Whitelabeling web design services (i.e. doing the design and development while partnering with someone who does the sales) is more popular than ever. It’s a great way to go if you’re in an area where your “ideal client” isn’t there and especially if you don’t want to take on the sales/marketing role in your business. Finding great whitelabel partners however, is the challenge.
In this episode, we chat with my web design agency’s top whitelabel partner Kirby Hasseman, CEO of Hasseman Marketing, and hear from HIS perspective as to what he looks for in a web design whitelabel partner.
You’ll learn so many valuable trade secrets on how to become a great whitelabel partner for marketing agencies, product agencies, SEO agencies and others who are looking for trusted web designers to partner with.
In this episode:
04:06 – Greeting Kirby
08:08 – Trusted partnership
12:58 – Communication is key
17:48 – Be a marketing student
21:30 – Sense of intent
23:40 – Transitioning into it
28:27 – Feeling the change
30:35 – Determining pricing
34:18 – Creating 20 year client
36:24 – Secondary services
39:53 – Offering extras slowly
45:23 – Upsell opportunities
48:09 – Pick one lane first
50:09 – Don’t want to? Don’t!
52:10 – Kirby’s final thoughts
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
Connect with Kirby:
- Hasseman Marketing Website
- Kirby’s Book – The Give First Economy: How To Succeed In It
- Kirby’s LinkedIn Page
- Kirby’s Facebook Page
Featured links mentioned:
Full Episode Transcription #073
Hello, friends, welcome to Episode 73. In this one, we’re going to be talking about white labeling your web design services and more specifically how to do it successfully. Additionally, we’re also going to be talking about how to add in secondary services and white labeling into your web design business. And there’s a lot of pros and benefits to doing. So if you’re not familiar with the term white labeling, it essentially means that you as the web designer are just doing the design and development, but you’re working with a company or a trusted partner, who is actually doing the sales, the marketing and is often working with the client. So you may or may not be working directly with clients, if you’re a white label designer. For this talk, I wanted to bring somebody in very special, and somebody who has a different perspective on this topic. This is Kirby Hassman, he is the CEO of Hassman Marketing. And this is actually me and my agency’s top white label partner. So Kirby hires my agency InTransit Studios to do a lot of web design fulfillment with designing the websites and doing the development. But it’s actually their clients. And actually, this came about, you’ll hear my CEO, Eric, you’ll hear him come up in this talk a lot. This was his white label partner and then when Eric and I merged together, and I sold the business, Kirby ended up getting a whole new set of services with our combined teams. And now we’re able to fulfill a lot more services faster for Kirby on a whole new level. So the cool thing about this talk is I wanted to bring somebody in who is not the web designer, but is the partner. So you’re actually going to hear from his perspective on what he looks for in a white label web design partner. And now he had some, some trials and failures, finding the right fit before finding Eric, which we’ll hear about. And I think that’s going to be really beneficial to those of you who want to do white label web design, because you’re going to know what it takes from the other side and what they’re expecting and what’s going to help you get white label web design jobs. Because there’s a lot of pros to web design, or doing white label and web design, it’s a great way to work remotely with people that aren’t in your area. So if you’re in a location in the world where your ideal clients are not near you, white labeling is the absolute best way to go. It’s also a great way if you’re not into sales, and you just don’t want to be in the marketing, you don’t want to have the marketing hat on you don’t want to have the sales hat on, you just want to do design and development. White labeling is the way to go. So you’re gonna learn what it takes to do it successfully here and then how you can you know learn from the other side what they’re looking for for hiring white label designers so super pumped for you. Kirby is also the author of a book called The Give First Economy. It’s actually on my reading list. I haven’t read it yet but it’s on my list and I’m excited to dive into it and we talk about that and hear how impactful it is to give first so really excited for you to hear from Kirby what people are looking for and white label web design partners. Before we dive in though, this episode is presented by my Divi WordPress beginners course if you’re just getting into web design, and you’re thinking about getting into white label, the best industry I personally find for white labeling is Divi because there are so many people who are doing the sales and marketing and are looking for trusted Divi WordPress web designers. So if you’re interested in learning more about Divi and WordPress and taking your game to the next level, I’ll have the link to the course in the show notes for this episode, make sure you go there and you can join my Divi WordPress beginners course. And I’ll fast track your journey with learning it so you can start building awesome websites with WordPress and Divi. Alright guys, well enjoy my really great talk here with Kirby again on what white label partners are looking for. So you can learn how to be a successful white label WordPress/Divi web designer. And without further ado, let’s get to it.
Kirby great to have you on the podcast man.
I am so excited to be here. I’m a fan. I’ve really been digging into your stuff. And it’s an honor brother. Thanks a lot.
Well, it’s great to have you on I’d love to start off because we’re gonna have an interesting conversation here. Before we went live, you said, you know you’re not a web designer yourself. But you are a marketing guy. And I told you, I’d love to take this conversation and kind of two different areas. One is why having secondary work like print design or graphic design can really benefit web designers. But then also I’m really curious to hear from you since you’re somebody who hires white label web designers, what you look for as a marketing guy, which I think is gonna be super valuable. So before we dive into it, man, I’d love to I love to start out with just hearing where you are, and then what you do. Exactly.
