Have you recently struggled with what web design services to offer?

You know you don’t want to do ALL the things but you also don’t want to leave money on the table if clients have potential work for you.

I’m pumped to bring on Ran Segall, founder of Flux-Academy.com, on this episode of the podcast who shares his insights on how to craft the right offers today as a beginning web designer and how to package up your services in a way that builds your web business sustainably in 2024 and beyond.

We cover:

  • How to determine what services to offer
  • When to keep something in horse and when to refer out
  • How to make referral partners
  • Deciding what tools to use in 2024
  • What the landscape is like nowadays for getting into web design or adding new services
  • Where Webflow is compared to others in the market of web platforms and more

Ran’s education platform, Flux-Academy serves thousands of web designers from all over the globe so he has a good pulse on what’s working and what’s not.

He’s also in the Webflow world which is one I’m not personally familiar with so it was nice to be educated on that builder, the community and where it is in relation to WordPress and other platforms.

Enjoy friends!

In this episode:

00:00 – Web Design Services and Referral Partners
05:26 – Webflow and Trends
18:12 – Web Design Challenges
30:02 – Building Community and Partnerships for Success
36:05 – Transitioning From Courses to Community
49:59 – Web Design and AI Cooperation
53:39 – Webflow and Flux Academy Discussion

If you’d like help getting your web business off the ground, I have a new free training and guide for you at joshhall.co/build to help you make the right decisions and offers before building your business up

Connect with Ran:

Featured links mentioned:

Episode #320 Full Transcription

Ran: 1:37
What I used to do when I worked with clients who might need something like this. I would say, look, we can collaborate with an SEO expert on this website. Once we’re done, you’re going to need to go and get a dedicated SEO agency or social media marketing agency. That’s not my focus and I’m going to refer you to an agency that I like. That is, you know, an expert on that. But I’m not going to try and do that myself. You might say, oh, I’m losing money on the table or whatever. That’s just not my focus and you know you can, if you want to get a referral free from the agency that you’re referring to. But again to me, I’m not trying to be everything for everybody. I just know what I want to focus on. 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: 2:37
Hey friends, welcome into the show. So good to have you here. This is episode 320 of the Web Design Business Podcast, so a question for you before we kick this one off have you struggled recently with deciding what web design services to offer? Whether you’re brand new into web design which I know how challenging this can be or even if you’ve been at it for a while, you might wonder should I do more for my clients? How much should I take on? I don’t want to do all the things, but I also don’t want to leave money on the table, especially if you don’t have referral partners yet. I know how tricky this is. So I’m really excited about this episode because I think it’s going to help you a lot.

Josh: 3:09
If you don’t know my guest in this episode, you’ve probably seen him on YouTube if you’re in web design, but this is Rand Siegel, who is the founder of Flux Academy. It is one of the biggest online education platforms for web designers, specifically for Webflow web designers. As a side part, it was kind of interesting talking to Ran, because I don’t know much about Webflow personally and I don’t know anything about the community behind it, so I learned a lot about where that is in relation to WordPress and other builders on the market right now. But, more specifically, it was really good to get Ran’s perspective on what’s working now in web design from what his students have done with creating the right offers and services to again be able to have a wide range of services, but not do too much. So we’re gonna cover how to figure out what to offer your clients, when to keep something in-house in your business or when you should refer it out, how to make referral partners, even deciding what tools to use If you are a newbie web designer, what the landscape looks like right now for getting into web design and crafting your services and again, as I mentioned, a little bit about Webflow and where that is. So I’m really excited to help you out and if any of these are pain points for you.

Josh: 4:17
Speaking of those of you who are getting started, the last episode I did a bit of a coaching Q and a with one of my students who’s an early stage web designer inside of web designer pro and that prompted me to create a new free guide for you, specifically those of you who are new or getting started in your web design business. I have a new free 10 step action plan to help you start and build your web design business, or even if you’re, 10 step action plan to help you start and build your web design business, or even if you’re early stage and need some help with getting things off the ground. Pick that up now at joshhallco slash build. Joshhallco slash build. It is completely free and it is a 10 step action plan accompanied by a 40 minute free training video. It’s kind of like a coaching session with me with a roadmap to help you start and build your web design business. I’m going to share with you the main things you need to know and what to have in place in your web design business to effectively offer services. I’m also going to share with you how to craft your offers from my recommendation, how to price your offers and how to start getting clients. So if that sounds good, sounds good, go to joshhallco slash build. Pick up that free resource.

Josh: 5:27
Here’s Rand from Flux Academy. Let’s talk all things offering services and web design today. Rand, welcome onto the podcast. Man. Pleasure to have you on Super pumped to chat. Yeah, different time zone for or different time for me, different time for you, but I appreciate you taking some time to chat, man, I appreciate having you here, thank you.

Josh: 5:48
The beauty and the curse of being opposite sides of the world, I guess, but that’s what’s pretty cool. I actually wanted to find out, before we even dive into kind of, where web design is nowadays from your perspective, which I’m really excited to hear about. Can you just give us a little bit of the backstory on you, ran? I don’t know too much about how you became a web design educator, so can you just give us the kind of the quick summary that led you here?

Ran: 6:11
Yeah, sure, I’ve been doing. I’m 41, was 41 last week, so I guess I’m old, but I’ve been doing kind of like design and web design since I was in high school, so that’s like a long time, like before Flash I guess, and stuff like that. So it’s been a while. It’s been a minute. I’ve worked in agencies in advertising. I also went to design school, eventually started freelancing. I did that for a while.

