I’ve had hundreds of conversations the last few years with graphic designers who are transitioning to web design or who want to add web design to their suite of services.

Why? Well, it might be because that’s the path I took but it also might be because (at least in my experience) ALL ROADS LEAD TO WEBSITES.

Even when I was solely doing graphic and print design, clients asked if I did websites. Which means that graphic design is a perfect lead generator for web design.

In this special episode of the podcast, I’m sharing a conversation I had recently on The Angry Designer podcast where we dug into my journey from graphic designer to web designer.

If you’re a graphic designer who’s capped at a revenue level, it might be time to transition to web and luckily, there are so many ways to do it in a way that works for you. I hope my journey helps give you a proven path to follow 🙂

In this episode:

01:01 – Graphic Design to Web Design Transition
13:44 – Challenges and Opportunities in Web Design
23:19 – Digital Marketing Strategies for Graphic Designers
32:52 – Expanding Roles in Graphic Design
39:21 – Web Design and Branding Similarities
50:36 – Pricing and Challenges in Web Design
56:52 – Challenges and Solutions in Web Design
1:01:00 – The Impact of AI in Design
1:10:33 – Web Design Horror Stories
1:17:21 – Exploring Web Design and Community-Building

For my new (free) 10-step action plan to help you start and build your web business.


Featured links mentioned:

Episode #321 Full Transcription

Mossimo: 

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. I’ve got a special episode here for you in this one because I’m going to share with you an interview I recently did for the Angry Designer Podcast. My friend Mossimo, who’s a host over there, invited me on to share my journey and what I’ve learned in coming from graphic design and print design into web design and then eventually completely cutting out all of my design services almost completely and focusing on website design. It’s something that I’ve been asked about a lot over the past couple of years especially, I think. The reality is there’s just a lot of changes going on in design in general, but particularly for graphic design, in the wake of a lot of different DIY tools and value perceived whether good or bad for design, and I’ve seen a lot of people come from a graphic and print design background, just like myself, and head over to websites. So in this episode, my hope is that my experience is going to help you If you’re in those shoes, if you are mostly a graphic designer or maybe you’re doing photography or video or any other sort of ancillary service to web design, but it seems like all your clients are asking about websites you’d like to be doing five to 10 to $20,000 projects for websites. I’m going to share everything that I learned to help you as well, so check it out. I hope you enjoy this one.

Josh: 

Thanks to Mossimo and the crew over at the angry designer podcast for letting me repurpose this for you here on the web design business podcast. If you don’t already, head over and give them a subscribe, check out their show. They really do have some awesome, awesome interviews with some amazing people in graphic design, print design, brand strategy and web design as well, so I’m honored to be on the alumni now Again, angry Designer Podcast. You can get that wherever you listen to the show and then, real quick, I do have a free guide for you. If you are early in web design and you just don’t even know where to start, this is a good primer conversation, but you’d like my guidance to help you get going. I have a brand new 10-step action plan that you can pick up at joshhallco slash build. It’s completely free. It’s my top 10 tips to help you get going with your business. Pick that up today at joshhallco slash build and, for now, enjoy my conversation with Massimo, the host of the Angry Designer Podcast.

Mossimo: 

What up, angry designers? Today we have yet another really cool treat for you. So there’s this huge debate out there with graphic designers on do they just stay in graphic design? Do they just focus on branding, on logos and work? Do they just stay in graphic design? Do they just focus on branding, on logos and work, or do they go to the other side and incorporate web, or just completely abandon design and go to web? I’ve talked to so many designers, so many agencies, and they seem to be scared about that jump. So I thought you know what. I’m going to reach out to my buddy, josh, who you know has got millions of views on YouTube on this topic. He’s got like hundreds of podcast episodes about this kind of topic. He is the man in this space and so I thought why not bring him on and let’s have a talk, since he does have a little bit of design history? So I’d like to present the one and only Mr Josh.

Josh: 

Hall. What an intro Mossimo.

Mossimo: 

You like that? Eh, it’s so good to see you I told you before we record.

Josh: 

we were like we’re going to have a good time. I even brought my beer. I got blends, you got some good. So we’re going to have a good time with this one man so cheers, cheers.

Mossimo: 

Good to see you again. I’ll wait until you’re ready. Let me just pour this bad boy.

Josh: 

Let me just pour this bad boy man so good.

Mossimo: 

Cheers to you, buddy. Yeah, so this is going to be fun. Actually, this is going to be a great episode because this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. You know, I don’t want to let anybody know which side of the fence I’m on this one, but I think they probably already know, and I’m sure they’ll realize soon enough. But I thought that this was just like this. You must hear this all the time in your space. No, oh yeah.

Josh: 

And look time in your space, no like oh yeah, and look it’s really really common, just just for context I started out as a graphic designer. That’s why you’re here. I had zero interest or even uh, vision for web design. I started out doing graphic design. Uh, my story in a nutshell is that I actually used to be a cabinet maker for a tour bus customizing shop, so I got to work on some really cool projects as a cabinet maker got to work on, like Metallica’s bus, johnny Cash’s bus some really cool stuff and then a lot of corporate vehicles and stuff.

Josh: 

Anyway, I was doing that job and then I got laid off in 2009,. Half of my company got laid off and I had to decide, like well, what I want to do from here. I really didn’t have a clear direction careerize what I wanted to do. I was also the metal drummer in a rock band. We were playing around doing a weekend warrior thing, and that all combined with the idea that I really like art and design of some sort.

Josh: 

I always enjoy art which is really common for all creatives. We usually like an art class in high school and then, naturally, design logos.

Mossimo: 

And you keep remembering the good old days. Yes, the good old days, yeah.

Josh: 

So I dove into Photoshop the day after I got laid off and it was so perfect for me because I was in the band world and I had a real interest in doing like artwork and stuff. So I learned Photoshop headfirst. Like every hour I was awake, I was just learning design and back then this was circa 2009. So there were some YouTube channels. It wasn’t what it is today with online education, but there was enough for me to get my feet wet and just play around with it. And then I started doing artwork for my band. That’s really where it all started. I started doing t-shirt design.

Josh: 

I eventually created our third album cover uh had no idea what vector was and sent off a billboard design with a small PSD file and they printed this like $2,000 banner. It was all pixelated. We were mad at the printing company. They were mad at me. I didn’t even like I use Photoshop pixel based design and I did not, versus raster, who would think Exactly yeah?

Josh: 

So then I was like, oh, now I need to learn like print design and what vector means and all that stuff. So then I got into illustrator and that really brought me into the world of print design and graphic design and that’s when I started my business. I started first doing just graphic design. And that’s when I started my business. I started first doing just graphic design and then, as I found out, shorthand is everyone was asking me thank you for the business cards. Can you do my website? Do you do web design? Do you do this, this, this? So it was a natural progression for me from graphic design to web design.

Mossimo: 

Now, not only did you just then switch over, but then your company actually grew pretty quickly within those what? Eight years, 10 years.

Josh: 

Yeah, there was a. It was about a 10 year journey total. I ended up selling my agency in 2020. Yes, it was a wild wild 10 years. Yeah, I mean.

Josh: 

I went from just wanting to make some money doing design doing something I actually enjoyed and I will never forget and if anyone has had a similar moment, I know you know this feeling when somebody at a festival asked me who did our artwork and I said I did and they were like, how much would you charge to do ours? It was the first time I got an offer to make money at doing design and not, you know, cabinetry, so it was so cool so I just wanted to make money and then eventually I started freelancing. Then I did some night classes at our community college, learning primarily the full suite of Adobe and InDesign and, um, a little bit of photography, and it was kind of a kind of a night school program just for design in general and it helped give me a well-rounded knowledge of all the aspects of print and graphic design.

Mossimo: 

And a part.

Josh: 

Some of that was web design classes as well, so it really was a natural progression. And then, as my business grew and I started doing web design more, I did not cold turkey jump from graphic design to web design, but what I did start to do is because my web design projects were often so big and so much more that I was charging for which. Some of that is on my end, because I wasn’t doing full branding, I was just doing business cards, flyers, brochures and logo design which I probably should have charged way more for.

Josh: 

But that’s when I started to kind of phase out graphic design that eventually I did go all in on web design.

Mossimo: 

On web design Now, but there’s still always been a design component to web, which, I’m sure because initially you were a one man shop for the longest time Right, you brought in contractors, of course, and you to do the back end, but ultimately was it not just you the whole run the whole 10 years.

Josh: 

It was mainly just me. Up until about six or seven years into it, I had dabbled around with delegating some work and finding some subcontractors. Work and and and finding some subcontractors. But it wasn’t until I had 23 projects on my plate as a solopreneur and my first daughter, bria, was due in like three months and it was like I there’s no way I’m going to get out of this on my own. I’ve got to delegate. I had just started talking to a guy who ended up being my lead designer. Uh, and thankfully and as you know, massimo, we we had Bria, and then we were in the NICU the newborn intensive care unit for 56 days, uh, with her, and so it was really hard to keep creativity in my business afloat, but it was really scaling and having some help that got us through that. Um, all that to say, yeah, like it was really.

