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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. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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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. ;-)
     
  2. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks so much MJ! End of Feb will mark a year since I moved out here... it's been quite the amazing experience so far.

    Not just challenging myself with the business, but taking more chances making lots of great new friends and just making it all work out here starting out from nothing.

    Going to keep pushing myself and working smart to bring the business to the next level this year!
     
  3. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Dan, you mentioned doing SEO for a personal training gym. Do you have a recommendation for a course that you use and like? I just finished a site for a friend who does personal training and he doesn’t believe he will get any traffic. I’m trying to prove him wrong and set him up with some good SEO.

    Even an online resource would be great. I was searching around yesterday but wasn’t coming up with anything substantial. I also didn’t have a lot of time.

    Thanks.
     
  4. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey man,

    The one I went with was pretty pricey but it was highly recommended and even one SEO deal would make the course pay for itself 10x over.

    If you don't want to break the bank you could look into some starter ones in Udemy. I'd just filter by top rated ones and go with one that isn't too pricey as a good intro.

    There's a lot of moving parts so I think it's key to put in the work to cover things like how to do keyword research, on page SEO, off page SEO, etc. Feel free to send me a private message and I can explain a little more.
     
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  5. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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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.
     
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  6. Exhosa
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    Great progress, congrats! Looking forward to regular updates. Best of luck!
     
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  7. Mr. Wick
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    Hey @GuitarManDan,

    Really inspirational thread - keep killing it out there in Scottsdale. I was born and raised in Queens (still living here) and quit my high paying law firm job to start an SEO/PPC business (I'm actually 27 as well - maybe we can grab a drink the next time you come back).

    Could you share your process for finding contacts to cold email? (i.e. How did you find the financial services firm). For instance, I'd like to target all solar installation companies across the U.S. - is there any method to the madness that you can recommend?

    Also, what CRM are you using?
     
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  8. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks!

    To keep it simple, it's just choosing a niche (like you've already done) and then finding potential clients where you could add value.

    Honestly, I really am not a fan of cold emailing, I probably sent out 500-600 (from my tracking in 2018) and I closed 1 client (would be 2 if I close this financial services firm). It's not efficient and really scalable.

    I'd recommend networking which has worked well for me and cold calling (wasn't a big fan of that too but it did work once I really got into it).

    The best has to be personal connections of people that really know you know. For a CRM, I got a Gmail add on called Streak that's super simple and was actually made originally as a way to track emails but it also has a simple CRM functionality to it that works well for me.
     
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  9. MJ DeMarco
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    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 ..."
     
  10. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey MJ - that’s actually what I’ve been doing too this year.

    Trying to think of any business I’m a customer of and that gets me an easier in with the owner.

    I’ve been reaching out to doctors, dentists, accountants, etc that I was/am a customer of who have awful SEO where I know I can add value and giving them a quick rundown of where they stand and what their top competitors are doing.

    Figured this way my chances improve as I’m not some random guy reaching out and I’ll be way more efficient with my outreach.
     
  11. GuitarManDan
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    Hey All,

    Quick update from my side in terms of where I currently stand as an overview for the business so far:

    Outstanding Projects:

    1. CPA Website Redesign in Scottsdale - probably roughly 90% completed, it's busy tax season and he wanted to edit some of the copy for the site so once I get that back then it's just ensuring everything transfers over smoothly.

    2. Financial Services Firm in Chicago - provided the first draft months ago but he's been super busy and said we may have to push it until April to get things going again. He also mentioned that he's very particular about the graphic design aspect so he asked if we can bring in a graphic designer for this project.

    Current Proposals

    1. Personal Training Gym in Scottsdale - quoted $1,500/month for SEO services. The owner got back to me and said it was out of his budget but I plan on following back up in 6 months as you never know and we had good rapport.

    2. Financial Services Firm in Austin - quoted $5,000/month for a bunch of services (mainly around SEO and Overall Marketing). The owner mentioned they are getting back from a work trip this week so they will get back to me sometime later in the week I'd assume.

    Pipeline Projects

    1. Current Fashion Design Client - saw a huge opportunity as this client is very wealthy and really is putting a lot of time investment into the site I built for them. They're all really happy with my work so I'm going to draft up a proposal for SEO/general strategy work for them today and then create maybe 3 tiered pricing (all including SEO). Need to really focus on this one and get a solid proposal together as I really see a lot of areas I could add value and they know the quality of my work already and have enjoyed working with me.

    2. Doctor's Office - Networking Connection - went to a BNI group as a guest and one of the doctor's actually reached out to me. They just started their practice and their website and SEO are really rough so he wanted to learn more about my services and how I may be able to help out.

    Already did an audit for them of their SEO, website, and their top competitors in the area that I'm going to go over with the owner over coffee tomorrow and then follow up with a proposal for most likely SEO (if it's a good fit).

