Hey, I’m Josh.
Web design business coach and founder of web design agency In Transit Studios based in Columbus Ohio.
I love helping people learn how to design websites with WordPress & Divi and build their own web design businesses to experience the freedoms that I’ve been fortunate to have as a professional web designer and business owner.
Professionally – I’m a Web Design Coach, Course Creator, Blog Author, YouTuber, Podcaster and Web Agency Founder.
Personally – I’m a husband, father of 3, drummer in a past life, player and watcher of tennis, big time Blue Jackets Hockey fan and aspiring lawn weenie.
My full story is below but I also recap the start of my journey in my first podcast episode!
How it all began
Before I got started in the amazing world of web design, I was a cabinet maker for a tour bus customizing shop in Columbus, OH called Creative Mobile Interiors. I got laid off in the Spring of 2009 along with many others when the recession hit. The day after, I decided to dive into photoshop as I had been experimenting with graphic design and had always enjoyed art, drawing and simply creating things.
At this time, I was also in a rock band called This Fires Embrace playing shows and traveling all over the U.S. When I started doing graphic design, I began creating our T-shirt designs, CD artwork and various merchandise. When someone asked me how much I’d charge to design a t-shirt, it was like a light bulb turned on and I thought…”Wow, I could make money doing something I actually enjoy!”
I started in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator doing primarily graphic and print design for bands. At this time, I was also involved with a church that needed help with their website. They asked if I’d be willing to take it over and offered to send me to a couple web design classes at the community college here in Columbus. I accepted and began the first chapter in my web design career.
I really enjoyed what I learned about web design at the time (which was custom coding sites with HTML and using Dreamweaver) and decided to pursue an associates degree in Digital Design and Graphics at Columbus State Community College. It’s my only formal education and was very valuable in helping me in all areas of graphic design, basic web design, photography, color management, branding and more. I learned a lot there technically but have always learned better by real world experience, trial and error which I was doing on the side by designing graphics for bands.
In the Summer of 2010, my band released our third album (In Transit) and after going through several pages of potential business names, I decided to officially call my graphic design business In Transit Studios. I’d love to say there’s a deep meaning behind it, but it mainly just sounded cool while we recorded that record and the domain was one of the only options not taken. So I officially started and registered In Transit Studios in October of 2010. I continued to work with bands for years but ran some ads in Craigslist and started getting some local business and commercial clients. I slowly began to offer basic website design services along with my graphic design services for logos, brochures, flyers, t-shirts, etc.
Growing In Transit Studios
I experimented with WordPress for a site in 2012 as I got further into the web design world and stumbled across The Divi Theme by Elegant Themes while subcontracting for a local web company in 2014. That’s when it all changed. Divi truly became “The one theme to rule them all” for me and I chose to run my business exclusively with that theme. To this day, I have not used any other theme or platform than Divi and WordPress to build a website.
At this time, the band was winding down and I had finished my 2-year associate degree while going to school at night and working odd jobs to help pay the bills along with my modestly growing graphic design business. When I graduated I had every intention of either going to a more advanced design program or finding a local design job but with what I had made on the side…I thought what if I did this full time? I decided to go for it and take the business more seriously.
The next couple of years saw the growth of In Transit Studios by making web design my main service and working with more and more local businesses via my growing local networking by joining and helping launch my networking group which I was a part of for 8 years.
I ended up meeting my wife before a meeting at Panera, where she was the catering coordinator and the rest is history. We got married in March of 2015 and she joined the business shortly after to assist with administrative, website updates, print ordering and more.
I continued to build websites and do my secondary print and graphic design services as a solo-prenuer and put a big emphasis on my business systems, processes and automating as much as I could. I dove farther into personal development and put a big emphasis on reading business books which I outline here. That helped me develop a better mind for business and in turn helped me take my business to 6-figures.
Joining the Divi Community
In the summer 2016, I found my way into the Divi community by joining one of the popular Divi Facebook groups. Always late to the part, I found out that there were more Facebook groups for Divi so I joined a couple more. I soon found out that the content manager for Elegant Themes lived in my city. I had no intention of being a blog author but I thought it’d be awesome to meet someone from Elegant Themes so I reached out, and invited him for coffee.
We hit it off, talked shop and discussed some great ideas around Divi and the business of web design. Shortly after, he approached me to see if I’d be interested in contributing to the blog. I enthusiastically accepted and began writing for Elegant Themes in August of 2016. I then stumbled across the next chapter in my web design world, a love for writing and a love for helping fellow web designers. And I’ve always found it ironic and somewhat funny that I blog and code for a living now but I got a “D” in typing class in high school. I suppose it goes to show you that it’s not about how fast you type, but what you type.
Soon after, I felt a need to connect with fellow Divi Web Designers in a different way than I had seen with many of the other groups. I didn’t see a group geared around the idea of sharing your work, getting feedback and empowering each other to be better designers so I started the Divi Web Designers Facebook Group. Between admining the group and contributing more to the ET blog, I found in myself a new passion to help Divi Web Designers more and more and realized how much I’ve learned since 2010 when it came to starting and running a profitable web design business that gave me freedom, a chance for my wife to stay home and for us to work whenever, where ever we wanted.
