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EXECUTION Journey to location independence and $10k a month

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• nikita •

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I first discovered that it was possible to escape the 9-5 life when I started a terrible job in January and went on an entrepreneurship podcast binge. Turns out you don't even need a big income, just the option to work remote.

I first tried dropshipping from Aliexpress but all 6 of my websites failed and I made no sales, just spent a ton of money on FB ads. Maybe because I'm terrible at marketing. My next idea was to save up for a few years and then invest in real estate. But I don't want to wait years.

Recently I read the @Fox thread about web design, and realized it was probably my best bet. I'm a software dev so already know how to work with HTML, CSS and JS. This means I can immediately get to work.

So my plan is:

- Create a business website so I can advertise something.
- Add mock websites to the website portfolio.
- Start by emailing small companies with really bad sites (around $100 a job?) and running FB ads
- Move on to bigger clients.
- Hire an assistant to find me suitable clients.
- Create websites worth $10k+ each so I only have to do a few a month.

My plan is to buy HTML themes off Theme Forest and edit them. My main worries are:

- Isn't it illegal to sell the edited themes seeing as it's not 100% your work? I could make them very customized, but still I'm worried. Also, the regular cheap license of around $15-50 isn't much, but to get reseller rights you need $800-$1000, money I don't have yet. I don't want to end up getting sued, and even if I don't I'll still feel really bad.
- Say my client is not tech savvy at all. How would I integrate the new website design? I'm guessing it's to do with DNS setting and stuff, but I really have no experience in that field. Also won't they lose the SEO ranking if the design is completely done over?
- Clients wanting my help after I've finished the job. I don't want to maintain their site, I want to finish the job and be done with it.
 

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Fox

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My plan is to buy HTML themes off Theme Garden and edit them. My main worries are:

- Isn't it illegal to sell the edited themes seeing as it's not 100% your work? I could make them very customized, but still I'm worried. Also, the regular cheap license of around $15-50 isn't much, but to get reseller rights you need $800-$1000, money I don't have yet. I don't want to end up getting sued, and even if I don't I'll still feel really bad.
- Say my client is not tech savvy at all. How would I integrate the new website design? I'm guessing it's to do with DNS setting and stuff, but I really have no experience in that field. Also won't they lose the SEO ranking if the design is completely done over?
- Clients wanting my help after I've finished the job. I don't want to maintain their site, I want to finish the job and be done with it.
Welcome to the forum and glad I could help.

- It is fine to use themes for a business. I have contacted theme owners/businesses before and they don't have an issue with it.
- It is very easy to set up hosting, first time it seems crazy but you can learn it fast. Let me know if you get stuck.
- If you build a better site (and keep certain design elements) it will only help SEO. I will search for a full post on this.
- Aim for non ecommerce sites. You want to build static sites for companies that are too busy to worry about web design every three days. That will come down to targeting the right type of clients.

Best of luck and tag me in a post if you get stuck.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Welcome to the forum and glad I could help.

- It is fine to use themes for a business. I have contacted theme owners/businesses before and they don't have an issue with it.
- It is very easy to set up hosting, first time it seems crazy but you can learn it fast. Let me know if you get stuck.
- If you build a better site (and keep certain design elements) it will only help SEO. I will search for a full post on this.
- Aim for non ecommerce sites. You want to build static sites for companies that are too busy to worry about web design every three days. That will come down to targeting the right type of clients.

Best of luck and tag me in a post if you get stuck.
Thanks for the reply and for the thread you made, it's given me a lot of motivation! If I remember correctly you were mostly cold calling your clients, right? And I know that's the most effective way. The problem is with a full-time job I can't call during working hours. Cold emailing is very hit and miss, probably 95% of those emails will end up in the trash... :/
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Aaand just a few hours after I make the thread, I land a remote job. Looks like I'll need another goal: Journey to $10k a month. I'll have to keep changing titles as I achieve these goals.
 
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• nikita •

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Hey @Fox a question about hosting. So apparently many do this through their domain registrar's FTP. But a lot of sites warn against this and say it can be unstable and expensive.

