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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

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GuitarManDan

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Hey everyone,

It's been about one year since I joined the forum and thanks to the great advice of some members of the community, I've been able to completely change my life and move in a better direction.

To keep it simple, I was working at an investment bank in NYC and absolutely hated my life / how I was treated.

This week I just moved into my apartment in Scottsdale after making the cross country drive solo. A few months back I started my web design business with the help of Fox's course which has provided tremendous value and I've already closed a $1250 and a $4000 sale so far (a few other possible ones in the pipeline too).

When I was trying to find my way, I probably cold emailed 250+ businesses and cold called 150+ with lots of rejection, but it was a great learning experience.

I know a lot of members are from the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, and as I'm new to the area, it would be great to meet up if anyone is interested to grab a coffee/drink sometime.

Thanks!
 

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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Just wanted to take a moment to really stop and appreciate the current situation that I'm in. I'm my harshest critic so I'll be the first to say I still have a long, long way to go, but things just seem to be coming together really well with my business and I'm so excited for 2019. I know I'm going to have an excellent year and challenge myself.

Reflecting on the past few days/weeks, it's night and day from my life when I was living in dreary NYC and working at an investment bank.

A few things I've really enjoyed in the past few weeks:

  • Getting a notification on my phone eating lunch with family/friends that a deal closed and I just got the 50% deposit from the $4k deal. This happened while family/friends were all moaning about having to go back to work.
  • Having the freedom to work from wherever I want. Instead of flying home for just Christmas, I decided to work from my parent's place in NJ and visit friends/family for 3 weeks and I fly back to beautiful Scottsdale on Saturday after a nice long break (where a check for the remaining 50% of another deal is waiting for me in my mailbox).
  • ***This is my favorite one*** - all of the people who told me I was "throwing my life away" and "making the biggest mistake of my life" are drastically changing their tone. Saying things like "I didn't really mean it" or "I didn't think you'd get this lucky".
  • Getting texts from old coworkers telling me management changed their expectations. Now, anyone who doesn't work a MINIMUM of 8 am - 8 pm is considered a slacker and is brutally criticized.
  • The fact that every single stress induced health issue I was having is completely gone.

Again just to clarify, not making this post to pretend like "I've made it"... but I was so in the weeds in 2018 trying to prove the concept with this business that I never took a step back and thanked everyone in this community, especially @MJ DeMarco , so much for opening my eyes and allowing me to step away from misery and work towards creating this amazing lifestyle.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Huge news, guys!!

Just closed a $1,500 WordPress site redo for a famous comedian!

So a little back story, a good friend of mine back in NYC told me she brought in a big client for her comedy talent management business she works for and she isn't going to see any commission on that. A light bulb went off in my head and I told her if she introduced me to anyone where I made a sale, I'd give her 15% of the total sale.

Next week, famous comedian she works with said he quickly needs a redo for his WordPress site and their company was frantically trying to find someone.

I quoted them at $800 - $2000 and the manager said $1500 works.

Just had a call with the comedian and my friend and he saw me as an expert because I had social proof (introduced from his management company). He told me exactly what he's looking for in the site (basic social media feeds, link to his iTunes comedy specials, YouTube videos, etc) and he kept thanking me for helping him out.

The manager of the comedy talent agency said "do right by us with this client and we'll make sure you have plenty of work in the future".

I'm so damn excited that months of hard work is finally paying off - This April will be my first month I cover all my expenses and I'll bring in $5500 total (so far) just this month.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey guys... great news!

Just met with another potential client (the one I pitched to in person a few weeks back). Met with the owner and he shook my hand and said he wanted to go with a 12 month $1,500 / month plan ($18k sale)!

I'll celebrate once they sign the paperwork but he seems like a straight shooter and he told me to send over the contract and the instructions to set up ACH payments so it just gets automatically taken out of their account and into mine.

Time to go crazy tonight getting all of this set up but exciting stuff!
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

I want to be as transparent as possible and share something that happened recently which really shows a lot of what MJ speaks about in his recent book Unscripted...

Even after moving out across the country over a year ago, my older brother... who I love to death but is the strongest definition of a slowlaner I've ever seen, is still trying to make me feel guilty for moving and taking this big leap.