In the Summer of 2017, I decided to create a home (this site) to archive all my blog posts and launch my endeavor to help other web designers with tutorials, blogs and eventually courses, podcasts and more. JoshHall.co was born in August 2017 and oddly enough, my first tutorial launched on 8/22/17 which is the day we found out we were pregnant with our first daughter 🙂
I kicked off a Divi tutorial series, committing to one tutorial a week for 12 weeks on my YouTube channel which really lit the fire in me for teaching and helped elevate my brand to a whole new level. This would be the start of my passion to help aspiring web designers learn how to build awesome websites with WordPress and Divi and it was also the time when I realized, I had come far enough in building my own 6-figure web design business that I was ready to start sharing my secrets on the business side of things as well.
I began creating more and more tutorials and continuing to write blog post series for the Elegant Themes blog. In January 2018 I did a full series on scaling a web design business and did my first YouTube interview series with established web design business owners to hear how they scaled their businesses. Oddly enough, this experienced planted the seed for me to eventually start my own podcast after such great reception on the series and multiple people asking more for 🙂
I soon began implementing what I learned from them and the series I wrote and started building my team for In Transit Studios so I could free myself up to work more on JoshHall.co.
Thankfully I now had some help with the business via my sub contractors because a real journey was about to take place. We had a high risk pregnancy and when my daughter was born in April of 2018, she was very small and had a variety of growth and sugar problems. We then (as many of you saw on my Facebook) spent 2 months in the NICU. I worked when I could at a coffee shop near the hospital but had to take a break from tutorials and working on this site just in order to keep up with the business and overseeing the work my sub contractors were assisting with.
Thankfully, we got out of the NICU and once things settled down I was able to get back into this endeavor, My plan originally was to offer products, layouts and Child Themes for Divi but I had grown to love doing tutorials and teaching so much that I decided to try creating my first course.
In the summer of 2018, I began creating my Website Maintenance Plan Course and decided that if it went over well and more importantly, if I enjoyed building the course then I would make more. I had been asked about doing a CSS course but I knew that would be a massive undertaking so I wanted to launch my maintenance plan course first as I was really passionate about sharing what I learned in scaling my plan which was one of the main reasons we got through the NICU. Because I had recurring income that covered our living expenses with my maintenance plan. That course launched, it went over extremely well and I found my new found love of building courses and helping others grow their web design business. I then started working on my big Divi/CSS Course and mapped out several smaller courses to follow.
While wrapping up 2018 and launching my CSS course, I continued scaling In Transit Studios by hiring my lead web designer, Jonathan (JD), and continuing to subcontract other work to a handful of trusted colleagues when needed. As soon as January 2019 hit I was in course mode creating the next set of courses with my refined process and getting quicker with recording videos, writing the content, etc. I completed my cPanel Course, Web Design Process Course, WooCommerce Course and Divi/Wordpress Beginners Course in 2 months from January – February 2019 and now with a suite of courses and continuing to get back into tutorials, podcasts, blogs and more.
In the late Spring of 2019, we found out we were expecting our 2nd little one (another girl) due to come December, 2019!
I had been wanting and planning since 2017 to dish out everything I’ve learned in building and running my web design business so in the summer of 2019, I finally started planning and building it out into a course. I launched my 7th Course, my Web Design Business Course in September which really opened the doors to making a bigger impact with my web design students from around the world. At this point, I also crossed over 500 students in 17+ countries.
In November 2019 I launched my podcast “The Josh Hall Web Design Show” which features interviews from folks in the Divi and wider WordPress community as well as solo episodes based off of my experience with becoming a professional web designer and building a web design business. It’s been truly one of the most amazing experiences of learning for me and all who listen in!
Selling my agency
My second daughter arrived at the end of November 2019 and for the rest of the year, I was able to rest and recharge after a wild couple of years. The freedom of having my own web design agency with sub contractors and a growing course business allowed me to work less than ever before through the holidays in 2019.
Once 2020 came, it was time to focus big on my podcast and complete the final 2 courses I had planned. I completed and launched my Website Design Course in February and soon got to work on my highly anticipated and requested SEO Course which I launched at the end of March.
My finished suite of 9 web design courses could not have been completed at a better time because it was the start of the COVID pandemic and I saw a huge spike in interested from people all over the world who were interested in learning web design and starting their own web design businesses.
My courses grew at such a fast pace in the early Spring of 2020 that I felt a strong urge to take things to the next level and decided to take my passion project here at JoshHall.co, full time. I knew I would eventually want to take this full time but with the uptick in interest during the pandemic and with my heart being pulled away from client/service work and towards helping other web designers, I knew it was time.