Github pages is a good option, I use it a ton for my job, but it doesn't sound appropriate for client websites. I was thinking of using it for my business website but that would involve either having my site open source or paying for private repositories. What would you suggest?
 

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Hey @Fox a question about hosting. So apparently many do this through their domain registrar's FTP. But a lot of sites warn against this and say it can be unstable and expensive.

Github pages is a good option, I use it a ton for my job, but it doesn't sound appropriate for client websites. I was thinking of using it for my business website but that would involve either having my site open source or paying for private repositories. What would you suggest?
Keep it simple - use GoDaddy.
Have them set it up and give you "delegate access". You instal the files and you are done. Super easy for everyone involved.
 

Caramel

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- Say my client is not tech savvy at all. How would I integrate the new website design? I'm guessing it's to do with DNS setting and stuff, but I really have no experience in that field. Also won't they lose the SEO ranking if the design is completely done over?
I have cheap hosting that allows for 5 domains and unlimited subdomains.

What I do is develop their website on my own hosting under a subdomain (ClientA.thisismywebsite.com) and when they're happy with the site, I just take everything (all the files and if necessary the SQL/mySQL database) and integrate it into their existing hosting.

Doing this you procrastinate the most annoying part until the website is done and you KNOW they want it and won't just bail because hosting is an annoying topic to tackle.
It is such a drag to get a client's hosting information. I've actually had one bail on me before because they couldn't remember the password to log in to their hosting control panel and couldn't be bothered resetting their password.

the trick to webdesign (in my opinion) is to make such a kickass website that somewhere halfway through the process the client wants your business more than you want theirs.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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I have cheap hosting that allows for 5 domains and unlimited subdomains.

What I do is develop their website on my own hosting under a subdomain (ClientA.thisismywebsite.com) and when they're happy with the site, I just take everything (all the files and if necessary the SQL/mySQL database) and integrate it into their existing hosting.

Doing this you procrastinate the most annoying part until the website is done and you KNOW they want it and won't just bail because hosting is an annoying topic to tackle.
It is such a drag to get a client's hosting information. I've actually had one bail on me before because they couldn't remember the password to log in to their hosting control panel and couldn't be bothered resetting their password.

the trick to webdesign (in my opinion) is to make such a kickass website that somewhere halfway through the process the client wants your business more than you want theirs.
Thanks for the tips!
Do you ever get clients that don't want to give you hosting information/passwords because they're worried you'll steal something or mess up their site? A client bailing would be a nightmare to deal with.

100% agree with the making a kickass website thing; if you make something awesome that is miles ahead of their old design, there's no way they'd want to just ditch it.
 

Caramel

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Thanks for the tips!
Do you ever get clients that don't want to give you hosting information/passwords because they're worried you'll steal something or mess up their site? A client bailing would be a nightmare to deal with.
If I deal with clients using my regular formula (create website first, deal with hosting stuff later) they never seem to mind. By then you've built a level of mutual trust.

Obviously, I do tell them that they'll need hosting when the website is done and what the costs are. You don't want them to feel cheated out of more money after you create the website.

When I just started out I'd try to tackle the hosting thing first. Both with clients who already had hosting and clients who didn't.
In both cases it was absolute suckage. You'll get questions like:
- "What'll happen to my current website?"
- "This seems complicated. Can't you purchase the hosting instead? (No, I can't and don't want to either. It's your company & costs, not mine)"
- "You'll have to drop by my good buddy ****, he made my current website and has all the information (Ofcourse, he has long forgotten)"
- Or worst of all, they don't trust you at all and want to be the one that fills in the password so you can access the hosting control panel.

Luckily I've never had anyone downright deny me access. That'd be awkward.
 

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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Started reading The Millionaire Fastlane today and finding it to be gold, as expected. I can't believe I've never thought of the slowlane as a 5:2 ratio of work and play. Really puts stuff in perspective. Also lol'ing at the 4HWW hints; that book was one of the first entrepreneurial ones I read that really motivated me, but some things in it did bother me, like outsourcing everything.

