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WEB SCHOOL Fox’s: Live The Perfect Lifestyle, Master New Skills, And Run a Web Design Business – The Complete 2020 Progress Thread

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Fox

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Last year I was living right on an amazing surf spot in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Amazing beaches, lots of sunshine, big waves of the Pacific, great seafood, but...

I ended up working most of the time with only a few days spent fully enjoying where I was.

I’ve done similar things in other destinations. I made excellent money, but looking back I should have enjoyed a way better life balance.

While I have posted a lot about selling/web design on here before I’ve overlooked a lot of other areas with freelancing.
The main thing is that it’s very easy to go the workaholic route when you crack sales and the money is flowing.

Instead of using freelancing strategically it can become an instant cash addiction that clouds your judgement.

I’m guilty of it, and I’ve seen it time and again with other freelancers.

This thread by @Ravens_Shadow really got me thinking and gave me a lot of clarity about how I want my business and myself to grow.

“Do you want a lifestyle business, or an enterprise?

I think that this is a fundamental question that any entrepreneur should ask themselves before starting any sort of business.

What is it that you are wanting out of your journey? What do you want your journey to look like?
...
Do you want “profitability” within 1-2 years, or even after a few product sales?
Do you want to be able to work from anywhere in the world with just a laptop and an internet connection?
Do you want to travel a ton and have your journey to be filled with daily adventures?
Do you want to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without worrying too much about money?
Do you want to work as little as possible, no shame in this, and still be able support your lifestyle?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably want a lifestyle business.”
That thread hit me pretty hard.

I spent a lot of time looking at what makes me happiest and quite surprisingly, most of it is time-dependent rather than needing money...

Things like swimming outdoors, travelling and hiking, learning new skills, learning new languages, teaching others, fixing and driving old cars and trucks, building things with my hands, training at the gym, boxing, jujitsu, skydiving, surfing, snowboarding and so on.

It’s something I’ve neglected for way too long "just a few more months and then we switch things up".

I’m gonna fix it starting right now.

In 2020 I’ll restart my web design business – with a twist.

This time around my main focus isn’t on just making money with freelancing. I’m definitely after a lifestyle business.

I admire those of you on here building massive businesses. Looking at my own priorities though, I want to go a different route.

What first attracted me to web design is something I have lost a little over the last year. It can be an amazing business to give you massive freedom in time, travel, and lifestyle.

I want to get that back.

I focused on big sales in the past without showing much about the non-business side of my life. The problem with that is you can get great at sales and then start to see every possible sale as a great choice. You then end up going down a lot of roads that were profitable in the short-term but that didn't build any long term success.

In this thread, I aim to show a full complete picture linking sales with strategy/great life balance.

The business goal a year from now is to be at around 20 larger profitable projects per year, balanced with at least 2 weeks off each month. That puts me in the 100-150k range directly from web design, with half the year to enjoy downtime/work on other projects. I believe this is very doable.

Hopefully a year from now I’ll update this thread with a nice house in the mountains, fun pickup truck, and some cool pastimes. And I would love a German Shepard too!

---

What I will be documenting:
  • real projects
  • actual sales
  • my thought process
  • the long term plan
  • how to stack your skills and scale to different business models
These are the things that usually you don’t get to see when it comes to web design/freelance.

Sales wise I can easily land enough web design clients to do this – I’ve done this before. If you are new to sales though I will show how.

The big challenge (for me) is on the lifestyle side. I got to work on having a better balance and not letting short term profit trump long term personal strategy.

To do this I will have to put in a lot of work upfront to learn new skills and get the right client base. Once it’s up and running, hopefully, it will be very enjoyable to manage.

Also, having this business in place by the end of 2020 will give me a solid base to rely on while building other businesses and having fun with the school (more on that below).

It is not that I want to be doing web design forever - but I still do see it as the right business for now while I build the next thing.

It’s the best time in history to learn or make money online but the global marketplace is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate and thrive in.
For anyone new (or even experienced) it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there.

I hope this thread gives a very clear and valuable roadmap to use to build a profitable but strategic web design/freelance business.

Growing the school

The second reason for doing the above is that it will be a lot of value for the students I help. For those of you who don’t know I also run a web design business school.