Josh: 

It was me for a long time until I, whether or not I liked it or not, I had a business and then I started treating it like a business. And I do think you mentioned the design component. I am so grateful that I started with graphic design because, by the way and I’m sure everyone listening to this feels this too If somebody gets into online entrepreneurship and building your own online business, whatever that looks like, you need good design and whether you’re going to do social media posts or reels or thumbnails, whatever it is you have there’s graphic design and everything. And same thing for for websites. Like I see some of my students who get into web design now and they have zero eye for design, and I’m like that’s a hard place to start out with.

Mossimo: 

It’s a very hard place.

Josh: 

You can use templates and you can try to mimic other designs. I actually have a course specific to just like the design side of web design. Just to give people the basic premise of like typography and color contrast and hierarchy, just basic design principles, just to get them going, because it is really hard to like start a business and run a business now if you don’t have some semblance of an eye for design.

Mossimo: 

They would, they would struggle a little more. I usually define the example is like there’s two types of you know web designers. Right, there are the coders who are technically, you know, proficient. They could code a great site, make it run, make it rock, make it secure, but they’re primarily leaning on third parties for templates. You know they’re using these kind of you know stock kind of themes to kind of build sites upon and they’re pretty flat, generic sites and still they probably work for the company. But you know that’s web designer number one. And then web designer number two follows a more design centric approach. You know, there’s still probably equally as good in the coding, or they hire an awesome coder to do that side, but then they take the other side. They, they learn about the customer, they learn about the journey, they, they sell the product and they design the site a little bit more. So it’s a little bit more brand centric.

Mossimo: 

So, both are equal. But you know, I mean limitations for one the other, I mean it’s two different sides of the brain too.

Josh: 

You’re really doing like creativity and like development is a little more logical and, yeah, a little more like there is right and wrong on the code. There’s not right and wrong on how to make a heading look good or a graphic look good.

Mossimo: 

Yeah right, so then. So then you feel that your graphics background did give you a good kickstart into the space into the Absolutely absolutely.

Josh: 

Again, I had no regrets starting graphic design first.

Mossimo: 

Do you think that that actually enhanced your websites versus a lot of your competitors?

Josh: 

Yeah, I do, and honestly, the only reason I was able to sell websites in the beginning and make a decent amount of money for me at the time and be able to go full time with it is because my designs did look nice. Now I was terrible with copy. I was not good with SEO. I didn’t really have any of the other aspects of web design as a whole. All I had was care Like I really cared about my clients and really wanted to do a damn good job and good, good eye for design. That was enough for me to start making money. Uh, and then, as I got better with copywriting and headings and conversion based design and and then SEO and then all the other aspects of web design, that helped me tremendously. But it really all started with just a decent eye for design.

Mossimo: 

Yeah, yeah, so you bring, you bring up actually a really interesting point here, cause you talked about so many different aspects to a website project. Right, obviously the look, but then the copy, but then the you know, and then the SEO, which is kind of like, once you’re done with the site, how you take it further. Do you think that that people are maybe intimidated, thinking there is so much to learn? You know, making this jump versus hey, I just want to do logos all day long. Um, do you, do you think that that could be a little bit?

Josh: 

That is for sure. That is probably the number one main struggle for graphic designers getting into web, because suddenly you go from a flat design typically, uh, and you know graphic design has its complexities with the different color styles and RGB versus.

Josh: 

CMYK and everything and print versus web and everything else. But there is something to a website that suddenly becomes multi-leveled, like and responsive too, which, luckily, most builders now are pretty responsive but suddenly I can make a business card design or logo and it looked good on something, but now there’s like the design, but then it moves on different screens. And even apart from that, there are these other aspects. There’s SEO, there’s accessibility now there’s privacy, now there’s security Privacy, now there’s security. There’s not only copy, but there’s like messaging and there’s and there’s things like that. That changes a lot of different aspects to it.

Josh: 

I don’t want to scare anybody away from web design, but the reality is there is a lot more to it. Uh, depending on you know, if you look at just pure like flat design versus, yeah, web design. So that was the biggest challenge for me to are, though. I mean, I got into the industry in 2010 when I started doing website designs, and it was basic HTML and CSS, and then mobile wasn’t even really in the picture until a few years after that, so it was a little easier, I think, to get going then. Despite having to learn to code a little bit, it’s a lot easier now to actually build websites, but there’s just a lot more to it.

Mossimo: 

Yeah, I think. What are your feelings on people thinking that web design, making that jump is a lot more restrictive from a design perspective, right Like when you’ve got paper, when you’ve got your logo and working on brands. It’s like sky’s the limit and you’re not bound by any sort of technology. Yet you know a website. People often think, okay, it’s code, it’s grid, you know you’ve got boundaries. I mean, what are your feelings about how creative or limiting website design can be?

Josh: 

I think, honestly, the only limitation is the client or the hardship, because with the tools nowadays and with different things, you can do with CSS and animations and whatever you could. Just about design. Anything, um, you know it may be the way you build it would change depending on the tools and platforms you use, and there’s so many now I’m I’m a WordPress guy, but there’s so many options like Webflow, squarespace, it’s all right.

Josh: 

I’m also very like this pod. My podcast has brought me into the wider world of of web design, which is fascinating, coming from the world of just WordPress originally. So there’s a lot of different tools to use. I would say there’s virtually no or very little boundaries of what you can do online, but the business side of things is where that gets complicated. Then you’re dealing with the clients who want the logo bigger and uh, or you know, whatever the look they may have in mind. It’s a little different and I will say it kind of depends.

Josh: 

Designing on the web is really 100% about your clients and what they need, Because if you do a design that is just off the wall, super artsy and very, very different, the artists in you might love it, but that may not translate to what their customers are used to seeing.

Josh: 

I have a friend, Jason, who runs a site called Swift Sites and it is a. I think he’s closing on $2 million building websites for this business in like five years. I think it is Good for him. It is extremely productized, very templatized and he has a process that he guides his clients through. And he said it best. He said if you want like a artsy wild site, we can, you can do that, but do it after you have a site that you know is going to work and make you money. Like, basically, you’re, you’re, you’re gambling with a fresh new, wild artsy site as to whether or not it’s going to work, Whereas if there are proven call to actions and buttons that are placed certain ways, uh, that’s uh, I don’t want to say a safer way to go, but that those are the kind of boundaries I’m talking about where it’s a little more about the client, the customer and the experience that you’re used to Um.

Josh: 

so yeah, I don’t know if that answered the question exactly, but that’s my mindset.

Mossimo: 

Um, so again, yeah, I don’t know if that answered the question exactly, but that’s my mindset. No, no, no, it did so. Again, a barrier to entry maybe for some people, of course, is that they probably feel that they’re too small, they’re just a freelancer. One-man shop, two-man shop. And again, the perception of a website it seems to have so many damn components that they’re just trying to figure out how to actually piece it all together. Do you think that it’s attainable for somebody you know like a freelancer? Then you know somebody who’s who’s used to just doing. You know design work, social work, you know t-shirts, you know and and to actually make that jump into that next space, or to even offer it, offer it as an add-on service to what they’re doing.

Josh: 

Maybe that’s kind of the question, I think add-ons, upsells, backend offers are the best way to go about it. To start and I guarantee I mean everyone listening as a graphic designer, I’m sure you’re getting the questions about websites and stuff, and, yes, you could pass them off or be an affiliate for an agency. There’s so many ways to get into web design and have it as an offer, as an upsell or a backend sale, without it being your full business. I think the key, though, is because web design is multifaceted and there’s a lot of different components to it. I would only focus on what you really want to do and what you’re good at, and it’s one reason I’m passionate about being a community builder now.

Josh: 

So my community is called Web Designer Pro, and one of the primary reasons I started that is I had all these students who had different superpowers and capabilities.

Josh: 

Some were really good at design, but they were terrible at SEO or really good at copy, but, you know, didn’t know how to code at all. I’m like we have like a collective where these people can partner with each other and work together, and this has become more and more common over the years, but I think that’s where the true gold is is to be in a community. There are free Facebook groups. There’s a bazillion community options, pros and cons to free versus paid and premium groups. But if you can find a collective and find a group of people web designers who you trust and know and can partner up with, that’s how you can do it practically is like a graphic designer could get into websites and if they’re really good at design and maybe they’re going to copy, for example, but they don’t know SEO, they don’t really want to learn it. Security I don’t even know. I don’t even know what the word accessibility means, then hire or partner up with a designer, freel, freelancer or somebody else who can fill those areas for you.

Mossimo: 

Absolutely, and I think that that is one of the biggest misconceptions of this space. So, again, you know I’m a huge proponent, of course, of web. I am a passionate graphic designer. This is what I do, this is what I love, but I always wanted to own that agency and to me, the agency is the business side. So, you know, if I, you know, just slinging logos, you know every week, and creating brand strategies and brand approaches, that would be great but that would dry out soon and then, unless I’m doing their marketing and their social and ongoing basis, I’ve almost lost that client where, as soon as you start, you know introducing this whole world of the web and now you can also help them on that side.

Mossimo: 

It takes your brand strategy. You know introducing this whole world of the web and now you can also help them on that side. It takes your brand strategy. You know offline, online, it allows you to start creating material to feed into that and it’s kind of like this never ending well of work for one customer. So now, all of a sudden, you know a 10, $15,000, you know logo design project very basic. All of a sudden it turns into a 40, $50,000 digital campaign. You’re building their site you’re, you’re building courses and behind that you’re gating content Like it’s just never ending. And I do find that those are the customers that we keep for life, cause you know again, because then there becomes this bigger relationship. You know they rely on you and you’re constantly feeding this, this machine that is like that is their brand.

