This month, October 2020, my web design agency In Transit Studios turns 10!
It’s been an amazing decade of lessons learned, experience gained and amazing relationships formed and in this episode, I wanted to highlight the top 10 “most important” lessons I learned in the decade of starting, building, running and eventually selling my web design agency.
There are countless other tips and important lessons learned but if I were to sit down with an inspiring agency owner and dish out my top 10, these are it.
I hope they help you in your journey whether you’re just getting started or have been at it for a while!
In this episode:
02:22 – Featured Podcast Review
03:31 – Naming the company
07:21 – 1) Constant learning
11:36 – 2) Market and innovate
15:00 – 3) Choose your “Why”
18:24 – 4) Caring for clients
22:13 – 5) Value relationships
26:52 – 6) Share knowledge
30:32 – 7) Invest in your business
33:01 – 8) Your strengths
36:30 – 9) Ignore nay-sayers
40:16 – 10) Enjoy the mundane
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
Featured links mentioned:
Full Episode Transcription #066
Happy 10th Birthday, InTrasit Studios!
Hey, friends, welcome into the podcast. This is Episode 66. And hot dog, I realized this month, October 2020, that my web design agency InTransit Studios is 10 years old officially this month, I actually completely forgot about it until I was thinking back and I was like, wait a minute, it’s October, I set up InTransit Studios officially in October 2010. Thus, it has been a decade and InTransit is officially 10 years old. So I thought it would be cool I wanted to recognize that because it’s a pretty cool milestone. But what I thought I would do in this episode is highlight the top 10 lessons learned that I’ve experienced with starting, building and running, running and eventually selling a web design agency. So I wanted to dish out some of the the top lessons that I’ve experienced in this decade. And of course, I could go over, you know, 100 or 1000 lessons learned, but I don’t think you probably want to listen to a 20 hour episode. So we’re gonna condense it to the top most important 10 that I feel like I’ve learned, I want to pass on to you, for those of you who are running your businesses, or maybe even just a freelance business, or maybe you’re you’re starting an agency, I think you’ll get a lot of value from what I’ve experienced in a in a 10 year old journey with my agency. So yeah, it’s crazy. We’re actually I’m talking with my CEO, Eric, about putting something out to our clients. So we recognized for our clients that InTransit is 10. But I want to do again dished out something for you guys, so you could hear what I’ve learned some of the most important things. Now, these are the top 10 lessons in regards to my agency, I actually released a post not that long ago on my top 10 lessons similarly, on my 10 years of experience of freelancing. So I actually have been freelancing longer than 10 years. But I officially set up InTransit Studios in the fall of 2010. So I figured in this one, I’ll kind of hone in on some of the more agency specific stuff as far as the top lessons learned. So yeah, really excited to dive into this to so you can hear kind of what I’ve learned and that you can apply to your journey right now.
Now, before we do dive into this, I wanted to give a quick shout out to another featured podcast review. And this one comes from Wayne. And he says Josh Well, the title says awesomeness which that’s my kind of title right there. He says Josh ninja perfect moves guy. I have learned so much in a short period of time. The tips and tricks I have learned from listening to your podcast have helped me cut time and cost. Man, I’m glad I found your podcast Wayne. Hey, Wayne, thanks so much for that review. Man. That is awesome. I appreciate it. Anytime I can get compared to a ninja, I’m all about it. So thanks so much for your feedback. Really excited to help you more and more. And then this goes to you Wayne and anyone else. If you guys like my podcast, I would love to take our relationship to the next level. And you can join any one of my courses that looks like it would be a good fit for you. Because that’s when things really get fun. Because I save all my best stuff from my courses. But I do try to dish out as much as I can in the podcast. So Wayne, thanks so much for review. Similarly, if you guys listen to this, and you like this review, or you like this podcast and you’re getting a lot out of it, please consider leaving a review, it really means the world to me, it helps the show grow. So let’s dive into it.
Staying positive is one of the things that you actually need to be very intentional about.
