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WEB SCHOOL How to get your first 4-figure client?

TonyStark

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I've been doing small hundred dollar jobs with web design, but have yet to tackle a large 4-figure client.

I had fun building a construction website (fenixposttension.com), and would like to do more like this.

What are some tips that you could share to help me land a big fish?
 

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ay47

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I've been doing small hundred dollar jobs with web design, but have yet to tackle a large 4-figure client.

I had fun building a construction website (fenixposttension.com), and would like to do more like this.

What are some tips that you could share to help me land a big fish?
Wow that’s a great website! Maybe share how you are getting your leads?

I have charged 10,000 for websites that were not technically sophisticated. E-commerce front end with some additional pages.

It all comes down to getting the right clients first. They must have the ability to pay. That means small companies in most cases. I knew my clients had the ability to pay because they had gotten government start up grants. These grants were given for small companies to upgrade their technology presence. I simply found people who were awarded the grants. Think where you can find large number of clients who can pay 10k for websites in 1 spot and go there :) is it a small business convention?

The 2nd part is really down to sales. It’s almost impossible to close 10k deals over the Internet. U have to be willing to meet the clients and really understand what they are after. Get ready portfolios of sites that you think is worth 10k. Show them you can do something similar. Bring testimonials. Have a good pitch prepared. Give yourself a solid niche, the high tech manufacturing rockstar developer or something. Learn the “language” of the people in that niche.

3rd is about about negotiation and the perceived value you are giving them. A lot of guys can do the same things but some people can charge more because they are perceived as more competent. Of course you have to live up to that perception as well. There’s no faking it in technical fields.
 
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TonyStark

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Wow that’s a great website! Maybe share how you are getting your leads?

I have charged 10,000 for websites that were not technically sophisticated. E-commerce front end with some additional pages.

It all comes down to getting the right clients first. They must have the ability to pay that much. In my case, I knew my clients had the ability to pay because they had gotten government grants for upgrading their website.

The 2nd part is really down to sales and negotiation. It’s almost impossible to close 10k deals over the Internet. U have to be willing to meet the clients and really understand what they are after.

After that it’s all about negotiation and the perceived value you are giving them.
Honestly, I’m just using word of mouth. I’m trying to target business owners but that’s about it.

I don’t have any system or proper advertising of the sort. Maybe I’m just not targeting the right people? I feel out of my league.

Most of my peers usually just request 3-figure (small) jobs.
 
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TonyStark

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I’m over here seeing people grabbing $1k-$2k jobs in the web group and I’m like “how the hell are they doing it?”

I’m missing something. Haha
 

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I’m over here seeing people grabbing $1k-$2k jobs in the web group and I’m like “how the hell are they doing it?”

I’m missing something. Haha
You're not alone. I can' even get accepted on upwork for some unholy reason.
 

ay47

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Disclaimer: my knowledge is from 3 years ago. I stopped the business due to slow-lane job and e-commerce business. And I’m not from the U.S. I'm also going to assume that you can pick up any technical skills you need.

I know it seems incredulous to charge 10,000 for a website. Even 3 years ago, it was already an era where you can use wix, wordpress, weebly and get hungry developers for 5 usd / hr. It almost feels like you're robbing pp when you charge that much. I know that feeling.

You have to overcome yourself first.

Have you heard the saying "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"? I like to replace the word technology with knowledge. For people who have no idea how to code, websites seem like magic. Your basic target market would be people who have no time, thinks of websites like magic and have the ability to pay. People who think of websites as magic will not even touch a website builder no matter how user-friendly it is. It's just the way it is. So put that to rest.

And I tell my clients this.

"I charge you 10,000 up front because I can promise not to nickel and dime you to death later. You can pay $5/hr and get $5/hr quality. Do you want to take 3 months for your website to get off the ground? Do you constantly want to call overseas and ask for progress updates? Do you want to deal with maintaining the website later?"

"If your website is not mission critical, by all means, engage some $5/hr people."

The best way to charge higher rates is not to accept lower rates. Practice quoting your rates with no quiver in your voice.

Clients are everywhere. Seriously there’s a lot of pp where 10,000 is not much for a website. Pick a target market where you know they have the ability to pay.

These are pp who have paid me
1) Top performing real estate agents.
2) Non technical startup guys
3) Nail parlours
4) Restaurant
5) High ticket photographers

Get creative at finding them. Back when I was doing this, I would approach other companies that offered router and hosting services, did they have clients who bought hosting but did not have a website?
 