Today on the phone he kept telling me:

-I was "hiding" from life by starting this business and moving across the country
-I was going to miss everything (even though I am flying back a good amount to be there for important holidays)
-I'm going to be a "rich a**hole" and even if I'm successful I'm not going to enjoy it because I left my family behind (even though I call them multiple times a week)

Maybe he has good intentions, but it's frustrating. He hates his job, hates the cold weather, hates so much about his life but he always acts like a victim and like everything is out of his control.

Apologies for the rant, but I hope this helps others who have taken the leap and are dealing with similar objections from family members.

I'm good at keeping my cool, so I told him that what I did is the opposite of "hiding" from my life. I'm grabbing life by the horns and making things happen on a daily basis. "Hiding" is staying in a terrible comfortable position.

I also mentioned that I've never had any issues with depression, but I was pretty damn close at my last corporate job. I just asked him would he prefer that I stayed in the area and was miserable 24/7 or that I took steps in the right direction to improve my life.

Family always knows how to get under your skin I guess haha... good times. Ok, rant over... time for a few updates:

Business Update:

1. First SEO Client Paid the Invoice:
Started right away and we identified the exact keywords we want to target. Got all of the baseline stats down and am going to jump right into on-page SEO items tomorrow to get things moving.

2. Had Two Amazing Meetings Today: A social sports league I joined out here (where I've made a lot of amazing connections and friendships) had a few SEO issues so I sent the head of the league a quick audit and he loved it. We got lunch today and he said the owner is really interested in what I can do and I'm going to send them a pitch later this week!

Next up, another friend owns a travel agency here and she said before they start spending a lot on marketing, they need to get the website right. They're very interested in having me do a complete redesign of the site. I told them I typically work in the area of $2k - $11k and they said they should be able to do something towards the lower end of that.

3. Plenty of SEO Proposals Pending: Trying to work as smart and hard as possible - I've been sending out a lot of proposals and continue to bring in more and more leads. Sales seem to come in bunches for me... so I know I need to work smart and keep up this momentum I have from the recent sale.

4. Meeting Tomorrow: From a networking connection, meeting with a potential client for a complete website redesign. Basically a meet and greet and fact finding to see if it's a good fit to work together.

Basically.. there's A LOT going on right now and I'm so close to breaking through in a major way to really lock in some solid monthly and one-off revenue this year.

Will keep everyone posted!
 
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GuitarManDan

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May i ask, is this web business actually saving you time, freeing up time ..if so how ? or is it just another job.
I think it's definitely a glass half empty kind of mentality to look at this whole thread and think that this is just another job. Honestly, maybe I'm working longer hours than in my old job, but the experience is 100% different. I have a lot of thoughts about this that I want to share to anyone viewing this thread so I'm just going to ramble them out here.

First off, the MAIN goal of all of this was to get my freedom back. It always seemed like a pipe dream to me and something that would never happen to be able to make the leap and move somewhere completely different where I didn't know anyone/anything and make it work. This business has allowed me to move across the country, meet new friends, experience new things and just learn so much it's incredible.

When I was working at the most recent investment bank, I was getting to the point where I almost didn't recognize myself. I was so stressed out and wound up that I was legitimately developing health issues that were 100% stress induced. Maybe 1 month after moving here and having the freedom/flexibility to be on my own schedule, and all of those health issues have almost completely gone away.

What I see as the most valuable thing out of all of this is what I've learned from this business so far. Every day I wake up and feel like my clients are paying me to learn how to run a business, how to close sales, how to effectively market my business, etc. I've learned so much from this experience and amazing members on this community, special shoutouts to @Fox and @Eskil with their support.

My long term plan is not to run this business until it falls apart, but instead to use this as an opportunity to learn how to successfully run a business, and have this fund a different business venture down the road (maybe a 2-4 years away) where if I hit a homerun, it's life-changing money instead of just good SEO/web design money.

There have been so many amazing stories on here of forum members who had to really grind and hustle in the beginning or else it wouldn't have worked. I think trivializing the beginning stages of ANY business to "just another job" gives an excuse to never try.

Stories that come to mind is Likwid taking 2-3 years from idea to ending up on Shark Tank, Vick taking a few years to make his first sale with his sunglass business and absolutely killing it after that.

Working for me feels SO much different when it's your own business. At my old job, I'd stay late because a coworker messed something up or my boss wanted to look good to the higher ups... now when I work late hours it's to grow my business and to invest in my future and my freedom from ever going back to another soul-sucking job again.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

4K deal closed! CPA just paid the invoice for the 50% deposit.

Great way to start 2019 - and I’m excited for this one I see a lot of areas I can really add value with this client and help him out.

