​Subscription based services are all around us now. Personally, I can think of dozens my family and I have including Disney+, Netflix, DollarShaveClub, HomeChef, etc and that’s outside of all of our monthly bills which are also technically, subscription based services. Heck, even my auto mechanic now offers a member plan subscription service for his regular clients.

That begs the question, is there a market and an opportunity for a web design subscription business?? Well yes, yes there is. In this episode, we chat with Steve Schramm who built his entire web design business from day one as a subscription model and discovered that through recurring income, one client at a time, he was able to build a solid bottom line and take his web design business full time early in 2021 without the fear of the typical “feast and famine” that most all project based web designers go through.

One big idea to note is that, with any subscription based service, it’s a long game. You won’t make nearly as much in the early days than if you were to charge 3, 4, 5k + for a project. However, the recurring income you can build is the key and in the long run, the lifetime value of clients can be thousands or tens of thousands over what they would normally be if you just do a one and done project.

This conversation was fascinating as it’s a model I’ve always been curious about. A big thanks to Steve for being so transparent and being an open book about pricing, numbers, lessons learned, etc!

In this episode:

04:28 – Greeting to Steve
07:48 – How recurring started
11:06 – Keeping owners active
13:36 – A recording session
16:30 – Musicians to websites
18:15 – Evolution and lessons
21:03 – Pricing breakdown
24:36 – Playing the long game
27:12 – Devil’s advocate
29:44 – Getting content on time
32:44 – Grandfathering
35:38 – Automation tools
37:52 – The four phases
41:33 – Guiding the relationship
42:01 – The key to success
45:09 – Renewing vows
48:13 – Five year goal
51:33 – Living on a prayer
53:16 – Financial discipline
55:30 – Growth
58:53 – Josh does math
1:01:18 – Steve’s Info
1:02:46 – Finally thoughts
1:04:18 – Spreadsheet budget

You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.


Connect with Steve:

Featured links mentioned:

Episode #109 Full Transcription

Full Transcription

Josh 0:00
Hey, friends, welcome in to the podcast. This is Episode 109. And this is an interesting one, because we are going to be looking at a different type of web design business model. And it is a subscription business model. What’s extra interesting about this is that I found this to be very rare and web design, although I think it’s becoming more and more common and more people are interested in this, because of the lovely two words that it creates. And those two words are recurring income. We’ve seen this in all industries. If you think about Disney plus, or Netflix or Well, just about anything nowadays, there’s all sorts of subscription models. I mean, I’ve I look around at my life. So yeah, I’ve got Netflix got Disney plus, I’ve got my razors from Dollar Shave Club that are on a subscription model, we’ve there’s Mike, my auto mechanic has a subscription service now where you can get a better deal if you do like a subscription option. So there’s all sorts of examples in our lives today, where there’s a subscription business model. Now, how does that translate to websites? And can it work in web design? I’m excited to let you know that it absolutely can work. And in this episode, you’re going to hear from somebody who’s doing it and doing it very well. This is one of my close web design students, Steve Schramm, who started his web design business on the subscription model. And he opens up in this episode about his entire process, he talks about the beginning and what that looked like and what pleat what seeds were planted for him with the idea of a subscription design and web design type of service. And it was really interesting, because as you’ll find out in this episode, it is a slow, long game type of approach, meaning if you do a subscription service, you’re generally not going to make near as much in the beginning as you would if you’re charging three, four or $5,000 for sites. However, there is a lot of power in building your bottom line and building that recurring income. And also, it offers a lot more opportunities for clients who don’t have a big budget, but can pay you a lot more in the long run. And you can create lifetime clients with this model.

Josh 2:23
So I found this conversation. Fascinating. Because it’s not a model that I did, the only recurring I had as a web designer was my monthly maintenance plan and SEO services. So this was really fascinating to me, to be honest, as I went through this conversation with Steve, it got me thinking, Man, if I could do things differently, I don’t know, maybe I would have chosen a subscription business model, because it was pretty cool to hear how he’s done it. And what was really interesting about this is that he recently went full time into web design. And he did it without having to have any feast or famine. You know why? Because he built his subscriptions. And he built enough recurring revenue to cover his bottom line. And now he’s able to build and scale his business around this now, it does come with a lot of I was gonna say cons I don’t want to say cons but challenges. And I’m sure you have a lot of questions like How does that work? How does it work with redesigns or hourly work? How does you know how does a full big e commerce build work with a subscription model? Well, rest assured, we answer pretty much every question I think you can think of in this episode. If you do have additional questions, though, just leave a comment on the post, go to Josh Hall co/109. I’m sure Steve would be happy to answer any questions. And I’ll chime in there as well. So can’t wait for you to hear this one. This was fascinating. Now, if you do not have any recurring income in your business, I want to help you with that. And the best way to do that is with, as I mentioned earlier, a website maintenance plan. This is one of the key things that you will find out in this episode that you need to have in place if you’re going to have a subscription based web design model. So if you don’t have a website maintenance plan, or maybe you have one that you’re looking to take to the next level. I have a website maintenance plan course it’s open right now I’ve helped students from all over the world build recurring income through their maintenance and hosting, I would love to help you as well. So join that today if interested. And without further ado, here is my man Steve’s Ram. Well, that was kind of cool. Ryan didn’t even mean to do that. But here we are ordering a talk subscription based web design model. absolutely fascinating conversation. Let’s dive in.

Josh 4:24
Steve, welcome to the show, man. It’s awesome to have you on.

Steve 4:28
Absolutely. I am more than excited to be here.

Josh 4:32
Well, I apologize for the complete noob error that I had. This is the second time we’re recording this intro because I had the wrong microphone selected for our recording. I’m so glad I caught it early on because that would have been I don’t think anyone want to hear me do a whole episode for my air pods. So we got the right mic on now we’re starting over but man I’m so pumped to have you on because I have such a kinship feeling with you. You are an awesome web designer and you’re a savvy entrepreneur. You can you Working in a music studio, we have similar background paths. And those always make the best web designers and best entrepreneurs. So I’m super excited to have you on. And what I’m really excited to dive into is your business model, because you did something very different. And it’s becoming more and more popular now. And that is a subscription based model. Very different from what I did, because I just did feast and famine, one and done services. And I that was before I had any sort of recurring income. So I killed myself with really good months and really bad months with that model. But you started off with a subscription model. I’m excited to dive into that, to hear more about that, because you recently went full time. And it’s been a joy to see how much progress you’ve made it even just the last couple months that you join my web design club. And man, I’m so pumped for you. So yeah, before we dive into it, though, do you want to let everybody know where you’re based out of and what you do with your business right now?

Steve 5:52
Yeah, absolutely. So I am from statesville, North Carolina, which is right down the road about 30 or 45 minutes from Charlotte. So there’s a good landmark that everybody knows. And so I serve mostly small business owners, nonprofits, I do some work for, for ministries. And I mean that that’s basically the gist of it. I I started out doing web design years ago for a recording studio. So I worked in recording studio play drums, bass guitar did some producing. And part of what we would do for clients is actually build their websites. And so I started out by doing content for things. So you know, one of the big conundrums and I’m sure you guys will identify with this, as a website designer, one of the issues is you have these people who you’re designing a website for, and you don’t know anything about these people, but you’re supposed to populate a website full of content that has to do with these people. And so what I used to do was basically take what they would write be a bulleted list or a few paragraphs or whatever, I would take that and turn it into something that actually sounded halfway decent. That’s how I got my start in it. And then when tools like Divi and things like that came along, I that’s when I started getting into web design for between there, but that’s the highlights. And now here we are today doing it, I guess full time after having been in the business for about five years. So.