To give some context with the school - over the last year, I have really cut back on “the numbers”. I shut down the large free Fb group a while back (around 12k members) and have rearranged the school to be way more personal with the students.

It is crazy to think but running that free FB group was burning up around 4 hours of my time every day and blew my stress levels through the roof.
I got to help a lot of people but it wasn't sustainable or scalable at all once it got past 10,000 people. It has really shown me the crazy personal sacrifice @MJ DeMarco has made to keep these forums as solid as they are. - for years.

With the school, I also took out all the smaller paid courses I was offering and now only work with people in a close group to make sure we all get the best results and stay on track.
This forum and Unscripted was a massive influence on how it’s being run. I want to build a great productocracy with a strong lasting community.

While the school does very well though I don't ever want to become someone who only teaches.
As much as I love helping others with web design, I also love playing the game of business myself.

---

So with all of this in mind, I will be restarting things starting right now.

I’ll show all the steps I take and build real examples and case studies.
While I cannot unlearn what I’ve already learned, I can show exactly how it’s done and have the best teaching content possible.

There is always a little bit of ego with this stuff but I gotta put that aside, get myself back in the mindset of a student, and make another big leap forward.
I am a little nervous but the good kind. :clench:

---

That is it for now. The intro above is mostly about my reasons behind the business.
The rest of the thread will be focused on the practical side of learning, selling, getting great results for your clients while building an ideal lifestyle.

What I didn't cover in this thread is WHY my clients should care and how I hope to provide way more value than before - I will get to that soon.
I am very aware that my reasons for restarting this business don't matter to the marketplace! This post is just for you folk - I will share the business strategy side soon.

I hope this becomes a great detailed progress thread but also a great personal guide for anyone willing to start and grow a lifestyle business.
I’ll do my best to show you how to make it work – how to learn the skills you want to build your business upon and get real results.

Since my free Fb group is now gone I will be directing people from my email list and Youtube channel to engage in this thread. If that is you or if you are new and interested in learning about web design then just post up. The more the merrier and it would be great to have a common thread to give others feedback and advice.

I will also post up any relevant Youtube video I make here – to answer any questions that go with it and to track progress.
Also, video production is one of the skills I’m already working on so if you want to feel free to give feedback on the videos themselves too.

I already get my first project lined up so I will be updating about that soon.

Let's go!
 

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Timmy C

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Last year I was living right on an amazing surf spot in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Amazing beaches, lots of sunshine, big waves of the Pacific, great seafood, but...

I ended up working most of the time with only a few days spent fully enjoying where I was.

I’ve done similar things in other destinations. I made excellent money, but looking back I should have enjoyed a way better life balance.

While I have posted a lot about selling/web design on here before I’ve overlooked a lot of other areas with freelancing.
The main thing is that it’s very easy to go the workaholic route when you crack sales and the money is flowing.

Instead of using freelancing strategically it can become an instant cash addiction that clouds your judgement.

I’m guilty of it, and I’ve seen it time and again with other freelancers.

This thread by @Ravens_Shadow really got me thinking and gave me a lot of clarity about how I want my business and myself to grow.



That thread hit me pretty hard.

I spent a lot of time looking at what makes me happiest and quite surprisingly, most of it is time-dependent rather than needing money...

Things like swimming outdoors, travelling and hiking, learning new skills, learning new languages, teaching others, fixing and driving old cars and trucks, building things with my hands, training at the gym, boxing, jujitsu, skydiving, surfing, snowboarding and so on.

It’s something I’ve neglected for way too long "just a few more months and then we switch things up".

I’m gonna fix it starting right now.

In 2020 I’ll restart my web design business – with a twist.

This time around my main focus isn’t on just making money with freelancing. I’m definitely after a lifestyle business.

I admire those of you on here building massive businesses. Looking at my own priorities though, I want to go a different route.

What first attracted me to web design is something I have lost a little over the last year. It can be an amazing business to give you massive freedom in time, travel, and lifestyle.

I want to get that back.

I focused on big sales in the past without showing much about the non-business side of my life. The problem with that is you can get great at sales and then start to see every possible sale as a great choice. You then end up going down a lot of roads that were profitable in the short-term but that didn't build any long term success.

