ßEver wondered if you should offer a website audit, optimization overview, free consult or other lead generation strategy in order to get new clients through your web design doors?

It’s a worthwhile approach towards getting clients, especially if you want to give potential clients quick wins in order to build trust and authority so they eventually purchase your full website packages and ongoing services.

But what should you offer?

In this podcast episode, I’m chatting with Kyle Prinsloo, founder of freelancefam.com (a private and free discord community for web design freelancers) who shares how he started as a freelance web designer with a “value ladder” approach to getting clients which is, in short:

  • Set up a web design profile on fiverr.com
  • Offered a $5 conversion optimization offer
  • Followed up with a $100 wireframe design
  • That led to 1k-5k full project
  • Then to ongoing work

Kyle gives us a behind the scenes look at how this value ladder helped him build his business from scratch along with many other things web designers can do today to get started as a freelancer in web design.

If you come up with a value ladder of your own, share it with me in the comments at joshhall.co/318 (I diligently read all podcast comments)

👉 Check out FreelanceFam.com

(Connect with Experienced Freelancers for Free Guidance and Feedback)

In this episode:

00:00 -Introduction
07:32 – Web Design Journey
12:51 – Learning the Basics
17:38 – Being in a Community
22:13 – Clients around the World
27:41 – Platform Transition
31:43 – Create Recurring Income
38:39 – Doing What you Enjoy
44:58 – Value Ladder of Knowledge
47:53 – Pricing with Different Platforms
56:59 – Giving it Time to Build


Connect with Kyle:

Episode #318 Full Transcription

Kyle: 

To give my first few clients. I went on Fiverr and instead of offering standard web design services, I sort of flipped it around and then I offered conversion rate optimization reports. So it was basically like a two to three page PDF with suggestions on how to improve your website. And then I really aimed to over deliver and then I would make my suggestions and everything, give it and then upsell them to $100 wireframe, which is like a just I just only knew PowerPoint back then, so just like a very basic sort of sketch, and then after that it would be like $1,000 website and then after that it would be $1,000 monthly marketing retainer. And yeah, it worked pretty well.

Josh: 

Welcome to the Web Design Business podcast, with your host, josh Hall, helping you build a web design business that gives you freedom and a lifestyle you love.

Josh: 

Hey friends, great to have you here for another episode of the Web Design Business podcast. This is going to be a cool one because we’re going to dive into a value ladder for web designers, a proven value ladder at that. This stemmed from the idea of well, particularly those of you who might be getting started in web design although this can translate to anyone, no matter where you are in your journey in web design but I’m sure everyone’s had the question should I have like an entry point product or something cheap or even free at the beginning of my value ladder? If you’re new into web design or into business in general, you may wonder what this term value ladder is. It essentially means that you’re going to give something either free or very low cost initially, and then you’re going to move somebody up to something that’s a little more expensive than eventually in the case of web design, a full web design build and ongoing work. But the question is what would we put in this first level of the value ladder? Is it an audit? Is it a consultation? Is it like a free loom video? What could you do in this beginning stage? That’s exactly what we’re going to dive into in this episode.

Josh: 

Kyle Prenslow, my guest in this one had a really cool journey into web design and, more specifically, a really cool way that he got started in web design and it was this approach of a value ladder for web designers. So he’s going to share everything he learned and everything he implemented in offering this really cool value ladder approach and we dive into a wide variety of topics in and around this idea of getting started in web design nowadays, particularly on the freelance side of things, before you build an official business and scale, what’s it like early on freelancing and getting going. So we’re going to dive into that and much more in this one with Kyle Prenslow, who is the owner and founder of FreelanceFam. Freelancefam is a community for web designers, specifically for freelancers. You can check that out at freelancefamcom. It is a free discord community, so highly recommend checking it out. Whether you are brand spanking new in web design or you’re further along but are still in the freelancer role in your business really great option to connect with others who are right where you are in your web design journey. So go again to freelancefamcom to check that out. Kyle also has a personal site and an agency site that we’re going to reference. Both of those will be linked in the show notes at this episode, which you can find at joshallco.

Josh: 

We’re on 318, right on this one, yeah, 318 to go find all the links and resources we talk about. And again, freelancefamcom is to join his free discord community. Did I mention it’s free? Well, it is Speaking of free. What should you do in the first level of your value ladder? Should it be paid? Should it be free? Find out more here with Kyle Prenslow. Kyle, good to have you here, man, so pumped to chat with you specifically about Freelancing and kind of what you’re seeing in the world of of trends with freelancers and web designers Getting into freelance and solar printerships. So I’m super pumped to chat with you, man. Thanks for joining.

