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RANT 16 years old enterpreneur losing motivation.

Runjie Chen

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Nov 25, 2018
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So here is the thing.

I started a web design business.

I thought the hardest part was learning how to code and all that stuff.

But it was just the beginning...

After learning the principles of coding and confidently being able to say that I can make a website for a client.

I found out that finding clients is the hardest part ever.

After countless amounts of cold emails, I just can't seem to find someone that would accept my services.

If someone could help me I would really appreciate it.

Thanks.
 

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Deangiroir

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So here is the thing.

I started a web design business.

I thought the hardest part was learning how to code and all that stuff.

But it was just the beginning...

After learning the principles of coding and confidently being able to say that I can make a website for a client.

I found out that finding clients is the hardest part ever.

After countless amounts of cold emails, I just can't seem to find someone that would accept my services.

If someone could help me I would really appreciate it.

Thanks.
Have you tried building relationships with businesses? Cold emails are just what their name describes. They're cold and people are VERY cautious about being scammed. If someone is going to do business with you, they have to "warm" up to you. They have to trust you'll provide a quality product or service. The only way to do that is build a relationship. I do business with people I know because I want someone that I feel is reliable. People like to do business with people. Not just a business.

What other marketing have you done besides just cold emails?

Also...

Your headline says you're 16 years old. I'm 35. I'm still young(ish) and have much still to learn about life and business. But let me tell you something...

You've got time on your side. Remember...

"Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time." - Jim Rohn

You're starting early which, as long as you persevere, will make you well ahead of others.
 

NuclearPuma

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Ask yourself, what problem are you solving?

The more clearly you can articulate the problem, the better solution you can provide.
 

MoreValue

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So here is the thing.

I started a web design business.

I thought the hardest part was learning how to code and all that stuff.

But it was just the beginning...

After learning the principles of coding and confidently being able to say that I can make a website for a client.

I found out that finding clients is the hardest part ever.

After countless amounts of cold emails, I just can't seem to find someone that would accept my services.

If someone could help me I would really appreciate it.

Thanks.
So looks like you are starting off as just a freelance web designer. Freelancers have two roles they have to play. Your craft (coding for you) and selling yourself. In comparison a web design job is just selling yourself once and doing just your craft everyday.

If you are going the cold route, you need to make yourself legitimate. The proof (solid portfolio), testimonials. Ex: "Before Runjie developed our website, our bounce rate was so high and we weren't getting much sales at all. Now we are flooded with sales we can't handle"

Do you know/understand demographic? If you are making websites for other businesses 99% of the time, we only care about increasing revenue/sales. The means to do that is normally UI/UX design, short amount of clicks, short load times, etc.
 

Tony Tong

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I would say I'm on the younger side too, so I get it that at times, it might seem that people might not trust us as much due to age, inexperience, whatever.

Key thing is that it goes back to MJ's cancer corollary. If you had the cure for cancer you would never be posting and ranting this. It comes down to the value array, how big is the value, and it's true other people older than you, with years of experience have some degree of advantage over you, just because they have had more time to put in the work to get there.

And value is not just confined to hard skills, it can be soft skills like trust, responsibility, timeliness which can be equally important when landing deals and getting your first few crucial customers. It will get easier once you start snowballing and namedrop your first 5-10 customers.

In my own journey, I tagged along with a company bigger than me and branded myself as the student learning under a bunch of 6, 7-figure mentors, and leveraged on their results/ revenue numbers to boost my own legitimacy.
 

whiz

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If you open one door and it's the wrong door, just go open another...

If cold email isn't working, either change your emails and try again, or abandon cold emails and use another prospecting strategy.

You can:

-attend networking events
-do phonecalls
-walk into local businesses
-ask people if they know any businesses they can refer you to
-direct mail (physical mail)
-paid ads
-post in online groups
-etc.etc.

You're 16 dude don't stress it - at 16 I was wasting 99% of my time playing video games and getting friendzoned by chicks in my high school.

Just stay positive and find another way... you'll be making $$$ before you know what hit you...
 

Xaridimos

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So here is the thing.

I started a web design business.

I thought the hardest part was learning how to code and all that stuff.

But it was just the beginning...