Absolutely. So you know I’ve a essentially what I like to call sort of a full service marketing agency. We’re located in Coshocton, Ohio. And so it’s a small town. And your trivia for the day, Josh is that Coshocton, Ohio, it’s a town of about 11,000 people. It’s actually the birthplace of promotional products. So the actual first promotional product was printed in Coshocton, Ohio sort of the take off to that industry. So what is now a $25 billion industry of shirts and calendars and coffee mugs and all that sort of thing that was actually started right here in this small town. But like I said, full service marketing agency, I actually started on the promo side, so I was a salesperson for, you know, a big company that did that sort of thing. But my background in college, and then just as I got out of college was in video. And so clients would come to me and say, Hey, can you do video for me? And you know, after saying no enough, you finally go, okay, there’s, there’s a demand here. And so convinced one of my friends who was an entrepreneur in town, to pay me in advance, for a big video job he wanted, and that allowed me to buy my equipment. So then we went from promo to video, both, then we kind of just continued to add services. So next thing, you know, we’re doing social media. We’re doing video production in house, we’re doing graphic design. And we invested in production print as well. And honestly, and I think you’ll appreciate this Josh, our, our final frontier was web design, like, because I am not a web designer. And like, I’m not a graphic designer either. So I always say that there’s a difference between graphic designers and computer guys who know, Photoshop. Like that’s not they’re not the same.
Yeah, good call.
Yeah, right. A designer, they just look at things differently. Um, but I’m not a web designer. And so, you know, I could do some of the basic templates stuff, because I’m fairly astute when it comes to computer but I was not a web designer, and I struggled in, you know, to find someone who kind of would be consistent with our brand, you talked about white labeling, labeling. And so for me, that was the final frontier of making it an actual full full service agency. And so at this point, I feel comfortable saying that we are, but it’s, it’s been a neat journey.
Yeah, that’s awesome. And it is kind of a wild world with the design world and promotional product world, it’s, I spent some time in there, because I did print design and graphic design. I don’t know how much you know about my story, Kirby, but I did graphic design and print before I ever did web. So I was very familiar with that. And then it naturally transitioned into web and I did it alongside it really did open a lot of doors for web design. But I got to the point where probably like you with web design, you figured out, you know, that’s maybe not something you’re best suited for, you have the time to learn. So you want to hire it out. It’s kind of how I approached my business with print design and stuff. So it’s pretty cool, though. I love the freedom of the design world, in general, even outside of web design, in any sort of marketing, you can kind of pick and choose what you want to do. Right, you can decide what you what you’re interested in what you feel like is most profitable for you and run with it.
It makes sense to partner with somebody that you trust. – Kirby
Yeah, well, and I think, you know, one of the things that I always am careful about is, and concerned about is like, you know, when you are a jack of all trades and Master of None, right? Like, you know, that you can get into trouble. And so we try to have people in the building who specifically focus on that. So that’s what I mean by when we got a designer, he, he’s our designer guy, right? And then you’ve got a video person, and that’s the person who works on that. So we’re as a company, we’re able to offer all these things, but to your point, like, we have a go to person in each one of those areas who actually can speak the language and do the work. And to me, that’s sort of the way it does it. If not, you know, it makes sense to partner with somebody that you trust.
Yeah. And that that’s the beauty about as web designers, the position we’re in is because we can make these relationships with folks like yourself to be a really good resource for ongoing work. And it can really be a such a beneficial Win Win type of situation. And I’m interested to hear, I guess, like almost like to start out with a white labeling stuff because my now CEO, Eric, we were joking before we went live. I’ve heard your name a lot this year. He’s like, he’s like, yeah, it’s all good. It’s all good things. He’s like, yeah, Kirby’s got us on a project or I’m doing some projects for Kirby Kirby Kirby Kirby. Yeah, he was like, you should really talk to Kirby. So I’m ecstatic to finally talk with you. But the reason I say that is Eric, before taking over my business, he did mostly white labeling with you he had a lot of local clients as well, but the bulk of his work was a recurring income with you with doing the ongoing white labeling work. And it’s a great position for us to be in quite frankly, on our end, because, you know, folks, like yourself are doing the sales, you’re getting the clients and then we’re doing the work. We’re doing the fulfillment. I’d actually love to hear really quick, how did you meet Eric? How did he and this is hopefully just a good reference point for anyone wanting to do Divi or any type of white labeling web design. How did you meet Eric and and how did he come through for you And how did you decide to land on him as your kind of trusted designer?
Yeah. So kind of an interesting story with Eric is Eric was my pastor, you know, his background is in being pastor and relocating churches and stuff like that. And so when he came to coshocton, we met via the church. And, but one of the things you notice immediately about Eric, even when he was in that capacity is very entrepreneurial guy. So all of a sudden, we are having coffee in the morning having breakfast, and we’re picking each other’s brain about, you know, even then it’s like, how do we communicate best with the church? Or how do we do this? Or how do we do that. And so we developed just sort of a great relationship, just foundationally right, right there. And when he ended up moving to Virginia, just because we had that relationship, we kind of kept that going. And Eric was trying to, you know, he, he actually sold some promotional stuff for us down in his area, here and there, but he kind of landed on, you know, what, the web design, which he had done throughout, he’s like, this is where I’m really well suited. And, in the interest of transparency, I’ve always known that web design was something I should offer. Because we you know, because we do video, I mean, if you think about it, all the stuff that we do graphic design video, you know, sort of consulting, and then you add the branded merchandise into it, people naturally came to us and said, okay, cool, but can you do us a website?
And I mean, so for a while, I was like, No, not really. And then I partnered with someone nice guy. But you know how this goes where you quickly realize that it’s that you just don’t operate a business in the same way. And one of the things that I ran into with it is that my businesses, I always say, I’m in the business of making promises for other people. And so it’s really important that I make promises for people who keep their promises. Yeah. And so my relationship with this particular person, he just used an over promise under deliver kind of person. And that is a, if you want me to be your sales team, which you just talked about, right? I don’t like that at all right? Like, so we had project after project where he’d say, oh, take two weeks to put this together. And two months later, I’m getting emails from a client saying, Where is it? Yeah, it’s it left it to the point where I’m like, okay, I don’t want to do that anymore at all. And so honestly, four years after I kind of severed that relationship. People say, do you do websites? And the answer was a resounding no. Because I just couldn’t find somebody who I felt was completely in tune with sort of what I wanted to do from a communications perspective. And so then when Eric started doing it, I’m like, Okay, well, you know, can you help me with my website? Let’s start there. So I can see I can test how this goes. And the relationship just kind of grew. Because the thing about Eric is, he is incredibly good at communication. It’s the thing I brag on him and you guys all the time, is like, when you email you guys, we get a response. Yeah, that that sounds so oversimplified, but it’s not done.
