One of the hottest topics in web design right now (and one of the most common questions I get asked) is about going niche, i.e. focusing your services to one type of client or industry. Personally, I chose to be more of a generalist web designer and offer my services to virtually any industry but I always knew there was power in going niche.
For this episode, I’ve brought in marketing guru, web designer and founder of SavvyHippo.com, Jason Gracia who shares how he pivoted his business to focus on one industry and how going niche helped him build a successful, sustainable and consistent web design/marketing business.
For those of you who are interested in going niche, THIS is your episode. It’s an action plan that you can follow to a tee to confidently go niche. And for those of you (like me) that may have some reservations but are open to hearing more, I highly recommend listening with an open mind as it might just be a path worth exploring for your business!
In this episode:
02:00 – Successfully niche
04:33 – Greeting to Jason
06:51 – Story of the journey
11:39 – Niche within a niche
15:06 – Doing it right
17:36 – Eliminate comparison
23:00 – Four steps
23:37 – 1) Market inventory
25:07 – 2) Narrow the market
27:28 – Community aspect
28:30 – First strategy
34:44 – 3) Ability
34:52 – 4) Passion
36:57 – Partnering
44:40 – Reason to niche
54:56 – Niche early on
57:48 – Side hustle niche
1:03:09 – Charging premium
1:08:32 – Recap
1:12:02 – 2021 niche thoughts
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
Connect with Jason:
- Jason’s Website SavvyHippo.com
- Jason’s LinkedIn Page
- SavvyHippo Facebook Page
- SavvyHippo Instagram Page
Featured links mentioned:
Episode presented by:
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Hey, everybody, welcome into the podcast. This is Episode 94. So I have to say, because every interview I’ve done on the podcast I’ve learned so much from I feel like I’ve really had some amazing people on the podcast, I always come away with some really great takeaways, and a lot of things learned. But I have to say, This episode is the one where I maybe have learned the most to date. The reason being is because in this episode, we’re going to talk all about going niche, or as my UK friends might say, Go niche. And what that means if you’re just new to web design and business, if you’re not sure what that means. That means you focus your services on one target market or one type of client one industry. And the reason this was so eye opening for me this conversation is because that’s not the route that I took. In my web design business. As many of you know, I worked with all sorts of clients, all different industries from chiropractor’s, to barber shops, auto mechanics, all sorts of industries. But my guest on in this interview and on this podcast, did not do that he had a web design business, which where he did marketing and web design for a bunch of different industries. But then he realized he actually did really well on a certain market and that was with online coaches, and he decided to go niche and just work with coaches. And he has created an incredible business out of going niche.
My guest in this episode, Jason Gracia is actually a repeat guest, I had him on on episode 36. We talked about conversions in that episode. So make sure you revisit that one if you haven’t already. But Jason is awesome. He is the owner of Savvy Hippo.com, which was a marketing company that again, worked with all sorts of industries, but he decided to go niche. And in this episode, he is fully transparent with everything that he learned with how to do this successfully. And for those of you who are dabbling in this and interested in potentially going niche, this episode is going to be right down your alley, because Jason is just an amazing business mind. He’s a great marketer, I really enjoy talking with him every time I get him on the podcast. And even if you’re like me, if you’re somebody who would never have thought about going niche, and you know, you just want to work with a bunch of different clients and industries, I would encourage you to have an open mind and an open ear to this one to see if this is something you’d be interested in. Because I gotta be honest, I always avoided niching down services, because there’s pros and cons with everything, but I just never wanted to limit myself. But I have to say after hearing Jason out in this episode, going back 10 years ago, when I started, I may have considered going niche because you’ll find you can actually expedite your journey. And quite frankly, make a lot more and save a lot more time by focusing on one demographic and one target market. So either way, enjoy this one, because I’m super pumped for you.
Now either no matter what industry you’re working with, there’s one thing that has to be consistent and has to be true for you. And that is that you can create websites that convert, because it’s one thing to create a design. That’s pretty, it looks nice. And that’s important. But it’s not nearly as important as making sure your website turns visitors into leads or into customers. And if you need some help in that area, I want to invite you right now to join my website design course. My design course is completely built around conversion based design principles that will help you create websites that again, turn website visitors into actual leads or customers. And this is the key guys for your clients because clients aren’t going to care how nice something looks, if it doesn’t convert. But if you’re actually helping getting more conversions for your clients, and helping their business grow, you’re going to look like a rock star, and you’re going to make clients for life. And that’s what this course is all about. So if that sounds interesting, check out my website design course, you can go to the show notes for this page. You can actually also now go to Josh Hall co/design. And that’ll zip you over to the course I would love to help you with creating conversion based designs for all your websites. Alright guys, again, without further ado, have an open mind on this one, particularly if you’re like me, and going niche was not something you would have thought about. Or maybe you’ve been, you know, just wary up. I would really encourage you to hear Jason out and enjoy it because I learned so much from that this episode and you will too. Let’s dive in.
Jason, welcome back onto the podcast man. Great to have you on again.
Thank you so much. It’s one of my favorites.
Well, it’s funny because I had you on pretty early on. And I think it was after our interview when we were talking. I think you’d mentioned you know you how much you’ve learned about going niche in your industry because you’ve done web design. He did a lot of different things but you decided to really hone in on your bat for your business was SavvyHippo what’s I’m going to ask you here, you know what you do exactly to refresh everybody. But I thought that was a great point. And I really wanted to dive into this idea of going niche because it’s, it’s something that I’ve found a lot of my students are asking me about more and more people are interested in going niche. So they stay in one industry. I have my own thoughts about it, which I’m sure we’re gonna talk about. I actually, because I didn’t go that route. I don’t I have a lot of objections to it. But I wanted to hear from somebody who’s doing it well, and is crushing it and you’re enjoying life, too. You have a family and everything. So really excited to dive into this. But yeah, before we do, do you want to let everybody know where you’re based out of and what you do with your business SavvyHippo?
Yeah. So based in Madison, Wisconsin, so 10 months of arctic cold, and then a few weeks of beautiful weather that keeps us here. But yeah, so at SavvyHippo, we, we create coaching websites, so specialized websites, specifically for coaches, who want to book clients. So that is our bread and butter. And I started as we’ll talk about as a generalist, but then really, everything changed for me in the business once I zeroed in on just helping those people achieve that one objective. And so that’s what we do we do one thing, and we do it really well.
That’s what I’m excited to hear about, because that’s a proposition that sounds very appealing. But it’s it’s tricky. And I’m sure there was a whole process to do that. It’s also I think, for people new in business, it’s like, man, do I want to limit myself? It’s it’s, I’m sure there’s an aspect there where it’s you know, it’s, it’s appealing, but it’s probably daunting to think like, I’m going to limit my customer. So I’d love to start off Jason with finding out what you were doing and where you were in business when you decided to go niche. Were you designing websites for everybody? What did that look like for you? And what planted the seed to think like, I might want to zone in on this one industry?
Yeah, so as I think we might have talked about this before, but I was going through cancer treatment, when like, everything, just my whole world got pushed the reset button. Before that. I was working I had built for 15 years, I had built Motivation123.com, which is a personal development brand online, I wrote books, did courses and did consulting. And after that, I started and it was terrible. It was one of those, I had two subscribers, me and then another email address, I started my mom and dad weren’t even subscribers. But I eventually figured it out. And I grew this big business. And then I started to consult teaching other people who want to do it, it was now we see it everywhere. You know how to sell your expertise. This was about 10 years ago, so little earlier. And what I realized was a lot of the people coming to me were coaches and consultants. And so that kind of planted the seed that there’s this market of coaches and consultants who they’ve got the heart, they’ve got the spirit they want to serve, which I love that really appealed to me, but they don’t yet have the business chops. So that planted the seed of Okay, there’s this market that I really enjoy working with. And when I noticed as I consulted about strategy was that the strategy didn’t matter if their website was broken. So I would teach strategy. But then once I realize what your website, there’s so many things wrong, it doesn’t matter how many people you bring to this house, if if the house is broken, what can we do? Like I just banged my head against the wall because I wasn’t a website designer yet. And so that’s where I saw the problem. So I saw the market of coaches. And now there’s this problem. It’s kind of, we’re trying to get to the other side, but this first boulder is just standing in the way and it’s your website needs fixing. So then I started to help out, and I’d be like, okay, I can put a few pages together for you. But this is really what I do. And they love that. And then I would do more and more. And eventually I realized, okay, I love working and building websites for myself. And now there’s these coaches who really need it. So maybe I’ll do website design. And so that’s kind of where it ended.