Since I’ve stated it before on here, the goal is $100k of revenue locked down this year. As long as I’m acting smart, constantly learning and taking action, I know I will do it.

2019 Tracker: $4k revenue / $100k goal
 
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GuitarManDan

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Big day! Just closed a $16k website project. I've always been good in in-person meetings but I was definitely trying to not act too off when I was excited seeing him cut me a check for the 50% deposit.

This has been months in the works with lots of back and forth - this client came to me as a referral from a much smaller site project that I did for the travel company.

From a cashflow perspective, this is now my best month yet (previously I'd beaten my record this July and August).. really exciting stuff!

He also agreed to a $500 per month maintenance plan (which will kick off once the project is done). I'd imagine this project shouldn't take more than 1-2 months.

Updating the numbers below to add in the $8k deposit (and I also got a payment for my PPC client paying me $300 per month):

2019 Revenue Tracker: $42,955 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $2,100 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
 

MJ DeMarco

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$8,000/mo, living in sunshine, setting your own hours, killing your own work... thread updated to GOLD. Congrats man, sorry it took me awhile to catch up on your progress.

I've so freaking excited for ya.

And hearing the family coming around as well is great news. Talk is cheap, done is expensive. And you've done done. ;-)
 

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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Good news - closed my first SEO monthly client! We agreed to go month-to-month for $500 per month. The scope includes services from one of the lower SEO packages I'm offering so it will get the business owner great results but not require a crazy amount of hours per month on my side so I will be able to work on bringing on more clients to help out too.

Super friendly and ambitious business owner at one of my networking events. I love the fact that she told me she used to work for a big investment bank too and got so burned out she decided to quit and start her own business so I want to work my a$$ off to get her business amazing results so she doesn't have to worry about going back to a corporate job ever again.

I have a really good feeling about this, I have a lot of proposals out there right now and I know a bunch are going to start coming through!

Here's a quick update on the totals - going to send out the contract tomorrow:

2019 Revenue Tracker: $9,780 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $500 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

It looks like a few big payments I was waiting on will be delayed until next year so I'm good to go ahead and put together a summary of 2019 for my business, what went well, what challenges I ran into, and what the plans are for next year. I'm going to simply use the total revenue brought into the business and not complicate things with outstanding revenue or other business that was closed but still isn't paid in full. So, I'll jump right in:

Stats for My Business:

How much money did my business make in 2019 in total? $55,512 (adding $200 for a recent payment I received) in total revenue brought in. That compares to $14,600 in 2018 (increase of approx. 280% year over year).

On top of that, I finished with currently $3,200 per month in recurring revenue (which will increase more after a few web design projects finish up and move into maintenance payments). Additionally, I have $13,575 outstanding from web design projects that are still being worked on and waiting to be completed / wrapped up. I really thought I was going to crack the $60k mark but clients winded things down and weren't as responsive as the holidays drew closer.

What My 2019 Goals Were:

I set out a goal to crack $100k in total revenue and $10k per month by the end of the year in recurring revenue. It feels strange because I hold myself to the toughest standard so even though I felt like I learned so much and improved so much this year, especially in my sales abilities, it's odd to come up short on both of those.

What Went Well:

I started 2019 knowing almost nothing about SEO and was able to learn thanks to Steve Deane's course and offer that as a service where I got my clients some fantastic results.

Additionally, I did almost 0 outreach for web design, and all of the business I did was from referrals. After running the business for around two years, I have a handful of former clients who have become amazing referral partners. I worked hard to get them great results and it's helped me grow my business organically from referrals in the web design space.

Even though I didn't hit my revenue goal, I did grow the business by almost 300% so I'm happy with that outcome.

I was able to meet up with a lot of people on the forum which was fantastic - really excited for the summit in February to meet more members!

Challenges That Came Up:

Honestly, time management was the big one. I was fortunate enough to be in a space where I was getting a lot of referrals from former clients so it was a question of do I outsource, do I do it all myself, do I take smaller jobs, only large jobs, do I just focus on SEO, just web design, etc.

This was the first year I started actually outsourcing to work on scaling my business and it's definitely something that I need to do more of for next year.