I ended up reaching out to one of my web design students who had taken his web design business to 6-figures in year one and asked if he had interest in taking on my clients. We talk more about the journey in me selling my web design agency and him acquiring it in this podcast episode but in short, we made the deal for him to become the new CEO of In Transit Studios and we worked out a deal for me to stay on as founding owner to oversee him, the team and many of our processes so I could stay fresh with the business side of things. I also continue to keep in touch with many of my best clients, many of whom had been with me for years and were still very near and dear to my heart.
After selling my agency in the Summer of 2020, it was time to focus on JoshHall.co full time and get to many of the lingering items that I didn’t have the time to do while running the agency. I began revamping my website, updating courses and putting a big emphasis in growing my podcast. I also invested a lot of time and money into myself by taking courses to help prepare me to take this to a whole other level.
2020 ended with the soft launch of my private web design community which was the bases of bringing together an amazing online community of helpful, like-minded web designers and web entrepreneurs.
2021 started off huge with the official launch of my Web Design Club where legitimately the best, most helpful, engaged and amazing online community has come together and thrived together. And it’s only getting better as more continue to join!
It’s also when I fell in love with the new platform Circle for private groups and communities. I liked it so much for my web design club that I decided to pull all my course support groups off of Facebook and bring them into the official JoshHall.co Student Center which is now fully supported on Circle and integrated with my site.
I was also pumped to get one of the founders of Circle, Andy, on my podcast to talk about online community!
Spring came and we hit a huge milestone…our 100th podcast! Even more exciting was the special guest who came onto the show, Pat Flynn. He shared some of the most amazing advice I’ve heard on how to be a successful entrepreneur.
After some amazing interviews and growth of the podcast, I realized I wanted to better serve my web entrepreneur customers who were offering more than just web design services but who were scaling their businesses and getting into courses and digital products. After a lot of requests, I decided to pull the curtain back on my entire course creation and launch process and launched my LearnDash Course!
The rest of 2021 was focused on organically growing my brand, better support my current students/customer base, growing the podcast and maintaining growth on my YouTube Channel and learning more and more about being a community builder!
Oh yeah…and I FINALLY started my Instagram!
Onward to 2022…
The first quarter of 2022 proved to be a BIG one in the way of growing the student base to 1,200+ students, growing my coaching community (web design club closing in on 100 members) and many opportunities with amazing podcast guests!
I was fortunate to have guests such as WordPress legend Troy Dean on the show, WPMU DEV’s CEO James Farmer and a growing list of higher profile guests who graciously spent some time giving back to my audience.
This was also a big chapter in the business as Circle, the platform I use and recommend for online communities became the first sponsor for my podcast!
Moving further into the year, the big emphasis was on growing the podcast with downloads on the rise and welcoming more amazing guests like legend Amy Porterfield who came on for episode #185!
This year was interesting as I didn’t have plans or big audacious goals “launch” anything new, but more refine what’s in place and grow through current offers, courses and my membership.
A big emphasis was growing the Web Design Club and making it an even better, stronger community of web designers, along with better supporting all students in my web design courses.
A large reason for not wanting to launch anything new was because personally, my family and I were closing in on moving into our new home. Building is a long, big process itself (which my wife and I both really enjoyed!) But the moving…that’s a different ballgame. Especially when they’re toddlers involved. And my wife was pregnant with our 3rd as well during the move.
But by golly, we made it work and while it took (and continues to take) a long time to settle in, we did just that and then back to work we went.
The big project of Summer 2022 was rebranding the podcast officially to The Web Design Business Podcast. That was an original title I had but chose to keep it under my personal brand to see where it would go. When it became ever-so-clear that I was serving web design business owners and solopreneurs with the show, that’s what led to the subtle rebrand name change. A good lesson in making it so clear WHO your show, product or service is for!
While leading up to some big plans for the Fall of 2022, life threw us a curveball as we had a medical emergency with my oldest daughter keeping us at our local Children’s Hospital for over a week. And during that time, my wife was far along in pregnancy and sure enough, our little boy decided that was the time to make his entrance.
It was two weeks of utter chaos going back and forth between two hospitals as my daughter was recovering and my wife was with our newborn but we made it through. Thanks to my team for stepping up and handling all the day to day and for the CEO of my web design agency Eric for taking over for my membership Q&A’s and a podcast announcement sharing why I would be taking some time off.
And while it’s still a long road ahead to full recovery for my daughter, the end of 2022 started to settle down for us as we got used to our new normal with adding not only a 3rd little one into the mix, but 1-2 additional therapies and appointments for my daughter to help her recover. I thought daily while ending the year about how grateful I am to be an online business owner and am filled with gratitude for the wonderful world of web design and web entrepreneurship that allows me to have freedom and flexibility for my family.
This year was also a great lesson in being ok with a not-so-great year. While this wasn’t a “bad” year on the books, it wasn’t the best, due to everything just mentioned and as I shared in this podcast episode. But I’ve learned in a 13 year career in online business to this point, there are going to be hard seasons in life and business won’t be the top priority through those. And that’s ok.
And the really good news is…I couldn’t have been more excited to turn the calendar year over to 2023 and get going!