That was like chapter one. I really like building these websites. So I start building websites for everybody, friends, family, that whole shebang. And, and then I thought okay, this is okay, but I’m realizing there are 10,000 people who do what I do. There’s also Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, templates, page builders. Everyone does what I do. And so if I want it to be a business, I’m in a I’m in a red ocean I’m in I’m in a pool that is packed with other people who do what I do and cheaper because if you’re a commodity it’s price. What I found Of course, I know that it works other ways work but what I found is when you’re a commodity, people are going to compare price and so in the beginning I had a lot of how much to charge that’s really how long to know. And then cancer right so that and cancer free today. So knock on wood, all good. I know. I like to share it just to let people know my story but not as a sad I was one of the lucky ones doing great. But during the cancer experience, everything stopped. I couldn’t run my business. I couldn’t really do anything. But I could think, too much really and what I realized was, I love these. I love design, I love marketing. I love coaches, but I wasn’t serving them. I was serving everybody. But what if I just dialed in? What if I just picked that one group, and then the worry said in, whoa, I have this large net, I’m gonna like narrow it down to this tiny little handful. And that’s I and I get it. Every time I talk about niching with coaches, that’s the first worry, like, I can’t do that. There’s so many people that I can serve on all this money, all this opportunity. But what you realize is, if you do it, right, which we’ll talk about, you can prove out a market to know that there’s enough in that smaller net, to have a really healthy business, especially because the pricing. Pricing changes once you’re a specialist, so you don’t need as many. So that’s kind of the thought process. I went through that I love design. I love teaching, I started design in general realized there was so much competition, I couldn’t stand out, and then put the pieces together like coaches. As worried as I was, let’s go for it. And so that’s when I decided to launch savvy Hippo coaches only. And business exploded because of that. So long, long story short, started with everyon, realized the competition just made it too hard for me to stand out, and then dove in to coaches in particular.
And what year was that? What year did you officially go full on?
2016? Okay, so at this point, we’re talking early 2021 right now. So almost five years. That’s awesome, man. Right. And that’s so cool. Like I you know, I agree, I definitely agree with what you said it’s, it’s, it’s tricky. When you’re in a position where you can be viewed as a commodity, like a web designer, I will say, however, I did it and got by just fine. And the beauty about web design, is there such a need, that you don’t need to service everyone who needs a website, you just need to service the kind of people and clients you want to service. So that can also be in different industries. I know we’re talking about going niche, but I, you know, for me, like a couple dozen clients was plenty enough and more enough for me to take it to six figures and beyond. But the trick is, I didn’t just build websites off a template, I added a lot of other value in and around it, as I learned more about SEO and conversion based stuff. And that’s what I’m loving teaching my students right now is you can’t just come across as a simple web designer, you know, you need to have a passion for marketing and content and conversion, at least a well rounded understanding of all the things that work in and around the website. And even if you don’t want to focus on certain areas, at least have partners and people you can refer that out to because that’s the that’s the value proposition for you, as opposed to the guy or gal down the road. But what’s really cool about the idea of going niche for you, or niche, as my UK friends would say, is, yeah, you’re honing in on that, which I want to dive into how to hone on that. And I just want to back you up and saying that while I took a different path as a web designer, I did take this road, the niche path with what I do now as a course creator because as you know, my audience is basically primarily Divi web designers who run their own businesses.
Right. You really niched
Yeah, yeah, like it’s like it’s like a niche within a niche within a niche. So if how many people are learning web design, hundreds of 1000s, maybe millions right now, I can’t service all those people at scale when there’s Udemy, and some of these other platforms out there. So the the niche within that is WordPress. So WordPress is I think, at this time, almost 40% of the internet, if I if I recall, right? Don’t hold me to that.
It was around at least 35.
Maybe, you know, it’s 34. I’m sorry, the last thing I heard was 34%. So that’s a niche within web design. And then I’m in the niche under WordPress. It’s like, well, what, you know, theme builder do I cater to and it’s Divi, because that’s what I use. And that’s the the organ that that’s the community I’m in. So that’s kind of the practical example of how I took a very narrow road. And for me, I’ve been able to build an incredible life and business around I just, I’m almost at 800 students at the time of recording this with you.
I launched my membership, which I mean, that’s super cool. But that’s not that many people if you look at the entire scope of people learning web design, but that’s more than enough for me right now, which is really cool and really freeing for anyone in web design. And then particularly for going niche because like we’re going to talk about it’s about adding that that value. So when you when you decided to make that transition, what did you do differently with your service offering and did you did you really like did you research the market more? Did you really get sharp on your offering and stuff or did that Look like because I’m sure there was a lot of work involved with that transition.
Yep. And absolutely, cuz Yeah, if you’re gonna do it, you got to do it right. Which you know, because you’re great entrepreneur. So I’ll answer that by answering. So I just want to mention a few points because you mentioned what I love that you said is that people still once they got to you, it wasn’t commodity. Because once they got a chance to speak with you, they realized, okay, this is a value play this is Josh is bringing so much more than a Squarespace or Wix or weebly. So what I’d say to that what thought popped into my head is the good thing about niching is that that step is taken care of for you before you have to have the conversation. So that’s one, it was a faster play for me, because people were seeking me out as the specialist where I didn’t first have to meet with them and say, I get that there’s a lot of other people, but here’s why I’m different. As they came through the door, they knew you’re different. And so almost everyone on my application, when they said Why did you choose Savvy Hippo It was probably 95%, because you only work with coaches. Okay, so I totally agree with you that you still get people in the door, and those still gonna pay a premium price. I just found with niching one step is removed, I don’t have to tell the story to convince them they already know it as they come. So I just wanted to mention that because that’s a great point.
That what I was just thinking like, the the catch 22 for a web designer with that, particularly if you stay in your area is if you just work with dentist office, for example. If you’re just working with dentist office in your area, it can be a little tricky, because then you’re you’ve got your clients competing with each other, where they might be like, well, I saw that you got this dentist to Google, I want that too. And then all of a sudden, you’re you’ve got you know, competitor clients, but with coaches and consultants it’s a very white, like, I doubt they’re conflicting with each other. You might have some in similar industries, but it’s a little different than like, yeah,
That is a good point, though.
So that’s I guess that’s one thing to consider. If you do niche as a web designer, you might want to broaden your service offerings. And you might want to cater to people in different regions, other than just locally, but right, but but that’s beside the point. So I didn’t mean to cut you off, but…
So that’s probably the number one reason for niching for me is that the more I did exactly specifically what I did, the less other people did it. – Jason
No, no. Okay, so yeah. So as far as what I did, so to get there, here’s the mental steps I went through of like, should I choose a niche or not. So if people are worried which I get, mentally, here’s what I went through a number one for me was eliminating alternatives. So when I did sales calls early on, they were shoppers, because they were comparing me to everyone else, because I look like everyone else. One of the most important pieces of niching is you’re eliminating comparison. So the key if you can, is to become a market of one, because then that eliminates that conversation, there’s only one person who does what you do, then you’re the obvious choice. It’s not always easy to become a market of one to eliminate all but by niching, you can close the door and so many other people because you don’t do what they do anymore. So when it comes to savvy Hippo, we focus on integrating a calendar so that people can book free sessions, we teach them how to follow up on that free session call. We teach them how to use email marketing, to book cold calls and enroll clients. We build their pages around getting people to book that strategy call. Instead of we build a website. And so once we once we could build a brand around this specialized service, no one else did that. So my number one reason was I eliminated alternatives. I eliminated the comparison to how I’m like everybody else. Now, hardly anyone does what we do. And so that made my job so much easier. So that’s probably the number one reason for niching for me is that the more I did exactly specifically what I did, the less other people did it. And there’s my unique selling proposition.
