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WEB SCHOOL Growing A Web Design Business From Zero

Discussion in 'Web Design as a Hustle' started by dmichaelmccann, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Maxboost
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    Maxboost Silver Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    These small general contractors (roofers, deck builders, painters) don't have any money to spend. At most they would only pay $100-150 for a website. If they don't have a website, that means they don't have the money to pay wix 35.00/month which makes them terrible prospects. You can't sell to someone when they don't have money to spend.
     
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  2. yyes
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    yyes Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Wait, why do you say that ? I know a few blue collar owners that make over half a million a year
     
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  3. Maxboost
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    Of course there are, those include plumbers, HVAC, Electricians,etc..

    The OP is targeting blue collar businesses where barrier to entry is low, example painting and roofing. It's a quick race to the bottom where margins are slim and no money for a website.

    Prospect the business first, before you approach.
     
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  4. jcvlds
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    jcvlds JC FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    How to prospect first before approaching and talking to them?

    Would need to get info about the business’ revenues, margins, and budgets to see if it would be a good fit for him to sell his website service to them. But he needs to approach them regardless, no?



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  5. Maxboost
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    Maxboost Silver Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    It should be common sense without any real research.

    Do you approach a plumbing company with a small office, a company van, 5 employees making 60k/year, tools, 10 years in business or do you approach a painting company being operated out of someones home by a father and son? Who do you think has money to spend?

    The point that I was making is the OP is targeting the wrong customers. I learned this the hard way.
     
  6. dmichaelmccann
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    dmichaelmccann Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yeah this is definitely a fair point and something I was thinking about when I decided to switch up niches a little bit. When I was looking at these companies I tried to make sure they had at least a few employees and an office and van, but it probably would have been better to go for some bigger companies right from the start. Definitely still something blue collar so my portfolio pieces would relate but with more money to spend and better potential for results. The only reason I was really targeting painting specifically is because I did my free portfolio website in that niche.
     
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  7. dmichaelmccann
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    dmichaelmccann Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I finally broke through this week with a couple sales after a bit of a slump.

    I closed one $300 site through my marketplace ad for a small copywriting/online advertising agency. I'm looking to really overdeliver on this one since it is for a forum member and it will let me expand into a new niche. It should take around 2 weeks to make sure everything comes out perfect with it.

    I also made some smaller sales for other services through craigslist, both from my own ads and searching for web design related gigs across the country. I closed a $150 deal for some basic local SEO and helping set up online advertising for a furniture website. I also sent out a proposal for a basic $50 per month maintenance package for a health company's wordpress site today. I haven't heard back from them yet but I'm feeling pretty good about it. It would be really cool to get my first recurring income even if it is only for 50 a month.

    This should be enough to keep me occupied for the next couple weeks while I continue to look for new leads and learn more skills on the side. The past month I've really been focusing on learning SEO and improving my copywriting skills. I haven't had a chance to really implement those new skills into a website so the next few will be a great opportunity.
     
  8. dmichaelmccann
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    dmichaelmccann Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Quick update:

    I'm officially done with high school now and have exactly two months from yesterday until college starts. These next two months are going to be a critical time for growing my business as I'm going to be looking to take on lots of new clients, build some great sites, and make more money. I joined @Kung Fu Steve 's coaching program to help me make this happen. I'm 100% planning on keeping the business going in college, but there may or may not be less time, so I want to get a steady stream of referrals and inbound leads going by then so I don't have to spend so much time looking for new clients. I'll be able to do this by delivering great work to a lot of new businesses.

    I've been thinking a lot about running the business while being in college, and I think doing this full time the next 2 months will tell me a lot about whether I am prepared for the real world or if I should stay in school. I'm in no rush to drop out as I'm not taking out any loans, and I will definitely stay for the whole first year, but it will be something to think about if I get up to the 100k per year mark in business income.

    On the business side of things, I'm finishing up the site I mentioned in the last post for the copywriting agency and starting to look for new leads. The copywriting site was the first one I've built from scratch using Wordpress and Elementor so it took a bit of time to learn, but it was definitely a good experience.

    Right now I'm talking to one potential client for a site that would definitely be my biggest project so far, but nothing has closed yet. Other than that my sales funnel is running a bit dry, so it is probably time to start going to business networking events and get cold calling again soon.
     
  9. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Larger business libraries have the reference book "Bankable Business Plans" from the Risk Management Association. It provides specifics on typical company sizes, operating expenses, profit margins etc. by industry. You'll find exactly what you need in there to make an informed go/no go decision about which types of businesses can afford a lot of marketing.
     
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  10. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    In the summer, maybe you could ask some other business owners if they'd be interested in lead generation from you, or in being a subcontractor if you get the client and do all the project management. There are plenty of code stars who'd love to have someone else show up with projects for them. Easily worth a third of the project off the top for a smaller project.
     
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  11. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Great job! Nice work finding your project clients. And way to go to think about residual income. I recommend you check out Andy Black's discussions of how he runs his client's Adwords campaigns for an ongoing monthly flat fee, plus they pay the cost of the ads directly.

    There are some good copywriting threads here including one I've been active in. If you find some good SEO threads here, can you please let me know which they are?
     
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  12. Merging Left
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    Merging Left Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    If your college experience is anything like mine, you'll have waaaaay more free time than you did in high school. And I was an "A" student.
     
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  13. dmichaelmccann
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    dmichaelmccann Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Haha that's good to hear. I've heard different things about how much time I'll have in college but I took a pretty rigorous course load this year in high school and still was able to work on my business, so I think I'll be fine. I'll just have less time than I will this summer of course.
     