    Will keep everyone posted but really excited that big things are happening soon.

    Goal Check-Ins:

    Current goals for 2019 and their statuses

    1. $100k Revenue (currently locked in around over $8,000 in Jan and still have $3,500 outstanding with other projects)

    2. $10k/month locked in monthly recurring revenue by June 30th, 2019 - lots of huge potential proposals out there and will be sent out this week but nothing set in stone yet

    3. First monthly recurring SEO client locked down in Feb - TBD, but still waiting on proposals and a few other pipeline clients.
     
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  12. Alex123
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    Well done. Definitely following this. I'm currently interested in starting my own SMMA and am reading through threads like this to learn the best ways to acquire customers!
     
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  13. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey Everyone,

    Wanted to share a quick update as we're almost near the end of February. I've spent this month almost entirely building out SEO and monthly recurring revenue client leads reaching out to my network of people that I've built up over the past year or so (past clients, past networking connections, etc).

    Last time I had this feeling, I went on to close those two huge web design deals in the same week... but I just know I'm so damn close to a huge breakthrough right now with my business.

    These are all of the pending pitches that I have sent out and with some quick feedback on each unique case.

    Pitched SEO/Monthly Client Pitches:

    1. Doctor's Office from Networking - $500/month SEO
    - met with the owner, got some background on his business. He doesn't have the budget as he's just starting out for a lot so I reduced the scope and offered him $500/month for a 12 month contract.

    2. Retirement Planning Firm, Previous Web Design Client - $1,200/month SEO - I met with him in person as I was back home visiting family. He really liked the pitch and really wants to work with me again, but he asked if we could do the SEO stuff later and for now work together to focus on more short term goals (mainly, building out more content on his blog which helps with SEO anyway and basically getting the systems in place so that he can handle the increased volume of customers that would come with SEO work).

    3. Financial Services Firm, Previous Contact - $5,000/month for Marketing and SEO - CEO just got back from a business trip. Trying to decide when I should send a friendly chaser but obviously don't want to appear to be desperate or anything like that. Will probably wait till the end of the week.

    4. Fashion Designer, Previous Web Design Client - $2,200 to $6,000/month for SEO and other Monthly Services (gave different packages) - they're still reviewing as they have a crazy busy week (the designer's new book is coming out soon and they're gearing up for that). Haven't heard back yet on this one.

    I don't want to ramble on so I won't get into more specifics but I also have some organic web design leads coming in too which is great (since I can place all of my outreach focus on the SEO monthly recurring contracts).

    On top of that, still attending around 2 networking events per week and still doing some client work here and there for current clients and edits (that I'm charging for) for previous clients.

    The revenue number collected is still the same but I will invoice for around $600-800 for additional edits on one client site (I'm getting a great hourly rate and they are a pleasure to work with so I don't mind).

    Goal Setting

    This year I really want to be sure that I'm not just putting my head down and grinding away at the work and not seeing the big picture.

    I want to think bigger, I want to make the most out of this amazing opportunity and I want to really blow the business up this year.

    I still think reaching $10,000 per month locked in by June 30th of this year is solid because when I do that, I can reevaluate and set goals even higher for what monthly recurring revenue number I want to hit before the end of 2019.

    Other Fastlaners in Scottsdale

    Most importantly, this year I want to take advantage of the fact that I live in such an amazing area for being an entrepreneur and even on these forums alone there are so many amazing entrepreneurs who I'd have so much to learn from.

    I know @Eskil does a great job of bringing people together so I want to make sure I really put the effort and time in to meet a lot more people out here and learn all that I can from their stories and experiences of successes and challenges.
     
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  14. BlackMagician
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    BlackMagician Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    First of All, Congratulations for your success buddy.
    You are very much live example of how to build a business from scratch. Glad to read about your hustle.

    As i read, you could be getting many SEO related work which will be monthly basis. so, have you hired/made a team to handle this or you will be doing it yourself?

    What will you advice a fellow like me who is hustling in the same business, working 9-5 along with that. I have some success, many failures as of now in my 4 months efforts. The difficulty i am facing is being Consistent. Being there. Daily.

    Family, Job, comes in between way too much and i get distracted. Though, making all the efforts to sail through all this. I am just going slowly and steady pace.

    If you shed some light on my progress thread and skim through it and give some feedback and suggestions to do it better, i will appreciate. I will ask to skim through only last two months progress because early posts are just fillers.

    Thanks for reading. I will be following you progress!
     
  15. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey man,

    Thanks for the kind words - and yep, still just prospects but I'm so close to a huge breakthrough with the monthly contracts.

    I will be handling everything myself for SEO. Similar to way I did it with web design, I want to become an expert first with SEO before I really outsource (as then I would know what to look for with good vs. bad SEO contractors).