Also starting to reconsider taking on so many Upwork jobs. I worked for $8 (!!!) an hour making email templates for someone recently and I told some guys I'd make them some designs this month but it'll take up so much time I could spend on my business or upgrading my skills.

I really wish I'd started this journey when I was laid off a few months ago, instead of rolling around in bed feeling massively burned out. Wasted 6 months there.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Finished designing my business' website this morning and bought a domain. Time to launch. Bookmarked a few geriatric-looking websites and will be contacting them later today.

Wondering whether to set up social media profiles for my business or not. I feel like that would be so much work to maintain.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Bought my domain through Namecheap and set up hosting through GoDaddy so now I'm waiting hours and hours for the DNS shit to wire up and actually have my website working. It's taking forever damn it.

The thought of going back to wageslavery and working for someone else is making me really miserable. The family won't stop asking me when I'm going to be normal and get a "real" job even though I just landed a remote one. I only have around $2k saved but I'm considering packing all my shit up and moving somewhere cheaper. I'd have maybe 2 months to make it or end up homeless.

In terms of getting clients I've found a bunch of those business cards people drop through the mail for services like cleaning. All of them have terrible websites. I am godawful at cold calling but will spend all of this Thursday attempting it... I don't even know what to say to them apart from "you're losing sales, a good website will help let me make you one". Or if to offer it for free as these will be my first clients.
 
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maverick

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Hi nikita,

Welcome to the forum and good to have you here. I recognize the feeling of trying everything under the sun and hoping that something sticks. Over the years I've come to realize that this doesn't work. I'll share my thoughts on your post based on my own experiences.

Bear with me as this is going to sound harsh:

Focus on process instead of events.
My next idea was to save up for a few years and then invest in real estate. But I don't want to wait years.
Books such as 4HWW only focus on the event and never tell you how much graft it took to get there. Tim Ferriss worked long hours to get his supplements company up-and-running. Once he sold that, he had all the time of the world to go do the "location independent" stuff. It will take time to build a business. Nothing is handed to you without putting in the effort.

Again, process is everything

- Hire an assistant to find me suitable clients.
- Create websites worth $10k+ each so I only have to do a few a month.
This is lazy thinking. What are you going to teach the assistant to do? What process will they follow? Or are you expecting an assistant that will work for low $XX per hour but somehow will manage to crank out sale after sale? Or even worse: looking for somebody that will do all of your sales for a percentage in your business?

Don't cut corners

I first tried dropshipping from Aliexpress but all 6 of my websites failed and I made no sales, just spent a ton of money on FB ads. Maybe because I'm terrible at marketing.
What value are you adding? The business model you've sketched out above is being the middle man i.e. adding overhead not value. Taking templates, editing them and reselling might make you some money in the short term, but it will not help you build a sustainable business.

Set attainable goals to ensure you stay on the right track

I feel like that would be so much work to maintain.
I've come across this a lot. Whenever you engage in an activity, be sure that it aligns with what your goals are. What I mean by this is that if you don't know what your goals are, you will never know if you're actually doing the right thing. Simply doing things because you think you should be doing them, will not net into positive results.

The way I would go about tackling this if I were ever interested in doing webdesign:
  • Identify the area that you're going to become the "king of webdesign" in. Let's assume for argument's sake that you want to become the "king of webdesign for car dealerships".
  • Market research car dealerships in US/UK that have very appealing websites. Take note of what works, and what doesn't work. Slowly start building your own template based on the insights that you've acquired.
  • Create a demo/dummy website based on the domain. Source a quality designer that can help you create logos/images/brand feeling.
  • Start in your local area. Research what car dealerships have websites that look like they were created with MS Paint. Start building your own database of leads (i.e. CRM - but you could easily start in excel).
  • Build a sales funnel. How are you going to get all of those cold leads warmed up? Are you going to send them an offline leaflet? Use PPC? Use FB ads? Create demo's? etc etc. This is where you get to use your brain. Develop your own sales funnel approach (read up on AARRR model) - once you've learnt what works you could potentially get an assistant to push leads through your funnel and setup appointments for example.
  • In the first year you will be responsible for all of your own sales. You will have to take those appointments (or warmed up leads) and convert them into happy customers.
  • Calculate your cost per customer acquisition (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV). Increase the lifetime value by cross and up-selling (e.g. buy our branding package: new logo etc, or buy our email marketing automation templates that you can easily use in Drip.co). Decrease the CAC by driving referrals.
I've said this before and still stand by it: companies are not interested in web design anymore. However, if you can show a business owner how to increase revenue, or how to cut costs, decrease risk, or add value in any other way, they will be interested. Especially if you've thought-through your business model e.g. pay us $XXX per month and you can buy our off-the-shelf template with your own logo etc implemented - the shopify/demandware of car dealership websites.

