuff. And I think it’s a great idea, man. I mean, I know it’s probably another recurring revenue, which I want to ask about kind of what the game plan is moving forward. I think that’s really valuable too for people to know not only about you, but to think about how to add this to their businesses. But yeah, doing some sort of recurring slash passive, like courses and training. I obviously I mean, that’s what I do full time now. It’s just Oh, it’s amazing. I mean, a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong. Doing a course is no joke.
Amr – That’s why it’s not done yet.
Josh – Yeah, yeah. It sounds simple. Just like a website. Oh, just design a five page website. Then, you know, 50 hours later, you’re like, Oh my gosh, but you know, I’m a big proponent of it is a lot of work. And it’s really more what I do now is like refining the courses and doing content marketing, but that’s what you’re looking at doing, which is super valuable. The thing about content marketing, which, if you’re unfamiliar with that term for anybody listening, that’s basically blog posts, videos, anything content related, or in and around what you’re talking about and teaching or, or providing services for your web design agency is to do that and to you know, basically give good info but then have that lead to something more and that’s what I’ve done for several years now. I’ve, I mean, 90% of my content is still free. So like, technically on the books, it was very costly for me for the first couple years because I didn’t sell anything. I had a couple layouts. But until I started doing courses, I was basically just giving stuff for free. I mean, the cool thing about that and reasons paid off for me now is I built up a strong catalog of stuff and I’ve owned the Divi tutorial space from an SEO perspective. Which, again, little side note, do you want to capitalize on organic SEO good, consistent content. That’s all that’s the name of the game. Like that’s really what it’s all about. It just takes time and persistence and consistency. But I say all that to say, I love that you have that mindset because now you’re you’re building good content. And it may not pay off right this second, but it will pay off you’re already seeing the fruits of what your YouTube stuff. But yeah, I would encourage you, Amr, for sure to have some resources, free tutorials, webinars, training, because this is what I’m built. This is kind of what I’m doing right now. Build up those free resources, and then build up the next level of resources, which might be like a download, like if somebody wants to get your guide on email migrations, you can have like the basics that people could download and have, but then that then leads to any course that and it doesn’t have to be $1,000 course it could be 97 bucks or something that, you know, here’s the advanced stuff. That’s what I would encourage you and also what I would encourage other people to do. Even if somebody is not a course creator, it can still translate to your service business. And this is the best way to get clients. Don’t throw yourself out there and say, website designs for only $27.99. You know, something like that. You don’t want to come across like that you want to give free info that gets, you know, teaches people and then have something else have a what we call a lead generator. Like it could be any book or it could be a webinar, some free training that gives people a little more. And then from there, that’s when you can introduce your high ticket stuff. And that’s what I did for my networking. That’s really how I built my network is I was in a networking group. People knew I was a website guy, we would do presentations, like every couple months, I would present because we took turns presenting, and I would do a presentation on conversion or Google Analytics or stuff like that, then they would be interested in more and that’s when we would meet or we do a call and I’d give them more info. And then that’s when I found out their website sucked and then that’s when they were interested in doing a redesign. That’s when I came in with a $3- $4,000 website. And then they move forward. Because going back to what we talked about initially, they, they got to know me, they got to like me, and they got to trust me. So that’s exactly the path of sales. Like it’s not rocket science. That’s the I mean, it’s not the only way to go. There’s I mean, ads do work, you know, sometimes, and you can go about that. But, again, going back to the fact that we’re service base delivers of service, that’s huge man to come across like that. So that’s, that would be my recommendation view. I don’t know if you have any thoughts on that. But that’s my recommendation, man.
Amr – Yeah, it’s definitely on the to do list it. I tell you, I probably my fears are very similar to everybody else’s fears. One of the things you start thinking sometimes Oh, but what if I make the course because you know, it’s very much hard work, even if it’s a small course, like the amount of hours that you put in creating the content then you do your video shoot, then you do a video and then, you know, you make sure that everything is hosted on a on a great fast, you know, video delivery network that is not going to people are not going to be waiting forever to watch. There’s a lot of of work and then you think, what if nobody likes it? Or what if nobody even sees it or whatever. However, having said that this is a legitimate fear, and everybody will go through this. But let me tell you like a little, it’s not a story, but something that happened. As I was saying earlier, sometimes you go and you answer a question in one of the groups. And then the same night, somebody else will be asking the question on the same group, which means they haven’t seen it previously answered. And that’s the nature of things. So when we think that you know, oh, this topic has been covered by 200 others, why am I talking about the topic again? Well, some people would just see yours. Some will see the others and some will see yours. So if you know also it’s a big universe.