Ran: 6:39
At some point I think maybe around seven or eight years ago I started also documenting on YouTube just as a kind of like a fun thing to document me going and meeting clients and behind the scene of my work and what I’m learning and what I’m excited about and just talking about it. And it seems to have resonated with people. And eventually I launched a course and then that became kind of like my business and so about four years ago I actually stopped doing client work and just focus on education. Now we have a bunch of courses on Flux Academy and yeah, now I’ve discovered that, yeah, I guess I’m a good designer, but I guess I’m better on video than most people, so that’s my superpower. I can be, yeah, yeah.

Josh: 7:25
By the way, I think your tagline should definitely be I’ve been in it since before flash or something like that. That’s catchy. So where is? Let’s just dive right into web design right now, rand, because I think you and I have a unique position to where we’re fortunate to be able to see what’s working for a lot of people. There’s just so many ways to do it now and there’s so many different tools.

Josh: 7:48
One thing that’s been really interesting for me personally with this podcast is it’s opened me up to people in different communities and platforms. I was really just completely embedded in the WordPress world and Divi specifically, but now I’m conversing with so many people on different platforms and it’s interesting not that marketing changes, but there are differences with clientele, with certain needs, with certain platforms. So, as a Webflow guy, I’m kind of curious where is the market right now? Let’s dive into Webflow, specifically for Webflow designers. What’s it like for Webflow designers? Because I have some students who use itflow specifically for webflow designers. What’s it like for webflow designers, because I have some students who use it, but what’s from your perspective? What’s it like?

Ran: 8:28
um, in a sense, I think it’s great. It’s like blowing up. Demand is blowing up, but it’s always in context. Still, you know, wordpress is the majority of of the market and so Webflow is gaining traction and it’s growing rapidly. So if you’re in the Webflow space, it looks like the space is doubling every. I don’t know, but there’s like more and more opportunities.

Ran: 8:51
In my perspective, in the grand scheme of things, it’s still very, very early days because still, as you’ve mentioned, most of the world is on WordPress. There are some big builders on WordPress as well. Off WordPress, there is also big players like Wix and Squarespace. So there are a lot of players in the web design space and platforms. I think each of them has their own kind of like specific place in the market.

Ran: 9:17
Webflow are now trying to position themselves, I think accurately, for the professional, as in more complex and robust websites that need a lot of customization, both on the design front animation and customization, but also integrations and CMS complexity and all kinds of other things that you can do now, scalability and working on complex websites. So they’re trying to position themselves in that space, which I personally think is great, because, as the tools become easier, there’s always going to be kind of like a pyramid, where the majority of the markets want to try and do it on their own, have rather simple needs and they’re going to try to do it on their own or kind of like, have a simple solution, but the people in the top have very complex problems and they want to pay a professional usually a lot of money to solve a complex problem. So that’s where I guess the Webflow space is. Yeah.

Josh: 10:20
That’s good. No, I appreciate that perspective because I kind of viewed it like that. Just from what I know I’ve never used it myself, but from what I see in the students I see using it, it seems like it’s the bridge between WordPress and Wix or Squarespace or some of the ones that may be extremely DIY. I mean is Webflow. I don’t know the origin of it, but did it start out as more of a DIY and then become more of a pro type tool?

Ran: 10:45
No, it’s actually. I see it differently. It’s actually somewhere in between custom code, like complete custom code, and some kind of a website builder, I guess, where you drop components, whether it’s Wix or Squarespace, because it’s literally basically what it is is. It’s a UI for code, so it’s unlike there’s a lot of tools that are design oriented. So it feels familiar for designers. They’re dragging components. But Webflow is a little bit more development oriented. It’s visual and you don’t have to code, but you have to think like a developer. You have to understand because you’re putting in divs and you’re working with classes and combo classes and all of that kind of like. It’s the same logic of actual development. So it’s. It’s yeah, so it’s somewhere in the middle, I think, um, in between code and other kind of like website builders.

Josh: 11:38
Okay, so with your background, I imagine you were probably, you know, with your years of experience, I imagine there was some custom coding and WordPress. What led you to Webflow? What was? Did you use everything and then land on Webflow? What was your progression?

Ran: 11:51
Can I say, hating Webflow, hating WordPress as well.

Josh: 11:55
It’s fine, it’s fine. Is that politically correct here? No, it’s all good.

Ran: 11:58
Yeah, yeah, of course, of course. Course. I mean my first, my first portfolio project, uh website was completely custom, custom built, as in. I had to build my own kind of like cms with php and stuff like that. So that was like very early or later on flash websites again where you need to, uh yeah, build cms with like a j file. So beginning was complete custom code. Then I did use WordPress. Of course. I had my blog and my first websites on WordPress.

Ran: 12:29
I personally always struggled with it. I hated installing instances of WordPress. I hated trying to customize templates and diving into complex code, especially when it got, responsiveness became an issue and now you have to start modifying each breakpoint. It became too complex and I personally don’t like to code. So I felt limited and frustrated Professionally for many years.

Ran: 13:00
I didn’t do the development myself because, again, I was working on with high end clients on complex projects and I did the design, but I didn’t have the capabilities, the coding capabilities, to actually implement what I was doing on WordPress. So I had to basically hand off my design to a developer who would then go and implement it on WordPress and, you know, connect the CMS and all that kind of thing. And then, when Webflow came around, it just enabled me to, instead of handing off to somebody else, completely develop it myself and figure out. You know how to set up a CMS and how to make sure it’s responsive and animations without having to write the code, so for me it was the perfect solution. Yeah, again, I always avoided learning how to do the coding myself. I didn’t want to do that, so that’s honestly that’s what’s cool about web design nowadays.

