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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

OK, time for some tough love for myself. Regardless of what's happened in the past few months (random health issues, surgeries, etc) I have a goal and I need to put my head down and make this happen.

I just flew back to AZ last night and am working on some planning for the week and the next month or so to make this happen. Here's what I'm thinking to make $10k in monthly recurring rev. happen by June 30th of this year.

Here's where we stand:

  • Goal: $10k per month
  • Current: $2k per month (difference of $8k per month)
  • Average Client Value will be around $1,250 per month
  • Client Needed: Approximately 6
Current Pipeline:

  1. Previous web design client (Investment Firm) - verbally agreed to $1,150 per month (have a call with him tomorrow actually) where things should kick off. However, although this is one of my favorite clients because he's a great guy, he is good for his word but he delays things a lot so I'm not going to have my hopes too high that this closes tomorrow.
  2. Previous web design client (Fashion Designer) - this would be absolutely huge, I pitched them to help with SEO for $2,250 per month for a 12 month contract. I completely sold his right-hand man on it, but he is going to present it to the fashion designer this upcoming week. Basically, this guy is absolutely loaded so he flat out told me money isn't an issue, and I know the put myself in a great spot to really show the value. They also know, like and trust me since we've worked together so fingers crossed this one goes through... would be huge.
  3. New prospect (Investment Firm in Scottsdale) - when doing outreach, have had 2 phone calls with a biz owner who said he's very interested in moving forward in having me redo the website (pitched for $4-7k) and SEO (packages from like $1k to 3k per month). No idea when this one would kick off and if this goes through, I'd have to do the website first so realistically it would have to close very fast for me to get this in time for my June 30th deadline.
  4. New prospect (Law Firm in Scottsdale) - when doing outreach, owner responded and said he's be interested in $1,000 per month SEO work for maybe 3-4 months just to see how it goes and then take it from there.

Next Steps:

The above 4 are the most promising but there are a lot more in the pipeline as well that I need to follow up with. I think it's safe to assume that since I need 6 clients, I will get at least 2 from the current pipeline.

That means I will need to get 4 new clients from networking/outreach/referrals/etc by June 30th of this year.

  • So far, when doing batches of outreach, I've gotten probably an average of 1 new client for each batch (typically reaching out to 10-25 businesses). This outreach is highly targeted and I'm using a strategy where I provide a detailed audit for the business that gets a much higher response rate (and takes me way more time).
  • Following that logic, if I do 4 batches of big outreach that should yield me 4 new clients for SEO. Now, I need to get that out ASAP since it obviously isn't instant and the buying cycle is usually a few weeks to a month or so.

Strategic Plan:

  • For the month of May, reach out to approximately 60 more businesses with my highly-targeted outreach approach (and be sure to follow up appropriately) to secure the 4 new clients, plus keep following up with the pipeline to lock in the other 2 clients.
It's ambitious, but I'm so damn close to going from ok monthly revenue to locked in solid 5 figures a month recurring revenue.

I'll just keep my focus on that goal for now, but after hitting the $10k per month mark I'll reanalyze and determine what my goal is to hit in MRR by Dec 31st of this year.

Will keep everyone posted!
 

Zcott

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Hey man - I had a few criteria and web design fit it perfectly:

-Freedom/flexibility to work anywhere with Internet connection
-Quick to startup (wouldn't have to wait years to be profitable)
-Overhead is basically non existent, don't have to burn through cash to set up the foundation

It was tough, I think every single new person on this forum has the same question "what do I choose". I read MJ's book, got excited and then it hit me... what the hell do I do now?

At the end of the day, you just have to make an educated decision and stick with it.
Did you know anything about web design beforehand? I can't imagine a banker knowing a great deal on web design on paper, which makes your story all the more impressive.

To be honest, I have a somewhat similar service to yours. I sell web design services but I outsource it to a friend of mine who knows how to do that. I trust him, he's been doing it for years, but I'm not 100% comfortable with it because I don't have the control, I'm losing revenue paying him, and the sites he can do aren't in the high end range.

I've been mulling over learning coding and web design but wasn't sure if I was falling into action faking when I should be focusing on sales or whatever. But after reading your amazing thread, and just listening to The Millionaire Fastlane where MJ says he learnt to code a site because he had to, I have no real excuse not to myself.

Really enjoying your story. Keep up the good work!
 

GuitarManDan

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Did you know anything about web design beforehand? I can't imagine a banker knowing a great deal on web design on paper, which makes your story all the more impressive.

To be honest, I have a somewhat similar service to yours. I sell web design services but I outsource it to a friend of mine who knows how to do that. I trust him, he's been doing it for years, but I'm not 100% comfortable with it because I don't have the control, I'm losing revenue paying him, and the sites he can do aren't in the high end range.