Josh 7:20
Well, yeah. And I’m excited to dive into it a little bit of your story, because you were working part time. And you would you develop this business model pretty early on if I recall. And I want to talk about that, because let’s just do it, let’s dive right into the subscription based model that you have. But again, what was interesting is you’re working part time. And from my understanding, you implemented this pretty early on, right? Did you start with the subscription based model? Or did you do any one and done type of feast and famine type of work?

Steve 7:48
Yeah, so that’s a good question. So a little bit of context, my mentor in business, the reason that I fell in love with entrepreneurship, because I didn’t wake up I didn’t plan this. So we talked about this a little bit before, we were recording, but but I didn’t, I didn’t plan this, I never woke up one day and said, I think I’ll be a web designer for the rest of my life. It just kind of happened. And my love for business kind of came that way too. And I was working in a recording studio, the guy who owned it, he’s kind of like a second dad to me. His mentorship was was really something that won me over and into the business world in general. And one of the things that he preached from the rooftops now this is before I listened to a single podcast, a single book, this is before I was an internet marketing nerd, like I am now. And one of the things that he beat into me was recurring income was specifically he used the word residual. I guess that’s the old man’s word for it, I don’t know, he said residual income is the name of the game. Whatever you do in business, if you can figure out residual income, where you’re making money over and over and over again, without having to generate new business, then you have got it made.

Steve 9:01
I the context was actually really fun and really interesting, the model that he actually developed because that that’s kind of a novel idea, still to this day, in the recording studio industry. He had a really cool way of building that. And I thought, well, I wonder if I could revolutionize web design, so to speak, by doing something like this. And so as I started to get into web design, I started my side business, honestly just as a way to be able to buy cool tech toys and write them off as tax expenses. I got into web design, because I started in the business to work on Mac computers for people and found that they actually didn’t need to be fixed as often as would be sustainable for me to have a business. So I started one off just saying okay, well I’ll do this website for people. I’ll do this website for people. But as I was developing that, I immediately had that residual income thing in mind. So there were two things. The first was I was brand new to Divi. I was brand new to actually doing web design on my own right and not doing it with somebody else in tandem with Somebody else. And I’ll be honest, part of the issue was, I was nervous. I was scared. How can I charge somebody because I was doing my research? And I was like, Oh, yeah, well, you should, you shouldn’t be charging anybody a dime less than $1500. You know, all the Guru’s were saying and you shouldn’t be, you know, you know, I mean, average size should be 3500 4500. And I’m like, how am I? How in the world am I going to call up a business owner and say, I’d like 3500 of your dollars, please, I’ve never built a website by myself before, but trust me, it’s gonna work. And and I know that there are different ways to kind of handle that sort of thing. And maybe I should have just been bolder. But I’ll be honest, part of the reason why I went with the recurring model is because I thought, well, you know, that seems like a lot of money. I don’t know how I would come up with that sort of money at one time. So I don’t know how other people are going to either. But it seems to me like businesses are used to paying for line items every month that they have as part of their expenses. What if their web design and marketing was just kind of one of their line items, they just paid for it every month, and they had a consistent, and they had a consistent service.

Steve 11:06
So I’ll say that. And then one other thing about that is the other problem I noticed, whenever we were building websites, back in those days with the recording studio, what we would do is we’d build a website, and then the people who we built it for would never touch it again. And what would happen is it would get eaten with malware, and Google would blacklist it and just all sorts of problems came about from never actually properly maintaining the website. So before I even knew about maintenance plans, and all the different things that you could do, I thought, well, if I could charge somebody one monthly fee that was reasonably priced, and that included building the website, too, and managing it throughout a specific term. I said, I know I’m gonna have some details to figure out. But that sounds like a great way to start. So that’s how I started, I never charged somebody, I take that back, I charged one guy $400 one time to build a website. And other than that I have never done a website for anything other than this monthly subscription, or an hourly rate. And even that has been super rare. It’s pretty much been this subscription model.

The best web designers are savvy like that and just different types of entrepreneurs. A lot of them come from different creative fields and the musician world. – Josh

Josh 12:14
Yeah, that’s fascinating. I can’t believe you started out like that. That’s too cool, man. It’s awesome. And I love that your background is unorthodox. And we talked about this before went live but I swear man, the best web designers are savvy like that and just different types of entrepreneurs a lot of them come from different creative fields and the musician world. A surprising a surprisingly large amount of people come from the music world into into web design and other creative fields. And I love that the recording studio that your your your second dad as it were, planted that seed because how crucial is that to have a mentor? Who’s doing something like that? How? Just out of pure curiosity as somebody who was a musician and recorded some albums. How did that work? In the studio world? Did they have like a band on right? Because we recorded when we needed to do an album, but that was it. How did that work? If you could sum that up?

Steve 13:07
Yeah, so I’m gonna have to so I was hoping I was kind of hoping you would ask that, kind of hoping you wasn’t because I had the stroke outline in my head. But can I remember specifically, okay, so here was here was the genius of the, of the model. So most of what we recorded were like, blue grass…

Josh 13:25
I should say, too, this is this is good reference for how we can frame our subscription services to clients, because they’ll probably want to know, why would I pay monthly? If I can just buy a website and be done with it?

Steve 13:36
Yes. And actually, okay, glad you made that connection, because that has to do with how I decided to, because what happens we need to make big changes to the website and stuff. So so that actually has that ties into that. So how how he did it was his Okay, you’d have to come up with the money to record the first time again, we were recording family groups, me and and, and his sons who were all you know, great friends, they were they aided in doing the music and things. So he had staff musicians, but then many of these groups also had their own bands too. So this would work either way, though, whenever it was so genius. So we did a lot of the CD duplication and things like that, too. We had all of that equipment there on on premise, okay. So whenever the person came, or the group or whoever you had to, okay, let’s just make it real practical. So let’s say that we were going to charge them 1500. Most of them were a lot more expensive than that, but let’s just say a recording session was 1500. As part of the recording package, they got enough CDs with their order to it where they were to sell those CDs for $15 a piece they could pay for the recording session. So it was so we would give them 100 CDs as a part of the recording session in this example. Okay. And the sales pitch. He was great. salesmen, and the sales pitch was Look, if you could in make sure you don’t give any to family and friends, if they love you, they’ll support you, they’ll pay $15, get those 100 CDs sold, and put the money back. And you’ll never have to pay for a recording session again in your life. Next year, when you come, you’ll just have that money. And you’ve any said, that was the other thing too. If you do this, I will never ever I’ll go up on my prices on other people in the future. But so long as you record with me once every year, I will never go up on the price again. And so each time that he would just isn’t that beautiful, he would give them exactly what they needed for them to be able to come up with that money. And then they would just come back year after year after year. And they were incentivized to come back every year so that that price never went up on them.