Josh: 

I wanted to ask you what the recurring revenue options were for graphic design nowadays, because that is the main draw for web design is that it is not, and should not be a one-off service. There is a movement right now that I’ve noticed, of the resurgence of the webmaster, which was a popular term in the nineties, where, you know, companies have their webmaster.

Josh: 

He did it all he was it, he could fix the printer and build the website and everything. It’s kind of like that now and I think, even though web design is cluttered and there’s a lot of competition and there’s a lot of options for people to build their own websites, the online world is still freaking confusing and most business owners get to the point if they’re a true business owner, where they’re like I should not be tinkering around with a go daddy builder and figuring out my email and stuff. I need to have somebody or an agency or a shop or studio to take care of this end of things and let me do my business. That is the true gold for web designers is to be, yeah, webmaster. I have a lot of students right now who are doing in the ballpark of anywhere between low like around six figures to multi-six figures with a couple dozen clients.

Mossimo: 

see, it’s incredible it’s ongoing, and they just add more value, do more things.

Josh: 

you had mentioned a bit about like strategy, with the two type of designer or web designers, just kind of developers, designers. Yeah, I think there’s a third which is strategy, which I would separate from pure design, because strategy may get more into like business development, actual like copy messaging and things like that which fit with design.

Mossimo: 

The relationship goes there right After so many years of understanding the client, understanding their brand, you can get to that space, yeah yeah, and you can do things at scale.

Josh: 

But there’s that. What’s honestly kind of cool about that is you don’t need to sell that much like you just get really good and you just serve your clients really well, work on more client nurturing and retention rather than acquisition, and then suddenly you don’t have to sell every week. You can just have like a couple dozen clients and do really really well and they will refer you, especially if you prompt them.

Mossimo: 

So yeah there’s.

Josh: 

That’s the one of the coolest aspects of web design. So I wanted to ask you, masimo, like for graphic designers. You mentioned social media, like what are the? What are the avenues nowadays for ongoing work and recurring work for graphic designers?

Mossimo: 

So you know, we are full agency model, right. So I I respect and love some of my peers who, you know they’re great at brand strategy. They love that they go in. But other than social media opportunities right, they’re constantly it’s harder to nurture a long-term relationship if you’re limiting yourself to the. You know, the analog world, you know, and, okay, granted, social is still, you know, physical components that you can kind of throw in there. You can create a design and then post it. Create a design and post it, right, but even that has got only so much life.

Mossimo: 

Um, direct mail’s out now, right, people used to rely on actual direct mail campaigns. Now, you know, because of the cost involved, it’s limiting, um, and so, you know, honestly, it does dry up even when you’re doing campaigns and creating, like you know, larger, you know larger, ongoing campaigns. It still all kind of ties back to this, to the online component, and that’s where. That’s where I found, personally, the biggest value, because it was a lot easier to build out a one, two, three-year strategy for a customer if we were actually, you know, maintaining their website. Your website is an organic sales tool.

Mossimo: 

Yeah, it’s constantly evolving with the customer and I mean, again, it’s great for short campaigns, it’s great for landing pages. Great for short campaigns, it’s great for landing page pages. It’s great to AB test and just kind of, you know, spin up and and and and just kind of try things at a lower cost versus running a campaign of 50,000 direct mail pieces. That that, you know, kind of bomb in that sense. Oh yeah, do you know? So again, it’s, it’s for the customer, it’s a lot um it. They could take a lot more risks online versus when it comes to larger campaigns. So you know, in all fairness, coming from the print side, you know the material, like our largest customers, we are creating a ton of content for them, but it’s all for their web, it’s all for their social it’s for their website, it’s, you know, e-guides, it’s books.

Mossimo: 

Granted, their social component is pretty big for that, but that’s like it’s still all digital. So if you can offer that extra, you know, website management for the small to midsize customers, it’s it’s just, it’s reoccurring revenue. It’s easy to get into a retainer model, which I am a big fan of with my customers. So, you know I I struggle to find any other way to do it without offering the web component, unless you’re just willing to constantly, you know, wait for the next client, wait for the next client.

Josh: 

By the way, all roads lead to websites, even, true, even if you do mailers like if it’s like sign up for something.

Josh: 

Where are they going to go? Probably the website. So that’s why I like and it’s why I think a lot of digital marketing agencies now who do ads and marketing campaigns try to take over websites from web designers because they want to have some control there too, or have it as a part of their offer, which is dangerous. I you know there’s I’ve talked about this recently at a newsletter recently talking about digital marketing poachers Yep, not to say that web designers and digital marketing agencies can’t work well together. But my recommendation for anybody doing websites is to let clients know soon as this goes live marketing agencies are going to want to do marketing for you and they’re going to want to take over your website, but I recommend keeping them separate. If they need access to the website to do things for marketing, we can do that, but keep that separate because, as you know, as soon as somebody leaves a marketing agency, everything’s gone Right.

Josh: 

Unless they have access to their website or ownership, which a lot of these companies don’t you? You basically rent a website for as long as you’re with them. That’s the danger of that model, so it is.

Mossimo: 

It is yeah, and you know what the funny thing is. So, to that point, exactly right, you can start a relationship with a customer, and I have seen this happen. We’re pretty fortunate not to us just because we offer the web component. However, I’ve had so many peers that they create the brand it looks great. They create the brand strategy, they create material, then comes the digital component and they bow out. They’re like, well, we don’t do this. So you know you’re going to have to. You know we’ll, we’ll, we’ll give you the material, but you’re going to have to outsource that to somebody else.

Mossimo: 

Well then, that other company tends to be a little bit more savvy they start building a bigger site. Then, once the site, you know, starts going live like you said, they’re digital marketers, you know they often, you know, start throwing in, growing in more social components. Well, let’s get your social campaign going. Then they’ll add the SEO component. Then, all of a sudden, they start managing the brand and they start creating the material instead of you.

Mossimo: 

So often what happens is the long-term relationship and future asks end up going to the more savvier digital companies. I’ll call them right. Maybe not just a web design company, but they’re the company that can do websites. They’re the company that can offer brand strategy, that have a very competent graphic design department. They’re a little bit more full service and that happened because people often bowed out at the beginning saying no, we can’t offer anything past the brand strategy. But it was great, thank you very much. And I got tired of all the you know constantly hunt, eat, hunt, eat, hunt, eat. I wanted to be on that other side and I wanted to manage that whole experience going forward.

Josh: 

And even if a web design agency or digital marketing agency isn’t savvy, necessarily they’re top of mind. Top of mind that’s. The danger is like if you’re a brand strategist or brand designer and you do a one-time type of thing with logo and brand styles and in some initial marketing design and graphic design and you turn it over to somebody and you expect them to, like, always come back to you when they need those services again, if somebody else’s top of mind and taking care of other aspects, they’re just going to go with them, unless, you know, rarely, yeah, maybe they might come back to you for a refresh or something like that. But yeah, you’re right, if it’s like, well, I’m working with this marketing agency who’s doing my website, if they can put together some flyers for me or whatever it is, we’ll just go with them.

Josh: 

That is the danger, I think, for graphic designers Now and I will say I mean I, for anyone who just wants to focus on a one thing and do it really really well I, you know, I, I can’t, I can’t say anything against that that is definitely a very viable way to go. I think the only way to do that and really make a like a large income to do one-off projects, as you probably know, is to be like extremely high priced and I don’t know what that world looks like, honestly, and I don’t know what that world looks like honestly. I don’t know what the you know like tens and tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars of branding packages. I don’t know what that looks like yeah, the competitions like.

Josh: 

So I think in order to do basically one-off projects, one-time projects, you would need to get extremely high priced and premium Agreed, but that’s a whole nother game. It is Because, then, you’re dealing with like RFPs, request for proposals. You’re dealing with yeah, just you’re potentially boards of people.

Mossimo: 

And often that’s not a one person organization. You know, when you’re at that level, unfortunately, unless you’re like Sagmeister, you know, or you know david carson, who can just you can just bang out whatever price point you want and they’ll pay it. I mean you need a big team behind you to constantly evolve, grow that brand, do the research and guess what? If you have that kind of team behind you, you’ve probably got the web chops also behind you or, if not, another web agency that’s supporting your business.

Josh: 

If you’re at that level, that’s all good no, no, please, please, go ahead. I was just gonna say the, the idea of like partnering with a web agency. That is like step one. That’s the first thing I would do, because graphic designers, brand designers, logo designers if we want to group them all together are an amazing partner for web designers and web agencies. They both work with each other. They can be referral partners.

Josh: 

If somebody wants a website but their logo is terrible and their branding is terrible, they could start, you know, with the partner to do the logo and brand or hire them to be like a part of the project. And phase one is logo and brand. Phase two is web. They are amazing partners. So I would start there for anyone like find a partner who does web and then, as you start to figure out areas of web design that you like, yeah, focus in on that and then have partners to fill in the rest. It is. It is the surefire way to like to be an ongoing partner with businesses, almost kind of a consultant in a way, with just knowing people and partnering with people, and it’s a referral train man.

