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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

MJ DeMarco

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My best friend’s bachelor party is this weekend so I’m back in the NYC area so that’ll be a fun time.
Oh boy, love to hear the "how's the thing going in AZ? Sad you quit Goldman yet?" comments...
 

GuitarManDan

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Oh boy, love to hear the "how's the thing going in AZ? Sad you quit Goldman yet?" comments...
Haha here’s a rundown I can think of - there will be friends at this bachelor party who work for:

Morgan Stanley, Goldman, JPmorgan Chase, Citigroup... it’s like an investment banking conference, we’re just missing Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank.

I still have a long way to go but the people who at first said “you’re throwing your life away” keep saying how jealous they are when they hear my schedule and the AZ lifestyle haha
 

Andy Black

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Haha here’s a rundown I can think of - there will be friends at this bachelor party who work for:

Morgan Stanley, Goldman, JPmorgan Chase, Citigroup... it’s like an investment banking conference, we’re just missing Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank.

I still have a long way to go but the people who at first said “you’re throwing your life away” keep saying how jealous they are when they hear my schedule and the AZ lifestyle haha
Let me guess... jealous but not going to do anything about it?

You’re so lucky?
 

srodrigo

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"if you screw us over, we'll destroy your business and reputation".
Jesus. How did you manage not to tell them to f*ck off? Reading how you handled the situation and the advice you got, I've realised I'd be terrible at dealing with clients like that. Very sad that 2 morons try to get advantage from a guy who just wants to do a great job.
 

Crazy GG

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Hey Dan, didn't know you had a progress thread here - it's truly an amazing read. I had 2 questions:

1) What has been your prospecting plan? You mentioned cold emails didn't work as well, so you said to stick to cold calls - can you share a bit more how you would approach this if your pipeline dried up again? (# of calls/day, what kind of companies, how you would find them etc.)

I am trying to refine my prospecting strategy - in the past I just did 20 calls/day with not great results, so I am trying to learn what you personally are doing. Also 20 calls doesn't take that much time so I am not sure what do I do for the rest of the day? Did you have a prospecting plan?

2) Do you meet most of your clients in person? I don't live in U.S. and I want to start approaching clients there but I feel like it might be a bit tough to sell huge projects if they never meet me. What has been your experience?

Thanks man!
 

GuitarManDan

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Jesus. How did you manage not to tell them to f*ck off? Reading how you handled the situation and the advice you got, I've realised I'd be terrible at dealing with clients like that. Very sad that 2 morons try to get advantage from a guy who just wants to do a great job.
Hey man, honestly it was pretty difficult but I value my freedom from this business 100000x more than getting a satisfied feeling of telling a few idiots off. It bothered me because usually I'm really good at making sure situations don't escalate to this level. Good learning lesson though, should've been 100% truthful and told them I don't work with clients who threaten to ruin my reputation and who outright say they don't trust me (in a nice way).

Someone pointed out in another thread in one of Fox's groups that the reason they probably were so upset was because:
1. They had a bad experience with their other SEO guy and they projected that on me
2. I've gotten so much better at these in person meetings so they were probably excited because I present myself well and gave them honest feedback of what to expect (which I know I could've helped out with if they weren't crazy).
3. They had HUGE egos (how dare he not work with us... we're great... it must be because he wants to steal our money). In all of the long-winded emails I got, they never considered that I just didn't want to work with them or that it was something about them. It was ALL deflections (money, fake health issues, I wasn't qualified enough, I was shady...).

Regardless, no use beating a dead horse, so far it looks like they didn't trash me on any social media platforms. I may lose a client over it, but the fact that this client is friends with these psychos tells me they may be a bad fit as well (and it's a web design client too so not my main focus for this year).

Hey Dan, didn't know you had a progress thread here - it's truly an amazing read. I had 2 questions:

1) What has been your prospecting plan? You mentioned cold emails didn't work as well, so you said to stick to cold calls - can you share a bit more how you would approach this if your pipeline dried up again? (# of calls/day, what kind of companies, how you would find them etc.)

