So, you want to be a web designer but what if you’re in an area in the world where good clients just aren’t around? It takes a lot of work to become a nationally or globally recognized authority or web design agency. Enter white-label web design; a new way to be a web designer while working with agencies from anywhere in the world. Trick is though, becoming a successful white-label web designer is easier said than done.
In this episode, professional white-label web designer and developer Christian van’t Hof (who is also now one of the developers for my agency In Transit Studios), shares his story on how he took his side hustle of designing websites, full time. And on top of that, he shares how he works 100% with clients abroad and with other agencies who aren’t in his neck of the woods (Brazil).
If you’re interested in white-label web design, Christian’s path is the perfect proven path to follow and his method of being helpful FIRST and not asking for work, is the way to go if you’re going to build a name in any web design groups or forums. Enjoy!
In this episode:
03:59 – Greeting to Christian
05:06 – Netherlands to Brazil
08:35 – Starting design
09:31 – Working internationally
12:58 – Creating trust
14:35 – Give before receiving
18:09 – Start with one connect
20:35 – Building from network
22:22 – Working for free
22:59 – Right place, right time
26:44 – Auto mechanics
29:20 – Preparing in the wait
32:43 – Making decisions
35:22 – 2020 launch
37:47 – How to leave a job
41:50 – Quality over quantity
44:24 – Facing fears
45:35 – Currencies
47:20 – Benefits to a name
48:05 – Pay from agencies
50:23 – Profit First budget
52:33 – Learning from another
54:54 – Teaching others
57:16 – Keeping flexible
1:00:59 – Final tip
1:03:28 – Efficiency for 2021
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
This episode presented by Josh’s Divi/WordPress Beginners Course
Connect with Christian:
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #106 Full Transcription
Hello everybody welcome into episode 106 where you’re going to be hearing from a very close colleague of mine this is Christian van’t Hof. Who apart from having an awesome last name that sounds like a bond villain, he is a white label web designer and for those of you who are maybe new to web design and you’re not sure what that term means, that means that as a white label designer you are doing design and development for websites but other agencies are doing the selling and project management and working with the client. So there’s a lot of reasons why you might want to become a white label web designer. And in this episode my man Christian shares exactly how he did it because he was doing web design at a part time and was able to take it full time quit his corporate job and go full time white label web design. And what’s really interesting about Christian and his story and his path right now is that he lives in brazil and a lot of clients around him or should I say a lot of the businesses around him were not his ideal client so he actually works exclusively as a white label web designer with folks from the US from the UK and all over. So for those of you who are in an area in the world where you feel like businesses are not ideal your ideal clients are not right around you locally or even if you’re stateside. Maybe you just live in the middle of nowhere and there’s literally not many businesses in your area, white label web design is an incredible way to go. In this episode Christian really opens up about his entire journey and how he built his name as a white label web designer and how he started getting clients abroad. And it was really fascinating to hear his approach to this because he essentially built his name in Facebook groups and other forums and that’s how he came across my feed. And Christian is now one of our lead designers with my web design agency in transit studios.
So it’s it’s a really great story here it’s gonna inspire you for those of you who want to do white label web design and we talked about this but there’s a little secret that i’m gonna let you in on. If you want to be a white label web designer one of the best ways to do so is to get into the Divi community. Now there’s a lot of other builders were like Elementor and Oxygen and some of these other WordPress builders where they have some communities. But there is no online community stronger than the Divi community and this is exactly where Christian made his name and started his white label career. So if that’s you and you want to get into white label I highly recommend that you also get into divi and the divi community and if you don’t know Divi and you don’t know WordPress yet I want to invite you into my Divi WordPress beginners course. This is the quickest way to learn divi learn wordpress and get confident with building websites and then as soon as you feel that confidence you can then start building your white label web design career. There’s a lot of different facebook groups out there including my facebook group which is the Divi web designers facebook group. It’s actually where Christian started making a name for himself as you’ll hear about so I want to encourage you to join the course and join the community. If that’s you because that’s going to be the quickest way to build a white label career and again if you’re in a place in the world where you feel like i don’t know if i can start a web design business. There’s no clients around me white label is the way to go and guys i’m telling you right now there is such a need for it. So if you want to do white label let’s do it. Listen to this episode this is going to give you all the tools and resources and make sure you join my course to help you with Divi and WordPress and without further ado here’s my man Christian. He was awesome. Great great great opportunity to hear what’s worked for him it’s what i’m gonna recommend for you those of you who want to white label and without further ado let’s kick it.
Christian welcome on to the podcast man. So great to have you on it it’s great to finally chat one on one with you.
Thank you for having me. It’s exciting to be here and I think it was a year ago that you almost launched your podcast I think a little bit over a year now and it’s great to be finally be on there after we talked so so that’s about it and so yeah.
No it’s awesome it’s awesome. You have you on you have a heck of a story and a heck of a path and a journey so far and that’s what we’re gonna dive into because you are you’re one of the best examples i’ve seen of a white labeler and how to do that effectively and i want to dive into that. But again it’s really cool to chat with you one on one man. You work with you know you’re one of our lead designers with InTransit and you know your membership we’ve been chatting I think pretty frequently here for about a year or maybe yeah over a year because you went to my business course and this is the first time we actually have done a one on one call. So I figured hey why not just share it with everybody and and make this a podcast episode. So yeah why don’t you let me know Know to start off here, Christian, where you’re based out of and what you do with your web design business.