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Ciano_94

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I've been doing small hundred dollar jobs with web design, but have yet to tackle a large 4-figure client.

I had fun building a construction website (fenixposttension.com), and would like to do more like this.

What are some tips that you could share to help me land a big fish?
That website looks really nice, but it says in the footer "Proudly created with Wix.com"?
I'm not sure you can expect to charge 4 figure sums if you're building websites on something as user friendly and easy to learn as that (not to mention the SEO optimisation and AdWords tracking issues that platforms like Wix entail for the client down the road.)

If you build the websites with HTML/WordPress you differentiate yourself a bit more at least and can offer a more robust solution to the client.
 

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@jasoncuellar123 have you tried finding clients on Craigslist? I know some people who had success landing 4 figure clients, from Craigslist.
 

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I think the most important is you need a real reason to push for bigger clients. Don't you still live with your folks? Wasn't that site for your Dad's Co.?

You'll never have the fire to get better if you're comfortable with living at home and posting a dozen 3-word responses on the forum every day.

With that out of the way, A few things come to mind:

-Change your ask. It takes the same amount of energy to ask for $100 as it does to ask $1000. I've seen your reviews on Facebook, and if they're genuinely true then it should be a no-brainer for someone to hire you. You already have a track record. Use it.

-Think Bigger. Would you rather have ten $300 clients, or one $3000 client? The former will scatter your focus and aren't good for doing business with long-term, because those clients will drop when you raise your prices. The latter will set you up for making more $3K clients.

-If you're worried about losing clients/leads by raising your ask, then fill your pipeline to the point where if any potential sale fell through, then you still have dozens of people who will potentially say "yes."
 
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UnrealCreative

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The 2nd part is really down to sales. It’s almost impossible to close 10k deals over the Internet. U have to be willing to meet the clients and really understand what they are after. Get ready portfolios of sites that you think is worth 10k. Show them you can do something similar. Bring testimonials. Have a good pitch prepared. Give yourself a solid niche, the high tech manufacturing rockstar developer or something. Learn the “language” of the people in that niche.
This. The majority of @Fox's group is sales-focused.

Talk to people. Every. Day.
If I don't cold-contact, follow up, or get on the phone with
at LEAST 20 people a day, then I feel like a loser.

It's a numbers game, and there's no way around it.

A good starting point for sales is "Sell or Be Sold" by GC. Another is "SPIN Selling." For some other tips, look up all posts from Tate Morgan in the FB Group.
 
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TonyStark

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Disclaimer: my knowledge is from 3 years ago. I stopped the business due to slow-lane job and e-commerce business. And I’m not from the U.S. I'm also going to assume that you can pick up any technical skills you need.

I know it seems incredulous to charge 10,000 for a website. Even 3 years ago, it was already an era where you can use wix, wordpress, weebly and get hungry developers for 5 usd / hr. It almost feels like you're robbing pp when you charge that much. I know that feeling.

You have to overcome yourself first.

Have you heard the saying "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"? I like to replace the word technology with knowledge. For people who have no idea how to code, websites seem like magic. Simply put your basic target market would be people who have no time, thinks of websites like magic and have the ability to pay. People who think of websites as magic will not even touch a website builder no matter how user-friendly it is. It's just the way it is. So put that to rest.

And I tell my clients this.

"I charge you 10,000 up front because I can promise not to nickel and dime you to death later. You can pay $5/hr and get $5/hr quality. Do you want to take 3 months for your website to get off the ground? Do you constantly want to call overseas and ask for progress updates? Do you want to deal with maintaining the website later?"

"If your website is not mission critical, by all means, engage some $5/hr people."

The best way to charge higher rates is not to accept lower rates. Practice quoting your rates with no quiver in your voice.

Clients are everywhere. Seriously there’s a lot of pp where 10,000 is not much for a website. Pick a target market where you know they have the ability to pay.

These are pp who have paid me
1) Top performing real estate agents.
2) Non technical startup guys
3) Nail parlours
4) Restaurant
5) High ticket photographers

Get creative at finding them. Back when I was doing this, I would approach other companies that offered router and hosting services, did they have clients who bought hosting but did not have a website?
Yeah, I think my biggest hurdle was overcharging people thousands of dollars for something I could make in a few hours.