This was a long rant. Not meant to discourage you but wanted to help set expectations that will enable you to play the long game.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Hi nikita,

Welcome to the forum and good to have you here. I recognize the feeling of trying everything under the sun and hoping that something sticks. Over the years I've come to realize that this doesn't work. I'll share my thoughts on your post based on my own experiences.

Bear with me as this is going to sound harsh:

Focus on process instead of events.

Books such as 4HWW only focus on the event and never tell you how much graft it took to get there. Tim Ferriss worked long hours to get his supplements company up-and-running. Once he sold that, he had all the time of the world to go do the "location independent" stuff. It will take time to build a business. Nothing is handed to you without putting in the effort.

Again, process is everything


This is lazy thinking. What are you going to teach the assistant to do? What process will they follow? Or are you expecting an assistant that will work for low $XX per hour but somehow will manage to crank out sale after sale? Or even worse: looking for somebody that will do all of your sales for a percentage in your business?

Don't cut corners


What value are you adding? The business model you've sketched out above is being the middle man i.e. adding overhead not value. Taking templates, editing them and reselling might make you some money in the short term, but it will not help you build a sustainable business.

Set attainable goals to ensure you stay on the right track


I've come across this a lot. Whenever you engage in an activity, be sure that it aligns with what your goals are. What I mean by this is that if you don't know what your goals are, you will never know if you're actually doing the right thing. Simply doing things because you think you should be doing them, will not net into positive results.

The way I would go about tackling this if I were ever interested in doing webdesign:
  • Identify the area that you're going to become the "king of webdesign" in. Let's assume for argument's sake that you want to become the "king of webdesign for car dealerships".
  • Market research car dealerships in US/UK that have very appealing websites. Take note of what works, and what doesn't work. Slowly start building your own template based on the insights that you've acquired.
  • Create a demo/dummy website based on the domain. Source a quality designer that can help you create logos/images/brand feeling.
  • Start in your local area. Research what car dealerships have websites that look like they were created with MS Paint. Start building your own database of leads (i.e. CRM - but you could easily start in excel).
  • Build a sales funnel. How are you going to get all of those cold leads warmed up? Are you going to send them an offline leaflet? Use PPC? Use FB ads? Create demo's? etc etc. This is where you get to use your brain. Develop your own sales funnel approach (read up on AARRR model) - once you've learnt what works you could potentially get an assistant to push leads through your funnel and setup appointments for example.
  • In the first year you will be responsible for all of your own sales. You will have to take those appointments (or warmed up leads) and convert them into happy customers.
  • Calculate your cost per customer acquisition (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV). Increase the lifetime value by cross and up-selling (e.g. buy our branding package: new logo etc, or buy our email marketing automation templates that you can easily use in Drip.co). Decrease the CAC by driving referrals.
I've said this before and still stand by it: companies are not interested in web design anymore. However, if you can show a business owner how to increase revenue, or how to cut costs, decrease risk, or add value in any other way, they will be interested. Especially if you've thought-through your business model e.g. pay us $XXX per month and you can buy our off-the-shelf template with your own logo etc implemented - the shopify/demandware of car dealership websites.

This was a long rant. Not meant to discourage you but wanted to help set expectations that will enable you to play the long game.
Many thanks for your post, harsh rants are always appreciated :)

I completely understand the points you made; you're right and thanks for reminding me about

1) adding value rather than just being a middleman
2) focusing on the process rather than the event
3) having goals

The goals thing I feel is especially important for me. I tend to rush and go all in without having a defined path or goal to aim towards.
 

