What would it take to boost (or practically double) your sales in 90 days?
Well, if you have no idea, you will not want to miss this episode because I’ve brought in CEO of StrategySprints.com, Simon Severino, who shares his top tips for boosting your sales by working in “sprints” after helping hundreds of companies double their sales within 90 days.
Apart from learning how to structure and plan your day, activities and outcomes to practically achieve a boost in sales within a sprint of time, I think you’ll also be challenged by Simon in this chat with how you view and think about your business.
Even when it comes to how you invoice (keep an ear out in this episode for billing the full amount UP FRONT as an example)
I really enjoyed this chat with someone who challenged me to think about how to effectively boost sales and I know you’ll have loads of takeaways from this as well.
P.S. Since this is the week leading up to Christmas, I want to take this opportunity to say a sincere Merry Christmas and Holidays!
I hope you get a chance to relax with family and friends and reflect on this year so you can get ready to take on 2022. And you’ll have the framework of this episode to help!!
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
04:13 – Greeting to Simon
06:54 – Coaching the sprint
10:14 – First month – Daily flow
16:06 – What gives you energy
20:40 – From star to galaxy
23:14 – How to double sales
26:02 – Habits
31:13 – Learn from the past
32:52 – How to package it
40:19 – Same anatomy
49:48 – Most common isn’t the best
52:30 – Allow clients to create
59:04 – Absolute first step
Connect with Simon:
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #157 Full Transcription
Hey, friends, welcome into Episode 157 of the podcast. So I feel like every once in a while you run into people who I would label as a challenger. And I don’t mean that like they’re challenging to talk to or to be around like somebody in your family who’s like, Oh, God, they’re coming over this week for dinner, this is going to be a challenging night. I don’t mean it in that regard. I mean, somebody who challenges you to think differently, and to really reevaluate in this case, how you run your business, not only day to day, but how you grow your business, how you do sales and, and how you just efficiently do things.
My guest in this episode is just that. He is a challenger. And all regards, this is Simon servera now, and he is the CEO and founder of a website called strategy sprints.com. And their big mission is to help businesses and freelancers double revenue within 90 days, that’s what they’re all about.
It was really cool to bring Simon onto the show, I was actually a guest on his podcast strategy Sprint’s podcast a little while back, and I wanted to have him on the show to talk with you about this idea of how to boost your sales in this constraint of sprints in particular, because if you’re going to double your sales and your revenue in about a three month window, a lot of things have to change. And what was really interesting that I pulled out from this interview with Simon is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s web design, or what industry or what services you have, there’s really a few key things that you need to do to increase your revenue, be more profitable, decrease wasted time. And that’s exactly what we cover in this episode.
And like I said, Simon is a challenger. And I think you’ll see why in this episode, I will say, we are not the exact same mold as far as our amount of hustle and how we run our days per se. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean that he is a he is I don’t want to say he’s like a hustler entrepreneur, but he is very, very disciplined in his time and stuff. And actually, it was a good inspiration. For me, it was kind of a kick in the butt for me to be a little more serious about planning my day better getting more done. And I think it will for you too, because if you are going to boost your sales in any sort of sprint, basically the way I like to define a sprint is, you know, something you’re going to get done in a certain amount of time, whether it is a month or two months or 90 days, you’re going to boost revenue, you have to have this type of mindset. And Simon is going to help prepare you and show you the way on how to do this practically.
And before we dive in. For those of you who are watching this on video, he actually pulls a nice little video trick with a tool called ECAM live where he actually shares his screen and then writes out kind of how he plans his day. So check that out if you’re on YouTube watching this. But I was really, really excited to have Simon on and I’m excited to help you boost your sales and your revenue by working in Sprint’s.
And before we dive in, if you are wondering, okay, this sounds great, but how do I practically do this? Like what do I put in these Sprint’s I would love to help you with that my web design business course is open now. And in that course, I show you everything you need to know about onboarding, offboarding Content Collection, project management, sales price and getting clients everything that is just completely and utterly overwhelming. When you’re getting your business, I’ll help you give the perfect path for you to follow and make you feel good and confident about either starting or building and running your web design business. And you can use everything you learned in this episode about how to create sprints to get the most out of your time.
So I’m really, really excited for you to join that today, you can go to Josh hall.co/business. Or you can go to the show notes for this episode of Joshhall.co/ 157. And you’ll see a link to that I would love to help you with your business. And now enjoy my talk with Simon and get ready, get pumped, get ready to be inspired and challenged because you are definitely going to be challenged with how you run your day. And you’re going to see how you can practically boost your sales within 90 days or less with Simon here enjoy.
Simon welcome onto the show, man. What a pleasure to have you on dude.
Hello, Josh. Hello, everybody pumped to be here.
It’s gonna be nice to return the favor. You had me on your show and your podcast a while back. So I was really excited for the opportunity to bring you on here to talk with my audience of web designers about how to increase your sales with sprints. And this idea of I’m sure we’ll dive into the weeds and tactics of this but just this idea of doing work and sprints instead of letting things drag out and that’s often a problem in web design is web design projects can tend to go for weeks, sometimes months, God forbid too many months and sometimes years. So I know you’ve got a lot of strategies with this. You work with entrepreneurs All over the world. Before we dive into this man, do you want to let everybody know first off where you’re based out of? And when people ask you, what do you do? What do you tell them?