After learning the principles of coding and confidently being able to say that I can make a website for a client.

I found out that finding clients is the hardest part ever.

After countless amounts of cold emails, I just can't seem to find someone that would accept my services.

If someone could help me I would really appreciate it.

Thanks.
Difficult Times like the one you are describing, are something to be expected in any profession. Even more in entrepreneurship. My advice to you is to find a way to keep you going and keep you working and learning.

In your case, try and build a stronger portfolio of websites, research on ways to find clients and even try online freelance sites to start getting your first leads.

How long have you been trying to get clients?

Nevertheless, congratulation for showing such strong signs of maturity at a young age. You will make it if you keep working.

Best of Luck
 

Andy Black

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Check out Mother Theresa’s quote in my signature.

Who in your immediate network needs a website?

Check out the “inbound brain dump” and the first radio interview in my signature. It’s how I got started.
 

srodrigo

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You're 16 dude don't stress it - at 16 I was wasting 99% of my time playing video games and getting friendzoned by chicks in my high school.
Haha just what I thought when I first read his message.

@Runjie Chen
Starting is difficult. Once you get your first couple of clients (which can even be for free, to get some experience), things will work out. Imagine when you need to get your first job as an employee, it's usually difficult and you get a sh*tty salary, even in well paid industries. After 10 years of experience and deliberate learning, you need to turn off your phone because you are fed up of recruiters praying you to take 6 figures job positions, every week. This is the same, just find what's not working, fix it and try again, and iterate as many times as you need until it works and then you are on track, your next problem will be "how to make X money next month", where X will eventually be quite big.
 
OP
OP
R

Runjie Chen

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2018
12
10
18
UNITED STATES
Have you tried building relationships with businesses? Cold emails are just what their name describes. They're cold and people are VERY cautious about being scammed. If someone is going to do business with you, they have to "warm" up to you. They have to trust you'll provide a quality product or service. The only way to do that is build a relationship. I do business with people I know because I want someone that I feel is reliable. People like to do business with people. Not just a business.

What other marketing have you done besides just cold emails?

Also...

Your headline says you're 16 years old. I'm 35. I'm still young(ish) and have much still to learn about life and business. But let me tell you something...

You've got time on your side. Remember...

"Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time." - Jim Rohn

You're starting early which, as long as you persevere, will make you well ahead of others.
Hey, thanks for all of the information.

But what do you mean by making relationships with other businesses? Do you mean entering in local businesses and asking them if they need help? If so... wouldn’t they think that I’m laughing at them because of my age?

Yes, apart from cold emails I’ve been doing a bit of instagram DMs.
 

RazorCut

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There will be loads of local businesses that have dreadful websites in your area. Websites that are so old they don't even conform to mobile standards. Just get a Google page up and go through all the local businesses you can find, check out their Websites, you will probably be shocked.

Then either do a screen capture and email them with recommendations at to how they can improve their website or print it out and take it round to show them. Tell them you would like to offer them a great deal as you are building a portfolio so you could both help each other.

I would be bowled over if a 16 year old had the get up and go to come in to my establishment with a plan to improve my business. Be sincere, friendly and modest. Listen hard (remember two ears one mouth) but be determined. Think of things they might use as objections and have answers for them prepared. Once you finish your meeting ask for referrals. Local business people know other local business people.

As soon as you get a referral head over. Tell them that Mr Smith from Smiths General Store sent you round as he thought you could be of service.

You will be surprised what a face to face can achieve. Much better than cold emails.
 

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Andy Black

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There will be loads of local businesses that have dreadful websites in your area. Websites that are so old they don't even conform to mobile standards. Just get a Google page up and go through all the local businesses you can find, check out their Websites, you will probably be shocked.

Then either do a screen capture and email them with recommendations at to how they can improve their website or print it out and take it round to show them. Tell them you would like to offer them a great deal as you are building a portfolio so you could both help each other.

I would be bowled over if a 16 year old had the get up and go to come in to my establishment with a plan to improve my business. Be sincere, friendly and modest. Listen hard (remember two ears one mouth) but be determined. Think of things they might use as objections and have answers for them prepared. Once you finish your meeting ask for referrals. Local business people know other local business people.