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Hi Nikita,

Cold outreach isn't the only way to get clients. I've done 0 cold calling, and built a six figure web design & marketing agency in the past year by building up a good upwork profile, getting jobs from network and friends, and niching into specific fields/types of work.

Both on upwork and for network/friends it can make sense to start by doing cheap websites just for the references and portfolio. You mentioned $100..I'd personally recommend doing websites for at least $300-$500 at minimum so it would at least make you some money even while you are learning and building a reputation. See if you can find influential/connected people, in which case it can also make sense to build them the website for free. If you do a great job, they are VERY likely to recommend you, and since they have a lot of exposure people will also ask them who has done their website (and you can place a link at the bottom as well). I normally tell "reference" website clients not to tell other people what price they've gotten, which makes them feel good about it AND makes it easier to sell full price to the people they reffer you to. In addition, you can mention to them you have a XX% referal bonus you are happy to give them for any deal that they refer your way and closes.

Upwork is tough until you get top-rated, and can be very competitive. However it can also be great if you niche down, and I've gotten $7k and $14k clients thorugh there as well as recurring x,xxx monthly clients.

Goodluck on your journey!

-David
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Hi Nikita,

Cold outreach isn't the only way to get clients. I've done 0 cold calling, and built a six figure web design & marketing agency in the past year by building up a good upwork profile, getting jobs from network and friends, and niching into specific fields/types of work.

Both on upwork and for network/friends it can make sense to start by doing cheap websites just for the references and portfolio. You mentioned $100..I'd personally recommend doing websites for at least $300-$500 at minimum so it would at least make you some money even while you are learning and building a reputation. See if you can find influential/connected people, in which case it can also make sense to build them the website for free. If you do a great job, they are VERY likely to recommend you, and since they have a lot of exposure people will also ask them who has done their website (and you can place a link at the bottom as well). I normally tell "reference" website clients not to tell other people what price they've gotten, which makes them feel good about it AND makes it easier to sell full price to the people they reffer you to. In addition, you can mention to them you have a XX% referal bonus you are happy to give them for any deal that they refer your way and closes.

Upwork is tough until you get top-rated, and can be very competitive. However it can also be great if you niche down, and I've gotten $7k and $14k clients thorugh there as well as recurring x,xxx monthly clients.

Goodluck on your journey!

-David
Great points! Upwork kind of left a bad taste in my mouth after they slashed almost 1/3 of my revenue in fees and blocked my account until I video verify. But it's a pretty good way of getting jobs; almost every day I get invited to jobs purely by having "web design" tagged on my profile.

I think Upwork would work very well for those high paid clients, they cut their fees down to much lower for $1-10k jobs.

I have an idea for certain niches for clients in saturated fields; a good website would definitely help them stand out.

Thanks!

EDIT: Forgot to ask, what do you do for those x,xxx recurring clients? That's a ton of clients, do you charge for website upkeep or something? And do you deal with Wordpress or only HTML sites? Most jobs on Upwork seem to be for WP.
 
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...

I have an idea for certain niches for clients in saturated fields; a good website would definitely help them stand out.
For niching down, I would also recommend learning how to do non saturaded fields, and technologies with much smaller competition.

E.g working with logistics companies. After you make 1-2 websites for those companies, the next ones will be much easier to sell as you'l be able to show them your portfolio and references etc.

For technologies, things like API integrations, special plugins, and support systems (Infusionsoft, Shopify apps etc) have much lower competition as most people don't want to take the time to learn them. The results is that you are able to provide more value and charge a premium on your services.

...

EDIT: Forgot to ask, what do you do for those x,xxx recurring clients? That's a ton of clients, do you charge for website upkeep or something? And do you deal with Wordpress or only HTML sites? Most jobs on Upwork seem to be for WP.
Recurring clients include SEO, Adwords, Email marketing, and marketing consulting. I work mostly with WP.
 
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• nikita •

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Fixed all the issues on my business site, email now finally works. Maybe I should have gone with BlueHost, as people say GoDaddy isn't the best.