Now when you started when you when you went niche with it, were you primarily just doing web design for coaches? And then did you start to add more of the marketing aspects and funnels and email or because I’m sure it was tricky to figure out, you know, because there’s danger in becoming an all in one type of service. But there’s power in it, I guess if your niche because you could probably create a lot of the same templates and systems to.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Because you can become a generalist once you’re inside the niche, which Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
Okay, I like that. That’s good.
Right. And so that, yeah, that’s definitely what I did. So I’ll just run through a few more like in my head because I know this is such a struggle for people so and then I can get to how, like how I did that. But first it was eliminating alternatives. Then I realized that as a generalist, when it comes to marketing, it’s really hard to know, it’s almost there’s too many places to go. So a lot of my coaches when they first started, they don’t know what to do, because if the world is their market, where do you go? What do you do? That’s what I was struggling with with design. Okay, I’m no I’m a website. I’m a website designer. What do I do next? When I chose coaches instantly became clear, Oh, I know, I go to the to coaching blogs, coaching podcasts, coaching groups on Facebook coaching groups on LinkedIn, I reach out to coaches, mentors to coaches, all of that work was done for me. So once I chose a niche, I knew exactly where to go. As opposed to when I first started, there was just, it was almost to an embarrassment of riches in that the world was my market, which is too much. Now I don’t know what to do. So for a coach, or for a website designer, if you pick that specific industry, now you know where to go, because that industry, if you do it, right, has a community has publications has social media groups, they have an entire universe already built. And now you just go there. And so that was huge for me, because I knew what to do.
Yeah, I was gonna ask next about how you found your, you know, your ideal clients. But I was just wanted to I wanted to preface this by saying there’s kind of different versions of niches as well. And the niches because you think, like the example I use is very common. I just want to build medical facility websites, or just sites for auto mechanics or something like that. But you could actually position yourself as a web designer to say we build websites for small businesses, versus nonprofits, or startups or say, you know, like, there’s actually ways to kind of like semi-niche, which is kind of interesting, I always did that as well. I typically always said, we build awesome websites, for small to medium sized businesses, those who are right, I do, and it weeded out those people who were just starting out who had a budget of 150 bucks, like, it just wasn’t a good fit. So that’s always an option. But, but that goes down to figuring out who your ideal client is. And it’s important for everybody, even if it’s not an exact industry or business, at least the type of person or or budget they’re going to work with or type of income that a business has. So for you, coaches and consultants, to me that like that, I imagine that would be a little tricky, because a lot of people just branch into coaching and they have like zero budget. So how did you? Did you have any filtration systems in place that you did you Did you work with everyone as a coach? Or did they have to meet a requirement? They have to be established? Or did they at least have to be bringing in a certain amount of income? What did that look like when you decided, you know, okay, you pick this industry, but then the question is, how do you pick your best clients in that industry?
So I teach a four step process is great question because some people think, oh, niche, I’m just going to choose my Uncle Bob. And that’s it. And that’s my business. And I’m going to thrive because I chose my niche. There’s a lot more that goes into it, it’s got to be the right niche and has to be able to afford you. People who want to niche. I’ve had coaches who want to serve people who don’t have money, I get that the heart part of it, I get it, you want to. But if they don’t have money, that means they can’t afford a coach. And so you’re setting yourself up to fail. Now, if you want to do pro bono work, that’s great for them. But you’re right, you’ve got to pick a market that can afford you. So what I did was I teach four steps. What you do first is take inventory, and you take inventory on two things. So I teach target market, those are the people you serve niche, that’s how you serve them, you can narrow for both, or one or the other. Like you mentioned, you could narrow with target market, small business, or you can narrow with niche, we help you get clients. So there’s two different ways who you serve and how you serve. I did both coaches, get clients because there’s a lot I could do for coaches I could do, you can serve coaches in so many ways. Getting clients is just one pillar. And so what you want to do first is take inventory of every market you can serve in every outcome you can deliver. So as a designer, you have to think of who are all the people. And you just make a list, I made a list of everyone that I could serve as my skills and all the different ways I could serve them. So I could focus on list building, I could focus on SEO, I could focus on course creation. I could focus on so many things within coaches, but I chose getting calls booked.
Did you also write what you don’t do? Or what you’re not gonna touch?
Yeah, yeah. Because there’s certain things like ecomm, I’m not going to set up ecommerce platforms for coaches. And yeah, that was the big one. There’s a lot. Because you’re right, you have to also know what you don’t want it.
I was just thinking as a web designer, almost like a very high percentage of my clients would get a website done. And then the next thing I know, they’re like, Hey, we really enjoyed working with you and your team. Josh, can you run our social media ads? I don’t do that. And and they’re like, what about our Google ads? I’m like, I don’t do that. But But you do SEO and I’m like, well, it’s different than we do a different type of SEO. So I had to learn to get very clear about exactly what we did and referral partners. So I imagine you had to take that same approach, right to be very clear, right? Because you talk about your ideal clients and they have to know what you do. Exactly.
And this, this is just for the designer on their own. So this is you’re just a notebook writing these things down. So you’re gonna write down everything you could do. That’s step one. Step two is you have to narrow by the market. So is there a market for and you just go down the list? And the way you prove out a market is, are there communities built around this? So I’ll use coaching as an example. Are there communities of coaches? Definitely. I went to Facebook, I googled, I went to LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, I knew that coaching was a market a community that could serve. Are there people advertising consistently to this market? So are people paying money to get in front of the market? consistently? If there are, you know, that that markets buying? So someone wouldn’t run ads over and over and over? If no one was buying this stuff, and then they don’t have money? So that’s what I did. I watched the advertisers. So I went to Facebook, I found people who were advertising the coaches. And then I would go to all of their old ads and see how long they ran these ads. If they consistently marketed to this audience. Now I know that there is a paying audience.
So I did all of these little steps. Are there communities? Are there publications, magazines, forums, blogs dedicated to these people? Are people selling courses to serve this market? So are there courses for coaches, I found a ton I made a list of all of them. So now I know these, this market is buying. So step two, is there a paying market that was number one, cuz people talk about passion? I think that’s ridiculous. If people are not going to pay you money, it does not matter how passionate you are about this, you’ve got to pick a market that has money. And not just money, but a need. They are looking for a solution. So that was step two, and that we did a lot I have to I’m cutting as much as I can on this list.
It just makes me think of when I first got started in design, I focused on basically bands like our bands that we would travel with when I was a drummer in a rock band. And I was just I was like, why? why I’m not making enough, you know, I’m not making much money. Why it’s like, well, they’re like your your ideal clients are like barely able to pay for a design. So of course, so I really thought about that as I matured in business. Because as you were talking about narrowing your market and understanding the market, I did this all unintentionally with Divi and WordPress, because I was a customer because I was a web designer. And because I ran my business, and you I didn’t really think about community being a big aspect of niching down, but you’re totally right, it makes sense because it’s the best place to start with a niche is to be in the community and to be really helpful. And that’s exactly how I built my authority. As you know, in Divi I think you I think we originally got connected. Yeah, remember, Jason, I think you found me on on YouTube for learning Divi sites, right? Or something like that.
Yeah, it was Divi.