Josh – Yeah, it’s a big universe. And the same topics can be talked about by different people. I mean, I have I’m big on co-opetition I, a lot of my best friends and my best colleagues are straight up competitors of mine. Yeah. You know, I like you’ve I think you’ve been through Tim and David’s business course. Right? Yes. Yeah, they are. They are competitors. But they’re like some of my best friends. And I refer people to that course. And they refer me and we actually, interestingly enough, we have a lot of the same students. And the people who value different viewpoints and experience are saving so much time, and so much trial and error because it’s so valuable to get different perspectives on the same subjets.. Yeah, yeah. Because when it comes to like website proposals, there is no right or wrong way to do that. So somebody can go through their course and see how David and Tim do it. But then they go through my course and see how I do it and it’s completely different, but it’s still equally valuable because they can take what they liked about Tim and David’s approach and what they liked about mine, then they can refine it make it their own. Actually funny enough, I just had a student, sign up, shout out TJ, who went through John Wooten, he’s a, he’s a competitor, but great colleague of mine, he has a course called “Break Into Web” I highly recommended. He has different courses as well on CSS and cPanel. But he went through that course, learned a lot and is going through mine as well, because again, he wants to learn things from a different perspective as well. It’s not that he didn’t like John’s course, he just wanted to learn my perspective as well. And that investment is, I mean, the ROI on that from learning from different professionals and the different viewpoints is key because again, you’re not locked into one path. I mean, I teach everybody what I learned based off of my path, like, this is what I did, this is how I do it. But I’m very open and saying this is not the way, this is a way and it’s just so valuable and to take this away from courses to talk about this as a practical way that people can implement this into their businesses. This is how you can tell website clients and leads the same thing. You can tell them, you know, this company charged, you know, 500 bucks for this website, I charge $3000, but this is why. The value is different. That’s their way. This is my way. I had a client asked me one time in early days, I quoted $1500 and she was like, Hey, I got another quote for $500. What’s the difference? And I explained to her like, Well, you know, here’s the difference. This is why I’m more valuable. And I’m not going to come down on my price because I know the valuable I know the value. This is why I think this is what they’re not providing. And this is what we’re doing. It’s fine. I didn’t know we were going to take the conversation here. But it’s funny that we’ve mentioned this because just yesterday, yesterday, I sent a video out with a company we did a $3200 or $32,000 proposal for which I feel pretty confident we’re going to get it. I want to talk about this in a future episode, but they’re shopping around which I told them that’s a fine idea. They had one proposal come back between $10 and $15,000. They had another proposal come back between 15 and 25. So they were just curious, what’s the difference between your guys’s 30 plus in these and we looked through their proposals, we found that it was very clear that first company severely underestimated their project. And they also did not do the SEO audit and research that my agency did. The second company did much better. However, it still was not at the level that we were going to provide as far as the value and it was clear they didn’t research and plan like we did, we gave him like a game plan for what we’re going to do and we also are going to take a lot of work off their shoulders. So I had to kind of explain the difference and this all goes back into sales like and this is huge for you know, if you’re if you’re pivoting during COVID you can absolutely don’t have to be a salesperson, you can be a helper and you and it’s okay like if there’s different price points and value like you just explained, have confidence in your services and who you are.
Amr – To your point, you just reminded me when you mentioned that with I had a I had an inquiry from one of my past colleagues, who is now selling, you know, I think it’s fashion, like clothing and fashion items and maybe some handmade stuff. And she was doing it from a Facebook page. It was all like in her local communities, so people would see the stuff posted there. There was no website, there’s nothing there’s no ecommerce yet. It’s just they see it on Facebook, and then they’ll call her and somehow they’ll send her the money, arrange delivery, which is a lot of headache. And she was looking at Shopify, and she was asking me for my opinion and based on our conversation, which lasted for about two hours because an hour and a half catching up and half an hour on the business. But uh, I would have like I recommended WordPress with WooCommerce. And then when it came down to the cost, you know, she was looking at, okay, why would this? You know, storefront cost somewhere around $8,000. Whereby on Shopify, I’m only paying $130 a month. Oh, yeah. And the thing is okay, there, you’re not comparing an apple to an apple. Right then it’s not the same. Shopify is kind of a hosting platform, with software ready made to make things easy for you like the payment gateway, the checkout process, the cart, and all these things, but which is easy to use and great to work. It’s, it’s, you know, I’ve got nothing against, right, but you are the one who’s going to actually go and put each and every product in whereby when we build it for you on WordPress, and WooCommerce, you will give us a folder full of images and we will suit ourselves, we are going to actually build your products and put them in your storefront for you. That’s a lot of work there. And then if you have like 100 plus products, of course, it’s going to be like, way more expensive than even the 8k that was, you know, quoted. So, yeah, you’re comparing a hosting platform to a fully fledged service and they’re not the same.