I’m having trouble seeing the value a really good website can add, or maybe mine aren’t that great yet.
 

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I've been doing small hundred dollar jobs with web design, but have yet to tackle a large 4-figure client.

I had fun building a construction website (fenixposttension.com), and would like to do more like this.

What are some tips that you could share to help me land a big fish?
Hey Jason,

To get a 4-figure job you will need to be making decent looking sites, show you got some people past results, and be able to find someone with a big enough need to spend that much.

It can take a while to get to that point but once you do it once it isn't too hard to repeat. A lot of businesses will drop 4-figures fast when there is a clear path to a positive ROI. As a business myself I reinvest 3-6k every month on different things.

The site you linked looks good. You will need to improve the value of your sales system to get bigger jobs though. I would suggest having a content plan + order to generate sales with your content. For example, you have very little content on what specific problems this business can solve, how they are different from their competitors, and why people should choose to work with them.

If you want I could do a video breakdown on this thread...

WEB SCHOOL - The Learn Web Design Video Response Thread
 
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TonyStark

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Hey Jason,

To get a 4-figure job you will need to be making decent looking sites, show you got some people past results, and be able to find someone with a big enough need to spend that much.

It can take a while to get to that point but once you do it once it isn't too hard to repeat. A lot of businesses will drop 4-figures fast when there is a clear path to a positive ROI. As a business myself I reinvest 3-6k every month on different things.

The site you linked looks good. You will need to improve the value of your sales system to get bigger jobs though. I would suggest having a content plan + order to generate sales with your content. For example, you have very little content on what specific problems this business can solve, how they are different from their competitors, and why people should choose to work with them.

If you want I could do a video breakdown on this thread...

WEB SCHOOL - The Learn Web Design Video Response Thread
Yes, please!
 
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TonyStark

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@jasoncuellar123 have you tried finding clients on Craigslist? I know some people who had success landing 4 figure clients, from Craigslist.
Yes, but I feel a bit out of my league from the other huge web design companies.

I think what my websites lack is substance, the ability to get sales and generate income for companies. A lot of what Fox talks about in his videos and course.

Something I need to learn more of.
 
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TonyStark

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I’m a little confused, some people are saying the site looks good, others suggest WordPress.

While I can’t argue against either, I suppose getting sales (for the client) is most important.

That’s my issue.
 

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I’m a little confused, some people are saying the site looks good, others suggest WordPress.

While I can’t argue against either, I suppose getting sales (for the client) is most important.

That’s my issue.
Did you ask the right questions to the client?
How are they getting their sales?
Who is visiting their site?
How are they different from the competition?
 

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I've been doing small hundred dollar jobs with web design, but have yet to tackle a large 4-figure client.

I had fun building a construction website (fenixposttension.com), and would like to do more like this.

What are some tips that you could share to help me land a big fish?
GREAT topic for a great thread!

That's a nice web site, Jason. Basic but has a professional, up to date look to it. Did the client have the photos and text ready for you, or did you take the shots and do the copywriting yourself?
 

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I can' even get accepted on upwork for some unholy reason.
I'll probably get some people trashing me for this conclusion, but after reconsidering the gig sites, I feel that for me, they put too much Control outside of my own hands compared to finding a way to build my own lead generation funnel that runs through my own site. A lot higher cost of entry, but I expect that difficulty should make it more valuable, harder to copy, and no longer vulnerable to anyone person's or site's opinion or policy being able to shut me down.

(I'm trying to keep this remark on topic for the web client thread, rather than going off on a different rant.)
 

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I have charged 10,000 for websites that were not technically sophisticated. E-commerce front end with some additional pages.
Can you show an example of the type of e-commerce functionality you mean? Did you build a store front with shopping cart, merchant account integration, inventory level updates in realtime etc.? I'm trying to figure how much sophistication is needed on the e-commerce side to sell these kind of sites. As of right this second I don't know all of that, so I assume I'd need to build my bids to include a subcontractor who's got those chops.

I knew my clients had the ability to pay because they had gotten government start up grants. These grants were given for small companies to upgrade their technology presence. I simply found people who were awarded the grants. Think where you can find large number of clients who can pay 10k for websites in 1 spot and go there :) is it a small business convention?
Brilliant, brilliant! I can stop by the library tomorrow and ask for back issues of the local Business Journal that might list these kind of grant winners.