I've been mulling over learning coding and web design but wasn't sure if I was falling into action faking when I should be focusing on sales or whatever. But after reading your amazing thread, and just listening to The Millionaire Fastlane where MJ says he learnt to code a site because he had to, I have no real excuse not to myself.

Really enjoying your story. Keep up the good work!
Nope, didn't know anything at all - took @Fox 's intro courses and one on udemy. I was so miserable at my job I would leave early (and piss off all of my management) at like 5 pm and spend 3-4 hours every single night learning how to code and other basic business things I'd need to learn (marketing, sales, etc).

I probably did this for easily 3-4 months... people always ask me how I had the motivation to do that, but honestly it was effortless because I hated my job and current situation so much I knew this was my light at the end of the tunnel.
 

Zcott

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Nope, didn't know anything at all - took @Fox 's intro courses and one on udemy. I was so miserable at my job I would leave early (and piss off all of my management) at like 5 pm and spend 3-4 hours every single night learning how to code and other basic business things I'd need to learn (marketing, sales, etc).

I probably did this for easily 3-4 months... people always ask me how I had the motivation to do that, but honestly it was effortless because I hated my job and current situation so much I knew this was my light at the end of the tunnel.
That's really cool. Well done.

And I feel you. That sounds like how I feel about my current situation. Except my background isn't banking but legal. I spent so much time being a wantrepreneur but now I leave work right on 5, come home, and just work. Refuse to let myself go to bed before I've finished my current task.

@Fox's work is really great. His sales video have helped me in the past, so it's no surprise you got value from his courses as well.

Keep up the great work, Sir. :) Hope you exceed all of your targets!
 

Taebaek

New Contributor
Jan 13, 2019
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Nope, didn't know anything at all - took @Fox 's intro courses and one on udemy. I was so miserable at my job I would leave early (and piss off all of my management) at like 5 pm and spend 3-4 hours every single night learning how to code and other basic business things I'd need to learn (marketing, sales, etc).

I probably did this for easily 3-4 months... people always ask me how I had the motivation to do that, but honestly it was effortless because I hated my job and current situation so much I knew this was my light at the end of the tunnel.
I am doing right now the same. My supervisors are a bit upset with that, but I am too good at what I am doing, and they have a hard time themselves, because the big boss is angry and there are a lot of problems in the office (caused by that man himself) ... so they never force me to work more at the office.
As a lawyer who financed his education working for EDS (long time ago) I am computer affine and right now learn Programming from scratch again from 9 pm to about 1 am; after I brought my kids to bed.

I think this is the only way to gain "power" over the rat race and to change things if you cought up with responsibilities.
 

GuitarManDan

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I am doing right now the same. My supervisors are a bit upset with that, but I am too good at what I am doing, and they have a hard time themselves, because the big boss is angry and there are a lot of problems in the office (caused by that man himself) ... so they never force me to work more at the office.
As a lawyer who financed his education working for EDS (long time ago) I am computer affine and right now learn Programming from scratch again from 9 pm to about 1 am; after I brought my kids to bed.

I think this is the only way to gain "power" over the rat race and to change things if you cought up with responsibilities.
Right there with you man, I was always one of the top performers (not trying to brag or boast, it just makes my story even more frustrating) because I would get so much crap for leaving at 5 PM (when I finished my work at like noon) and others would get praised for dragging their feet all day and staying in the office until 9 PM.

It would drive my management crazy because I would get compliments all the time from people way higher up at the company than they were so they couldn't get too angry but they absolutely hated that I'd leave at like 5 pm... kept saying I was a "bad influence for the rest of the team"... what a joke.

I've always been a quick learner and I was always a top performer for all of the banking jobs I had... so I looked at it and after reading MJ's books I figured I knew I believed in myself and whatever industry I chose I would kill it, why work for someone else and have a cap on what I make?
 

Twiizlar

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Hey Everyone,

OK, time for some tough love for myself. Regardless of what's happened in the past few months (random health issues, surgeries, etc) I have a goal and I need to put my head down and make this happen.

I just flew back to AZ last night and am working on some planning for the week and the next month or so to make this happen. Here's what I'm thinking to make $10k in monthly recurring rev. happen by June 30th of this year.