In this thread, I aim to show a full complete picture linking sales with strategy/great life balance.

The business goal a year from now is to be at around 20 larger profitable projects per year, balanced with at least 2 weeks off each month. That puts me in the 100-150k range directly from web design, with half the year to enjoy downtime/work on other projects. I believe this is very doable.

Hopefully a year from now I’ll update this thread with a nice house in the mountains, fun pickup truck, and some cool pastimes. And I would love a German Shepard too!

---

What I will be documenting:
  • real projects
  • actual sales
  • my thought process
  • the long term plan
  • how to stack your skills and scale to different business models
These are the things that usually you don’t get to see when it comes to web design/freelance.

Sales wise I can easily land enough web design clients to do this – I’ve done this before. If you are new to sales though I will show how.

The big challenge (for me) is on the lifestyle side. I got to work on having a better balance and not letting short term profit trump long term personal strategy.

To do this I will have to put in a lot of work upfront to learn new skills and get the right client base. Once it’s up and running, hopefully, it will be very enjoyable to manage.

Also, having this business in place by the end of 2020 will give me a solid base to rely on while building other businesses and having fun with the school (more on that below).

It is not that I want to be doing web design forever - but I still do see it as the right business for now while I build the next thing.

It’s the best time in history to learn or make money online but the global marketplace is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate and thrive in.
For anyone new (or even experienced) it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there.

I hope this thread gives a very clear and valuable roadmap to use to build a profitable but strategic web design/freelance business.

Growing the school

The second reason for doing the above is that it will be a lot of value for the students I help. For those of you who don’t know I also run a web design business school.

To give some context with the school - over the last year, I have really cut back on “the numbers”. I shut down the large free Fb group a while back (around 12k members) and have rearranged the school to be way more personal with the students.

It is crazy to think but running that free FB group was burning up around 4 hours of my time every day and blew my stress levels through the roof.
I got to help a lot of people but it wasn't sustainable or scalable at all once it got past 10,000 people. It has really shown me the crazy personal sacrifice @MJ DeMarco has made to keep these forums as solid as they are. - for years.

With the school, I also took out all the smaller paid courses I was offering and now only work with people in a close group to make sure we all get the best results and stay on track.
This forum and Unscripted was a massive influence on how it’s being run. I want to build a great productocracy with a strong lasting community.

While the school does very well though I don't ever want to become someone who only teaches.
As much as I love helping others with web design, I also love playing the game of business myself.

---

So with all of this in mind, I will be restarting things starting right now.

I’ll show all the steps I take and build real examples and case studies.
While I cannot unlearn what I’ve already learned, I can show exactly how it’s done and have the best teaching content possible.

There is always a little bit of ego with this stuff but I gotta put that aside, get myself back in the mindset of a student, and make another big leap forward.
I am a little nervous but the good kind. :clench:

---

That is it for now. The intro above is mostly about my reasons behind the business.
The rest of the thread will be focused on the practical side of learning, selling, getting great results for your clients while building an ideal lifestyle.

What I didn't cover in this thread is WHY my clients should care and how I hope to provide way more value than before - I will get to that soon.
I am very aware that my reasons for restarting this business don't matter to the marketplace! This post is just for you folk - I will share the business strategy side soon.

I hope this becomes a great detailed progress thread but also a great personal guide for anyone willing to start and grow a lifestyle business.
I’ll do my best to show you how to make it work – how to learn the skills you want to build your business upon and get real results.

Since my free Fb group is now gone I will be directing people from my email list and Youtube channel to engage in this thread. If that is you or if you are new and interested in learning about web design then just post up. The more the merrier and it would be great to have a common thread to give others feedback and advice.

I will also post up any relevant Youtube video I make here – to answer any questions that go with it and to track progress.
Also, video production is one of the skills I’m already working on so if you want to feel free to give feedback on the videos themselves too.

I already get my first project lined up so I will be updating about that soon.

Let's go!
Watching this thread.
 

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Thank you for posting this thread. Looking forward to your updates.
 
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Thank you for posting this thread. Looking forward to your updates.
Thanks, @MTF.

Correct me if I am wrong but I think we are pretty similar on some of these things.

