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littleboy

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Week #11

So the last couple days I called some car dealers, since that's the first thing I thought of when thinking of high end retail. None of them gave out their email tho. Also, whenever I mentioned the phrase 'more clients', just like barbers, they would almost always say we don't need more clients. Now I don't know if this is legit or if they didn't want to talk to me in the first place and just thought aha this is an easy way to tell him to leave. Either way I've learned not to mention that, although counterintuitive and I don't really know why.

Anyway, not much success with cold calling so far. Think I might make a free landing page like Odysseus M. Jones said, or even a complete website for free in a niche that I want to work for, like for example car dealers.

I will also make my own website. I recently talked to a guy from highschool who made websites and he said he got his clients through google ads with a website, so I'll try that.
 
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littleboy

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Week #13

The bulk of the website is finished, still need to make a logo, finish up the design, and then do some back end final stuff.

Have been taking a google ads course. Once the site is done I'm planning on sending people there through google ads, with the goal of breaking even. If I can break even I can adjust and improve so that it becomes profitable.
 

GatsbyMag

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Manhattan??

Answer this question. Is it easier to start a business when your rent is $3000 a month or $600 a month?

You will be working a job you hate for too many hours and will not have enough time for your business. So much is done online anyways, why would you live in the place where your dollar earned is so much weaker? You could make the same dollars and spend Baht or Pesos and have much more free time to dedicate towards your idea.

I started my business when I was living at home and moved out once I was making money. If I moved out earlier I would've likely gotten a job so I could afford to live and would've had less time for my business.
Maybe a foolish question, but did you live at home until you made enough monthly income to cover costs such as rent, food, basic utilities etc. or was it enough for you to see like $200-500 per month to make your decision to move out?
 

humananalytics

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I live in Manhattan and helped my company decide on which website vendor to go with for our website revamp.

First, I think it is good to have goals to live in a place like Manhattan. Just know it will be pretty expensive! You could make it work, if you are able to set-up more in-person meetings for higher dollar value clients. Just keep in mind, high dollar clients are demanding. Before we decided on our website vendor, we received formal RFPs (20-40 page PPTs after we sent the vendors our formal requirements), and 2/3 vendors traveled to meet us in the office.

Second, I helped my current employer choose our recent website vendor. I think all in, we are paying them around 80k for our website. We are a <100 person company, with 20-30M in revenue. I think it could be helpful for you, so I'll list some of the vendors we considered:
  • 20k website, off-shore Indian company, RFP had numerous typos, so even though they were cheap, they weren't a viable contender
  • 80k award winning Eastern European company (40-80 employees), has done some fantastic work for a few F500 clients - who we went with. Their design work is incredible, and they even flew 3-4 people from Europe to US for their RFP pitch. Even though they are using Wordpress (for our sake to make content management easy), website does not look cookie cutter and they've been working on our website for the past 8 months with a team of 3-4 people.
  • 140k award wining US company (80-100 employees)
  • 40k US company (10 employees), but their website seemed too much like cookie-cutter Wordpress websites. They also pitched to us with just 1 guy, who just used webex (vs. everyone else brought 3-4 people of their team to pitch in person).
It will probably be difficult for you to reach these type of figures until you're a few years out, but the range of what you can potentially charge for a website is quite large. However, I will say that I found the pricing for various website vendors was quite fair, in the sense you get what you pay for.
 

GatsbyMag

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I live in Manhattan and helped my company decide on which website vendor to go with for our website revamp.
Is your company a SaaS? Why did your company feel like a new web design/website was needed?

My experience working with companies like yours (20-30 million, <100) is that they can be quite particular about what they spend their money upon, you're not really considered a startup but you're also far away from being large enterprise. So you wouldn't usually invest money in something unless you know it's going to impact your bottom/top line significantly e.g. increased leads via SEO
 

humananalytics

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Is your company a SaaS? Why did your company feel like a new web design/website was needed?

My experience working with companies like yours (20-30 million, <100) is that they can be quite particular about what they spend their money upon, you're not really considered a startup but you're also far away from being large enterprise. So you wouldn't usually invest money in something unless you know it's going to impact your bottom/top line significantly e.g. increased leads via SEO
My employer is a management/tech consulting firm.

Our website was horrible. Visually it was OK, but it was not even optimized for mobile and even worse, our services were so poorly listed, it was unclear what type of company we were. Our website mostly highlighted 1-2 areas of service, that account for literally zero of our revenue. Meanwhile, the area we obtain 50-70% of our revenue was not even on the website.