So, my name is Christian, and I’m from originally from the Netherlands. And I live now in Brazil. And when I got married here two and a half years ago, and that’s when I found completely migrated officially on paper as well became a resident of Brazil. So, and the first time I went to Brazil was eight years ago, about eight, nine years. And that’s where I got to know my wife during a volunteer project of Youth on a Mission, a Christian missionary organization. And that’s, can we kind of how we connect it. And for one thing led to another so and we decided to get married. And two and a half years ago, I’ve completely moved here. I think I’m home almost here now for four years. That moved to here officially as a resident as well, when we got married. And I got my complaint, well may kind of on my visa for long term. So almost Yeah, for the whole future that’s ahead. So yeah, and I have my own company, Britsol, which is now being registered for the second time, because when he moved from the Netherlands to Brazil, he had to shut down the company in the Netherlands, because it’s gonna
I was gonna ask if you had that when you transition?
Yeah. So in that way, I’ve created a company twice in two different countries. So that’s also another story.
Right there, man? Yeah.
So so that was kind of kind of interesting as well, to see how that goes. So in the Netherlands, say, have made web design agency. And I just dealt with my own clients. And now when I just got full time here, I started to read Okay, I need to get this paperwork, right. And then I can go full time as well. And that’s what I do now. So I work still with my clients in the Netherlands. And on as well, I do bi-level work for agencies. So I do web design. And I do branding as well, both. So at the moment.
Beautiful. Yes. Let’s dive into it. Man. Again, I consider you one of the prime examples of how to white label with different companies from all over the globe. I mean, you’re working with with Eric and I with InTransit. I know we’re based in the US, but you’ve got a lot of clients in the US that you do white label for. and elsewhere. I know, like I said, you’re still working with folks from Europe and all over. So I would love to find out. Where were you when you really decided to take the business serious and that you wanted to go full time with it. Because I know you were working full time when you would come through my business course. And that’s how we got connected initially. And I want to talk about going full time, maybe we’ll save that here to hear about how you got white labeling going. But yeah, what what it look like when you were working, but then you were doing white label and use and you thought, you know what, I might want to take this full time and I want to start white labeling. What did that look like? And how did you go about that?
Um, I think well, initially, I had my company next to my university studies. So I started doing that just on the side. And I was working back in the days, I think there was about 7 6 6 years ago that I was working at a company that I did some marketing communication for, and it had to maintain a few of their sites. And that’s kind of how I got to know a little bit about WordPress and got in touch for the first time. And then people started to ask, okay, what can you do? Can you help me with that as well? So I said, Yeah, just go for it.
I had no clue how to set up a sub domain or domain in general, how to install WordPress and things.
You know why man, that’s everybody’s web design story is we all just fumble into it. And we just keep on messing up and figuring stuff out. And the next thing you know, we’ve got a freelance web design business out of it.
Yeah, exactly. And from that, that day on I just in some ways through my personal network, it got my first clients, and some of them are still on a maintenance plan that I do. And just just to still still, it’s still the same price. So it’s about time to raise some prices there. as well. As some have been the same for five, six years as well. So, but um, in that way, I just started to during University during like three, four years I just did that on on just in the casual basis. I didn’t have a lot of costs and when a went for like five months to Peru or live here for my final internship here in Braz live to live here in Brazil and during those times to still maintain my company. I did a few projects here and there and this is what I always loved and my father he he has his own business family company and I’ve worked for dad in the past. The summers and as a kid go with him to clients so in that way it was always in me to really be independent and to…
You had a little entrepreneurial blood and yeah from the get go.
I can’t really work for someone else that just says okay do this and do that because I’m used to thinking about how to get things better. How to improve things. – Christian
Just a little. Just a little just just enough but that’s why i see really similarities as well so because my father he got me into some of the decisions in the company as well so. What do you think of this game go me go go go with me to sort of meetings with an external company that does a marketing or a website? And you get involved in that and you just get a vibe of how it is to really define your own day and to take your own decisions in what you do. And I think that’s what is all has always been in there. Okay I can’t really work for someone else that just says okay do this and do that because i’m used to thinking about how to get things better how to improve things. And my major in university is about my international business and languages. So that has international marketing in it international sales and things related. So you have already a marketing and strategical background in things so if you combine that with liking to build websites and going deeper with that you have a nice package of things that you have to offer. And then working for the in a day job and having just a follow what the CEO says and just due to his the debt that really made me claim kind of a prisoner in that way so.
Gotcha. So your your background you’ve already you got some entrepreneur blood in ya. You knew I mean it sounds like you didn’t know for sure if you were gonna own your business one day. But i’m sure it didn’t catch you by surprise and it probably helps you we’ll talk about the you know going full time here. But the question is you know we’ve talked about kind of your background and what led you to get to that point but the question is what how do you do that? How do you go full time you’re where you are in the world i don’t know how many local clients could support a business that you would need to support your family in web design. So I know for you white labeling was the key to really be able to go full time successfully. So how did you build and how did you start white labeling and then maybe we’ll talk about that transition of going full time with it but how did you start?
Yeah. I think in my case work started is that i think along the road and the last six years i think i’ve done some casual white labeling. Because I got to know more about Divi I got into the communities and there was some sense of always someone asking Okay except for the non-regular questions in the group that I try to help answer and resolve there was always a regular irregular person there that asked Okay but I need something else on this project for a client as well can you help me with that? And I think during those moments I already started to do a little bit of white level work and I kind of like that because that was just to the point this is this is what needs to be done and just execute it and you don’t have to deal with the other things around getting clients to just do what you’re hired to do and…
And real quick on that christian did you how did you come across that because i see a lot of people on facebook group that will just say hire me or you know here’s my website. But you came across with the right mentality you helped first. But then when those offers were put out there how did you go about it did you just put your website on the post and they recognize your face because you’ve already been helpful or how did that go about practically because I know that’s a big question that a lot of people have and I always encourage you I encourage a lot of people you don’t want to just spam those groups and say hire me hire me you have to be helpful first. But yeah, how did you go about actually getting some of those little one off projects?
