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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by GuitarManDan, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. B. Cole
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    B. Cole In thine hand is power and might. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Awesome hustle man - very inspiring watching you detach from the muggy east coast (I'm in coastal NC), most folks dont have the balls to say screw it, pick up and go.

    Now that you have a pretty consistent hustle going and make decent money, are you thinking of ways to expand and scale beyond what you can do? Curious of your long term strategy and/or exit plan.
     
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  2. Startup Steve
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    I would focus on using the existing clients as referrals for getting additional work. I would also be looking how to further operationalize your work as to reduce the number of hours it takes to deliver a package. Then I would sub out the work to somebody on Fiverr so I could focus specifically on sales demos. This is because website development is highly commoditized and can be done with offshore Developers for 5 to 8 bucks an hour. Your highest and best use is on sales and the creative Design.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
     
  3. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey man, sorry for the late response. Still working on getting it to making real good money before thinking of expanding or scaling.

    Once I start to really get down the sales/pipeline aspect, I'm sure I'll start outsourcing portions of projects for more complex sites (for example, I'm in discussions with a commercial real estate company to make a new site with a complex listings section that they can update).

    Thanks for the kind words.. it's been stressful and overwhelming, but at the end of the day I really enjoy the hustle of it and it's so so much better than working at a corporate job.

    Just working on constant development personally and professionally with this experience.
     
  4. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Agreed, definitely making that a priority as well in terms of leveraging past clients. November has been decently slow so far, but I know December will pick up (2 existing projects will resume and at least 1 new one will be starting then that I'm close to closing now). For November, I've just been working on doing more outreach, refining my process, learning as much as I can, and taking care of housekeeping items (end of year taxes, how to pay myself from the LLC, healthcare for next year, etc).
     
  5. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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).
     
  6. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    @Fox wanted to tag you as discussed! Here's the progress thread I've been working on ever since I started the business and moved out to Scottsdale in AZ.
     
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  7. Fox
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    Fox Moderator Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    thanks, Dan, I will get up to speed on this and follow along here also.

    Well done - I already know the progress you have been making and the tons of action you have taken already.

    Can't wait to see how things go in 2019.
     
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  8. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks man!

    Quick update for what I've been up to the last week or so:

    1. CPA Business Website Project: This started out as a cold email from July that's been going back and forth since then. It seems very close to closing (discussed budget of $4,000) for a website update built primarily to increase his SEO ranking. The owner seems to always be busy and makes flakey promises to reach out but he definitely seems interested and it keeps moving closer and closer.

    I took the initiative today and redid the SEO analysis I originally did... good news for this sale (bad news for his business) is that for keywords he's targeting he keeps dropping (actually dropped off the front page of Google) so I brought that up and tried not to be pushy but just send a high-value email over. Will provide another update on how that goes.

    2. Commercial Real Estate Firm: Not sure if I updated this forum yet, but had a strange thing happen with this one. My contact (who was managing this project) left or got fired from the firm and when I went to reach out the owner wrote back saying she is no longer there.

    This would be a huge deal (quoted $12 - 18k) and the manager specifically told the owner and his daughter that I was a great fit and have the resources/capability to deliver on this project.

    I took another initiative and found the owner's daughter's email and sent a quick intro saying I was working with my contact there and found out she is no longer employed with the firm and wanted to quickly introduce myself and learn more about this project and how I may be able to help out.

    3. Year End Tax Paperwork: As this is my first year of owning an LLC (being taxed as an S Corp), I decided to outsource this work to a CPA here in Arizona. I found a highly rated one that is pretty reasonably priced so I was going crazy getting paperwork and making sure that I paid myself before Dec 31st of this year to be compliant.
     
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  9. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Not sure if I hit the character limit on the last post... but one last note from this:

    4. 2019 Goal Setting: For 2019 the goal is to bring in at least $100k of revenue with the business and I know I'm going to do it. I was able successfully raise my prices a lot this year and get off the ground so with what I've been charging, it isn't that crazy at all to bring in around $8,300 / month. Some other goals I am putting forward is to keep going to the gym (started going about 2 months ago) to get in better shape and to be healthy.

    It's amazing how much more productive I've been when I've been waking up earlier and going to the gym early in the morning.
     
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  10. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey All,

    Closed a sale yesterday! Here are a few quick updates about what's been going on:

    Annuity Business - Sale Closed

    Closed a $1,500 very simple site yesterday. Was very unexpected... I fly back to the east coast to visit family and work from there for the next 3 weeks so I wanted to just do some networking catch up meetings with some of my old connections I've made out here before I head home.

    This guy who is semi retired owns a few different businesses and after some discussion he told me he wants to work on a project with me and kept saying it would be very simple (it's for an annuity sales business that he has).

    He asked what I typically charge and when I said I've worked for 1k - 7k so far, he proposed $1,500.

    Not exactly a crazy amount of money but it'll be good value for the amount of work it'll take (homepage, about and contact - and he plans on writing all the copy). Additionally, this guy seems like a great client to work with and he's very well networked in the area so I see this as being a quick project that could lead to lots of future business.