Yeah. And that’s, you know, that’s how I really capitalize and came up in this niche was the community aspect. I didn’t run ads, I still don’t run ads or anything like that. It’s completely organic and, and community driven, which is a great approach. So that’s really interesting to hear that that’s how you really focused on that. And let’s be honest consultants, entrepreneur types that are that are coaches, they’re probably very prone to be in a community. And they probably need some social interaction. So you probably found that that was a good place to get leads. Right. Was that did you did you start the referral train pretty quick. When you started reaching out? What did that look like? When you started getting more clients?
Yeah, as soon as I picked coaches, my first strategy, my first strategy, always, whenever I enter a market, is I go to all the leaders of the market and establish a relationship. So what I did was I went to everyone who mentored coaches. And then I said, I want I’m just starting this business. I’m not in competition with you. I build websites. I don’t want to sell courses to train them on how to grow their business. But I see you’re a leader and I would love to profile you on my blog. Now back then it was a little easier because the blog had more cachet than it does now. I think, like we talked about podcasting is really where you do that.
Oh, you’re really gonna blow Savvy Hippo up once you start your podcast.
But then back then it worked. It’s and so what I did was I went to all the leaders, and I said, I want to profile you, I want to pick your brains and then feature it on my website. And so I established a relationship with them. I didn’t mention, can I get in front of your audience? Can we do a relationship JV partnership affiliate, All I said was, I love what you’re doing. I want to share you with my growing audience. So I had a relationship with a dozen people who had 1000s 10s of 1000s of people under them who are all coaches.
And then just like you you are, you’re the master of building relationship, authentic, sincere relationship. That’s all I did. I just kept in touch offer value. And then when someone asked about a website, they of course, recruitment recommended me because I’m the coaching website guy. And that that’s another thing with niching you become the guy or the girl and it’s very easy then because I think what we love to think Because when people talk about us, they tell our whole story. And they get in all the details and the nitty gritty about how amazing we are. And we do all this really, it’s usually a sentence or two. Oh, yeah, I know a guy who does this. For me, it was easy for people to recommend me. You want a coaching website? Oh, Savvy Hippo? They’re the coaching website, people. And that was it, as opposed to, yeah, they design websites, anything anyone does, yeah, anyone resides website. So that’s what I did, I opened up that market by going to leaders, first shining attention on them, making them the star. And then eventually, they put me in front of their audiences, which, definitely number one marketer for me is referrals through partnerships.
But when you start that referral train of good quality leads, it’s just so much better. It will often bring so much better clients quicker when you establish those relationships. – Josh
And that’s the way to do it. Man, it’s, it’s a whole different approach to sales, I’m actually thinking about doing some maybe a podcast or training in my club about this, because when you think about sales, you think about like, I’m so nervous to cold call and go into a place and ask if they need a website design, and it’s just not the way to go. It’s, it’s, it’s sometimes it can be a little longer it can, it can take some time to go that route. But when you start that referral train of good quality leads, it will often I mean, it’s just so much better. It’s exactly how I ran my business, it will often bring so much better clients quicker when you establish those relationships. And when you’re not coming across salesy, and one method that I tell my students to do, and I’ll just throw this out to everybody, that’s very non salesy, but will get you a ton of business, I promise you, I guarantee it is if you do like an interview series, at your chamber of commerce or something, or a networking groups, if you interview like 10 or 12 businesses, and just talk with the owner about their business, feature their business and do like an interview series for three months or a couple months, you will attract so much attention. Because in your just you know, you don’t have to promote yourself too much. But just say like, you know, this is presented by me my web design business, we help businesses with their website, and then here’s our featured interview, and they talk about their business or what however you want to go about it. And then they share it to their audience, they share it to their customers or to their professional network. And then if you do that 10 or 12 times over exactly what you did, Jason is exactly what you’re gonna find there, you’re automatically going to be in front of hundreds of people, and you’re not going to look like a slimy sales person, you’re going to look like a helper. And that is the best way to sell in 21.
It’s funny. So I have an intake form. Of course, if someone wants to book a strategy, call with me to like the initial call. And I’ll tell you when it’s when I see Google as where they found me as much as people push SEO and like that’s their whole focus. I don’t close that as many from Google, because those are usually the shoppers. When I see a name, referred by, it’s so much easier. And yesterday, literally yesterday, I got in the call, within three minutes. She said I’m in. My friend already told me about you I you can talk she said you can talk, that’s great. But I already want to pay. So just send me the invoice like that. That’s the dream that happens over and over and over, I go in front of a group I present. And then afterwards, I get 10s of $1,000 in business and there is no selling because I got the authority and the relationship from the leader of the group. And so it’s like a backdoor into growing your business. So I couldn’t agree more.
Yeah. And it’s it just takes the pressure off of sales. And you know, there’s still, like we talked about, there’s a lot of work that goes into that. And it may take some time, but man, it’s just it really it doesn’t end the feast and famine so much depending on the industry. But what it does, is I feel like it makes your referrals more consistent when you have really good clients and you’re intentional about asking them, right. I don’t know if you have any processes for that, you know, to ask about referrals in that niche. So maybe we can talk about that next. But that just breeds so much more good traffic, like you said, instead of those tire kickers and shoppers, because I found the same thing, man, people who found me on Google, same thing, it was a much less higher conversion rate. Because I had to sell myself a little more I had to explain more. Whereas if somebody came from a referral, I basically did what you said they would be like, Hey, I love their website. You know, we want to get going what’s the next steps kind of thing? And it’s Yeah, it’s just the way to go. So yeah, how did you? How did you capitalize on the referrals? I guess that’s the question because Did you intentionally talk to clients about asking them if they knew other coaches? or How did that work? What are some tips I can take away.
A whole program on that. So I’ll walk you through that and what I want to I just want to tie a bow on the How to choose. So we there were just two quick ones. So there was first we start with an inventory of everything you could do then the market is there a market the next thing I usually teach is ability. What market can you serve better than most? So where is your sweet spot? And then passion is last? Which one do you enjoy? So what you do is you just cross them out. So start with everything you can do cross out the ones that don’t have a strong market that you know is paying .Then you cross out the ones where you’re not in a player. And then you cross out the ones who don’t want to serve. And for me at the end, it was coaches and consultants. That’s the ones who were left. Do you want to know what it served them?
Well, you know, mine that I didn’t want to serve.
Yeah, I do.
Lawyers, God bless lawyers, if we need them, we need them. They’re important, but man, they were a pain in the ass web design clients.
Like you said before it, either. Yeah. You mentioned before, like you have to know who you don’t want to work with and who you don’t want because it is a nightmare. Yeah, I say no to so many things. And it’s made my life so much easier.
There’s a great lesson too.
I know. It’s harder. Yep. Right. Like, I heard all these lessons when I was younger. And I would be I was like, the young punk like, Yeah, whatever. And then you live and you’re like, oh, the old guys were right. Because, yeah.
Mid 20s, you start realizing your parents were right? And then 30s. Like, Oh, my gosh, everyone who was older, right?