Yeah so my general ideas is you need to give first before you receive in that way. And for the people that know me at least know we might name or maybe they have seen me in facebook groups and especially the Divi web designers group that it shows that you create I think about four or five years ago now.
Yeah 16 it was fall of 16 so.
Yeah, so there was just right after I got into Divi as well. And so he got in those into those groups. And, and I’ve always been this way I see you probably need to solve it. And I just whenever I was online, I just got distracted sometimes as well by just going to Facebook groups. And because I hadn’t I had just my, my normal job that I had, at the time initially, during my studies, I just didn’t need any benefit of receiving money in change for helping people. So I’ve never had really good their financial issues. So I was also able to give, so I just try to help people fix things, because I have my own people that helped me fix things, when I don’t know things. And I think this is the fair way that if you get help, it’s a fair way to help others as well. And I think over the years, people have seen me just quite a lot of times in the groups, they’ve seen my name. And then if you help someone else into in a threat, and then either someone else sees that, okay, but I need something me larger, that would take some more time, would you be able to take on a project or do this for me? So then they generally reach out? Or it’s the the one that posted the threat? And I help them and then they ask them, okay, I got on this other project that thing. And I think that’s the key just to give without needing someone something in return. And people see that, that you’re not there just to get or like to maybe get money from them. Because majority starts out just like me, where you don’t have really money to invest to hire someone, and you just need someone to get something fixed. The smaller things.
Well, I just it’s funny listening to you with your, with your approach to the groups because it was the exact same that I think that I did. I mean, my whole brand here started with me just answering questions in the Facebook groups. And that led me to create tutorials. And then when I started answering more questions, people just like you, Christian started to know my name. And then I was getting offers left and right to work on Divi sites. And that’s exactly what happened with us a helpful mentality first, you gave and you gave and gave and those opportunities came and you were you know, if somebody is on a post asking for work, and they see, you know, 10 people respond to say, hire me, but then they see this Christian guy who is like, I’d love to help you out. It’s a different type of approach than just say, hire me and they know you. That’s it. That’s how it starts. But the trick is here, those are just one off projects. And it’s really hard to build a business with one off projects, because it’s inconsistent. It’s, you’re limited to your time and a lot of ways. So how did you turn that into a business? And how did you find a white label partners? Did any of those lead into white label partners? Was it any specific groups? What did that look like when you kind of took it to the next level?
Yeah, um, I think it started. I don’t think we’ve Stephanie Hudson. I think that we, that you started first to see, okay, Chris, are you available? I’ve got a few projects. And I’ve been in there from registered that we created Focus on Your Biz group, the Facebook group. And I think from there, we started to have a little bit more contact, started to chat a bit. And from one day, she’s asked me, okay, can you help me on this project here, I need to get a few things done. And that continue that to on a regular basis, she had a few or like a small build for a pro for a client project. Or she had a few features he needed to include in the site. Or she needed to have some more custom coding or so justments in HTML, CSS, or including some jQuery. And on a regular basis, he started to get in touch. And we communicate a lot via slack with that. And this was initially just for her company, Sweet Tea. And she has her own company as well with FocusedWP together with Tom. So and because I was working that much with Stephanie. I think that’s about a year and a half ago, a little bit more maybe two years now. And Tom also asked me Well, can you I have a few things that I need some help with. So he asked me to slack to the same channel I was using with Stephanie. He asked me if I could help him out on a few things as well. And I think that was a little bit of a start with that, just to not to grow it. But there was just a start Okay, this this is a nice way of getting first in touch with free more consistent work. And I think that through to folks on this group, it was Eric that asked if there was someone that could help him with a small graphic that he had. Since I do branding as well and in the back in the days, he did some more print design and on an irregular basis still do, do that. But he asked, okay, can you help me with this logo, I need to have it saved as an SVG, I don’t have it or need some adjustments. And I did that. And he asked me, What do you want them to payment? I said, No, it’s all good. It was just just a five minute quick job. He said, Okay. But would you be available to do something else, a larger thing, or some some web design. And so that’s how we started chatting, and we jumped on a call. And he said, Okay, I got a few products here and need some help, just get started. And from that, I think at the moment is my second largest client, and together with Chris Solfeggio, who’s in your courses as well and in the club. And those two at the moment are a major clients in terms of white label. So I think that was my step from one or two clients to one that will become larger.
Yeah, well, and that what’s really cool about that, Christian is, you mentioned the group that Stephanie started focus on your biz, and I remember being on TV chat with her that one time where she came up with the idea to make a Facebook group because her brand is focused WP with like you mentioned her and Tom. And course Stephanie has been on the podcast a couple times. And I remember when she started that group, but and here’s the difference. And the reason I’m pointing this out, my group that Divi webdesigners group is mainly a support group. So you’re getting a lot of designers and a lot of di wires in there trying to figure stuff out. It’s not necessarily business owners, whereas focus on your biz says at all, it’s people who are focusing on their business. So that’s a little trick to just a little seek a little top secret for everybody who’s doing white label, if you really want to get in with people who are going to be consistent business owners for white labeling, you really need to put yourself in a position to be in a group where it’s more business minded. But again, you didn’t just get in there and start spamming all over the place, you were still very helpful, and you did some stuff for free. So you did some work with Stephanie, he did some work with my now CEO, Eric, who runs in transit. Those were the two big ones. And then I think at a whole nother level, you joined my business course. And I remember man, I remember you saying I think it was infocus your biz, because I just launched my business course. And I remember you saying, Man, it’s a really big investment for me with the currency. And I think I messaged you and said, I will do everything I can to make sure you get everything out of this investment or something like that. And you joined and you went through it. And then I saw what you did with your business. And then we have a Facebook group for the business course, which I think a lot of people underestimate. When you join a course that I’m not just talking about my courses, but a number of different courses, you’re often automatically included in the community. And I found this with my podcast, because I’ve joined a podcasting course. And then that chorus has a Facebook group. And I’ve had a couple of guests on this podcast already who have come from that group. So you’re automatically in there. And that’s you just mentioned, Chris, who you met, I think you guys started in the business group. Right? I think Chris had some questions, and you got connected with him.