No, particularly not even just a web designers in the creative field in general, because creative struggle, creatives struggle with communication. I don’t know what it is. That’s, that’s honestly, I think what separated myself and it’s definitely what separated Eric, as you found out, it’s also what one of the big reasons I was attracted to Eric with bringing somebody into my business is I wanted somebody who Above all, was committed, communicate, like you can work out the technical and design stuff, and, and all that stuff, that stuff that can be learned communication is much harder to be learned.
No, I literally could not agree more. And honestly, it’s one of the reasons why Eric, and you know, we started working together, it’s like, we got design, what you tell us what you need, we’ll give you all the beautiful stuff you want on but it needs to be formatted a certain way and, and cut and he The other thing he was great with was just educating us on being able to speak the language a little better, you know, with our clients to say, Well, here’s why you should use a WordPress site. And here’s why you should do this. And here’s why you should do this so that we were not experts, but we can speak the language enough to bridge the gap from someone who knows nothing to the expert. And so, but that communication piece, it’s just it cannot be overstated.
It is it’s I mean, I it’s tough to say it’s, I was gonna say it’s definitely more important than design and technical aspects. Like I said, those are really important. However, you can be the best designer in the world. But if you can’t communicate, and more importantly, if you can’t get stuff done on time, that’s a big, big problem.
Well, it’s it’s one of the things that we talk about with video in our business. I always tell people, it’s like if I tell you a month, it’s gonna take a month to do this video, which you know, that’s fine. That’s a reasonable amount of time. If I come to you in two weeks and say hey, Hey, I’ve got the video complete. Now, I might even tell them it’s a rough draft. But you know, we’re pretty close, right? If I give you something, tell you a month and I give it to you in two weeks, the person’s like, Oh my God, this looks amazing. And oh, like, I can’t believe you got it done in that amount of time. This looks great. You know, there’s a little spelling error on the debit ended up. But that’s not a big deal. Just fix that. And we’re good. If you do that exact same sequence, and it’s a month, and I bring it to you in six weeks. The immediate answer is, this better be good.
Just because it’s two weeks, it’s two weeks late. And so now they’re like, it’s two weeks late. And there’s a misspelling, same damn video. But all of a sudden, the consumer experience is totally different. What a great Yeah, well, that’s such a great lesson. And it just goes back to under promise over deliver. It’s Amazon one on one. This is why when you order something from Amazon, it’s like, your package will be there in three to five business days, then it shows up the next day, you’re like, holy crap, this is awesome. It’s the same, you know, like whatever jank prod, you know, product you got, but it is just the customer experiences is huge. So while we’ve already hit on a couple great things right there, I just want to, I don’t want to overlook those one was communication. Communicating is more important than anything, particularly as a white label designer, you had talked about an interesting point there that Eric kind of empowered you to talk the language. I actually spoke with a colleague of mine Gino on episode 15. And we talked about white labeling. And he said the exact same thing because his agency does more white labeling than anything. And he said, we really empower the people we work with to talk to their clients. So that’s another big thing right there for everybody listening, try to empower and train, you know, folks like yourself, Kirby, who, who may not you know, you don’t, you could talk a little with lingo, but you’re not going to be able to talk CSS and stuff like that, probably. So if you don’t want to, and you don’t want to Yeah, your time is better suited for growing your business and doing what you do. So that’s huge. And and under promise over deliver great, he points to kick us off, man.
Well, and I’ll tell you one of the other things that I’ve seen from you guys, Eric in particular is Eric is a student of whatever organization we’re doing, like I, what I mean by that is he truly digs into what is it you like the end users trying to accomplish? And then like, it’s not just yeah, we’re throwing up images. And we’re doing what sort of what the the end user wants us to do. Like Eric’s willing to push back and say, but you said you wanted to do this, I get it, your committee of 17 people that you’ve decided to show this all to that none of them have ever designed, you know, the way their cars lined out, let alone a website. But you said you wanted this, and these are the ways we’re going to get there. I think that, you know, people hire us to be experts in marketing. And being a student of marketing, in addition to web design really adds value to my clients.
You’re not just in it to design something nice and make a quick buck. You actually want to help everybody who’s involved. – Josh
Yeah, that that is so true. And it’s huge. Because I one thing that I when I look back at my early days, my first few years, I was always more concerned about just the design looking cool, or looking nice, or doing whatever the client wanted to your point, like, sure you want this here, whatever, I’ll do whatever, just because I was, I didn’t know any better. I just wanted, I just thought it was cool to get paid building a website. And then I realized, you know what, the most important question to ask right from the get go is what do you want people to do on the website, and then that’s going to help you decide what type of journey to take them on, it’s gonna make all of your decisions for the website and your clients decisions, so much better. And it’s going to help with that pushback, whether it’s you’re working with one person, or God forbid, 17 on a board, that is not something I would advise doing, try to always limit it to no more than two people because you get too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s rough. But that idea of making sure the goals in mind, and then you can use that as your foundation to build off that is huge. And I know it’s probably a little bit different with print and design. And but video, I’m sure you could utilize that too. But particularly for websites, where you’re actually crafting a journey. That is that is key. And that’s really cool to hear that. I mean, I’m sure Eric’s gonna listen to this, and we’re probably gonna try to make him blush. But yeah, it’s one reason I wanted to bring some money into my business, who would take care of my clients with that same idea. And it’s a perfect thought for anyone who wants to white label and to be, you know, be a Divi web designer, white labeler. designer, you have to make sure that people you work with know you have the interests of them and their clients in mind. You’re not just in it to design something nice and make a quick buck. You actually want to help everybody who’s involved.