Everyone’s right. Yep. Okay, so as far as referrals, so that’s a two pronged. So once I have had my niche, I went to the leaders. And then what I started with, and when I still do is, I put together a great presentation, six figures, six steps to a six figure coaching website. And then I go in front of their audience, either through a webinar or Facebook Live Stream, and I present that program. The great thing about web design, is when you pick these other markets, typically, the leaders don’t do web design at all. It’s an empty spot, it’s a gap. Yeah, so I know, Brian Harris, from Video Fruit, Growth Tools now. That’s when he talks about when partnerships, find the gap. And so with me, people who serve coaches, it’s usually how to sell high ticket services. They don’t talk about web design at all, they say you need these things. But that’s where they leave it. And so I fill that gap, they plug me in, I come before the audience, I present, they let me do a little pitch at the end, I give them a discount. And then I give that partner a commission. So I’ll go in front of them present pitch, and then anyone who signs on the partner gets a commission, the partner loves it, even without the commission, because I’m plugging in that gap. So they look good. They’re bringing in a website expert to finally talk about this confusing world of websites, and they make money. So that’s the partner track. As far as my clients, every client, and everyone listening, I hope you already do this, I’m sure you do. But every client who exits our service gets a survey. And then after they submit their survey, what they liked what they didn’t like testimonial, I then present our referral program. So everyone who comes through our service sees our referral program, we offer a commission on every single person they refer. So some clients have paid almost their entire price of their website just by referring us. So yeah, it’s baked into the system. So everyone sees it. As soon as they click Submit on their survey, they’re forwarded to our referral program page, where we go through the details, here is what here’s the message you can send to people. So here’s the email, just copy and paste it. Or you can send an introduction email between us or you can post on social and here’s what you should post. And then all they have to do is refer your username, and then you’ll get a commission. And so that’s how we it’s yet which is builds on itself, it’s snowballs.
And it’s interesting with web design, you can really mirror what you’re talking about Jason with those areas, like I mentioned earlier that you might not want to do in your business. If you don’t want to touch SEO, then you could have an SEO partner. And just like you said, the beauty about that is, if you partner with somebody who does SEO, you can really focus on the web design aspect. And then they’re your partner, you’ll refer tons of business and they’ll inevitably getting a ton of people who want SEO, but the website’s terrible, they’ll refer you business. And it can be a really given get and I had I did…
I do that a lot. Yeah,
Yeah. And I was I know, I had to kind of a mix between I never had an official referral program, with with my business InTransit. But what I did have was some strategic partners, and we would feed off each other and we did some commission based stuff. And then I got to a point with a lot of them, where we just kind of like I just give them business and they gave me business and it was just a mutual. So you can definitely go about it a number of different ways. But I like that that it was a little bit more organized on your end, and strategic with you know, testimonial, survey, referral program, resources. You get you tell people what to do, how to do it. And I imagine that’s mutually beneficial for both parties.
Exactly what you’re saying like it’s always like, check, check check, because I couldn’t agree more because on sales calls. When they get to something that we don’t do, all they’re looking for is someone who does it.
Like, that’s all they want. I used to think, okay, we don’t do e commerce. And so we’re gonna lose anyone who wants e commerce done. And I was really worried but I had to be upfront. I said, Okay, we don’t set up a store for you. And I worried like, Okay, I’m going to lose them. And they said, Oh, do you know someone who does? And I was like, Oh, yeah, you can talk to these guys. And they’re like, Oh, great. Let’s keep going. That’s when I realized They just want to know there’s an answer somewhere. It doesn’t have to be you, for them to book business with you. And so there’s a lot that we don’t do. And I let them know we are experts in this one thing. That’s why you want us. And if you want these other things, we have partners lined up. They’re they’re like, Oh, great, let’s go.
So it makes you look awesome. It makes you look like a total Rockstar. And this, because I’m, I’m seeing all of my students being very proactive about this. Now, it’s just just, I just love it, because they understand now the power of building a network around them to where they don’t have to do everything, but know people and make relationships with people who do And more importantly, just start giving them business, start referring people and be like, Hey, I, you know, I don’t know you too well, right now. But I know your stuff. And I really like what you’re up to I have I have a need for an SEO partner, I wonder if you would be interested in taking a lot of leads I get because I don’t think that.
Everyone says yes.
Yeah, right. So if you invest in doing that, like you mentioned earlier, I really, you know, enjoy the relationship building aspect of entrepreneurialship. It takes time. And just like anything good in life, it takes some time to get to get going with it. But once you develop a few strategic partners, or better yet, if you’re in a community where those people are built in, like that’s one reason I launched my web design club is because I want just that I wanted people to have an automatic network of SEO people content, design people, you have people like, that’s exactly what that is. And there’s premium and free versions of that too. Like you can go to free Facebook groups in your niche, right that do a lot of that’s a great place to start the network or there’s more premium, like forums and groups and memberships and clubs, where you’re a little more, you’ll get a better result for your clients, to have those type of people. But either way, having that network, I couldn’t agree more man. That is that is huge. And it’s such a powerful spot to be in. I wanted to ask you…
I’ll quickly mention because, as you said that I realized if choosing a niche also opens up that door, because once I picked coaching websites, everyone else was not my competition anymore. And so I would reach out to designers and say, if someone comes to me, but they I don’t do what they want, because we only do this, I’ll send them to you. And vice versa. If you have anyone who’s on our coaching website, you could send them to me. So your competition then becomes your partners, when you choose a niche because you’re out of their field. Now you’re not in their pool, which means you have a lot more partnerships that you can go for. Because now you’re not direct competition, they’ll send you people you send them. So niching opens up those doors even more. And not only eliminates alternatives, it turns those alternatives into partnerships.
Yeah, that’s great, because you can even niche with, with people who are very similar. Like for me, as a web designer, I had SEO partners, videographer partners, photographers, social media, marketing, and ads, those were my main type of referral partners. But then I also had other web designers who could take on lower level projects that I turned down. So you can actually find like versions of yourself. for clients that might not be a good fit. Or, you know, there’s there’s a lot of versions like that to which.
Even if you I’ve reached out to people who there’s not many of us, but the people who design coaching websites, and I said I love what you’re doing. If If you ever get someone either who doesn’t fit or your to your overflow, like you’re booked, I’ve gotten 10s of 1000s of dollars from people who say, I just don’t have time in my schedule, go there. So as when your niche, you can be partners with everybody. That’s the great thing. If you’re open to it, and you don’t have to niche to be able to deal as partnerships, you’ve proven that right? It just helps because then when you go to someone who does exactly what you do, it’s not, I didn’t feel like I was talking to the enemy. It was more of like, we’re in the bunker together, we both do this thing. Let’s help each other out.
Did you ever get to a point with when you went niche? Like, did you ever have any downtimes with it? or times where you were low on clients? And you ever second guessed yourself? And if you did, how did you get through that? Because I imagine if somebody just like any big decision, there’s usually you know, ebbs and flows, highs and lows. Did you experience any of that? Or did you just find that it actually just built, you know, on itself over and over as you went niche.
And it’s a little unfair, I have a little unfair advantage because I’m a marketer. So I have 20 years of marketing experience.
So I was gonna say you, you did start in a good time to go into establish you weren’t, you know,
I had, I had 15 years of building a million dollar business online. So I kind of knew, you know, advertising partnerships, content marketing, lead generation referrals, I kind of that’s what I teach my clients and that’s one of the not to go down the another rabbit hole. But one of the reasons I not only specialize in what I do as far as what we build, but we have an entire education platform of how to succeed as a coach online. So that’s, that’s another thing what you can do is you niche you can become such an expert in that space that you can serve those people in so many other ways. So, so for me, I know marketing and so it was easier for me But yeah, as a website designer, I can see where that happens where the net is smaller. But what that means is you have to then use the niche as your competitive advantage to market. So you have to get out there and be proactive and marketing, like what you were just talking about. If there’s ever a lul, reach out to more people, more partnerships, reach out to your old clients and let them know you have a referral program where you can offer a commission, put the content out there, advertise, do webinars, so niching helps you make your marketing more powerful, because you know which audience you have to go to. So if I ever had a lul with coaches, I know exactly where to go with coaches what to say to coaches. A general website designer trying to market to a coach would say, I can make you a great website. Because I’m a niche, I can say, I can make you a specialized tailor made coaching website that gets you booked calls, that gets you more clients, within 60 days, just night and day because of the niche, my marketing is more powerful, I know where to bring my marketing. So if there are luls, it’s easier to get out of them. Because everything I think it’s easier when your niche you know what to say where to say it and who to say it to.