Mossimo: 

You know, I think that would solve probably the biggest apprehension that most graphic designers have, because they think I mean I can’t code. I’m a designer, I don’t. That’s not my world. I don’t understand that. And what they’re missing out on is fine if you don’t want to do the coding side and again, my code is very limited. My coding experience is HTML, maybe a little bit of CSS, that’s it. I mean I dropped that 10 years ago. I knew that wasn’t for me. But that’s not where a website project project ends for me. I mean, it’s always number one.

Mossimo: 

The strategy, it’s the discovery session, where you’re you’re finding out about their business, you’re trying to position them in the marketplace. Then it’s like all the upfront work, the, the site mapping, the information architecture. Then we own the user experience right, there’s so many different stages. And then, once you do the user experience, then you work on the creative portion of that where you can control the headlines, the copy, all this. Sorry if I’m like taken away from the website, but what I’m saying is all this is capable within a graphic designer once they kind of get their mind around it. And none of that involves code, that’s understanding how the site works, but then you can rely on your partners to take it home from that point.

Josh: 

Yeah, and it’s no secret now that you really don’t need to know barely any code now to build websites and even do it professionally. I think it’s worthwhile having like a crash one-on-one course, or you could find this on YouTube. I mean, I teach this in my courses just the basics of HTML and CSS, just so you know what’s going on when you’re using drag and drop builders and stuff. But you really don’t need to know barely, I mean really technically. The only thing you need to know is like heading ones, heading twos, paragraph text, basic HTML and how margin and padding works with containers. That’s it, that’s basically. That’s like one-on-one. That’s all you really need to know.

Josh: 

Uh, from a very, very simplistic standpoint. And then, yeah, then you can really focus on the other aspects of web design alongside graphic design side. No, one little hidden way to get recurring work as a graphic designer slash web designer is if you do new graphics every year or every six months and there’s new graphics for, like, youtube, all your social media, new graphics for the website, that is a fresh cycle of design that is done as a graphic designer, yep, and there’s not even touching code. Potentially you’re just swapping out graphics on the website, updating Like I mean, I don’t know. Imagine you have 20 clients and every year you do a package that’s a thousand dollars.

Mossimo: 

We 20 K, right, nice little Right, right, like that’s a way you could be a graphic designer and utilize the other aspects of the web without because they’re the ones who are going to say, hey, we’ve got a graphic designer, we can take your new look and we’ll put it online and guess who’s getting that money? Like you’re leaving valuable reoccurring dollars on the table. And I mean, maybe it’s a different mindset. I was always, again, of the mindset of owning an agency, not just doing brand work and I love brand work but I always wanted the bigger picture. I wanted to control all of a company’s marketing and their marketing destiny, not just, you know, one small corporate ID element, right? So you know that was my mindset. And again, it’s so easy to consistently, you know, inject yourself into another company’s web portal website. You know web content on on like a quarterly basis, you know biannually, like on so many levels.

Josh: 

It’s a thin line. I mean it’s really tricky. I don’t want to. I guess I wouldn’t say that everyone should do like a full stack agency model where you’re doing anything and everything. I mean, I think we’ve both highlighted the reasons why you may want to do it, or at least do parts of it, yep, but there is a danger to being like the Jack of all trades and master of none when you’re like I can do logo design, I can do graphic design.

Josh: 

I can make a brand style guide, I can make a website, I can do a little SEO and then suddenly you’re just not great at anything. So I think that’s the danger, apart from the danger of being overwhelmed and burnout unless you’re only managing like a dozen or two dozen clients. Yeah, my recommendation is kind of the hybrid between doing one thing and doing it really well and doing a hundred things Not so great is to do a few things really well and partner, like have partners for the rest, or grow your team to handle the rest, if you do want to become more of a studio or a small agency.

Mossimo: 

Exactly, exactly, and to that point I you know I am. I am not, you know the everything to everybody. Um, my specialty is being a generalist and this, this sounds so random, but you know, obviously, our, our agency has our niche. We are a niche agency in the business, business technology sector. That’s, that’s our niche.

Mossimo: 

My personal experience although I’m a passionate graphic designer, I am a generalist in the sense of I see almost all the moving parts. I am not the number one SEO guy in the world, but I know enough that if somebody is trying to sell me crap, I can call them out on it, right, I am definitely not the best logo designer out there, but I am enough of a creative director that I can. I can call the shots and be like dude, this, this looks amateur, this is, you’ve missed the mark altogether. So you know, um, you know, in contrast to that, it’s like I think being a generalist and being able to oversee everything and not actually, and being cool with that right, kind of allows you that bigger picture, right, and you need that for an agency.

Josh: 

I would I, if I can, if we can still be friends after this.

Mossimo: 

I would remove.

Josh: 

I would tell you to remove your generalist mindset, and I really think you’re a strategist. Yeah, that’s really so. That’s just sounds so boring though, dude I know, but generalist sounds, it sounds weak generalist is like I know.

Mossimo: 

I know we could find a better term. I know because strategists just you know what? Growing up the strategists were always scam artists. When they came to me and they’re like, yeah, I was a brand, I’m a brand strategy strategist. I’m like you don’t know, and that may be different than the web world strategist is probably viewed differently for websites than when the brand strategist.

Josh: 

So yeah, yeah, I could see that for sure.

Mossimo: 

I guarantee somebody’s listening to this like screaming saying I’ve got it, I’ve got the term, so let us know, send it in, guys. It’s gotta be something.

Josh: 

But I see, I see your point in. Like you have a good feel for all the moving parts and that is very, very valuable, because some people who are really good at design or really good at development, like you said terrible at design. They don’t have a good feel for that. Some people who are good at design don’t have a good feel for copy. Some people who are really good at anything web don’t understand graphic design or print or they’re making designs and then suddenly that company wants to print stuff out and it’s done in rgb and it’s, you know, looks terrible on on print.

Mossimo: 

So or low res.

Josh: 

Sending to a billboard like yep, there is something to be said about knowing a lot, about knowing a little about a lot, or knowing you know a decent amount about a lot of things. Um, but I think what you’ve done is it’s. It’s not all you like. If youopreneur, I’m not sure what your business would look like. I don’t even know if you could have your hands on as many things as you’re keeping the pulse on if you didn’t have a team around you.

Mossimo: 

No, no, no, no. I would have lost my mind years ago if that was the case. I need my team, I need my team. So okay, so now, if you can, if you can, contrast you know the different parts of a web project, a web design site versus a branding strategy, a brand site. You know a branding project. What are the similarities and what are the differences?

Josh: 

I don’t have too much experience on the brand side of things so I don’t know if I can accurately.

Mossimo: 

Okay well, let’s play back and forth. You talk about the parts in the web and I’ll see if I can inject brand on that.

Josh: 

It’s probably similar in the way of you look at your ideal customers. You really should start with. I mean honestly, the first question is like how do you want this website to make you money?

Mossimo: 

Yeah.

Josh: 

What is somebody supposed to do on the website? That’s priority number one.

Mossimo: 

What’s the end goal?

Josh: 

And the goal. Yeah, what’s the end goal? What’s the call to action or multiple call to actions? That really is the main goal. It’s what I teach in my process course, which is we really need to look at, like, the customer journey and, and it can be very, very simple and even just knowing like do you want people to get a quote and go through a contact form? Do you want, like, a robust contact form? Do you want like a robust contact form? Do you want like a type form that’s guided? Do you want somebody to call you? Some people prefer to be called. We really got to figure it out that first, because that’s going to dictate really everything around that.

Josh: 

I think in the way of whereas branding at least in my experience and I did hire out some brand folks on some projects I did it was a lot about. I mean, there were similarities with how you would design a website from concept, which is like what’s the what’s the mission, what are what are apart from the goal that we already cover, like what’s what’s the mission, who are we as a business? What type of verbiage are we going to use? Of course, that leads into design, style and color theory color management.

Mossimo: 

What’s our promise, all that stuff. So there’s a. I mean there really is a lot of similarities.

Josh: 

Yeah, all that stuff. I mean there really is a lot of similarities. I tell you one thing one benefit of being a brand guide specialist or creator, along with graphic design, is that will take care of a lot of work for websites, because we don’t need to find a font we got the font. We don’t need to find the typography styles we got those.

Josh: 

The voice is written, the voice is written, you have the brand voice. A lot of that is is if it’s not taken care of in a brand guide, that’s what you’re going to have to do in a website, at least the in the basic, basic versions of it, otherwise you’re going to have a scattered mess. So I think that’s where the similarities are. I think where web design differs is that’s kind of like the phase, phase one, where it’s done for a graphic designer or brand strategist. That’s only the beginning for a web designer, because now we’re making multiple pages, multiple sets of copy, multiple designs, multiple call to actions, potentially different lead generators. So it just kind of it’s expands from there. But I mean, my gosh, that’s important.

Mossimo: 

Yeah.

Josh: 

A good brand strategy is so important.

Mossimo: 

Makes all the difference. Okay, Well, what about for people who have no clue? Okay, let’s break down the costs of a website versus how you bill it to a customer, and we don’t have to be exact science here. But like there are different components to a website build from well, you tell me. You tell me.

Josh: 

I mean it is like the most affordable thing to get into. It really is. And, yes, tools will add up, subscriptions add up. But I had a friend who I went to high school with who’s getting into web design. Now he explored becoming a mortgage lender and he was asking me the same question like what are the website costs to get started? And uh, he was like because it was like ten thousand dollars.

