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SunnyDftw

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Lots of factors but is it getting results, the design and a clear "path" with strong Call-to-Action(s)




I have a Canadian company. I bill through that just like any other company. I also have a great accountant.
Would you say it's necessary to start a business, or just do this as a freelance guy? What's the difference?

I know you're a busy guy and I appreciate you taking the time to answer questions after already providing so much free info. I've been learning code for a few months now(html/css/JS/C...) but wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go in. Had a few app ideas, few web site ideas, maybe once I got enough experience hoped to join a start up company as a web dev, etc but it was all still up in the air.

This thread inspired me, and I'll be keeping the you posted on my progress.
 

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Couldn't growing a XYZ industry focussed web design agency be fastlane? Why not?
Yes, I was just speaking from the current standpoint. Anything can be made fastlane" with the right systems and people.
 

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FastNAwesome

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Thanks @Fox for the amazing thread. Since some fantastic resources have been shared (thanks @goodguude), here are some more which may be helpful to someone.

Images:
http://www.splitshire.com/
https://foodiesfeed.com/
http://kaboompics.com/
http://cupcake.nilssonlee.se/
https://www.snapwi.re/
http://lockandstockphotos.com/
https://picjumbo.com/
http://www.lifeofpix.com/
http://www.gratisography.com/
https://unsplash.com/
http://isorepublic.com/
http://stokpic.com/
http://realisticshots.com/
http://www.imcreator.com/free
http://openphoto.net/
http://barnimages.com/images/
https://stocksnap.io/
http://freestocks.org/
https://stock.tookapic.com/photos?filter=free
https://pixabay.com/
http://picography.co/
http://mmtstock.com/
https://www.goodfreephotos.com/
http://raumrot.com/
http://www.winephoto.co/
http://jaymantri.com/
http://jeshoots.com/
http://nos.twnsnd.co/
http://deathtothestockphoto.com/
http://littlevisuals.co/
http://frankenfotos.com/
https://www.pexels.com/u/markusspiske/
http://magdeleine.co/
http://startupstockphotos.com/
http://freeuse.io/
http://en.freejpg.com.ar/
http://negativespace.co/
http://freefoodphotos.com/
http://foter.com/
https://www.pond5.com/free
https://goodstock.photos/
http://highresolution.photography/
http://fancycrave.com/
http://brainandstorm.com/visuals
http://www.rgbstock.com/
https://visualhunt.com/
http://foodeverest.com/
http://epicantus.tumblr.com/

Colors:
http://paletton.com/
http://www.lolcolors.com/
http://colllor.com/

Typography:
http://www.gridlover.net/try
http://www.modularscale.com/

Learning programming:
https://www.codeschool.com/free
http://programming-motherfcker.com/become.html
 

Thiago Machado

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Just wanted to share some minor success I've been having after reading this thread.

A good friend of mine is one of the most sought after personal trainers in my city and is looking to venture into online fitness coaching. I noticed his facebook page and instagram profile were looking pretty amateurish and he still didn't build a website. He has a great reputation where I live, but no online presence. So I offered to fix his social media pages for free. I made him some custom graphics, facebook timeline cover, etc.

Now, must I remind you, I did this as genuinely as possible. Not once did I expect to receive anything in return (he's a real friend).

I went above and beyond, over-delivered, and low-and-behold: he was BLOWN AWAY!

Immediately, his new online presence caught people's attention. He said that everyone was complimenting him on the work that was done. They asked him "what agency are you using?"

Now, this is a guy who train's very wealthy people.
Luckily, 2 of his clients approached him and asked who did it.

I now have 2 hot leads from a dentist and heart surgeon (and my friend wants to put me on a monthly retainer to manage his marketing.)

So I learned through first-hand experience:
  • Good things come to those who act.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Show genuine interest and that you care about the person.
  • Provide massive value.
  • And deliver solid results.
By doing these simple things, you shouldn't worry so much about cold-calling or figuring out where the next job is coming from.

Thanks @Fox
 
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Andy Black

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Just wanted to share some minor success I've been having after reading this thread.