Now the top 10 things I’ve learned in my decade of experience with my web design agency. Now, I also think to give it some context, it might be kind of cool. Just to take just briefly back to the beginning, I’ve covered my story in the first episode of the podcast. But what’s interesting is when I started InTransit Studios in particular, as I said, I’d already been freelancing for a while, but I was just doing graphic design. I did not do web design initially. So I was doing graphic and print design mostly for bands, because for those of you who know my story, I was a drummer in a rock band. At that point, my band had just released our third album, we were traveling a lot and I was doing graphic design on the road. And in the church I was working at asked if I would be interested in diving into web design because they didn’t have anybody to do their website. So I got into web, and I was dabbling into it more and more. And I, in short, the freelance stuff started taking off on the side that I was like, You know what, I think I want to make a business out of this. I did not however, want to do a personal brand. I didn’t know I was going to save it for what I’m doing now. But I just felt like I wanted to do some sort of business name to see where it would go. Because if it was going to turn into an agency one day or something, I wanted to have that flexibility. So in short in the fall of 2010, I wanted to make it an official business, but I had no idea what to call it. I went through all sorts of names. Most of them were terrible, or they were super cheesy or in a lot of cases the names I came up with were already picked or they were already registered or the domain was already locked up. So what was interesting is my band’s third album was called InTransit, and I thought back I was like, Man, that’s, that’s a pretty cool name. I wonder if we can do something similar to that. And I stuck a bunch of extensions on it like in transit design and transit, I think web, some some web, web design studios or something like that. And I liked the idea of studios, because it kind of gave me some flexibility to whatever I wanted to do with it. Interestingly, enough side note, back then, since I didn’t do web design, yet, I didn’t even know it was going to be web design, I thought that I might do like music for commercials or advertising campaigns, and then just all like band artwork and stuff like that. So I started InTransit Studios, I actually came up with the name, I was like, that’s pretty cool, I found out that the domain name was open. And so I locked it up, and then I ended up registering it with the state in October of 2010. So it’s officially been a decade. And yeah, that’s just a little quick story about how I came up with the name. And I will say before we dive in, the name of the business does not matter that much, guys, most of my clients through the years still knew me as Josh, their web design guy. So not many people knew in transit as a brand, it was you know, me the web design guy. But no matter what your name is, you do want to make sure it’s something that is going to fit where you are in your journey. And you also want to have room to grow. Which is why I’m glad I chose that. Because when I eventually sold my agency here recently, they were able to take the name. And obviously, I’m still overseeing my CEO, Eric and the team. And it’s working out really well. So there is a little backstory on how I came up with a name. And I wanted to say that again, to set some context, because I didn’t start out my journey saying, Okay, I’m going to build a successful business, I just kind of fumbled into it, I wanted to just do it on the side to, to see if it was something I could make some money at while I was learning web design. And my whole goal was to land a job as a designer and an agency but ended up making enough on the side to where I felt like you know what, if I did this full time, some cool things can happen. And that’s exactly what happened. So just wanted to give you some context, before we dive into these 10 tips.
1) Mindset and personal development are what’s MOST important
And we’re going to start off with number one, which I think is really the foundation that I’ve learned over the past decade, particularly with the agency from again, I’ve been doing freelance for more like 11 years, but the web design agency itself is 10. And the core, the foundation, to doing things successfully over the years has been mindset, and personal development. That’s number one. These are the two most important things no matter what business you’re in. And some things that can contribute to your mindset. And your personal development as a leader, as the owner or entrepreneur of your business is that you’ve got to be constantly learning. That is one thing that I it’s interesting, I think maybe the academic world, the idea that you would go to high school, and then go to a college program and get, you know, four years of learning or whatever, and then you just start your job, and then you do a job. I think that’s very dated. I’m not against college. But I’m a big proponent of actually living in the real world. And then learning from things where you don’t have to go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. That’s one reason I love web design, you don’t have to go that traditional route. And the really cool thing about that, is, again, I think it’s very limiting. I think a lot of the traditional pathways and jobs focus on you learn a little bit and then you do your job well and web design and an entrepreneurial ship, you’re constantly learning. And you have to remember that and you also have to make time for that. So I’m still learning constantly, I’m always going through a course, I haven’t been reading as much just because my little ones are two and 10 months. And it’s harder and harder right now to open a book and read. But I have been really big on actually reading a book and learning from courses and other people who have been where you want to go. So that will contribute highly to your mindset. Because you really need to work at staying positive. It’s actually one of the hardest things to do in business. Because when you start you’re energetic, you’re all pumped up. But as you get going, inevitably you’re going to face hardships, and there’s going to be failures along the way. And staying positive is one of the things that you actually need to be very intentional about. And that all goes back to mindset and personal development. So being very aware of that. And then also really investing in yourself that is absolutely huge. That is no matter what the business is, no matter where you are in your journey, whether you’re just starting out or whether you’re ready to level up and take things to a whole nother level. mindset and personal development are the key. And this also leads into something I’m really really passionate about because I’ve seen this play out in my life, and that is communication. Now this is still under this first point, excuse me this first point of mindset and personal development. But I heard a quote years ago I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, but I want to kind of re look at it right here and the quote went something along the lines of The quality of your life is dependent on how well you communicate. It is true in every area of life, particularly in business. Now, it’s really huge in relationships for my fellow friends who are married. That is a biggie. It’s huge, and family and friendships. And it’s really important in business. Because if you don’t communicate well, you’re going to have a hard time selling, you’re going to have a hard time building a team or working with people, you’re going to have a hard time getting your message across on your website. Communication is key guys. So going back to the idea of learning and really working on your personal development, I cannot encourage you enough to focus on communication, learn how to communicate your message, I would also highly recommend that when it comes to the services you offer, figure out how you can get your point across in 30 seconds or less. This is one of the big benefits of being in a networking group. Because we had to talk about a service or a business very quickly, we had 30 seconds to talk about something and then the bell rang and we had to move on. So it really forced me to be brief and get my message across quickly, instead of rambling on for 10 minutes about what I do, which I had done Previous to that. So focusing on communication is key. And I’ll say that quote one more time, the quality of your life will depend on how well you communicate, take that one, put it on your wall, embrace it, because it is true. And it all again leads back to your mindset and personal development. So always be learning, keep on working on yourself. And that will trickle through your entire business through your team, and through your sales in every aspect of life.