Josh – It’s also that’s a great analogy for like Wix and Squarespace and some of these other self hosted do it yourself or because they all just for everyone’s reference, I actually, I plan on doing an episode soon to talk about this a little more detail because I’ve had this conversation more than I can count with leads and clients. Those are self hosted systems that you just don’t control. First of all, you don’t own anything. WordPress is open source, you own it, you can do whatever the heck you want with your stuff. Shopify, I don’t think it’s gonna shut down but they could just close one day and you’re screwed. Wix, Squarespace all these other do it your-selfers you have no control the SEO I know you know this Amr, the SEO aspect of all that is terrible. And the problem is you’re just limited. You you can’t customize things like you can with WordPress and in the case of e commerce. WooCommerce that’s one reason I use it what I use on my site, what we do have our ecommerce sites with and I use Shopify to the site, I think back in 2015. And it was a nightmare as a designer and as a coder. We had an absolute nightmare of an experience. I remember I had just really got used to Divi and I was like dang it man I have we’ve only had Divi with this it would have made it so much more easy because we have to like code everything it was just a nightmare and…
Amr – It’s out of your control.
Josh – Yeah, all the Yeah, all these other platforms. They sound enticing because they’re low cost but you find out you the problem is the time you end up doing it yourself. And let’s be honest, if you want to find a shop available developer software developer they’re like three or four times more expensive than WordPress developers. It goes from like $75 to $100 bucks an hour to like $200 $300 bucks an hour. A lot yeah, it’s that’s that’s a huge analogy.
Amr – These are like having an Airbnb. So if you go and rent an Airbnb and the Wi Fi in your Airbnb is not working, the Airbnb owner, the person you’re renting from will not allow you just to go on and buy your own router and put it in their place. Right so this is what it is this is what you get. This is the platform. This is the service you cannot change anything.
Josh – That’s a great… I’m totally gonna rip your your idea off in my in my upcoming podcast on that because it’s kind of like just renting a house like if you rent you’re limited you can’t do everything you want. Now have you own the house aka or you know I have WordPress. Yeah, you can do whatever you want. You know you may not own the property because the government owns it already. But just like WordPress, you know, it’s owned by Automatic, but you can still do whatever you want. You can put anything on there, you can sell it eventually you can do whatever you want. So that’s a great analogy. And again, this is just huge for for just sales and what you’re doing in your business, you know, your, your website, plumber brand is problem solving, doing stuff people don’t want to do. And I think it’s interesting that you’re helping client to client, but you’re also helping web designers. Are you looking at doing maybe like, more white label stuff like with folks like myself? Because I refer you all the time?
Amr – Definitely. I to be dead honest. I hate the sales part. So I’ve always thought like, what if somebody sells and I deliver that will be like the perfect collaboration, and I’m glad it has been working and and it ramped up since March. And yeah, I’m looking forward to, you know, more collaborations with great designers and I where I can learn as well, because it’s fun. Look, it’s all about having fun. You know, what gets you up in the morning. What gets you out of bed.
Josh – Well I love that you get up for email migrations because I would stay in bed all day. I have I’ve literally like slept in because I’m like, Oh, I do not need to do that. Yeah, yeah. But no great point, man. It’s something that I I’m teaching a lot of my students how to do that to to be Divi white label designs, particularly for those just starting out. I actually with one of my students shout out Shannon, she is doing both. She’s doing Client Services, but she’s also doing Divi white label services as kind of a way to get more work as she’s getting started. And there’s so much room and opportunity for that because a lot of people are scaling their agencies or they just don’t want to do the work. They a lot of people like marketing and like sales folks, opposite of yourself, and they want to hire that out and that’s kind of like where I transitioned from at the end of 2017 and 18. I went from doing everything to starting to be more business owner minded in hiring that out. And look, there’s no right or wrong with that either. Like a lot of people feel pressured to scale their business and to do something they don’t want to do. But I am a big proponent of if you want to be a solopreneur and a freelancer, that’s fine. Do that as long as you want. That’s what I did. I did that for seven years. I did it all my own. I did start to hire people out occasionally in like 16 and 17, and maybe 15. I don’t know why I said it in that order. But 15, 16 and 17. That’s when I started like hiring certain things out but I still primarily did everything on my own. It wasn’t until 2018 when I my mindset shifted, and part of that was because I went through some business coaching which was invaluable, and it made me I also just realized, I’m at a different place in life, I’m starting to have kids, I can’t do everything. And I’ve taken that same mindset to what I’m doing now with Josh Hall co like what I’m working on after our call here. I’m putting a VA position like job opportunity. Yeah, because I’m gonna look for a VA say yeah, like I’m gonna I’m almost I know like, I can’t edit it right now I’m doing everything with Josh Hall co I’m editing all the episodes, I’m doing all the emails, I’m doing all the post writing and stuff, but I know I can’t continue to do it and keep it at a certain level. So that’s kind of what I’m starting to hire off. So I say all that say, don’t feel pressured into, you know, either way, like, you don’t have to feel pressured to make a big agency. But you realize, too, if you’re a solopreneur, and you realize crap, I’m doing way too much I need off for this. You can do it and it can work great. Like that’s and that’s, again, going back to the thought of being like a, a white label partner kind of what you’re doing but then a lot of what my students are doing, that is a great option to work with people if you want to do the design, awesome. Do the design, tell people you’re white label partner, you do the design, and then they can do the sales and marketing and it can work out great. That’s, that’s an awesome thing about web design to man. It’s just what ever you want to do.