We do not know if it will help us convert more leads, but at the very least it will help us recruit more candidates. Management consulting tends to be a bit of a talent war, with high churn, well paid employees (I think almost every consultant here is paid six, figures except 1 person) and our current website presents us very poorly. When potential employees try to do research on our company, they come to our website and leave pretty confused. We often pay recruiters 20-25% fee per hire, which works out 20-40k+/per person we hire in recruiter fees. In that context, 80k for a website isn't horrible.

Something to consider in terms of selling a website is that we looked at the website in primarily 2 ways: clients and potential employees. Most people selling new websites focus the the first, but for some industries the latter is more important. Most of our sales come from relationships and formal RFPs, not many people look to our website for sales.
 
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littleboy

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My employer is a management/tech consulting firm.

Our website was horrible. Visually it was OK, but it was not even optimized for mobile and even worse, our services were so poorly listed, it was unclear what type of company we were. Our website mostly highlighted 1-2 areas of service, that account for literally zero of our revenue. Meanwhile, the area we obtain 50-70% of our revenue was not even on the website.

We do not know if it will help us convert more leads, but at the very least it will help us recruit more candidates. Management consulting tends to be a bit of a talent war, with high churn, well paid employees (I think almost every consultant here is paid six, figures except 1 person) and our current website presents us very poorly. When potential employees try to do research on our company, they come to our website and leave pretty confused. We often pay recruiters 20-25% fee per hire, which works out 20-40k+/per person we hire in recruiter fees. In that context, 80k for a website isn't horrible.

Something to consider in terms of selling a website is that we looked at the website in primarily 2 ways: clients and potential employees. Most people selling new websites focus the the first, but for some industries the latter is more important. Most of our sales come from relationships and formal RFPs, not many people look to our website for sales.
That's interesting to hear the other side of this, thanks. Let us know how this works out. How do you get people on your site? Do you have ads / seo campaigns, or do people know you guys and google your business, or is it purely un-orchestrated search results?

And yeah I hadn't even thought about optimizing a website for possible employees, only clients.
 

humananalytics

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That's interesting to hear the other side of this, thanks. Let us know how this works out. How do you get people on your site? Do you have ads / seo campaigns, or do people know you guys and google your business, or is it purely un-orchestrated search results?

And yeah I hadn't even thought about optimizing a website for possible employees, only clients.
We do have some SEO or ads, but most business comes from outside our website.
  1. Non-website:
    • Someone we've done work in the past refers us, requests more work
    • Current work for a client extended or we look for opportunities to do more work for the client
    • Personal connections - someone knows an exec that needs help
  2. Website:
    • Someone contacts us to submit a proposal, usually competing against 3-5 other companies. Not sure the percentage of this, but probably like 1% of our sales. Considering 1 contract is easily 200k, it's still valuable.
Most consulting companies have different bill rates depending on type of work, so there's no cookie-cutter product that can be sold on a website. In general, for more complex products, it's going to be harder to track how much a website actually sells and have quantifiable value.
 

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Johnny boy

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Maybe a foolish question, but did you live at home until you made enough monthly income to cover costs such as rent, food, basic utilities etc. or was it enough for you to see like $200-500 per month to make your decision to move out?
I lived at home, got customers, and immediately moved out when I was making enough money.
 

Xolorr

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On a very very good path, and based off the title I almost expected this to be a 2 post "I'VE STARTED" and then never return to the forum.

Pleasantly surprised!

My $0.02 is that most of your time should be spent on lead gen/prospecting at the moment, and be wary of imposter syndrome.

Those high ticket clients aren't out of reach for you if you keep growing your skills and consistently outreach every day.

Can't wait for next week.
 
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littleboy

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Week #14

The design and copy and images of the website are done. Next will be the back end: seo, security, speed, this stuff always frustrates me I don't know what I'm doing here yet. I'll post a link once I get everything working.

The design of the logo is done: a black U with a blue W with the right part of the W an upward arrow, cause the name will Ultimo Websites (my name is Timo ha). Paid someone on fiverr to digitalize the logo, I made a drawing, but that was a lot of back and forth hassle and in the end he gave a half assed logo, even tho it's a super simple logo. Think I'll try again but find someone who charges more, with a lot of great reviews.

