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GOLD! Moved to Scottsdale, Growing a Web Design Firm

GrandRub

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

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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

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

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

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

evlttwin

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Hey All,

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

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

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

The Abundant Man

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

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

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

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

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

The Abundant Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hey Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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eblip

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Hey everyone,

It's been about one year since I joined the forum and thanks to the great advice of some members of the community, I've been able to completely change my life and move in a better direction.

To keep it simple, I was working at an investment bank in NYC and absolutely hated my life / how I was treated.

This week I just moved into my apartment in Scottsdale after making the cross country drive solo. A few months back I started my web design business with the help of Fox's course which has provided tremendous value and I've already closed a $1250 and a $4000 sale so far (a few other possible ones in the pipeline too).

When I was trying to find my way, I probably cold emailed 250+ businesses and cold called 150+ with lots of rejection, but it was a great learning experience.

I know a lot of members are from the Scottsdale/Phoenix area, and as I'm new to the area, it would be great to meet up if anyone is interested to grab a coffee/drink sometime.

Thanks!
May i ask, is this web business actually saving you time, freeing up time ..if so how ? or is it just another job.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Just a quick update to my revenue tracker - the $500 per month client asked for a new additional page to her site, I've been charging $100 per hour and it ended up being 8.5 hours of work so just got paid $850 for today.

Got some fantastic news too about the fashion designer client! Basically they wrote back saying my new proposal sounded good and they were going to pitch it to the designer himself who's the ultimate decision maker (means I made it past the social media gatekeeper who was asking a lot of questions about what I'd be doing).

I saw a great opportunity and took it too - they're working on the link building themselves so I spent 1-2 hours today making a detailed Excel spreadsheet for them on which links (that they already have for free press) are best to target (nofollow/follow, domain authority rating, etc) and they were really thankful I did that work for free for them.

We'll see what happened but I'm really glad I put myself in a great spot to succeed with this deal!

2019 Revenue Tracker: $18,785 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

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

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May i ask, is this web business actually saving you time, freeing up time ..if so how ? or is it just another job.
I think it's definitely a glass half empty kind of mentality to look at this whole thread and think that this is just another job. Honestly, maybe I'm working longer hours than in my old job, but the experience is 100% different. I have a lot of thoughts about this that I want to share to anyone viewing this thread so I'm just going to ramble them out here.

First off, the MAIN goal of all of this was to get my freedom back. It always seemed like a pipe dream to me and something that would never happen to be able to make the leap and move somewhere completely different where I didn't know anyone/anything and make it work. This business has allowed me to move across the country, meet new friends, experience new things and just learn so much it's incredible.

When I was working at the most recent investment bank, I was getting to the point where I almost didn't recognize myself. I was so stressed out and wound up that I was legitimately developing health issues that were 100% stress induced. Maybe 1 month after moving here and having the freedom/flexibility to be on my own schedule, and all of those health issues have almost completely gone away.

What I see as the most valuable thing out of all of this is what I've learned from this business so far. Every day I wake up and feel like my clients are paying me to learn how to run a business, how to close sales, how to effectively market my business, etc. I've learned so much from this experience and amazing members on this community, special shoutouts to @Fox and @Eskil with their support.

My long term plan is not to run this business until it falls apart, but instead to use this as an opportunity to learn how to successfully run a business, and have this fund a different business venture down the road (maybe a 2-4 years away) where if I hit a homerun, it's life-changing money instead of just good SEO/web design money.

There have been so many amazing stories on here of forum members who had to really grind and hustle in the beginning or else it wouldn't have worked. I think trivializing the beginning stages of ANY business to "just another job" gives an excuse to never try.

Stories that come to mind is Likwid taking 2-3 years from idea to ending up on Shark Tank, Vick taking a few years to make his first sale with his sunglass business and absolutely killing it after that.

Working for me feels SO much different when it's your own business. At my old job, I'd stay late because a coworker messed something up or my boss wanted to look good to the higher ups... now when I work late hours it's to grow my business and to invest in my future and my freedom from ever going back to another soul-sucking job again.
 

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May i ask, is this web business actually saving you time, freeing up time ..if so how ? or is it just another job.
Wow, what a shortsighted, narrow perspective.
 

eblip

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I think it's definitely a glass half empty kind of mentality to look at this whole thread and think that this is just another job.
Hey thanks for answering, and a good valid answer it is.

The reason i asked the question is, I like you work all day and night, I control my own destiny, and may potentially have a huge money pot in the next few years, when i exit.

I asked the question to see how you felt about what we are doing....
I am married to my business, but was just comparing my business and strategy to what i read in a book millionaire fastlane.
my rapid reading of the book, kind of left me with the impression, that maybe there are much better businesses out there that free up more of your time, eg selling software, you develop the software, then sell it and maintain it, or writing a book.