Amr – I need to, you know, like, okay, you do the website, you do it yourself because I understand many of our listeners would be your students or you know, Tim and David’s or somebody else students and they want to learn, so they want to get their hands dirty, and get it done. But you don’t have to worry about the part which is, you know, the maintenance, the security, the hosting configuration, the email configuration that will eat up a lot of your time. And, you know, you’d rather actually concentrate on your customer relationship management and making sure that everything is on track. Yeah, so if that’s if that’s the part that’s like, you know, where you usually get stuck, there’s no need for you to try and be everything.
Josh – Yeah, my recommendation. This is what I tell my students, I talked about this in my business course. And I tell this to all my students when we’re talking. I tell them do everything at first. Just so you have a good grasp of everything.
Amr – Yeah, get a taste. Yeah.
Josh – Yeah. But then the next time you get an email migration thing call Amr, and, and then learn from him like you can hire people and learn from him, which is again what I did with you. And actually another one of my colleagues here locally, I used to have I before I understood cPanel I did not understand the database, PHP MyAdmin all this stuff that was crucial because I was breaking sites when I was transferring them. I didn’t understand that. And he told me one time I’m going to get technical on everybody. This is something I cover in my cPanel course. But here’s a freebie. He said did you know all you need in your WordPress files is the WP content folder in the config file and everything else is standard. What what and then he’s like in the database is in PHP MyAdmin. Those are the three things that the WordPress files that you upload are in WP content or WP content. Your config file connects the content to the SQL file, which is your database, and that’s a PHP MyAdmin database. I was like holy crap, why didn’t someone Tell me this before I like like my hairline dude would be here. If everyone watching, it would be maybe yours is back because you do the database stuff all the time.
Amr – I’m hiding the whole at the back.
Josh – Yeah, no man this Yeah, this this is great man. We’re talking a lot of a lot of valuable stuff. I know we’re getting technical, but I think it’s…
Amr – Because there is a trick, like the tools that do the migration have gone a long way. So like in the past, maybe in the past five years, you know, there was no go to tool like every time you try migration, you probably use a different tool and end up with a different problem. And they got so much better. But there are some tricks as well. As an example again, I have to get taken out since you you know, you put this into it Josh. They can they can blame you not me. When you when you’re building a website on a sub domain, right so you have your own staging server, be it on your hosting or sometimes even locally on your own computer. And you’re done with your work and now this website will be migrated to the domain of your client. Now, most of the tools are good, but you got to look at all these links and stuff because the rest everything is linked, your images, your, you know, everything that you have on the page. And there are so many cases when you’ve moved from a subdomain to a domain that some of these links will break if you’re just using like an automatic tool, so if you’ve never tried to do a migration, the manual way, you know with the folders and the database, you’re at loss because you don’t know what broke it and how to fix it.
Josh – You know, I made a tutorial on that right? I have a whole tutorial. I have a tutorial on how to manually migrate a WordPress website. It’s my second well one of my most popular WordPress videos I’ll send that to you, because might be a good resource for you and some of your clients. Yeah. Well, obviously you know how to do it but configure clients. So yeah, I did a tutorial on that. And then yeah, there is a plugin if anyone’s technical, technical wise, there’s a plugin called Velvet Blues that I personally love that will fix the links when you do a transfer. You can do it manually to but that’s a good option. I’ll link all this in the show notes. But uh, I’ll send that to you. I’ll put that in the show notes too. But yeah, yeah, cuz Yeah, that’s huge. Like there are a lot of tools that help with this stuff. But occasionally they timeout or they break or they don’t work between hosts and in you’re stuck and going back to like, the sales…
Amr – Of different job structures because you may have like a network on that website or something like it. Yeah, you know, it could be not just like a simple website.
Josh – And you know what, going back to just the idea of how to sell particularly through like, you know, pivoting during COVID is I released that tutorial. It’s free. It’s super helpful when people you can look at it, look at the like for anyone Listen, they want to see that Tutorial look at the YouTube comments. Everyone is like, Oh my god, Josh, you saved my life. Thank you Thank you like it’s my most commented video and it just pumps me up every time I get one on that video because it’s always usually good. But I say that to say like that segway to so many people being interested in more of my stuff and more of my courses, I have a lot of people who join courses who say, I found it with your migration video. So helpful. So that kind of leads us in segway says back to just being helpful like that is produce good stuff. Whether you’re doing it as a service business, you don’t have to become a content marketer. As a web designer, you can just have a couple free resources that you offer to clients. And there you go. That’s your lead gen. But yeah, man, that’s like…
Amr – You’ve got lots of information in your head. Every one of us has lots of info in their heads. share it with the world, like Yes, I’m a perfectionist. So I’m one of those procrastinators right. Okay, I want to shave before I do the video and I don’t know, I will want to do this and I want to do that. I want the editing to be perfect and, and whatever, which takes me like, an awful lot of time to get one thing done. And over the years, I realized that this is bad for a business owner, like, you know, even if you’re going to fail, fail fast, so that you can learn.