Here's where we stand:

  • Goal: $10k per month
  • Current: $2k per month (difference of $8k per month)
  • Average Client Value will be around $1,250 per month
  • Client Needed: Approximately 6
Current Pipeline:

  1. Previous web design client (Investment Firm) - verbally agreed to $1,150 per month (have a call with him tomorrow actually) where things should kick off. However, although this is one of my favorite clients because he's a great guy, he is good for his word but he delays things a lot so I'm not going to have my hopes too high that this closes tomorrow.
  2. Previous web design client (Fashion Designer) - this would be absolutely huge, I pitched them to help with SEO for $2,250 per month for a 12 month contract. I completely sold his right-hand man on it, but he is going to present it to the fashion designer this upcoming week. Basically, this guy is absolutely loaded so he flat out told me money isn't an issue, and I know the put myself in a great spot to really show the value. They also know, like and trust me since we've worked together so fingers crossed this one goes through... would be huge.
  3. New prospect (Investment Firm in Scottsdale) - when doing outreach, have had 2 phone calls with a biz owner who said he's very interested in moving forward in having me redo the website (pitched for $4-7k) and SEO (packages from like $1k to 3k per month). No idea when this one would kick off and if this goes through, I'd have to do the website first so realistically it would have to close very fast for me to get this in time for my June 30th deadline.
  4. New prospect (Law Firm in Scottsdale) - when doing outreach, owner responded and said he's be interested in $1,000 per month SEO work for maybe 3-4 months just to see how it goes and then take it from there.

Next Steps:

The above 4 are the most promising but there are a lot more in the pipeline as well that I need to follow up with. I think it's safe to assume that since I need 6 clients, I will get at least 2 from the current pipeline.

That means I will need to get 4 new clients from networking/outreach/referrals/etc by June 30th of this year.

  • So far, when doing batches of outreach, I've gotten probably an average of 1 new client for each batch (typically reaching out to 10-25 businesses). This outreach is highly targeted and I'm using a strategy where I provide a detailed audit for the business that gets a much higher response rate (and takes me way more time).
  • Following that logic, if I do 4 batches of big outreach that should yield me 4 new clients for SEO. Now, I need to get that out ASAP since it obviously isn't instant and the buying cycle is usually a few weeks to a month or so.

Strategic Plan:

  • For the month of May, reach out to approximately 60 more businesses with my highly-targeted outreach approach (and be sure to follow up appropriately) to secure the 4 new clients, plus keep following up with the pipeline to lock in the other 2 clients.
It's ambitious, but I'm so damn close to going from ok monthly revenue to locked in solid 5 figures a month recurring revenue.

I'll just keep my focus on that goal for now, but after hitting the $10k per month mark I'll reanalyze and determine what my goal is to hit in MRR by Dec 31st of this year.

Will keep everyone posted!
How are you doing the SEO audits for the outreach? Are you using an automated tool like SEOptimer or do you have craft each one.

Also, I heard that people don't open emails from people they don't know if it has an attachment.
 

srodrigo

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@GuitarManDan Sorry if I missed this from previous comments, but I've got a few questions about your SEO monthly services:
  • What do you do exactly? Is that something like making sure SEO keeps improving?
  • How much work/time does it take you? I really like the recurring revenue approach compared to one-off jobs only
  • Related to the question above, are you outsourcing anything at the moment? Sounds like building the websites plus the monthly services would eventually overload your schedule. How do you plan to scale this?
EDIT: Typos.
 

GuitarManDan

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@GuitarManDan Sorry if I missed this from previous comments, but I've got a few questions about your SEO monthly services:
  • What do you do exactly? Is that something like making sure SEO keeps improving?
  • How much work/time does it take you? I really like the recurring revenue approach compared to one-off jobs only
  • Related to the question above, are you outsourcing anything at the moment? Sounds like building the websites plus the monthly services would eventually overload your schedule. How do you plan to scale this?
EDIT: Typos.
Hey man, so to answer your question... my goal is to bring in so much business I force my hand to start outsourcing. I'm basically almost at capacity now (doing a few web projects and a few SEO clients), I could probably bring on 1-2 more SEO clients before I "need" to outsource.

To keep it as simple as possible, at first it's on-page SEO and optimizing their page layout, speed, content, etc and then on a monthly basis it's off-page SEO and link building. That's the way I learned it in the SEO course that I took and that's what I'm implementing.

The way it's structured, it seems to be more work in the beginning which is why you want to set up longer monthly contracts. I will scale it by outsourcing a lot of the minutiae that takes up wayy too much time, most around content writing and link building. Also probably eventually the initial on-page SEO fix ups.
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Alright, today (and yesterday) was the first day of all out going crazy work to bring in new clients. A few updates from my end:

  1. Called my former finance client, still waiting to hear back.
  2. Called the potential lawyer SEO client, we set up a time to speak tomorrow morning.
  3. Did 15 in-depth SEO audits (takes around an hour to 90 mins to do 5 or so) and sent those out.
  4. Followed up via phone calls with 10 previously-sent SEO audits
  5. Don't want to chase too aggressively with a few potential pipeline clients (fashion designer's right-hand contact said she would speak with the guy himself this week to pitch the SEO services and still waiting to hear back from a prospect who was interested in a site redesign + monthly SEO).
Really glad with how much I've gotten done today, I had to go to a weekly networking meeting and a final follow up with my surgeon so I had to wake up early (and work after those too) to really get everything done that I needed to.