Josh: 13:51
Like when I got started, you had to know some code and that was just in 2010. So you know, 14 years later you got to like everyone can barely know any code and get by just fine. On that note, how much coding and best practices do you think people should know, if they are Kind of like both of us because I’m not a coder or developer at heart either, I’m definitely more of a designer and strategy and things like that how much code should you know, or should somebody know if they’re getting going in web design today?

Ran: 14:22
Yeah, it really depends. I don’t think there is a straight answer. First of all, I think you don’t have to know code, but you do have to understand the mental models. You do have to understand what is a div. You do have to understand the box model, like what is padding and what you use. It uses HTML CSS. So if you don’t understand the constraints, you’re not going to understand why it doesn’t look or react the way I want to. So you have to understand these concepts, not necessarily how to implement them in code, but then so that’s to get started. But then today there’s a lot of people who you know.

Ran: 15:08
Even within web design or web development, there’s many expertise. You know some people become experts at animations. Some people become experts at integrations. Some people became, you know you can develop a lot of subskills, I guess, or niches within the web. Some people are SEO experts. So some of these might require coding, like right now in the last year, like I don’t know if you’re familiar with GSAP. It’s an animation library and it’s like all the rage, like all the beautiful, award-winning websites are using these very cool animations where the letters stagger or masked or that kind of cool stuff, and that requires understanding a little bit of code to implement these things. So if you want to be able to do that, you learn what you need. Some people want to do like 3d, and so there’s three, uh, three JS, I guess it’s called like the 3d library. So, depending on what you want to do, three JS, I guess it’s called like the 3d library. So, depending on what you want to do, you might want to learn something specific.

Josh: 16:18
Um, how’s the, how’s the accessibility crowd feel about, uh, some of those animation heavy sites and and some of those libraries, Cause I’m not too familiar with all that.

Ran: 16:24
I think, as far as I know, the GSAP is accessible, so it’s it’s. I think that doesn’t affect accessibility as far as I know. But yeah, as I’ve mentioned and the last thing is now ChatGPT can help you write code. So even if you do need code sometimes, you don’t have to learn it as much as ask ChatGPT to help you write it and explain it to you and help you implement it. And that’s going to work as well. Yeah, and even I’ll start. No, what I wanted to say is I don’t feel like you have to, but some people want to for specific things, and that’s great.

Josh: 17:06
Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. Everyone as a web designer should at least know just the core fundamentals of how a page is structured, and even you don’t need to learn CSS, but I do think everyone should know margins and padding and understand how those fit in containers. You’re totally right.

Ran: 17:23
And decisions that you make on desktop will cascade down to mobile right.

Josh: 17:28
Yep, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more Because even if you’re using a DIY builder, yeah, you’re going to get stuck and wonder like, well, why can’t I just move this here or why can I just overlap this section here? And it’s those core principles. So I totally agree. And what I was going to say is the interesting thing about AI with code now. I mean, that’s actually one of my favorite aspects of AI. It’s probably my absolute favorite, because I’m already getting burned out on the content of AI already. Like, I’m already starting to see, well, this is AI, this title is AI, this copy is AI. I mean, some of it’s pretty good, but the code man, like, I’m still a Divi user and, yeah, there’s AI integrated in Divi, just for the code. If you want, like, you can just tell it to write, to write code for that. So it’s a really exciting time for folks like us. You ever feel jealous of everyone getting going in web design now and think like, man, if I got going with this now, I wouldn’t have to learn code to be so much easier.

Ran: 18:21
I’m jealous. It’s a different time, I mean. I think it’s. It’s very cool. When I started, there wasn’t anything like YouTube or I literally had to learn off a book. So it’s, it’s great. Um, I can see how my kids are learning stuff these days. It’s exciting. I’m not jealous, but I’m like I feel like it’s. It’s a great time to learn stuff. It’s a great time to be learning stuff, whether you’re learning web development or other things. It’s a better time than ever to learn.

Josh: 18:46
What are some of the pain points that you see with your students, particularly those who are early on, and I’ll just share. For example, I think tool overwhelm is a large part of what I see People who are like, oh my gosh, I just don’t even know what to. There’s just so many options for builders and project management software and so many different communities. I think it’s where folks like you and myself and others who are teaching what I found is, if somebody is drawn to you and likes what you put out, they’re going to be interested in your tools and it’s kind of a fast track and it’s not the right solution, but it’s a solution. So to you, Rand, what are you seeing? Are you seeing something similar with Overwhelm, or are there any other pain points or challenges for folks getting started?

Ran: 19:30
First of all, you know we’re teaching Webflow, which is, as I’ve mentioned. It’s a more technical tool, in a sense of you have to understand development concepts. So for people who have missed out on these core concepts that I’ve mentioned earlier, it might be very confusing and there’s a learning curve. If you’re coming up straight from design, all you know is Figma, like dragging things around, it’s going to be quite like there’s going to be a learning curve. So some people, you know, struggle with that, and that’s what we are trying to do. We’re trying to make it easier for them to understand and take them, you know, step by step. Other people, yeah, and it’s the overwhelm of what you’re talking about is just because now, as everything, there’s more and more options for everything, right? So initially, when I guess, when I started, it was just like how do I get the layout? I just want this to be on the left and this on the right, and you know we were hacking tables to position things the way that we wanted them. So that was like our big challenge.