I love making the big money but if it isn't balanced with a healthy lifestyle/headspace side it doesn't feel like much. 2020 is going to be all about balance and long term strategy for me.
 

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Correct me if I am wrong but I think we are pretty similar on some of these things.

I love making the big money but if it isn't balanced with a healthy lifestyle/headspace side it doesn't feel like much. 2020 is going to be all about balance and long term strategy for me.
Yes, and that's why I enjoyed reading your post so much. For me, it seems that each year I value health, time, and freedom even more than money (but obviously that's easy when you have enough money). Of course, I'd love to make more money, but if it increases my stress levels and/or time involvement by a noticeable amount, I'd rather not do it.

My big question for 2020 is how to be at peace with early retirement.

It sounds strange, but I find it really hard to just slow down and appreciate that I'm financially free. I need to do something productive each day to feel fulfilled, but at the same time there's frustration because I'm not willing to invest too much time and energy into new projects (and/or they don't provide enough monetary compensation to motivate me).

Perhaps I'll be able to learn something from your journey. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about this.
 

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Awesome stuff Fox, as always you're hustling hard.

Now I hope your journey gets better because you know exactly what you want brother!

I'm creeping but I'm always watching and rooting you on
 

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I feel with you on this thread, being a remote software developer living in South Korea. I'm basically living a lot of people's dreams! To travel and live in another country. But I'm a workaholic and not working towards my own goals but towards another person'.

Although I live in this wonderful country, I don't do much. My day-to-day is pretty much the same and I also need to change that.

Don't get me wrong, I do want to build a larger company, but I do need to learn when to cut off work and actually live in the present and enjoy my life now.

Following! Can't wait to listen to your tales Rob! Your Instagram stories always captivate me haha, look like a lot of fun!
 

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Let's go!
@Fox Interesting development. Look forward to seeing your journey in this direction.

A few ideas from friends who are living this way:

-Small hingles swing big doors. They focus on a few high value clients. If you double your prices, you can do half the work and free up 2 weeks a month. In web/marketing, many times the same work is worth 2X or more to a different type of client.

-They have high authority in their field, which makes it very easy for them to offer higher priced services.

-Many offer coaching/"high ticket" programs (best ROI time wise).

-They offer "yearly" programs and services. You can focus a lot of the marketing/sales efforts at the beginning of the year, and not have to worry about that for the rest of year.
 
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I need to do something productive each day to feel fulfilled, but at the same time there's frustration because I'm not willing to invest too much time and energy into new projects (and/or they don't provide enough monetary compensation to motivate me).
Do you find that age or wealth has been a factor in that "time investment" drop off?
Or can you say what it might come down to?

That is a super interesting topic - why we can sometimes work so hard to get to X, but then once we get to X we might feel totally different about getting Y or Z.
 

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Something I am working on today as I gear up for this is checking my current level of objective reality.

What does that mean?

Most people who want to go far, but who don't, are delusional:
- They think they put in a lot more effort than they really do
- They think they are more valuable in the marketplace than they actually are
- They think they were focused most of the time but they aren't
- They think they are on track to hit massive goals but... they won't

The scary thing is that someone who is in this mindset is not going to be aware they are.
What is going on in their mind and what is the real situation are completely different.

You might think you did a certain amount of work last year when in truth it was far from that.
If that is the case but you are unaware it is doomed to happen over and over.

You might have seen this when someone says they have been working a lot and you ask them what specifically they have been doing and its "agghhh...". They feel they have but they haven't.

With freelancers, this is a massive problem. Since most work alone and are their own boss there is massive potential to start deluding themselves. Hours worked, sales calls made, tasks completed - all can easily be mentally manipulated overtime to make someone think they are on track.

With no external system or accountability, it is very hard to see what was really done.

How you get around this (and it is something to watch for any freelancer) is clear daily/weekly goals and tracking systems. You need to break your bigger goal down into the daily tasks required and then have a great system for tracking those. A 100% delusion proof system.

You need to make sure (and be clearly able to see) you are over-preparing and over-aiming to hit your goals. Otherwise, it is quite likely you won't.

Some general systems: weekly/daily set tasks and a journal where you honestly document progress.