A good friend of mine is one of the most sought after personal trainers in my city and is looking to venture into online fitness coaching. I noticed his facebook page and instagram profile were looking pretty amateurish and he still didn't build a website. He has a great reputation where I live, but no online presence. So I offered to fix his social media pages for free. I made him some custom graphics, facebook timeline cover, etc.

Now, must I remind you, I did this as genuinely as possible. Not once did I expect to receive anything in return (he's a real friend).

I went above and beyond, over-delivered, and low-and-behold: he was BLOWN AWAY!

Immediately, his new online presence caught people's attention. He said that everyone was complimenting him on the work that was done. They asked him "what agency are you using?"

Now, this is a guy who train's very wealthy people.
Luckily, 2 of his clients approached him and asked who did it.

I now have 2 hot leads from a dentist and heart surgeon (and my friend wants to put me on a monthly retainer to manage his marketing.)

So I learned through first-hand experience:
  • Good things come to those who act.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Show genuine interest and that you care about the person.
  • Provide massive value.
  • And deliver solid results.
By doing these simple things, you shouldn't worry so much about cold-calling or figuring out where the next job is coming from.

Thanks @Fox
BOOM!
 

goodguude

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Hey!

What do you think of the following tactic to approach new customers (in my case lawyers):

1) Build a first website for them without them knowing (not indexed by google of course)
2) Email them with a link to this website and saying that this could be theirs
3) Call them to speak with them in person about the website sent in the email.

To "unprofessional" for this kind of clients? Or worth a try?
 

vshetty.vs

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Hey!

What do you think of the following tactic to approach new customers (in my case lawyers):

1) Build a first website for them without them knowing (not indexed by google of course)
2) Email them with a link to this website and saying that this could be theirs
3) Call them to speak with them in person about the website sent in the email.

To "unprofessional" for this kind of clients? Or worth a try?
What if they don't want it. Isn't that effort down the drain.

Anyway try it first
 

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goodguude

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What if they don't want it. Isn't that effort down the drain.

Anyway try it first
That's the risk. But one could use a mockup - website (with edited names, addresses, etc of course) for more than one potential client and if they accept the deal, I could further customize it.

But I have the feeling, that potential clients tend to be more interaction - friendly if I already provide something tangible when approaching them.
 
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Fox

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I've been meaning to try a technique where you build just the front page (1-3hrs work) and then pitch using that. After today I'm officially looking for work but I do have some decent leads. I'll update how things go.
 

Thiago Machado

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Unfortunately not. Since I just turned 20, most of my friends are students.
But maybe I have some connections to some lawyers through one of my current clients.
Try to get someone's approval first.

What I did was point out a problem my friend was having and offered to solve it.

The last thing you want is to design something that no-one wants to buy.

Ask friends, relatives, etc if they know any lawyers. If they do, ask for their contact info, call them, and offer to design them a website for free (if their on the fence, you can also say that if they don't like it, that they can cancel the hosting subscription within 30 days, so there won't be any money spent on their part. It's all about creating an irresistible offer.)

If you absolutely have no connections whatsoever, just google "lawyers in ______" and check the one's with no website. Call them up and offer to do one.

Do a great job and ask for referrals.
 

Andy Black

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Hey!

What do you think of the following tactic to approach new customers (in my case lawyers):

1) Build a first website for them without them knowing (not indexed by google of course)
2) Email them with a link to this website and saying that this could be theirs
3) Call them to speak with them in person about the website sent in the email.

To "unprofessional" for this kind of clients? Or worth a try?
This is similar to what I've done. Build (and own!!) the website and AdWords campaign, then rent to businesses.
 

swebe3qn

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That's the risk. But one could use a mockup - website (with edited names, addresses, etc of course) for more than one potential client and if they accept the deal, I could further customize it.

But I have the feeling, that potential clients tend to be more interaction - friendly if I already provide something tangible when approaching them.
I tried to do the sell Wordpress websites once, but I failed. This thread motivated to start a web design business again. Luckily, I already know a good amount of HTML, CSS, JS and PHP.

Yesterday I talked to a guy who owns an agency since January. He suggested to build a website for my own agency and some mockup websites on subdomains instead of doing websites for free. For example personaltrainer.agencydomain.com or lawyer.agencydomain.com. I think this is a good way to build a portfolio and get started immediately, since it also takes some effort and time to find people you can do a website for free.