Josh – Feel like that’s the other big thing with people just starting out, I understand that they don’t feel like they’re confident in their services yet, because they’re just starting, but you just said it, you have no idea how much you know, even if you’re three months into your journey, think about how much you’ve learned and, and quite honestly, like if you go through one of my courses, side note, take what you learn in that course, custom make it your own, and give it to your clients as a resource. Like for example, this is what people on my SEO course are doing. They’re learning SEO, foundational, organic stuff, and I’ve got several people now making their own resources on their site, based off of what did they learn through the course. So you don’t have to do SEO for a decade to feel confident you can go through my courser I don’t care what course or training you go through, learn something, you don’t have to plagiarize it or rip it off, but make it your own. Take what you learn and make it your own to as a free resource for your clients, which is the best sales tool. So, you know, that’s just hopefully that’s for people who are pivoting and who need to learn to make money quick. Well, that’s one of the best things you can do go through a proven path, which is again, I don’t mean to sound salesy, too in this as we’re talking about how to not come across salesy, but go through a proven path, learn from somebody who’s done it, and then that will save so much time off your journey. And then you can use that info not only personally to help you, but to help your clients and it’s gonna make you look like an expert. I’ve got students who look like an expert, who are three, six months into their journey and that’s like, the most rewarding thing to me is to see that because yeah, you you don’t have to do it on your own. And that’s the beauty about collaborating. Again, like what do you and me, Amr, I realized I got to that point in my business where I realized I’m I don’t want to do. I’m good with doing email migrations, but I don’t or excuse me website migrations, but I don’t want to touch email that I just and I tell clients, that’s that’s not my area specialties. It’s not what I do. Here’s my guy. And that’s the beauty about that kind of stuff. So anyway, man, this this has been a really really good talk or we’ve covered some some really good stuff about practically you know what you went through I love personally, that you didn’t fall apart when you lost 90% of your business. It was like, here’s my challenge.
Amr – I believe it like, like, why are you so calm? I said, like, what do you want me to do? It’s a pandemic in the whole world. What am I gonna do?
Josh – Yeah, well, it was funny because I didn’t know that. Yeah, like you didn’t. You didn’t reach out to me or anything. I we were helping me. I got my email set up with G Suite and you help me do some of the email domain stuff for my JoshHall.co stuff. And then you’re like, yeah, I lost Like 90% of my business, you know, a little bit ago, so I’m doing more website planning. I was like what you weren’t, you know, like, yeah, like you just so common. What a great success story. I know, It’s still a process. I’m sure you’re still you know, you’re going through it, but it looks like things are going well, you’re you’ve probably learned so much to this period. I mean, what, it’s a great success story to say like, okay, here’s the challenge. Everyone’s going through a challenge. I mean, thank goodness, we’re in an industry and when I say we, I mean you, but also everyone listening. If you’re a web design, you’re an industry that is still booming, and yes, yes, some businesses are out of business or they’re slowing down so it’s hurting everybody. However, more businesses are getting online. More businesses need help, I think about how many people are now having to take their business online, so they need ecommerce. They have no idea how to get started with domains and email like there are so many priming goway payment gateways, social media, like wet, just web stuff in general. Like there’s so many areas of opportunity here.
Amr – You know, Josh what’s really great about that. People who had a sucky website but they were kind of in denial now realize they need to do something.
Josh – Great point. Yeah, great point. They’re like crap my website hasn’t got a contact submission in a year because it sucks. Maybe I should get it redesigned.
Amr – Yeah, cuz they’re like for my hosting is bad.
Josh – Yeah. Yeah. What’s a great point, man, I love that again, you know, just kind of recap this. You you face that challenge you did not get down on yourself I’m sure you know, you had those feelings. You had those feelings but you didn’t let them control you when you started the pivot.
Amr – No way. There’s no way I let them control me. No, I mean, um, I don’t know, like I, I was born positive, something that something is wrong. Like, people think that I’m always happy. And of course I go through all the fear and sometimes I’m angry or unhappy or whatever. But two things, number one, I don’t allow this to control me. So if I’m not feeling well, I’ll just you know, go out for a jog or go play some soccer you know, come back or relax. That’s my thing like sports is my thing. I’m not like I’m not awfully fit, I’m a little bit fat but if I go out for a run or specifically soccer, because soccer you know, any any team sport has a social aspect to it as well. You go there on the field then you make with your friends and you play together. And it’s like, you know, things are beautiful again. But the thing that we have to remember as well, you know, like, when we were saying to people, you’re under pressure to ramp up and you’re under pressure to pivot and start growing your business and push here and push there…
Josh – Pay bills as quickly as you can.