I am trying to refine my prospecting strategy - in the past I just did 20 calls/day with not great results, so I am trying to learn what you personally are doing. Also 20 calls doesn't take that much time so I am not sure what do I do for the rest of the day? Did you have a prospecting plan?

2) Do you meet most of your clients in person? I don't live in U.S. and I want to start approaching clients there but I feel like it might be a bit tough to sell huge projects if they never meet me. What has been your experience?

Thanks man!
Thanks for the kind words - much appreciated.

1. If you're just starting out, what worked the best for me was networking and cold calling. Sometimes going as crazy as 40-50 calls a day but usually I'd aim for like 10-20 a day. Just remember not to look at this as a static activity. There are so many complex parts going on with cold calling and you can improve and tweak all of them to find out what works for YOU. Examples - prospecting, tone of voice, handling objections, how to get past the gatekeeper, how you present yourself, your call to action, etc. Do 10 calls, record a few and post them in Rob's groups if you're in them and you'll be amazed at the feedback you get - don't do this alone when you have amazing resources all around you.

2. Depends where they're located, even some clients right by where I live (who were younger) didn't want to meet in person. Seems to be a generational thing, which makes sense. My target client is usually a decision maker / biz owner so they are usually 40 - 60 or so, so typically they'd want to meet up. Luckily I can leverage my 5 years of Corporate America to really do well in these in-person meetings and handle objections they have.

It may be a bit tougher, but if you're effectively communicating the value you can bring and how you can solve your problems... people won't care where you're located. For you, I'd say the trust factors are the biggest part because from my experience people in the US may be hesitant of someone overseas just because we're all loss averse and we don't want to pay and have someone run away.

If you're really trying to hustle to bring in clients, maybe add in a clause like you don't pay a thing until the project is completed or a 30 day money back guarantee... basically just something to say "I won't run away with your money and you can trust me".
 

GuitarManDan

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Hey Everyone,

Quick update from my end - bachelor party was a great time, I think my body gave up on me after being out until 5 am in the casinos for a few nights in a row and getting barely any sleep so I was dealing with a nice fever the last few days so I'm finally back on my feet and back to it.

I'll be flying back to AZ later this week so just working from my family's place on the east coast for now.

Only notable update I can think of for now:

1. Fashion designer's people came back to me basically chasing me asking if I could send over the SEO follow email we discussed so she could present to the fashion designer ($2,200 per month for 12 month contract).

Quickly responded back saying it's odd I sent the email back on April 17th but maybe it went to the spam folder.. and I reattached the email I originally sent to them (more follow up details on what I'd be doing and what it would be for the site I built for them and his brand).

I'm going to give her a call later this afternoon just mentioning that I sent it over right after our call and I wanted to wait a few weeks to follow up since she mentioned the fashion designer was traveling internationally for a while.

Good sign though that they were chasing me... this one would be huge if that goes through - that would lock down total monthly recurring revenue that would surpass my expenses which would be a huge relief.

Just need to be smart with this one and keep pushing forward.
 

GuitarManDan

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@MJ DeMarco - I figured you'd enjoy a quick breakdown of what the bachelor party was like with everyone asking about what I'm doing in AZ and with my business. Here's a quick summary of what happened (keep in mind that everyone is basically working for big investment banks in this group):

1. Everyone telling me how "jealous" they were that I could just drop everything and "try this thing out".

2. "Do a lot of people quit (XYZ Bank I used to work for)?"

3. "Wait, how did you learn coding and all of that stuff.. you didn't go back to school did you?"

4. "Starting a business is really risky" followed by some people throwing out stats like "95% fail in the first year"

5. LOTS of complaining about their jobs, which if I'm being honest, I find myself just not caring and not able to be empathetic to anymore. After seeing what the other side is like and the amazing stories of people on here overcoming the odds, I don't like hearing people complain about a problem but do nothing to fix it. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I've been busting my a$$ to improve every day and am working towards escaping a miserable situation that I wasn't happy in with my old jobs.