In this case, I think you refer a few names to him.
Potential people that could help him get some websites done and to see if there’s a fit.
I wouldn’t have felt comfortable referring you if I didn’t already see how helpful you are. – Josh
That’s right, you’re right, because he asked me Chris asked me Do you know any designers that might be a good fit for this? And I go back to you being consistent in the groups man, I remember I was like, well, Christian’s doing white label now. And he’s not full time yet. But he might be a really good fit. And I know he’s really good at CSS. I know he’s good at some of this other stuff. And then there you go was a perfect match. So but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable referring you if I didn’t already see how helpful you are. That was the biggie.
Yeah. And I think that was a that was the way as well, because then we jump straight on the chat with him. And I had this email, I was like, okay, it was this. And then we just had to jump on a zoom straight and I just share what I think and what I’ve done, because I already knew how some agencies or things work. And I think for this part as well, one of the keys was is that he is using the process that you have laid out in your web design process course and the business course as well. And that makes it easier to connect with people in that same space, because they use the same methodology and it makes it easier to integrate in those agencies because they say okay, here’s the project, but okay, I just follow the steps.
I didn’t think about that. For you, you’re working with Eric and Chris, who have both been through my courses, and they have my processes their process now. So that’s got to be pretty cool for you. You don’t have to worry about different processes. And I’m sure there’s some things that are a little bit different. But overall, like you said, the method methodology is there.
Yeah. But going back at how to how to get those agencies how to work with those partners that think the folks on base is really good for me. So as you said, the Divi web designers group isn’t necessarily a group of web design, agency owners. There’s a they are a lot, but it’s a large group, I think about 45k plus members, or even more right now. But I think that helps, too, because what you’re doing is you’re niching, or niching.
Tomato, tomato, nichi, whatever you want to call it.
Yeah. And I think that’s what you need to do in how to get clients. So that’s basically just marketing. That’s just how to what is your ideal client for that service? So in this case, white label work, is what you do for someone that is either a freelance web designer with a lot of projects, or is someone that calls himself an agency that a lot of times it’s the same, the same name? Yeah, but you just position yourself in a market differently towards your customers.
Did you have your website up at that point? And did you have mention of white labeling? Or was it very organic, with how you went about that?
Well, for me, it’s all just inside of Facebook groups, I never because my website is just like any other agency or like freelance web designer, we forget, forget about ours. And I’ve always been so busy. And it since I was getting so many things out of the Facebook groups, and as well to the white label agencies, and never really needed to focus on my own marketing as well. And majority of my own clients that I have in the Netherlands, for example, are true referrals. And just and I’m actually really ashamed of my own site, and there’s people this, okay, I just like it, it’s still good and things. But I’ve already gotten a new logo, which you got to hear up in the, in the room as well probably sign up before I started recording. But one of the things that was there is that I just didn’t care about doing my own side. And it’s about just like the car mechanic that works on cars any day and his own car. It’s just.
Yeah, no, and that’s, that’s the beauty, though, like, to be honest, I mean, I wouldn’t advise that you have a site you’re not proud of as a white labeler. But you didn’t need it like you are you found us, you know, you, you were helpful. And you built your network enough to where you had some really good referral partners with white label agencies. And then you gave all of your attention to them. And that’s the same motto I’ve been saying for a long time is you don’t have to kill yourself marketing and getting new clients, if you focus on your best clients. And for you, those were Eric and Chris and the white label, folks. So I love that man. That’s great. And I know you’re you know, you’re taking a lot of strides. And on the business side of things, you really opened up your mindset. And I want to talk about going full time because you started so you got consistent white label stuff. And then you came to a crossroads. And I remember you messaged me about this because and I still I love I had the post in the in the Facebook group, our course Facebook group, where you are saying you’re planning on going full time. And I’d love to talk about What went through your head there. Because you were making I think, if I remember right, I think you’re making about half what you made in your full time job. You know why you were white labeling, but and then you kind of figure like I did when I went full time. If I go full time, I can probably you know, exceed my income tenfold. So talk about going full time with it. Did you feel like there is enough white label work that you could really grow it? I know you don’t have a family. I mean, you’re married, but you don’t have kids yet. So you know, and you’re in a place in the world where you don’t need to a it’s not a higher standard of living as far as your currency and stuff. So did that all factor in to help you go full time and take that jump?