2) Marketing and innovation
Now, number two, would the idea of the agency and what I’ve learned with just strictly a web design agency from year to year, number two is marketing and innovation. These are the two keys that you have to have in any business to keep it moving forward. Because if you don’t market yourself, and you don’t innovate your business, things are going to get stale, you’re going to get comfortable, and you’re going to notice a decline. And I talked about this in an episode recently, where I brought in my CEO, Eric, and we talked about selling my web design agency. That’s exactly what was happening. I was focusing so much on my courses. And what I’m doing here with the podcast and everything, Josh Hall CO, that my web design agency in terms of studios started to get just a little stagnant, our numbers started dropping just slightly, we still had a lot of great recurring income and a lot of great clients that stuck with us. But I wasn’t really pushing it. I wasn’t marketing, I wasn’t innovating. And I knew I needed to have somebody do that for it to continue to move on and grow. So that’s when I made the change. And I realized that early on, all the times that I made the biggest pushes, whether it was a new service, or whether it was something new that I got involved with, those were the biggest sales increases and boosts in my business. I saw this when I joined my networking group, that was a form of marketing, I was investing in that weekly. And I continued to get more and more really good clients by doing something every week by being out there. And being the salesperson, the spokesperson for my business. I also saw a big increase with innovation. So when I launched our website maintenance plan, I had already had a bunch of clients, and we saw a huge increase was actually our first increase of recurring revenue, because I didn’t have any before that, but I think I landed like 20 some clients, right when I launched our website maintenance plan. And it was a big boost in the business. It made me rethink how I go about servicing our clients and the relationships. And it was all about innovating. And I did that with other service as well. And also, innovation can be when you take services away. So I was doing print design and graphic design and logo design for a long time. But I realized it wasn’t as profitable as the website of things for me. So when I made the transition to just focusing on web maintenance, and SEO, that was a form of innovating the business and we saw a huge uptick in revenue. So marketing and innovation is key, you’ve got to keep marketing your business to avoid complacency and getting too comfortable. And then as far as innovating, you’ve got to stay up with the times and the trends. The trends excuse me, especially in web design, you’ve got to make the time for innovation. And if you are a solopreneur and you’re finding yourself spread too thin and you’re spending too much time working in the business is not on the business, that is probably the cue for you to get somebody involved or to partner up with somebody who can do some more marketing and innovating with you. Or if you want to stay just have one man shop, then you might need to just reevaluate your service offerings, up your rates, do less work, and then actually focus on some of your business. And you can also do this in seasons too. You don’t have to market and innovate constantly. You don’t have to do it every week. You could do it like you know, a couple times a year, maybe maybe the first quarter of the year, you really want to focus on marketing, maybe the second quarter you want to focus on innovating your services, that’s going to set you up for a lot of clients in the long run. So marketing and innovation. That’s number two. That’s a biggie.