From another time management perspective, I kick started my business with cold calling and networking but they became less effective as my time could've been spent working on my current work, outsourcing clients, or sticking to referrals for now. It was a weird catch 22 where at the networking events I felt like I was wasting my time, but when I didn't go I'd feel guilty like I was missing out on business. The happy medium I found was just going to one event per week for a group I'd been consistently going to. Goals for 2020:

I have three main goals for this new year. I was having difficulties coming up with a new goal since I didn't hit mine last year and the majority of the advice I saw said to simply double what you made this past year and make that the new goal. So I used that as a basis but changed the figures a bit to think big

  1. Total Revenue of $150,000 for the business
  2. By the end of the year, be at over $15k per month in recurring revenue from SEO, maintenance clients, etc.
  3. Most Importantly - To follow along with MJ's guidance, I want to launch another business where the sky is the limit. I will keep going full time with my current business because it's getting some great momentum but at the end of the day, unless I hire full time employees, you can only scale this business so much. I want to be in a space where if I hit a homerun it's life-changing and retiring early money vs. "good" money. By July 1st, 2020, I'm going to have decided on the next business venture and will be executing on that in addition to running my digital marketing company here.
It's been fantastic sharing my story with everyone on the forum here, I hope it helps anyone in the beginning stages of looking to start a business or specifically go into the digital marketing world, but it also helps me greatly to put down my thoughts into writing.

Wishing everyone happy holidays and let's make this happen in the new year!
 
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GuitarManDan

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What a week... the fashion designer's people just got back to me that they discussed and want to move forward! More to come in a more detailed post, but his assistant is calling me in 30 mins or so to figure out the logistics.

This deal will be for $4.5k.

When this one goes through that'll be $11.5k locked up in one week!

This will be my first 5 figure month ever, more than I even made each month at my old investment banking job. Thanks all for the kind words and support!!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Honestly, I really am not a fan of cold emailing, I probably sent out 500-600 (from my tracking in 2018) and I closed 1 client (would be 2 if I close this financial services firm). It's not efficient and really scalable.
Another strategy that used to work for me is to become a customer of your target...

For instance if you hired a plumber to fix the toilet and their website stunk, you'd have a "IN" to make a proposal. "Hey, I'm your customer and I noticed that..."

I remember this worked for me way back in the day...

If you eat at any restaurant, you have this "IN"... "they other day I ate at your restaurant and ..."
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Big things happening this week, I can feel it! I've been on a kind of hot streak lately (closed 3 deals in the last 4 weeks, with the only week I didn't close one being when I had surgery recently)... tax season is over which means a lot of potential clients have freed up time and asked me to reach out, here are a few things I'm up to this week and why I'm excited to make things happen over the next few days/weeks:

-Verbal agreement SEO client asked me to reach out tomorrow, need to determine which package he wants (pretty sure they ranged from $500 to $1500 or so), so going to give him a call and review my notes beforehand to remind myself of what is motivating him to want to move forward.

-Fashion designer's manager asked if we could catch up about the SEO proposal I sent over (this one is huge, anywhere from $2200 to $6000 per month depending on the package they choose).. the higher tiered prices are for other services too. Going to also go over some notes on this one, even if they aren't ready to move yet, this one could be huge and I know they can afford it / see the value in it eventually.

-Another very very strong prospect (reached out through cold outreach but he really liked the audit I did for his site) for not only SEO monthly work but also completely revamping his site asked me to reach out later this week. I pitched him for $4k-7k for the site and then I believe $750 to $2,000 per month for SEO depending on the plan he chooses.

-I joined a mastermind with my newest client and friend and someone I haven't even met yet sent me a strong referral for SEO! Her aunt owns a food company that would be a great fit for SEO and she's specifically looking for it. Did a really in depth audit and sent that over to the owner tonight and working on scheduling a call with the owner later this week

Health Update (for those of you wondering): Had my follow up with the surgeon today, he mentioned it seemed to be healing slower than usual but everything seems to be in tact and nothing is messed up which is great news. If it doesn't get better or progress more in the next week or so I'll get some follow up tests done... but finally able to drive and leave my apartment which feels so nice.

Back to the deals, I know that it's only official when they sign on the dotted line, but I'm very optimistic about these deals and I think April/May is going to be HUGE.

Need to hustle to really get to that goal of $10k / month locked in by the end of June. I know I can do it, just need to keep taking good action every day and working smart.

Will keep everyone posted on how it goes.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

A few quick updates since I last posted:

1. Did some follow up work for the fashion designer client. They asked how much my hourly rate was so I had to do some research and speak to some experts in this space. I ended up charging $90 / hour (which seemed crazy to me originally and honestly made me uncomfortable) but if there's one thing I've learned is that we all seem to have this built in guilt or shame for charging a fair price for what we're worth.