Ran: 20:36
Now people today, like the expectations from web design are so high. They’re like oh, I need to have these animations, crazy animation and page transitions and 3d elements rotating when I scroll and the bar is set so high and they feel like they have to learn gazillion different tools and frameworks and everything is so complicated. It might feel a little bit overwhelming to get into it. Or like, oh my God, I’m going to have to learn for like three years just to be able to build a simple landing page. So I do feel like the overwhelm of, oh, there’s so many things to think about and accessibility and SEO and privacy and blah, blah blah. You know there’s so many things to think about. Yeah, but we’re just trying to take it one step at a time.

Josh: 21:23
What is the one step at a time for you? What would be if you could lay out, like, of all the things you just mentioned design, the coding aspect, SEO, accessibility, privacy what would be the progression that you would recommend, Like, okay, start here, then go here, then go here, then go here.

Ran: 21:40
Yeah. So you know, I just released a course on YouTube that like intro to web design, like a three hour course where I really just try to. In three hours I’m going to build a website, we’re going to have something published from start to finish and that’s it. You don’t need to know anything in advance. You don’t need any fancy software and just in what I went through it, it’s just okay. Here’s how I’m structuring a simple landing page. I need some images. I’m going to use mid-journey to generate them. I’m going to do the layout in Webflow. That’s it. It’s done, it’s published, it’s live and it’s responsive. There’s no fancy animation. There’s no.

Ran: 22:22
I’m not tackling SEO. I’m not tackling accessibility. I’m not tackling privacy. I’m not tackling accessibility. I’m not tackling privacy. I’m not tackling complex CMS structure and stuff like that. I’m not tackling. Okay, you can do that later, but you’ve built something, you have a page that works and, if you think about it, even a lot of small local businesses that’s all they need. They need a landing page with all of their information. They need it to look good. They need to have the you know, the data there, like the information, contact information, and that’s it. I mean, all the rest of the stuff are yeah, step two, three, four.

Josh: 22:57
I agree. Yeah, I see a lot of people get hung up on all that or they’re worried to even publish their first site because they’re worried about privacy. I’m like, don’t, don’t worry about it, get the freaking site up and then we can worry about that. And there’s tools like I think Termageddon works for Webflow and others, but there’s a ton of tools out there. I use a tool called Termageddon for privacy. It’s just an embed code and they update it automatically. There you go, keeps you good to go. So I totally agree.

Josh: 23:21
I think a lot of people are getting caught up on that and I was wondering what the difference is in the webflow community and some others versus wordpress, because accessibility and privacy are my. It’s almost to the point where, like, I don’t even enjoy wordpress forums right now because that’s all that’s being talked about. It’s like the fun has left a little bit on a lot of these forums. Like I went to word camp, which, for anyone doesn’t know, is wordpress’s annual uh event, like a conference and dude, every talk was either accessibility or ai and there was no like. There was like barely anything else. It was just a constant stream of ah accessibility, privacy and ai. Is it the same way in webflow land, or is that kind of a you know? Second, I think we have to.

Ran: 24:05
There’s two I don’t know how politically correct to be on this podcast, but there’s we’re not terribly politically correct.

Ran: 24:14
There’s the european union, who ruined privacy for the whole world with their pop-ups and gdpr. They ruined half the experience. And then there’s, you know, san francisco people who need everything to be accessible for any minority, and it’s okay, it’s good, but it’s like forcing 99 of the of the websites who are not really relevant for whatever anyway. So they they complicated things for 99% of people or businesses who didn’t have a reason to be complicated to begin with. So, yeah, it’s a problem.

Ran: 25:02
Some people care about this more than others. People care about this more than others. You know it’s, and both of them are potentially legal matters that you don’t want. Especially as an educator. You don’t want to take responsibility on legal issues that might change every month. So I think it’s my responsibility to say look, there’s this issue, here are the key things in this issue.

Ran: 25:26
I’m not a lawyer and the law changes, you know very fast, so do your own research. Here’s my perspective and here’s the approach that I’m taking. I’m also, I think I’m using a software called Ubunda or something like that, that basically manages cookie consent and terms and all that kind of stuff and privacy on our website. So I recommend what we’re doing and that’s it Kind of like that’s it, because you can dive really deep into these topics, because they are deep, but I feel like they’re not the main reason why you have become a web designer or why your clients are hiring you to design websites. It’s not bringing creativity into it. It’s not helping them achieve their business goals. So, whatever it is, that’s not the point.

Josh: 26:22
You just said it, it goes really deep as far as the surface goes. Accessibility I’ve found I’ve done a lot of digging into this over the past couple of years. If you make it accessible for as many people as possible with just good design, basic structure, easy navigation, those are like the key elements of accessibility. And then on some of the talks that I went to in WordCamp last year, I mean they were getting like so far into the weeds on some of this stuff. They were also looking at huge websites. Some of them were like government type sites. So it was like this is not going to be the small business who has three pages and it’s more of a portfolio.

Ran: 26:58
But the problem is they are threatening with lawsuits. So the small business, small web designer you know, small mom and pop shop web designer is afraid. Oh my God, I’m going to get ruined because I didn’t follow this rule and it just, it’s a bummer.

Josh: 27:16
Yeah, and I don’t know how prevalent those are, unless it is a big. I don’t think so.

Ran: 27:21
I don’t think it’s a big issue. Yeah, I haven’t heard anybody that had issues with these.