Josh 15:43
Wow, so many genius things and just that two minutes of what you just said. So first of all, there’s more value. It’s not just your recording here there is like you’re provided these CDs, there’s some more value here. There’s also the extra marketing push and the incentivizing the where very practical. I love how he laid that out where it’s like if you sell 100 100 CDs, you’ll make up the cost and then everything out from there is profit. And then the third thing there was there’s an incentive to keep on coming back as my next question was going to be well, how’d they do that? Did it roll over annually? That’s what it sounds like it was. So they come back and keep on coming back that pricing stays, which is also a huge thing. And one of the questions I had about the subscription model, which I’m sure we’ll dive into, and how awesome and perfect does that translate to web design?

Josh 16:30
I would imagine that you saw that was like, Okay, if I have a client who wants to do this, but maybe doesn’t have four grand right now, maybe I could sell him on 1500 annually lock him into that rate. And now I have a question about the size of project and the scope and all that stuff, which we’ll get into here. But I love that model. And now, one thing that I have talked to clients about is putting it in a very tactile, they’re putting their investment in a very tactile analogy. And just like the CD thing, if you tell that because 1500 bucks for a band is a ton of money, I remember, when we had to pay like a couple grand for a studio, I was like, Oh my gosh, like back then that was a lot of money. But if you say you know, sell 100 albums, and then you make your money back the rest is profit, the same thing can be true for clients. I know for a lot of my clients, if I was charging 2500. And they would think man, that’s a lot of money. But I would often ask them, How much does your average client spend, you know, in a year, if it’s 500, for whatever the services are, then you would only need to get five clients from your website to recoup that cost. And then everything from there is profit unless you barring any ongoing maintenance and stuff. So some valid points on that. Steve, I love that analogy. How did you So initially, how did you come up with your pricing? Because I do want to talk practically about scope and I mean, let’s be honest, a five page brochure site is way different than an e commerce site. So I want to talk about that. But initially, how did you do your pricing? Did you have like different tiers for different types of projects? Or how did that look when you just started the subscription model?

Steve 18:11
Well, as you can imagine, with a model like this, it really did evolve over time. I mean, my, my contract, based on just experiences that I’ve had with different clients has had to change based on based on certain factors. And we talked about some of that, but but like, you know, I would have treated everything. Let me just make it say this in a practical way. Every single client interaction or potential client interaction became a learning experience for me, because I didn’t have a blueprint that somebody else had already done this. I mean, I googled it and, and like, you know, two years, in I finally found somebody else who was doing it, but even then, what they were doing was different.

Josh 18:54
What year Yeah, I was gonna ask you, What year did you start doing this?

Steve 18:57
This was probably 26, early 2016.

Josh 19:01
Okay.

Steve 19:01
Yeah. And so I really didn’t have like a blueprint that, you know, I could go by, so I sort of was making it up as I went along. It first started out really, really flat. I mean, I’ll be honest, I’m sure I did some math, you know, based on on the average numbers, you know, who, who doesn’t start out doing this and Google, how much should I charge for website design? We’ve all done that. Right. And so I probably I probably did some sort of math, but whatever math I did, I came to the conclusion that $75 a month would be fair. And in this, in the case of working with, so to speak, the little guys, especially back then I had no inclination of going with big companies. I mean, I thought maybe even the people who I were employed by would have been too big a website project. You know, I was my first one I did was for a little HVAC company in Statesville or excuse me, in YackeVille, North Carolina where I used to live. And so I thought these he was a startup and I thought these are just Like startups, small mom and pop, I want to help the little guy. Now, are my beliefs on that any different now? Well, I mean, perhaps a little bit, I mean, you can imagine I’ve learned quite a bit about business since that time, and maybe I would have approached things differently. But I would never trade where I am today. So I’ll just take those learning experiences and, and be thankful for them.

Steve 20:20
But so we started out at $75 a month, and then eventually, I went through, well, I could have different tiers, I could have a smaller tier here, and then a bigger tier here. And I had to learn, again, how to cap things in my contract. So I think at the beginning, it kind of started out by saying, Okay, if your website fits into this box, it’s probably $75 a month. If we need some additional things, then that’s considered out of scope. And we’ll have to work on that to get to get a price together for that. Those kind of things would have been like e commerce, you know, advanced scheduling tools, would you do that payment on the site?

Josh 20:55
Sure. Would you do that with like an hourly retainer, or just kind of quote, as like a separate kind of add on, like, one time add on type of fee?

Steve 21:03
Yeah. So one of the things that and I’m still debating whether or not this is, in the way I have it right now, whether or not this is the best way to do it, but it’s how it is right now, is if you are on a subscription plan with me. You know, for a managed website, which is, which is what I call them. If you’re on a managed website with me, then any hourly work or anything that would be done, it’s considered out of scope from the original project is at 30% off of the current hourly rate, which is a little steep, I think, but it seems to, it seems to be working so far. So my current hourly rate? I don’t know if you have a problem with me sharing numbers, I’m pretty wide open.

Josh 21:42
Oh, no, I love numbers. We all everyone listening loves numbers here. Because otherwise, it’s vague and surfacey. And I’m like, I don’t know what the heck that means. Tell me numbers, though. And I do wonder if it makes feel any better. 30% sounds about average for cutting your hourly rate? Because I that’s what I did, we would always do, we’d have about $100 hourly rate. And then for normally, and then for maintenance paying clients, it was 75. So it was almost 30%.

Steve 22:07
Okay, gotcha. Okay, so so right now I have my standard hourly rate at 75. And then so my, my 30% hourly rate would be 52.50. So if you’re a current, you know, client of mine, and you’re asking for work that goes out of scope, then the hourly rate is 52.50. Now, this actually ties in also to another aspect of the model, which is when we’re doing the ongoing maintenance, I’m sure we might talk about that more later. But I’ll say for right now that you can’t just work on people’s stuff indefinitely. That’s the one problem with this. So I had to I had to solve that problem. And I solved it by saying that after you sign off on the website, that you like it, that you approve of it, then we go into the the final phase of our working together, which is the care phase where I care for the website, and I give you like an hour of work per month during that time. And if it goes beyond that, then we’re in that to that hourly rate again.

Josh 23:05
You’re talking about the the out of scope type of stuff, which I was very curious about, particularly because what I would like to know, you know, it sounds like you’re working through some different tiers, but in the early days, you know, you just kind of went for it. Did you have any, like terrible experiences with this model? In the beginning? Did you have any? Or where did you have the foresight to know, okay, if somebody wants an e commerce site, this 75 bucks a month isn’t gonna cut it? What did that look like when you first started?

Steve 23:33
So believe it or not, I did not have any terrible experiences with this. Um, the, the only terrible experience that I’ve had was, was with a client who I it was, it was like the second one that I had charged for, for a bigger package than that original base thing. So I had reworked my packages, and I was charging this guy, $224 per month, as opposed to 75. So you can obviously tell it’s a big difference. And I didn’t set expectations correctly with him. And even today, we have an amicable relationship, everything’s fine. I’ve done a little bit of, you know, subsequent work for him on just a one off kind of hourly basis. But that was the only experience that it was like, we had some crossed wires and signals and things. Other than that, no, like, I have not had an experience come about where it was like, Oh, I’m just doing like an obscene amount of work for this for this amount of money. Now, one of the things that you really have to do though, and this is with all memberships, all subscriptions, and I’ve just I’ve just always been a fan of that model.