They didn't even flinch and said that sounded great. Just finished up the edits and did a total of 14 hours of work so that's another $1,260!

2. Huge potential deal that I just sent out the proposal for. A financial services firm in the US I originally cold emailed... the CEO got back to me (he laughed on the call and said the only reason he did was because I saw in his profile he used to work for the huge investment bank I did and I mentioned that as my opening line).

They're not looking for an updated website, but they badly need someone to help with an overall marketing strategy, SEO work and a few other services.

After running it by @Fox and some others, I decided to pitch them $5,000 per month for 3 months and then going month to month from there.

Will keep everyone posted how that goes. Besides that... I've been filling the pipeline with other potential clients too and just trying to be as efficient as I can with my time. Finished up a few different client projects too that will launch soon.

2019 Challenge: $7,510 Revenue / $100,000 Goal
 
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GuitarManDan

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@MJ DeMarco - I figured you'd enjoy a quick breakdown of what the bachelor party was like with everyone asking about what I'm doing in AZ and with my business. Here's a quick summary of what happened (keep in mind that everyone is basically working for big investment banks in this group):

1. Everyone telling me how "jealous" they were that I could just drop everything and "try this thing out".

2. "Do a lot of people quit (XYZ Bank I used to work for)?"

3. "Wait, how did you learn coding and all of that stuff.. you didn't go back to school did you?"

4. "Starting a business is really risky" followed by some people throwing out stats like "95% fail in the first year"

5. LOTS of complaining about their jobs, which if I'm being honest, I find myself just not caring and not able to be empathetic to anymore. After seeing what the other side is like and the amazing stories of people on here overcoming the odds, I don't like hearing people complain about a problem but do nothing to fix it. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I've been busting my a$$ to improve every day and am working towards escaping a miserable situation that I wasn't happy in with my old jobs.

6. "Wait, you don't have any employees yet??"

7. "How much longer do you think you're going to try this thing out for?"

And my personal favorite and this brings me back to my glory days working for that last miserable investment banking job...

8. My best friend (whose bachelor party this was) got an email on Saturday from his Managing Director saying he needed to log on (they knew it was his bachelor party). He was obviously really drunk at this point so he ignored it and he came back to an angry email on Monday saying everyone was "disappointed" and that "a leader needs to step up and they're upset he didn't step up on Saturday".
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

I've been working like crazy and just putting my head down and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my best month so far with this business, by a good amount.

For the month of September my business brought in around $11,500 and it was my first 5 figure month from a cashflow perspective. I still have a long way to go with my recurring revenue goals, but I can't complain about the wins I've had with some of the larger web design contracts, even if they are one-offs and not recurring monthly income.

It's amazingly entertaining how much more often close family members have been throwing the "lucky" word around with the recent wins that I've had. Same way that it's described in the books, people don't see the high levels of stress, doubt, frustration, etc. (the process) and they just see the monthly figure (the event) that I brought in this month.

Maybe it's the imposter syndrome, but I still feel like I haven't done anything yet and there's still a long road ahead, but I've been really enjoying the progress of all of this and learning/adapting. The main goals for the immediate future is to keep bumping up that recurring monthly income and closing the larger web design contracts.

For the more long-term future (maybe in the last 6-18 months), the goal is to start looking for opportunities for my next move and the next business with my sights aimed at something that has a much larger ceiling than this current business. Building up that recurring revenue from SEO will help bring in steady income while I can focus on the next business.

I honestly have no idea where to even start with that but it's exciting to think about and I know I've learned so much from this business that I can hit the ground running for the next thing.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Just curious: can you stay active during the summer and spend time outdoors or do people mostly stay indoors during the day and get out only in the mornings or evenings?
late June / July / August you can't be outdoors during daylight, but as soon as sun is down, the temps are bearable.

I don't mind the summers much anymore, love the summer nights. I love cruising down the street, windows open (or top down) and not getting cold. 105 in the dark will do that.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Guys,

Today has been a great day! So I met with the investment mgmt guy this morning for coffee and the meeting went amazing.

Ended up closing a deal for $6,950 to completely redo the website and help setup/provide training for email marketing!

I'll celebrate once the invoice is officially paid, but he agreed to the price, we shook on it, and he told me to send over the invoice and that he'd pay the 50% deposit sometime soon.