3) Having a “why” as the foundation
Number three, as far as any type of business, I found that having a why as the foundation was also key. And I’m a big proponent of Simon Sinek book “Start With Why” because as you’ll find out in business, clients in customers are going to tell whether you’re just in it for the money or whether there is a purpose behind your business. And having a why can be very different depending on you your situation in life, and then also like a mission or goal for the company. And what I mean by that is, when I started my business, my why was really taking care of my customers and helping businesses grow. As my family grew, my why became part of that was obviously always a core of it. But quite truthfully, my why became I’ve got a life to support, I’ve got kids to support now. So they really became my why to build businesses and get really serious about business in general, because your why can change through seasons of life. But in any case, your why should not just be money, it shouldn’t be I want to make as much money as I can, because then you’re going to become a little shady, a little spammy, and a little salesy. Clients are going to recognize that you’re going to catch yourself making decisions that you maybe wouldn’t have done if money, quote unquote, wasn’t the main purpose. And it wasn’t your why you’re also going to be very tempted to do some shady and dirty things in business, if money is your why. So I would not recommend recommend making money, your why, but money is what’s going to provide for your why in my case, it was family. So think about your Why think about why you do what you do. This can be on a micro level with how you service your clients. But it can be on a bigger macro level with like, you know, why is this business here? Do you want to provide for your family? Or do you want to give to a charity InTransit Studios now since bringing on Eric as CEO, some of you know his story, he came through my maintenance planning course. And what he learned in my course helped him create recurring income to be able to adopt two kids into his family. And that’s how our relationship started Well, before I ended up bringing him in, and we started a different partnership relationship he came through as a student, and his why was adoption. And he was so passionate about that, that when I talked to him about taking over InTransit Studios as CEO, he said, One thing I’d like to do is give 10% off of our revenue to an adoption agency adoption fund. And I’m like, that sounds awesome. I’m totally on board with that. It’s something that I saw, you know, he was really passionate about, and we’ve let our clients knows and in transit studios, that when they purchase something from us, it’s going to a big, big portion of that is going to help fund adoptions. Because we know it’s not just about what’s going on with the agency, it’s what we can do with, you know, the resources that we have. So that’s kind of a couple of different examples of why you might have for your business. And again, it can be personally but it can also be, do you want to invest? Is there something that you’re passionate about, that you feel like you’ve got an opportunity here that you can either donate towards something or really be a big part of so have a why again, it can be internal for the business, it can be external for clients, and it can be on a small or big level. But either way, having some sort of a Why is huge, I would also highly recommend you check out Simon Sinek book, start with why that’s a game changer.
4) It’s about how much you care, not how much you know
Now, number four, this goes back to a quote. And I’ll say the quote here, but the idea is how much you care trumps everything. And the quote, I’m basing this off of his clients don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care, super cheesy, but I found that a lot of the super cheesy quotes actually have a lot of really hidden good hidden gems in them. And that’s one of them. And I remember hearing a colleague say that because I years ago, I had a buddy who went to college. And when he graduated, I asked him what’s one of the biggest takeaways you had in your college experience? And he said that quote, exactly. I was I mean, it was really interesting. I hadn’t really thought about it. But as I thought back to my career, I think at that point, I was five years or six years into my web design agency. I really thought back to that. And then I saw how that played out and my days, especially starting out, because when you’re starting out, you don’t have much experience, you don’t have much confidence with sales, you’re learning a lot, you’re probably not terribly confident. But the biggest thing that can help you get confidence early on is how much you actually care and how much you actually give a crap about your clients. And I say that because I sold a lot of websites in the early days, and I didn’t, I was not in a great position to sell websites. But what I did have was legitimate care about each one of my clients and my projects. And I told them I was very upfront. I was like, yeah, you know, I am early on, but if it’s something that I can’t figure out, I’m gonna work really hard to figure it out or we’ll partner with somebody who can help you And I really meant that and even though some of my chops, my design chops were limited early on, we still got really good projects done. And it laid the groundwork for me to have some really good relationships with clients moving on. And it all goes back to the fact that my clients didn’t need to know, you know how much I knew exactly, they just wanted to make sure I cared about their project, because it was very clear that I wasn’t after, you know, just making a bunch of money, it was very clear, because I was, I was not charging much in the early days. But I really genuinely wanted and genuinely wanted to help my clients grow their businesses with a website, or in those cases. And those days was a lot of brochures and graphic designs and logo design. So care trumps everything, and you’ve got to have that it’ll help you build trust, longevity, and it will really give you confidence if you’re early in your journey with sales, because as long as you really care about your client, they’re going to know and you know what’s interesting, too, as a side point, even if you’re even if you don’t do like the most beautiful design, because you’re just getting started, if your client feels like you gave it your all on you really trying often they’ll they’ll give you some grace. And they’ll be like, well, this is a great start, then maybe we can add on to it. And, and as you level up and as you go through my courses and learn about conversion based design and increase your chops as a designer, and as a developer, or a business owner, all that’s going to translate in all stems back to how much you care. I would also say as a final point, before we move on here, don’t forget about caring about your clients, because it can be very easy to fall into a trap where you just become this money hungry business owner. And you’re constantly thinking about expenses, profits, all this stuff. And particularly as your family grows, I’ve had to catch myself with this as well. Because as expenses grow in life, you have to be more serious about business. And sometimes it can be easy to fall away from that idea of just caring about your clients. So I want to encourage you, even for those of you who are really far into your journey, and you’re just very maybe you’re more business savvy, and you look at things like you know, how much can I make, how much profit Can I make, don’t forget about how much of an impact you can make with your clients about how much you care about their service. So that’s a big one. Number four, it’s all about how much you care, not not exactly how much you know.