Josh: 

Just to like get going on this mortgage lender program like it’s, you could literally get by within a year of web design tools for probably under a couple grand for a year. That’s, that’s decent. Like you, probably less than that. I use divi, which is a theme on top of WordPress. You can get lifetime access to that for under $300. It’s ridiculous. Now they do have add-ons that you can do, like AI add on some other stuff that are ongoing. But I mean, yeah, you could get by if you want to go you know, super thrift under a thousand dollars. If you wanted to really beef up your tool stack and have a lot of tools going at the same time, it might be like five grand a year anywhere in between. There you could get by it with. So it’s extremely affordable, right, um, and there’s a lot of things where you could get the free version or you just don’t worry about it in phase one, get a builder hosting. Uh, I use a company called site ground, which is who I use. But then there’s like, if you go the Wix route or Webflow or Squarespace, those are self-hosted and you’re good there.

Josh: 

I mean, I’m such a fan boy of circle, which is a community builder. I’ve been with them since they opened and, um, I just love circle. It’s the first time I ever fell in love with an all-in-one solution. I used to be very against those. The cool thing about that, and where I’ve changed my mindset on that, is I don’t worry about plug-in updates. I don’t worry about anything with that, it’s just there’s a couple of different tiers. You could do like a 99-a-month plan or a 199 or a 399, and that’s it. It’s kind of all-in-one.

Josh: 

So a lot of different, like a non, a no code um all front end type of project like wix and okay, yep, you, you could, it’s, it’s really it’s, it’s really a community builder and a membership platform.

Josh: 

Um, I can get into the code if I wanted to, but it’s, it’s just not not meant for that and it’s not it’s not a front end website, though though I should say that but but the idea of having, like, a solution that you’re paying a moderate amount for, even if it’s a few grand annually, it’s like, oh my gosh, yeah, it is. It is an incredible way to go. It’s still super affordable.

Mossimo: 

So now on the flip side then so a freelance graphic designer or maybe a duo or three people small shop, you know they get into this and they’re investing one, two, three grand a year. Realistically, what could a small shop, you know, do for local websites? And then versus, you know the amount of effort that they have to put into that. And I don’t mean this is like a, you know, slap it together and get it out. That’s not what the job is here. But sometimes people don’t understand how much or how little effort it takes to get a company online.

Josh: 

Yeah, oh well. I mean, as far as getting online, that could happen virtually instantaneously. Now, I mean, I always recommend breaking it down into phases, like keep phase one simple. I think it’s really easy to look at established agencies and brands and feel the imposter syndrome or feel like, oh my gosh, I’ve got so many ways you know a long way to go, whereas step one of every agency and every studio looked very different.

Josh: 

So I would just honestly keep it simple. I mean, as far as like is this Mossmo? Is this more like towards your agency if you were to start one? Or or like how much.

Mossimo: 

So sorry. And when I say agency, I mean mean, you know, let’s just take it like you did. You started as a freelancer. Right, you started as a freelancer getting into web. You know Well, I could go and charge like a grand for a logo, business card, right, and there you go. So really, how much more could I make on a website?

Josh: 

Oh yeah, depending on the complexity, you know anything from a grand to 20, $30,000, if you get really, really robust with it. What I found is there’s some common price points with web design. Still today, I think anything under the like 1500 range is going to be usually a template or done done for you type of uh or or done with you type of situation where you’re going to have very little hours and that’s going to be often more product ties. My starting point was always at 2,500. I found that to be a really good starting point for most businesses who were like they were thinking like a thousand dollars for a website and then it’s like well, you know, my, my price points were 2,500, 5,000 and 10,000. Right, easy peasy, three ranges. They were all starting at those ranges.

Josh: 

What I love about that model, and why I teach that framework to my students, is you have the ability now to take any project that comes through and put it right into one of those categories. You’re like oh, this is a $5,000 project for sure. This company, this mom Paul ice cream shop they’re just getting started. We can do the $2,500 route. This e-commerce website that wants to do a membership and has a hundred blogs they’re a $10,000 website plus. So I that’s the best way to go and those tend to even out.

Josh: 

I think. I think it’s very realistic and I say that confidently because a lot of my students are doing this to create a six figure business from day one. If you really wanted to, with with graphic design. Web design is all part of that. I have a student who, in 2023, did 55,000 working on the side working two full-time jobs into a website on the side, but he’s just really good at like doing a few things and he virtually got I think he got two new clients in 23. He just circled back around to a dozen or so clients that he had built up over the past couple of years on the side and now his plan is to go full time. So we’re mapping out a plan for that.

Josh: 

That’s amazing, by the way six figures is $8,300 a month, yep, so we want to keep it real simple. Can you land, you know, two projects at 2,500 and one at 3,000 in one month? There you go. Or can you get one $5,000 and a couple $1,000 a year. You’re going to be at six figures on average in no time. So that’s the really cool thing about that.

Mossimo: 

Do you know what I? What I found was um, and not to be like you know, I figured out the secret or anything but the difference between a $10,000 website and a $25,000 website, effort-wise, it was just in the billing Exactly the same.

Mossimo: 

It was just in the billing, honestly, because we had put and this is the funny thing, it’s like it took me a long time to get the courage and this goes back 15 years ago to charge $1,500 for a website, right. Then it was like, wow, I just got $1,500. I’m going to try for $2,500. And just like, nothing changed. People are like, okay, same sales tactic, right, started developing that formula, I got up to $10,000, right, and it was just like, yes, because again, I wasn’t just throwing, I sold that process Then from 10,000 to 25,000, nothing changed but the price I was giving them.

Mossimo: 

Because, again, what I realized is we’re putting in so much effort as designers onto these sites that we were undercharging where we were, and I mean it was so monumental in our business and it still was. You know, a third to a half of all of our revenue ended up being just web design and then reoccurring web work and again, and like I said, there really wasn’t that much difference between and I’m not saying that you know you’re missing out, josh you need to go from 10 to 25. That’s not the point. The point was, you know from the customer side, what we were delivering still gave them that same value in the end. Right that they needed.

Mossimo: 

They needed to get their brand online, they needed it to be strategic, they needed it to look different than any other website out there, and they were willing to pay for that. So so it’s just. It’s again. It’s shocking that people and again, of that whole 25, when we started, we didn’t code ourselves, so we ended up doing about you know, two thirds in-house, like from planning, research, discovery, the design slicks, and then we had the agency afterwards for the last third who put it together and they would manage it for us all year long. And it was the most amazing relationship because I gave them business, they gave us business and it just went like that until we ended up absorbing them into our company.

Josh: 

Yeah, and I think the value of web design too, when it comes to pricing and pricing at higher price points, is it’s a little easier to sell higher price points than I think probably print design and branding Agreed. Now again, I do not have too much experience with brand packages. That’s probably a different ballgame because I imagine you could, you know, I mean, that’s a core component of a brand, so I can, I can imagine that price tag being pretty high. But for where I was with doing basic logo design and graphic design, it was all one-time stuff that was like it should help. It might help grow the business.

Josh: 

But, as you mentioned, the website is a 24 seven7 salesperson. Absolutely that will never stop. It is always evolving, it is always growing and things are changing and everything leads to the website. Anything you do digital marketing-wise, it doesn’t all lead to your Facebook, it leads to your website. I know that’s what gives you. I mean, honestly, what we’re getting down to is websites provide the leverage to charge $ 20, 30, 40 K If you really wanted to, especially depending on what you’re offering in those types of packages which by the way, my 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, that’s kind of the the starting point for people who get to the multi six figure.

Josh: 

Uh, like I have some students right now doing two, 50, 300, 400. Their price points are more like starting at the 10,000 range, but generally they have a very, very proven system between SEO and copy and a lot of those things in place to where they are taking more of the full stack of web design services on. But that can still be it too. That’s the leverage factor with that.

Mossimo: 

I think people need to realize that it’s not either or, but these two worlds work together very well and it’s a very natural. You went full web, which is amazing, and it’s done amazing for you. I still consider myself a graphic designer, but our agency offers full you know, full web stack, full web experiences. So it’s it’s not like you have to choose, it’s just another skill set that you can bring in underneath the you know and I think um yeah, can I say too like there’s no right or wrong with that.

Josh: 

Like if I personally liked web design more than than graphic, because I got to the point where and I, I, I again you like. For anyone who doesn’t feel that way, that’s fine too. Honestly, like I said in the beginning, if you feel like I can do web design, I see the value in what Josh and Moss Miller are telling me, but I don’t necessarily want to be a web designer yet. Then, like we said, start with partners or have it as a backend offer and only reserve it for your really good clients.

Josh: 

That’s what I did. Vice versa, with graphic design. I ended up dropping all graphic design lingo from my website, dropped the portfolio off. I hit it. I only offered branding and design to clients who did websites and asked for it and I was like they’re going to be a really good person. Now, if I had charged way more, like I should have, with graphic design and limited logo revisions and feedback and stuff like that, I probably would have enjoyed graphic design more.

Josh: 

But I was just getting to the point where I was working on these like $250 business cards and I’ve got a $5,000 website project that I’m waiting to get started on because I’m doing these little print jobs. And that’s when I was like, okay, I gotta, I gotta tweak something here. And I did end up hiring out a lot of print work, which helped. But I just personally wanted to go all in on the websites because it was what I was getting good at, was my interest. And uh, with graphic design it kind of goes back to the quote what gets you here Won’t get you there.