So I’m Simon Severino, and I’m based in Vienna, Austria. But really my day starts with, after a morning run and playing with my kids and having breakfast, it really my day, my day starts in Shanghai then moves over to London, Berlin, zoom, of course, and then Zurich, and then Los Angeles, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and then it’s dinner.
Yeah, you’re on a lot of calls. I think you said this was like you’re it’s your seventh or eighth call or something like that today?
Yeah, I do a couple interviews per day. I do a couple of of my own YouTube channels per day. I started a new one a daily one about crypto investing also, because that’s the thing right now. And so yeah, I have an active life and do many things. And yeah, I run a company called strategy sprints. And we help people run their businesses better land better clients, and have the projects that they want to have.
So this idea of sprints, let’s just dive right into it. Because I’m fascinated by this. I’ve I played around with this a lot with what I do. Now, when I have launches or campaigns or marketing or certain segments of work. And I did it occasionally as a web designer. It might be a little bit different when you can kind of control the work you do versus a service based industry where you’re kind of at the mercy of the client like if you’re waiting on content, it’s hard to sprint through their project. But where did where did the idea of Sprint’s come from for you like I mean your brand strategy Sprint’s is around that, how did that start for you? When did the idea of these Sprint’s come to come into play for you in your journey?
I have spent my the last 18 years doing only one thing, and that is coaching entrepreneurs on how to rock their markets, how to attract the right people get rid of the wrong clients, and are set out to set up the project in a way that it’s a great project. Because you all know these projects, they begin like Oh, my God, and they go on as Oh my god. And then there are project where you go, Hey, this is a project. And you can keep that energy if you design it the right way. And if you manage that project the right way. So I was seeing this both kinds of projects, the ones that were super boring for me, for them for everybody, and the ones who were flying. And I studied the ones that were flying because I wanted to have more of that.
One part was getting more clear who I work with, and how I started projects. And the other one was bringing together all the technologies that were available from the field of design thinking from the fields of Scrum, from the fields of agile from the fields of systems thinking there were many things from lean, there were many things around it were working really well. I just brought them together and created a 90 day package for that, which would help specific people and then they started calling their friends and say you have to sprint Oh my God, you have to sprint it will make your life better.
Gotcha. And I see a big old stack of books behind you. I know you’re an avid reader and most entrepreneurs are who are working with a lot of different entrepreneurs. Scrum, you mentioned Scrum. I read that book a few years back, it was actually I started to think I mean, I love the idea of Scrum. And I know it’s a framework that is has been used for a couple of decades I think and I guess we maybe should summarize that book. I mean, it’s mainly about Sprint’s it’s mainly about giving yourself the sprint type of deadlines to get projects done, particularly when they are massive projects and big organizations. But the idea can apply to freelancers for any size project, but I read that book kind of an interesting time in my life because my first daughter was just about to be born. I was like halfway through the book and then I don’t know if you know this Simon but we ended up spending almost two months in the NICU with my daughter the new more newborn intensive care unit.
So by the time I finished that book, I was a little I was kind of past it but anyway, I did take a lot from that book. Even though I maybe I need to reread it at this point but the idea of doing things in sprints and giving yourself not harsh deadlines but realistic little deadlines. I think that’s really really key and in your mind, how do we start with with Sprint’s? Is it I know you’ve you know you can had this program in place? How do you advise people to implement sprints in their business? Do you have to take it just one section one phase at a time? Do you look at the end goal, what’s the best way to kind of summarize how you get started with sprints?
When when we coach teams in the first month, we help them get out of the weeds, because most teams are doing too much. And as you have said, they they are knee deep in delivery, and they forget to make space to work on the business, not just in the business. So month one, we we make an inventory with them, we make a list, I can show you my list right now, sir. I click this button and for people watching, not just listening, they see here my my list of today, this is what this the flow of Simon’s day daily flow. That’s what we do with our clients. And then in the evening, I will create a daily flow for tomorrow. So that’s my iPad, I go to the next day. And here I will create my flow of tomorrow, which is I go running to a specific time. And then I play with my kids. And we have breakfast, after we play dinosaurs etc, eight o’clock, I do my top three things.
What are my top three things, my project management system will tell me because they are flagged, and so I pulled them in here, this time is for uninterrupted work. Here, I will have lunch here I will have interviews and hiring interviews. So interviews where I am on podcasts, hiring a real hiring interview people who want to work on our team. And then at some point, I will have meetings. And then there is dinner. This is for example, one day. And this is how you start. So that’s the daily habit, weekly habit and monthly habit, all these three things, I leave them myself and we do this in our coaching the daily habit is how do I allocate my time for flow. Now flow is something different for everybody. But there are some principles, there is something that you can do in the morning.
That is me time especially if you are a parent like you are like I am, we have small kids, basically, you will not have me time, the next 20 years. Unless you find a timeslot and you prioritize it. That’s why six o’clock in the morning, that’s me time I do something that is good for me. And only for me, this is how I start the day, basically, in in the plane, right? It says you when something happened, take your oxygen mask first. And then you put it on your kids and and when I saw that, I was shocked you clearly do not have kids, people who design this, what kind of human being are you not putting it on the kids first and then I realized, wait a moment, they are right. You cannot help anybody if you don’t have oxygen.