Yeah, I remember the first time it really occurred to me, and this was, again, years ago, before I was working with you guys. I had met with a client and they’re like, yeah, I want a website. And so I’m like, Okay, and so, I kind of here’s what our website looks like, they’re like, not like that. And so I’m literally sitting in his office and he goes, he goes, I like something like this. And he he’s like, the first thing he says is I don’t remember what the web address is. I’m like, okay, so he goes back, finds it opens it up. He’s like, this is beautiful. And it really was like, it was glorious. It was like a piece of artwork. And then he’s like, like he’s trying to find where that it was trying to navigate them to. And he’s like, I’m not really even sure what they do. But I’m like, Okay. And it’s like, kind of pushed back. I’m like, so you don’t know what the URL you don’t know what their web address was. You don’t know what they do, and you can’t navigate their website. It’s pretty, but your website sucks. Like, it’s like, because what’s the goal? Right? And so yeah, at the end of the day, trying to figure out what the business actually needs a superpower.
Yeah, so so that makes sense that when you were looking for a designer, because that’s a, you found out the hard way, when you hire workout, it reflects you. And, and I experienced that too, even when I had that in mind when I work for other companies. But then I obviously really had to have that in mind, when I started scaling. When I brought on designers, I had to make sure they knew you don’t just do the work for the client, you reflect me like I’m likely the person they’re going to talk to. So that’s huge. And designers need to be receptive of that. So when you were looking there, it was communication. It was a lot of the, you know, aspects of like you’re talking about with, you know, the mission, the goals of the site, and the working with the clients. Was there anything else that stuck out to you to make you feel comfortable bringing him in? And did you? Did you do like a phase approach? Or did you feel comfortable pretty early on? And just let him go for what did that look like when you started hiring him out?
Yeah, for me, I think once you get a sense of intent, like they they have a like the person you’re working with understands what you need your expectations, and they meet them. Once I feel like and I say sense of intent, like they’re a good human, and they want to do good work. Once I’m there, I’m willing to dive into a degree obviously, like I said, I had Eric work on a couple of sort of personal projects with our business and things like that. Again, so I could just see the actual work. And then it was a matter of, you know, I’ve been saying no to web design for five years. And so it’s almost like, Okay, I have to sort of a retrain my customers, and then be sort of retrain my own muscles to bring it up, right, because we do so many different services.
Yeah. You’re so used to saying no, you’re probably like, No, actually wait, yep, crap. Yes. Hold up everyone. We do? We do know.
Exactly. And hey, we’re great at it. Because it’s like, otherwise, you know, it’s like, there’s a, there are 500,000 web designers, and we’re one of them. Right? Like, that’s not the best way to go to market. So what for us in being in a small community? And because and this is why working with an agency like mine makes sense, is they already have the relationships, right? So it was all of a sudden to just go out, we started creating content, about what what good websites look like, some mistakes to avoid. So we started that conversation via content. Okay. Eric helped us with that. And then it was just a matter of, you know, taking the phone calls and, and kind of both reactive and proactive, saying, Yeah, we can do this. And then the other thing we did is we really worked through the process of what that looks like. Because like Eric, and I have a great individual relationship, but I have other salespeople. And so we had to create a process in which I didn’t have some random salesperson in a different part of the state making promises that we wait, wait, that that isn’t what we should do. So it was really important to us to create a process to say, Okay, once you have somebody interested, what’s the next step?
And so our process is that we get Eric involved really early, because, and we went ahead and get, you know, he has his own email through us. So every communication looks like it’s coming directly from us and that sort of thing. And so my thought was, look, if I have somebody and I’m going to try and meet with them, then Eric’s going to need to arm me with all the questions, right? Or, if we have that kind of relationship, I can just introduce those two. Once I kind of bird dog the opportunity, I’d put it in Eric’s hands. And then he keeps me in the loop the whole time. And so we sort of that was one of the next big things is how do we create a process that is seamless, not only for us, but for you guys, and for the client. And so and the other thing that Eric does, and literally, I got an email this morning, and I think this is super smart. And I’m sure you guys do this all the time but once the just a very basic rough outline of a website is put together. Eric does a loom video. Yeah, and explains the process and why the decisions have been made. And like these are foundational colors, this sort of thing. And it is funny how quickly you get clients involved where they’re like, again, back to that expectation. I didn’t expect anything As soon This looks amazing, Hey, can we change everything? But it’s like their initial reaction is, this is amazing. I want to change everything or Yeah, keep going. But that initial, here’s where we’re at. And this is the progress. super powerful.
Well, I love hearing that man. It’s so cool to hear from your perspective as somebody outside of our business because, yeah, I teach. I taught Eric how to do that through my courses. And that’s, that’s just what worked for me. I just discovered like, you know what, because I would always when I met with clients, and I walk them through my initial design, it always went over better than if I just sent somebody link to check out the new design, I would always get 10 times the amount of feedback and revisions that way. So by just doing the quick Loom videos, yeah, I taught Eric how to do that through the the courses. And then he implemented and he told me it worked out great. So for you like to hear from you on from your perspective, to hear like how, you know, basically everything that I taught Eric to do over the past couple years to hear how it kind of worked out for you, is a really, really cool man. So it’s very gratifying for me to hear that. It’s also what I think one thing that’s really cool about the relationship that you have with Eric is you can offer the the email like that to where it’s kind of a white labeled, you know, kind of branded email, which is a great way to go. Like there’s there’s nothing wrong with that at all, because obviously as InTransit, but you know, having your emails huge, because it can leak in with the clients. And it can really be a great symbiotic type of relationship. And it just, it seems like it’s a win win for everybody around and it’s good, stable work for us web designers. And for you, it’s got to be pretty freakin cool to know that you have a trusted web designer who’s gonna do good work and follow through and make you look awesome. Right?