Get ready portfolios of sites that you think is worth 10k. Show them you can do something similar. Bring testimonials.
This is the big issue for me. My web geek experience was for corporate stuff that is not available to show the public. Trying to figure out if I should do a few demo sites for free just to get this current portfolio and some current, local testimonials.

With that figured out, I think I'll have found my on-ramp to the Fastlane at last. I already have the proposal writing, presentation, negotiation, and general business skills to be credible once I get into these meetings. It's getting into the conversations with leads, with a relevant portfolio to mention, that's the sticking point for me.

Maybe I could team up with someone who's getting leads and unable to convert them, but I wonder if that would get Control sliding too far away from me again.

Thanks also for your great helpful comments about how people who are afraid of the mysterious magic won't seek out easier forms of mysterious magic... they just don't. And your point about you get what you pay for, including easy done for project management by a local, language fluent pro... or not! And your examples of types of clients you've had... and...

hmm, this is the day I learn how to do the Rep Transfer thing and sent 500 your way! Thanks again!
 

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Who is "some people?" Does their opinion matter?

If your client is happy with what you've provided, then it's the end of the story.
This should be an Instagram meme of the day, and on a poster hanging in every entrepreneur's office!
 

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Yeah, I think my biggest hurdle was overcharging people thousands of dollars for something I could make in a few hours
Your costs that went into it don't matter.

A car maker doesn't set the sticker price on the car to show it has so many pounds of steel, so many hours of wiring, and took so many labor hours to build. If you were dealing with people who knew how to direct a web geek by the hour to get a site done promptly, they'd have already hired an employee to do that and directed them to do it. The fact that they haven't shows that they don't know how to understand the technology, or don't have the management skills, or are too darn busy to direct it themselves.

I’m having trouble seeing the value a really good website can add, or maybe mine aren’t that great yet.
This isn't a perfectly defined formula but can get you part of the way there. A slide or page with this material would be ideal to include in your meeting and proposal.

Number of additional buyers x total lifetime profit of those customers or clients
+
Ability to increase quantity of repeat business or re-order per existing buyers
+
Ability to increase the average revenue and profit per transaction x number of transactions
= total return / your project fee + implementation costs = Return On Investment.
 
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TonyStark

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GREAT topic for a great thread!

That's a nice web site, Jason. Basic but has a professional, up to date look to it. Did the client have the photos and text ready for you, or did you take the shots and do the copywriting yourself?
I hired a professional to take the photos and did the copy myself.
 

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I hired a professional to take the photos and did the copy myself.
Nice job! So be sure to include Art Director and Copywriter in your description of yourself. And to include line items for Art Direction/Photography and Copywriting in your next proposal!
 

ay47

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Can you show an example of the type of e-commerce functionality you mean? Did you build a store front with shopping cart, merchant account integration, inventory level updates in realtime etc.? I'm trying to figure how much sophistication is needed on the e-commerce side to sell these kind of sites. As of right this second I don't know all of that, so I assume I'd need to build my bids to include a subcontractor who's got those chops. !
Just a store-front with a simple shopping card and payment integration. It isn't hard once you get the hang of it. No real-time stuff. They just wanted an admin page for inventory their staff were "comfortable" with. Manual key entry. But I also built api level integrations to different Amazon-like retailers they were selling on. It isn't hard if these retailers have rest apis.


Brilliant, brilliant! I can stop by the library tomorrow and ask for back issues of the local Business Journal that might list these kind of grant winners.
These grant winners are highly motivated to spend. Their mindset is like people who just won big at the craps table. They think of that money as "throwaway".

This is the big issue for me. My web geek experience was for corporate stuff that is not available to show the public. Trying to figure out if I should do a few demo sites for free just to get this current portfolio and some current, local testimonials

With that figured out, I think I'll have found my on-ramp to the Fastlane at last. I already have the proposal writing, presentation, negotiation, and general business skills to be credible once I get into these meetings. It's getting into the conversations with leads, with a relevant portfolio to mention, that's the sticking point for me. .

Maybe I could team up with someone who's getting leads and unable to convert them, but I wonder if that would get Control sliding too far away from me again.
I wouldn't be too concerned about that. Build one that includes features that you think your target market might use. It just has to be at a proof of concept level. It doesn't have to be a full working website. But make sure the visuals are off the charts. People seem to associate good design with good technicals :p

If you don't have testimonials for now, say exactly what you just said. "A lot of our work is for corporates not freely available to the public." People understand that. And it makes you sound big. If you can't say the company name directly, you can use "I can't put their name down on our materials, but we have built the supply chain management system for the largest drink company in the world, who bottles their drinks in red"

Another thing that might help. I come from Asia where "face" is very important. So I don't know how useful this is where you're from.