So that is what I am working on today- my systems for tracking the web biz, Youtube, and the school.
 

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Do you find that age or wealth has been a factor in that "time investment" drop off?
Or can you say what it might come down to?
Both, but I've been wired this way for a long time. Always preferred less money but more time and never understood how people could sacrifice their entire lives for money.

I have no intention of building a business empire. My empire is my health, my family, my friends, and enjoying life while it lasts.

When you're financially free, you lose the "hunger" to make money for the sake of making money so you naturally shift to time, freedom, and health.

But age also plays a role. Death or sickness reminds you how unimportant money is if you can't enjoy it.

Reminds me of Felix Dennis:

Up to just seven years ago I was still working twelve to sixteen hours a day making money. With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets I just could not let go. Like I said, it was pathetic. Because whoever dies with the most toys doesn’t win. Real winners are people who know their limits and respect them.
- They think they put in a lot more effort than they really do
I'd be careful with using effort as a metric to assess your productivity. Nobody pays you for effort, only results. I spent the last couple of weeks working on something that generated almost no results. Meanwhile, I invested two or three days in something that has generated incredible results. I'd rather put in much less effort.

I know that you probably used "effort" as a synonym for taking action, but just wanted to emphasize it in case someone reading your post thinks you're espousing work for the sake of work.
 
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Both, but I've been wired this way for a long time. Always preferred less money but more time and never understood how people could sacrifice their entire lives for money.

I have no intention of building a business empire. My empire is my health, my family, my friends, and enjoying life while it lasts.

When you're financially free, you lose the "hunger" to make money for the sake of making money so you naturally shift to time, freedom, and health.

But age also plays a role. Death or sickness reminds you how unimportant money is if you can't enjoy it.

Reminds me of Felix Dennis:





I'd be careful with using effort as a metric to assess your productivity. Nobody pays you for effort, only results. I spent the last couple of weeks working on something that generated almost no results. Meanwhile, I invested two or three days in something that has generated incredible results. I'd rather put in much less effort.

I know that you probably used "effort" as a synonym for taking action, but just wanted to emphasize it in case someone reading your post thinks you're espousing work for the sake of work.
Excellent points - great to have you in this thread.

Ya “effort” was just about generally taking action. If you take out all the scrolling, organizing, preparing, clicking, downloading, planning out of most freelancers days (I’m guilty also) you aren’t left with much real action at all.

100% agree though - every action should be strategic and as high leverage as possible. I just finished listening to the 80/20 principle which covered that very well.

Thanks @MTF
 

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How you get around this (and it is something to watch for any freelancer) is clear daily/weekly goals and tracking systems. You need to break your bigger goal down into the daily tasks required and then have a great system for tracking those. A 100% delusion proof system.
Yeah Fox, how often does it happen that our subjective opinion is we did much - but in fact it was busy acting but not effective at all. A difference between a to-do list and a task-to-goal activity! I found myself often trapped with somehow - the employee mindset of being busy but not goal - oriented!
 
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Man, it's such a good feeling though when you come out of a hugely productive flow state of deep work that runs 4 to 6 hours long.

This happens really easily for me when I'm video editing for some reason.
 
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Yeah Fox, how often does it happen that our subjective opinion is we did much - but in fact it was busy acting but not effective at all. A difference between a to-do list and a task-to-goal activity! I found myself often trapped with somehow - the employee mindset of being busy but not goal - oriented!
It is pretty common I think. When people switch from a job to freelance they have a lot of bad habits. One is thinking in terms of "hours worked" when as @MTF said it is all about results. Your clients or the market doesn't care less what you worked - results talk.

Right now I am working set hours but that is only to force me to focus on high leverage tasks and to be consistent. I used to think to be creative you should wait till whenever inspiration hits but that is very amateurish. The professional creative gets to work and gets it done.

Jerry Sienfield had a great method for this: How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the “Seinfeld Strategy”
 

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FB group was burning up around 4 hours of my time every day and blew my stress levels through the roof.
:rofl: You could not pay me enough to run a FB group. I'm in some and there are always the crazy ones that make it awkward and uncomfortable for other members. I can't even imagine how it must be to run one!