Josh: 27:25
Yeah, I have a friend who did a website. He worked for an agency and they got dinged because they didn’t have alt text on images. I think it was like a $10,000 fine, but it was also a big company, so even the $10,000 for them was like, eh, we’d rather not do that but add those alt text, whatever that is. So and listen for anyone who’s like ah, I don’t want to devalue accessibility and privacy those things are important. But the moral of the story is I think that’s causing an interesting ripple in web design in general, because someone wants to just build a website and make money and have clients and they’re like what the heck is this and this and this and this? So it is multileveled.

Ran: 28:04
But I totally agree, you can take it one step at a time is multi-leveled, uh, but I I totally agree, you can take it one step at a time. By the way, one thing that I think is happening and I see that with with webflow is they’re going to try and help you with that. So they’re going to say, okay, we’ll generate the, the alt tax, with ai, or we’ll help you figure out how to do this, so you don’t have to worry about this. Yeah, and hopefully that’s that’s where the world is going yeah, that’s a good point.

Josh: 28:28
That a good point. There’s a lot of this stuff like adding alt text to images. I mean, I don’t know if there’s a tool that does that at scale right now for Webflow or WordPress or others, but I do agree. I think there’s going to be a lot of tools that are going to help out with that. For I’m interested to hear your perspective Ran on how things have changed. You mentioned things are just different now. You’re not jealous, Totally, Totally understand. But I’m wondering. Another area of overwhelm that I see for some of my students is there’s just so many options to focus on and it can be so easily to be derailed and doing SEO or conversion-based design or copywriting or whatever it is. How do you help some of your students, or what have you seen work as far as helping them find their superpower and kind of reeling that in, Because I think focus is, you know, another big aspect of doing this.

Ran: 29:17
What I found out is we get them to try everything and see what works for them. So, for example, some people would come to us to learn Webflow and then they would say, okay, I’ve tried that and I realized I just want to focus on design. I actually don’t want to take care of the development. I would rather partner with somebody who only wants to do the development, because there’s, of course, the opposite, somebody that says, oh, design is so difficult and getting the clients to it’s so messy, I want to just focus on building. Just give me the design after it’s approved, let me just build it.

Ran: 29:53
So one thing that I’ve learned and it’s very not intuitive that everything that you hate somebody else’s love. So that’s very hard to grasp. But so some people just discover, oh, I want to focus on this. Other people would. People would say you know what the actually the fun part in the project is actually doing the branding process and defining the visual language website is just the application. Later on, let’s have somebody else do that. So by letting people just experiment with different things, people find out actually what’s interesting for them, where their strength is at, and a beautiful thing, at least for our community, is that people learn what they like and then they they find their partner or find people to collaborate with because, as I’ve mentioned, somebody else wants to do what they don’t want to do. Um, some people, some people discover, hey, I’m actually just good talking to clients, I’m actually good at sales and doing the strategy sessions and I want to delegate everything that comes down to the design and development later on. And that guy is going to build an agency, right?

Josh: 30:59
So Well said. Couldn’t agree more. That’s what I found with my community as well the partnerships people find their superpower and then hire out the rest. But you’re right, there’s a mindset shift where at least what I felt is I felt like if I hated doing a task, I felt bad hiring it out because I was like this is just awful, like email and domain stuff. I learned as much as I could about that because I hated it and I was like I don’t who is going, was going to want to do this.

Josh: 31:23
Well, come to find out. A guy in my community, amr, loves email and loves domains and DNS, and I’m like God bless him, the world needs more of him and he’s my number one partner and he’s the number one partner for a lot of my students. There are people who like stuff that you hate. I love that you brought that up, because when it comes to delegating and scaling your business in any way or just freeing yourself up from what you don’t want to do, yeah, and scaling your business in any way or just freeing yourself up from what you don’t want to do- yeah, we all work together.

Ran: 31:51
That’s the beauty of people being different too. It’s like something you love, somebody else hates. There are people who likes to clean your house. Imagine that.

Josh: 31:58
Yeah, no, it’s such a great point, man, let’s talk about community a little bit right now. It’s been really interesting. You’re actually, I think you’re in the Circle Summit.

Ran: 32:10
It is true I was supposed, but I bailed out on the last minute because of family situation. So I won’t be in the panel, but we are running our community on Circle.

Josh: 32:20
Okay, yeah, same here. Yeah, I’m a big Circle guy which kind of changed my tune on all-in-one platforms because I’m such a fanboy now of Circle, whereas before I was trying to piece everything together with WordPress. So I say all that to wonder what your perspective is with community. And I think it’s no secret, communities are more important than ever and more popular than ever. It’s kind of another choice, though. So it’s like yet another choice that somebody has. When they get into web design, they’re like well, I could join Web Designer Pro or Flux Academy or this or this or this, but how has community not only with partnerships and everything we’ve covered so far, but how has that helped your students like succeed? I’m sure there’s a lot of ways we could go with this, but I’m just kind of curious from your perspective, like how has community helped with your students?

Ran: 33:07
So my community started by. You know, when I released my first course, I was, you know, I opened up a Facebook group and I was like, okay, I’m going to answer all of your questions in this Facebook group. That very quickly escalated because there were thousands of students and I couldn’t do it on my own. But I noticed that some people are helping out each other. And then I started basically, you know, hiring some people from our community to help other people and basically develop kind of like a mentorship program where we have people who help other people. And that was the first kind of like step in the community where you know you’re going to get help, not only help what’s in this video I don’t understand this thing but also bringing up hey, my clients need to do this and I’m not sure how to do this, what’s the best approach? And it’s really starting to help people out. And then it grew from there, from just giving support and supporting each other, to giving feedback to, you know, having a job board for partnerships, as we’ve mentioned. Then we started doing office hours and then it elaborated. Now we’re doing kind of like events where we bring in other speakers.