I've also talked to a very famous personal trainer here in Austria. He wants to meet me next week. He trains a lot of celebrities and rich people and maybe I could get some leads if I build his website for free.
 

SuperDuper

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@Fox
Sorry for the question.

1) Does changing the text in someone's page affect their ranking in google if they're already high ranked? Can you alter as much text as you want without having a negative impact on the client's page?

2) Would it also make sense to learn to write copy or should that already be done by the client?

3) When you redo someone's site, how do you get to their HTML/CSS so that you could edit their site. That part confuses me.
 
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DaRK9

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since it also takes some effort and time to find people you can do a website for free.

While that might work, to someone with any web experience it's obvious that you don't have an actual portfolio.

I've actually used this against my competitors. People have shown me the competitions "portfolio" and I asked where the real websites were and how they were helping the business owner.




If you are a SaaS company with micro-sites this is a bit different.
 

Lex DeVille

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Yesterday I talked to a guy who owns an agency since January. He suggested to build a website for my own agency and some mockup websites on subdomains instead of doing websites for free. For example personaltrainer.agencydomain.com or lawyer.agencydomain.com. I think this is a good way to build a portfolio and get started immediately, since it also takes some effort and time to find people you can do a website for free.
It's good to get started immediately, but I think this route has a high-chance of going nowhere for several reasons.

1. You start a habit of building instead of doing.

2. You don't get the same value for yourself. You don't get to experience what it's like to really help someone.

3. Mockups won't refer themselves. Clients who get a free website will refer you all day long if it's good.

You could find someone on Google who'd gladly take a free website in about 10 minutes if you try.
 

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Fox

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@Fox
Sorry for the question.

1) Does changing the text in someone's page affect their ranking in google if they're already high ranked? Can you alter as much text as you want without having a negative impact on the client's page?

2) Would it also make sense to learn to write copy or should that already be done by the client?

3) When you redo someone's site, how do you get to their HTML/CSS so that you could edit their site. That part confuses me.
1) I seriously doubt it unless its highly non relevant to the original content. I trust Google to do its own thing and reward the site for being better. I also do correct alt="#" tags for images and name the images with keywords (sometimes) and other basic but helpful SEO. I am working on my SEO skills at the moment so my newer sites will be better set up.

2) Learn Copy. The more you can do the easier to sell and the more you can charge. I rewrite nearly all content

3) Super basic question that could be researched on Youtube or by taking a Udemy course. Quick answer in their public html folder. Don't F*ck around with those if you don't know what you are doing - its not like a word document.
 

swebe3qn

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Good points, @DaRK9 and @SinisterLex

"As I mentioned, I am also looking for business owners who need a website and I am willing to do it for free. Once I've found one I prefer the real client 1000 times over the mockups but currently I think it is better than doing nothing."

That's what I wanted to write first, but YOU'RE RIGHT. I should reach out to more potential clients instead of doing mockups. Thanks!
 
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Fox

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Yesterday I talked to a guy who owns an agency since January. He suggested to build a website for my own agency and some mockup websites on subdomains instead of doing websites for free. For example personaltrainer.agencydomain.com or lawyer.agencydomain.com. I think this is a good way to build a portfolio and get started immediately, since it also takes some effort and time to find people you can do a website for free.
@SinisterLex already nailed it with lots of good points.

In any area look at what is actually working for people and not what people suggest. Do what they do - not what they say.
What I have listed here is what I believe makes the most money and has seen the most results. Its real world data, not speculation.
How much is this guy making and is this what he does himself?

I think it is also a bad idea on multiple levels. No real interaction, no actual experience and no real feedback. There is a lot of side tasks that go into making someone a website, you won't experience any of these doing it for yourself. I would see this like cutting your own hair a few times and then thinking you are a barber. Real people have real requirements and real problems, thats the goal here.

Stick with actual companies and learn how to solve problems. A mockup website for no one doesn't solve anyones problems, including your own.

Remember its not design - its solving needs and providing value.
 
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Fox

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Once I've found one I prefer the real client 1000 times over the mockups but currently I think it is better than doing nothing.
Its not, start learning how to sell (even if its free), its the biggest skill in this game. Everything else falls into place if you have sales.