I would never introduce myself as a solo guy or the CEO of my own firm. I would call myself a consultant or account director. An upper management kind of guy. And I would use terms like "our team will be available for you". My close rate doubled when I sounded like I represented a company. Although my company consisted of me and some virtual assistants. It sounds more permanent. If you're a solo guy they just paid 20k to, they're afraid you might disappear overnight. A company also sounds like they will get a more professional experience.


Thanks also for your great helpful comments about how people who are afraid of the mysterious magic won't seek out easier forms of mysterious magic... they just don't. And your point about you get what you pay for, including easy done for project management by a local, language fluent pro... or not! And your examples of types of clients you've had... and...

hmm, this is the day I learn how to do the Rep Transfer thing and sent 500 your way! Thanks again!
Thanks for getting what I'm trying to say :) I realized that many technical people undervalue their technical knowledge. They think no one will pay them for something they find so easy. They don't take into account how difficult it is for someone who has no knowledge or time to pick up those skills.

It sounds like you're done some sales before. So you know it's a numbers game. Leads generation isn't hard. It depends on how much you can take rejection. I would do some simple analytics as well.

Think of who your target customer is in the beginning. Then stalk a few of them on LinkedIn. Notice the posts they like and the words they use. People from a niche often use their own lingo. For example, digital marketers say things like CTR, PPC, SERP etc. This would not be language you use with a lady running a nail parlor. Get a VA to help you ferret out people of similar profiles if you need.

Prepare a good over the phone meeting pitch, use it word for word with the first 10 prospect, see if they convert to meetings. If they don't, use another script with another 10 prospects. Once you get a script you're comfortable with, you can consider kicking it out to a VA

Most of all, get prepared to be rejected A LOT before you find your footing in this business.

One last thing, always get them to pay 50% or more up front!
 
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But I also built api level integrations to different Amazon-like retailers they were selling on.
You have a placeholder tag in the html such as a span or div, and javascript that makes an ajax call to populate the data from the api when the page is loaded? Am I on the right track here?

These grant winners are highly motivated to spend. Their mindset is like people who just won big at the craps table. They think of that money as "throwaway".
Love that analogy! Seems there's no easier job than taking the money of someone who's in Vegas with a wad of bills in one hand, a drink in the other, and someone they're trying to impress hanging on their arm!

Build one that includes features that you think your target market might use. It just has to be at a proof of concept level. It doesn't have to be a full working website. But make sure the visuals are off the charts.
GREAT!! This is really superb. It starts to get the pressure off for having to implement all this stuff before I can get paid! And I can think of an explanation, such as "the commerce functionality is only turned on for their target market" or "they let me show this version for demonstration purposes that doesn't actually place the orders" etc.

say exactly what you just said. "A lot of our work is for corporates not freely available to the public." People understand that. And it makes you sound big. If you can't say the company name directly, you can use "I can't put their name down on our materials, but we have built the supply chain management system for the largest drink company in the world who bottles their drinks in red"
PERFECT. I can legitimately reference some companies and categories like this. Awesome!

I come from Asia where "face" is very important. So I don't know how useful this is where you're from.
I've had lots of Asian friends and colleagues. I think "face" is important to everyone around the world, it's just that the Western world has a lot to learn about specific, thoughtful, detailed ways to fully honor it, from cultures that have a thousand year head start on this part of human nature! Great analogy, thanks.

I would call myself a consultant or account director. An upper management kind of guy. And I would use terms like "our team will be available for you".
Yeah I'll probably put Business Development on my card.

use it word for word with the first 10 prospect, see if they convert to meetings. If they don't, use another script with another 10 prospects.
Perfect, this turns a vague fear into a specific task list action item.

always get them to pay at least 50% up front!
I knew that but it never hurts to have that reminder!

Awesome!
 

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You may consider changing/updating your own website. (The one linked from the construction website you posted)
It kind of turned me off since it seems to just be a barely edited theme.
There are fake employees, fake testimonials, and fake clients on it. If you're actually sending potential clients to that site they would probably be confused.
 

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