Josh: 

And for me, that’s what graphic design was. For me, I just felt like I’m here. It’s really opened a lot of doors, I had also started teaching them too. So I was like, if I’m going to have time to devote to teaching and doing tutorials and teaching other web designers which was kind of a new passion project I can’t be doing the whole print side of things too. So that may honestly, man, that may look different. If I had not started teaching, I may have continued on with graphic and brand design being a larger part of the agency.

Mossimo: 

Um, okay, so we’re. We’re both talking about how the web is like the second coming. It’s the most amazing thing ever. But I mean, even last night, you know, at 10 to five, I get a frantic customer calling because they have a web issue and of course they’re freaking and so I have to bring people in and we generally try not to work past five, five, 30. People were like oh God, is this going to be a late night? It wasn’t, but what are some of the stresses involved? And and and I figured you know, cause this isn’t always, you know, rainbows and butterflies and it’s not and knows it.

Josh: 

But let’s let’s talk candidly about this like yeah, share downtime, downtime, hacks all those things are part of the web. It’s just anything that is online is is vulnerable. Uh, it wasn’t like last past.

Josh: 

Last past, the password manager was like broken into yeah so you know like there is just nothing that is fully secure. That’s the problem with web. There’s something nice about print design where it’s done and you can’t yeah like it’s not. A print design is not going to hack somebody’s house, it’s just sitting there, it’s good. Uh, the problem yeah, the problem with websites is that, while it is awesome in the way of it’s ever evolving and growing and a lot of different levels to it, it’s a trade-off. There’s more involved with it. The worst parts of web design are definitely and this has gotten better over the years hacks are definitely the worst, and that’s only if you’re using WordPress or something that’s potentially vulnerable. If you’re using a self-hosted platform, which would be like the Wix Webflow Squarespace ShowIt I don’t know Wix Webflow Squarespace show it. I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure they could technically get hacked, but it wouldn’t be on you. It would be for Wix to fix it.

Mossimo: 

Yes.

Josh: 

The only. I mean that’s a big one. It has gotten a lot better, for sure, but that’s why we have like a recurring income maintenance plan offer and uh. But yeah, there’s times where, like that would be like some of my most stressful times as a web designer was a website got hacked and then then I started my maintenance plan and a security plan with it.

Josh: 

Yeah, the other aspects, but there are down times. But I mean, I mentioned circle a little bit ago. I love circle, but I last month I was about to log onto a, q and a and circle was down for like a half an hour.

Mossimo: 

It was a.

Josh: 

It was a big time bummer, but I mean that can happen to any anything online.

Mossimo: 

So dude, instagram was down a couple of days ago. I couldn’t get in for almost 20 hours, it was just. It kept on just reloading, it wouldn’t? I don’t know if it was just a North American thing or if it was a global thing. Actually, no, I had some friends in the UK, same thing, so servers.

Josh: 

Servers can go down server. Yeah, that’s, that’s a problem. The other aspect of web design, that is a like beware, when you become a web designer or do web design, people are going to ask you about their email and their domain stuff, and that is a whole nother aspect that most nobody wants to deal with. I, I. There’s a guy named Amor who’s Canadian as well. Great guy, he is my email guru. He likes email. I’m like what the hell is wrong with you, amor? Why do you like this stuff? But God bless him, he loves it. So, yeah, you want to again partner up with with people who are going to take some of those things off, but that probably is. I think you hit the biggest difference when you go from graphic design and brand design. That is, there’s just a lot. It’s just I don’t, it’s not easier, but it is a um easier state of mind because you’re not worried about it. You know being live out there and it’s like when you have a website out there, something could go down, something break. That is. That is the downfall.

Mossimo: 

It’s like you’re always on guard, right, yeah you’re like, at any point something could happen, even when we shut down. We’re like letting everybody know look, we’re shut down, but your websites are always going to be online. They’re always going, they’re always being protected.

Josh: 

Oh, it is that yeah, I think that’s why it’s really important to have a support line yeah that goes to your email.

Josh: 

If you have a, have that dedicated and pushed out. There’s even, like I have, a colleague who runs Focus WP, which is a white label like collective of designers and developers who help agencies who don’t want to do maintenance. So if you don’t want to be on call on Friday night, you can hire Focus WP and then they’ll handle that. You handle the website design stuff and then if there’s an issue, it kicks over right to them. Uh, you won’t make as much profit on the ongoing stuff, but it’s peace of mind. So you kind of have to ask yourself, yeah, what’s what’s worth it for you? Uh, as far as that goes, but I will say, like hacks and some of those types of things have gotten a lot better over the years, especially with good hosting. Yeah, my website got hacked when I was on my honeymoon and we got back. So, yeah, we got back and I remember like, all right, I’m back, feeling good, have a nice honeymoon. I log into my website and it was the white screen of death and my website has been hacked.

Josh: 

And somebody who referred me was like hey, I went to your website, but I think something’s wrong with it. I was like I look awesome now.

Mossimo: 

What a horrible way to think about that. Yeah, I’m a web designer.

Josh: 

Go to my heck website.

Mossimo: 

Oh God, all right. So listen, graphic designers are all talking about AI. This is a hot topic in the design world on so many levels, and AI has been, you know, nipping at the heels of web design for years. Now, right, with a couple of the old platforms, what is your take on this? I mean, realistically, are people even going to have to worry about building websites and knowing how to build, or can AI just kind of steamroll the whole thing over?

Josh: 

I view AI as a really good starting point for most everything, where my favorite aspect of AI is coding. So we were talking about earlier like ah, do we need to learn code Like my gosh? Is there ever a better time to get into web design with AI? Because you could literally go into chat, gpt, type in code or just say like write this effect and then it kicks it out. Divi right now has Divi AI which you can ask it to code. Like you could say, add this type of styling to this module and it will code it for you if you want it to be coded. That’s where AI is really cool.

Josh: 

I AI with like content and stuff is kind of interesting because I’m already getting so burned out by just AI slop and we can all tell an AI title. It’ll be like unveiling the five strategies, semi-colon, uh, this and this and this to you know, roadmap to success, or something. It’s like oh, I think that’s where AI is getting already very muddied. Um, agreed, and yes, ai can kick out full sites now, but it’s very much a starting point. I mean, I’ve tried some of the AI builders and it’s like, uh, like, I mean, I mean it’s okay, but there’s not much different than difference, than that, than having, like, a staging site. So, like what I did and what I teach, is to have a uh, basically a starting template that you have all set, all your plugins, everything ready to go. You deploy that to a new site, that’s that kind of site, and then you’re off and running and you just saved yourself 10 hours probably yeah ai is very similar.

Josh: 

So what I’m saying is ai is catching up to josh hall with my methods. That’s what I’m, that’s what I’m trying to get to do?

Mossimo: 

you remember grid grid ai when that was around, or was it grid io? The concept was it was um, and again it started. The idea was scary awesome, but then it disappeared literally overnight. It basically tanked. We’re not sure why, but the concept was, of course, ai driven websites. You put in your business, you put in the type of tools If there’s anything important about your product you need to list and it builds a website for you, right? The catch was it was connected to a hundred thousand other websites and it would take the data like the user performing data, right, how people would click through, what was hot this month, what colors were hot, and it would constantly change your website based on all the data it was collecting from all these other websites out there. So if all of a sudden, for whatever reason, march was, you know, red was hot and converting more than any other color, your buttons would automatically turn that right.

Josh: 

Oh God, I could not be more against that.

Mossimo: 

Oh, that was scary though, isn’t it? Like I mean, again, it was just, it was. You just completely handed the reins over to this, and I mean that was the concept, that was what they were trying to build, and it crashed and disappeared in such a creepy way. I have no idea, but I write and I am shocked because, again, you’d think that some people would just love that bottom line and just kind of jump to it.

Josh: 

I yeah, that’s the idea. I mean. It’s basically like giving your website to a free Facebook group and saying like hey, whatever you guys think, is working change.

Josh: 

go ahead, change it whenever you want. I do think for web design in particular, I think AI is going to be really great for, like the, the starting tier and getting clients going and offering ongoing services to move them up to higher paying projects. If you want to do that, if you want to have a low ticket offer basically you don’t want to devalue the high ticket stuff but you kind of have a choice. It’s basically either template or custom. I mean, that really is where we’re at with web design. You want to go template AI, whatever, productize.

Josh: 

There’s a lot of value to that. Usually it’s a good starting point. But if you want to go custom and you want me to really be involved with this, then we go custom. Then we go 10, 20, 30k. Yeah, I think that’s a really solid way to go. How you price that, how you promote it, that’s where it gets tricky and it depends on what you want to do, what kind of business you want. I like the idea of an AI or template solution as a fallback plan for custom projects if somebody doesn’t move forward With graphic design.

Josh: 

I don’t know, I really haven’t played around with it enough with with graphic design. I saw you cringe, so I’m sure well it’s it’s.

Mossimo: 

You know what it’s? Um, it is a very prevalent tool. I don’t think it’s going to replace graphic designers anytime soon, but I think graphic designers who don’t use ai are the ones who are going to be replaced. Because let me tell you some of the stuff I’ve been playing with it. I’ve done a couple of podcasts about it. You know, the stuff that you’re able to create in such a short amount of time is on real, and prompting is literally going to be, you know, the second tool. You know, second graphic designers tool, learning how to prompt. But the thing is it’s not there yet. But, man, when it, when it finally fixes those final quirks, which is probably going to be by the end of this year, it’s going to be something to you know, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with it is that something like illustrator?