6. "Wait, you don't have any employees yet??"

7. "How much longer do you think you're going to try this thing out for?"

And my personal favorite and this brings me back to my glory days working for that last miserable investment banking job...

8. My best friend (whose bachelor party this was) got an email on Saturday from his Managing Director saying he needed to log on (they knew it was his bachelor party). He was obviously really drunk at this point so he ignored it and he came back to an angry email on Monday saying everyone was "disappointed" and that "a leader needs to step up and they're upset he didn't step up on Saturday".
 

Ecom man

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So not trying to give you something else to add to your plate as I’m sure you’re busy with what you currently have going but I wanted to reach out with an idea for you.

I run e-commerce sites and came across an ad for a conversion optimization company. That company charges 2k a month for a 3 month term to run conversion optimization on your e-commerce site. They guarantee to increase conversions by 20% after that 3 month term or you get your money back.

When I came across this site I immediately thought of your thread and wanted to pass the info on as the idea is a no brainer from a business owners perspective. I’m currently grossing 50-70k a month (on one site during the non holiday season) a 20% bump in conversions is worth 10-14k a month to me so paying 2k a month is obviously a great ROI.

Just wanted to give you a perspective from a business owner and how you could create some monthly revenue pretty fast at 2k a customer. Heck I would honestly pay double that if they can keep increasing my conversion rates by 20% every 3 month period.
 

Andy Black

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@MJ DeMarco - I figured you'd enjoy a quick breakdown of what the bachelor party was like with everyone asking about what I'm doing in AZ and with my business. Here's a quick summary of what happened (keep in mind that everyone is basically working for big investment banks in this group):

1. Everyone telling me how "jealous" they were that I could just drop everything and "try this thing out".

2. "Do a lot of people quit (XYZ Bank I used to work for)?"

3. "Wait, how did you learn coding and all of that stuff.. you didn't go back to school did you?"

4. "Starting a business is really risky" followed by some people throwing out stats like "95% fail in the first year"

5. LOTS of complaining about their jobs, which if I'm being honest, I find myself just not caring and not able to be empathetic to anymore. After seeing what the other side is like and the amazing stories of people on here overcoming the odds, I don't like hearing people complain about a problem but do nothing to fix it. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I've been busting my a$$ to improve every day and am working towards escaping a miserable situation that I wasn't happy in with my old jobs.

6. "Wait, you don't have any employees yet??"

7. "How much longer do you think you're going to try this thing out for?"

And my personal favorite and this brings me back to my glory days working for that last miserable investment banking job...

8. My best friend (whose bachelor party this was) got an email on Saturday from his Managing Director saying he needed to log on (they knew it was his bachelor party). He was obviously really drunk at this point so he ignored it and he came back to an angry email on Monday saying everyone was "disappointed" and that "a leader needs to step up and they're upset he didn't step up on Saturday".
Yeah, if you’re not going to do something about it, then stop complaining. If you are going to do something about it, then stop complaining.

Point 8) though... smh. If that doesn’t send him in on the war-path with an envelope in his pocket then I don’t know what will.
 

The Abundant Man

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Hey Dan, didn't know you had a progress thread here - it's truly an amazing read. I had 2 questions:

1) What has been your prospecting plan? You mentioned cold emails didn't work as well, so you said to stick to cold calls - can you share a bit more how you would approach this if your pipeline dried up again? (# of calls/day, what kind of companies, how you would find them etc.)

I am trying to refine my prospecting strategy - in the past I just did 20 calls/day with not great results, so I am trying to learn what you personally are doing. Also 20 calls doesn't take that much time so I am not sure what do I do for the rest of the day? Did you have a prospecting plan?