Well, initially, I didn’t think about going full time just to do white level work. And that was and I always had. So as I said, I had really the urge as well and always had to have my own business and just work for myself and to make money for myself and not make money for someone else. And when I first got to Brazil, I did my graduation internship because in the Netherlands we do like a graduation internship. It’s that you go to a company and that’s where you write your thesis or your dissertation. You write it inside the company while can of working there so in general is like 10% you’re working down and 90% work on your dissertation. And that company is where work as well where we got married and it got into the company. And in order for me as well to after getting married i really as i said okay i don’t have a lot of income from a web design part i got a sufficient to at least with a normal salary at least here local salary here. With my side hustle as complimentary income yeah i would have been at least a little bit more freedom here to do to do things and to really sustain like am i on my family. But without my day job i wouldn’t have stable income and i fought especially when getting married getting to a new country and you need to get all the things in the house you need to really establish the things because if i will have lived in the Netherlands got married there i probably would have this or every family member has okay here’s here’s a fridge here is there. And when you’re living overseas that’s harder and that makes it hard for for to get your get starting and and i said i said is what because one of the things to work here in brazil or to have a company you need to have your permanent visa or a working visa and a working visa would take too much time to get done and we were getting married anyway. So i was waiting to get married get our documentation right get my visa and then get my account with my work passport because what they have we generally use just a CV write resume and we just send it to another company when you want to work there but here in brazil they have next to that they have this little kind of a passport which they call it. Which i call it but it’s that word card which includes all your previous employers or employees way of work before with your rare with your salary the dates and things and i needed that before getting to work as well so.
So you basically you’re saying you you got everything set up to you know in place for you and your wife before transitioning full time right like while you were working full time you made sure that your house was in order everything is in place and that gave you a little more flexibility and leeway to go full time is that right.
Yeah so but i didn’t think about yet going full time i was just keeping it on the side but because i wanted the needed to have the extra income for i started to work as a marketing coordinator at a company. I didn’t make the salary i could make as an international resident here because then you can get into larger companies that have better salaries and because I speak multiple languages you’re better in a better place. But what i wanted is to just get to the company learn first what i need to know about local culture in terms of business. And it’s an accounting firm so it helps me as well to know how things in terms of businesses go. How support is the legal part and things that behind that and after a few months in as well i just felt okay i’m not made to work for someone else. To work in a company where someone else says if my work is okay or not because i knew it was. It was great and that was kind of how i was thinking about okay how can i prepare myself to go full time because i was about to lose my fixed income. Because that would guarantee at least because in my opinion when you get married you need to care to take care of the family and take care of the house. My wife she had a day job as well but at least my part i feel maybe it’s a manly thing as well. I feel kind of the urge we need to take care of that and it’s our responsibility partly. It’s not completely that we take that upon us maybe mentally and that’s why i chose for my day job. But in there i was just like get it’s not completely one on one and i had questions about If I could take on this project. I was like nah i can’t because i just don’t have the time to do it and to really invest in my marriage because the first few years of marriage are really important in a way how you connect especially in different cultures.
Yeah and if you didn’t rush for going full time because you knew it’d be too much at that point which is great
I never rush
This is a great lesson in. You don’t have to rush if you don’t need to like you, you played the long game with building your brand with the Facebook groups and getting yourself to a place where you could go full time. Focusing on your marriage, focusing on your house and everything. But then it came, it still came, you got to that point where you’re like, Okay, I want to go full time. And the kicker that I’m excited to hear more about is you went full time right when COVID hit. I remember. You so you went full time in March 2020. And because I remember your posts in our group, saying you just went full time and in the week after we in Columbus, Ohio shut down. So I was like, man, like I I didn’t say this out loud. I was like, Oh my god, I feel so bad that Christian went full time right? When it right when it just, you know, shit hit the fan. But the cool thing is, is you’ve come through with flying colors in 2020 was an amazing year for you. So let’s talk about that you, you decided to leave the job. Take the risk. And you mentioned you know, your thought about building the business white label wasn’t on your radar as as you thought it was gonna be as much. Yeah. So did you find that you just when you went full time that you had more time to devote to that? And that’s just what the best opportunity was? or What did that look like when you finally made the jump?
Yeah, so I think it was already in the not in November, before or even before that, because I think it took the course 2018 maybe because I think, or 2019.
2019 Because I launched it in the fall of 2019. Early fall, I think, yeah, you took it and I remember you said that your goal was to go full time, I think in the spring of 2020. So you again, you gave yourself some time you didn’t rush it, you didn’t make any bad decisions. You you kind of put all your ducks in a row and led up to that.
And I’m really with everything I do I’m really structured. I try to be structured. And I always overthink things too much as well. And yeah, so I was already in the in the phase of rebranding, redo my blog, because Okay, I’m going to new country go to redo a few things. So I need to have a brand name that makes sense internationally as well, without a tagline without all the things around it. And in November, so I figured preorder the cores, and I said, Okay, I’m going, I’m going to work towards going full time in, in the spring, at least in 2020 2020. And when it says say that, I just do it as well, I don’t get anything in a way. And so as soon as the you advanced, so 2020 2019 came to its end almost. I already talked to my boss, and I was like, Okay, I’m looking for a way to get out. What is the way because I didn’t know exactly how to how to, to resign in an in another country. How does that work? Because it was totally new. So I said, Okay, what is the Is there a specific time that you still need to work? Is there anything about that? So how does that work and when would be fitting for you as well.
You didn’t just give your two weeks and in peace out you you played the long game with that to kind of give us some heads, I’m sure that you know, that’s got a that’s got to be respected by by your boss, if he knows what’s coming without being shocked, if you just you know, don’t show up one day,
I think as well for me is a bit a little bit about ethics as well. And I think my but so the company work at my boss was to call the the CEO or the MOCMO of the company. So he was the marketing, like business development guy in the company. And he is also my best man. So we have a close connection.
Okay, that makes it 10 times more complex, you guys it was like a personal friend.