But your business and my business, we have to grind now and we have to grind in 3 years time, and once i rasise enough money, i can subsititute money for staff in order to find more time and turn this business into a money tree. I may be able to work half the time that i currently work to maintain the same income.

Im just seeing others opinions on the time matter as that is something i wanted clarity on, and approaches of others on.

You sound like you are doing the right thing, especially regarding the stress and health issues.

Keep up the good work and I wish you the best of luck in your process/journey.
 

eblip

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Wow, what a shortsighted, narrow perspective.
I ask questions, I want answering, personally i think your answer is a shortsighted, narrow perspective.
seems like you have decided that, good questions from members are questions that YOU deem good.
how short sighted and narrow is that.

In my opinion, to which i am entitled, any question a person has is a good question.
Your reply implies you know why the question was asked, and also the reasoning behind it.
how short sighted and narrow is that. ?
 

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I ask questions, I want answering, personally i think your answer is a shortsighted, narrow perspective.
seems like you have decided that, good questions from members are questions that YOU deem good.
how short sighted and narrow is that.

In my opinion, to which i am entitled, any question a person has is a good question.
Your reply implies you know why the question was asked, and also the reasoning behind it.
how short sighted and narrow is that. ?
Oh my... MJ got a scolding here :hilarious::hilarious::hilarious:
 

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My advice to Dan way back was once he got cash flow from web design to start moving it into his own things and leverage the skills he has built up.

Web design is not a great long term play.

But it’s a fantastic short term play to get hands on training in selling, business skills, marketing, and communication.

Web design is just a half way house for those going from a life they don’t want to a successful Fastlane venture.
 

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The Abundant Man

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My advice to Dan way back was once he got cash flow from web design to start moving it into his own things and leverage the skills he has built up.

Web design is not a great long term play.

But it’s a fantastic short term play to get hands on training in selling, business skills, marketing, and communication.

Web design is just a half way house for those going from a life they don’t want to a successful Fastlane venture.
LOL

Since the forum update I like how your banner says "EPIC CONTRIBUTOR"

That's awesome!
 

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Hello seems like you are very hard working and determined. I admire that.

Some yoga lessons and eating vegetarian might really help you with your health and even benefit your bussiness/hustle.

I will be following, i know i have a lot to learn from you.

Wish you the best.
 
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GuitarManDan

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Hey All,

Quick update to the revenue (recurring revenue really is the best) was out with friends coming back from the bar and at 2 AM got an email that my automatic payment was successful for the $1500/month client.

Woke up early and sent out the monthly report... getting some solid results for them so I'm gonna keep grinding to really deliver.

So far at the end of the 2nd month, 3 out of the 10 pretty competitive keywords are on the top page, and their Google Analytics traffic is up around 470% from last month!

I'm at the point where I realize how key it is to niche down... whether I like it or not, I really speak the language well and create great rapport with financial services people, why fight that? I'm going to niche down and only actively target SEO clients in that space from now on.

2019 Revenue Tracker: $20,285 Revenue / $100,000 Goal

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

Andy Black

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I'm just getting tired of cold calling, "Hey! My name is ______." *Hangs up*

Why do you have a phone number if you're just going to hang up on people?
Good question. Why do they have a phone number?
 

Andy Black

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I think it's definitely a glass half empty kind of mentality to look at this whole thread and think that this is just another job. Honestly, maybe I'm working longer hours than in my old job, but the experience is 100% different. I have a lot of thoughts about this that I want to share to anyone viewing this thread so I'm just going to ramble them out here.

First off, the MAIN goal of all of this was to get my freedom back. It always seemed like a pipe dream to me and something that would never happen to be able to make the leap and move somewhere completely different where I didn't know anyone/anything and make it work. This business has allowed me to move across the country, meet new friends, experience new things and just learn so much it's incredible.

When I was working at the most recent investment bank, I was getting to the point where I almost didn't recognize myself. I was so stressed out and wound up that I was legitimately developing health issues that were 100% stress induced. Maybe 1 month after moving here and having the freedom/flexibility to be on my own schedule, and all of those health issues have almost completely gone away.

What I see as the most valuable thing out of all of this is what I've learned from this business so far. Every day I wake up and feel like my clients are paying me to learn how to run a business, how to close sales, how to effectively market my business, etc. I've learned so much from this experience and amazing members on this community, special shoutouts to @Fox and @Eskil with their support.

My long term plan is not to run this business until it falls apart, but instead to use this as an opportunity to learn how to successfully run a business, and have this fund a different business venture down the road (maybe a 2-4 years away) where if I hit a homerun, it's life-changing money instead of just good SEO/web design money.