And so the morning routine, right? Do something that is good for you to set up the day properly. And then comes uninterrupted time. This is deep work, nobody can have a meeting or an interview, or anything in this time. And everybody knows it. And my colleagues who have access to my calendar, they know it. So they cannot book anything there. And then in the afternoon, the things that are more of a scattered energy and are half an hour 45 minutes, which is more of the dynamic thing where you get nothing done. But you you have a ton of great meetings, and it’s another it’s a different energy, right. And then at some point, I cut it because I run a business in 114 countries. So I could go on forever. But at some point I set the boundary it says Okay, here it is done.
So this is a flow of a day. And whatever your flow is, you put it in here. And now in the evening, five minutes before I go to dinner. These two questions are looking at me. Alright, Simon, they say, of all the things that you did today, which one will be done tomorrow by somebody else? For example? Hmm, I was doing bookkeeping. I was posting on LinkedIn. I can delegate that. And then the next question is if you lived more intentionally and freely, what would you do? Oh, I would write a book. Oh, I would go to a festival. And this reminds me to think big. That’s one example of one of the 274 tools that we use in our coaching. That’s a daily habit. How do you allocate your time? And how do you learn from your time allocation?
That’s a great point. I’m glad you started with that. Because that really is the key, isn’t it? You really, you can’t get anything done on time or in any sort of sprint, or any reasonable type of deadline. If you can’t control your day, I think that’s a biggie. What? Let’s zoom out on that, while we’re on this, this topic of daily routine and habits. What about a week, because a lot of people are curious. And a lot of people see that like I did, and they’re like, this is awesome. But I don’t know if I necessarily want to lock myself into that for five days a week, and then end up working another nine to five, particularly if people came from a nine to five. So what does a week look like for you? Do you have certain days where that schedule changes where, like, for me example, from, for example, Mondays and Fridays, no calls, those are kind of open days for me sometimes, depending on the season, I might be busy working on stuff. But if it is kind of in between launches, or sales or something, I might have a really easy Monday, and I only work a few hours. What does that look like for you? Do you keep that schedule five days a week? Or what does that look like?
I designed the day in the evening. So today in the evening, I will design my day of tomorrow. And I can change the design during tomorrow. I’m a freedom guy, I can change stuff, anytime. And of course I might. I’m my own boss and utterly unemployable. So I change it, if it doesn’t fit, I just change it. Right. If the energy if the weather changes, I change it. The the important thing, whatever your flow is, is that you find the flow that gives you more energy than it takes from you that that helps you to ship everyday to the people that really matter to you exactly what you want to ship. And one part of it must be on your business, not just in the business.
So it’s not a good week, if you were just delivering design for somebody else. What about your own sales? system, the form fit and function of your sales? Who does that? Your own branding? Who does that? When? When do you do that? Your own vision? These are things working on the business, you’re hiring, hiring virtual assistants, or freelancers or full time employees. Who does that if not you? Say things on the business, lining up what I call referral teams, affiliate partners who promote your work, instead of your while use Leap Day send an email to their email list. I have next week 41 affiliate partners sending to my book launch, sending an email Hey, Simon has written a book you have to buy the book 41, if any, every single one of them has just 10,000 emails on their list. That’s a huge, a huge sales moment for us. And I’m not doing anything. I’ve just written this white copy right for them. Yeah. And I had a coffee with them. And ask them if they want to be affiliate partners. This is working on the business and scheduling these coffees is something that I had to make room for in my day.
Yeah, now with what you just pulled up that little virtual daily planner. And I guess this could zoom out to weekly or monthly? Do you do the same thing? Do you put like, you know, work on the business segment for two hours or three hours once a week? How have you seen that work for a lot of entrepreneurs? Because this is this is a tricky one. It’s like how much time should I devote to my business? But at the same time, how can I make sure I get all my projects done on time. And for web designers? This is tricky because web design is a very time intensive type of industry typically, which hopefully everyone listening is upping their rates and working with better clients and not you know, working too cheap to where you end up making five bucks an hour. Because that’s really the start of it. You can’t manage 10 projects at the same time and hope to get them all all done quickly in sprints. But well, there are some ways around that. But the question is, how much time do we invest in our business? Is there a maybe a good general rule of thumb that you’ve seen Simon? Is it percentage is it like 10% a week on your business? Any thoughts on that?
The reason we have actually a template in the tool that listeners right now can go and download for free. It’s open source. It’s called the ideal week tool. And it’s on strategist prints.com/tools. And you can download it anytime.
Okay, awesome. Only on mixer. We’ll link that in the show notes. Yes. Okay, I see it. I see it very cool. The Daily Flow since
At some point, you become your own bottleneck and you have to move from being the star to being the galaxy. – Simon
Since you said web designer. Let’s think of one web designer as an example. Probably everybody knows the web designer, Stefan Sagmeister. In New York. If you want to book Stefan Sagmeister, you cannot book him. It’s like, if you want to have Simon as a coach, you cannot book me since three and a half years, I am out of fulfillment I am not delivering anymore. You cannot book me as a coach. Do I enjoy coaching? Yes, I did it for 18 years. I love it. Can you book me? No. Can you book me for 100k? a month? No. Can you book me for five millions a month? No. Why? Because at some point, you become your own bottleneck. And you have to move from being the star to being the galaxy. From being the dancer to being the dance floor. The DJ, if you want, you need a DJ, what party would rather if everybody’s just dancing, what kind of parties that you need a DJ, you need lights, you need a floor, you need catering. These are all roles in a business. Even in a solopreneurs business, you have all these roles.
And I imagine yourself with all these hats on? Because that’s what you’re doing.