Definitely a sigh of relief after a slow few months, but this could all of a sudden be a huge September for my business if I close another deal that I'm in discussions with.

Will keep everyone posted but this is by far the biggest deal I've closed so far.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

I was speaking with @Fox the other day and he asked how many leads / potential clients I've pitched so far. I have a CRM tracking all of it, but when I added the potential total of revenue that would come through the door (even if just closing like 1/3 or 1/2 of these), I got a little overwhelmed.

I've been just putting my head down and hustling all year it's definitely good to take a step back and look at the best ways to really get some of these deals to come through.

**Quick side note**: as of today, my website is currently ranking #1 organically for "SEO (my city)" which according to SEMRush gets 720 searches per month! Absolutely crazy, really interested to see if leads come through that channel organically... either way, I'm 100% going to use that as validation when pitching clients that I can get them results.

I want to put this all down in writing here, I've pitched all of these clients so far and this is a high-level overview of where they stand.

Any advice would definitely be appreciated for the best ways to close some of these and get some amazing momentum going!

2019 Pitched Clients (Still Waiting on Feedback/Decisions):

1. Sports League (SEO) - $1,000 to $3,000 per month (depending on the package chosen)
:

Sent over the proposal email two days ago, the head of the league has a meeting with the owner of the whole nationwide sports league and he's going to bring up my proposal (he's already ran it by him). I should have feedback on Wednesday for this one.

2. Boutique Travel Agency (Web Design) - $3,750

Good friend owns a travel agency and their site is currently really rough. I just pitched them yesterday and saw my friend out at a bar yesterday and we just quickly caught up. She said her and her business partner have a meeting on Monday to discuss this and they'll get back to me next week

3. Investment Mgmt Firm (Digital Marketing Services) - $5,000 per month

This includes SEO and a bunch of other marketing services. Sent the proposal Jan 24th, the owner said they had a busy Feb traveling and they'd get back to me. I waited a few weeks and sent a quick simple email chaser and then followed up with a call but didn't get a chance to speak with anyone (left a voicemail).

Obviously this one is a balancing act of not letting it fade out and not pushing too hard. Any ideas on how to follow up on this one?

4. Local Wealth Management Company (SEO) - $1,000 - $3,450 per month (depending on package)

New cold email technique I've been using has worked amazingly well, got the attention of a local wealth mgmt company and they asked me to come in person and present my SEO plan.

That was about 2 weeks ago and the meeting went great, but the owner has to run it by his partner. Still waiting to hear feedback on this one too.

5. Entertainment Company (SEO) - $500 - $1,875 per month (depending on package)

Came in from a referral from the fashion designer's site I did last year. Had a bunch of great calls but this guy has been really busy so still waiting on his feedback.

Pitched him on March 11th and he said he will aim to get back to me this upcoming week with more feedback.

6. Fashion Designer (SEO) - $2,200 - $6,000 per month (depending on package)

Previous web design client, the higher end packages would be for more than just SEO. Pitched them in early March and his manager said they are going to look at it this upcoming week but things have been crazy busy (he just released a new book which was why the site was really built to promote that and other things).

7. Local Graphic Design and Printing Company (Website Design) - $4,500

Copywriter in my networking group needed a web designer to make a site for a client she's working with. We met in person at his office last week and I sent over a pitch.

The copywriter seems to be of the impression that website design is more commoditized so she told me she was surprised when I quoted him at $4,500 for the site and that it seemed high to her.

Still waiting to see what the owner says... we had great rapport and he was showing me insanely expensive printing machinery he bought for his warehouse (kept name dropping and telling me the prices... multiple machines in the high 5 to 6 figures for each one so clearly the business is doing really well).

8. Former Retirement Planning Client (SEO) - $1,150 per month

My first web design client and my absolute favorite, guy is just a pleasure to work with. Wanted to help him really get the most of his site and he seems like he's interested.

He's the kinda guy who gets busy and drags his feet a little bit so I have to chase him sometimes... I'm going to follow up this week and get a hold of him to try to move things forward here.

9. Video Production Company (SEO) - $1,350 - $1,550 per month

Networking connection, owner is very unhappy with the SEO firm he's using, they aren't getting results and they aren't transparent but he's locked in a weird contract for at least a few more months and he wants to work with me potentially.

Trying to see what his options are to get out of that contract.