Yeah. But that doesn’t make it more complex. We just make it ourselves sometimes too complex. And I think if you have a really good friendship that you call can cause some cost on when your best man or your wedding. I think you can talk about things that go outside of work as well and just have a normal chat about things. And we had just an open hearted conversation during lunch probably. And I said okay, I’m just looking to what’s going for myself work to work for myself. And we just got over to the he just said an informal note to HR to ask what are the procedures and how to do things. And he just reported back to me is that okay, this this is the way so and I said okay, what will be a great moment for you. This is never he said never, but I said okay, but if that would be so we decided on just get 21 2020 started, and then I’m going going out of the company. So starting from March 15 I was leaving the company. When I when after my last day, you need to get back to the company to get that passport for them to sign it and to say, okay, you left the company this and this day, there was a week after. And then they then went, there was the day they started to, to put alcohol and masks in the com in the company. Yeah. So that was the first day really it hit and we really didn’t know about that it was going to happen.
So literally like the day you went full time with your web design stuff. And that’s when you know, the covid of the COVID stuff really came to came into play.
So did you just buckle down at that point? And how did how did white label When did you know that white label was the best option for you? Because I know you’re what’s interesting about you, Christian is you’re a hell of a designer, a coder, but you have a very savvy business mind as well. And that’s a very powerful combo. Most people are either really savvy with business and don’t want to touch websites, or they’re really good with design and Dev, and they just maybe they don’t want to do the business end of things. But you seem to be a little mix of both. So yeah, when did you When did you realize okay, you know, what, white labeling is actually the best step for me? Because I know that was the majority of your income in 2020.
Yeah, at the moment, if I look at it, it was 70% of my income. And that’s including, including my day job. So 60 70% was that. So I think when I was going…
So when, when you went full time real quick, as you were in your day job a few months, and then for 2020 70% was white label, so it’s probably safe to say, upon going full time, it was almost all of your income.
Oh, exactly. So and I think I started to work with Eric, December, the first thing, and starting in January, February, we started to work on the first projects. And a few of those just got stuck because of COVID but it didn’t continue. But at least I knew Eric always said, Okay, I’m growing my business, and I need you. So I knew Okay, whatever happens, at least I have with Eric some more consistent projects coming in. Yeah. And I ended that time, it was worth a read already as well Profit First. And it got in February of a business setup here in Brazil. And starting from March, I was able to get a business account as well. Beautiful. So from that day on, I really started to do things as a company as well. And I said to my clients, my white label guys I said, Okay, and that time, Chris wasn’t in the picture yet. And I think that was in March, April, maybe more May that you said, Okay, here’s Chris. And so.
Yeah, you’re right. Yeah, you had just gone. So time. Yeah.
So that helped me as well. And I think as well, because when you have guys with agencies like Stephanie, she has always has context where people know each other. And people know, Eric, and you started to get to know a little bit about that Eric was growing, I was working with him on whitelabel work, you started refer some people. And that way, I was able to say as well to those people, Okay, I’m ready to grow if you need to, I’m here to get your projects on as soon as possible. And I think that was really what helped in that way. And through Facebook groups and chats, some other agencies started. Okay, Chris, and you need to do some project here. Can you help me? And I generally have agencies generally have positive experience with me. I might be not the cheapest on the market if you go to Facebook groups, but I’m definitely not the most expensive one. In terms of hourly rates, if you compare it how agencies position themselves with hourly rates.
Yeah, it’s all about the value your worth every year worth every penny, which, you know, you’re working with me. So you know, I’m gonna be encouraging you to raise your rates here. So I don’t know how Eric’s gonna feel about that. But hey, we’re all we’re all in this together. Now. I want to know, when you went full time, did you ever have like a panic moment? Or did you have any sort of play like oh, my God, okay.
Yeah, because when you’re more business minded as well, you’re kind of a control freak with those things as well. We, we love I was even getting my documents to have all my processes SOP’s documented. I think I’ve even sent you a few screenshots of those back in the days.
Yeah, my course and then you showed me your client list, your a your master, you know, your A clients or B clients, your C’s and everything organized. Yeah.
So and if you’re like that, that way having no consistent income guaranteed, as far as the thing that can freak us out every day. I said to my wife, okay, if I’m just going to have a normal revenue per month of double my wage, what a mystery that I had here, because I take out in the back of this 60% for my own part because of Profit First. So I divided it all into nice boxes and things. And I said, okay to have at least my general income, I need to make this. So when I was able to hit that because of the currencies as well, because of COVID currencies, for me, went to skyrocket as well.
Because the dollar went up, which guaranteed more local currency for me.
So I just think it was actually in a weird way, it was actually a benefit for you because of the currency change. Yeah,
Yeah. So in order to get for myself get plugins in dollars and things that was harder as well, because for me, those prices went up. So courses and things they would just up. And that was for me for was four pounds was for Australian dollar, Canadian, US dollar, everything went up in the same way. And my local currency went down. So it made more money without raising my rates. Yeah. And that was a huge benefit as well, that made it so for this year, my folks as well. So okay, I need to up my work on my rates. Because I know if COVID is going to settle down, I expect at least to have those get to get a little bit more balanced. Yeah, so I was always freaking out. But I’m going to pay the bills at the end of the month, what is still an asset? Okay, what is the worst thing that can happen to me? Because my wife she had, a fixed income?
Yeah, we talked about this, I remember and you know, you know, man, like, that’s my, that’s my big thing, when it comes to risk is what is the worst thing that could possibly happen and be okay with it and sound like for you, like, you were never getting up on the street, right? I mean, you would have figured something out worst case scenario.