As soon as you get a referral head over. Tell them that Mr Smith from Smiths General Store sent you round as he thought you could be of service.

You will be surprised what a face to face can achieve. Much better than cold emails.
Also... because you’re young many people will assume you know about all that website and social media stuff.

I saw a 15 year old on his work experience in a college. He walked round the computer room with me helping people who were stuck with Windows, Word, etc. Everyone assumed he’d be able to help because of his youth. And all he did was sit next to them and “figure it out”.

Turn your youth into your asset.
 

whiz

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Do you mean entering in local businesses and asking them if they need help? If so... wouldn’t they think that I’m laughing at them because of my age?
Don't ask them if they need help - 99% of businesses will say no.

Just do something for them and show them. Then they'll ask you for help...

You're doing web design? Make them a web site mockup or something. Show it how it will help their business.

But don't try to sell them on it. Just help people and your business will grow.

And in regards to your age, no...

No one will laugh at you as long as you don't laugh at yourself.

Be proud of what you're doing, and be professional. If you have a clean appearance and you help people with a smile on your face, you will be the "whiz kid".

People will quickly know that you're young, but you spend your time wisely and you are valuable to businesses.
 

Deangiroir

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Hey, thanks for all of the information.

But what do you mean by making relationships with other businesses? Do you mean entering in local businesses and asking them if they need help? If so... wouldn’t they think that I’m laughing at them because of my age?

Yes, apart from cold emails I’ve been doing a bit of instagram DMs.
A lot of other contributors have already replied with what I was going to say.

But, yes. Enter the business and talk to people face to face. If this is too intimidating for you, find someone to do sales for you. Either way, actually talking to people in person is much better than cold emails and cold Instagram DMs. If you've done your homework and found ways to improve their website, someone will listen. Try creating a sample homepage for several businesses on a free wordpress site. Show what you can do for them. There's a lot of older business owners that could use an improved website.
 

MaxKhalus

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The most difficult part? That is actually what you are suposed to do! Learning and developing a product is not starting a business, it's becoming valuable and that's another story. Go learn how to sell, long story short. There's a lot of stuff out there.

And do not lose motivation for something that you have not even started.
 

Blu H

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DeanGiroir's advice jumped up to me specifically! You have time on your side my friend! A lot of people you wished they had your 'issue' at 16 instead of doing what they were doing! A lot of your peers are not doing anything beyond thinking about video games & girls! Keep getting better @ coding & don't hesitate to join a company as soon as possible to make serious coins, gain professional experience while you build up your business! I'm currently learning to code... and I'm 32! Play your cards right my friend... and you will make some serious wave!
 

eekern

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Websites have become a commodity, instead of competing with WIX make sure you master "how to sell a website"

You already said you master the skill of developing a page, I am sure you have a lot of knowledge besides just the coding. That knowledge is how you separate yourself from all the others.

Cold email is like cold advertising, it is not effective unless you can build trust and authority and how can you do that with an empty portfolio page?

take action on Andy`s advice for sure, transfer into cold email when you have some track record, happy to help at that point :)

Btw, you are 16, as long as you don`t quit or change business model you will dominate in a couple of years, but you have to accept that mastering sales will take as much time as mastering developing. They are both fantastic skills to have.
 
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RazorCut

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The-J

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If you can:

  • Create a website that helps a business make sales
  • Get targeted traffic for that website, profitably
  • Track traffic and sales activity so that you know which traffic is most efficient and profitable...
...you will not have a problem finding clients: they'll come to you. And even if you are having trouble finding clients, the pitch is such a good one that if you walk into a room with that pitch, people will go wide-eyed and ask you everything they can (and then ask for a number, at which time you tell them when you're going to call them)

Youth is a huge advantage. When people see a really young person at some sort of business event, they think 'wow that kid must be a genius to be here, I know he has no experience but imagine what he must know! Imagine what he can do!'
 
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Runjie Chen

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I’ve already went to different local business and they all told me they don’t need a website upgrade right now and they don’t want more traffic.
Is it because living in Spain makes it harder?
 

eekern

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"I’ve already went to different local business"


You gotta pump those numbers up my man, those are rookie numbers

If you get 10 businesses to say the same, something is wrong with your pitch.