Kyle: 

Yeah, thank you. I mean, first of all, I’m a bit depressed when you said you wanted to only talk about freelancing. I was hoping we could talk about like tennis or golf. But yeah, let’s do it. But I’m looking forward to it, thanks for having me.

Josh: 

I have, I have zero to give you on golf, but I would love to talk tennis with you, so absolutely.

Kyle: 

Who’s your favorite player?

Josh: 

Being from the States, I got into tennis when Roddick was at his prime, so he had just won the US Open when I got into tennis. So I I played for high school One year. I graduated in 2005 when I graduated from high school and I, like, I had no interest or experience with tennis leading up to that, but some of my friends started playing and then I just enjoyed it and then I started watching it and then I got a ps2 tennis game like a PlayStation game. Yeah, that actually really helped the timing and then I was just hooked from there. So within a year I was playing for my high school tennis team. I was playing in doubles, so I’ll I’ll give it. I’ll give it to Roddick, but there’s some guys right now on the tour. I love Tiaffo right now. He’s obviously a fun, fun guy to watch.

Kyle: 

I gotta choose the.

Josh: 

Americans, I can’t not choose you.

Kyle: 

Okay, okay, awesome, we can continue the the chat.

Josh: 

Well, hold on, wait about you? I gotta be, I gotta reciprocate. What about you? Who’s your favorite?

Kyle: 

I like sort of the usual guys, you know, and Fedor Nidal, I do like Senate, I do like Alcarez, so I would say many, many those guys at the moment.

Josh: 

Okay, cool, cool, all right, we’re on the same page, all right. So we both love tennis, we both love web design. Can you just give us the the summary of your experience, kyle with with your journey I mean, it sounds like you or Freelancer, agency owner scaler yeah, how I’ve been. Really, I love to know just like how you got into web design and then what led you here.

Kyle: 

Yeah, so there’s a long answer and short answer. I’m gonna give you the short answer. And yeah, so I was working as a marketing manager for company and I wasn’t earning enough, so I had to try and figure out something on the side and that led me to freelancing. Within a year, I was Actually earning more than my full-time salary. This was about 2015 and then I left in 2017 to do my own thing and I’m in full-time ever since, and that led to various different businesses. You know dropshipping, software, All of this type of stuff but at the moment I still do freelancing. It’s still a big part of my income and I also do some like content. You know where I’ve got a community, but, like you know the usual stuff like a YouTube and social media and all of that because I really enjoy helping others get into the space as well, because it really changed my life and I enjoy sort of sharing what worked for me and it’s amazing seeing you know the fruit of that.

Josh: 

When you came into web design, you said you were in marketing previous to that. How did that go for you? Were you a tech guy? Were you good with development and coding, or were you purely design and front end? I guess what was your marketing experience more specifically?

Kyle: 

Yeah, so from a development side, nothing at all. From a marketing side that’s where I had more experience at SEO the basic web design stuff, social media, google ads, things like that.

Josh: 

So this is really important, Kyle, because I feel like a lot of marketers or people who come from the marketing world and any category of marketing. They’re often intimidated to be a web designer because even with the rise of builders and options now for different website platforms, I think there’s still a lot of hesitation and fear to be a web designer because inevitably you’re going to get into some hairy stuff with hosting and code. Even if you use a non-code builder or a platform, there’s still going to be some web design stuff. How did you manage that? What was your experience when you started freelancing? Did you have partners and colleagues who helped out with that stuff, or did you just learn as much as you could when things got hairy? What did that look like?

Kyle: 

Yeah, it was messy. It was actually emotional. You didn’t want to see it, but I just had to outsource it because I didn’t have it in me to learn all of these hectic things. I got a bit better, I would say, on a few technical things now, like maybe some hosting issues and everything. I figured it out a bit now, but in the beginning stages I used to outsource a lot. I found some guys on Payton $5 telling my issue hey, just fix it, and then I would focus on other stuff. I know a lot of guys are sort of wanting to figure it out themselves and I do that, but not in things like this. So I just outsourced all of that.

Josh: 

Okay, interesting. I feel like outsourcing is usually a later stage of the game, so it’s interesting that you dove right into it. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best ways to go, especially if you know your zone of genius and you know what you’re good at and what you want to focus on. Yeah, outsource the rest. I think it’s good to have an overall general knowledge of some of the most important things. But if you’re not interested in, like CSS and hard coding things, yeah, have somebody who’s really good at that, do that and then you can do the marketing or the sales that they may not be good at. How?