Amr – It gets scary and you may be getting some jobs but not enough jobs to put enough food on your table. And we’ve been there and some of us are still there. What I want to say to everybody, don’t worry. Look, I I was listening to a guy like one of these motivated some speakers called Bob Proctor. I don’t know if anyone knows Bob, but he was saying, like he was telling people his story. And then when somebody gave him advice, and he said, you need to be doing this. And Bob said, he asked that person, his coach, but where does the money, where is the money going to come from? And the coach said, where it is now right now? And he said, like, What do you mean? And he said, there is money somewhere out there in the universe, right? It’s gonna come to you at some point, like, you know, there’s a, we don’t know what controls this cycle or who controls this cycle, but there is money out there. Some people have money, right? Who is to say that it’s not going to come to you? It will. It’s just maybe not coming in abundance right now. And there’s nothing to do with you. The only thing that you need to maintain is your positive attitude. Work hard. Learn as much as you can and share your knowledge with the work
Josh – That, I mean, that you just hit the nail on the head, the money is there. What I’ve learned in my thoughts on this are, first of all, you have to work for it. A lot of people build a website and they’re like, why am I not getting any leads? It’s like, Well, are you telling anybody about the website? That you and I’m saying, this is somebody who went through this when I first got started, when I you know, when I was learning how to get clients, I wasn’t doing any networking or anything like that. And at the very beginning, I was like, why is I’m not getting many leads. It’s like, Well, I’m not I’m not telling anybody, I’m not putting myself out there. So you got to do that you got to put yourself out there. But I truly believe and I can say this from experience. And this is from my web design freelancer, as a web design freelancer, also as an agency owner, and now as an educator, the money comes to the helpers. If you are sharing your knowledge and you’re open and you’re helping people, you’re not going to end up on the streets and you will be successful. There may be different levels of success. You may not be a millionaire overnight, but you maybe get one website job, and then you might get two. And then once what happens once you get two, you get three and then the referral train starts. And then once the client starts to know like and trust you, as long as you maintain good competent work and good communication and everything I teach my business course, then you’re going to start to referral train and that’s when it happens. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens with consistency and, and just again, just that that idea of of sharing your knowledge and being helpful, I really all stems from that. Because again, the people on when I say get yourself out there, it’s not the used car salesman type that’s, you know, here’s my it’s not the people who come into my Facebook group and say, get your website done for $100 deal. You know, that’s that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the slow and steady step by step. You know, yes, it may not be overnight, but you’d be surprised. I am a firm believer you will grow your business more effectively and faster that way than spending money on advertising and, you know, trying to be too salesy, and just you know, that’s a huge point. You can’t freak out in times of when you need to pivot. And yeah, I mean, it’s really it’s it’s all about the the sales aspect. I mean, again, we’re not coming across salesy, be a helper. I just think that’s huge, man. It sounds like that’s exactly I did.
Amr – I don’t know. I want to ask you as an example, who is your best hockey player?
Josh – Oh, who? Oh, man.
Amr – I’ll tie this back to our conversation somehow, but I wanted to know a name.
Josh – Okay, well, um, oh, man, best hockey player. Okay, here’s probably a good example that’s relevant to this.
Amr – It doesn’t have to be of all time. Now.
Josh – So let’s go with let’s go with the blue jackets goalie right now Joonas Korpisalo. And the reason I say that, and this is probably gonna work perfectly with what you’re talking about. So the blue jackets for those who are hockey fans, that’s okay. you’ll join me eventually. The blue jackets are in the playoffs right now and they’re, you know, COVID stuffs going on, but they’re still in the playoffs, but the goaltender now Joonas Korpisalo just came in last night. The game went into five overtimes that’s the long it’s it’s the fourth longest history. In the in the playoffs, you don’t do a shootout you don’t stop. You play until somebody wins. So they played like two and a half full games in one night. But I say that to say he just sent an NHL record 85 saves and which is insane for a hockey game. That’s insane. But I say all that to say I’m going with him because he was a backup goalie for years. Wow, this is when he’s getting a shot. So you talk about paying your dues and waiting for the success to come and being patient and just keeping on working. That’s exactly what he’s doing. So Joonas Korpisalo, Amr that’s my that’s my answer for you.
Amr – He’s got a hard last name to pronounce, but I’m going to try and say it right. Your fellow your bestseller. So do you think does anyone think that Joonas became a hockey player for the money?
Josh – I mean,
Amr – I don’t think so.
Josh – Maybe But maybe I have an aspect of it but he obviously loves the game we got I know that’s a good point like if he just did it for the money he probably wouldn’t have been a backup goalie for that long
Amr – No, no. And he like you know what I mean? He think oh, this is not working. I’m going to leave now. Right so it’s not money should not be the motivator to doing anything money companies This means to you know to live you know, it comes and goes the only thing they should be investing in is yourself, your family of course and yourself, you know, just keep at it keep learning. Keep having fun.
Josh – That, man, what a great point. What a great point because you know, I’m like, I am big on realistically having a monetary goal to work towards however, same thing. I don’t want students to be controlled by that like, Yeah, I do want people to shoot for gold.