    CPA Business - Close to Closing Deal

    The $4,000 CPA site the owner came back and said the following so this one seems very very close to closing (not sure if it will in Dec or maybe in Jan):

    "That makes a lot of sense. I'll do the remaining things on my end and let you know when we can proceed. I don't expect things to take too much longer."

    I believe I did a good job of creating some sense of urgency, as this deal has been in discussion with July. He's very concerned with SEO rankings and in July I did an in-depth audit of where he ranks for certain keywords...

    I noticed and told him that he had dropped off the first page for those keywords and is now on the 2nd page so that's obviously cause for concern so maybe that'll be the catalyst to get him to take action?

    Will keep everyone posted.
     
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  11. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey All,

    CPA firm owner I’ve been speaking to on and off again for several months finally got back to me that he’s all set with the 4K budget we discussed.

    Had a little hesitation at first and he wanted to go lower with the price but I was able to reply effectively thanks to help from @Fox - just sent out the invoice this afternoon.

    Not official yet until he pays the deposit but if this one goes through that’ll put me at a total of around $26k total revenue for my first year in business.

    Will be good momentum to bring me into 2019 - expecting big things from myself and the business this upcoming year.
     
  12. Raoul Duke
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    Raoul Duke Stop F*cking Around Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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  13. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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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  14. klix
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    klix New Contributor

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    Hey man, reading your thread gave me a great idea for my business, so thank you!

    I'm working on a website to find freelance designers like yourself, so business owners can type up a brief and then send it to multiple designers they like. Their brief is also available in a feed that designers can see.

    So my initial thinking was very broad stroked, like web design, graphic design, logos, etc..

    I've just realized my marketing strategy should strongly use industry!

    Targeting businesses by industry, I bet, will greatly improve results.

    Previously my plan was targeting the keyword "freelance designer". Or people who needed logos. Or people who needed websites.

    Now I've changed my marketing strategy so that I will go after e.g. dentists, and send them ads about seeing 10 designers who made great dental websites, logos, etc..
     
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  15. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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.
     
  16. NMdad
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    These kind of opportunities are what boosted my technical service business.

    Think: who has access to the kind of clients I want? How can I help them so they'll refer me to those prospects?

    I've built relationships with salespeople at 2 software companies. Now, those companies' salespeople end up being like my sales team. The prospects I get through those pipelines are super warm, and have a high conversion rate. Waaaay easier than cold calling.
     
  17. NMdad
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    So that sh*tty job in NYC that you hated? It was the catalyst that helped you build what you have now.
     
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  18. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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!
     
  19. NMdad
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    Cool!

    Next suggestion: Although it can be tempting to wait until you get a green-light on that big project/client, it's important to keep doing things to fill your funnel of prospective projects. That way, you're not dependent on any 1 project or client. And you'll care far less if you lose any project/client, since you'll have a bunch of other prospects in the pipeline. More prospects = less risk (and shorter time to generate revenue).
     
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  20. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey man,

    Completely agreed, this was just one of the highlights I wanted to share haha I've been tracking all of the prospects in my CRM and have been speaking with multiple businesses.

    Definitely don't want to expose myself to that kinda risk where I hold out for one big deal!
     
  21. 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
     
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  22. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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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  23. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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
     
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  24. Fox
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  25. GuitarManDan
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    Hey All,

    A few big proposals that I sent out, mostly in the space of bringing in more monthly recurring revenue, as I discussed in my original goals for 2019:

    Personal Training Gym SEO Package:

    Happened to be chatting with the owner of a personal training gym I've been going to by my place and mentioned I offered web design / SEO and he said he was looking into SEO.

    I took the initiative and did a free SEO audit and sent him over some huge issues I found. He seemed concerned and had me have a call with his wife who co-owned the business (she dealt with more of the biz side).

    We had a great call and she asked for a proposal that I just sent over today.

    Proposed $1,500/month for SEO and got some really good experience pitching these services so we'll see what they come back with.

    Investment Management Firm Marketing/SEO Package:

    Referenced this a few posts ago, but a cold email got me in touch with the CEO of a successful investment mgmt firm that deals with ultra-high net worth clients in the US.

    Probably because I've dealt with these types for 4 years in my Corporate America days, I created some great rapport for the few calls we had and the CEO even said how impressed he was with me and that they were looking to really bring someone on as a marketing consultant partner (looking to outsource it to a business like mine).

    Last week I sent them over a proposal that included a lot of services (marketing consultant, monthly SEO, web design guidance and suggested edits, analytics breakdowns, etc).

    This one was pitched at $5,000 / month (starting with 3 months locked in and then month to month after).

    Using my email tracking I saw that they opened it up but haven't responded yet (they've been pretty slow throughout the process so not surprising). Going to send a friendly chaser email in a few days if I don't hear back.

    Will keep everyone posted!

    Next Steps:

    Start with the easiest leads (current clients, friends/family, previous networking relationships, etc) and work my way down the businesses that I've interacted with this past year to offer them my new service of monthly SEO.

    Goal for Feb is to bring on my first monthly SEO client and I'm going to work hard to make it happen.
     
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