And so and it’s crazy. Imagine you do. Okay, who is my CEO? Who is my marketing department? Who’s my sales department, who’s my operations department and everywhere, it’s your name, your name, your name, your name? How much do you want to work? 17 hours per day, right? So there is at some point, a transition that happens for many web designers like Stefan Sagmeister did, where at some point he says, Alright, I have to carve one hour per day now out of the projects, maybe I do it on top of the projects, maybe I maybe I do it instead of lunch or during lunchtime, where half an hour I put in to think about what do I stand for? What’s my uniqueness?
By the way there It’s also the equalizer tool on the same page, strategies appraisal, comm slash tools, they can download the equalizer page, which is exactly this exercise, what do I stand for? What makes me unique, and nobody else is like that. And the cool thing about this, this might be the thing that makes you really strange. When you’re in a group, it may be awkward, you say something and they go, there is a silence. That’s may be your superpower that may be your uniqueness. That’s your angle. It’s a unique thing that you do that you bring to the table. And nobody else is like that. When you find that you go from going from being a painter to being Picasso. And everybody is Picasso, because there is nobody like Josh, there is nobody like Simon.
So carve out half an hour first, to answer your question. You start with half an hour per day working on what you stand for, which is your vision, and your positioning. Then, as you said, work on increasing your prices. We work on three strategies all the time, increasing the price by 25%, increasing the frequency of the sales by 25%, increasing the conversion rate by 25%. If you increase these three things by 25%, you have now plus 99% revenue. And that’s why our clients after three months, they go oh my god, I doubled my sales. Yeah, just do this 3 25% raises. And it’s an app if you put half an hour every day in for three months. Yeah. If if you have the right tools in the right order, which in this case, they have a sprint coach, and and they tell them exactly Okay, on Monday you do this. And on Friday, you do this, then you and that’s the sprint magic.
And I’ve even heard even I mean those those numbers as far as those percentages are great. I’ve even heard even if you just change things by 10%. What an amazing impact that could make in a pretty short amount of time and be 20% is incredible for a price increase conversion rate frequency of payments for serve. But yeah, even I imagine even just 10% it’s like I heard a great analogy years ago about like, if two boats are sailing right next to each other if one boat just changes their degree ever so slightly. Pretty soon, they’re going to be in a completely different direction. And it’s a lot like that with with sales and growing your business.
If you just stick on the same path. It is a problem. If you’re not very profitable, and you’re working too much. If you don’t change something, think problems are going to happen. And I think this is a really important point because a lot of people do get into this rut and I’m sure you’ve seen this Simon, where things are going but they’re not going great necessarily like they’re just making it with income. They’re working 90 hours a week. They’re already feeling burnt out. And the quickest reaction is just to work more. But those three strategies you just laid out right there, increase your rates, increase the frequency of payments, which for web designers hosting, maintenance, anything recurring. And then productivity and conversions, all those things, a little bit of change will make the biggest difference.
But it all goes back to that point of like taking some time out of your day to think about it and to analyze. That might be a great point. Before we dive into some some more tactical questions on Sprint’s that I have, what are your thoughts about looking at your business? And how do we evaluate our business? I know you’ve got some tools that you’ve already mentioned, like the equalizer. What about evaluating our business, though? Because this is this is tricky, right? Like, you got to be self aware, it’s easy to look at books and numbers, but how do you think we really will best evaluate our business in order to be able to get projects done faster? And to work less, make more, and all the good things that we do it right?
Yeah, it’s a daily habit, weekly habit, monthly habit, the daily habit was how we allocate our time, the weekly habit is, are we going as a business in the right direction at the right pace? So when you play Angry Birds, you shoot that bird onto the pigs, right? And then it says, 500 points. And then you shoot another bird? And it says, 600 points, what do you what do you want to do next?
Oh, you will keep on going. You only get 1000 Yeah,
1000 see, etc. This is natural human behavior. That’s how we are wired teams are wired like that. So the weekly habit is really pick the three numbers, one marketing number one sales number and one operations number from your context that will tell you 80% of the story that you need to know. And you need to know are we going in the right direction at the right pace. And these numbers, you don’t get them every month. In a 20 Pages Report. Imagine you shoot the bird and then it says in eight hours, you will get a point report data. It’s not fun. It doesn’t work. So you want the numbers right now, that’s why it’s just three numbers. It’s a simple dashboard, current in in red, and then in our case, and then I am target in blue. That’s it. It’s two lines, and you see them right now going slightly up, week by week.
So every Friday, that’s the sprint dashboard. Every Friday, the whole team’s looks at these three numbers. For example, marketing numbers, on how many podcasts? Did we show up this week podcasts of other people? And let’s say target is six, and you have it at seven? Great, we can go into the weekend with that. That’s a marketing number.
Another marketing number might be how many people were on our website this week. Alright, unique visitors, for example, or new, unique visitors? A sales number might be how many people were on our call on a sales call with us? Or how many enquiries that we get or how many offers that we sent? Or how many deals did we close this week, you pick one that tells you most of what you need to know. And you measure that every seven days.
And the third number is the operations number. How many clients were pissed, but we reacted in less than 20 hours? And now they’re happy? Or what’s our NPS Net Promoter Score number from one to 10? How likely is it that you’re going to refer to us pick the number there are many numbers churn rate if you have a subscription model your churn rate how many people did not renew in this month, in percentage, for example. So whatever your operations number is, you pick that one number now you have three numbers every seven days, which is a real time dashboard. And on the Friday meeting, it’s it’s one hour and you you look at these three numbers. Now you have an Angry Birds kind of flow for your business. And that’s enough one marketing number one sales number one ops number, and every week you learn from that.