Um, as well, again, the idea is I can say we have someone. And it’s always interesting to me. And it’s not again, this isn’t a bad way to do it. But it was it’s always a chat, like, Oh, we have this guy, and he works for this whole different company. Or we have this guy, his emails the same as mine. It’s just his name, not mine. And so like, it really does feel like a pretty, you know, easy transition for our customers. And especially in a you know, when we are bringing established relationships to the table. Well, now I’m not making a recommendation or referral to another company. They’re working with us. Yeah, we bill it, we take care of all that stuff. And so that If, on the other side, it’s like, if there’s a problem, the buck stops here.
I’m in the business of making promises for other people, I make Promises, promises for people to keep their promises. And so having them part of our team, just makes me feel better. And I think it makes it interesting for the customer journey.
Now, how did when you I’m assuming you heard pretty early on about Erich coming into the company and us taking or him taking the in transit name. And we really merged our teams together, we’ve really assembled like a dream team. Did that pump you up to know that now you’ve got you know what I’ve learned in my decade of experience filtering down to everybody, but you’ve also got Jonathan and Christian are designers, or SEO assessor specialists. Michelle, you’ve got Kam our VA. Like we’ve got all these people together. Now. What did that look like? From your end? As somebody on the outside? Was it a little like, were you a little worried about what was going on? Or were you pumped or just had a pure curiosity? Because I’m sure that’s important for people who, you know, are gonna do different things with their business. If you have white label partners, you got to keep them informed and got to keep them updated.
Yeah, no, it’s so you know, anytime there’s a change, I think everybody is inherently. Okay, what’s this gonna look like for me? And so, you know, there’s always going to be some level of apprehension to say, okay, the communication has been great. Is it going to continue to be great NPS? It has been, um, but yeah, I think one of the things about Eric, and you know, this, he was very excited. And so he was telling me about enhanced capabilities, and some of the things we can do. And so, for somebody like me, yeah, I own a marketing company. But I’m a serial entrepreneur at nat, you know, by nature. So we’ve had a brewery and a real estate company in a candy store, and this and that, you know, so I’ve had a lot of different companies. So when I hear that all of a sudden, my partner in web design can do enhanced more stuff, and there’s e commerce and there’s this, I’m just like, what can I do tomorrow? So yeah, I think the answer is, yeah, I was mostly pumped about the idea because it you know, it starts you start looking at your own business and go A How can I implement it and B How can I rethink, you know, things that I’ve always thought were just a bit out of my reach? How can I change my mind about that, whether it’s an offering for us, or for, you know, a couple of our clients, we’ve gone Oh, how could we do that via e commerce? And, you know, just by kind of opening up those possibilities, so yeah, pumped is the right answer.
That’s good. I’m curious. So we don’t have to talk exact numbers, but one of the big questions I have from students who want to do white labeling or they get into, you know, doing some sort of white level agreement is they’re always curious. How should I build it? Should I do it by hour? So do it by fixed by project? Should it be percentage based? I know it’s probably it’s probably tough because every project is a little different. But what what’s worked best from you on the marketing side? Like do you? Do you just kind of account for a certain percentage of a project to be, you know, distributed to Eric and our team to do the fulfillment of the design? Do you prefer like a fixed hourly type of approach? What what? What does that look like? what works best for you? I’m curious for everyone, I’m sure everyone’s curious about how can I actually go about this?
No, it’s a great question. So for us, I like it per project. And again, I’m sure each agency might be a little bit differently. I like, again, what I don’t like in our business, I think one of the pet peeves of many people who do branded merchandise, right? Is that is that there’s a lot of surprise fees, right? Like, you’ve probably run into this if you’ve purchased it before. So you say, Oh, we’ve got a special 300 coffee mugs are $1 apiece, and then you say so $300? Well, no, there’s a setup fee. And there’s an art fee, there’s a shipping fee. And so all of a sudden, your $301 mugs or 500 bucks, and you’re like, they’re not $1, then, and so that is sort of a pet peeve of mine of business. And so I like the idea of getting sort of a, hey, this is the price and unless we go way outside of the parameters of the project, I’m, this is what the price is going to be. That’s what I like. And so really, generally speaking part of our processes, we say, okay, we, we get it, and they say, Well, how much is a website going to be? Okay, so give me some of the parameters, and then I’m going to connect you with Eric. And then Eric comes up with, here’s the quote, and then he and I have a here’s how much I want to make, you know, kind of a margin on it. And so so in other words, sort of he determines the price with the understanding, and he doesn’t, you know, he kind of says, He gives them the price that includes our markup. That makes sense. Yeah, he knows what that is, and just says, okay, with a, you know, 20% markup that comes to this, and this is what that price is going to be. And then we know. And what I like about that is then he says, He knows from day one, what they’re trying to accomplish, who they’re trying to reach, what’s the, you know, what are their goals? And so that we’re designing a website that actually works for their business. And he knows the questions to ask. So for me, that’s what we like to do.