5) Value your relationships
Now, number five, this kind of leads into number five, which is another just good reminder. And that is to just value your relationships. And I’m talking about the relationships with clients, but also with colleagues. Because when you start a business, you’re going to have both particularly for web designers, you’re you’re likely a part of Facebook groups, I have the Divi web designers Facebook group, which is now 22,000, strong crazy. And I really developed an incredible network of colleagues in referral partners. And then I’m actually building out my membership right now it’s I’m excited to dish out more info on moving forward. But a lot of you have signed up for my member interest list, and I’ve been filling you in on the details. But this is a place where it’s very relationship driven. And you can have that same type of relationship value with colleagues and with your clients. So let’s let’s look at this from both perspectives. And let’s start with your clients. Because it’s very easy to look at your clients like just pure money, like they’re just paying the bills, and a lot of people can kind of dehumanize the relationship. But I really want to encourage you to focus on being as human and as personalized as you can with your clients. And the really cool thing about being a web designer, is you don’t have to worry about getting new client after new client after new client. If you focus on recurring income, and hosting and maintenance and SEO services and things that you can do for your clients over and over. It takes the stress and pressure away from having to get new clients constantly because you can really hone in on your best a clients. And I saw this personally I had when I turned over in transit studios, I think it was somewhere in the ballpark of maybe 70 some total clients, but like 40, or 50, some of those were like a B clients like really good clients. And that’s it’s kind of crazy, if you think about it over a decade of running my business, I really had about 40 to 50 like a really good clients. Now I had a lot more clients that over in that period over the years, but some of them were okay or you know, they were somebody who kind of came in, but maybe they weren’t the best fit for a long term relationship. It really didn’t take that many clients to create a consistent six figure web design business. And hopefully that’s encouraging to you because you can really just get a dozen really good clients and that should be enough for you to make a very good income and serve them very well. Moving forward. So But the trick is to actually value those relationships. So you’re going to value your clients. You need to invest time with your clients, reaching out to them, staying in touch with them being as personalized as you can, going above and beyond within the constraints of your time and your schedule, but really focusing on your current clients. Now new clients are important, but you don’t want to prioritize new clients over your current clients, it’s way cheaper to grow your business with your current clients, because they already know like and trust you. And again, I’m a big proponent of marketing and innovating. But you don’t always have to treat your new clients over your current clients. And I would say to Don’t be a cable company, meaning cable companies give the best deals to new clients, right? When when you have like a cable deal or an internet deal. It’s like new clients save, you know, 30%. But then what happens after that first year, they jack up your rates, I am of the mindset that you want to flip the coin on that you want to give deals sometimes to get new people in. But you always want to give your best deals to your current clients. And I do that with my web design students, when you join a course, you automatically get enrolled in my student loyalty discount program. So when somebody joins a course, if you didn’t know, you are, you automatically have a special discount that I send you for additional courses. And it’s because I want to value people who are already in my courses. And I want to take that relationship to the next level, you can have the same ideas and principles with your clients. And then again, like I mentioned with colleagues and partners really take time to invest in them as well, because they can be really great referral sources for you. And they can also be really good lead generators for you. I’ve partnered with photographers, videographers, SEO people, marketing people, and they’ve all been really great referral partners for me. And it was because I took the time to meet with them, do calls with them share what I know about certain subjects. And even if you just land a hand, a handful of really good colleagues, it’s amazing what it can do for for bringing new clients and a lot of value to your to your business. And once I launched my web design club, that’s when we’re really going to take things to the next level, because you’re going to be invited in my referral network. And yeah, just wait, it’s gonna be awesome. And then who value your relationships with clients and with their colleagues.