    Of course if this blows up more than I can handle as just myself I would definitely outsource parts that were simpler, but I want to keep it all in house for now as I really learn and grow.

    I'll take a look at your progress thread but I really wouldn't want to give generic advice (ex. definitely quit your job or definitely go into XYZ business) as everyone's situation is unique.

    It was EXTREMELY difficult for me to quit my job and move out when I had such a "good" setup from outside perspectives. It's amazing how comfortable we all get in bad situations just because they're familiar.

    Looking back, it seems like a miracle that I made it out of that toxic environment. "I can't move away from my family"... "what will people think"... "what if I fail?"... "what if I regret this for the rest of my life?"... "it's really not that bad".

    After months and months of convincing myself it was the right thing to do, I was surprised how dramatic people were (I always thought maybe it was just all in my head). I know I've said it before, but I always crack up looking back now at all of the people saying I was "throwing my life away". And look, I'm not at the point where I can sit around on the beach all day but I have my freedom and I know I'm going to make this work and make way more than I ever did at my old jobs.

    Even after some moderate success, those same people have been saying "I didn't think you'd get this lucky" or "how can I do what you're doing?"

    Point of my rambling is that whatever choice you make isn't going to be easy, I didn't have a family depending on me and it was still extremely difficult for me, so you have to figure out what you really want and make the best decision for your situation.
     
  16. huseyin
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    hey man, I'm already inspired by your journey and would like to start my own. I have a question tho, are you doing everything yourself (webdevelopment/design) or do you hire someone? if you do it yourself, which courses do you recommend to learn the stuff that is needed.

    I would really appreciate your help and advice.

    warm regards
     
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  17. BlackMagician
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    BlackMagician Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Thanks Man. Do have a look and give your feedback there. (Progress Thread)
    Yes, my situation is quite unique.
    Bingo! But my questions are little weird. "I don't want to move away from my family and work somewhere else"..."what if i fail"..."what will happen of my family if i don't succeed?"... and so on.

    Haha. I am not there yet. But started hearing from others "Your current job is very easy that's why you can work on side business"... "you have skills of website/seo/digital marketing/ so its easy for you to do business without money" ... "we have pressure in our life, you don't".

    I know, it's difficult. I have family who is dependent on me. Parents, sis, brother and there studies. I am the oldest son, being 25yrs old now.
    Here in India, our tradition is to stay in one family. Very very difficult to leave the job and work on something foreign and have 'risk' because of scripted mindset here. That's why i am trying to achieve some moderate success and recurring clients till the end of the year to assure my family and myself that i can do better on my own instead of typical 'Job'.

    Waiting for your helpful reply in my thread. Right now, working with consistency is the major issue. or so called 'Habit'. Reading Atomic Habit and trying to implement the actions.
     
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  18. Wiezel
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    Wiezel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    @GuitarManDan What skills do you recommend the most if you want to start from scratch?

    Reading the thread I would go with HTML - CSS - SEO and know how to sell (sales). Anything to add to it?
     
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  19. The Abundant Man
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    The Abundant Man Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. The Abundant Man
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    The Abundant Man Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    There are so many courses. A lot of them are really good too. Here's the first two that I started. You really don't need any more unless if you want to go really hardcore with web development and making applications


    https://www.udemy.com/the-complete-web-development-bootcamp/

    https://www.udemy.com/design-and-develop-a-killer-website-with-html5-and-css3/

    Here are some other helpful threads for you:
    GOLD! - How to Learn Code, Start a Web Company, $15k+ per month within 9 months

    WEB SCHOOL - Fox's 2019 Make $100k Starting Web Design from Scratch Challenge

    There's another thread by Fox but I forget what it's called and I don't have it bookmarked
     
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  21. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey Everyone,

    Just seeing all of the replies now, here's my feedback for the recent replies here:

    @huseyin - Yes for now I've handled everything myself. For some larger projects that I have in the works, I am planning on outsourcing some components (since now I've really learned them and will be an effective manager instead of just putting my faith in someone not taking advantage). The courses someone else linked to are the ones that I mainly used as well in the beginning.

    Just keep in mind, it's not about the courses or any of that... it's what you do with them. Obviously learn the skills and work hard to deliver for the clients but don't get too bogged down on the technical side. I focused heavily on the sales side of things because I knew without sales I didn't have a business and that I could apply what I learned in sales to ANY other business I end up involved with.

    @BlackMagician - I've been swamped with work this week haven't had a chance to really dive into your progress thread but added it on my to do list and will see what you've been up to.

    @Wiezel - Sales, marketing, more sales and more marketing! On the technical side, HTML, CSS and WordPress.

    I've always been a perfectionist so I have to constantly tell myself it doesn't always have to be an A+ but instead focus on aiming for a B+ / A- and then editing after. This has been a huge help for me, as a common beginner mistakes I made and others make... I didn't want to get started until I knew "everything".