That’s great. So he comes in almost more like a not certainly not salesperson, I would say but more as like the proposal, like the proposal stage to where he is the expert, right? Yeah, he knows, ideally, how much time is going to be involved. And then just the markup for you. Because you are doing a lot of I’m sure the the client facing stuff. I’m sure there’s some project management inevitably, that a web designer is going to do but primarily, that’s very fair, that you know, figure out how much you would want to make on a project. But then, you know, if you’re handling the client stuff, and offboarding a lot of these other things that we don’t have to do now as designers if we’re white labeling that needs to be factored in. And I think that makes total sense. And it it’s a great way to go. Because I imagine if you just had a package pricing. Yeah, never falls in that it never never falls it Yeah, I always have and what I tell my students, and I show this because I have a potential client page that I show in my business course where I talk about the different price ranges, but it’s always starting at, it’s never This is our This is our preserve package. It’s always starting out with a web design. Because there’s not one web project that is exactly the same, they’re always a little different. So you got to account for that.
Well, and like for us and again, because we’ve got a great relationship with you guys. Like he’ll he’ll call me like, hey, they want some drone footage to go on their, their homepage, can you go down to this one, like we’re working on a construction companies project, like so we went, you know, once every three weeks and took drone footage of the project being and then we just sent that to him and
I’m all about creating 20 year customers, right. And so there are times where I’m willing to take a little bit of a bath on a little tiny project in order to make their website look good. – Kirby
and, and we looked at that as like, Okay, this is our client. We’re making a little bit on the website, we probably lost a little bit over here on this, but now they’re going to call us back. Like I’m all about creating 20 year customers, right. And so there are times where I’m willing to take a little bit of a bath on a little tiny project in order to make their website look good. So then we, you know, continue that long term relationship.
Yeah, I know. From the web design perspective, I’m always all about reducing the initial build of a project if we get them on our hosting and maintenance because I know that’s going to account for a lot more in the next decade or so then a one and done type of project. Speaking of hosting and maintenance, do you guys offer that as a service or an Eric fulfills it or what is that how is that looked for you guys because I know maintenance and hosting is it’s a little it’s a tricky it’s a tricky ballgame when you’re talking about anything recurring. You talked about those fixed hidden costs, or those little surprises. I imagine you guys are letting your clients know about that from the web design perspective, too.
And again, that’s where having Eric a part of that conversation from literally day one is so valuable. Yeah, we, and we build those. So we build those from our clients. Now, what’s helpful for us is we we do social media management for clients, too. So it isn’t that far out of the realm for us to be doing a monthly billing cycle. And then we just, you know, again, same thing, we have worked with you guys and said, Look, this is how much you’re gonna charge us. This is how much we’re gonna, and we don’t make very much at all, but it’s just a little bit of a nominal fee to manage that sort of monthly fee. And then, but yeah, it’s not a hidden cost. If we tell you up front,
Nice. For you guys. Yeah, may not be terribly profitable every month, but it’s a great way to stay front of mind. Well, that’s it with your clients. And I’m sure that leads to other type of type of services. So yeah, so that’s great that that we covered a lot of great things from the white labeling aspect and was really interesting hearing your side Kirby as the the marketing kind of person, because I just usually talked to web designers. So it’s cool to hear what has not worked for you with the previous designer, and more importantly, what has worked for you, with Eric and my team now. Now, I would love I think it’s a great segue to what we talked about with some of those secondary services. So like I said, I, I found those to be super, super valuable. For many years, I did end up cutting off my printed graphic design simply because I was so busy with and actually the true reason is because I was really doing much more with design, maintenance and SEO. And I’d also just started this endeavor, a Josh Hall Co. So I realized something had to give, and I found myself working on a business card for a couple hundred bucks while I had this $4,000 project sitting on the side. So I realized, okay, I’m past the point where I need to have the graphic design to open up these doors, I’ve got, you know, plenty of opportunities, and I’ve got like a pipeline of projects. So. But the idea of secondary work, I think is is really beneficial. And you just talked about it. Social media is a great thing that feeds into maintenance and, and even like video, print design, graphic design, things that are seemingly unrelated. Inevitably clients are going to be like, Oh, my business card is great. I did I see that you guys had websites too like, it really opens doors like that I’ve got some of my best projects from doing a business card or doing a brochure. So I guess, to like the best question to start with this for you. You’re very entrepreneurial and everything. But when you started this business, did you have the idea of having a lot of different services that really work in like this synergistic kind of way? Or did you think about if Did you take you you’re just gonna focus on one and run with it? What did that look like?
Now, I would love that. I would love to tell you I had this grand vision, right, like, but the reality of it is I was I left a salaried position, with benefits, daycare, the whole nine yards, because I wanted, I was entrepreneurial, but I don’t know that I knew the name for it, right? I hated that I was working 80 hours a week, but being paid for 40. And my wife was in sales at the time. And I noticed that every single time we needed more money around the holidays are where it was, she just worked harder, and then ultimately made more money. And to me, I’m like, that’s what I want. And so I left the benefits and went into a straight commission sales job, literally straight commission. You don’t sell anything, you don’t make anything. And I that was in promotional products that was in branded merchandise. And so and that went well, like, again, first 12 months of any endeavor, like that’s tough, but, you know, you start rolling into it, you’re like, Man, this is great. But what I find is, and what I found is that once you are in sort of that space, you’re in the web space, you’re in the product space, you are in the marketing space, people look at you and go, Well, you do this so it you know, they are dealing with all that stuff. Yeah, I wouldn’t you be dealing with all thanks.
And they think you just know everything. So funny. I remember sometimes where I would do a business card or printed design. And they’d be like, and then they found I did website and they would be like, Oh, well, great. Well, we’ve got some videos, we want to get edited. And we also want to do Google ads. And we’ll do all this other stuff. And I was like, I don’t know how to do most any of that I print design and web design. But yeah, it is that from the client perspective, it does seem like it’s all interconnected,
Which is why it makes sense. Right? Like So which is it. So if you have that ability, then you know, as every time we introduced a new service, and we did this over time, right? Like I’ve we’ve been doing this business since 2004. Okay,
So that’s how old it is.