Yeah, and imagine you could probably even take this on a simplistic level for somebody who’s just starting out even if you were just write this down, right like at the end of the week, just jot down where you’re at just a quick scan of everything we just talked about. I think that’s a great approach just kind of a weekly a weekly look back to see where it’s at because it does compound and then of course you could do a bi weekly and monthly and and see where that all adds up. I think that’s a great great point Simon about evaluating your own business without getting like too far in the weeds because it can be really tricky and then suddenly, you find yourself like going on tangents and getting into things that you’re not you don’t need to work on yet, maybe, or maybe you do want to work on something, but maybe you have to plan that out and get to it.
So that’s great man, I would like to transition to the actual, like getting projects done. Because we can use this idea of sprints for ourselves with our business. But when it comes to actually getting projects done, I’m curious to hear from you do a lot I’m assuming a lot of these lessons apply to projects. But one of the biggest things that I’ve been interested in particularly the web design, because I was a web designer for over a decade was deadlines, and the importance of deadlines. I mean, there’s Parkinson’s Law, which basically means a task is going to expand for as long as time as you give it. Like it’s a really, really important thing when it comes to deadlines.
With web design, it’s kind of interesting, because you don’t want to project to have a date, that’s too far out. Yeah. And at the same time, you don’t want to put yourself in a precarious position. If you offer a deadline that’s too quick to where you can’t really do good work. So what are your thoughts on deadlines? That was a very roundabout way to ask you, how important are deadlines? And what are the what do you think are the most important things to do for service providers, like designers and web designers?
Super important. And in the last 20 years, I have done many things the wrong way. And then I’ve learned the hard way. So what would I do, because I’m also a service provider, I when I coach, that’s a service, right? I help you improve your business. So I’m there eight hours per day, helping you improve your business. So in the first decade, I did it wrong, I would charge per day. So some people charge per hour or per day, so I will charge for time. And I will charge later on at the end of the month, I would say okay, this was 15 days, that’s the the rate this is my invoice.
Is the this is the worst thing you can do. Because the project starts with with the beginning. And this is the beginning how you sell it, how you package it, and how you invoice or not invoice. And I will tell you what is wrong about that and how I’m doing it right now. So right now, I charge upfront 25k for 90 days, there is nothing else that you can book with us. It’s upfront, you send the 25k. And then you get a sprint coach. And then the project gets started. But the project has already at three months plan every week has a goal and the dashboard is ready for you. So when you start you have already paid. And now you are super motivated, we are super motivated. And then there is a guarantee a full money back guarantee if there is no doubling of the revenue.
So now everybody has skin in the game.
The coach wants this to succeed, you want this to succeed, because you don’t want to lose 25k, right. And then you also don’t want to say hey, give me my money back. So everybody is now super super on their toes. Let’s go back. I will charge so I would send an offer. And then they will discuss it and then maybe take it maybe not. First worst thing to do, then in the offer, they will just talk about price and try to push me down with the price. Can we get 10% and the present? Boring discussions, you don’t want to have discussions about price or time you want to have price discussions. Remember, Stefan Sagmeister, you want to have price discussions about your work. What is it that we are going to create together here.
And also you are not just a delivery piece, just a supplier. This is co creation, as you said, What happens if they don’t deliver the piece that you need. And that’s exactly the point that starts with how you set up the project. That’s why we set it up, we have both skin in the game, we want this both to have this quality. So which quality let’s define the quality. This is something you’ll define before the project. So what will be the outcomes? What is the definition of Done? This is by the way what scrum has created the definition of Done. And then you go back and say okay, now in the project, how can we make this small? And how how do we name these packages, which are the small deliveries and now you will have no delays but only if you start properly charge up front and create that. We call it the game plan. But traditionally, you would call it a roadmap of the project.
Which is a sound roadmap and will not allow scope creep. Hey, can you do also that? That’s the blog can you do also the blog? Oh no. The Oh, and the the local does not fit anymore to the landing page. Can you change the logo?
That’s the big for designers. Yeah. And web designers.
Scope Creep. So let me tell you what we did with one. One design agencies. They were doing websites. They are in Berlin. And they are highly creative. But they had exactly this problem. They were five people. And they were they were doing websites. But then of course, they they were getting paid 5k for a website, and then the client would say, and the logo and the maintenance and WordPress updates, can you do the WordPress updates. And so at the end, they would have charged 5k, but worked for 8k. So they were losing literally business by working. And they were very unhappy. So they did a sprint Month one, we have got them out of the weeds, and they had time to really package their offer. And we package their offer in a different way.
We interviewed them. So what do you do in Week Zero, usually? And they said, Well, usually we interview them, we diagnose where they are and what they need. Alright, writing down week zero diagnosis, what do you do in the next week, we deliver something and see how they react, okay, week one prototype, or first draft. And this way, they had a full process in their head, they just had never written it down. So we wrote it down for them. And then we said, Alright, this is your new package. On the header of the website. They didn’t put any more, we do websites. On the header we had. We create your brand narrative in three weeks for 8000. That was the package.