2) Do you meet most of your clients in person? I don't live in U.S. and I want to start approaching clients there but I feel like it might be a bit tough to sell huge projects if they never meet me. What has been your experience?

Thanks man!
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apNXWyB4mcs
 

Pat D. Rick

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I just read through the whole thread in one go. It's like a good ebook with lots of useful insights and has it's gold status well deserved.

Kinda like my own progress, but I'm just staring out (and not living in Scottsdale). Totally agree that networking events is the best way to find new clients. Nothing's better than human interactions. And a good way to get over my shyness as well.
 

GuitarManDan

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So not trying to give you something else to add to your plate as I’m sure you’re busy with what you currently have going but I wanted to reach out with an idea for you.

I run e-commerce sites and came across an ad for a conversion optimization company. That company charges 2k a month for a 3 month term to run conversion optimization on your e-commerce site. They guarantee to increase conversions by 20% after that 3 month term or you get your money back.

When I came across this site I immediately thought of your thread and wanted to pass the info on as the idea is a no brainer from a business owners perspective. I’m currently grossing 50-70k a month (on one site during the non holiday season) a 20% bump in conversions is worth 10-14k a month to me so paying 2k a month is obviously a great ROI.

Just wanted to give you a perspective from a business owner and how you could create some monthly revenue pretty fast at 2k a customer. Heck I would honestly pay double that if they can keep increasing my conversion rates by 20% every 3 month period.
Hey man,

Thanks for sending this over and I completely agree - in the beginning for SEO I want to charge a minimum of $1,000 per month but as I scale up and start getting great case studies... I definitely want to use the ROI approach instead of just offering packages.

For example like you mentioned, if I'm targeting bigger fish and can show them that in theory, if we move them to the 1st page on Google it will increase their bottom line by $50k a month, it's not crazy for me to charge $5-10k a month.

For now though, I definitely want to avoid any guarantees like that or money back guarantees since it's an algorithm out of my control at the end of the day, but I do agree theoretical value-based pricing will be huge down the road!
 

ChrisGav

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Very inspiring story and interesting time that I found this, currently using codeacademy to get a basic understanding of coding and web design. I am curious though, how did you learn web design to begin all of this? Did you just dive in with no clue what you were doing and learned as you went?
 

GuitarManDan

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Yeah, if you’re not going to do something about it, then stop complaining. If you are going to do something about it, then stop complaining.

Point 8) though... smh. If that doesn’t send him in on the war-path with an envelope in his pocket then I don’t know what will.
Andy I completely agree! Is it sad though that it doesn't surprise me at all? My friend has legitimately worked insane hours for the past 6 years working at this huge bank, but it's never enough. He's worked insane hours on vacation, missed family events, all of that fun stuff.

I'm sure I sound like a broken record and it's probably been included on this progress thread before... but this was my breaking point when I worked in Corporate America:

A pretty close family member passed away very tragically (at age 21) and I put it in the team calendar to take off one day (for the wake + funeral)... the second I put it in the calendar I get a call from someone legitimately 3 levels above me.

This guy had a record with HR with 100s of complaints but he was never fired - basically he was a smart guy who knew exactly what he could/couldn't get away with.

He kept asking "do you think this is the right thing to do?" and "you know it's busy season, right? do you think this is the best time to be missing a day". Keep in mind he clearly knew why I was taking the day off (I asked him when he first questioned why I was taking a day off and he knew why).

Anyway, point of my rambling is that in this world the bachelor party story is nothing new - this is the garbage people put up with every day!
 

Andy Black

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Andy I completely agree! Is it sad though that it doesn't surprise me at all? My friend has legitimately worked insane hours for the past 6 years working at this huge bank, but it's never enough. He's worked insane hours on vacation, missed family events, all of that fun stuff.

I'm sure I sound like a broken record and it's probably been included on this progress thread before... but this was my breaking point when I worked in Corporate America:

A pretty close family member passed away very tragically (at age 21) and I put it in the team calendar to take off one day (for the wake + funeral)... the second I put it in the calendar I get a call from someone legitimately 3 levels above me.