6) Sharing what you know is way easier than trying to sell
Now, number six, this is a big one for sales, particularly, because I was thinking about how I sold in the early days and how I sold in the latter days of my agency. Being that the early days again, I didn’t have any experience and it was all about basically me people were purchasing me when they joined the service. And they were basically buying how much I cared about them versus latter days here within transit, I was selling my experience. And I was already authority in the Divi community. So a lot of people kind of saw, you know, I’ve been doing this for a decade, it was a lot easier for me to sell. However, in the early days, what I realized was that one of the best ways you can actually sell is to just share what you know, I mean, it really goes back to caring, like I mentioned a couple points ago. But if you really have a mind for sharing what you know, even if it’s basic stuff, then it’s amazing how that’s going to convert clients. And honestly, I’ll tell you this, too, I tell this to all my students, one of the best things about going through my courses, or if you go through any other trainings by other web or any other entrepreneur professionals is you can take what you learn, you don’t have to plagiarize it, but you can pass that on to your client base. And it looks like you came up with that. So for example, like, if you go through my web design process course, you’re going to get my five phase 50 step process that I’ve refined over a decade. And then when you land your first client, you can say, here’s my process, and they’re like, oh, holy crap, this guy, or this gal has like this legit process, I, I feel much more comfortable with them. And it’s because you shared what you knew. But what you knew is taken from my course. And that is totally fine. I’m a big proponent of take what I give you take what I’ve experienced, make it your own and share it with your clients. And even if you’re just starting out, that will give you confidence. And it will be a big conversion tool for you, I promise. So share what you know. And you can do this in a lot of practical ways by any sort of trainings or webinars or presentations. Because I found out early on, when I started doing trainings for clients, which were just like little quick tutorial videos, or maybe I would meet with a client and walk them through something, I found out that that was a big converter for me, because even if I wasn’t an expert in that field, the client saw that well Josh actually knows quite a bit about this. And then once I joined my networking group, and I started doing presentations, and talks, that’s when things really started to explode in the beauty of that was I didn’t have to quote unquote, sell. I didn’t have to meet with somebody and be like, Listen, here’s what we can do for you. Here’s how much it is, here’s how it’s gonna help grow your business. All I did was, here’s here’s how you can do this certain thing. This is what I’ve learned. This is what we did for a certain client, look how, you know, their traffic went up on this, or here’s how we helped convert this certain thing. And that was it. I instead of selling I just shared what I knew and share what I learned and it took all the pressure off sales and it really started exploding the leads that were coming into my business. So share what you know, it’s way easier than trying to sell. You’re also going to find out that you learn a lot when you teach something. It’s amazing. When I started doing courses, I had no idea how much I knew and still until I started doing courses Same thing with the podcast like Um, like a lot of people were like, are you gonna run out of content, I’m like, dude, I have a thought at least 1000 episodes, I could do right now based on based off of what I learned in this decade, so plenty still coming your way. And the really cool thing too is when you do that you have a lot of different content that you can repurpose. You can share bite size things with your clients or with social media, it’s going to make a really good funnel for your business. So share what you know, as soon as you start learning something and again, go through my courses, take what you learn, make it your own, and you’re gonna look like a boss right from the get go.
7) Investing in your business is key
Now, number seven, this is another really big one, particularly from the business perspective. And that is to invest in your business work on the business, not just in the business. And this is the struggle with any entrepreneur is that a lot of times in the beginning, you’re focusing on your services, your landing pages, all of your processes and invoicing contracts and all that. And then when you get your business going, before you know it, you could spend eight hours a day just working in the business doing all the work. But I really want to encourage you to set time aside, put it in your schedule to work on your business. This also goes back to point number one with having time to constantly learn and value up and level yourself up. Because you need to make time for that as well. But in any case, you’re going to get to those points where you’re going to do a lot of work in the business. But I really want to encourage you to catch yourself and make sure you have time to work on the business. And you can do this a little easily or easily or easier when you start scaling or delegating work to a remote team. But as a solopreneur. You can also do this by again, raising your rates, taking on less work and actually making time to work on your business. This actually one big point of this too, is I highly encourage that you really invest in your internal systems and processes. Anything you can do that’s going to save you time is worth investing in. I know sometimes like when I got. So I use 17 hats, and for my invoicing and proposals and contracts. And I remember Previous to that I was doing everything separately, I would send in a proposal over as a PDF, and then they approved it, then I would have to go make an invoice and send that and then once they made the payment, I would send over the contract. Well, there’s a lot of platforms that do this now. But what 17 hats, I just created a workflow, those of you who have been through my business course have seen this in person, because I walk you through it. But you can basically create it to where somebody looks at the proposal, accepts, pays, and they can sign the contract all in one fell swoop. And it did take some time to organize all that. But it saved me so much time. I mean, I think probably a week later, I made my time back, because now it was oh my gosh, I can send something out and immediately it comes back. And then we’re off and running. So anytime you can automate processes and systems and focus on your business, that is key. And again, just to reiterate, make sure that you’re leaving time for you for your mindset and personal development, for ongoing training, ongoing education, that’s going to be key to marketing and innovating your business.