Will keep everyone posted as I learn more, but just going to keep my head down and keep grinding away.
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

In the spirit of being as transparent as possible, this week was definitely a mixed bag. Here's a list of what went well and what challenges presented themselves with the business / leads:

Challenges That Came Up:

  • A really solid promising lead ($1k per month for SEO) lawyer told me he was ready to move forward last week after doing outreach to show him issues with his site. I called him up and finally got in touch and he gave me the dreaded "I have your email, I'll reach out to you" when he was back in the office after taking a trip abroad this weekend. I'm going to handle this one by giving it some time (probably later next week) I'll send a super high value email that shows him a competitor analysis of why his competitor's sites are outranking his and what it means for his bottom line.
  • Another solid lead ($2.2k per month for SEO) former web design fashion design client had a call with me today. It was the fashion designer's manager and their consultant who does social media / PPC for them... and it seemed like the social media contact wanted to really seem like the expert and just grilled me on what exactly I'd be doing for SEO and asked why the price was so steep. Not going to lie, I basically got beaten up on the call.. it's tough when I am still really learning how to deliver for SEO so I can't speak about it as intelligently or as confidently as I'd like. They basically framed it like I didn't have to do any link building at all because "they could do it themselves" and they want me to repitch it with a big "initial setup" and then a smaller monthly amount for basically just doing metrics and such and other keyword research. I'm working with @Fox and a few others for how to really reframe this and have a winning strategy in place to see how I should frame it and what I should charge.

What Went Well:

  • Met with my biggest SEO client ($1500/month) in person. Their office is within walking distance and they asked if I could come in sometime this week to explain a question they had. I wanted to provide amazing customer service and not blow them off now that they were a client so I came in that afternoon. They were really thankful for that and they told me they were getting some leads coming in from the SEO campaign so they were really happy with how it was going. Great to really deliver and know they are happy.
  • My other SEO client ($500/month) got some great high quality backlinks and she's really happy to see her business mentioned and published in these really relevant online blogs.
  • One of my former web design clients basically agreed to move forward with some additional work (setting up email drip campaigns, some site edits, etc) for $1150 per month (things should kick off around May 29th). Not official yet, but seems pretty solid.
  • Although it didn't lead to any solid leads yet, I really put my head down and got stuff down with outreach and follow ups (emails, calls, etc).

Anyway, I'm so mentally drained, I was so optimistic this was going to be a huge week and I really thought I'd make the leap from $2k per month to around $5.2k per month, so definitely challenging but just going to keep pushing forward and accept weeks like this are just a part of the grind.

Going to log off for the weekend, having a party tonight at my place with some friends so that'll be nice to unwind. Back to the grind tomorrow but for now going to give myself the rest of the night off.

Looking like barring an unexpected sale, May will be around $3.2k in revenue brought into the business.
 

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.
 

Andy Black

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GuitarManDan

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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.
Hey Andy - I completely agree, it was just a long week haha, but I've found obviously stuff like this is to be expected and like you mentioned, you just need to keep on moving forward and finding the people who are in desperate need for the services that I can provide.

You're right though, it's a losing mentality to be in the "chase" mindset where I'm running after these leads instead of just offering value and seeing who is interested.

I want to be really ambitious and really go after this goal of monthly income that's approaching pretty fast, so cancelled some social plans today to work on more outreach and tweaking my approach a little bit from learning from other's feedback and what's worked / what hasn't.
 

GrandRub

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@GuitarManDan - Did you do cold emails? how many leads/meetings per 100 mails did you generate? i am sending out personalized cold emails to business owners in my region with 1-2 bulletpoints about flaws and opportunitys on their pages - and i dont know what to expect :D
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Just a quick update to the 2019 revenue tracking from some monthly payments... also my smaller SEO client ($500 a month) wants a new landing page for a new service so we agreed for me to add that in at a rate of $100 / hour so that should yield around $500 to 1000 more.

2019 Revenue Tracker: $17,935 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

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

evlttwin

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Hey All,

Just a quick update to the 2019 revenue tracking from some monthly payments... also my smaller SEO client ($500 a month) wants a new landing page for a new service so we agreed for me to add that in at a rate of $100 / hour so that should yield around $500 to 1000 more.

