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GOLD! Most liked posts in thread: Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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
     
    MJ DeMarco, ChrisB7, Eskil and 11 others like this.
  4. 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
     
    Jeff Noel, Eskil, OhMyGuersh and 9 others like this.
  5. 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!!
     
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    Lived in Arizona for 18 years. Saw one scorpion in all that time. F*cker was 10 feet tall. Had to use the light saber and auto rifle at the same time to take it out. Or, flick it with my finger. :hilarious:
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
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  7. MJ DeMarco
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    Admin Post
    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.
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. GuitarManDan
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    Hey All,

    One more quick update - been a busy day.

    Just finished up and launched another client site and sent him over the invoice for the remaining 50% of the contract (will be $750 for the final half).

    Definitely way less than I'd usually accept but it was a very very simple project (3 pages) and the business owner is a pleasure to work with so I knew it would be quick and wouldn't come with any hassles. Additionally, he's a great guy to network with so I figured it could lead to much more work.

    So to update the tracker:

    2019 Challenge: $8,260 Revenue / $100,000 Goal
     
    Bdenner64, SteveO, MJ DeMarco and 6 others like this.
  10. MJ DeMarco
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    Admin Post
    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 ..."
     
  11. GuitarManDan
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    Thanks, my main criteria was cheaper standard of living (not hard to do coming from NYC), warmer climate, and a decent population of people around my age (im a 27 year old guy).

    I also was looking to check out a city in the western part of the US (lived in New Jersey and New York my entire life). I really liked San Diego but it was way too expensive when I’m just starting out my business.

    I saw Scottsdale recommended on here multiple times and I had friends who used to live here who couldn’t recommend it enough so I figured why not.
     
  12. GuitarManDan
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    Really exciting news today! There were some delays with the $4k site that I closed a few months back, but he just called me up that he's all ready to go.

    Sent over the invoice and collected the 50% deposit this afternoon. I see this as a client that can bring me to the next level and my main focus these next few weeks is doing the best possible job for him!

    The deal includes:
    -Customized website
    -Email marketing integration and setup
    -Scheduling coordinator integration and setup
    -Basic social media platform setup and some basic assistance to get him started

    In other news, I've been focusing heavily on in-person networking and it's been going great so far. Last night I went to a happy hour for business owners and everyone seemed to enjoy my story of saying screw Wall Street and starting my own business.

    Instead of miserably cold calling people, I was hanging out at a bar with a few drinks and had people coming up to me asking if I could help with their website. Next steps for this upcoming week:

    -Set up the LLC and create the business bank acct
    -Look into joining the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce to have more opportunities for in-person networking
     
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  13. GuitarManDan
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    Closed a $1,200 WordPress site sale today!

    This afternoon I was doing some cold calls and following up with some older leads when this one guy I'd been going back and forth with (didn't seem interested at first glance) was open to hearing about how I could help and eventually convinced him to go ahead with updating his site for $1200 (deposit already paid this afternoon).

    Huge relief because I know I can deliver on this project and I know I'll get him better results and it's great to make another decent-sized sale.

    If there's anything I learned from this one, it's the benefit of persistence and not taking things personally. When I first quoted this business owner for 1200, he pretty aggressively told me he would never pay that much for a "website that looks somewhat nicer".

    Instead of getting offended or hurt, I simply pushed back that I get build websites that get businesses results and went through different benefits and highlighted issues with his current setup.

    Will keep everyone posted on how this project goes, but he seems very committed so far (already paid the deposit, sent over pictures, and provided some additional info I need to get started).
     
  14. 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.
     
  15. 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. ;-)
     
  16. GuitarManDan
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    Hey All,

    In order to hold myself accountable, I want to put down in writing another goal that I was speaking with @Fox about last week as I'm putting all of my efforts into getting monthly recurring revenue SEO clients this year (and will also continue to bring on web design clients as one-off projects too, just will be putting most of my outreach efforts into SEO):

    In addition to my goal of hitting $100k in 2019 of revenue, another goal I'm going to work to achieve and make it happen:

    Hit $10k / month in recurring revenue by June 30th, 2019 with SEO clients

    Here's where I currently stand with recurring rev clients with some quick updates on a few proposals that I sent out last week:

    1. Financial Services Firm: Pitched them $5k/month for SEO, in-depth marketing and a bunch of other services. Sent a quick chaser email as I hadn't heard back (not surprising, they have been pretty slow to move throughout this process).

    The CEO got back to me and said they are traveling across the country to work their team in California and haven't had a chance to review/discuss my proposal. They will review in mid Feb and get back to me from there.

    2. Personal Training Gym:
    Pitched them $1.5k/month for SEO. My tracking extension in my business Gmail tells me that they've viewed it, but I'll give it at least a full week before sending over a quick chaser email.

    Their SEO is currently really rough so I know I could add huge value and help them out.

    3. Other Pipeline: I realized that all of last year with all of the outreach I did for web design... this represents a huge opportunity to sell SEO services to those same businesses.

    I've basically been building out a list on an Excel spreadsheet of businesses to reach out to (starting with the most likely candidates) and doing an SEO audit of all the companies to have concrete facts when I call them and bring this up. Basically reaching out to the following businesses (from easiest to toughest to sell):

    A. Current web design clients
    B. Personal businesses I've been a client of (dentists, doctors, etc)
    C. Close networking business owners I know
    D. Business owners that were friendly/responsive but didn't need web design services

    Will keep everyone posted, but I have a really good feeling about this - now it's time to take massive action and make it happen.
     