That’s good. I’m glad you said that. Man, it’s a valuable point, you’ve probably had more confidence because you know, exactly like, if you’re in a slump as a web designer, and there’s a slow period, which does happen often. And that’s why I’m a big proponent of recurrent income through maintenance plans and basic SEO and some other areas. But if you have that low, it can be a little harder if like, if you’ve never worked with a dentist before keeping on the dentist train, you might not know the industry. So it’s a little tougher to sell, particularly if you know they they’re looking at your portfolio. And they’re like, well, if you’ve worked with a dentist before that can be a little trickier on that front. So that makes sense that going that just gives you a little more leverage. Because you know exactly, yeah, you know what you’re doing.
I even made a note of confidence. And my little notes here, which I didn’t cover, because when you said that, that’s really the difference. That’s the biggest difference. I think in the end. When I first started, I was so nervous with sales calls. My voice was jittery, I hated them. I tried to get out of them. That was my biggest pitfall was like I was afraid to get on the call and sell. When I targeted coaches. I knew that industry inside out, I did my homework, I read all the books, I took all the courses, I knew what coaches needed, I knew how to deliver the website that worked so well. I love them. It was like, I just flipped the switch. When I picked coaches, my confidence skyrocketed because I knew so much more than the person getting on the phone. And not in a bad way. Not like I know more than but I knew my stuff. And that’s for me the greatest power of the niche. Because when you narrow down that focus, you become so good at this one nugget, you will be like 10,000 times more active and excited to go out there and market it because you know your stuff. Pre niching I was scared to do webinars, I was scared to do podcast interviews, I was scared to do sales calls. Because I was so nervous because I thought I don’t know everything about web design. Why don’t they ask me about a, b or c I’m going to look so dumb in front of all these people. When I niched It was like I’m a superhero, I know this specific things. So well. Anyone can ask me anything. And that transformed my business. My confidence went through the roof. I reached out to people, I did webinars, I did interviews, I did sales calls, all because I chose a niche that I knew. And so that really, that changed everything for me that that I went from an amateur to a pro once I flip the switch of the niche.
And it’s interesting. Yeah, I could definitely see that to where particularly if you know that industry very well, you probably anticipate their needs, and you can probably guide them through
I know the questions before.
Whereas I mean, most small businesses have the same questions for web design, at least to where like they want to know, how do they get better rankings, you know, what, what sucks on their design. So I always I learned to feel more confident in that regard. But if they ever asked me a question that I didn’t know about, I was the king at saying, you know what, I’m not sure. But I’ll find out. And I always followed through, I always found out and like the day later, I’d say like, Hey, I did some research on this. And here’s what I think we could do for this. And it looked, it made me look awesome. So just as a side tip, if you do get in that situation where you don’t know you don’t have to freak out. Just be upfront. It’s like, you know what, I’m not sure about that. But I’ll look into it. Like that’s something where I might have a partner, I have an expert who I’ll talk to, I’ll consult with on this. And that’ll help with confidence.
I’m gonna I’m gonna use your dentist example because now I’m getting all excited about this. So, okay, let’s take that, not you because I would never want to take business away from you. But if we did a clone of Josh, I would beat you with that dentist because here’s what I do if I picked dentists, I would study that target market. I would know the greatest pains of people going to a dentist. I would know you know the age groups, what kind of dental work people need at different stages. So when do kids need braces? When do you need crowns? What are the price points in the dental industry that people are worried about? How does insurance work? Then when you put us next to each other, I would say, there are many people who build websites, some even build them for dentists, but I am a specialist in your industry. I’m going to build a website that converts because I know the number three, like the top three fears of people who go to the dentist and why they don’t go to the dentist, I’m going to create a lead generator for you that overcomes those fears to help you get more clients. That’s the story I tell coaches. I speak their language no one else knows what I know is like about coaches. So there is no comparison anymore. And so when you say, I serve small businesses, and a lot of their needs are the same. That’s very true. But if you niched then you could blow the other people out of the water, because they’re gonna talk about website design. But what that client, they don’t care about website design, they want clients, they want money, they want results. And so that’s where I can, I can beat everybody. Because I can say I know exactly what you want, I know your market, I know how to deliver it. We don’t do dentists and dog walkers. We do certified coaches who do exactly what you do, and we deliver exactly what you need. That’s like your competitive advantage of how you can use a niche, I can go in front of 10 website designers. And if it’s for a coach, I’ll beat them every time because of those things. Because if you’re a generalist, you don’t have time to study the pain points of dentists. Because you’re trying, you’d have to do that across 1000 Industries. When you become a specialist, you have all the time, you need to dive deep into one thing and and understand it so much better. So you’re taking yourself out of the web design world almost. And you’re becoming this business strategist who delivers a website, but also, that website is going to do so much more than what the typical designer does for you. So by niching, you can focus in and create tailor made solutions and bring information to that client that no one else can bring. Whereas as a generalist, there’s just no time. You can’t study dog walkers and dentists and doctors and handyman. There’s just no time. So you have to be general in what you offer. You have to be general in the language you use the story you tell. When you niche, everything changes. So I get in your great. See part of the problem, real problem is that you’re just grade like you’re a great entrepreneur, you’re you’re good, you’re smart, you’re sharp. So that’s one of the reasons you’ve succeeded as a generalist. I think it is harder if people don’t have your natural abilities, or the abilities you’ve gained over time.
That’s very well said. That’s fair, man. Yeah, that that is definitely I mean, I, I learned to to capitalize on my strengths as a generalist and the type of businesses even if they weren’t the same industry. But there were those other areas where I think having the network that I grew and that I built, that was a big key for me too, because as soon as I became well connected, and I had all these people in my back pocket, even outside of web design, even realtors and insurance agents and people in my networking group that just made me look more reliable and trustworthy. So definitely, it may make sense that Yeah, I definitely see how you’re going to beat out anyone any generalists in that in that niche. So that’s, that’s probably one of the biggest top takeaways for me so far.
Because you’re not selling, you’re not selling the same thing anymore. When I do my sales calls, I don’t talk about speed. I don’t talk about SEO optimization, I don’t talk about anything that most designers would talk about. What I talk about are the worries and fears of a coach, how they can gain the confidence to close the sales call, how we can get more people to book calls with you like I talked about a different universe. And so it is not our it’s apples and oranges, then when they talk to me, because I’m talking about things that really concern them as opposed to someone who’s just a design, not just that, but someone who just knows the generalist world of design, they’re going to focus more on design, which people don’t buy websites, they buy results. My clients just want clients. That’s what they’re after. And the websites the tool that does it. And so when you’re a generalist, you’re selling websites, when you’re a specialist, you’re selling results. Big Picture, of course, someone like you or people who are good at generalist design, you’re going to sound great, great results, too, of course. But if you’re just getting started, it is harder because as a generalist, that’s what you’re going to focus on. I’m going to talk all about websites instead of I just talk all about the result that they can’t wait to get.
Question for you. Do you recommend? Obviously we know by now you’re a big proponent of going niche for somebody who’s early early in their career, there’s a little more risk like we talked about, but would you still recommend going niche pretty early on as like right when you get going once you find that niche? Or would you recommend testing the waters with a few different industries getting more established building a network and then going niche.
Personally I would say niche first because as long as you take those steps, we talked about. Inventory market ability, because then you’re you’re going to choose profitable markets. But I think you’re going to have an easier time. It’s almost like do you want to start right? Or do you want to start fast. And if you just want to get going, like, I design websites, you could go that route. But if it were me, if I started over, and I couldn’t do coaching, I would go through my my little strategy of finding a market, and then I would just dive into that market. And you don’t need to know that much more. For instance, coaching, the fact that I know that strategy calls are the key to a website, even that is something that most coaches they don’t think about. So if you’re going to choose a niche, it doesn’t mean you have to spend years deep diving and understanding them. You just have to know them better than the average website designer, and then you’re going to stand out. So for instance, dentists, right, that’s what I would do is I would go to the dentist, and I’d find out what their number one struggles are. What are your worries, what keeps you up at night? What are your goals? What kind of business? Do you want to grow? That right there after 10 talking to 10, dentists, I could pitch a dental website better than a generalist. Yeah. So I don’t think it has to take that long. But I just think everything’s so much easier when you niche that it’s worth it. And the other thing I’ll say is, it’s for a season, people think that it’s permanent, I can only work with this person for the rest of my life. But what I teach is now this is just for one stage of your career. You can take this and change niches, you can use all these lessons and transition, you’re not stuck, you’re not trapped. You don’t have to do it forever.