Mossimo: 

or well, photoshop is using it, illustrator is using it and in those tools it’s, it’s, it’s like I almost use that now, more than a lot of the design tools, which is, sad to say, like what it does for my compositions. Now it’s just in unreal, it’s. It’s become probably the most valuable tool in photoshop for me right now, but you know tools like mid journey and dally and just some of the other ones that are coming out. You know, over the holidays I created this um book with my daughter for her school project and you know, you know, granted, you know it took me a good two days trying to learn. You know AI and how to get this consistency in pictures, and I had to use both AI and Photoshop, but the final product probably would have taken me five, six, eight times more if I weren’t, if I wasn’t using it and if I was to bill that to a customer, which I absolutely could have, I got to charge 10,000 bucks for that project.

Mossimo: 

So it’s, it’s pretty insane what is happening in that space, um. So I think you know and people are foolish not to think that it is coming for all of us. We just need to embrace it.

Josh: 

It’s here yeah for sure yeah. On that note. They’re like well, you know, I would have charged this, you could still charge that. Because clients like if they try to do it, they don’t know how to prompt, they don’t know how to do these things Exactly.

Josh: 

And the reality is, if anything speeds up your workflow or your design time dramatically, do it like a job done faster does not devalue the job Yep Client. Like if you’re going to tell a client, yeah, we’re going to do this branding package, it’s going to take three months, yep. Or if you’re going to tell a client, yeah, we’re going to do this branding package, it’s going to take three months, yep. Or if you’re like we’re going to have the first concepts out and you know three weeks or three days, whatever it is, they’re going to pay the same effect. They may pay more if it’s done faster.

Josh: 

So you’re right you said it in the same thing for web designers. We’ll just call it, we’ll just say designers encapsulate everybody. Designer. Ai is not going to take over designers. Designers using ai will take over designers absolutely because they’re gonna be faster. More nimble, uh, there’s just. Yeah, it’s gonna be easier they’re gonna not turn out more profitable yeah, they’ll literally outlast because they have more time and resources and money yeah, do you have any train wreck stories that you can share?

Mossimo: 

Client stories.

Josh: 

Oh my gosh. Well, there was one. And again, this is where, like as much as I’m a WordPress guy, WordPress is the most complicated. I think WordPress is in a really tricky spot right now in web design because all these other tools that we’ve already talked about are taking a lot of the market share and WordPress is freaking hard to get into. I know you’re not a fan. You mentioned like oh, it is not user friendly. I mean, compared to custom coding, WordPress came out in 2000,. Whatever, in 8, 9, 10. And it was like, wow, this is so much easier. Now it’s like they really haven’t evolved too much since then, so now it’s already looking dated. On the backend, it’s the builders that are. I think it’s the builders in the community that are really carrying WordPress.

Mossimo: 

Yes.

Josh: 

The horror stories, though, for me, were usually a mix of that, usually a mix of like a hack happened, or I remember one time I don’t want to get too technical, but the way WordPress works is there’s folders in WordPress that have the content, images and plugins. There’s a database that has the pages and it’s they’re separate, they’re not in the same place. So I moved a whole new website that I had done we had worked on this thing for months moved it over to a new host. Then I deleted all the old website. I had no idea that I didn’t bring over the pages. So I brought over content, or I brought over excuse me images and styling, but no pages were there and I was like, oh my gosh, what happened? They were freaking out Cause we went live and I and they were like we just promoted this and I was like, oh, I don’t know.

Josh: 

I figured I talked to the host and I had deleted the entire old site Cause I didn’t realize it was in the database and they couldn’t recover it. So I had to recreate. I remember I spent like three days straight just trying to recreate what I had done, remembering I didn’t, and I made a rookie mistake I didn’t back it up. Yep, now you can just one click back up your entire website database and folders. Uh, I didn’t have my maintenance plan course to tell me how to do that, so so like, uh, yeah, it was bad. Uh, that was a rough one, particularly because we had just went live and there was nothing there.

Josh: 

Yeah that that sent the old hairline back a little bit. Uh, there was one to do with email, which is when I realized that I’m never, ever, ever touching email for a client ever again. Yeah, do you really need an ID person or just hire it out completely? Yeah, once, one Friday night, we moved a website and I moved the email over and I didn’t know how they had their email set up and they went in. Dude called me on a Saturday morning freaking out, saying I logged on my computer and all my email is gone. I’m like, oh well, I moved the email from the server, but I didn’t realize that it was actually stored in his computer. Yep, that’s email is. By the way, you know, you could basically store it on the computer with hosting or with like Gmail, or you can literally store it on a native computer, like on a manual computer if they’re downloading it, yeah.

Josh: 

That was a rough one. I just ran out of my beer. I might need to go. I might need to get a second beer if I’m going to keep going on those Mossimo.

Mossimo: 

Do you know what happened to me and this is recently, and I mean I am very ashamed of this because I know better, but I had a longstanding customer for years, years, years, years, and they needed a website. And you know what had happened is they caught us at a bad time, so we were too busy, so they went to another agency to get the site done.

Josh: 

And six months goes by.

Mossimo: 

Well, it’s actually worse. Six months goes by. The other agency didn’t understand the customer. They couldn’t deliver this. They came back and they said listen, you know I was sorry to have left you. I’m sorry, can you take over the website project? These guys have no clue what they’re doing. I was like great, but we’re really busy, so you’re not going to see anything till like November, and this is November of last year. So not a problem, not a problem. So we’re on track.

Mossimo: 

We go through everything, okay, we go through sitemap, our information architecture, we do the creative, we do the copywriting. We’re in the build stage. Okay, we are two weeks from the site being live and we send them the QA version. We’re like here, here’s the website. Review it, it’s done. You know we just have to connect the blog and you know there’s a couple of minor touches, but it’s ready for your review. They ghost us, okay. For about two weeks. We’re like what the hell is going on? The owner comes back and he has completely changed the site Top to bottom, every little, every possible, like it’s not the same site at all. It was not.

Mossimo: 

And because they came back and they were longstanding customer and I figured, oh God, they came back to us. There’s no chance they’re leaving. I forgot to invoice them a deposit on the job. And at this point I was like, dude, your site’s done, we’re waiting for you to approve it. And at this point I was like, dude, your site’s done, we’re waiting for you to approve it. And he’s like, yeah, but I have this new vision. I need you to do it this way, I need you to do this. I need kept on pushing, pushing. I’m just like, no, we’re, we’re not going to do it. It was so.

Mossimo: 

Ultimately, you know, the client relationship severed I. I couldn’t believe that. They did that because they proved everything at every stage. They came at the 11th hour, but we lost out on everything because I did not do I tried and true send deposits. We didn’t do it. And this is recently, this is real. So, no matter, I’ve learned every lesson in the world. This happened three months ago. So we lost out. Yeah, probably, you know, internally, that was probably, you know, ten, twelve thousand dollars worth of effort. The total job was about a twenty five thousand dollar site. Yeah, yeah, that would hurt. So you know, no matter how long you’re doing this, $10,000, $12,000 worth of effort. The total job was about a $25,000 site. Yeah, yeah, that would hurt. So you know, no matter how long you’re doing this, you still slip up.

Josh: 

Yeah, and there’s, there’s a couple lessons, another horror story. Real quick was not that bad, but I had turned us. I went live with the site and then the client had access to it and they just completely ruined the design. All of those things made me realize back your site up right when you’re done with your design, even on your portfolio. What I learned is on your portfolio page to say sites may not reflect initial build. Yeah, that’s code, for my clients may have screwed this site up yeah, I literally put that’s all.

Josh: 

We do that all the time. Yeah, I literally have it on my website because, yeah, people, yeah, they need to know, like, don’t judge this, this may have been the client.

Mossimo: 

Cause they will, they’ll see, they’ll see, they’ll see the report. They’ll go to their site and they’ll be like this doesn’t look the same as you.

Josh: 

You can put your initial design on your website. It’s like a development site, live like a staging site and be like this was the design for this. You know it looks different now, but of course you could do it in a nice way. But yeah, those are some. Horror stories are generally technical related or client related.

Mossimo: 

Oh geez, yeah, yeah definitely Two dark paths either way. All right, Josh, I can talk to you forever. I mean again and we’ll have more of these and we’re going to have another one of these. I’m always open to it and we didn’t even really have anything controversial today. This was pretty high level, oh yeah, but I mean, I always try to finish off every conversation with a guest, of course, with rapid round questions.

Josh: 

All right, let’s do it.

Mossimo: 

So I am going to give you two minutes, okay, on the phone. Okay, we’re going to set this up for two minutes and then you are going to answer these questions, just quick-fire questions, all right, and we’re going to understand who Josh is, all right? Okay, you ready, buddy.

Josh: 

I’m ready, nervous, I’m ready.

Mossimo: 

Okay, mac or PC, mac Paper or tablet Paper. Favorite music to code to Meshuggah. Is the fold in web design still a thing? Yes, sugar um. Is the fold in web design still a thing? Yes?