Kyle: 

did you decide?

Josh: 

what builder to use. You said 2017 is when you started financing right.

Kyle: 

Yeah, so actually back then I went the old school route. I just went like standard HTML cc’s but a bootstrap, and I went that route and my approach was very much like I needed cash ASAP and I couldn’t afford to wait like three months or six months or a year to learn and then start getting clients. So literally I remember taking like these courses on Udemy on Bootstrap. I learned how to center a div. I got back to the header section. I’m like I sort of know how it works. The menu okay, full. Let me pitch my services.

Kyle: 

You know website design, so that’s essentially what I did. And then I learned on the job doing that bootstrap templates and the basics. You know sort of like not advanced, dynamic websites, right. But as I grew and it was clients, you know, who wanted like e-commerce but more dynamic CMS websites, then WordPress, wordpress and WooCommerce back then, and that changed over the years to like 2019, 2020 around there, to like other ones, I think it was Webflow like 2021 around there, and then I used that for a while and then now I’m using Wix Studio and I know there’s plenty of others. I’m also experimenting with us, but I’m set on Wix Studio at the moment.

Josh: 

That’s what’s so fascinating there are just so many tools now. Even I mean I I’ve followed a similar path to you that led me from hard coding with Dreamweaver, which was I got into it back in 2010.

Kyle: 

Oh yeah, I should use that as well. I forgot.

Josh: 

Okay, yeah, okay so you were just, you know, a handful of years behind me, but same progression, which I again. I still think there’s a lot of value in just knowing basic HTML structure and very, very basic CSS, because if you’re going to build a website, even if you’re using a no code builder platform, there’s still HTML and CSS going on in the background. It’s nice to know. I got all know. It’d be like working on a car, you know, like with the hood down, like you’re not, you don’t really know what’s going on. So that’s really cool because there I think that’s a lot of marketers hesitations to web design is like oh, how far do I need to get in the code thing? Build a little bit and then find your tool.

Josh: 

So you went hard coding Dreamweaver, wordpress and then Webflow and then Wix Studio now which I recently had Brad Hussie, who’s a colleague of mine, who’s all in on Wix Studio now. So that’s kind of interesting because you know, for years I used to dog Wix in the early days is because I had clients using it and the old builder was. From my understanding, wix Studio is a lot different than Wix. The old builder right. Are they like two different platforms?

Kyle: 

Yeah, big time. So I mean, I think, just like every other platform, you know, there’s there’s pros and cons in in terms of like the early phases and everything, and I think I didn’t use Wix back then, I preferred Webflow. Right Now, if I look at Wix Studio and Wix, there’s quite a big difference. So Wix is more catered to, like the Awa sort of like. You know, the average people want to do websites themselves.

Kyle: 

Wix Studio is more focused on like professional freelancers agencies, you know, want to like manage their clients, to like solid and no code, you know, websites with all these animations and everything, as well as using custom code, there’s like a lot of all these technical things, like Velo and Custom CSS and all of these things. So it’s really, I would say, customizable. And I must say I’ve chatted with a lot of people who use it and often are recommended and I think there’s only one guy who’s told me is like, nah, I don’t like it, and that happens, that’s normal, but I’m talking about so many people who actually love it. So I think it’s one of those things where you should try and you should try all of them. You know, I would say, try the top three and see which one you prefer and then go with that.

Josh: 

Yeah, I stand by that too, man, there’s really. I don’t ever feel there’s a right or wrong choice. There may be a right or wrong choice for you, but not as a whole. Like, I still love Divi. It’s what I’m comfortable with and familiar with, and I know some people hate it and that’s fine. Like, and I’m sure you’ve seen this with your community, so you run Freelancer Fam. Is that an agnostic group? As far as builders, like, do you have people who are using all sorts of builders and different tools, or do you focus on the studio with that?

Kyle: 

Yeah, so it’s called Freelance Fam and, yeah, this. First of all, I must say it’s really cool seeing the different opinions and what people are using, the backgrounds, all of that stuff. But, to answer your question, people are using all sorts of different tools. You know, some people prefer codes and we prefer webflow, some of the week studios and we prefer a framework, wordpress and all of that stuff. So it’s very, it’s very mixed and I think it’s quite cool to get those diverse opinions on, because the reality is some, sometimes, depending on the project, it is beneficial to use certain platforms, right? So, yeah, it’s always nice getting different opinions.

Josh: 

When you started freelancing and you tried out WordPress and then you went to Webflow. So what was it like going into

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