It is impossible to say anything with only 2 reference points but it is 100% NOT because of your country. What they are saying is that you don't give them enough trust and value.

This is the biggest challenge with being young in the business, the only thing that changes when you get older is that you understand that success takes multiple actions over time.

If all would get a "yes" from the first or second try, it would be no clients left for us that goes the extra mile ;)
 

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Last edited:

Mita Burke

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So here is the thing.

I started a web design business.

I thought the hardest part was learning how to code and all that stuff.

But it was just the beginning...

After learning the principles of coding and confidently being able to say that I can make a website for a client.

I found out that finding clients is the hardest part ever.

After countless amounts of cold emails, I just can't seem to find someone that would accept my services.

If someone could help me I would really appreciate it.

Thanks.
 

GIlman

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Have you tried upwork? When you write your profile address peoples needs AND concerns. Tell them why you will solve their problems and ease their concerns. Make them comfortable with you.

PM me if you need some help how to write your profile. We started an outsourcing company a little over 2 years ago and have done over $700k of outsourced labor on upwork and direct contract, and have been growing every quarter. Granted outsourcing is just a crutch to pay the bills while we focus on building and selling our own products, but the process is the same.

It can be done but you got to stand out from the crowd. Copywriting matters. Master it.
 

Digamma

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God the advice in this thread. My God.

@Runjie Chen, first off, motivation is for weak.
If you need motivation, you will never make it.
Remove that word from your vocabulary.

Second, you don't have an offer.
So you know how to make websites?
Big F*cking whoop. That's a skill. Not an offer.

Make an offer. That means "I PROVIDE X WITH Y VALUE".
Then you niche down that offer and you make it to a niche audience.
Then you make it worth jumping on.

"I make websites for businesses" is not an offer.
"I make optimized lead generation websites for businesses, and set up their ads campaign" is an offer.
"I make optimized lead generation websites for dentists, and set up their ads campaign" is a niche offer.
"I make optimized lead generation websites for dentist businesses, and set up their ads campaign - only one client per city as after I'm done their competitors are dead and F*cking buried" is a niche offer that's worth jumping on.

Now you can sell it.

The best part? It's easier to know WHO to sell it to, it's easier to do because you can systemize it (you are doing the same thing over and over), and after it's proven to work you can jack up the price.

Now here's what you do.
You choose your offer.
You define exactly what and who.
Then you do it for free and prove it works. Tweak until it works.

In the above case, you would go to a dentist in your city, tell them:
"Look, I'm young and unproven. I'll do it for free to test my offer. If it works, you got it free, you only pay for ads. If not, you paid 50 bucks of ads for a full website. This is the math with ads. If you say no I'll go to your next competitor. Are you saying yes or are you a dumbfuck?"

Of course, you need to actually know what you are doing. I'm assuming that.

Now.

If so... wouldn’t they think that I’m laughing at them because of my age?
Who gives a F*ck?

Besides, you are scared they'll reject you, not that they won't think you're serious.

That's third. Stop being scared or you will never get anywhere.

Yes, apart from cold emails I’ve been doing a bit of instagram DMs.
Fourth. No. You don't dabble in shit.
You choose ONE medium to make your offer, you stick with it until you got it down cold.
THEN, if necessary (spoiler: it won't be) you expand.

How many cold emails are you sending every day?
How many have you sent? "Countless"? WTF? Count them.
Why didn't you put the email you are using in your OP?
How are you trying to close leads? You are not going to close in emails.

Test different subject lines (BOLD ONES) and track open rates.
Be honest, tell them "I am a kid, I'm starting out, and I want to add value to your business".
Be bold, be funny, be something.
Tell them exactly WHAT you will do for their business. Tell them WHAT. Not HOW.
Show you have done your research.
Ask for a phone call.


To reiterate.
Niche offer. Niche audience. Do one to test. Systeming cold email + phone pitch.


This above post is worth more than every single $499 course on the market.
Had I known this shit at 16, I would be a billionaire.
I am giving you away literally the secret to starting a business.

Go forth and F*ck shit up.
 

luniac

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hey kid dont sweat it, just take a break for 8 years and you'll be at the age i started.
 

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