Also guys I suggest doing some free to start but if you can charge even a few hundred then do so. Sometimes a job is easier to get when you charge a small amount since people take you more serious and respect your time more.
 
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First cold call - fail. Looks like I am a bit rusty haha.

One trick to getting past the secretary - be super casual.

"Hi its Fox here from Cold Call Design, is the person in charge of websites available please?" - BAD

"Hi, I want to talk to Mike, its Fox" - Good
 

Valor

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Its not, start learning how to sell (even if its free), its the biggest skill in this game. Everything else falls into place if you have sales.

Also guys I suggest doing some free to start but if you can charge even a few hundred then do so. Sometimes a job is easier to get when you charge a small amount since people take you more serious and respect your time more.
Exactly. At first, I was advertising "no deposit" and was attracting nothing but cheap time-wasters who had no sense of urgency to move forward with the project.

I cut that off fast. Get the customer even a little bit invested into the project, even if it's only $50 or $100 bucks.
 

Thiago Machado

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Update:

So my friend told me to write up what I could do for him on a monthly basis (more so on the social media side. He wants to put out content + run targeted facebook ads + etc)
Sent him a proposal with samples, mockups, etc.
He agreed to the monthly retainer I proposed.
The deal is good for both parties.
He's super happy and is refering me to many of his upscale clients.
And I got a client, great portfolio piece, and am potentially in the making of a successful case study with him if all goes well.

Everybody wins.

Next up: appointment with the 2 leads he gave me.
 

SunnyDftw

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Doing a bit of research today (along with 8 hours copywriting) and can across this...

View attachment 13172

Top search on a highly competitive search term BUT the website looks like this...

http://www.somjen.com/

View attachment 13173

Here is a company pumping money into Adwords with a website that looks like a 12 year olds school project.
This is a good example, but these aren't common right? I run into some sites in my research that are just okay, but not great.

What are you opinions on websites that have all the info, but the layout is just dull, very basic? Is it worth it to pursue or more worthwhile to find businesses that have no website at all?

My own orthodontist has a website, very very basic, I was considering offering my services to him, but wasn't sure.
 

lowtek

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Ack. I'd rather chat with and help people in this forum than get on some established podcast somewhere else.

I'm sure I could help their audience too, but it boils down to that Mother Teresa quote in my signature - "Help the people closest to you".

Maybe I end up with a podcast, maybe I don't. I'm just following my nose at the minute and doing what I can't NOT do.

Also, podcasting etc raises MY profile, and can distract me from building a business that can run without me.



Anyway, I'm doing a slight disservice to people interested enough in this thread to get to this point.

Don't just listen to the podcast I mentioned above.

Listen to these three podcasts in this order:
  1. www.tropicalmba.com/consulting
  2. www.tropicalmba.com/services
  3. www.tropicalmba.com/scale

Pay attention to the sliding scale from intern to employee to freelancer and beyond.

Pay attention to the value in niching down and becoming known as "The XYZ Guy".

Then listen to (one way) how a business scaled up once they found their focus.

These three podcasts should open your mind to what you can do, and why it should work.

Then work out your own "how" and blaze your own path.

thanks so much for this. Great content.

reinforces that I'm on something approximating the right track. Always good to know :)
 

DaRK9

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This is a good example, but these aren't common right? I run into some sites in my research that are just okay, but not great.

What are you opinions on websites that have all the info, but the layout is just dull, very basic? Is it worth it to pursue or more worthwhile to find businesses that have no website at all?

My own orthodontist has a website, very very basic, I was considering offering my services to him, but wasn't sure.
http://fvdthemes.com/html/dentalclinic/
or
http://dev.loonars.com/templates/dentality/src/version3/index.html
Ctrl+S
Use Brackets or any editor and edit to put his info in.

Use https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/capture-webpage-screensho/mcbpblocgmgfnpjjppndjkmgjaogfceg?hl=en

to screenshot the page.

Print out a high quality version of the mockup and bring it in next time you go in.

I've found it's easier to print out mockups when trying to get a client. Otherwise they "will look at it later" or ask you to "just send it to me"

I also make a print-out of their current site.
 

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