Yeah, okay. So so it isn’t like we were just like, hey, six months later, we’re adding this we were thoughtful and methodical about Adding each one of these, but one of the things that, you know, once I started doing video because that was sort of the next Pantheon. And by the way, I was sort of a sole entrepreneur at that point, right. So I was doing promo side on the side, and I was doing video, so it was all me. But my buyers were the same. They’re exactly the same I like and so like, I didn’t like do some grand marketing scheme to grow that side of the business, I just called the people who are already doing business with me and going, Hey, you already trust me with your brand. We also do video in house now you do. And you know, four of them would say, Okay, great, let’s do a video. And when it’s as you grow something like that, that was all I needed. My biggest most recent investment really was the print. About two years ago, we brought we bought a printing equipment and brought it in house we’d outsourced for years. Yeah, and but again, methodical, took a lot of time. And our whole initial scheme was to go, we now offer print, you already we put your logo on T shirts, now we want to put it on your brochures and all that sort of thing. And the whole piece was these folks are already buying from us, we just need to let them know about the new service, I have to think that website, you know, if you are a web designer, and you offer some additional services, that would be very similar.
It’s very similar. It’s also a win for the client, I feel like because yeah, I same. Going back to what you said early on there, the danger of that is being a jack of all trades, master of none. So if you do web design, and social media and video and print marketing, which I did a lot of that chances are, you’re not going to be great at all of them. But you can be pretty dang good. And then the areas that you need help with I don’t know about you can always find partners, like you have with Eric and in other areas, which I’ll know if you do social media all in house or outsource any of that. But there’s all these things that are pretty easy to find partners in your area especially or even
just like we’ll just like for what I’m sure you did like. So same thing is true. Let’s say that your audience is listening, this is Oh, well, great. I guess all our people do buy pens or calendars or whatever. There are distributors in whatever area you are from our industry, who would be happy to partner with it and figure out a way to kind of coordinate that. So yeah, partners can are the way that you can fill in and not have to be a jack of all trades, you just have to have a gal?
Yes, yeah, quote unquote, person or partner in that area. It really does. It all feeds each other. And I actually have found it to be very powerful to be a connector, yes, for your clients. Because if they know like, and trust you. And then if you do a handful of services, they’ll likely ask you about well, like for years, I always got asked if I did social media, I don’t do social media. But I made connections over the years with people who I know I can trust who do that. And there was a lot of power in that for me because I became like their trusted referral source. And then inevitably, the social media people would be like, dude, thank you so much for sending the referral, we’ll keep an eye out for web designers, and their web design clients. And then when they get a web design lead, they send it over to me. So it really works out well. And there it is, there’s just a lot of power in that you don’t have to do all the work. But if you can surround yourself and build a network. I know that’s easier said than done. But it really doesn’t take that long, particularly what I’m building with this endeavor is an amazing network of web designers. And pretty much anyone who is involved with me, if you’re a student of one of my courses, you pretty much automatically have access to my network. So it’s a really powerful spot to be in. And as I just love how that works between the secondary services and these different worlds that, again, are very close, there’s barely one of
the things you said was, you know, it takes time. And you say it’s hard to build a network, it’s actually not that hard. It does take time. And there’s a difference between, you know, taking a long time versus it being difficult. And I think one of the things that you do that make it fairly easy is that you’re thinking of the client First, if ultimately you are you know, I call it the gift first economy, if you are providing value over time, people will be naturally because you’ve helped them right. And so I think where we get in trouble is that we look at me first. Me first. And if you are connecting. Yeah, man, I’d love to take your money. But this person would do a better job for you. Everybody remembers that? Because you’re providing everybody value. And I think when you have that mentality, building a network is it still takes time, but it’s not that hard.
That’s a great differentiation between something taking some time and something being hard because I do think people say, well, it’s taken a year, man, this is hard. Actually, it might not be that hard. It just takes some time to do that. Oh, there there. There are ways to expedite your network and stuff like that. And you actually, as a web designer, you don’t need too many. Like if you find one person who does social media, if you’re connected with somebody like me, who has a lot of resources. There you go. I actually can be fair expediting at least, for the for the main services, I was gonna say too, I’ve also found it to be a really good chance to upsell later on. So like if a client does a website with you and your case, maybe they do some some, you know, coffee mugs or some print material. And then three months later, they’re like, Hey, we want to do some more. And then we’re also, you know, our website sucks, did you guys do website, it’s a great place to do an upsell. Even if, like, I know, when I would do a website for somebody, sometimes clients would reach out three or six months later. And they’d be like, hey, just completely unrelated. We know, you know, a lot of people do you know, somebody who does video. And I feel like, Yeah, I do know somebody who does video. And that kind of reignited the relationship a little bit, which opened the door for new opportunities.
Well, and one of the things, I got to think that you’ve run into this guy right into this, and it drives you crazy, it’s like, you’ve done a website for somebody. And then you see like, a month later, two months later, you see some of their prints material or something. And it literally doesn’t match the brand of anything that you just spent six months building for them. Like, that’s maddening to me, because you’re like, we worked so hard to create this sort of marketing piece for you. But in every other aspect of what you’re doing your marketing, it’s not matching. And it’s like that, when you have the ability to go, okay, we did your website for you. But none of your T shirts look like you have different logos, you need to talk to my person, right? They can kind of make sure because again, ultimately, I always say that if if I help my clients succeed, they call me back. Right, like, and so you want to put them in a position where they can succeed. And the best way to do that is to make sure they have the best people.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So what do you have any advice for people who are interested in offering secondary services and ancillary services around web design in particular, because like I said, I did a lot of that. For a while I was doing graphic design, print design, I even did photography and some basic video stuff I did, I realized what was making money, what was not However, they were all in the same vein, one mistake I made very early on. And Eric always chomps me about this, because I show I show my business course, my first business card, which had graphic design, web design and drum lessons, because I, I thought, because I came from the band world, I thought, well, I did drum lessons, and I do websites and graphic design I that shows you how far I’ve come from a business perspective. But there there are probably some times where you need to at least make sure your services make sense together. And synergistic. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I so I have that business card on my website. Maybe I’ll put it in the post for this episode. But um, but just to say, yeah, you want to make sure your secondary services fit in the same round. But would you have any advice for people who are thinking about offering that? Like, do you have to tread lightly? Do you have to do it one step at a time? I’m sure you don’t want to overwhelm yourself?