8) Focus on what you do best
Now, number eight. And this can be taken in a few different ways. But the idea is to focus on what you do best you can take this as far as like your services that you offer. But you can also take this personally, as far as like what type of person you are, if you are big into sales, and you’re really good at the marketing side of things, but coding just stresses you out and bogs you down, then learn a little bit about code, but then hire that out as soon as you can or get subcontractors to take that off your plate. Focus on what you do best. Now, there are I think some other people out there like myself, who who can do everything adequately. But I had to realize this too, I was doing a lot of coding. And I’m really good at CSS, I love CSS, I have a course on what I know with CSS. But I’m not a coder, that it takes me a lot longer to figure that stuff out. I just don’t enjoy PHP or some of the development side of things as much as I do marketing, and podcasting and stuff like that. So I learned pretty early on, once I started scaling my business, I was gonna get the things off of my plate that I didn’t either want to do, I’m just not well suited for. So part of that is just being self aware. You really honestly, being self aware is huge for every aspect of life. But in business, you have to be very self aware as far as what you do best. And what you enjoy. And the beauty about web design is, if you don’t like SEO, you don’t like code, you don’t have to do those things. You can either hire it out, or you can just not offer SEO in your business and partner with somebody who does. So that’s a big one. And as far as being self aware. There’s a personality tool and testing software called DISC. And I would highly recommend that you check that out as well. If you’re fairly new to business, if you’ve been in the corporate world or you’ve been in business for a while you’ve likely been through this but it’s since now it’s essentially personality testing, to where D stands for dominant I stands. interactive S stands for usually like stable. And then C stands for cautious. And people generally fall into these four areas. Some have greater traits and certain areas. For me, for example, I’m a high I and a high S, I’m very interactive. I’m an extrovert. I love talking with people, I’m also very stable, which is, which means I commit to one thing and I’m, I don’t commit to a lot of new things. I’m not a dabbler, I don’t start something new and then quit and start something and quit. That’s why a lot of people I’ve seen me, you know, hang with this endeavor for years, it’s because that’s, that’s just what I do. Now, I’m not a cautious person, I’m not a bean counter, I’m very cool risk. I’m also not a very dominant person, naturally, I’m dominant at going through an advanced DISC test, I found out that I’m actually dominant, reactionary wise, but I’m not dominant, you know, right out of the gate, I’m usually pretty chill until provoked to being dominant. Just ask my wife, when we have intense arguments or talks about stuff, we can each share different types of traits, depending on what we’re talking about. But yeah, it’s fascinating in business as well, when you, when you meet people, you’re going to find out that pretty much everybody has these type of traits. And you can sell differently to some dominant people need to be sold differently than a cautious person, because they’re going to be focused on the budget. So really, I highly recommend you check that out. And again, those kind of things can help out with clients, but also your team and the people you work with. So focusing on what you do, being self aware, that has been key.
9) Ignoring the naysayers
Now, number nine, as we get to wrapping this up here, this is to ignore the naysayers, then what I found out in business, particularly from running an agency is number one, you’ve got to stay in what you want to do, it can be really easy to look outside and look at competitors. But I really want to encourage you to stay in your lane and avoid comparison at all costs. I’ve talked about that frequently, recently here. But you want to stay with what you do. And it’s going to help you with ignoring the people who try to bring you down. And what’s interesting is a lot of people who say stuff that will bring you down, don’t do it intentionally. I’ve seen like family and friends that have said stuff to me. And they’re just sharing their thoughts. But those thoughts can often derail you. I know, there have been times where people have family and friends have expressed their own thoughts of the business and or concerns. And it makes me think like, ooh, maybe they’re right. Like, I know, people have said like, Well, you know, like, what a web design goes away eventually? Are you gonna be okay? Can you support your family? And then I’m like, Oh, crap, what what that does change and it gets you freaking out. You have to be very, very aware of that. And I will say, watch out for the family and friends who say you should, that is a red flag for something that generally means they have an idea about what you could do. And it’s usually not mean or it’s usually, you know, there’s not ill intention, but a lot of times people say, Oh, you should, you should maybe try doing these kind of websites, I’ve had people in the past say like, you see websites for like wedding, you know, brides and wedding people because it’s such a need for its people always going to get married and want a website. Or they may say like you should really do, you know, SEO or like social media services, everyone wants help with their Facebook. And there’s no harm in their people, you know, people sharing their opinions. But as soon as you hear you should, and you start internalizing that, then you’re like, oh, maybe I should do SEO, or excuse me, social media services, maybe I should learn Facebook. And then before you know it, you’re spending all your time on figuring Facebook out and your web design clients are getting left on the shelf. And then naturally, you actually shouldn’t have done social media at all, you should just hire that out. So there’s a lot of things like that, that you need to be aware of. I just want to encourage you to kind of watch out for Watch out for the you shoulds. And then for any other naysayers that may be outside of you and family and friends, you have to watch out for people who can again plant seeds of doubt. There was a guy early on in my journey. I remember when I just started, I went to a networking event and this guy, I think he was an accountant. And I told him what I did. I was like I just started a web design agency. And he was like, wow, you you’re running your own business. He’s like, that’s risky man. Naturally, of course, coming from an accountant who’s he’s a C person. He’s cautious. Thanks, thanks. It’s risky, it was risky. But I kind of planted some seeds of doubt for me. And I had to really work through that. Now, when people say stuff, it doesn’t faze me at all, because I kind of have enough muscle entrepreneurial muscle that I’ve been through so much that I can hear somebody you know, express their concerns, or maybe point out some risk. But I’m smart enough to realize what I’m doing is is good. And there’s value in it. And there’s a lot of potential in it, or whether something’s like and maybe I should look at this in a little more detail. So in any case, just you got to ignore a lot of people and you can listen, you can share, you can take all the advice or you can take all the opinions you get, but you don’t have to internalize those, you can just send them right along their way. And I really want to encourage you to do that because most people are going to be like you suck, you’re never going to be able to own your own. In business, that’s generally not the type of naysayers I’m talking about. It usually comes from a family or friend who’s like, Oh, are you gonna be able to pay your mortgage by doing your own business? And then it’s like, Oh, am I and then before you know it, you’re worried about failure, and you’re not focusing on your business. So ignore those naysayers.
