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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

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Katherine

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Hey Dan, your post in this progress thread is amazing :) Glad i hop to this forum and see more of the Fox members doing so well! Congrats to the big projects!
 

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With your website design packages, aren't you charging a monthly fee for maintaining the website (i.e. security updates) and/or fee for updates? What about hosting, do you resell hosting and charge a fee?

Wouldn' those contribute to your monthly recurring income?

Hey Everyone,

One more quick update as it's the 1st of the month and my $1500/month SEO client paid today:

2019 Revenue Tracker: $48,713 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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Awesome! What industry was this in , if you don't; mind me asking.
Hey man - so that specific deal is in the education niche (not one I've worked in before). I got this job from a referral from a former client who's basically my biggest success story so far (the group travel site).
 
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GuitarManDan

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With your website design packages, aren't you charging a monthly fee for maintaining the website (i.e. security updates) and/or fee for updates? What about hosting, do you resell hosting and charge a fee?

Wouldn' those contribute to your monthly recurring income?
Hey Jav,

So simply I'm not involved with hosting at all (I have the client set up hosting themselves and give me admin access). I've heard way too many horror stories that don't seem worth it at all with the small amounts you can charge for hosting.

I don't have any affiliate links or anything like that when I recommend hosting too. I'm sure I could be leaving some money on the table with that and it's definitely something to look into as part of my overall process.

In terms of maintenance, it really comes down to the client. I always offer but most clients I've had want to either do the WordPress updates themselves and make edits themselves. I do have some maintenance clients (some on a fixed monthly amount and others on a per hour basis depending on work done).

Those contribute to my monthly income that I'm including as well. For example in the large project I'm currently working on, we agreed to a $500 per month maintenance deal after it's launched (obviously haven't counted that yet in the numbers though).
 
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GuitarManDan

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Quick update the client who wanted to pay for his site in monthly payments came through this morning for his automatic monthly payments of $333.33 - updating the numbers below:

2019 Revenue Tracker: $49,046 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 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,

Quick update as my $100 per month client just paid (set up automatic monthly payments):

2019 Revenue Tracker: $52,146 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

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

Benji90

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Hey Everyone,

Quick update as my $100 per month client just paid (set up automatic monthly payments):

2019 Revenue Tracker: $52,146 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $2,433 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
Hey Dan, can I ask what exactly is involved in a $16k site?

I'm taking a Idemy course right now that basically just front end, was wondering if you focus on the front end too or are you a coder making elaborate sites?

I'm from the UK but Scottsdale sounds amazing! Wish I could move there.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Dan, can I ask what exactly is involved in a $16k site?

I'm taking a Idemy course right now that basically just front end, was wondering if you focus on the front end too or are you a coder making elaborate sites?

I'm from the UK but Scottsdale sounds amazing! Wish I could move there.
Hey Benji,

This project involves a very complex ecommerce system and different components that are beyond my expertise. I could've learned them and found a way to make it work, but at this point it was much easier to hire someone else and I paid him a percentage of the budget for this deal.

This has allowed me to step into more of a role of outsourcing advanced work and it's been an amazing experience so far. I hired someone I know from one of Fox's groups who runs his own 6 figure business and he's been an absolute pleasure to work with.

If I put my head down and was just focused on going crazy and learning this advanced skill, I would've missed out on a lot of sales that I've made recently.
 

Benji90

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@GuitarManDan will definitely have to check out that course soon.

Congrats again on your progress.
 

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Hey Benji,

This project involves a very complex ecommerce system and different components that are beyond my expertise. I could've learned them and found a way to make it work, but at this point it was much easier to hire someone else and I paid him a percentage of the budget for this deal.

This has allowed me to step into more of a role of outsourcing advanced work and it's been an amazing experience so far. I hired someone I know from one of Fox's groups who runs his own 6 figure business and he's been an absolute pleasure to work with.

If I put my head down and was just focused on going crazy and learning this advanced skill, I would've missed out on a lot of sales that I've made recently.
That sounds like a pretty smart business move to have made!
 

tigerbalm

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Hey Benji,

This project involves a very complex ecommerce system and different components that are beyond my expertise. I could've learned them and found a way to make it work, but at this point it was much easier to hire someone else and I paid him a percentage of the budget for this deal.

This has allowed me to step into more of a role of outsourcing advanced work and it's been an amazing experience so far. I hired someone I know from one of Fox's groups who runs his own 6 figure business and he's been an absolute pleasure to work with.

If I put my head down and was just focused on going crazy and learning this advanced skill, I would've missed out on a lot of sales that I've made recently.
If you don't mind me asking - around what % of the budget did you pay him? No worries at all if you'd rather not say, I'm just curious, because as someone who is capable of doing this advanced work, I'm trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to outsource. My guess is that it's worth it because, as you mentioned, it allows for the focus to be on the business. Do you see yourself getting to a point where you focus on sales / business and outsource all dev work?
 
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GuitarManDan

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If you don't mind me asking - around what % of the budget did you pay him? No worries at all if you'd rather not say, I'm just curious, because as someone who is capable of doing this advanced work, I'm trying to decide whether or not it's worth it to outsource. My guess is that it's worth it because, as you mentioned, it allows for the focus to be on the business. Do you see yourself getting to a point where you focus on sales / business and outsource all dev work?
I'd prefer not to reveal the exact specifics of it, but I can say that to be honest I had no idea how to break it down. Never did anything like that before so instead of going crazy or stressing out, I reached out to a few successful entrepreneurs I knew who have worked with contractors in situations like this before.