    MTEE1985, Eskil, Bdenner64 and 5 others like this.
  17. MJ DeMarco
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    Welcome the neighborhood!! We have about another two months of great weather before your meddle will be tested.

    BTW, can I put this outside or do you want it to remain private on the Inside?
     
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  18. 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!
     
  19. GuitarManDan
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    Completely agreed, it's such a cool feeling that I can just decide to increase my prices by over 5-7 times! (last site before the 7k website was sold for only 1k).

    It's very entertaining the reactions I've gotten when I've told family/friends the great news from the past week. I know my family means well, but all of a sudden they aren't giving me advice like "well.... if it doesn't work out, you should keep your resume updated just in case" and friends are saying things like "I hate my job too, you're inspiring me to start a side hustle and make it work".

    My personal favorite, which I know you talk about in your books, MJ... people have told me how "lucky" I'm getting!

    Next steps now are to keep attending networking events and keep the deals in the pipeline in a good spot to close eventually, but most importantly - really overdeliver and do an excellent job for these two new clients I just picked up.

    Will keep everyone posted how it goes.
     
  20. GuitarManDan
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    Hey All,

    Here's a quick update of what's going on so far in 2019:

    Being Persistent with a Potential Huge Deal:

    Last summer at a networking event I had a conversation with a manager of a commercial real estate firm (10-20 employees) that's looking to completely redo their site.

    This would be a HUGE budget (quoted them at $12k - 18k) and they told me the owner is looking to spend around $15k.

    Definitely have learned to expect curveballs owning a business... I had fantastic rapport with the employee responsible for managing this project and she told me she told the owner I was a great fit but they were collecting quotes.

    So I went to email her and it turns out she's no longer with the company. After a few other attempts to find a new contact there didn't work out, I just called up the general number today and explained the situation.

    Luckily enough, I was speaking to her replacement (new marketing coordinator). She asked me to resend the proposal email to her and that they didn't pick someone to redo the site yet (I was worried I might've missed the boat) and that she'll let me know what the founders say.

    I'm going to follow up if I don't hear back by next week to push hard for an in-person meeting.

    All of the Corporate America nonsense has made me really really good at in-person meetings at building rapport and I want to get to that next level where they can put a face to a name.

    I want to be aggressive to start this year and lock down a huge contract like this to really get some more solid momentum.

    Will let everyone know how it goes when I have updates!
     
  21. MJ DeMarco
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    Awesomely exciting! I remember the feeling, when you realize that holy-shit, next month can be much bigger because you aren't trapped into a traditional salary/hourly time arrangement. Gives me a zing remembering...
     
  22. GuitarManDan
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    Hey Everyone,

    Quick update from me as the year winds down on the year in review as I really started my biz in Jan of this year.

    Right now I'm looking at just over $20k in total revenue for the business for the year, this is way below the mark I set for myself at the onset of $50k (for 2019 anything less than $100k I'll consider not successful).

    I still have a few deals in discussion that could push me closer to $30-40k depending on how the year ends, but I'm trying to takeaway the positives of what I accomplished this year and the challenges to set myself up for success in 2019 with the business.

    What Went Well:
    • Got my first paying client from cold calling and just hustling in the beginning
    • Proved the concept (really got great results for my clients thanks to my website design and copywriting that I learned from various courses and experts)
    • Successfully raised my prices 5-7x (once I proved the value from past clients) to set myself up for success in 2019
    • Worked with two celebrities to really give my company brand name more value than just a random website design company (adds legitimacy and great social proof).
    • Read countless business, marketing, sales, and other entrepreneurship books to continually learn and grow
    Summary:

    I'm definitely my toughest critic, so I look at $20k and think of it almost like I failed in a way (when comparing it to the investment banking salary I got last year), but at the same time I know how much of that 20k was focused towards the end of the year on just a few deals which makes it much easier to bring in much more revenue next year.

    I've gotten a lot better at business skills I never ever had to work on in past jobs (writing sales emails, sales calls, closing in person, etc) and I know I'll continue to work and grow with this.

    In terms of challenges, I know I need to do a better job of getting more opportunities and getting in front of more business owners to keep a constant pipeline. This year, it's been very up and down (usually close 2 deals at a time and then get busy and after those slow down I'll just be doing prospecting for a month or two before another deal goes through).
     
  23. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Another quick update - the fashion designer's website is all finished and I just cashed the remaining 50% ($2,250) check into the business account.

    Not sure how to track that for my 2019 $100k challenge but I figure if it's income I'm reporting for this year and the work was done this year (finished early Jan) I'll count it.

    That puts me at the following so far:

    2019 Challenge: $6,250 Revenue / $100,000 Goal
     
    ChrisB7, twj97, Kid and 3 others like this.
  24. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Scottsdale is beautiful.
     
  25. Vigilante
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    Vigilante Legendary Contributor Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    My mentor died a few years back, but lived in Scottsdale.

    He would call me from the 8th green in the heat of the day, when it was 110 degrees in the sun.

    Life is what you make it.
     

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