Yeah, one one question and idea I wanted to throw out there to you was, would you recommend? Or do you think it’s feasible to manage having a generalist type of web design business, for example, but then also, if you’re really passionate about one subject, you know a lot about it, maybe it’s a decent market? What have you niched on that as almost like a whole different sub like side business, like a side hustle that’s niche to this. That way, if it’s for, I don’t know, you know, like dog training or something like that, if you just know a lot about that you want to niche to that, but you’re afraid like, Am I gonna be able to make a living with this, but I’ve got this dentist website over here, I could do for five grand, I want to pass that up. What are your thoughts on maybe like having a side hustle niche business? That’s a maybe a different brand, or something that you could segue to? What are your thoughts on that? Because I’ll be honest, I’ve actually talked to some of my students about that, because they want to serve this market. But they’re like, I also, like, if a big company wants to spend 10 grand with me, I don’t want to pass that up right now. And I’m early on, what are your thoughts on that? You can, you can fight with me on that. Jason, we’re cool, man. If you disagree, throw it out there. I’ll take it. I’m alright.
So what I would say first is when you niche, you can charge more because you’re offering a specialized solution. So the people who get incredible amounts, coaches, consultants, service providers who make 10 x what more and most people make, it’s because they have a tailor made proven framework. So you can charge more than the average designer of your niche. I’ll say that. So you don’t need as many people as you think you do, if you can niche because you can charge a premium. But what I’m a huge proponent of just sticking your flag in the ground and saying, This is what I do and going all in because I think if you’ve got two, then each one gets 50% of your attention. And so someone who’s going 100% on the niche, they’re going to beat you. And so personally, but I get it. My first business was motivation for all people ages zero to 90, who could read, like, I get it, I went as general as you could go, and it worked. It was just a different business. Everything was so General, my my pitches, where do you want to be happy? It’s a different business. Now I love that I’m like, I’m like this scientists who I can pinpoint things. So I’m not. It does work both ways. But to answer your question, I would say now I believe in going all in, at least in this season of your business going all in and being a true expert. Because you can do it. If you make sure that there’s a market and you do your work. You can make it work, you can win. You just got to be smart about what you pick, you wanna you want to make sure that for you, they’re paying for it. But I really believe in that and you’re still going to get people I still get people who want us to build websites, but aren’t coaches. I say no to them. But if I was in the shoes of someone you talked about, they could say yes. That’s the other thing people even coaches coaches worry if I because I want them to specialize. If I only work with this certain person doing this certain thing, I’m going to cut everyone else out and what they realize is no people still come to you for other things. So I would say go all in I just like the idea of expertise.
I like that. I like that man. It makes a lot of sense. And I’m with you like I you know it’s it’s something right?
That’s the thing like you are you’re you’re more niche than I am even though you’re the proponent of a generalist like.
I literally I’m talking To you, and I’m conflicted with myself because as a web designer, I was a generalist. But as a course creator and a coach, I’m I’m completely niche, like, I’m super, super niche, like we’ve talked about. So everything we’ve talked about, I did, and because I think for me, because I was able to build a six figure course business within one year, it’s because of going, niche, just because I was a web designer, I understood the challenges, I understood the pain points, I knew the market, I knew exactly what I had been through, and I was able to basically do everything, we’ve talked about this point and package it up. And there’s a lot of people who have told me, I looked at a lot of different web design programs. And I liked you, because I use a lot of the same tools. And I like that you already have a community and I’m already plugged in. And you you know, like, there was a lot of things that I’ve been through that just work a lot better than an average person who’s going to teach them how to build, you know, who knows what kind of website they could use, you know, Wix, website or something. So yeah, that makes a makes a lot of sense. And I definitely,
I’m guessing, I’m guessing that to build the web design business took a lot longer to get to a certain financial figure than it did with courses, once you chose a niche, I’m guessing that
it was it took me five years to get to six figures. Yeah. However, yeah. However, my first business card had drum lessons on it, along with web design, and graphic design. So I had to I had to mature as a person and as a business owner, and I was also doing a side job. So you know, I, I don’t want to say it’s gonna take you five years to grow design agency to six figures, because I have students doing that in a year now. But, but it does, the reason it took longer is because it, you know, I didn’t have what I’ve learned and that that’s, that’s the key there. And if you if you learn a lot in a niche, that’s even more power, and I was just thinking and one final thought on, you know, if you go you decide to go niche, you go for it, but then somebody comes to you with this other option. It’s gonna be tempting. But what I would say, and I’m sure you probably echo this, Jason is have some have a good referral partner for that job. So if you’re Sally, and you do dog grooming websites, or whatever it is, as long, I don’t know if that’s a good market, but as long as it’s a decent market, then if something that dentist comes along, we’ll just keep on using that example. To do this, but that’s not my focus. But Jim over here does he does great websites, talk to him. And then guess what happens when Jim gets a dog grooming business, he’ll likely refer that to you, and you can capitalize on that. So I’m select that, and that’s a good way to go.
Yeah. And when you when you do when I’m sure you teach, because there is an issue out there of here is how much I am charging, which means this job is equal to another job worth the same price. And that is could not be that’s one of the biggest myths in the world, right? Because if you’re a specialist, you have systems designed to get the work done faster. So per hour, you’re making more if you take an outside job in the $10,000 sounds amazing. But you’re going to have to do so much custom work, you’re going to have to invest twice the time into it, that job is not profitable, like you think it is. So that’s the other thing to keep in mind that when you niche, you can standardize and specialize your systems, which we do, we can build websites in hours, as opposed to six months. But if someone comes in with a lot of money, and it’s enticing, but it’s outside of our field of expertise, we might think, oh, we’re gonna get all this money. But if we broke it down the back and forth with the client, all of the customizations it actually it’s better to have what you have partners. Yeah, we don’t do it. But here’s someone who does.
I, I’ve talked about that before, where it’s better to get five $3,000 websites of bread and butter type of clients that you know, the system, you know, the process, you know, these brochure style websites, you know, how to build them and integrate them and everything. Whereas a bid for a $15,000 website might sound really interesting, but who knows what that’s going to come with? That’s a prime example. I would rather do the five 3000 bread and butter than a 15,000. That’s gonna take six months, and it’s gonna be a nightmare.
Yep. Yeah, couldn’t agree more. People are like that price tag, like, I think they’re distracted by that. They just look at that. But actually, you got to break it down to know how much time you’re spending to actually build these things.
And also, I suppose if you’re in a niche, you probably get used to some of the same personality types, right? Like you. You might, you might like, yeah, like I was thinking. I was joking about lawyers earlier. And the reason that I didn’t care for working with lawyers is they just made things so damn difficult, which their lawyer they had, like, they’re gonna read every single word in your contract, and they’re gonna do everything and they’re gonna like when they send content, it’s just going to be the most painstaking process for them. Whereas if you’re working with a home inspector, they’re probably not going to send you content because they don’t really know how to turn their computer on and they’re not using, you know, they’re not like.
That’s such a good point.