Steve 24:36
So I think in these terms, you have to play the long game, you just really you just really do. And so one of the downfalls one of the pitfalls to this kind of model is you know, you’re not going to be hiring a ton of help right off the off the bat because getting 75 bucks a month from clients, you just can’t afford that you’re going to be doing a lot of the work yourself. And so what you’re going to do like even now, so now I I’m starting to work with some people. And maybe we can talk about that. But as I’m working with them, the reality is the project that they’re working on, I won’t be profitable on that project for maybe three or four months. But then you have to remember that by the time comes month four or month five, from that point on every, whatever that monthly check is, which some websites now are more like $800 instead of $75. Right, it’s evolved quite a bit. So, you know, I realized that in those first couple months, okay, I might not be making the money from them. But I’m being sustained by the projects that I’ve done in the past. And then these new projects are going to start paying off for me every month after month, month, three or month four. Yeah, and going to be a nice, nice, solid income for me. So it takes a little while to build up.

Josh 25:46
Yeah, I love that. I’m so glad you said that. Because that has to be the mindset for sure. It’s a long game. But you build trust, you build loyalty with clients, and your bottom line increases one step of the way, just like when I launched my maintenance plan, it was amazing every month to see the line go up. And then it was like, Oh, my gosh, my mortgage is covered, oh my gosh, my mortgage and a car payment is covered, oh my gosh, my mortgage and two car payments are covered. Like, that’s when it gets amazing. And I think for you too, I think your headphones cut out right when I was saying this, but with your hourly retainers, that’s another great way to bring in a little flows of income, particularly if they need to add ecommerce or like a 10 hour chunk of time, that’s a great way to bring on some help and add a little more oomph on some of those months as well. And I was gonna tell you, I’m gonna put my coaching shoes on it and tell you that I think your rate should be probably at least 95, maybe 100 an hour and then cut that down to 75 for clients. So what a little coaching session after this, but that would be my recommendation to you. But I love that.

Steve 26:47
I can agree.

Josh 26:48
Yeah, cuz Yeah, 50 bucks, that’s Yeah, you’re at even with it, where your design is that now I think you’re definitely worth that. So that that would be my recommendation as your coach. But I love that that mindset because it is what it has to happen. Now. When you started all this, what did the terms look like? Because this is what I’m really fascinated by? Did you lock them into a certain term? Do they have to do everything with you? Or because I could see I’m just gonna play devil’s advocate, I could see a client getting their new website built for 75 bucks a month or on with you for three months, and then they disappear. How do you protect against that? And what are the terms look like? To be able to make sure they’re, you know, they’re with you for a long time?

Steve 27:28
Yeah, that’s a great question. So believe it or not, I so I cannot remember, on those first two or three, whether or not I had a sort of whether or not I was using this sort of language around it, but what what eventually ended up developing at least, was a lease sort of terminology. So I use the word contract, but lightly, I say this, I think in the contract actually say something like, this contract is structured, similar to a lease, and then I explained what that means. So the terms I ended up coming up with, I think this started being a 12 month thing, and then I moved it to 18 months. Okay, so right, so So right now, the terms go loosely like this, you’re going to start paying me before we start this project, and then you’re going to pay me this amount per month, for a minimum of 18 months, after 18 months comes up, I’m not going to remind you that your payment is done, I’m not you know, it’s none of that. You know, it’s it’s you can continue paying. And if you do, then the managed website benefits continue. If you stop paying, than the managed website benefits cease, and we’re, you know what, we’ll turn everything over to you, and the website is yours. If they leave, you know, three months into the project, then or, or, or I don’t know, that’s a good way to say it, if they if they leave, you know, two weeks into the build or something like that. And I’ve already made quite a bit of headway, or whatever, you know, the point of the matter is, however far we get, it just depends on the project. They’re gonna have to pay it till the end of that term, they’re going to have to buy out so just okay, their website. That’s the language.

Josh 29:13
How do you How do you go about the the deadline for the initial build? Because I would I’m trying to put myself in the client’s shoes. And again, devil’s advocate here, if I were a client, that would be like, Okay, I’m gonna start paying you but what if the site takes like a year to build like, not that you would do that? But how do you guys have like a set deadline as to when it will go live? And then what about Content Collection and client delays? Or is that an incentive for clients to get their shit to you faster because they can get their site up quicker?

Steve 29:44
Yeah, yeah. So what’s really funny about this is I understand the the, the objection, so to speak or the question there, but what’s really funny is I actually had to put language in my in my contract to guard against the Opposite happening. To guard to guard against the client dragging their feet and not getting me content so that it took longer than I had planned on working on it. So I’ve never had an issue in five years of doing this. I’m just gonna say five for simplicity, I think it’s around five years of doing this, I have never had an issue where the build took longer than I would have estimated that it that it taken and I did high estimate. I used to do my estimate before was 90 days. And it’s I’ve never had a bill take anything near that long, which I’ve actually just recently put it down to six weeks being being my my average estimate. And the only time like I said, I’ve treated every every client interaction as a learning experience and have had to adjust things for that. The client that I was mentioning just a minute ago, where I had where, oh, sorry, my video cut out there. The the client I was mentioning just a moment ago, that where we had a little bit of a problem that was part of the issue. From my standpoint. This was a one pager, it was a landing page. That is all it was, and I kid you not. We were six months into the build. At the moment that I realized that we were still we were still having like random one hour, one hour long calls over my over my lunch break at work.

Josh 31:29
For a one page?

Steve 31:30
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was it was just it was just, it was never ending, frankly, Josh, it was just never ending. And so I said, Okay, so after that experience for all future contracts, I built into it. Okay, if this if this takes any longer than then 90 days due to your failure to meet deadlines, etc, then it’s actually going to be for every hour that is spent beyond that working on the site, it’s going to cost you an hourly rate. So I so I did it to protect my time, it’s it’s never been the opposite problem.

Josh 32:02
That’s great. Because Yeah, I was curious about that as well. Because with that model, I would think Yeah, what’s the incentive to finish it? Well, of course, most everybody wants their website done quick. But there are those people who just seem to drag on and delay and delay and it could take a year in that model unless you cap it. So that’s a good, that’s a good thing to put in the contract for sure. Now, did you have you at all, you know, you’re five years into it, I want to talk about how you built it up to where you were very stable, able to go full time. But before that, how did the pricing change? And did you grandfather and everybody in at those old rates? What are your rate at’s now before you went full time? What What did that look like as far as the progression of how this model, you know, grew for you?

Steve 32:44
Yeah, good question. So I definitely grandfathered people in I’ve never came along and said, Okay, I’m going to start charging you more now. And honestly, that’s made for some awkward things. It’s like, you know, right now, so my rate right now, for the starter website, you know, this is basically like, you don’t work with me, unless you’re paying this much for his computer business anyway, is 197 per month, and then I give ministries and nonprofits a 30% discount off of that on the on the monthly rate. But it’s so it’s 197 a month that I’ve, you know, the awkward thing is like, Yes, I’ve learned how to value my time and manage my time more, etc. You know, it’s like, now people are paying 197 a month and part of that ongoing maintenance contract, they only get one hour of work. Now, back in the day. So I have some clients right now who are still paying me at that 75 level, and they actually get two hours worth of work, because that was the deal back then. So you have some awkward things like that. But I really think it’s important to honor those who have been with you, who have been with you for a while. And they I mean, I’ve got I’ve got clients today who’ve just been consistently paying my bills for five years straight. I’m just gonna continue to honor that man. And, you know, through thick and thin, whatever comes.