One made it really simple and said "you own the client relationship and this came up because of a referral to you, you're taking all of the risk from a legal perspective.. so give yourself X% and then split the rest 50/50 with the contractor" which is what I ended up doing.

I definitely am moving towards this model where I have contractors doing the actual work and I'm in more of a management / sales role with the business.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Quick update, just received a $200 monthly payment from a recurring client. I pitched them on a larger SEO effort (right now just doing a few hours of work per month) which would up the payments to around $1,200 to 1,500 per month so waiting to hear back on that.

Updating the numbers below:

2019 Revenue Tracker: $52,346 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,

My monthly clients paid (one $1500 per month and one $333 per month), updating the numbers below:

2019 Revenue Tracker: $54,179 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

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

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Lately, everything seems to lead me into thinking the best option is targeting monthly recurring services that are relatively easy to outsource with a resource partner.

I moved from websites into social media and content strategy but I don't think the margins are as good as web design and SEO. It's annoying the hell out of me to try and crack lol.

How many of your one off web design clients take on a monthly service?

I've been thinking about review funnels lately. Super simple which REALLY appeals to me.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Lately, everything seems to lead me into thinking the best option is targeting monthly recurring services that are relatively easy to outsource with a resource partner.

I moved from websites into social media and content strategy but I don't think the margins are as good as web design and SEO. It's annoying the hell out of me to try and crack lol.

How many of your one off web design clients take on a monthly service?

I've been thinking about review funnels lately. Super simple which REALLY appeals to me.
Honestly not that much in the beginning but as I've gotten better as showing the value that I offer and have gained confidence in my abilities to deliver, I've been much more successful with upselling after the fact (maintenance plans, SEO, etc).
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Newest SEO client just paid the invoice and sent over the contract. For the first month he wanted to do a 50% upfront and 50% after the fact split so it's $1000 more per month (he will pay on the first of the month going forward after this) but just adding $500 to the existing trackers for revenue for now.

Note: Recently my PPC client who was paying $300 per month decided to take a step back, we originally agreed on a limited trial and he's a great guy to work with but the search volumes were so low we had difficulties getting leads from Google Ads so that's on hold (adding $1000 for SEO and reducing by $300 for PPC client for monthly)

2019 Revenue Tracker: $54,679 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $3,133 Per Month / $10,000 Per Month Goal
 

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Incredible job dude, you inspire me a ton.

I went for two massive businesses in the past (both failed haha) and never had the chance to do this solo/freelance type of work. Now I find myself having to get a job again but your approach is incredible because you can keep this up until you find something bigger.

Also, what are your thoughts on webflow.com? The "No-Code" movement is starting to gain a lot of attention online.
 
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GuitarManDan

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What a tremendous year for you. Congrats on your success. Really happy to see the results of such a consistent work ethic.
Thanks man, I really feel like I've learned so much this year and really reinforced a lot of sales and marketing skills so I'm excited about that. The challenge I'm facing is that I'm my own biggest critic and not reaching the goals I set out ($10k monthly and $100k total for the year) is making me a little bit confused about how to feel about this year overall.

I'm putting a lot of focus this month into what goals I want to set for next year and making sure that I have a plan to complete those.

Incredible job dude, you inspire me a ton.

I went for two massive businesses in the past (both failed haha) and never had the chance to do this solo/freelance type of work. Now I find myself having to get a job again but your approach is incredible because you can keep this up until you find something bigger.

Also, what are your thoughts on webflow.com? The "No-Code" movement is starting to gain a lot of attention online.
Thanks! The plan in 2020 is to use this business to pay the bills and start building another business with a much bigger scale additionally. I know I've mentioned it before but I want to be in an industry where if you hit a homerun it's life-changing money instead of just "good" money.

Honestly, haven't looked into webflow too much but I've heard great things. I will have to check it out but for now I've mainly stuck to building with either HTML templates or WordPress.
 

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Not sure if you haven't mentioned it so far or if I just overlooked it, but how do you keep yourself on track with all the SEO changes happening?

What are your resources for learning new stuff and always be up to date?
 
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GuitarManDan

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Not sure if you haven't mentioned it so far or if I just overlooked it, but how do you keep yourself on track with all the SEO changes happening?

What are your resources for learning new stuff and always be up to date?
Hi Pat,

The SEO course that I paid a decent amount for and was highly recommended comes with private access to a facebook group where the creator of the course (who still runs his own SEO biz and has for the past 10+ years) has weekly calls and answers any questions that you can post up.

It seems from my perspective like it's the same basic fundamentals that get the majority of the results, but obviously it's key to stay on top of trends and other tweaks that may come up.
 
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Hey Everyone,

Quick update to the numbers as my $100 per month maintenance client just paid her invoice.

2019 Revenue Tracker: $54,779 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

Monthly Recurring Revenue: $3,133 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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Awesome progress my man, look forward to seeing you in February.
 

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Amazing Dan!

From knowing you quite well I really think you got what it takes to leverage the skills and cash flow you now have a build your own "big thing".

Either way, I am sure you will make massive progress in 2020 but I see a ton of potential for something. Well done - you crushed it this year.
 

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