Will finish reading this thread when I have time as I too am more interested in a lifestyle business (although mine won't be the globetrotting type).
 

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- every action should be strategic and as high leverage as possible. I just finished listening to the 80/20 principle which covered that very well.
Yes, I like this principle. And you could also extend it further.
4% of the right activities lead to 64% of your results and
1% of correct activities you could reach 51% of your results wanted!

The key is - how to identify the 1% by asking the right question to this? And to be disciplined to focus on these!
 
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I got a new video up which links to this thread:


I will do a full breakdown post tomorrow but the main points for now are:
- Working with way less web design clients, around 10-15
- Aiming for rough $10,000 per web design project
- Offering much more than just web design (SEO, video production, email systems, photography)
- 100% focused on the end results/client value (not trying to always sell web design, or think this way)
- Specific and strategic web design prospecting
- In-person jobs / more travel
- Stop marketing myself as a "web designer" (ha I'll explain this more soon)
- Start focusing even more on entrepreneurship (link web design more and more to an unscripted style business approach)
 
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Alright - so let's break down yesterdays post/video a little.

This post will cover some of the ways I hope to smarten up my 2020 web design strategy a lot. It is based on my new direction plus just a lot of stuff I have learned from sometimes doing things the "not so good way" in the past!

The main things I will be working towards:

Working with way less web design clients, around 10-15
A large enough part of landing any new client is simply not profitable - finding the client, selling the deal, getting communication set up, requesting info, hosting access etc.

The more projects - the more time doing this - the more unprofitable work done over a year. The obvious solution is way less clients - but not so few that you are at risk either (for other reasons).

So I am aiming for around 10. A little less than one a month which is very manageable. Also, I will be aiming for projects where I make good money upfront and where there is a high chance of future add ons/additional services. I want a nice high customer lifetime value if possible.

Aiming for rough $10,000 per web design project
For me, this has been a web design pricing sweet spot. Great clients who let me work like a pro and fast progress that means I can usually wrap things up in a few weeks. My best project for this was around 7k for 9 days of work.

When things have gotten closer to 20k in the past the projects start to drag on a lot more. It seems upfront you are making a lot but not if it takes more than a month or two. Also with the lower 2-5k projects clients can be overly demanding and also the margins are of course just lower.

Overall that 8-12k mark comes out best. Maybe @GuitarManDan or someone can add in their own experiences with that.

Offering much more than just web design
This is half biz/half fun for me. I am really into film, vidoes and photos etc. I have even been taking a bunch of masterclass lessons (thanks again @MJ DeMarco) on everything from acting to lighting and even costume design haha!

So this year I thought it would be fun to pick up a few new skills while also getting paid to learn and hopefully while getting great results for my clients. SEO and emails are two obvious ones for me too since I am already learning these with the web school.

I know down the line having a decent skill level in a bunch of different areas like this will give me a lot more options when it comes to any potential personal business so I am really excited to get into learning these in more detail. Ill document the process as I work on these more.

100% focused on the end results/client value
This goes with the last point. Now that I am not just trying to sell web design I can be much more open when looking at what the best options are. I like the idea of having a wide selection of skills to help come at a business problem a few different ways and find what works best. Hopefully, I can get some suitable projects to work on this "talent stack" (a Scott Adams concept I believe?) over the next while - I will update how that goes.

Specific and strategic web design prospecting
Basically being smart and clever about who I work with and how it can lead on to more profitable work. I don't like cold calling even though I can. Much better to just build the right relationships and make a network that does the heavy lifting for you when it comes to sales.

In-person jobs / more travel
More travel for me but also this is about building relationships too. A week on the ground helping a business gives you a lot of chances to network and line up my work. I will try to get these costs covered too. I like trying to sneak in paid (working) vacations as part of a project ha!

Stop marketing myself as a "web designer"
That title is trashed by the web designers who spam 2,000 emails and write total nonsense. I am moving into marketing myself much more as a sales/business consultant or something. I only use that title when talking to other web designers or posting on these forums.

Start focusing even more on entrepreneurship
Goes without saying but all of this web stuff is hopefully getting me closer to the bigger business and life goals. I really enjoy this stuff but the plan is always to leverage the skills and work I am doing now into bigger and bigger things. Nearly all my students have expressed the same thing too and it is something we focus on with the school also.