And I can always go again, into Facebook groups and and say, and get some work. That’s just how it is. If you have a name, people know, you’re capable of doing things. You can write someone if needed, and say, Okay, do you have a project for me? If it’s someone you’ve worked with before? If it’s an agency that, you know, there’s always they always need a few things done or more basic things you say? Okay, if I lower a little bit my rate, would you be able to give me some work in debt? And my experience is white level agencies or agencies work with pay way faster than normal companies? Oh, sure. Yeah. And I think the general payment due date, or debt payments come in, they use a payment processor online, even soda takes a bit as well. I think it’s a three days, majority of bills of my white level clients are paid well, with normal customers, it can be 7,14 30 days before things are paid. So that was a good thing as well.
Yeah. Now your income took off pretty quick. I remember. How, how soon, was it that you started making what you made full time and realized, Oh, my gosh, I can make a lot more now because I’m not limited. I’m finally not limited.
Yes. Is that quick, right?
Yeah. Because, because especially when we take on projects, we take on 50% deposits. And that’s what to do with white level work as well. And when I was growing as well, and well, Eric, for example, is growing, we started to revise a little bit about how we do projects, and he was starting to do a lot of projects on his own. But I did more initial designs. So we just set almost a fixed rate for this type of site. The initial design would be this this type of site, it was B this and initial rate initial deposits, they hit immediately. So for us, the good thing is, at least if we close that month, the project, or two or three or four projects, we at least have some income that month. Guaranteed. Right? Question is the only thing is and that’s what I see is that if I look at my revenue over the last year, I see there’s a few bumps went and a few just just a few lows, like two lows. I think that was August and it was December, and October was a really high one. So that was 50.
So that’s exactly like I swear, that is the pattern of most web design is August and can get like late summer generally tends to be a little slower because people are vacationing or they’re getting back from trips in a busy summer and then they start to focus In the early fall, which means usually September and October is big. And then December typically has always been the lowest month for most web design, in my my experience, because of holidays, and a lot of people don’t want to start a project right before they’re getting ready to go into the holidays. And they’re already spending money for for gifts and stuff. So generally, they wait till like January to get going. So that’s so funny, because I’ve seen the exact same thing.
I expected that December to be more balanced more my average, because even though you have dead, a lot of the larger companies, because if you started to work with some larger agencies or work with less the local businesses, you work with more companies that have a marketing budget, and where the marketing department says, Okay, I still got budget to pay you this year.
That’s true. Yeah. There are some people who want to get that off the books. Yeah.
Exactly. So but it was good. And I started to, and one of the things implemented as well, because of profit first, that was able to save money. And that’s why over the last few months, I was able to get some more things, get some more things and every quarter I was able to Okay, say okay, I need to have this this much in the bank of the company. And what’s left on top of that, I just pay myself as a bonus.
Well, that’s what’s so great about once you get to the point where you can give yourself a buffer is those low months aren’t going to stress you out or kill you because you already have that buffer in place. And you know, the sound after that is likely going to be much better. Now. Obviously, the big fix to all that is recurring income, which I know it’s a little more difficult to build recurring income with white label, but you’re also still balancing some of your clients and I know you’re you’re very business savvy. So I know like the next couple years are gonna look very different. Because I know you’re focusing on all kinds of different avenues for more recurring income but, but I’d love to hear how white labeling came through for you, man like that. What a cool success story that almost instantaneously, instantaneously, excuse me, you are making more than your full time job. But you don’t have to tell me exact numbers. But what I know recently was Didn’t you say you made like, was it five times more than?
About five times at the moment?
Yeah, five times more doing white labeling primarily, then you were at your core at your day job at a salary job.
My wife’s like, okay, you should have done this first. Should have done that before. -Christian
Yeah. And that moment, my wife’s like, okay, you should have done this first. Should have done that before. But I said to him as well, because I was really close working closely with the CMO. And he’s a guy that has been in business for a long time. And being on his side is what learning from him was, for me so invaluable, because you can study whatever on your journey, or whatever thing you do, like you could take your business course. But if you don’t put it into practice, or get to lessons, you won’t get it. Yes, you have no way to implement it. And that was, for me, my key thing of being a company, even though it was a low pay, compared to what I could do. But it was sufficient to pay the bills. And that allowed me to learn a lot in the prac practically. So and that was really beneficial for that. And when I started to, to go to a really into white label. I was like am I going to do it is because I can’t have recurring income with high level work. You can have recurring projects, yeah, depends on when your client why they were clients get projects and if they use you to execute them, but you won’t have so sometimes in the when we talk about a new company I’m starting to work with. And I said this is my rate or my percentage for projects. And I said, Well, maybe it might be that you before you had 100% of the project was yours. But now you’re making you’re paying someone to do it. And I said, Well, you are able to do twice as much projects at the same time. But I won’t have recurring income, you will have that client forever, at least they will have those on recurring plan. And if you do that, right. You might able even just be a recurring income company without building the site yourself and doing everything external. And as long as you are in a place because, for example, in the Netherlands, I really have a hard time raising rates or maintenance plans. Even though he’s explained value you explained we were able to include this and this and this in the maintenance plan. They just if I click on the button myself so updated site, why should I pay you this much for doing that?
Oh, they’ll find out?
Yeah, but then I said okay, and then I prefer to pay you an hour to fix it and because they don’t want to have de fixed costs that much and that was making it sometimes harder as well. So and it’s okay wider work is perfect for me at the moment and i don’t know for how much time again to do that and i hope to build my own company on this side. I just hired a new guy it says former from the family my wife she’s my cousin it’s and he is just we because when i lived for the first time in brazil like oh when i really started to date my wife and we started to live with them i started to know him a little bit he was 14 at the time or 13 he’s now 16 and he’s really into more tech things. And he said okay what do you want to do what are you going to work on and i said okay i’m here i’m here to help you and then one and a half things to teach you and bit by bit i’ll make you capable to help me with my business. On either maintaining my own clients either do some graphic stuff or even help on white level projects in time. Yeah that’s sometimes hard because if you said your site itself a high standard of working it’s not as hard to scale because i can only take as much projects as much and you say okay you can take on 10 5 10 projects you just need to stagger them. Give them the the note of the note a day on friday and you just need to keep the client happy. It showed them that you’re working on things with white level work is different with that because you’re saying we’ll say that to the one that needs to say that to his claim yeah that’s another level that that makes it harder to have many projects at the same time.