Ran: 34:11
So we’ve kind of like, slowly over the years and we’ve been at it for like I think four or five years now. You know they were we’re always trying to figure out and add new value and figure out what is the right structure and what are the right, I guess, prompts or mechanism to get people to engage in the community. I have a now full-time community manager who is really really awesome and doing really really great work making sure that people are getting help. We’re trying to make connections, kind of like one-on-one connections and accountability partners, and we’re trying to build a lot of value into that. It’s something that we build over time just because we realize that you know we, we sell courses at a higher price point than others. Uh, so we, that’s part of our value proposition, that’s part of why you take a course with us versus buy a course in like Skillshare or something like that.

Josh: 35:11
Is your community, the Flex Academy community? Is it more of the back end of your course sales or is it kind of both? Like you can, you can go to the community. How’s your structured?

Ran: 35:24
Usually it’s the the way that we’re doing it right now. So the way that we’re doing it right now is there when you buy a course, you get into the community, you’re in the community and you can chat with other people, but we have a lot of let’s call it a higher tier features, like the office hours and the mentors that help you and the events and stuff, stuff like that. That is, let’s call it paid tier, um, and when you buy a course, you get eight weeks of this paid tier, after which, if you want, you can continue with a subscription. So that’s kind of like how the model is gotcha working right now cool?

Josh: 36:06
yeah, I asked because, on a personal note, I’m the kind of leading. I’m, you know, in the in a transition period with my setup as well, going from courses first to to now. My membership is really the primary thing, mainly because it works, and that’s why I was kind of curious from your perspective on the community. What I’ve seen is when people like there’s a time and place to just learn a topic and go, and somebody like myself I don’t have time to dive into a whole new community right now. If I need to learn something, I’m very apt to go through a course and go.

Josh: 36:36
But when somebody is building a business and looking for a web design business, looking for partners and learning all the things design, seo, coding, all the business side of things, everything else community is 100% where it’s at. As far as what I’ve seen with people who are doing it successfully, I think there’s a danger nowadays in being a proud lone wolf and as much as I’m a YouTuber as well, I’m all about YouTube education. There’s something about being in it with other people who are alongside you, and that’s where I’ve seen a lot of my students have the best results. So I was wondering if you had seen something similar with the community side of things yeah, I’ve never.

Ran: 37:15
I honestly I’ve never tried to do it community first. Uh, probably, maybe if I would start today, I would actually maybe do like community first. Um, just because I feel like courses are getting this, the course of space, become uh pretty saturated, but yeah, yeah, community is so important.

Josh: 37:39
So tell me about. So your, your courses. Do you have to be I’m kind of curious with Flux Academy. Do you have to use Webflow to be in Flux Academy? Are you guys agnostic in the way of other people using different tools?

Ran: 37:50
First of all, we have we also have a framer course which is kind of like you can say a direct competitor. We have a. We have, we also have a framer course which is kind of like you can say a direct competitor. We have a Figma course, we have a web design course, we have a branding course, we have a copywriting course. So we have a lot of courses which are not Webflow. Specific Webflow is just kind of like our bestseller Turns out that a lot of people are excited about this and want to start there, are excited about this and want to start there.

Ran: 38:14
And then you know if, if people would ask me, I would say, hey, go to go learn. We have a course called core design skills which is just design fundamentals. Do core design skills, then do the web design course, then get to the web flow or framework, just to develop it. It’s like the third step. But people, it turns out people love starting with a technical and then like, okay, I know how to build it, but it turns out I designed something that doesn’t look great, so I guess I need to learn design, I guess I need to focus on the fundamentals. So they actually work backwards, which in a way it sounds weird, but also when I’m thinking about my problem. You know my history. I learned Photoshop first and then I realized, oh my God, I’m doing really crappy stuff. I need to learn how to draw first. So I went back to learn how to draw, but I also started with software.

Josh: 39:05
Yeah, no, that makes sense. I, my journey is very parallel as well. Yeah, you do kind of you get it’s easy to get technical, I feel like which. It also makes sense when you’re wanting to learn something Like, if you’re going to provide for your clients, you got to know the tools pretty well. So, in a way, yeah, don’t get your first client before you know how to use your tools.

Josh: 39:22
By the way side note, I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this I literally sold a WordPress website before I ever started using WordPress and it was a bad decision. Youtube was barely getting going. I should have bought WordPress for dummies book and just figured something out, because that did not go well, Uh, so more of the story yeah, Don’t. Uh, what’s the? Don’t? Put your carriage in front of the horse, or whatever the expression is. Yeah, Uh, which is really easy to do too, because I feel like I think sometimes it’s it’s easy to look at web designers’ success and for people getting started in the beginner stage, they immediately want to build their business fast. But there is something to knowing the tools you’re going to use well and you can fast track your journey. But yeah, I feel like that’s a struggle too. That I’ve seen with people who are really eager to get the business going. But if you can’t design well and you don’t know your tools well, that is really. That’s step one.

Ran: 40:22
Yeah, I think it’s either seeing other people succeed on social media and saying, oh, I want that now, I want that success tomorrow, or just jumping into it and thinking I can start a business and learn the craft at the same time. But actually you don’t have a business if you don’t have a craft, and learning the craft takes a little bit of time. So you can’t build a business before you have the craft. You have to stagger it Right, um, yeah, and that takes a little bit of time.