10) Enjoy the mundane
And finally, number 10, the most important but least sexy of them all. And that is to enjoy the mundane, because as a business owner, life is actually pretty boring. I mean, when you think about sales, and own your own business, there’s a lot of really cool things. But the fact is, it’s usually just a lot of monotonous repeating things over and over and over, particularly when it’s stuff like creating a system, creating a process. There’s a lot of stuff that’s quite frankly, boring. And you have to be okay with that. And you have to get through that. Now, I’m a big proponent of if you’re doing something repeated, either make it a template, or hire it out, delegate as soon as you can. But the fact is, a lot of people get so excited about starting something new, and doing something that, you know, was really exciting in the early days. And then what happens three months later, they’re not doing it anymore. And usually, it’s because they just get bogged down with the day to day tasks and the stuff that you have to do in business. So you have to be very aware of that. And what I’ve learned to kind of finalize this idea is that staying power is way more important than starting power. Because everybody has starting power. It’s the same in business, just like it is in relationships, you start a new relationship, you’re all gung ho, everything’s perfect. And then what three months, six months down the road, you really start to get to know each other, then it gets a lot harder. And that’s where staying power is really, really key. And in business. You see this all the time with people who dabble. There are people who, often we’ll start a new business, and then three months later, they’re gone. Or maybe they start another business six months later, they’re gone from that. And the beauty about web design is we’re not in an industry that gets too stagnant or too boring, because stuff changes all the time. And you can do different things in your business, like I do video, podcasting, web design, courses, training, coaching, all these things in and around web design and digital business. And the same can be true for you. You can do all sorts of things that keep it fresh, but either way, you’re still gonna have to focus on being consistent, and persistent. And really, it’s all about that staying power over starting power, because that’s what throws most people off. And I think personally, that’s why a lot of people fail, they get so excited in the beginning, then as soon as you go through some hardship, you end up jumping ship and you missed it, you miss the opportunity. Now you can always start again, can always learn from that but really goes back to staying power over starting power and enjoying the mundane.
So there you go, guys, those are my top 10 most important lessons learned being that in transit studios is his turn tab. Let me just do a quick recap for you. Number one, mindset and personal development, that’s the most important foundation. Number two, you’ve got to market and innovate your business constantly and consistently. You need to have a why number three, you’ve got to have a Why is the foundation of your business. Number four, it’s all about how much you care over how much you know. Number five, you really need to value relationships with both clients and your colleagues. Number six, sharing what you know is way easier than selling, you’re gonna learn a lot from it. So share what you know, immediately. Number seven is you need to invest in your business, the time to work on your business and your systems. Number eight focus on what you do best be self aware, and just do what you enjoy. Number nine is to ignore the naysayers even though they mean well a lot of times they can bring it down, be careful with that. And then finally, enjoy the mundane business is not always super fun like it is starting out you get to a point where you just got to take the day by day and get used to getting through that and then enjoying it as much as you can. And those 10 together guys, I hope really helps you with your web design agencies. Well there you go. Those are my top 10 things with my agency turning 10 hope you guys have enjoyed this if you have any other points that you would recommend or you’d like to share, love to hear those in the comments for this episode. Just go to Josh Hall co/066 and just go down to the comments leave a comment I will respond to you and I read all those love to hear back from you. Hope you enjoyed this one and I’ll see you guys on the next one.