10. Commercial Real Estate Firm (Web Design) - $12,000 to $18,000

Networking connection originally, spoke with the marketing manager and I was one of their top choices back in August/Sept... but they aren't in a rush for this project. Been following up maybe once every 4-6 weeks but it doesn't seem to be moving forward too much, but obviously it would be for a good-sized contract.

Not sure how to handle this one either, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

11. Structured Cabling Company (Web Design and SEO) - $12,000 to $18,000 for the site.. SEO TBD

Networking connection, looking to present to the management of his firm so I sent him a proposal with more info about 2 weeks ago, still waiting to hear back for this one too.

So, in conclusion... lots of huge potential out there, just trying to be smart and put myself in the best possible situation to close these!
 

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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Just a quick update to update the numbers (first SEO client paid her $500 monthly bill). Still hustling to bring in more deals for the business. Have some really exciting ones at the moment that Fox has been helping out with.

Basically like 6 months ago I was doing Facebook outreach and one huge construction company must've saved my info... they messaged me saying their owner wants to move forward with updating the site and they are collecting quotes and proposals.

@Fox helped me put together a solid response (we ended up pitching them at a total cost of $25k-$40k after speaking) and provided a detailed plan to really stand out and this was their response below. I'm sure I'm definitely competing with huge companies with 20-100+ people so need to keep putting myself in the best possible spot to close this one!

Hi Dan,

Thanks for this information. I will review it with our IT person and get back with you on timing for a potential meet. I like that you have some ideas about the purpose of our website, which may be what gives you an edge when we’re reviewing interested parties.

Will be in touch


2019 Revenue Tracker: $27,630 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $5,000 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Another solid day! Just closed a $5k web design project for a small real estate business here in my area. I have known the business owner from networking events for a while now.

This was the first time that I pitched the price + deal in person (used to do it always over email which I'm sure cost me A LOT of sales). It was so much easier to do, I was able to handle their objections right on the spot and educate them about things that seemed unclear or things that would've made them hesitate otherwise.

I'll update the numbers once the contract is signed and payments come through, but we sat down for an hour or so and ironed everything out and it ended with us agreeing to the amount, terms, and what exactly I'd be providing so they asked me to send over the invoice and the contract for them to sign this afternoon.

It's really encouraging how much better I'm getting at just dealing with people in general in sales situations. I was really indifferent on the outcome of this one, I was just excited to pitch in person and get ready to deal with any objections that came up. I viewed it as a solid learning experience regardless of what happens.

Really excited to kick this one off too, their current site is brutal so I know I can get them great results with this project. These owners have amazing experience in the industry, testimonials, and other factors that differentiate them but their current site doesn't communicate that at all.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

For my client on the fence, special shoutout to @JordanK and @Fox for helping me come up with a solid email to reach out and let them know I'm willing to work with them if need be. I sent over an email that said:

"Hey (Name) - I know we originally agreed upon $1500 per month for SEO services, but I know these are unprecedented times. I really want to continue working with your business as I know that the leads I will be able to generate will be a huge help on the other end of this crisis. What would work for you and your business in terms of a temporary agreement/payment structure until things get back to normal?"

She wrote back "How about we pay the normal $1500 for this month and let's decide before the next invoice, based on how the situation progresses".

They just went ahead and paid so April is another solid month already ($8k already collected for this month)! Huge relief given the craziness that's happening in the world right now. Updated numbers below:

2020 Revenue Tracker: $29,232.33 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $4,533 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to stop in and provide another update for what's been going on in my world.

Haven't closed a sale since my last update but I've been grinding away at overdelivering for the clients I'm working with and going to networking events / reaching out to targeted niches. I'm very close to closing a few different ones at the moment. I'm currently in discussion with a smaller site for a party planner (more of a portfolio/networking piece), a complete redesign and SEO package for a CPA firm in Scottsdale and a complete website redesign for an investment mgmt firm in Chicago that was referred to me from someone I met a networking event.

What I'm Currently Focusing On: It's great that I've been able to pick up some smaller jobs for people that I've networked with in Scottsdale (most recent sales were for $1200 and $1000) but I understand these types of clients are going to get me anywhere besides breaking even with my business.

I know that overdelivering for these clients can lead to great referrals down the line and that's why I'm still doing them, but at the same time - I don't want to be known as "the guy who does cheap websites".

Someone referred me to a small business owner saying "everyone is trying to charge her 2k or more, I know you can beat that price.