    @The Abundant Man - thanks for sharing those links. Agreed those are solid.
     
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  22. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Quick simple update just for tracking purposes.

    Previous client asked for updates on his site that took around 3-4 hours to do. Charged $300 for that and collected that today. Using this as an opening to pitch SEO services too, he agreed to hear me out about that after we get these updates completed.

    February so far has really been mostly about getting my name out there and really taking action to bring in SEO monthly packages. Been very encouraging all of the web design leads I've been getting just from previous work (can spend the large majority of my time on outreach for SEO while getting one-off web design projects).

    2019 Challenge: $8,560 Revenue / $100,000 Goal (still have around $700 for another client's edits I did that will invoice soon and will update this).
     
  23. GuitarManDan
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    Hey Everyone,

    Wanted to provide a quick update around what's been going on with me:

    Organic Leads Coming In
    - I'm starting to get a crazy amount of organic leads coming into my business for web design services specifically. Referrals from past clients and past jobs, networking contacts, in person friends that know someone who has a business, etc. Been tracking them all in my CRM and continually reaching out here and there. Pretty cool to see that in the network I've built out here I've become known as the "web design guy" and then if the client is a good fit, great opportunity to upsell a monthly SEO package.

    Had a Great Meetup with @Eskil - A few days ago Eskil graciously invited me over to hang out and catch up about our businesses. Really cool to hear his background is pretty similar to mine (was working in the corporate world but decided to leave it all to start his own businesses). Definitely a lot to learn from him and excited to really go out of my way to meet more fastlaners in the Scottsdale area.

    Great Milestone
    - Tomorrow (Feb 24th) will mark the exact 1 year anniversary since I woke up in New Jersey, fresh after quitting my cushy investment banking job and started my cross country drive to Arizona. I didn't act it around my family, but I was absolutely terrified - I didn't know anyone in AZ, never been to the state before, never saw the apartment I signed a lease for online, never drove more than a few hours by myself and my new business I was starting at the time only had two decent sales.

    I won't get too sappy, but at the time I left, I was experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety induced health issues (which was never common for me besides when I was in that awful work environment). Not even a month later after moving here, I finally started to feel like my old self again - every single stress induced health issue disappeared (mainly, really really bad insomnia). On top of building a business, I really put in a lot of effort to go out of my way to meet new friends out here and the people who've become my close friends have made this experience so amazing. As a former New Yorker, it was surprising how much friendlier and laid back everyone was.

    I feel like I've learned so much from this community and just through the practical days of running a business so thanks to everyone on here who's been following my journey.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - I still have a long way to go, but I know I'm going to take the action and work smart / learn from others to make this SEO and web design business bring in an income that will change my life.
     
    Hyrum, MTEE1985, Kruiser and 6 others like this.
  24. GuitarManDan
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    GuitarManDan Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hey All,

    Just wanted to make a quick accountability post on the goals that I laid out for this year (so far):

    1. Get first monthly SEO client in February

    None officially locked in, but some very very promising ones in the pipeline. I've gotten some great experience pitching these services in person, on the phone and over email so far. In another post I'll include the current leads, but I'm really close to closing a few (one who reached out to me from a networking group and another previous client).

    Possible I may not officially lock someone into a written contract, but if I work smart I will get a verbal agreement / be in excellent shape for multiple high value monthly recurring revenue deals.

    2. $10k per month locked in by June 30th, 2019

    Still at $0/month at the moment, we're at the end of Feb so that gives me roughly 4 months to bring in $2,500/month each month... still know I'm going to meet this goal, especially as the packages I'm pitching are in the $1,000 to $3,000/month range or so.

    Expecting huge things in March and April with all of the pending deals I'm in discussions with plus the outreach I plan on doing / continual networking.

    3. $100k in revenue in 2019

    Currently sitting at around $8,560 in revenue and have two contracts outstanding to collect payment on ($700 for site edits and $3,500 for the second half of the project of another deal).

    That puts me at $12,760 with roughly 10 months left to go this year.

    With a difference of $87,240 - that means I need to be averaging $8,724 in business per month for the remainder of the year to meet this goal.

    I see the key factors here being how quickly do I get to that monthly recurring revenue goal of $10k/month and after that how do I reevaluate my monthly rev goal for the end of the year. I'll be placing my focus in that and continuing to move along web design projects in the pipeline (can always outsource if my workload gets too much) and know I'll hit this mark too.
     
  25. srodrigo
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    srodrigo Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    @GuitarManDan This thread is amazing, you are going to kill it! ;)

    Maybe a bit off-topic (sorry about that), but is anyone implementing a similar business model with mobile apps instead of websites? I imagine not many people, as mobile apps involve far more work and might not deliver enough extra value to justify a higher price, not to mention the low risk of static websites compared to anything that involves programming. But I'm interested in case someone took this path.
     
    GuitarManDan likes this.

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