Amr – Yeah, because you know, if you don’t measure you don’t know where you stand. Yeah,
Josh – If you don’t measure there’s no way and that’s why like, for me for years, I was like, why aren’t I making more money? It’s like, well, I first of all, I was under charging and I didn’t have a goal. I didn’t say like, I want to make six figures this year because that will help you determine how you do your pricing and it’ll help you measure like, Okay, I need to charge more here. I need to get more clients. However, I am not and I, you know, my students know this now to the again, the money is not the goal as far as like your happiness. It’s, and the big thing about this podcast is whatever life you want to do, like whatever freedom looks like for you. Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to empower people to do. So like, you know, for me now, I need to make, you know, well into six figures to support my family. Josh in 2013 I didn’t need that much. So 30 grand, was like dude 30 grand. Yeah, yeah, but now like, yeah, it’s a lot bigger. So yeah, cuz that’s the thing to the, the monetary goals are just that it just changes. It’s got to suit you and your life. If you want to, like make more and because you can just do more with more money, but that’s not the happiness to your point. Like, it’s, it’s got to be the passion ideally to help people because if you help people,
Amr – Yeah, I lost 90% of my income. We haven’t gotten a single day without anything missing from the life that we had before. COVID like, my kids didn’t feel a difference. My wife didn’t feel a difference. Of course, she works as well. And we’re lucky she doesn’t lose her job. But, like, if you’re, it’s the law of attraction. If you think of bad things all the time, bad things are gonna come because that’s what your mind is preoccupied with. Yeah, if you if you have positive thoughts, and I don’t mean it in the, in the sense of like, you know, just repeating things to yourself over and over again, like endlessly but I mean it in the sense of, you know, that that’s why I always use examples from sports, the high performers those players they live to play and to score, so they go to bed at night thinking about tomorrow’s game, and how well they’ll do. But if they go to bed at night, with fear from the opponent that they’re versing, tomorrow, they’ll probably play worse. So yeah,
Josh – No, that’s a great, it’s a great analogy. It’s such a valuable point, man. I mean, we’re definitely on the same mindset of this. And, I mean, I understand it’s easier said than done, particularly in times of change. And we know people have bills and there’s different needs, however, you’re hitting on something so crucial. And that is to just maintain a good mindset. Easier said than done. And I found like, same thing, like I have down days and I still go through stuff. But the thing is, what I’ve learned is I don’t let that control me for long. And one of the best things I learned is and I think I picked this up from Tony Robbins, one of his talks at some point, I love this. Change your state. If you are down, if you are a bum, just do something. For I mean, you know, if you’re bummed like you can lay on the couch for a little bit let you feel it. You know, you don’t have to mask your feelings. I’m big on the that.
Amr – Walk the dog.
Josh – Yeah, you don’t have to like, don’t feel a shame for feeling depressed for a little bit. That’s fine. But don’t let it control you for too long except it feel it. Okay, that sucks. But do something immediately and the best thing you can do to change state.
Amr – Yeah, and communicate is very important. Right? If you have a burden, let it be divided by two by three by 10. Yeah, you know, become easier to carry.
Josh – Yeah, just don’t post it on Facebook. Just don’t know. Yeah, like talk with somebody. Yeah. And that’s one great
Amr – Write on a piece of paper. You know, sometimes when you get your feelings out and read it, it makes you feel a little bit more at ease, but don’t post it somewhere because this could attract more negativity to you. Yes.
Josh – Oh, man. We’re just getting into like just good life stuff here, man. Like, yeah, that’s what Yeah, yeah, that’s a great exercise. I never did that. But I’ve heard that that of you.
Amr – Write it down with your with your life partner, your wife, your husband, your other, you know, significant other, your parents, like, you know, if you if you’re close to your parents and you know you’re blessed having both of them nearby, just this will be like the best thing you do. Everyone is scared and even it’s a pandemic.
Amr – Yeah. And like, there’s so much more talk with like mental health now, which I think is great. And there’s people if people don’t have somebody they feel comfortable there are like, you know, hotlines and all kinds of stuff where you can talk it out. I think it’s so valuable and it is crucial during the pivoting time. Quite frankly, I’ve that’s been one aspect I think has been very cool for me is to see because I have Facebook groups just for my courses that are just for students. I’ve seen a lot of that, like I’ve seen a lot of people express their like, you know, I’m trying to get clients. You know, I’m getting a lot of good stuff from Josh, this has helped, you know, what are some things that you guys have done as well and I’ve seen people like communicate like that. It’s been really cool just to have that trusted. Share. Do it Yeah, you could do it in public groups like my Facebook group, but you don’t know what answer you’re gonna get from 21,000 people. So it’s best to have like a some sort of like mastermind or group of people you can trust.
Amr – Yeah, speak with your circle, like you know, your friends like we’re all in this together like, you know, we, we will come up victorious. I don’t think, you know, this is going to be the last challenge will ever face us as human beings. It’s just funny that something so small you cannot see such as a virus can stop the whole world’s economy at once.