2019 Revenue Tracker: $17,935 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $2,000 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
Nice one. Sweet, sweet recurring revenue.
 

The Abundant Man

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What do you think about cold approaching businesses? Just walk in and tell what I do?
 

GuitarManDan

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What do you think about cold approaching businesses? Just walk in and tell what I do?
Haven’t done it personally but I’ve heard success stories of it. I’d say target businesses where the decision maker may have time during open biz hours.

For example I know dentists / doctors are notoriously hard because they’re always so busy during the day.
 

Eskil

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Fantastic progress my friend. I don't know if you saw this, but this guy on Reddit posted how he is now pulling in $275k/month (!) with SEO services. Looks like his approach is similar to yours :)

$275k/mo helping lawyers with SEO. : Entrepreneur
 

The Abundant Man

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Haven’t done it personally but I’ve heard success stories of it. I’d say target businesses where the decision maker may have time during open biz hours.

For example I know dentists / doctors are notoriously hard because they’re always so busy during the day.
I'm just getting tired of cold calling, "Hey! My name is ______." *Hangs up*

Why do you have a phone number if you're just going to hang up on people but then again I do have an out of state phone number. That's just rude.

I'd rather get their address and personally go over there and talk to them.
 

GuitarManDan

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Fantastic progress my friend. I don't know if you saw this, but this guy on Reddit posted how he is now pulling in $275k/month (!) with SEO services. Looks like his approach is similar to yours :)

$275k/mo helping lawyers with SEO. : Entrepreneur
Hey man! This was an amazing read and really just reconfirms a lot that I've learned from others in this industry.

If you truly want to scale up, you need to choose one or two niches and really stick to that. The reason he's able to scale this up correctly is that if he can make procedures and best practices for the following that applies to every family lawyer he deals with (assuming they're all in the US where the same laws would apply):

-Compliance Rules (what you can/can't say language wise on the site)
-Keywords to Target (can be the same variations with just different US cities)
-Estimated Timelines (based on the competitiveness of the keywords which is probably decently high with the insane CPC for these keywords)
-Backlink Strategy (which ones have worked in the past that are relevant and are high-quality to get)

Definitely good food for thought! Right now I'm still plugging away trying to continue to A) overdeliver for the current clients and B) bring on new clients.

Will keep everyone posted, but I'm imagining I should bring in at least around $2k more in revenue this month which will make May a $4k month or so.
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Wanted to post a quick update since it feels like it's been a while. I've been balancing current client work, my pipeline, prospecting/outreach with a lot of random health issues I've been having this year. Funny enough, this will probably end up being my most expensive year of medical stuff without a doubt when I have weird private insurance so it's a little stressful to be honest.

Here's a quick overview of what's been new with my business since the last update:

  • The travel agency site I'm doing I completed the first draft and sent that over.. the owners absolutely loved it so that was really reassuring. Now it's just about setting up everything on the backend, mostly WooCommerce and setting up ways for them to collect payments from their clients online and just doing some other tweaks.

  • For the fashion designer previous client that I pitched SEO, I had to redo my pitch (thanks to help from those in Fox's groups) I decided to restructure it as basically $4,500 per month (for 3 months for initial setup) and then after that it would be just reporting metrics for like $200-300 per month after that minimum. Still waiting to get feedback (sent it over last week) but I'll keep everyone posted! That would be a nice boost for the next few months as I build up my monthly income.

  • Trying to get back in touch with a really promising financial services lead. After doing outreach, he was very interested now only in monthly SEO but also to completely redo his site. Working with some people in Fox's groups to think up the best strategy to reengage - the owner legitimately told me multiple times on an earlier call last month "I'm really busy but I'm very interested so just keep nagging me if I don't get back to you".

  • Doing some extra work for an existing client (charging $100 per hour) that will end up being around $800 in additional revenue for a good hourly rate and making an additional landing page for her, so I'll invoice her shortly for that as it's almost done and that'll be a decent amount to help with this month's income.

  • My favorite web design client wants to have a call this Friday to hopefully kick things off with a new project (basically charging around $1150 per month) to help with the following until it's completed (adding in a blog and formatting it to make it look great, strategy for vlogs, setting up basic drip email campaigns, and minor site updates). Will let everyone know how that goes, but going to put my head down and keep grinding away!

  • Grinded through the random health issues coming up and since I couldn't really do much this Memorial Day Weekend, I put in a lot of time to do targeting / prospecting for monthly SEO clients and am doing highly-targeted outreach this week using that work I put in.
 

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