---

That is it! The video about covered these points as well but it is always good to type it up and rethink over the plan.

Any questions or your own thoughts - please let me know.

My first project starts in less than a week :)
 

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MattR82

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Funny you mention that sweet spot figure, I've heard the same number and experience from a really knowledgeable guy with an agency in Sydney. 10-15k AUD which I think is around 8-12k USD.
 
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Also with the lower 2-5k projects clients can be overly demanding and also the margins are of course just lower.
This. It's usually the smaller guys, which is understandable but it gets to the point where they're demanding too much for too little. The bigger guys usually don't complain.
 

RehabThis

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@Fox you know I love the "trash the web designer title". I cannot tell you how effective this has been for me personally.

By initiating myself as a full-service digital marketing consultant, it has paid tremendous dividends for me.

I know for a fact I can tell you one client would have only spent about $3,000 with me, but after the pitch they ended up signing up for $18k/year with the full-service option.

I will be following this journey closely, and thank you as always for sharing!
 

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Something I am working on today as I gear up for this is checking my current level of objective reality.

What does that mean?

Most people who want to go far, but who don't, are delusional:
- They think they put in a lot more effort than they really do
- They think they are more valuable in the marketplace than they actually are
- They think they were focused most of the time but they aren't
- They think they are on track to hit massive goals but... they won't

The scary thing is that someone who is in this mindset is not going to be aware they are.
What is going on in their mind and what is the real situation are completely different.

You might think you did a certain amount of work last year when in truth it was far from that.
If that is the case but you are unaware it is doomed to happen over and over.

You might have seen this when someone says they have been working a lot and you ask them what specifically they have been doing and its "agghhh...". They feel they have but they haven't.

With freelancers, this is a massive problem. Since most work alone and are their own boss there is massive potential to start deluding themselves. Hours worked, sales calls made, tasks completed - all can easily be mentally manipulated overtime to make someone think they are on track.

With no external system or accountability, it is very hard to see what was really done.

How you get around this (and it is something to watch for any freelancer) is clear daily/weekly goals and tracking systems. You need to break your bigger goal down into the daily tasks required and then have a great system for tracking those. A 100% delusion proof system.

You need to make sure (and be clearly able to see) you are over-preparing and over-aiming to hit your goals. Otherwise, it is quite likely you won't.

Some general systems: weekly/daily set tasks and a journal where you honestly document progress.

So that is what I am working on today- my systems for tracking the web biz, Youtube, and the school.
Let me know with what tracking systems you come up with, as I've made some of the mistakes you've mentioned and I'm interested in tracking my progress.
 
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being.simon

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Still struggling with finding a consistent prospecting method that works for me. I've been working down business registries sending short personalized emails offering critique on the business websites AND offering a completely free home page for them to see. No one has replied.
 

DonCorleone

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@Fox Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've been following your videos in Youtube for a while, I hadn't realized you were here as well.

If you don't mind, I'd like to know two things about the Gym website project you did for free.

1 - Did you do anything else apart from the website, video and photos? Like SEO, ads, or some kind of marketing? Because as you say, a website that nobody sees is useless. However if you're working for free you want to give the minimum to add value, quick job and move on; you simply can't do that much work for free. So how do you solved that gap?
2 - What about the website content? What if the owner wants to change the text, photos or even the membership prices? I saw that you use HTML templates, so what's your approach on that? Does the owner have to contact you for you to do those changes?

Thanks a lot and keep posting here your experiences!
 
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Funny you mention that sweet spot figure, I've heard the same number and experience from a really knowledgeable guy with an agency in Sydney. 10-15k AUD which I think is around 8-12k USD.
Ya, it is a trend I see over and over again.
It seems to the right cross-section of expectations, work volume, and profit.


This. It's usually the smaller guys, which is understandable but it gets to the point where they're demanding too much for too little. The bigger guys usually don't complain.
Often there is a fear/scarcity mindset.

They aren't making much so they need a lot of results right away from the project. They also usually have a more cash tight business which means more stress, more direction changes, and much higher expectations that their budget allows.