The beauty is is you’re as you get more valuable to you can be more selective and you can just work with a couple people if you want or you know have a more like structure kind of schedule and flow in it and they know you too and they know what you can take on what you maybe can’t take on and like you’re you’re an interesting point because you’re kind of scaling white labeling which is really cool.
Yeah and i think the interesting thing is is every agency works differently and i work now i have seven to eight agencies on the list of agencies i’ve worked with last year maybe 10 even and that’s in the US, that’s Canada, that’s Australia, that’s the Netherlands that’s the UK different agencies i work with in that way. And every agency has their own demand so some are more full build some are initial build some are more the on demand that thing so for example we focused on up last year i had a lot of things that they just added tasks into slack into click up and i just went in there in 24 or 48 hours and get them done. And that would have me like an invoice to send on the first of each month because of the billable hours and a few agencies i work of that that way. And but different depending on the agency and the stages there are so for example eric he is really business minded he is looking at scaling, improving processes and things and so my part is less than that part. I know it can we always be we chatted every now and damage up on the zoom this occurs how would you do this but in general he is the one that goes into those. And it just if i see in a project that we are doing things different that’s okay we can change that in our routine but so for example with Chris we’re on a different level because he has less experienced with web design and so we’re looking both how to merge my experience with his process and how to be able to make that scale and how can we make basic things. So what are the plugins for us so yeah Eric now if InTransit is using more for example gravity forms and i generally use caldera. So when i start working with white label clients i don’t have a preference i tend to start working on caldera because it’s free. To not get into high costs from start on if you don’t have clients that pay for the licenses yet or you can include that as a part of the fee and that way you start to really help not the agency form. And sometimes difficult is that it starts to completely depend on you as well so that makes it somewhat harder to scale up your business you take on all the agencies because you need to have a certain level of education to some companies.
Yeah, but that’s it’s this has been great man. I mean, you’ve really, I know you’re kind of a different point. Now because we’re closing in at the time of releasing this, you’ll have been full time for over a year. So it’s pretty dang awesome man to see that you five extra income with primarily white label design and to see what you’ve done. And I appreciate hearing the whole path from how you started and what your mindset was to just help out Facebook groups to getting one off jobs and doing white label to going full time. And you’re balancing your business with also doing white label and kind of last thing I wanted to ask you. So we have been talking for an hour here. Because you kind of talked about how you manage different product projects and working with different white label people. What would be your number one recommendation for others who want a white label, particularly working with different companies is is would you say being flexible to what they use or, or sharing what you know, what’s like your biggest tip for somebody who wants to do white label?
Um, I think my biggest tip is to do your company first and understand who they are, and what their processes are. And in my case, I put myself as flexible as possible. But it’s always important to communicate clearly with them. And to say, Okay, I’m working with you. But there’s other agencies I work with as well. So sometimes I can’t take on a project, just because I want to offer the best quality for every project. And if it reaches a certain number of projects, I can’t deliver that. And for the agency, depending on you, or some have other options as well to white level two other guys. It’s the best way to say okay, I can’t sometimes take on a project. And to be fair, because if you say, Okay, get me to project get me details, get me to deposit and we get started. And if you don’t start a in like three weeks, they have the final client mad. Asking questions, how can we do this, give me and I think the best way of doing that is really to be honest to yourself, and as well to the agency you’re working with. So they know what they can expect. And if an agency agency come towards you, can I get offer you some irregular work, and I said, okay, but I’ve got a few other agencies that work with as well that it wants to guarantee the highest quality possible from my site. And I can work at nights as well. But then the quality won’t be good, won’t be as high standard as I want it to be. So for that communication, and be always clear from my side and towards your white level client in that way.
Yeah, what a great ending tip, man, that’s a great mentality to have. I’m super proud of you, Christian, for what you’ve done for going full time and for killing it. And you’re obviously one of my trusted go-tos for a lot of CSS and jQuery and all kinds of crazy stuff. So I mean, it’s you’ve been invaluable for me, too. And, man, it’s been awesome to see your journey progress. And I know we’re just at the start, because 2021’s gonna be a heck of a year for you. And you’ve got a lot of stuff. That’s gonna look a lot different over the next couple years. And I’m really excited to see how it progresses, man.
Cool. Yeah, I think it’s going to be a great year. And one of my focuses as well as that. I think it was in the Focus on Your Biz that Stephanie asked, What is your focus word for 2021. And is that efficiency. And when you have been working so long in the Facebook groups, giving free tips, that’s almost a daily routine. And when you start really going false, I mean, it’s many to make sure that your clients are happy in the time you deliver projects, and my way, so in order to upscale and to help other agencies grow as well. I need to be more efficient, and get really majority of distractions away or focus on the real things that you need to focus on to be productive. So that’s a balance, that when you start to go into full time, that’s the thing that you need to learn because he don’t do it anymore. In your late late, late late night, late hours. After having a day of work with older stress and frustration and they get into creative process of designing a project that’s totally different. Then full time and yeah.
Yeah, well, great stuff. Christian man. super pumped for you. Thanks for coming on. It was awesome to chat and really excited to see what you do here in 2021, man.
Hey, thank you. Thanks for being here.