As a generalist, the danger of that which we all experienced as web designers is you’re going to have different personality types within these different industries. So I suppose if you go niche, you might keen on a certain type of personality type that you really like working with. That’s a good like, I I really ended up liking working with a couple of different types of industries, I guess. There was a steel company and a manufacturing company and a fabrication company, three different companies I worked with, and they were all great, because they were all established businesses. And they knew a little bit about files and stuff like that. And they were really on it with content like those were good established business owner type of people that were really good to work with. Whereas again, Home Inspectors, I had some good ones, some tricky. Oil lawyers, realtors, shocker, or excuse me, auctioneers, auctioneers shocker were very cheap. So they were paying to work. Realtors, I have an amazing realtor who’s my personal realtor who we did their website, she was amazing, but realtors tended to be a bit of a pain. So there was like different types of people where I kind of I, again, I kind of semi niched as a generalist to where I didn’t really didn’t take on lawyers, auctioneers, or realtors, and I’m sorry for any of my old clients. Maybe that’s not you, but but that’s the way it was. It was there was just a personality type that gravitated to those industries. And I just didn’t want to work with them.
Right. And that’s why with those steps, we talked about inventory, marketability, ability, and then passion. That’s, that’s still important. Who do you like to work with? Because you’ll go crazy. You and I both know, making all the money in the world does not matter if you have terrible clients, they just they ruin your life. But yeah.
That 15 that 15 k isn’t worth it isn’t.
I picked these people and I understand them. I know where they’re coming from. I know them on a deeper level. So it’s not a sales call. It’s it’s a real conversation about trying to help them which just makes my job so much easier. – Jason
Worth it? No. And you’re so right, because once we chose coaches, now, my sales calls are so much fun, because I know, I know what’s in their head. I know what they’re worried about. I know what they’re expecting me here. I know what surprises them I know, which part of my sales call is going to get a laugh. I know, like, I have that market dialed in so well, that I know every key word to say when to say it. I close 89% of my sales calls. which normally for a web designer generalist, it’s a lot lower, because you don’t know that it’s almost like every conversation is this brand new, I have no idea what I’m getting into. For me, I know these people so well. And I’ve done it so long that it’s it’s a joy ride, I just know I take them on a journey from start to finish and then close. And it’s fun. And it’s just, it’s so much more fulfilling to really know these people, like you said, you get to pick I picked these people and I understand them. I know where they’re coming from. I know them on a deeper level. So it’s not a sales call. It’s it’s a real conversation about trying to help them which just makes my job so much easier.
When you’re also a you’re a conversions guy, actually the first episode I had you on just as a reminder for everyone, if you haven’t listened to the first episode with Jason go back. It’s Episode 36. So Josh Hall co slash 036. Because we talked about conversions, and he gave some absolute gold on that one. But I imagine it’s 10 times more powerful, if it’s within that niche, because there are there’s all those levels that we talked about where that’s going to make it tough. So well, man, Jason, this has been a great dude. I was just thinking like, I think we’ve covered really most of my main questions as far as you know, when you know the time is right to go niche, how to pick that market. I love. Can you recap the four? Your four big points? Again, I know you’ve touched on a couple times, but it was Yeah.
So that first one is why right? Why niche and the reason are because you’re you’re eliminating alternatives, you’re becoming a market of one, you can charge more, you have a specialized service, your confidence goes through the roof. The next is on how to choose. And so you start by taking inventory of everything you could do. And then you narrow it by Is there a paying market? Am I good at this? Do I have an ability to actually serve better than most, I don’t want you to be average. So you’ve got to be really good at it. And then passion. Do you want to serve that. So you start with inventory and you just cross off, whoever doesn’t fit. And in the end, you’re going to have a strong market that you love to work with. After you have your market, then you research which we didn’t touch on too much. But when it comes to researching, once you know that niche, you go to the social media groups, you read the comments, you find out what their pain points are, you can google and see what the key terms are that people are searching for in your niche. You can go to Amazon and search for the best selling books and then read the table of contents. So that’s one of my favorite parts.
That’s a Pat Flynn trick right there.
Right? As you can best selling books, you know that that markets buying it table of contents will tell you what they’re worried about. So that’s how you can really go to your clients. If they fit in that niche. That’s the big The best thing you could do is talk to people. So talk to your clients why why were they afraid? Why were they looking for you? Why did they say yes. And then marketing and the great thing is once you know that market, as far as where to market you go to the leaders The market, you go to the social media groups, you go to the podcasts to the blogs, because once you have a niche, you can pinpoint where those people live. If you’re a generalist, it is harder to know where your market is congregating. But when you choose a niche, I know I know all the podcasts, blogs, blogs, social media groups, for coaches, I’ve gotten lists hundreds of them, I know exactly where to market. So that Job’s almost done for me, I know where to go, I know what to say. So those are the four steps, why you should niche how to choose, how to research and then how to market to them once you got it.
Yeah, man, that’s beautiful. There it is. I’m sold. I’m sold. Well done. I’m really excited to hear how this one helps my audience with particularly for those who were thinking about this, I hope, I hope this really encourages everybody and gives them the confidence to, to niche down and to specialize and to, you know, I hate to use the whole 10 x thing, but it’s true. You can I mean, I again, unintentionally I niched with what I do right now, and I didn’t even think about it. I just did it. And it definitely paid off immediately. So, man, Jason, this has been awesome. I’m gonna I want to ask you one final question. But I want to know, where would you like my audience to go to they want to find out more about you.
Savvyhippo.com. S.a.v.v.y H.i.p.p.o.Com. So yeah, they can go there. If they want to reach out with questions, they can just click our Contact link, and they can reach me directly if they have any questions about anything happy to help anyone in your audience.
Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, I’ll make sure that’s all linked in the show notes. And my final question for you as we wrap this up. So you’ve your marketing guy, your business guy, and entrepreneur, you’ve had your finger on the pulse and a lot of different industries. If somebody was just early in their web design career, and they were thinking about niching, and they’re interested, I know, we talked about the steps. But is there a particular industry that you think is going to be worth while pursuing in 2021? Is there an industry that you feel you’ve you think is exploding or is going to boom? And what what would that industry be that maybe web designers could could target?
My answer would be coaching and consulting, unfortunately, because I don’t want a competition. So you guys stay away. But with what with what happened with COVID, so many people, their lives are online now. And they’re realizing that you can’t rely on the job market, like you’re used to so many people realize they’ve got to depend on themselves. And so the service based business where you can run your company online, so selling information and selling your expertise. It was big before, I think it’s exploding now. So, but there are a lot, it’s not just coaches and consultants, right? There’s there’s a lot of there’s, there’s tutors, there’s therapists, there’s healers, there’s business consultants, so there’s a lot of different people selling their expertise that you could target. But as far as coaches, I would say, stay away from that market. It’s terrible. You don’t want to deal with coaches. Yeah. But yeah, I think the expertise market it was it’s always been big, right, you and I have heard about selling your expertise forever. But I think 2021 it’s going to explode even even bigger. But I also think there’s a lot of others. You don’t want to think about it. What what’s going to come back. So restaurants are going to come back like crazy. Travel, everything that people are building up this anticipation for once it’s safe. All of these industries are going to explode.
I think there’s tons of opportunity everywhere else to brick and mortar. And so if you’re brand new, what I would do is think about that industry that you know is going to have a huge uptick, and then specialize on delivering maybe a post COVID service where you can say I know where you were, I know the struggles you were going through, what is the fastest way to get you back where you were and beyond. That’s one way you could niche and specialize using COVID. We’re going to go post COVID the world’s different. You need different tools. Luckily, you’ve got me, I’m going to help you set all those tools up. I’m going to tell you exactly how to use them. So you can 10x that business. Now that the world’s coming back online.
There it is. Everybody take what Jason said, just plop your name in there and your service. And then there’s your sales script. Beautiful, Jason, thanks again for your time, man. Love to have you on the podcast again. And I don’t think this will be the last time either.
Thank you so much. I love talking with you about anything. So anytime you want me back I’m there.
Cheers. Thanks, Jason.