Messed around with Wordpress because I know eventually I'll have to use it. I'm wondering if and how I can insert Wordpress elements into a HTML5 theme? So the client can update, say, a photo gallery or price list, but I don't have to use Wordpress for the whole site. @Fox do you have experience in this?
 

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Fixed all the issues on my business site, email now finally works. Maybe I should have gone with BlueHost, as people say GoDaddy isn't the best.

Messed around with Wordpress because I know eventually I'll have to use it. I'm wondering if and how I can insert Wordpress elements into a HTML5 theme? So the client can update, say, a photo gallery or price list, but I don't have to use Wordpress for the whole site. @Fox do you have experience in this?
I have used wordpress pages on html sites - news, testimonials, blog etc, but not as split pages.
A quick google will show you how to set this up in a separate folder so they work together.
 

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• nikita •

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One final question @Fox, hope I'm not being too annoying, if so just tell me to shut up :D

About domains; what if the client has an existing domain, but they don't have or remember the details for their registrar? If some of these sites were set up long ago or by another developer, how would I gain access to that domain name so I can use it for the new site? Googled a lot and can't seem to find the answer.
 

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One final question @Fox, hope I'm not being too annoying, if so just tell me to shut up :D

About domains; what if the client has an existing domain, but they don't have or remember the details for their registrar? If some of these sites were set up long ago or by another developer, how would I gain access to that domain name so I can use it for the new site? Googled a lot and can't seem to find the answer.
They (or you) call/email the business and get it reset. Its not hard.

My advice would be to focus on the next step and work on that. What you mentioned happens make 10% of the time - focus on the next hurdle and not 5 ahead. Your progress will be much faster.
 
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Tried my hand at Upwork to get some portfolio pieces in before reaching out to businesses. Despite using Lex's tips and having a 5 star rating under my belt, I've had no success... So I reached out to a potential client with a shit website and got told "as far as we're aware, our website is fine" coldly. Kinda stung. Makes me worry I'll never hit success. I'm such a damn introvert, this feels completely out of my zone.
 

Davidla

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Tried my hand at Upwork to get some portfolio pieces in before reaching out to businesses. Despite using Lex's tips and having a 5 star rating under my belt, I've had no success... So I reached out to a potential client with a shit website and got told "as far as we're aware, our website is fine" coldly. Kinda stung. Makes me worry I'll never hit success. I'm such a damn introvert, this feels completely out of my zone.
Both in Upwork and in cold outreach you will face a lot of rejection..so don't worry and don't let it get it to you. It says nothing about your ability to have success in the field, it just means you don't have the knowledge and credibility that make getting clients easier.

In Upwork, how many proposals have you sent? Are you out of connects already? How many cold emails did you send?

In my personal experience, in the beginning it took ~1 out of 10-15 proposals to get one job - and that was when the job was relatively fresh. The reality is that Upwork's algorithm makes it hard for new players to get jobs - many of your potential clients may not even read your proposal with the way Upwork arranges their inbox. Something I recommend doing is to post a job yourself, so you can see how things look like in your "inbox" - what parts of your proposal Upwork shows first/above the fold etc.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Both in Upwork and in cold outreach you will face a lot of rejection..so don't worry and don't let it get it to you. It says nothing about your ability to have success in the field, it just means you don't have the knowledge and credibility that make getting clients easier.

In Upwork, how many proposals have you sent? Are you out of connects already? How many cold emails did you send?

In my personal experience, in the beginning it took ~1 out of 10-15 proposals to get one job - and that was when the job was relatively fresh. The reality is that Upwork's algorithm makes it hard for new players to get jobs - many of your potential clients may not even read your proposal with the way Upwork arranges their inbox. Something I recommend doing is to post a job yourself, so you can see how things look like in your "inbox" - what parts of your proposal Upwork shows first/above the fold etc.
Sent about 20 proposals, I send a few every day. Only 1 cold email, felt so spammy sending that one out. I used my personal email address rather than my business which maybe was a mistake...