Josh 33:58
Yeah, and I know what I’m sure we’ll talk about this, but you went full time. How, you know, it’s not like you had hundreds of clients. On this model. It was a couple dozen. But that was enough. That was enough. So yeah, I love that idea of, of honoring that particularly. I mean, if it’s something where it’s like super costly, it’s worth reevaluating, and just being upfront with your clients. But even then I would still give a big discount, and most cases, it’s fine. I did the same thing with my maintenance plan. I actually I don’t know if you knew this, Steve. I actually started my maintenance plan at 75. And I took it down to 59 for clients and I lower their rates. And everyone who I lowered their rate because I was getting questions about 75 a month. And then as soon as I went to 59, the question stopped. I don’t know what it was. There was a big interesting psychological price difference between those two prices, but 59 just seem to be more at ease for everybody. And everybody who I lowered the rates. They are still on our maintenance plan today. I never had any one of them cancel. So there’s a lot of power in that and grandfathering those old rates in but again, your business does Have to grow. And you have to, you know, literally support things. Now, what’s interesting about that price range is 197, you’re looking at, you know, over two grand a year per average 2400 ish, for an average type of site, but you’ll have some extra with, you know, hourly retainers. And I think what’s interesting about this model, and that’s probably scary, is that you would think, well, if I’m gonna have a ton of clients every month, it’s gonna be too much work. But would I be correct in saying that the bulk of the work is when you’re developing the site, but then once that’s done, it’s not easy sailing, but there’s much less work on going after that, right?

Steve 35:38
Absolutely. So the more and of course, these tools that people have developed for automating and assisting with your, you know, maintenance and stuff, managed WP and from WPMU you know, tools like that are just awesome. I mean, they’re just, they’re just amazing. I mean, honestly, it’s really the coolest thing. You’re right, the first couple, you know, few weeks to a couple months, you know, you’re you’re living inside of this project a lot, right? Because you’re working on it. But once once these and I have four different phases of a project, maybe we could talk about that. But like once we get into care phase, the final phase, it is mostly smooth sailing from there, it’s very rare that I have to do lots of ongoing maintenance. And that’s why, you know, we have people in the WordPress and Divi community who you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about. Some people have businesses, specifically for handling the ongoing maintenance for other people doing the white label maintenance. Now, maybe I’ll get there one of these days. But for me, I don’t see a need for that the neat the, the maintenance work for me is so minuscule, so minuscule that it’s really, it’s really crazy. It’s really something to start just to see checks, hit the bank for these dollar amount, so that you’re doing very little work for a month. It really is interesting.

Josh 36:58
Yeah, I remember I was, I was a little afraid of that. When I started my maintenance plan. I was like, Oh my gosh, am I just gonna be loaded with because at one point, as a solopreneur, I was managing 70, I get about had about 75 websites. And that was awesome. But I was really nervous about that. But you know what, I had maybe 10 clients who were actively doing updates most everybody else. It was nothing. And a lot of those were clients that had multiple sites. So they might have a change on one site. But then the other two sites were fine. So there is a lot of power in that. And that’s, that works perfectly with the subscription model. So I do want to hear about those phases. So I’d imagine the build as part one. Is that right?

Steve 37:40
Yeah, well, I cleverly named them because and actually, it’s not that that no, that’s not Part one is collect.

Josh 37:47
Oh, yeah, hit me with the phases hit me with the phases. Okay.

Steve 37:50
So the broad overview is collect, create, critique, and then care, everything has to be alliterated because I teach at church and you just have to liberate things, right? So yes, yes, the fourth season, and the whole model, as I lay it out, has like five or six piece. So anyway, so that would be the four C’s, right? The processes collect, create, critique, and care. You know, it’s pretty obvious, but so collect is first, for a couple reasons. After I get a contract signed, I have to do basic onboarding, it’s kind of nice to have a little bit of breathing room, it’s like, okay, the project has started, I maybe even have already seen a little bit of payment come through. And now the monkeys immediately on their back, I’ve always loved that there’s something nice about Okay, I’m now waiting on them. So I before I start, and you guys can hopefully identify with this but before I start, I want to have everything that I can possibly have, I want to have images, I want to have all the copy as done as possible. So I want things first, because that way, I know how to arrange the stuff on the site. Now we all have situations where that doesn’t happen quite as perfectly as we’d like it to, you know, I’ve got a current inactive build right now where, um, you know, she wanted the site live by the end of February. And it turns out that she’s not even gonna have pictures back until the beginning of March. So it’s like, Okay, well, just so you know, we’re not gonna have a website without your pictures. So right. So, so, so collect is first. So I like to get an I use ContentSnare, Basecamp. All these different tools work together to hopefully get as much content in place before I say, Okay, now we’re going to sit down and create. Okay, so that’s cool. Let’s move into create, we create the homepage, pretty standard stuff. I do a loom video with a build walkthrough of the of the homepage with their blessing. Yeah. On the design.

Steve 39:38
And speaking of that coaching earlier, I would love to hear a little bit of your thoughts about doing the the loom video for the contract. I still haven’t figured out the further proposal. I haven’t figured that out yet in my context, so maybe you can tell me about that sometime. But yeah, so we do that as soon as we get the blessing on the on the homepage. Then we go through and pretty much build out the rest of The site, and then we move into critique. So this is the revision phase. So this is where we’re actively going through and saying, I want this change, I want this change. And I had to put specific language in the contract to help with revisions, as you can imagine, because sometimes that can get a little unwieldy. And so I’ve got some language around that. So that’s our revisions phase.

Josh 40:21
The the incentive of this subscription model is the longer they do revisions, they’re paying for a site that isn’t up.

Steve 40:29
Yes, that’s true. That is true. And so there, there’s there’s definitely a, you know that the biggest issue for me, though, is, so long as we keep going back and forth, that’s mental energy and physical time that I have to expend thinking about it. And so if I kind of scare them up front with like, Look, you got basically three rounds to get this thing right. Then in any way, it never has come down to that it’s never come down to me saying, oh, we’re on your third round of revision, and you better be careful. It’s just one of those things that’s there. And it kind of like subconsciously guides how they react.

Josh 41:04
Yes, yeah, that’s with anything that’s I hate to use the term scare tactic, but anything in your contract that is a little more assertive. That’s like, you know, you only have two revisions, otherwise, it’ll cost extra or any of that type of verbiage is, is good to frame the situation for your clients. And the cool thing about having that is, like I said, unlikely that that will happen. But in that rare case that it is happening, you’ll have some ground to stand on, instead of being completely squared with scope creep.

Steve 41:31
Yeah, yeah, very few things in my contract that are there as a result of even those learning experiences are because I had just a terrible experience, it was it was just, it was almost like, well, I could very easily see how this could lead to that. So I’m going to put this in there to guard against it. And I’ve never, I don’t think I’ve really ever had to go back to the contract to see see here on this line where we had this, like, you know, it’s it’s never been like that I’m sure it may make maybe one day, and I’ll be really thankful that I have some of this. But definitely, that’s there just to more guide the relationship.