Josh: 41:02
That’s well said. As we get ready to wrap this one up, rand, I’m kind of curious have you seen, or where? Where are your thoughts on, like high ticket web design projects the 10, 20, $30,000 type projects? It’s interesting with builders and the landscape. I mean, I have a lot of students who are doing projects in that route and that range, but they’re usually a mix of marketing services in there or advanced SEO, copywriting, full branding and things like that Price point wise, with a lot of what your students are doing. Is it all over? Or what are your thoughts on web design projects that are in 2020? All over?

Ran: 41:39
Not at all, not at all, I think. In the Webflow community I see projects in our community, in the Webflow community in general, projects ranging from, of course, there can be simple projects, but projects getting to $20,000, $60,000 per project. Of course, when you get to high prices, usually it involves more complexity. I’m not talking about marketing service. I’m just talking about designing a website. Either it’s automations or some custom code was needed, or sometimes maybe collaborating with an animator or a 3D artist or something like this to create the visuals. So there’s a reason why these websites are more expensive.

Ran: 42:25
Usually and, yes, a lot of times web design projects are a perfect fit for a rebrand. So that would be part of the project. Um, and from my my experience as well, you know I I would do 30 to 50 K projects and usually it would be something like you know, the branding projects would be 10 K’s again. Webflow specifically and that’s the market that I know best is again at the top of the pyramid where people who need Webflow website usually is because it’s complex and they want something high end and very custom and they invest. They invest in the design, they invest in the animation, the photography, and that makes the project bigger.

Josh: 43:19
Yeah, that’s cool. I appreciate hearing your perspective on that Because I agree and I just know it’s working because I see a lot of students doing this. The reality is, I think there’s a big draw and a big pull for people to become a digital marketing agency. I’m always hesitant for my students in that and I’m sure I saw you nodding. I’m sure you’re probably the same way. It’s like there’s a. I understand it, because digital marketing feeds into websites and websites to. Digital marketing Can’t market very well online with a crappy website, so the two go hand in hand. But I’ve seen a lot of people get derailed with marketing and then their website suffers and then next thing you know they’re just doing social media ads and stuff and they’re not even a web designer anymore. What’s?

Josh: 44:02
your take on that the temptation to go digital marketing agency. Again, I’m not saying it’s not right or wrong, but it is a temptation for web designers.

Ran: 44:14
One of my first jobs was in an advertising agency and when I discovered their business model so we were doing ads like TV ads or billboards, you know, for all kinds of big brands when I’ve heard the business model, I was my mind was blown, because the business model was this You’re getting the creative and the design for free. The only thing that you’re paying for is the media. So you know, they were paying like millions of dollars for a good TV spot. That’s what they paid for. Billboard throughout the country. That’s what they paid for. The design and the creative was just free. It was basically the incentive to sell them on the expensive stuff, which was the media.

Ran: 45:04
I see the same thing happening with digital marketing these days where, yeah, you get the website for free because we’re going to run your ads and make money off your media budget, or we’re going to run your SEO and that and we’re going to get recurring revenue. So the point of this is where you focus, where you’re, how you’re getting your money dictates how much attention you’re paying to the other stuff. So if you’re making money from SEO and ads, you’re not going to care about the website too much. The quality of the website won’t matter that much. If you’re getting paid for design and just doing design development, the website will probably get the first priority.

Ran: 45:51
So, again, that’s not to say that it’s bad. Marketing is bad. Some people need SEO and some people need social media marketing and stuff like that. And I don’t want to discourage again, because some people, even in my community, that’s their passion and that’s their business model and they want it. That’s what they want to do, so great. I don’t discourage that. I just say that when your business model is SEO or ads, your focus is not the website. It’s probably not going to be the best, it’s just something that you. It’s just a way to get them into your, I guess, retainer. Yeah, so that’s my perspective.

Josh: 46:31
Yeah, there’s look, it’s an awesome partnership A designer developer, somebody who can do really good UX and UI and design a killer website that’s conversion-based, and then partner up with somebody to do the ongoing marketing stuff and then the SEO is kind of the hybrid in between there.

Josh: 46:49
It’s a wonderful model In my community, web Designer Pro when people partner up who do those two separate things. I love it because it’s probably going to be awesome for both accounts and those are both lead generators for both, because you get a website. Next step is to go with our partners to do the ongoing and vice versa. So I think that’s the way it’s moving to, and unless somebody is really good at both or has a team to manage both, it is too much to handle as a solopreneur or even a small studio. That is just, it’s so much, um. So yeah, I just I wanted to mention that because that’s the other big draw that I see people get to, once they do get to to where there’s some momentum going with their web design business. It’s like well, my clients are asking me for social media and ads and everything else, like heads up so.

Josh: 47:36
I want to say.

Ran: 47:37
I want to say something Usually a single client doesn’t need all of them because, for example, if your client is a local business that needs SEO, then SEO is their strategy. They probably don’t. Maybe they need social media marketing, but they don’t need, like, running ads and conversion rate optimization, because that usually goes with paid ads and stuff like that. So any client would probably need just one service provider, not just like somebody that does it all. The other thing is what I used to do when I worked with clients who might need something like this.

Ran: 48:16
I would say, look, we can collaborate with an SEO expert on this website. Once we’re done, you’re going to need to go and get a dedicated SEO agency or a social media marketing agency. That’s not my focus and I’m going to refer you to an agency that I like that is, you know an expert on that. I’m going to refer you to an agency that I like that is, you know, an expert on that, but I’m not going to try and do that myself. You might say, oh, I’m losing money on the table or whatever. That’s just not my focus and you know you can, if you want, to get a referral free from the agency that you’re referring to. But again to me, I’m not trying to be everything for everybody. I just know what I want to focus on and I’m doing that.