Got through a good part of the google ads course, and am beginning to get a good understanding of it. I've made some simple ads and will run them once the site is ready. It says in the ad that sites are €1500+, so hopefully only people who are looking for a website in that range will click. Clicks are about €5, so I need one in 300 clicks to become a deal to get the ball rolling. Then it's a matter of optimizing, and testing with raising prices. I'm planning on investing everything back into ads. If I get more projects than I can work on at one time I'll definitely raise prices, which means a bigger ad budget, which means more people interested, which means I'll, sadly, have to raise prices even more. That's the plan at least. I think this can work - I'm excited! Have a friend who did webdesign and he said that he got about 3 clients for about 500 bucks - I'm aiming for 1 for 1500 bucks, so I'd say it's has a realistic chance, and if it's better than 1 for 1500 bucks it might explode. Hopefully, but we'll see.

Next week (so this week, it's already Monday) I won't be doing anything, brought some books but we're going on a family week to my grandparents.
It does give me some space to think about where I want this whole thing to go. I'm planning on adding services such as google ads and SEO once I get going. Eventually I want to hire some webdesigners. The math seems simple: you can hire good designers for 5k/month, and I'm assuming they can get at least one website done per month, probably two. I hear from folks that once you get going and you sell focused on the results your website gives, you can sell websites for 5k - 10k definitely. Which means a margin of something around 5 - 15k per webdesigner you hire. Of course you still need to pay for marketing and taxes, but if you run the marketing yourself and do the sales and stuff yourself and get really good at that, so that you can have a team 5 webdesigners working for you fulltime, you're looking at quite some good money (at least compared to minimum wage).

Anyway, no idea if that will work, but we'll see. That's the goal with this business, past once I'm able to do this at full scale as a freelancer. The purpose of this webdesign business is mainly just to learn business, that's why I put it in intro, since this is my intro learning-by-doing business.

Cheers and I'll update in two weeks.

This is the google ads course if anyone's interested, it's very thorough:
 
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littleboy

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Week #16

The website is done! Professionele Website Laten Maken | 100% Garantie | Ultimo Websites - it's in Dutch though. Added the guarantee which @Odysseus M Jones suggested, 60 days money back - with the requirement that they take the website I built offine. Nobody has money-back guarantees in webdesign as far as I know, so that's good. I don't really have a portfolio to show so it's important to have something like this to stand out and create trust.

The google ads are running for €750 / month, have enough saved up to run for a little while at this pace. Now just got to learn how to analyze and optimize them.

Once I get a grip on that, most likely this week, I'll have a bunch of free time. I'm thinking about getting a job at a call center: they give you free or even paid training for cold calling, plus I'll earn about €13 / hour I checked, which is what like 2k / month, so if I invest all of that in ads that'll give that a major boost. Win-win!

Also thinking about other ways to start prospecting, maybe leaving business cards in waiting rooms or hanging up posters in places. Another thing I might try is, there are companies that just deliver door-to-door ads, so I could hire them to deliver flyers. Or send out more targeted direct mailing campaigns to business owners - will have to look into how to get addresses and names for that. Could also of course send letters to business addresses - maybe even with a coupon of say €100 off on a website, that way they probably won't throw it away.

Anyway, a lot to look in to. But first: learning how to really analyze and optimize google ads, then probably get a call-center job to get some cash flow to invest in marketing, and I think I'll look into direct mailing as well. And cold-calling, since I'll probably get pretty good at that.
 

Andy Black

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littleboy

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Nice work! Getting paid to learn sales is a good move too.
Perhaps for prospecting you could adapt an idea whereby you send video audits of potential customers websites.
It works for digital marketers.
It adds a whole new dimension of professionalism if you target big companies.
Here's a thread with info.
Perhaps @Xolorr could offer some perspective?
Sweet, video audits a good idea, I'll keep that in mind for sure.

I’d count impressions first on a whiff of spend (€5/day? €10/day?). Then figure out where to focus your spend and try to get profitable?

Maybe these might help?
Cool thanks, yeah those are helpful.



Week #17

Got a sales call from the ads leading to my website! The call went quite well, it's for a taxi company of four taxi drivers. He seemed interested in working together, but the proposal was a bit messy, and I haven't heard back from him yet. I wanted to send the proposal the same day, but it was a bit rushed since I've never made a proposal before and was learning about that at the same time. I'll follow up with him this week. Fox Sales Legends is very good for learning how to make sales calls and proposals, by the way.
So, apparently the ads and the website work, and that feels great. Even though it's quite expensive, at least for now. Google Ads Stats - total spent: € 239; avg. cost per click: € 3,80; click-through rate: 2.38%; total clicks: 63; results: one sales call.