Well, yeah, so a couple things come to my mind. Number one, is what which of all the things you could do, because there’s, it’s one of the things when you’ve got a talented group, which I’m sure your audience is, you could go a bunch of different directions, I would pick one lane at first, which is the one that you’re most passionate about, you’re most comfortable with the most excited about, you’re the best at whatever that like, that’s the thing that I might start saying now offering this particular service, whether that’s video, whether it’s graphic design, whatever that is. And then yeah, I think it’s, if you can do it that way, from my perspective, it’s a good way to just go, you know, email, social media, whatever, however you normally contact them and say, we are now offering these services, that’s a way for you to dip your toe in, make sure you’re not completely overwhelmed. Because it’s, it goes back to that first point is that you don’t want to get too much business that then you’re not delivering on your promises. So when you do it, when you pick one lane, the thing that you are the best at or the most passionate about, those are the things you’re going to be the happiest to work on. Right? On dipping your toe in that way is a good way to start it. And then you know, once you have a little bit of consistency, and you want to add another one, that’s certainly the way we did it. And that worked for us.
Gotcha. Yeah, that’s great. And I, I know for me, I pretty much did everything myself for a long time. But then once I started scaling my business, even if I did some secondary services, as soon as I got to the place where I can either make a template or make some sort of standard operating procedure, or even just a Google Doc with how I format stuff, then I could hire that out then I could still take on business card design and print design. But I could just have you know, I had a couple different people doing that for me for a while. Same thing with video. And I know, in web design, what’s really, really increasing right now and where there’s a lot of different areas of opportunity is in SEO and in content. So a lot of people are training people how to do basic SEO, but it is one of those things where if you tell a client you do SEO, that could mean a lot of different things. Is it Google ads, is it just content on site stuff? Is it ongoing? Is it building new pages is it doing keyword research, there’s a lot of different areas in that, but they’re really freeing and cool thing is you kind of pick and choose what you want to do. And what you just said, Kirby, there was huge. If you don’t like something, you don’t have to do it. Like, if you don’t, if you just are terrified of SEO, and you just don’t want to do it, don’t do it. You don’t have to you can partner with people who, who will, you can build the site and take it from there. However, if you just you know, if you’re terrible at design, you don’t like the development aspect, but you do like content marketing, focus on that, and then do what you did, and have somebody do the design development. So it’s pretty freeing there. Yeah,
I agree. And the reality of is, you know how it is, Josh, I mean, if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re working on, there are gonna be times where it’s hard, there gonna be times where you don’t feel like doing it. And so by focusing on things that you actually are passionate about, it’s going to help you get out of bed, on those days, where you’re not feeling it, because your care your, your, your parents, your clients don’t care if you’re not feeling it. And so you might as well focus on things that actually do bring you some level of joy.
Yeah, that’s great. That’s awesome, Kirby. Well, man, this has been a really, really cool talk, I think we really hit a lot of great points from the web, web designers who are interested in doing white label and then more importantly, hearing from you. I think this was super valuable hearing from you, as somebody who hires white label web designers to see what works for you What made you feel comfortable working with Eric, and now you know, our team, but then also the power of those secondary services and having a lot of synergistic type of offerings together. And we talked a lot about the power of networking. And just again, it may take some time, but it isn’t hard. I think it’s great. That’s a great affirmative statement that it really is not hard. It’s just people, you just work with people who compliment you. value. Yeah, give value. That’s it, too. I know, I have web design students who, you know, sometimes it takes a little while to get going and succeed. No success happens overnight, which I think is actually a good thing. But you just got to keep going. And if I think that point, if you just help people and you add value, it will come back. It always comes back. Great. Oh, yeah. That’s awesome. Crazy. Well, hey, man, do you have any sort of like, maybe final thought for my audience of, you know, kind of encompassing what we talked about?
Yeah. So, you know, I think we are living through, it’s been well covered, right? We’re living through sort of unprecedented times. But I think, to the point of what you just said, there are some universal truths that still remain true. People still buy from people they like, know and trust. The modification is people still like from people and brands, they like know, and trust, and building like, you know, them to like know, and trust is by providing them value up front, providing, you know, doing what you said you’re going to do, and you know, kind of being kind. And, you know, I think that those those are old school techniques that still make a ton of sense. And quite frankly, provide me some inspiration that the world is not as crazy as sometimes we’re told. So.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s great, man. Yeah, it’s it’s just a good mindset to have, as a designer, just create or whatever, it doesn’t matter what industry. Yeah, it just is. I think it’s just so important just to, to be likable, to be kind and just to help help somebody that really, I mean, I think it’s easy to make things overly complicated. But sales in itself can be very simple. If you just help somebody and you just teach, teach help and be kind. That’s, that’s pretty much it right there. Yeah. Awesome, Kirby. Well, thanks so much for your time, man. This was a blast of a talk. It was great to actually connect with you. Finally, after I got your name. Yeah, after hearing him for so many months. So I’m sure we’ll get a kick out of this. And hopefully, this was beneficial to everybody who’s thinking about adding more services and thinking about white labeling.
Thanks, man. I really appreciate it.
Alright, thanks Kirby talk soon, man.
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