And so they had a standardized opener, and it was paid upfront. And it changed everything because now every sales conversation was simple. Oh, you want a brand narrative video here we can do it. 8k three weeks, here it is. And this is week zero. This is week one, this is week three, everything changed. Three months later, they they hired three times more people, they are now 50 people, they’re crushing it and the executive team is more on the beach and surfing than doing anything else. They have a great life and a real they’re really scaling the business in a great way. Because the front package is now like a product. It’s very simple. There is no scope creep, and it always goes that way. So for them it standardized. Now even the intern can do the delivery, because it’s always the same. They improving it every week, because they just need to improve one thing. So every week, it gets better. Imagine you improve that by 10%. That’s amazing.
And then on the back side, they still allow for clients to have bigger upsell packages. So if now a client says after they 8k, and after the eight weeks, and then they say, um, can you do also the way the maintenance for me and the rebranding and the logo? Now they can decide, alright, do we like this client? Was it cool to work with them? Was it fun? And okay, yeah, let’s do an additional package. It’s 15k. And with all the rest, and if they don’t like that client, they go no, sorry, we don’t do that. But the here is our partner, you can give them.
Some gold lessons in there with having a results based service, a service that is very clearly defined. So it’s not open ended like because a lot of web designers and I know this from experience, you basically just say well, how can I help you? That’s very dangerous because then it gives the client complete control to basically have you do whatever they will and your business which sounds great when you’re starting out but then you realize after you get going for a little while you have got to refine what you do.
So that was that’s a great point. Couple key things there solidified your services, results based outcome that was a product type service that was in a deadline was in a sprint, it was a determined three week interval, which is key now, one question I’d have for you here Simon and to just kind of play a little devil’s advocate here with that question or that method for web design. All projects are very different. Now you can always you can kind of, you know group, different segments of types of clients into different funnels that’s kind of what I had I had basically small site, medium site, large site.
Small sites were under this you know, certain amount of pages certain amount of functionality, medium sites were under this type of functionality and the large sites might be E commerce and stuff like that. And then I had deadlines and essentially without even knowing it Sprint’s you And roadmaps and game plans within each one of those. Is that the best way to go? I mean, would you think that was a sound method for most web designers when we’re dealing with a lot of different types of businesses? Or is there anything we’re missing there that might help if we have different types of businesses? And we don’t have just one clear offer?
This is a great question and one that that is hard to find out for yourself, what’s the best way? But after coaching around 9000 teams over the last 18 years? I have always heard, yeah, but it’s different here, Simon. And let me explain why, for example, these agents, he literally said exactly this to us. They said, Yes, I’m in but we are creative. And I said, yeah, I hope so. And they hope that with every client, you do absolutely customized. Experiences, of course, otherwise, there will be no quality in it in it in a professional service. It’s always high touch one to one highly customized.
Still, if I ask you think of the last three years and all your clients, what do you do in week zero. And now you pick your, your, your the client that you would like to have more of? Because there are there are also some clients that you’re thinking about right now that you don’t want to have more of, for forget them for a while. Pick your favorite client? What did you do in week zero? What did you do in week one? What did you do in week three, and I can write it down. You tell me I write it down, I give you that. And that piece of paper is your package your first one, and then you refine it week by week.
This is the best thing you can do. And still every project will be different. Because in week zero, the diagnosis with that client will be different within that industry will be different in that region will be different. We work in 114 countries, with businesses that are small, like a solopreneur. And we work also with the NASDAQ and with Google. So of course it’s every sprint is different. But what happens in every sprint in Week Zero diagnosis, what happens in every sprint in week one, setting up the dashboard and the three goals for three months.
Common principles, right that applied. Yeah,
The anatomy of a project is always the same. – Simon
The anatomy of a project is always the same. The the details, and the content is always different. But the anatomy is always the same. You and I we are very different. But our anatomy is the same. We have arms, we have legs, we have a we have a digestive system, we have a respiratory system, but we are super different. But the structure can be the same.
That’s a great analogy. Well, I’ve never heard a phrase like that. That’s awesome, though. Simon, I’m totally gonna rip that from you. I love that. I love that idea would have a good a good analogy on that. And you’re right, you’re totally right. You can make all the excuses you want. But at the end of the day, and I know this as a web designer, while a lot of projects were different scope and sizes, the anatomy was the same. It was everything you just said plan the project out the goals, the results. And then wireframe design, content, fulfillment
Right there it is, write it down.
Whether you do it, whether you do it for a five page website or a 50 page website, the only variables that change are generally how much time is going to be involved with, you know, replicating other pages. But that’s the beauty about, if you don’t want to do that yourself, you can hire a subcontractor or junior to handle those kinds of things. So don’t want to get too far on that tangent.
But only after you have done exactly the work that you have just done of getting this anatomy out of your head writing it down. Now you can start hiring if you hire before it’s it’s obsolete.
Great point. Great point. That’s we’re working on our business every week a little bit and then more every month, that’s where that is key is to start creating those standard operating procedures and getting it out of our head. And that’s the big isn’t it, getting stuff out of our head and onto paper or onto a Google Doc or some sort of standard operating procedure. That was that was key for me because I did not realize how much I had in my head until I started designing courses and building courses. And then suddenly I was like, wow, I’ve got a lot in here that I need to get out.
I do the same. So when I had to shift from being the delivery person to being the business owner, I did the same thing. I did an online course for my colleagues basically. And it was a six weeks teaching them what I would do in Week Zero and week one, etc. And then I started bringing them in. And now it’s 114 countries and the certification model is certified strategy sprints coach does this. And the same thing the Stefan Sagmeister and every, every artist do the same thing does Lady Gaga.