This is key to the way my model works. – Steve

Steve 42:01
And then at the end of the critique phase, they have to sign and this is key, this is key to the way my model works is they have to sign a build sign-off form that basically says they are happy with the site, they understand that, you know, it’s built to the specifications that we agreed upon, originally, they understand that going forward, you know, basically, we’re not going to spend an indefinite amount of time making adjustments and changes, you get an hour per month, you get, you know, your managed website benefits, security, maintenance performance, the whole nine yards. And after you sign this, that’s what we’re in, and then we go to to that phase, which is called the care phase. And so that’s and that carries on through to currently, it’s 36 months where I offered to actually essentially start the process over again in 36 months. And that would be the equivalent to where in the recording studio, you know, we had the CDs, and they could come back every single year. And as long as they came back every year, and used that money again, you know, and we would give them a CDs to pay for the next one, they would just never have to actually pay for their own recording session ever again. That’s the same thing almost with the website here every every three years or so, we’ll go back in and make some you know, design changes and major updates that might go beyond that standard, you know, one hour per month that’s needed. And there’s no additional additional charge for that. At that point. You can do some math, they’ve already paid and paid me for three years, at least 197 bucks a month, if not more. That’s pretty good math in my book, especially for the type of sites that I’m working on.

Josh 43:34
Yeah, I just it would be like in my case, three years was a good standpoint to reevaluate a site for sure. I like that you said that because I always did that with clients, whether it was just revamping the front page, or maybe not doing a full website, revamp, but maybe changing some design elements, things that would be more than your average monthly type of hourly work. That was pretty common. Most of my sites, we didn’t do like a full complete blow up rebrand until about five years, there was a couple cases where I would do a site in 2013 and 18. We just we did a complete revamp. But for you, that’s a perfect segue. And I was gonna ask about that how you manage that with those decent revisions. So once it comes time where the quote unquote contract, the lease is up, that’s your time to reevaluate and then if they sign on for another 36 months or 18 months or whatever, that’s when you would offer to do another round of extensive updates. Is that right? Am I understanding that right?

Steve 44:31
Sort of sort of Yes, I so part of it is to just just being a salesperson and and the language that you use, but like i frame it as if we are getting married right like we are we are in a relationship for the rest of our lives together. We will continue working on this thing will keep molding and well making it better as far as I’m concerned if they sign that first document, and then they sign that initial build signing off. Other than build sign offs when whenever we do have major amount of revision. I don’t I plan to ever have them, you know, sign on the dotted line again. I mean, I you know, if they want to leave and then come back later. That’s maybe one thing but…

Josh 45:08
Is it more uh Is it more like renewing your vows? Is that the way to look at it?

Steve 45:13
Yeah, that’s actually I need to start using that analogy. That’s actually actually pretty good.

Josh 45:19
You’re welcome. Renew those web design subscription bells.

Steve 45:22
Yeah, I just want to be the web guy. I mean, I want to be your web guy. You know, some people have lawyers and doctors, some people go to the same doctor, their entire life, I want to be your web guy, why go to somebody else, you’re having a great experience with me. And you like the design, as long as I keep the website profitable for you, and looking nice, unless you go out of business. Why end, you know, let’s say together.

Josh 45:43
Well, and let’s be honest, the reason I love this is because once you become that trusted person, that web professional for them, they’re probably not going to remember when the terms are up, I wouldn’t like if I started working with you, and I’m a business owner focused on my own business, if I love Steve, and now that you’re growing your team, and I love what you’re up to, I am not gonna remember when the heck that’s up. Maybe some people will, but I wouldn’t, and I would not want to drop you like if you say, you know, hey, the terms up, but we’re, you know, now’s the opportunity to revamp some stuff, I can do that for you, I’m gonna be all bout it. That’s a great way to kind of have another really good sales cycle to where, again, you’re not redesigning sites every few years and hoping the client will redesign with you, you’re there, your client again, again, and again and again. So I love that.

Josh 46:27
I’d love to end this conversation, Steve, because I appreciate you being so open with how the model works. And everything, this has been a great kind of peek behind the curtain with how you’re doing this successfully, I want to talk about how you took this recently, full time because like you said, this was a slow growth strategy. This is probably, you know, if somebody has a lot of risk, and they need to make a lot of money faster, there probably have to be some different, not different ways to go about this. But you might have to get more clients or add more one time services and different value into this, you are able to play the long game with this. But I’ll never forget, when you joined my web design club recently, you said my business is on the subscription model. And it’s allowed me to go full time without, you know, being terrified or without not having, you know, a bottom line and having that face and fathom that, excuse me, feast and famine, which is fascinating. I love that approach. Because for a lot of students who go full time there is more risk. And there’s there’s a lot more pressure. Obviously, tons of people are doing it, but there just is more pressure and risk that way. Whereas your model really alleviated a lot of those problems that a lot of folks have by doing that. So yeah, when did you always plan on going full time eventually? Or did you get to a place where you thought, okay, bills are covered, this is covered? I could do this and really grow at what did that look like? Cuz you just went full time in January 2021. Right?

Steve 47:50
Yeah, that’s correct. So this is a multifaceted discussion, I’m going to try my best to organize my thoughts here. The answer is yes, I did. plan on going full time. But that is not to say that I had any earthly idea how that was going to shake out. Here was the goal. The goal was by the time my son turns five, again, this is a conversation that we were having. In late 2015, early 2016. The goal was, by the time my son turns five, we want to do some homeschooling with him. And I want to be able to leave the job and come home full time by myself. So that was the overarching five year plan. Okay, so there’s…

Josh 48:35
Is that the son who just walked by and knocked on your desk?

Steve 48:38
No, that would be he’s number three.

Steve 48:41
Okay, right.

Steve 48:42
He’s Emery Yeah, he’s 2.

Josh 48:45
We’re both working home. Dads. My girls are outside my door being wild right now. So you might hear them in the background.

Steve 48:50
Yeah, yeah. it’s it’s it’s a it’s a fun time. There’s always a party going on here. That’s one of the challenges.

Josh 48:58
Yeah, it’s a challenge is a good way to put it. It’s not a problem. It’s it’s a challenge. But it’s all good. That’s awesome, though. You’re able to do that man. Again, we’re work from home dad. So yeah, that’s interesting to hear that that was a big, you know, underlying factor for you and going full time.

Steve 49:13
Yeah, absolutely. It was. And so I guess about a year and a half, two years ago. So fast forward, I had taken on some clients, obviously, in that time doing it totally part time. And then, about a year and a half or so ago, I took on a white label client who did some work in a town near me. And he was actually doing so he’s doing like hosting, building up his own hosting business. And he needed somebody to come in and actually start to handle most of the website design. And so we had an arrangement. I mean, again, I’m a fan of that monthly subscription. So we had an arrangement whereas he was paying me every week. And so we could we could just call it monthly or whatever. He was paying me a certain amount to do work that if as long as it on average work out for him, and for me, you know, maybe my effective hourly rate would be more Last one month or whatever, but as long as it averaged out, okay, it was good. And so as we continued on doing that the work for him got more and more. And, and about October of last year, I had a phone call with them, you know, we I got into work during the pandemic for three months from home for the law firm. And I was like, Man, this is cool. I’m ready to do this. So I called him in October and had a conversation and said, Look, I’m ready to take this to the next level. What do I need to do to get it to where we can bump up? Like, what’s your paying me? Okay, and so we started working on that. And, and then so the goal was to incrementally increase it. And by the time we got to January, it would be such that it would be a little tight, I had to rework my budget, rework my finances a little bit, but the goal was okay, by then, I’m just doing it, I’m gonna go ahead and do it. And our our ratio, it’s going to be what it is, and then we’ll go from there. So when I left the law firm, I left with that white label client, representing over half, just just over half of what I was making per month, all during the time, you know, that I was working. And doing this part time.