With lower budget work you got to make sure to screen heavily for red flags/drama because the risk is definitely way higher. You really need to look at why they don't have a higher budget.

That said you can get great clients at this range too - you just got to be careful.


@Fox you know I love the "trash the web designer title". I cannot tell you how effective this has been for me personally.

By initiating myself as a full-service digital marketing consultant, it has paid tremendous dividends for me.

I know for a fact I can tell you one client would have only spent about $3,000 with me, but after the pitch they ended up signing up for $18k/year with the full-service option.

I will be following this journey closely, and thank you as always for sharing!
Nice! Once you change the frame you can also change the budget...

Oh web design ... ah we can maybe spend $2,000 on that.

Fixing that frustrating customer messaging issue to dramatically increase sales? Ya that is super important so we could look at investing $15,000 to...



Let me know with what tracking systems you come up with, as I've made some of the mistakes you've mentioned and I'm interested in tracking my progress.
My best system now is 1-3 BIG important tasks that get done first every day.

Anf at least 4 hours of uninterrupted work.

I will update more as I go on though.

Still struggling with finding a consistent prospecting method that works for me. I've been working down business registries sending short personalized emails offering critique on the business websites AND offering a completely free home page for them to see. No one has replied.
What is your best past result so far?

if it isn't amazing it is best to work on that first - cold prospecting doesn't work well without having something great to back up your sales pitch. You need to show clear value upfront to offset the time/risk involved with a business owner even responding to you.

To start working on this use NON-cold prospecting. Talk to every friend, connections, family member, ex-employee, gym buddy you got and find someone that you can help with a great website that gets them valuable business results.

When you got 1-3 great sites that are clearly helping a business then start prospecting normally.
I will cover this more later too but post up any more questions for now also if you got them.


@Fox Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've been following your videos in Youtube for a while, I hadn't realized you were here as well.

If you don't mind, I'd like to know two things about the Gym website project you did for free.

1 - Did you do anything else apart from the website, video and photos? Like SEO, ads, or some kind of marketing? Because as you say, a website that nobody sees is useless. However if you're working for free you want to give the minimum to add value, quick job and move on; you simply can't do that much work for free. So how do you solved that gap?
2 - What about the website content? What if the owner wants to change the text, photos or even the membership prices? I saw that you use HTML templates, so what's your approach on that? Does the owner have to contact you for you to do those changes?

Thanks a lot and keep posting here your experiences!
1) I just did what you saw really. There was no real budget so I just did the basics. But the plan was to use how it looks to sell the next site locally. This was actually working well and I had some great leads but ended up leaving Mexico so it didn't play out.

If I didn't leave the next site would have focused much more on business results and then I would have leveraged that into high paying work.

It is kinda a 1-2-3 type strategy I use...
#1 - good looking/ low budget website
that I use to try to get...
#2 - good value/better budget website
that I use to try to get...
#3 - high budget professional website that gets big results

---

#2 - on a portfolio site they don't get to make many changes. I am clear on the deal upfront - I will do a great job but I will do it in a way that I think will work best. If they want extra later I am always open to doing more at an hourly rate or something.

You just got to be clear on what the deal is and that people respect you are doing it for free/cheap.

Don't let your starting clients walk all over you - even if the prices aren't high you can still carry yourself like a professional and have clear working boundaries and rules.

Hope that helps.
 
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This video should help anyone at the starting stages to quickly build great websites...


I have used HTML themes to build websites up to $20k.

If you want to use this method this video will show you how to set up 90% of a full website in less than an hour.

Some designers would be :duh: about this but the site/design is just a frame that you put the value into. I don't see any point in coding from scratch or wasting a ton of time making fancy edits. The results come from the strategies - that is where you want to spend as much of the project time as possible.

Instead of coding I want to spend my time on researching the niche, understand customer problems, figuring out what will motivate people to take action, working on building trust and authority etc. To have time to do this you need to be able to build the website fast and to be okay with relying on themes/templates.

Otherwise, you are burned out before you even get to the parts that matter the most for getting your clients the big results they want (and you need!).
 
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The first project for this year kicks off tomorrow - I am flying to Malta to work on a new website for a tattoo studio. I'll update here when I can.

Any questions about any website or sales stuff - just post up folks.
 

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