So Stefan Sagmeister did the same thing he was doing the web work and the design work himself. Then he had a studio with five assistants, interns, I don’t know how they’re called in his world. But in the studio, there were people preparing the colors, preparing the sketches, documenting stuff, invoicing, etc, all the the admin part of the creative project would be done by assistants. And now you cannot book him at all. And still, and this is where the magic starts. Still, you can have a Stefan Sagmeister project, even if you are, I don’t know, in Zurich, and he is in New York, you can have a Stefan Sagmeister project, because he is still working in the studio, but not, of course, in the weeds.
He’s doing the conceptual work and bringing the brand into the world. He’s on podcasts, he’s in conferences, he’s writing the books, he’s making sure there are publishers, there are journalists talking about it. And this is working on the business. He’s meeting other people who run Studios is doing events with them, making sure the world knows that the the studio is bookable and what they stand for.
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I’ve talked a lot about that becoming the owner, and getting out of the operator see in, you know, a lot of people I’m working with right now a lot of my students are in that position. And I’m really excited for them because everything changed changes when we start doing that. Now I’m curious, going back to some tactical things on these projects, and getting them done in sprints, getting them done on time, we covered a lot about how we can fulfill this. And we can do our part to make this happen.
But what about in a service industry, when you’ve got somebody on the other side, your client, and they need to fulfill their end of things to how have you seen this this idea of sprint and Scrum and all these project based things done when there’s clients involved too? Is it giving them the same type of deadlines? Is it giving them that game plan and roadmap? And then if they break the rules? What have you seen work? Are there fees? Are there cancellations, we love to hear your thoughts on that, being that in web design, we can only do as much as our client gives us when it comes to content and everything, we need them.
Yeah, so all these examples had clients, of course, because otherwise, what are we doing? It’s all about the clients, whatever we do is about the clients and our clients have clients that’s given now, many, many questions to unpack their great questions. One is, how do we get them to deliver right what they need to deliver. And this goes back to how you start a project. If you say, Okay, I’m going to work for a month now. And at the end of the month, I tell you what I did, you can be sure that they will not deliver. I had this for five years. See, and then I changed the model. I said, Okay, wait a moment, you pay up front, otherwise I don’t go I don’t take the cab. At that time, you would I would call a cab, which was go to the the airplane, and then I would fly to their city. And I don’t call the cab before the money isn’t here.
So now they would send up front, let’s say 18k. And now the project starts now you have a complete different delivery situation on the other side. Now you have partners, now you are talking. So the first thing is how you how you package and how you invoice upfront move from afterwards for time to upfront for results. It will change how they feel the project and how relevant the project is for them. Now you’re not just one of 17 suppliers. Now you are a partner. And now the project is intense. What is where you can?
Oh sorry, sorry, sorry, I was gonna say what I always did as far as charging up front, and I made the mistake early on of just trying to get the project done that invoicing. What I always did, and what’s most common and most design is 50 upfront 50 on Upon completion, which I don’t know what your thoughts are on that as far as that pricing model, but I know there’s a lot of value as well with having a package that’s like you pay for the package here and then boom, here’s the deliverables. Here’s the timeline, but 50/50 is still what’s most common and web design at least.
Yeah, and usually what’s most common is not the best solution in general. Look, look at the world right now. How many people own Bitcoin it’s not what’s most common but It’s definitely the best thing that you can own right now. But nobody did it over the last years. Why? Because everybody’s doing what the other do. And so people, in best case, they have some ETFs. They have Standard and Poor 500. Best, hopefully. And so and they’re just keeping up with inflation, but they are not doing the right thing, most people.
So do not do competitive analysis in terms of what is my industry doing? You will invest case be mediocre, like them, break, break the rules, do what you need for a good project. And what do you need for a good project? You need reliable cash flow? How do you have reliable cash flow? By knowing exactly the beginning of the month, what in and where it’s coming from? And so that, that you have also a reliable forecast for the next three months? Because if you don’t have that, how can you? How can you decide on which software to build? How can you decide if to buy stronger computers or not, because you don’t know you don’t have a budget, you are guessing.
So one thing that you need to do is strengthen your cash flow, the reliability of, of your revenue systems, as we call them, overall of all the incoming projects, how many and which kind of, then the next thing is how you set up the client to really be your partner. And not just somebody, you know, who is missing deadlines. Hey, we are partners in this, we want to create the best website for this specific purpose, that is your purpose, you want to attract three people every day to work with you. That’s what we are doing with you. That’s why we created this. In order to make this happen. We have committed to this you have committed to this, this is the plan. And these are how we are going to end now. It’s about psychology.
And you said rightly, what if they don’t do it? The psychology that took me also a decade to understand behavior and how to do it. And so the example of Angry Birds is important. So you have to show them the progress. That’s why this weekly dashboard is a visual dashboard. You said, yeah, maybe you just write it down. Yeah, you can also write it down, but it will lose its its immediate impact.
And think of children how they operate. It’s visual, and it’s immediate. And it’s with their hands first, not so much with their cognitive not so much with their head, it’s with their hands right into their feet. So create a project that is like that. Let do workshopping let’s do drafts with them. Let them create stuff, not just talk about stuff. And then let them send your stuff. Like maybe they can do the images, or they can do part of the copy. And so now it becomes a workshop of two creative sides. And now you’re a team now you’re creative partners. And also it starts to be fun. Because now it’s ping pong, I send you something you give me work critic, you send me something, I give you work critic. Now we are growing together, we are building together, we are improving together, we are learning together. And at the end, not just at the end of the month. But at the end of every week, we have built something. So I have to be on every landing page. I am so proud of every landing page. So I created a landing page. I was so proud.