I'm working with Fox and some other really helpful and experienced individuals in his inside group to start heavily targeting and delivering for clients in niches where it makes sense for them to invest $5k - $15k for a website, such as:

  • Financial services
  • Legal services
  • CPA firms
  • Construction companies
  • Doctors
The good news is that one of my first clients ($4k total for a retirement planner back on the east coast) website is finally online so I've been using that as a portfolio piece to show other professionals in that space my recent work.

I feel like I'm so close to that cusp of closing a few huge sales and I know I just need to work smart and hard and I'll get there.

I'm definitely not afraid to roll up my sleeves and hustle, but at the same time I want to make sure I'm constantly reassessing my strategy so that I don't get complacent and end up not meeting my goals.

I know it helps to put it in writing, so here they are:

Business Goals:

2018: $50k total revenue brought in from the business (currently sitting at $10k with around 5 and a half months left in the year)
2019: $100k total revenue brought in from the business

Also, I'm sure some of you will enjoy this... I keep having recurring nightmares that I'm back in NYC working in that awful toxic environment!
 
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GuitarManDan

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Invoice paid for the 7k deal! Feels amazingly relieving and I’m ready to deliver for this client.

Also have a really promising 4.5k deal call with the fashion designer on Monday so all of a sudden if I close that I’ll make more in one month I would’ve made in a month at the old investment bank job.

Definitely celebrating tonight... feels so great to see the business really scaling and growing.
 
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Can you recite how you diffused it? What did you say?

Without guessing, I would have said something like, "We really wanted to work with your business but feared we didn't have the capacity and human resources to complete it in a fashion that would work for your company, much less satisfy our own standards."
Hey MJ,

I can’t take credit for this one - it was all @Fox he recognized this guy has a huge ego so he drafted up this that I sent over:

“Hey David,

Seems like I messed up that email so that is on me. What I was trying to get across was that I don’t feel like my experience is right for what you need at this point. The last thing I would want is to not over deliver on what you need.

I take feedback like this really serious so I would love to learn how I could have written that better and any other way to improve. I joined the networking group to learn so any insight into this would be of great value.

Apologies for the misunderstanding - let me know your thoughts and happy to jump on a call if needed.

Dan”
 

Andy Black

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This stuff shouldn’t mentally drain you.

1) They’re not a client till the money is in your account. No matter how promising anything is, it can fall through at the last minute. I accept this as normal and label them a prospect until I see the money in my account.

2) Make sure you spend most of your time helping the clients where they see the value in what you do. This will keep your spirits up, it will delight them even more, and it will pay off when (not if) they start singing your praises.

3) “Always be closing” to me means keep on moving. That lawyer who put it on ice? My reply would be: “Great. Just circle back when you’re ready.” There’s someone up the road who will bite your hand off. You job is to find them.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Good news! Just closed a $6k website design deal (invoice just paid). One of my favorite clients has been an amazing referral source (same one who gave me the referral for the $16k site) and she told her friend who runs a successful event planning business about the results they've gotten from the site I created for them.

I had a call with the owner on Monday, came up with an idea for a pitch and then had another call yesterday to present that info. She was really happy that I viewed the site as more of a sales system and not just something that looks nice. She told me what made the difference was that I drilled down into the business/strategy side of things instead of just talking about features, platform to build it on, etc.

Updated numbers below adding in the $3k deposit:

2019 Revenue Tracker: $52,046 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $2,433 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Good day today, back home visiting family for Thanksgiving and a referral came to me from a previous client for SEO. It's for a law firm (niche I've been trying to get into for a while) and he agreed on a budget of $1,000 per month (going month to month but he seems to have an idea that it'll be at least 6 months or so).

Sent over the paperwork and invoice for that and just waiting for now. I'll celebrate once it's official but I've been making an effort to bring on more SEO clients so glad to get more experience under my belt.

His current site is absolutely brutal from an SEO perspective so I know I can add huge value. Once it's official, I'll update the tracking numbers.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Had a great first day at the Fastlane Summit, was great to put faces to names. It also was a big day for the business. My biggest sale so far went through while I was watching the presentations at the Summit.

The new client signed contracts and paid the invoices for the deposit on the website and for the 1st month of SEO ($3500 for the site deposit and $1500 for the SEO first month).

One big goal I have this year is to come up with the next idea that would be much more scalable and wouldn't be attached to my time and I've already thought up a few different ideas after listening to the amazing presentations today.

Updating the numbers below:

2020 Revenue Tracker: $11,466 Revenue / $150,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $4,633 Per Month / $15,000 Per Month Goal
 

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