Josh: 48:56
Dude, I’m so glad you mentioned that. I recently did a newsletter about digital marketing poachers for web designers and how they will often poach websites away from web designers and then bring them in with marketing services. But that can be alleviated if you prepare the client like you just said, like after the website’s live, there’s going to be some other things to help grow your business. These are not my specialties. Here are my partners, who’s who I recommend, and they will continue to talk you up as the web designer. You so perfectly illustrated what I was talking about with the collaboration between SEOs and marketers and everyone who’s doing things outside of pure web design, which I think is really exciting. That’s one of the coolest things about what’s going on right now, because I know so many people who are like I’m just done with doing the website stuff, I just want to focus on marketing, and vice versa. Some people are like I don’t want to look at a social media account again, I just want to build websites. We can all work together. It’s a beautiful time. So I think on that note, ran, we’ll end on a positive note.

Josh: 50:00
I have one final question for you. I’m going to make sure we link your new video to learn web design for beginners. We’ll make sure we link that. Where should people go to connect with you to find out more about what you guys are up to? Yeah, where should everyone go after this?

Ran: 50:09
Yeah, first of all Flux Academy. So that’s flux F-l-u-x dash academycom. I’m most active these days on twitter, so twitter my handle is ron segal s-e-g-a-l-l. Um, yeah, so it’s. I’m most responsive over there okay, awesome, I feel terrible.

Josh: 50:27
I’ve been calling you ran. Do you go by run?

Ran: 50:30
it’s just the israeli versus american pronunciation.

Josh: 50:34
Okay, okay.

Ran: 50:35
Tomato, tomato, got it. Okay, good, you can also go and buy my Spanish name, which is ran. Okay, I’ll stick with the bad American.

Josh: 50:42
Uh, all right, man. Well, one final question for you what are you personally most excited about in web design in 2024?

Ran: 50:50
Uh, excited about a lot of things. I guess AI, but not in. A lot of people think AI is going to take our job. But I’m very excited about I don’t know if you’re familiar with ReLume and what they’re doing with AI.

Josh: 51:07
Yeah, I have glanced it over. I had a colleague talk about it. I was like, oh, what is this?

Ran: 51:11
This is phenomenal. It’s already shortened the time to you know, site map and wireframe and build, write, copy and, you know, really shortened the process for professional web designers. So I’m really excited about what they’re building and, in general, how AI is going to help us create better websites.

Josh: 51:29
That’s relumeio, by the way, for anyone who checks that out. There’s quite a few Relume brands and other websites, but I’ll make sure we link that too. Does that work? Because I’ve only scratched the surface of that. So what happens?

Ran: 51:42
over there you write a prompt, it generates a site map and then you can turn that into a wireframe. Basically they started off as a component library for Figma and Webflow library for Figma and Webflow, so you can switch around the wireframes to different components and then you can either bring that to Figma and then start changing the design and they’re soon going to add design abilities inside the ReLume as well and then you can just click to copy that into Webflow and you have a developed website.

Josh: 52:11
So it’s pretty’s pretty cool does relume just work with webflow or is? Is it able to?

Ran: 52:17
again, you can export it into figma into figma and webflow. That’s how, that’s what they support.

Josh: 52:22
So far, gotcha well, either way, very, very cool. Even for just wordpress users or wix or squarespace, whatever, it’s still an incredible tool, especially, yeah, for ai site mapping and everything super cool. Well, dude, I appreciate hearing your perspective on everything. Man, it was great to finally meet you. Thank you, josh. We’re very. I love the term coopetition and I think you know because I’ve got students who have bounced over to your stuff and actually you guys took over the RightSite course, which the creators of that course did a training for my community for content first design Loved it. Yeah, matt and Damien.

Ran: 52:56
Yeah, matt, and.

Josh: 52:57
Damien. So, yeah, I just think it’s a really cool world man. I think you and I are a good example of like partner with the people who have the strengths that you may not have, or have different focuses, and it can be a wonderful win-win situation.

Ran: 53:10
So for sure, for sure. And, by the way, if you’re, if your students um are interested in Webflow, we can. We can get them like a coupon code. We can get you an affiliate fee, whatever works for you.

Josh: 53:25
Okay, yep, I’ll get with you on that then. Yeah, we’ve got some Webflow users in in in pro. What I found, too, is that a lot of people are using a couple of different platforms, depending on the needs, so it all works, man.

Ran: 53:33
Yep, that sounds awesome. It was awesome to chat Josh.

Josh: 53:35
You too, man. Thanks for your time. Man Well, I hope you enjoyed that one. Friends, again, for me it was kind of fun to be a little educated on where Webflow is specifically compared to some other platforms and builders and what’s behind that community. Ran and his team at Flux Academy have a lot of great courses and services and offers for web designers. So if you are a web flow user, of course I have to recommend flux Academy. You can go to flex flex, excuse me, flux F L? U X dash academycom to check them out. We’ll have resources, all the links that we talked about at the show notes for this episode at joshhallco slash three 20. So head over there for all the resources and a full transcription. And, as I mentioned in the intro, I’ve got a brand new training, a free training for you. For those of you who are early stage or looking for help with starting and building your web design business, pick that up completely free. It’s like a free coaching session with me at joshhallco slash build. Joshhallco slash build. I’ll see you there, friends, cheers.

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