Part of me is terrified of the idea of working too closely with a client. – Josh
Yeah, part of me is terrified of the idea of working too closely with a client because I did that where it was like I gave them idea. They gave me idea. And then it just it’s just talking about a project growing legs and scope creep. There’s some of that, I think, I think that the idea that you’re talking about the Simon is give them some skin in the game, right? Like let them be a part of the experience. And the cool thing about this is, I think it really all goes down to limitations and constraints. So what I would do and what I did successfully in that situation was give the client as much control as they wanted to in the process. As long as you know, I was going to be the web designer and they weren’t going to tell me what to do. But I gave them enough control to work on copy and give me their ideas. And then that did under some constraints and under a timeline. And then under some deadlines that did work did work pretty well, is that kind of the goal of this particular thought is to give them some skin in the game. Let them be a part of the experience rather than just paying you and hope to hear back in a month. Is that kind of the idea?
Yes, the energy flows. When it’s like a basketball team. Everybody has their role everybody’s doing something and the ball is going from one to the other from one to the other and then hit this is where the energy is. I was creating A landing page with with three other people yesterday, and today in the morning, we were done, because they are in another time zone. So they were working in the night, I wake up in the morning and it’s done. It’s ready. It has the new color. It has exactly what I what I what I dreamed of yesterday. And then we had two small zooms and a little bit slack ping pong of drafts, I made a draft on my aim the client, I made the draft on my iPad, I send it to them. And then they sent back a first version of the landing page.
I did draw on my iPad back some feedback, hey, this color doesn’t really match that. How can we make the button move? I would love a button that moves. And they go oh my god, you want to change the button? Okay, but they changed it. I got my moving button. I was happy like a child. And I’m super proud. And now today, if somebody asked me, Hey, Simon, your website looks cool. Who did that? I will say hey, go to them. They’re great. So this is an example of a great project. I am happy I’m the client, they will get referrals. If somebody asks me, and that’s a cool project. I will 100% build the next project with them.
Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, it’s a good, it’s a good kind of reminder to make it an experience. And web design a service industry, it’s really easy to just get in your own way, and then just kind of very easily just leave the client out of things and just want to, you know, go reclusive and just do your work. And that’s what a lot of web designers have to combat. But those progress reports those those welcome feedback and revisions and the right time and the right constraints that really does provide a great experience and on the receiving end that’s a good example of how a little bit of high touch in the right time of the project that they were doing for you really led to a great experience and now more referrals so yeah, that’s great, man. Well, listen, Simon I know we’re close on time here. We’ve covered a lot of great stuff though. As far as starting with ourselves daily habits daily workflows. You had a nice for anyone watching this on YouTube I really nice little hand drawing, which by the way, what are you what did you use to share that into stream that? Are you using any programs that you use to share that little piece? What was that?
Yeah, yeah, it’s Ecamm, the Elgato stream deck and an iPad that’s my location.
Okay, so did Ecamm cool yeah, I’m actually playing around with the camera right now. Funnily enough cuz I’m getting ready to redo a lot of my gear so cool. I was curious about that. But we started daily routine
I can push a button and he came and it shows you my my strategy Sprint’s model, this is in the middle, it’s the daily habit. And then the horizontal is the weekly habit. And the vertical line is the monthly habit.
It works on zoomy cam works on Zoom and everything.
That’s awesome. Very cool. Oh, now I’m gonna see now on the side now, no, I’m going to do after this, I got a free block after this. I’m going to play around with that. So habits daily, weekly, monthly, spending some time on our business, ideally, each day a little bit, definitely at the end of the week talked about some great habits and tactics with that. The 20/25 25/25 thing I love that as far as just boosting your conversions by 25% rates by 25% and frequency by 25%. What a great takeaway, talked about a little bit of psychology with clients and actually sprinting through projects and having a realistic deadline and kind of breaking those down into chunks in bite size.
A lot of great stuff to help my my audience and listeners get better results doubling their sales with with less time with Sprint’s last question for you here some before I let you go, somebody who is really interested in this, but they’re not quite sure what they should do first, what would you advise them to do first, if you could just give them a first step. If they’re just a little overwhelmed, their business is running them they want to run their business, what would be the first step that you advise?
Absolute first step is to find your bottleneck right now. So you need to know what to fix next, the one thing done don’t start doing all of these things that we discussed at once you have to find your bottleneck we have on our website and eight minutes bottleneck analysis helper so in eight minutes you can find your bottleneck is strategy Sprint’s dot com and and you click on the bottleneck thing, and then you have a in eight minutes your bottleneck and then you start only with debt. And when you have solved that it might take one week it might take two weeks when we have solved that then you solve the next bottleneck. This is how you work in Sprint’s one thing, and everybody aligned on that until you win and then you move to the next.
Gotcha Simon thanks for your time, man. I really enjoyed chatting with you again. It was fun to have you on the opposite end this time said interview To me, it was really fun to get to know you better and to pick your brain on this. Thank you for your advice, your knowledge, your expertise. I’m sure this won’t be the last time man.
Thanks, Josh. Thank everybody keep rolling.
Awesome. Cheers, man.
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