This guy had a record with HR with 100s of complaints but he was never fired - basically he was a smart guy who knew exactly what he could/couldn't get away with.

He kept asking "do you think this is the right thing to do?" and "you know it's busy season, right? do you think this is the best time to be missing a day". Keep in mind he clearly knew why I was taking the day off (I asked him when he first questioned why I was taking a day off and he knew why).

Anyway, point of my rambling is that in this world the bachelor party story is nothing new - this is the garbage people put up with every day!
Are they trying to get people to resign so they don’t have to payout a redundancy package? I don’t understand why they’d treat people like that.
 

The Abundant Man

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"do you think this is the right thing to do?"

Me:"Do you think this is the wrong thing to do?



"you know it's busy season, right? do you think this is the best time to be missing a day".
Me: "I thought this was lazy season. You're right though. This isn't the best time to miss my friends funeral. Well, gotta get busy."
 

GuitarManDan

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Are they trying to get people to resign so they don’t have to payout a redundancy package? I don’t understand why they’d treat people like that.
The same way you and any normal person would drop everything for a family emergency... that’s how they view work.

Work is everything - personal problems don’t matter, health problems don’t matter... you’re “lucky” to have this “amazing” job that others would kill for.

It’s just a crapshoot when you work for these big companies. If your manager and the higher ups are reasonable, it’s a reasonable environment.

My first job on Wall Street the executive director for my group was a no BS and tough guy but if you were on his good side and got stuff done he treated you with so much respect.

I’ll never forget my first Christmas Eve working he came to my desk at like 10 am, asked what my plans were, if my work was done and then emphasized “go home and be with family, don’t just sit here for the sake of sitting here”.

Unfortunately those types seem to be a dying breed, but it’s a crapshoot because you can just as easily have a crazy boss that thinks work is everything and everything else comes 2nd
 

GuitarManDan

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Me: "I thought this was lazy season. You're right though. This isn't the best time to miss my friends funeral. Well, gotta get busy."
Haha yeah seriously I was tempted to tell him off.

Not to get too personal but it was a close younger cousin so it wasn’t even like a distant friend.
 

The Abundant Man

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Haha yeah seriously I was tempted to tell him off.

Not to get too personal but it was a close younger cousin so it wasn’t even like a distant friend.
3 days ago

What is something you wish you had that money can never buy?

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RayTDalio

257 points·3 days ago

Time. I love meaningful work and meaningful relationships and I never have enough time to have as much of them as I would like.


-Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Hedgefund as part of a Reditt Ask Me Anything
 

Jeff Noel

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Hey man,
For example like you mentioned, if I'm targeting bigger fish and can show them that in theory, if we move them to the 1st page on Google it will increase their bottom line by $50k a month, it's not crazy for me to charge $5-10k a month.

For now though, I definitely want to avoid any guarantees like that or money back guarantees since it's an algorithm out of my control at the end of the day, but I do agree theoretical value-based pricing will be huge down the road!
Just an idea, but you could offer a money back guarantee on the first month only for those bigger contracts. You could also offer a no-fee contract break during the first two months if they are not satisfied with your service. At 5-10K/mo, you can deliver a 100% customized SEO plan for them with a big ad included within that price, if you feel like jumping into SEM.
 

Zcott

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What an amazing thread! Great story. Well done for smashing it in the face.

I looked up Scottsdale online and I can see why people want to live there. I've been to Arizona before and had fond memories.

Can I ask, why did you go into web design? You've done great going from banking to web design, just curious as to why you chose that over everything.
 

GuitarManDan

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What an amazing thread! Great story. Well done for smashing it in the face.

I looked up Scottsdale online and I can see why people want to live there. I've been to Arizona before and had fond memories.

Can I ask, why did you go into web design? You've done great going from banking to web design, just curious as to why you chose that over everything.
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.
 

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