Josh 51:09
You were doing IT for a law firm, right? While you were building this?

Steve 51:13
I was, yeah, I was doing it. For the law firm, I was doing this web design stuff on the side. And I was also focused on growing like an online ministry type of thing that I was doing. So my attention was really divided. So I didn’t do as much marketing in the business and stuff as I should have been doing. So the slow growth that I had was actually my fault, I think, for not giving it as much, but so when I went full time, I went under that, you know, premise of Well, I don’t know if another bit of work will even come in. But you know, I’m just, you know, kind of living on a prayer here. And hopefully, this will continue to work out. And we’ll go from there. And so that’s the terms that I left under, I left the law firm and said, Okay, we’re just going to do this. And as you know, I pretty sure I messaged you, I joined the club. But just before I made this leap, I guess, middle of December, and one of the first things I messaged you was? Well, look, here’s the deal right now, I’m just trying to get five clients by June to help. Like, if I could take on five new clients by June, right? I would feel better.

Josh 51:13
Because you’re still in that part time mindset. And you don’t realize when you give something your full attention, wow, can things happen when you give it attention?

Steve 52:23
Yes, that is so very true, that is so very true. I said, Look, I’m just looking to offset this a little bit. Because this one client is responsible for over half of my income. I feel like I should fix this. And I left I went, I went full time, January 15 was my last day at work. And since then I’ve taken on it’s either six or seven new clients on a monthly basis. And I’ve essentially, you know, without getting too much into numbers here, I’ve just about equaled what that white label client pays me in new business that I’ve taken on since leaving leaving the law firm. So yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting. And I, before I forget this, I want to get this off my off my chest here, there’s a about the finances because the quote you did kind of allude to, like, well, how does this work like, because you do have to do some advanced planning and things.

Steve 53:16
And I just want to share one thing real quick that I’m learning from this. And that is I’m really big on budgeting I’m really big on like sinking funds. And like, you know, basically, the basic idea of a sinking fund is if you want to spend, you know, 1200, at Christmas, you’re going to need to put aside a certain amount of money per month, in order to get to that 1200. And then that’s a lot better than randomly having 1200 in December. You see the point there. So if it’s $100 a month, it’s a lot easier than 1200 in just in December. So I think and I’m just starting to do this, I’m ashamed that I haven’t done it since, or yet. But I am starting to apply that mindset to having money set aside for working with contractors and things on these on these sites. I had an issue just the other day where I had a site that went down, and I had to pay a contractor I got to pay I should say a contractor who I met in in the group who’s really, really awesome to help get this website back up. And that was $150 that right now like there’s no money set aside for that. That’s just money that that I’m not going to get to take home for my family. But if I was constantly every month setting aside say 5% of every of the top line that comes in, then there’s always money ready and waiting there for me to be able to pay somebody else to fix the issue. If it comes up in it lies outside of my expertise or my time. So with delegation, that certainly would help. So the finances are a big deal. You have to be good with money, I think to make this work.

Josh 54:42
And also I mean, on that mindset, that premise right there. You just hit the nail on the head. It’s your time that you got back, you know, if you know whoever you hired out if they can fix that you know and three times faster than you can then that’s worth it because you can devote your energies to getting more clients and And doing some other stuff like that I actually wanted to know real quick with those six to seven clients, it just rolled in. Did you do anything new with your marketing? Or did you get the word out more? What? Yeah, what did you do? Or is it just kind of just kind of happened?

Steve 55:13
No, you know, I, that’s where I hesitate to take the credit and say that, Oh, this is just gonna happen. Or this is the, you know, step one, step two, step three, to getting seven new clients, the first week of your, I mean, I’m sure I could, like, you know, put a put a funnel out there and make some make some money with that kind of headline. But you know, the reality is they just, they just rolled in man, they I put in, I put out one Facebook post, and said, this is this is what’s happening. And it’s been random. It’s just been, it’s just been totally cool. Like, one of the ones that came in was a referral from a graphic designer who actually, my wife lost technically, there’s more to it but she technically lost the bid on a graphic design job to another graphic designer, I built a little relationship with the graphic designer, because I do that her clients web work. And then before we ever even got to work together on anything, the graphic designer referred to one of her clients to me for a website. And so it’s just been little things like that, that have that have happened. And I’m sure one or two came as a result of that little Facebook post. But but that’s all I’ve done. I’ve just now because I’ve started working in my delegating more, which I was really bad at before. Thanks to some of your podcast episodes. That’s definitely helped me to figure that out. But I’m just now considering actually getting out and starting to do a little bit of marketing. Because to this point, I have just been drowning in the work and figuring out the processes.

Josh 56:36
Yeah, yeah, well, that’s alright. Well, we’re recording this before these next couple episodes come out. But do yourself a favorite favor, Steve, keep an eye out because we’re recording this at the end of February episode 100 and 102. or excuse me one Oh, yeah, 101 a one. Those will be game changers for you because it’s all about delegating and working less and making more so I’m super excited to hear how those help you out. Because Yeah, you you get to a point where where you’re at now, you are hitting that scaling side of things, which is different, which is different in the subscription model, which is, which is really, really interesting. But awesome. And I’m excited. I think it’d be great to do a follow up with almost like how to scale the subscription model, because that’s a whole nother ballgame. So let’s let’s keep track of this journey man that you’re on. Because I love it. I love what you’re up to. I love what you’ve been through. And I love that your mindset has has led you to this point. I want to find out real quick. How many clients because I know you’re a numbers guy, and I appreciate you sharing numbers. How many clients Did you have when you went full time?

Steve 57:37
That’s a good question. I think it was like 11. I’m dead dead serious.

Josh 57:43
I mean, that’s just freaking amazing. Because how many people stress themselves out with the feast and famine, one and done work where you feel like you have to sell three websites a week to make it that is like that’s a recipe for just burning yourself out. And then rather taking on a job. And you can make more at McDonald’s and you destroy yourself with, you know, with with killing yourself for these cheap projects over and over. So just a dozen clients and you were able to make that enough over the years to go full time. That is cool. I did a lot of those have like does that one included the white label that had like several sites and stuff.

Steve 58:17
It did, I should I should say real quick that part of it is a mentality thing. So I mentioned I’m big, obviously, because of subscription. I’m big into the membership model. So I treat and even use this language on my website, I treat this as almost like a high end membership. That’s how I treat it. And so I don’t, I don’t want, I don’t need 30 clients at one time, you know what I mean? Like, it’s okay, if that comes in fine. But like at the stage I’m at right now, I don’t need that I would rather have solid relationships, who I am the web guy for 15 or 20. People then have to work on a new site, three new sites every month just to just to scrape by.