Josh – Think I think the quote goes back to oh my gosh, I’m blanking on it. Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers. I think the quote goes you know what, you know, it’s coming. I haven’t seen Yeah, I’m sure of service. Awesome. I want to watch it but I believe the quote goes back to him and saying that In times of distress, whether it’s economic global pandemics, whatever, “look for the helpers” and I think that’s so valuable and that’s what I would encourage everyone to be in practically, it’s doing everything we talked about. Helping your clients just because that will lead sales and it will lead to quite frankly like you know, money it’s in clients and that’s but it starts it doesn’t start there. It starts with helping and I think that’s so valuable because you’re making an impact
Josh – I understand Dude, I believe me, I loved it. When I figured out what I do now. I’m like how I got a “D” in typing in high school. Like that’s how ironic what I do now like, I was same here. I was not a techie dude. Yeah.
Amr – So I used to break my computer, take it to the shop. And then was them fixing it so that I can learn how they fix it. And then next time I break it, I saved myself the wait and the three days without the computer, because now I know how to fix it. Right?
Josh – So you made it Yeah, challenge made a challenge into an opportunity.
Amr – And this guy taught me everything he knew about the internet, and everything he knew, to pass that course and become like, you know, officially a certified webmaster at the time. And that was 2000 2001. And in 2002, I quit British Airways and I went to work in Bahrain in one of the Institute of technologies, because I was only the second guy in 22 countries who can teach this stuff. Yeah, so that was a pure chance. I never thought that I would leave the airline I was having so much fun.
Josh – Well, and another valuable point you just never never know where these opportunities are coming from. And I think in times of pivoting, and getting through something like a pandemic, you gotta be vigilant for those and you got to capitalize on them. Like you never know, you never know when a conversation is gonna happen or by chance, you know, if you’re looking for clients, if you’re just starting out, you just somebody might offhand say something, and, you know, you might have an opportunity to help somebody in that. That’s how I got half of my clients as I just I’ve met somebody that led to something and it led to something and there it is.
Amr – You never know what it is like what’s gonna come your way what’s around the corner, just keep an open mind. You know, and, and keep doing what you’re doing. Keep doing the great work that you’re doing, guys. This is it’s got put good things out there in the world. Good things are coming to you. 100%
Josh – That’s, yep, totally agree. That’s a great way to say it, man. Well, hey, man, this has been awesome. I got a wrap up. I gotta be honest, I gotta pee, too. So let’s, let’s wrap this up here.
Amr – Let’s wrap up.
Josh – I just have one quick question for I’ve been wanting to ask you. Your building website, plumber and everything else services, is what happens when business picks up for you for the human talents? You know kind of stuff are you? Do you think maybe you’ll just keep on going full time website plumbing Are you gonna just have you know, you’re gonna do less with HR stuff? What do you what does that look like in the in the future?
Amr – Ideally like, I want to focus more on the plumbing stuff, since everyone like all the business owners nowadays have finally realized that a big chunk of the business can be conducted online. And I’m talking about the small guys here and there and, you know, the yoga studios, the bakeries in your local area, the plumbers that the real ones, not the distant ones. And you know, all those who had a website that was built years ago that had nothing on it. And now as an example of our local liquor store, when we were closed, they didn’t close the liquor stores stayed open, and they were selling like crazy, but they didn’t want to have a line outside because it’s COVID times and people should not be lining outside. So the idea that I gave them was okay, you can just get a calendar, put it on your like release some time slots, and people can book a time slot to come and pick up their stuff so they can order online pay online. And then since you guys don’t deliver, they can just come and pick it up. You only need to, you know, one person in the shop every, I don’t know, 10 minutes. So give time slots for 10 minutes. And if you want me to do it for you, if they’ve done it on their own, they didn’t need me but like they got the idea. And that’s the thing. Many people are thinking now, what can I do next? And you guys will be the helpers that that’s that’s what we all should be doing.
Josh – Yeah, that’s a great way to end it man. Love it. Love it. Love it. I totally agree. And I think you and I are both examples of that just help people sharing knowledge and man it’s the best thing to do when pivoting particularly for a time like this though. Amr thanks so much for your man, and for a really inspirational story, we covered a lot of stuff. I mean, we could talk for hours, but we’ll cut it off here.
Amr – It’s both of us.
Josh – Now I mean, this has been I feel pumped up, man, I’m inspired by this. really inspired by your story and kind of how you’ve, you’ve done really good man keep on going through this stuff. I’m going to convince you to start up Website Plumber.co or something as your brand because I know…
Amr – I have the domain. I just didn’t do anything with it.
Josh – Yeah, that’s my next step for you is to build that out. Because I think it’ll be, I would personally separate Human Talents.ca versus Website Plumber, but that’ll be at phase two here for you. But as of now, everyone can go to Human Talents.ca. Obviously, you’re my guy. I can’t recommend everyone enough to go to check you out and to use you for that stuff. Because, man, you’re just you’re awesome at this stuff. So thanks so much for thank you for being super, super valuable for everyone listening and I, man, we’re gonna do this again. We have some fun.
Amr – See you soon. Take care and best regards to the lovely family.
Josh – Thanks, man you too! We’ll talk soon.