Josh: 

are you a morning? Person or night owl night, favorite children’s cartoon, uh, spongebob, oh okay, favorite collectible oh, I’m not a collectible guy, anything star wars okay, okay, good save, good save favorite superhero I don’t, even I don’t love superheroes, but uh, if I had to pick one, oh, oh no, this is horrible superhero then I’m not a superhero guy. I’m gonna just say vader, even though he’s not a superhero, darth vader.

Mossimo: 

He’s pretty badass. That’s pretty badass, dude.

Josh: 

Favorite web platform oh, I’m still gonna say wordpress, still gonna say it, even though I was hoping to save you brother, is the future of google search toast no, okay, okay, I driven, though I did see that.

Mossimo: 

I did see that um is ux just common sense. No coffee or tea, coffee puppies or kittens, puppies, pirates or ninjas oh, pirate, ninja pirates.

Josh: 

I’m sure that’s been said before. I’m gonna go ninjas if I had to choose to okay, good, favorite website for design inspirations oh um web designer pro my community, nice, smart softball good plug, first artist that comes to mind I’m trying to think of, not the normal ones. Uh, I’m gonna say the this spongebob artist in the one episode where he loses his pencil in the sea, oh, god, that’s pretty funny actually.

Mossimo: 

Do you dream in code?

Josh: 

no, do you remember nightmare nice?

Mossimo: 

do you remember what cmyk stands for?

Josh: 

yes, uh cyan magento, uh, wait a minute uh magento is a shop, is an e-commerce platform oh, I’m sorry, magenta, uh black. Oh my god, I’ve heard. Yeah, it’s a, why it’s a, why it’s a? Why? What color to start with? Why, uh black? Oh my God, I’ve seen why. Yeah, it’s a Y, it’s a Y, it’s a Y, what color to start with?

Mossimo: 

Y.

Josh: 

Black is Y right.

Mossimo: 

No, black is K, it’s actually key, but yellow is oh, I just gave it to you.

Josh: 

Got it. Ah, that’s right. Cause it’s been a long time, but I knew it when I was full on graphic design okay, worst website trend you’ve ever seen animations are yeah, animations are pretty brutal okay when browsing websites.

Mossimo: 

are you a font nerd or a layout critic? Layout critic sketch or adobe xd sketch true or false? Ai will replace UX designers.

Josh: 

I could see that being true.

Mossimo: 

Sad scary right yeah.

Josh: 

What’s your guilty pleasure? Oh, bagels, I love bagels 20 years ago.

Mossimo: 

who would win in a fight Bill Gates or Steve jobs?

Josh: 

I think anyone could beat Bill Gates.

Mossimo: 

Right answer.

Josh: 

Mess himself up.

Mossimo: 

Best video game console ever. Oh, ps2 still has my heart, nice Good man, good man, and one thing that always makes you angry Josh.

Josh: 

Oh, that people view audio books as reading. That’s so true I have I’m going to start a passion project one day, ending this debate because people say I read 60 books last year. I’m like how did you do that? And they’re like oh, I listened to, oh, I love all your books.

Mossimo: 

You’re not freaking.

Josh: 

read a book. You listen to a book. Let’s call it what it is People audio books are not reading.

Mossimo: 

That’s amazing dude, that’s so true. So look, josh. Um, I appreciate you coming on here. Okay, you do so much quick talk about the community, so joshhallco is that is my personal brand site.

Josh: 

that has everything. It’s got links to my courses, my tutorials, my podcast. I have a community called Web Designer Pro which has my courses now inside of it, so it’s where to go if you want to become a web designer pro and if you want to be really a part of my direct community. I do weekly live calls. All my courses are there. We do guest trainings.

Mossimo: 

You’re really passionate about this too, like you help people out.

Josh: 

Oh my gosh, it’s incredible. I mean they like.

Josh: 

I was on a call today with our weekly coaching call and it’s like I get fired up. It’s just such an amazing group of people. It’s less than a couple hundred. Right now. I’m capping pro at 250 because I’m personally involved with everybody and everyone can directly ask me for coaching advice, so I will not have the bandwidth or capacity above that. I may explore like a lower entry tier eventually once we get to that point, but as of right now, yeah, everything’s at joshhallco. You can still purchase my courses, one off if you just want a course, and that’s also a ticket to try out Web Designer Pro to see if it’ll be a good fit for you.

Josh: 

But you know we were talking this whole conversation about partnerships and having a support system. That’s what I’ve learned and realized in being a community builder is the people I see succeed and excel and stay sustainable are not lone wolves doing things, and they’re also not in a Facebook group that’s 20,000 people where you’re not really getting too many meaningful connections there. Like you, I think everyone should be in one or two or three trusted communities where you get fully supported. I have a, a guy in pros, a young guy who is a graphic designer and he does web, so very akin to what we’re talking about, and he’s a perfect example of like he’s hiring out SEO and advanced stuff that he doesn’t want to do. He’s really good at branding and design and video work and can do some website stuff, but he’s learning that. I think he’ll like this conversation. So, um, yeah, that’s my community. That’s why. That’s why I’m so passionate about it.

Mossimo: 

And I mean you’ve got a podcast with what like 300 episodes now.

Josh: 

Yeah, three. Uh, let’s see we’re. Yeah, by the time this, if we’re going to repurpose this, this may be into the 320s or something.

Mossimo: 

So yeah, I love.

Josh: 

I love doing the podcast.

Mossimo: 

It is, it’s a rush.

Josh: 

It is a rush, it’s a yeah, I’ve been doing it for four years now. So, uh, it’s over four years, yeah, it’s. It’s one of the things that I it’s kind of one of those things where, like, if I wasn’t and I don’t get directly paid for the podcast I don’t currently do sponsors, or very rarely do Um, it leads to my community and it’s a audience relationship builder, um, but it’s like if I, if I had all the money in the world, I didn’t need to work. I would probably just do a podcast.

Mossimo: 

I know, I know they’re fun. It’s fun. It’s fun to connect people this way. It’s fun to give this information. It’s a, it’s a cool vibe, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, it really is.

Josh: 

You learn a lot about yourself and communication too, like I’m such a better speaker than I was before my podcast.

Mossimo: 

Jeez, you know I’m a better drinker.

Josh: 

for sure I don’t know about the speaker, but those are my favorite podcasts, so they can take a beer and not get judged by it.

Mossimo: 

Oh God, okay, dude, you know what? I encourage every one of our listeners, of course, to check out your site, because the whole reason why I brought you on is you came from this space, you understand this space and I mean you’re pretty candid about it, right? So, again, I really appreciated this conversation. If there’s ever anything you need, don of our users to check out josh hallco again youtube. You know three, three and a half million views on on the sites, his podcast and, of course, you also give out a newsletter, do you not?

Josh: 

I do. I just started a weekly newsletter yeah, yep, so a little bit of like five, seven minutes every week.

Josh: 

You just get a quick, a quick tip, a quick dose, a little, a little thing to help. Sometimes it’s a story. Sometimes, like I actually got a web design lead wearing my web designer pro shirt that I’m wearing right now. I was working in a coffee shop and a dude said hey, I saw your shirt, you do web design. I know somebody who needs web design help. Easiest way to get a lead I have pro swag, web designer pro swag that actually anyone can buy. Even if you’re not a member, you can still wreck, you can get free leads. If you want, just wear the swag.

Mossimo: 

Just wear the swag yeah.

Josh: 

Yeah, speaking of print like that is the power of print. I can’t believe it’s taken this long to say where your brand, especially if it says designer it’s a genius Like that still holds true today.

Mossimo: 

Absolutely it does, dude. Thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate this On behalf of myself and Sean, who is not here, you know. I hope everybody got something out of this episode and, if you haven’t, don’t be scared to reach out to Josh on his platforms or to us, because this is a topic that I am passionate about and I don’t want anybody to shortchange themselves without seriously considering a future of incorporating web design into our mix for graphic designers.

Josh: 

Couldn’t agree more, man Thanks. I really enjoyed this one man Already excited for the next round.

Mossimo: 

Woohoo, me too. My name is Massimo Sean’s over there, and you are, I’m Josh. Stay creative and stay angry. Everybody Peace, angry, everybody Peace.

Josh: 

All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed that one friends. Again, graphic design to web design so many opportunities, but it can be a challenge. So I want to help you with starting and getting your business off the ground. Again, as I mentioned in the intro, I’ve got a free guide that you can pick up today completely free my 10-step action plan to help you start and build your web design business. That is at joshhallco slash build. So head over there to pick that up. And again, make sure to go follow Mossimo and the crew at the Angry Designer Podcast.

Josh: 

You can also go to the show notes for this episode, where we will have that linked, and the episode I did here over at their show. If you go to joshhallco slash, what are we at? 321, 321 is where you’ll find this one. So joshhallco slash, 321, and you can get all the links and a full transcription of this episode over there. So head over there after this. Thanks for listening and I will see you guys on the next episode.

Josh: 

Make sure you’re subscribed and if you would, if you’ve made it to the very end, it means sure you’re subscribed, and if you would, if you’ve made it to the very end, it means that you’re a committed listener and I would so appreciate a review. It’s been. I haven’t really asked for reviews enough recently. I feel like the show is better than the amount of reviews we have, and I get so many comments about it on DMS and inside of my community, web Designer Pro so I need to do a better job at asking for reviews. So if you would be oh so willing leave a review on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, wherever you listen for the show, I so appreciate it and I do read them. So head over to leave a review, if you would. I so appreciate it and I will see you on the next episode.

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