Josh 58:53
Yeah. And I was actually just looking at, let’s see, you did. I’m like doing some numbers here, even though I’m terrible at numbers for the most part. But if you did, let’s see. So yeah, like even you know, tend to let’s, let’s make it easy. I mean, once 197 times 10, that’s a couple grand a month. If you even if you work to double that or add the more value that it’s you could see where it’s just a little bit of tweaks here and there could easily take that up to six figures a year to where if you you know, if you’re able to get to seven $8,000 a month with the extra hour or the work retainers and those bigger type of subscription models. It’s very feasible. You could build a six figure business, you know, fat faster than what you did, but like you said, because you you delayed, you know, for a variety of reasons, just like I did, I delayed at scaling, but it wasn’t until I scaled the things really blew up for me. And but you can do it a lot faster, which is really cool. But either way, it’s still a long game approach but at the same time pros and cons with everything. You were able to have a much more stable transition Doing this full time, which is so awesome, man, so, so pumped and proud of it, Steve, it’s great.

Steve 1:00:05
Thank you, thank you, thank you. And you know, it’s, it’s the more that you can offer to you, like, you know, different people have, you know, I offer this kind of service, I offer this service, I offer this service, more than anything, I want my things to be all inclusive. So I have a couple clients who are on a, you know, a $697, website subscription that gets more work with marketing, and SEO, and even sales funnels and things. So the more you can offer, you can just keep creating higher to your packages, and just take it to town.

Josh 1:00:33
Yeah, that’s great. And the old adage, 10% of your clients are willing to pay you 10 times as much right now. Right? That is a really important thing to have in mind with the subscription model. Because Yeah, you might have some of those clients where 297 a month is at the top of their budget, but you’re gonna have some clients that are willing to spend 1000 bucks a month, and those could really even out to where again, you could barely get to it, you could really easily get to not easily but very practically get to a six figure business with that model. So I love that man. One final question here about where where would you like my audience to go to check you out? Because you have your website, but you also have a YouTube channel? Is there something that you’d like me to link in the show notes that you’d like, you know, all my listeners and fellow web designers to check out?

Steve 1:01:18
Yeah, so um, that’s a? That’s a really good question. So I am working on building up a YouTube channel, I haven’t been very consistent with the beginning of the year, unfortunately. But I’m working on building up a YouTube channel, I honestly, I don’t even know what it’s called right now. I think it’s just Steve schram dash North Mac services, which is the name of my business. But what I’m putting out there is helpful tips related to web design, and also kind of hacks for Mac computers. You know, a lot of web designers use Mac’s. And so there are some really awesome tools like that are available and set up. But other things that you can actually use to hack your time, and hack your processes even. So I’m teaching some of that stuff on the YouTube channel. Otherwise, my business site is North Mack Services.com. And I’m all about building white label relationships, and just other contractor relationships. So you can always just go to North Mack services.com. And learn more about me and reach out to me there.

Josh 1:02:09
Cool. And then I’ll link your YouTube channel too. I know you posted that in the club recently with some of your videos. Oh, yeah, I’ll make sure excuse me, we get that linked in the show notes. So last question. For somebody who is considering this model? What would be like one piece of advice? If you could go back and tell Steve five years ago? What’s one thing you might do differently? Obviously, this episode is the roadmap, the game pant plan to follow. But what’s one thing you may or may have done differently? Or that you would suggest somebody think about?

Steve 1:02:37
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting.

Josh 1:02:40
There’ll be tabs, there’ll be 10 or 15 things. But if there’s just like, one that takes prominence, yeah, what jumped in your mind?

Steve 1:02:46
Yeah, um, um, gosh, I guess I would say you have to figure out the budget, I don’t even I don’t even know, like, necessarily the practical way to frame that. But like, budgeting has been a huge key to the just the general success of my family. And I know that might sound odd to say, Oh, well, the best way to become a web designer is to have a good budget. But if you don’t have your personal finances down, and you don’t have that figured out to what you really need every month, then you’re just kind of shooting in the dark. So I would say if you’re going to start planning on making more, you know, a subscription based model, I would start figuring out the bare minimum that you needed to make your household budget go because like you said, it, the sooner you can jump into a full time and your business gets full time attention, you’ll get full time results full time, attention is going to breed full time results. So as quickly as you can get into that,

Josh 1:03:35
Well, that’s good. And I mentioned episode 101 earlier, in that one, my business coach James Schramko, who was on that interview, he he says it best you have to literally before you start a business, put your numbers into a spreadsheet and see if it’ll work. And I think what you’re hitting on is perfect. Because particularly for a subscription model, you don’t want to start your subscription at a price point that’s too low. Because if you’re if you need let’s say you need to take home 2500 a month for your family. Well, if you are, you know, if your prices are insanely low, and even if you get 10 clients, if you’re only bringing in 1500 a month, that’s that’s not even you know, not only is that not even covering your, your monthly expenses, but that’s not going to cover taxes and everything else. So you definitely need to make sure you have it on a spreadsheet and just I would encourage everybody write out what would be ideal. Like I’m definitely encourage everyone to shoot for the stars, open your mindset up and think bigger, but at the heart of it know what you need to make, know where you want to be and then just write that out. And there is a lot of power. I think you’ve probably seen this, Steve, when you write something out and visualize it and look at like, okay, let’s see, I need to take 2500 you know, a home each month, I should probably let’s see if I were to do, you know, 100 bucks a month per client. 2025 clients a month paying 100 bucks a month would be right there. But again, that’s not included. expensive, so I need to shoot for 35 clients a month. So 35 clients a month at 100 bucks is going to be the 3500 mark a month. So like that little practical exercise just told me Okay, I could shoot for 25 clients at that price range or if I want to keep at 25 I want to keep a couple dozen clients if I double the rate to 197 like you did instead of 97 or 99 then that would take care of it right there. So there’s just a practical example put your numbers on a spreadsheet on a paper to see what you actually need. And believe it or not, that’ll give me confidence in sales and closing because you know what the value is and as you continue to add more value raise those rates immediately so I backed that up man I love that.

Steve 1:05:46
Yeah, yeah, I mean Awesome.

Josh 1:05:49
Well, Steve, man, this is great. I know I got to run here but this was a blast of a conversation I again super proud of everything you’ve done congrats on going full time and we’ve just started the journey here man so keep notes keep i don’t know i’m not a journaler but I do tend to keep mental notes at every stage of life with business so definitely keep track of all your biggest lessons learned of course you’re welcome to share them in the club which I know you do been an awesome member there just just a reminder for everybody when you join the web design club you meet Steve and folks who are doing awesome stuff so I hope that’s been beneficial for you and and yeah man keep track of all the all these lessons learned because I’d love to do a 2.0 on this as you scale because scaling a subscription business. That’s what I’m really excited to dive into the next time I have you on.

Steve 1:06:33
Yeah, that’s what I’m working on. Right now. I’ve got I’ve got two people now that I’m working with on a very regular basis. So are starting to so yeah, I’m really excited to see where it goes.

Josh 1:06:43
Boop boop. Awesome, man. Steve, thanks for your time. Thanks for coming on, man. Looking forward to chatting soon.

Josh 1:06:48
Absolutely, my friend. Thank you for having me.

Josh 1:06:49
Cheers.

 

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