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  14. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    One of my favorite things about college was how the schedule is so much more flexible than high school. Most classes don't meet every day, and it's up to you to figure out when to do your homework... whether that's a little bit every day, or wait til it all piles up and panic at the last minute... whatever works for you!
     
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  15. dmichaelmccann
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    dmichaelmccann Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Been a while since my last update. I was waiting for something big to update everyone on but not much has happened so I thought I would just share my progress over the past ~3 weeks.

    Overall it's been pretty frustrating. Still waiting on some final content pieces for the copywriting agency site so that still isn't online. It'd be nice if it was because I still need a few more good portfolio pieces, but there's not much I can do besides sending an email asking if I can help in any way every once in a while.

    Sales wise I've only closed one deal since my last post, website updates/maintenance plus social media help at $30 an hour for a small company in the sports/outdoors niche. I got this one through responding to a craigslist ad. They bought 5 hours up front for $150 and have only used 2 in 3 weeks, so there's not a ton of money here.

    I had kind of a forced vacation the week around July 4th (went down to Florida with family for grandparents 50th anniversary) so didn't get any work done that week. The rest of my time has been spent looking for leads and doing a full revamp of my own business website, which just went online a couple days ago. I upgraded it from 1 to 4 pages and used all of the SEO and copywriting knowledge I've gained over the past few months. I also included a blog section for case studies on how I helped the businesses I've worked with and the results I got for them. I wrote the first case study on the painting business from a while back too.

    Looking at the big picture, I feel like I've kind of hit a wall lately. I've reached a point where I'm making semi-consistent income; not a ton of money but decent for a college student with low living expenses. The problem is that I'm having trouble making the next step to the 4 figure sites. I feel like I've delivered high quality work to the clients I have, but their businesses are just too small to see the crazy good results that Fox and others get for their clients. While the new sites I've built have converted much better than the old ones, there's only so much I can do with these sites that get 30-50 monthly visitors. And that's not to mention that every paid client I've had has been super low value and a complete pain in the a$$ to work with (interestingly the two free clients I had early on were both super nice guys and very helpful).

    I need to move up and target bigger businesses that will see great, tangible results, but other than grinding away with cold emails and calls I don't know how. I've started to branch out to facebook and business groups again and am planning on attending a few networking events but am still searching for other solutions, as I really don't want to be dependent on Craigslist for leads.

    Anyways, I apologize if it seemed like I was ranting there at the end. No one ever said this would be easy and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to make this business succeed, so I'm not trying to complain or anything like that. I know I have the ability to make this business a success; I'm just at a crossroads right and need some guidance on what to do next.
     
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  16. Maxboost
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    How many cold calls did you make?
     
  17. dmichaelmccann
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    dmichaelmccann Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Last 3 weeks around 50, mostly targeting medium sized construction companies. Out of this I got a couple slightly warm leads but after the second call they all said some variation of "call us again in a few months". Not a ton of calls I know but have been mixing in different methods of cold outreach such as FB messenger (only done 10 or so of these and at have gotten 8 responses at least so better than cold email if I can find their fb page) and highly personalized cold emails.
     
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  18. Fox
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    Fox Moderator Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Hit me up with your Skype and lets talk. PM me your details.
     
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  19. Thomas Baptiste
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    Thomas Baptiste Graphics for fun Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Okay, I've read through this thread. You are really proactive and persistent man and you have been successful in your ventures thus far. It's inspiring. You mentioned that this business is somewhat of an avenue to get started off to be financially independent and then later start a fastlane business. Honestly as a web dev myself, this process of selling websites is too time consuming in my opinion and the time spent is not worth it in the long run. The networking that you do now is of outmost importance. Remember don't chase the money, solve a need and he money will come regardless. I've seen your reported progress from free jobs to start off, to paid jobs; it's great that youre making money doing something you enjoy, but it is still somewhat slowlane. There is no automation in this system of yours right now and the fact is, if you want to land a huge job that will get you the figures you are imagining, you'll need to improve your skillset. Learn some more web related stuff, and against popular opinion use content management systems like WordPress more than you currently do. They save a ton of time and if you're efficient in php you can tailor it to your needs exactly. Keep up the good work though. You're surely doing exactly what I wanted to do when I started web technologies.

    Edit: keep posting and updating.
    You may not realize but the experiences that you share on this thread are very helpful, especially to the lot of us that are aligned to this same path of yours. Thanks for that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  20. Kerem Ozkan
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    Hey, as someone who is exactly in your shoes right now, this thread is so helpful. It feels good to know that you are not the only one having these questions or problems. You have done a great service to the community, buddy!
     
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  21. ShellShock
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    ShellShock Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Pretty interesting thread mate. Do you thing you can use webinars/ sales funnels as an "automated" way to consistently bring clients? It would be pretty interesting.
     
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  22. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    You're a hard worker taking action, but the action's not the most effective plan. That feels like it should be fixable!
     
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  23. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    What do you mean? Can you give an example?
     
  24. jcvlds
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    He’s probably referencing setting up some digital advertising campaign that leads cold prospects through a sales funnel, much like Russel Branson’s methodology. A quick example is probably:
    FB ad offering a free report of how a website can help construction companies improve their marketing and get more sales > that report primes them for the next retargeting ad shown to them for a free webinar explaining X > webinar teaches something of value and has an offer at the end for his web design service > a % of the people may purchase.



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    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
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  25. ShellShock
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    ShellShock Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    @jcvlds that is exactly what i am talking about.
     

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