I did post a job myself actually! Created an ad exactly for a job I'd like to complete and had ~65 proposals. The vast majority of them were all "me me me" and were totally different to what Lex advises doing. And these people are making a lot of money on Upwork and are highly rated. Gave me a confidence boost that I could do a good job despite not being experienced, but I see how my proposals are likely being buried. I had one interview for a job and the guy said that my proposal stuck out from all the bad ones he receives. Still didn't get the job though.

How difficult is it to find jobs on Upwork now that you have worked for a lot of people there?
 

Davidla

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Nice! Keep sending them out..if you continue to provide value and differentiating yourself I'm sure you will start getting jobs there.

Did you ask the client that interviewed you for feedback on why he decided to go with someone else?

With Upwork, once you have a well built profile, you are top rated and have good feedback, you will begin getting a lot of invites which make it much easier to get the job. In general Upwork is still a place where there is a lot of price competition, so it will always require work to get good jobs (which is why I'm focused on other sales channels now), but just getting decent jobs will become much easier.

Remember that even your first clients through upwork may be the beginning of snowball effect - just had one of my first clients on Upwork who I've made a website for $400 come back and asked for a new website and after talking about his needs and building them a good solution it is now a 6.5k project.
 
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• nikita •

• nikita •

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Nice! Keep sending them out..if you continue to provide value and differentiating yourself I'm sure you will start getting jobs there.

Did you ask the client that interviewed you for feedback on why he decided to go with someone else?

With Upwork, once you have a well built profile, you are top rated and have good feedback, you will begin getting a lot of invites which make it much easier to get the job. In general Upwork is still a place where there is a lot of price competition, so it will always require work to get good jobs (which is why I'm focused on other sales channels now), but just getting decent jobs will become much easier.

Remember that even your first clients through upwork may be the beginning of snowball effect - just had one of my first clients on Upwork who I've made a website for $400 come back and asked for a new website and after talking about his needs and building them a good solution it is now a 6.5k project.
He said it was lack of experience. Though everything looked good, I guess it's difficult to hire someone new rather than someone with a ton of experience.

And I just got accepted a job! It's to do with Wordpress, something I haven't used much. I've got the Divi theme though, and everything he wants seems pretty simple other than a section he wants to add which searches for and aggregates events... No clue how to do that but I guess I'm gonna learn on the job!
 

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Hi Nikita,

Cold outreach isn't the only way to get clients. I've done 0 cold calling, and built a six figure web design & marketing agency in the past year by building up a good upwork profile, getting jobs from network and friends, and niching into specific fields/types of work.

Both on upwork and for network/friends it can make sense to start by doing cheap websites just for the references and portfolio. You mentioned $100..I'd personally recommend doing websites for at least $300-$500 at minimum so it would at least make you some money even while you are learning and building a reputation. See if you can find influential/connected people, in which case it can also make sense to build them the website for free. If you do a great job, they are VERY likely to recommend you, and since they have a lot of exposure people will also ask them who has done their website (and you can place a link at the bottom as well). I normally tell "reference" website clients not to tell other people what price they've gotten, which makes them feel good about it AND makes it easier to sell full price to the people they reffer you to. In addition, you can mention to them you have a XX% referal bonus you are happy to give them for any deal that they refer your way and closes.

Upwork is tough until you get top-rated, and can be very competitive. However it can also be great if you niche down, and I've gotten $7k and $14k clients thorugh there as well as recurring x,xxx monthly clients.

Goodluck on your journey!

-David
Do you outreach with linkedin? I know a guy that swears by it, doesn't need to spend a dime on ads. Takes awhile though. Outreach is probably the wrong word though.

Niche down and give out free value, join and create groups etc.
 

Davidla

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And I just got accepted a job! It's to do with Wordpress, something I haven't used much. I've got the Divi theme though, and everything he wants seems pretty simple other than a section he wants to add which searches for and aggregates events... No clue how to do that but I guess I'm gonna learn on the job!
Congratulations! I think it's a great way of learning..knowing you should be able to learn it and make it happen even though you don't know how to do it yet.

In cases like this, you can always do some good research before hand to see if you find a general solution to the problem (Plugin, API that needs integration etc) so you have some level of certainty it can be done.
 

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