I put the ads on pause though because for some reason the tracking for website behavior isn't working, so I don't know which ads are creating the most interaction on the website, and therefore I can't improve them. That's one thing I want to do this week.

As for the sales job, that went quite well! I had an interview in downtown Rotterdam, the biggest city in my area. The business owner wasn't happy at first, because I had basically no sales experience. He said this was an advanced sales position, that it's not cold calling consumers but making deals with businesses. But then we talked about his business, and how he got started, and then I showed him my website and told him what I was doing. He got more and more interested the longer we talked and he asked me to read the sales script. In the end he told me that I reminded him of when he got started in business, and that he's going to give me a shot. He still needs to talk to his business partner but probably I can come in on tuesday or wednesday for a day to see how I work.

It sounds very interesting: this company does the marketing and thinks of business projects they can do. For example right now during the pandemic they have a "vacation at home" program where they do stuff like interior design for homes to give a "vacation feeling" and some other similar projects. My job, if I get it, will be to find companies who want to do the interior design. So you get a lot of experience making deals with other businesses, and you see a lot of business ideas come and go and see which ones work and which ones don't. The other thing they do is sell SEO packages, which of course would be as close as you can get to completely relevant experience to selling webdesign. It pays well too, commission based, but according to him you should be making 6k / month and if you're good you can make double. Of course he might very well be exaggerating, but coming from making at most 1750 a month that's a seriously good deal.

So that's that for now. I'll be figuring out what went wrong with the tracking I set up, and I'll follow up with the taxi business about their website. I hope the partner at that call center agrees to give me a shot. If I do get the job, I think I'll translate my website to English and run ads in the US and Canada, so that I can take sales calls in the evenings here, after work.
 
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littleboy

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Week #18 and #19

Got a bit low energy these two weeks and didn't do that much. Was feeling quite stressed, I think because I kept thinking subconsciously that I had to get things going within a certain time frame or else I'd be a failure. That made me feel stressed a lot, also while I was working. Thought about it for a good while, and realized it's pretty ridiculous. I'm young and living with my parents, so no expenses. Of course the sooner this works out the better, but it's not necessary to get it going before a certain time. Definitely not worth stressing about. So realizing that I feel a lot better now and feel like working properly again.

I stopped the google ads after spending 450 euros, because I only got one sales call from it and started to freak out a bit about the budget. I'll try it again when I have a good portfolio to show.

So, now the plan is to find someone to make a website for who I can get real measurable results for. Then use that to contact similar businesses and tell them I helped XYZ business solve ABC problem, for example with video audits. Most important part is finding someone who will get real results, most difficult part is how to find them. Will reach out on facebook, and look for businesses on google maps without websites, am thinking hotels.
 
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littleboy

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Week #20

Back to google ads + the website again. I talked to a friend who got webdesign clients successfully through google ads, three or four years ago. He took a look at my website and said that I needed to give more information about what they can expect, so roughly the price, how long it will take, how the process of getting a new website will go, etc. Added all that, he looked at it, said it was better than his website so I'll give it a shot again. He said he paid about 50 - 75 euros per paid client, so that's way better than how it was going last time. Just gotta finish up some last things for the site and then try again.
 
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littleboy

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Week #21

Had some technical problems with the website, fixed those. Ads are running again! We'll see how it goes this time.
 
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littleboy

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Week #22

Not much luck so far with the ads... Don't really know why. According to that friend he had basically the same setup and that worked to get his first paid clients, but that was four years ago and pre-corona, so maybe there's more competition now or maybe there's less demand because of low budgets, or maybe something else.

In the meantime, going to work on my portfolio. Found some local restaurants with bad websites (restaurants are open here again) and I'll offer to make a free website for one of them, then move on to e.g. gyms or so next and get some websites up in multiple niches. Then we'll take it from there!

Did get two people contacting me for a website through a mutual contact. One was quite weird and I actually think he was trying to set up a fake business, possibly for money laundering??? Anyway he also wanted it to be done in two days and had a bunch of weird requests so I declined.

The other one though is some kind of Chinese-European business association that had hired a Chinese developer but he quit halfway and they potentially want me to finish the project - that would be very cool. They are talking to other webdesigners as well tho so we'll have to see.
 

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