There have been so many amazing stories on here of forum members who had to really grind and hustle in the beginning or else it wouldn't have worked. I think trivializing the beginning stages of ANY business to "just another job" gives an excuse to never try.

Stories that come to mind is Likwid taking 2-3 years from idea to ending up on Shark Tank, Vick taking a few years to make his first sale with his sunglass business and absolutely killing it after that.

Working for me feels SO much different when it's your own business. At my old job, I'd stay late because a coworker messed something up or my boss wanted to look good to the higher ups... now when I work late hours it's to grow my business and to invest in my future and my freedom from ever going back to another soul-sucking job again.
You’ll figure out as you go along how to separate your time from your revenue.
 
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GuitarManDan

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You’ll figure out as you go along how to separate your time from your revenue.
Hey Andy,

To be completely transparent, at the moment I feel like I'm 1-2 clients away from being 100% maxed out for the amount of work I can personally do in a day (while running everything). At the same time, in the current state I feel like I'm not making enough yet where I'd feel comfortable cutting into my profits outsourcing.

My main goal is to just keep the sales pipeline going so that I basically force my hand to get creative and outsource to start building up a scalable business (instead of doing it all myself and going crazy).

So far I've been able to manage all of the juggling between different client projects (I'm sure it's been a little bit tougher just because of the learning curve as I'm working with my first SEO clients in the past few months) but all of the clients are very happy (both SEO and web design) so just need to keep going with that and make time / prioritize to build up my pipeline and keep moving leads along towards closing more deals.

I know how it's such a common beginner mistake to just put your head down and take a step back to see the big picture, so I'm working constantly... if not on a daily basis, definitely on a weekly basis to basically question every single part of my strategy / ways that I'm spending my time.

I feel like I still have so much to learn from everyone here on the forums, so I want to make sure I'm not stubbornly going down the wrong path when I could easily make some changes (such as outsourcing more of the minutiae of web design/SEO) to really scale things up.

I guess the point of all of my rambling would be given the situation that I'm in (almost at max capacity but able to handle it all myself and don't want to cut into my profits yet) do you think it's a viable strategy to just keep doing what I've been doing and focus on closing more larger deals to in effect force myself to start outsourcing and really build out a system?
 

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How did you arrive at this conclusion?
As good as it is for learning business skills and quick cash it is quite limiting once you get to 10-20k a month. You can either build out a full team OR use the skills and resources you know have to start your own thing.

Also after helping a few dozen or more business make massive sales through the websites you built them you naturally start thinking - why don’t I just do this for myself?

The easiest way to start with this if you had no ideas would be to partner with a client and take a % of the sales you create for them.

Either way you need to transition from a time service based business to a scalable business.
 

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Hey Andy,

To be completely transparent, at the moment I feel like I'm 1-2 clients away from being 100% maxed out for the amount of work I can personally do in a day (while running everything). At the same time, in the current state I feel like I'm not making enough yet where I'd feel comfortable cutting into my profits outsourcing.

My main goal is to just keep the sales pipeline going so that I basically force my hand to get creative and outsource to start building up a scalable business (instead of doing it all myself and going crazy).

So far I've been able to manage all of the juggling between different client projects (I'm sure it's been a little bit tougher just because of the learning curve as I'm working with my first SEO clients in the past few months) but all of the clients are very happy (both SEO and web design) so just need to keep going with that and make time / prioritize to build up my pipeline and keep moving leads along towards closing more deals.

I know how it's such a common beginner mistake to just put your head down and take a step back to see the big picture, so I'm working constantly... if not on a daily basis, definitely on a weekly basis to basically question every single part of my strategy / ways that I'm spending my time.

I feel like I still have so much to learn from everyone here on the forums, so I want to make sure I'm not stubbornly going down the wrong path when I could easily make some changes (such as outsourcing more of the minutiae of web design/SEO) to really scale things up.

I guess the point of all of my rambling would be given the situation that I'm in (almost at max capacity but able to handle it all myself and don't want to cut into my profits yet) do you think it's a viable strategy to just keep doing what I've been doing and focus on closing more larger deals to in effect force myself to start outsourcing and really build out a system?
You got a lot of options - lack of time is easier to solve than a lack of clients.

I would say keep the business model as you have it and try work in more and more monthly reoccurring income as you go.

Then at the same time look to start a new business based on the skills and cash flow you now have. What could you do or who could you partner with?

You’re a smart guy Dan and there are a lot of people or industries you can add tons of value to with the skills you now have. Keep your eyes open for an opportunity that could work for you outside of strictly web design.

I’d look to guys like MJ and G Alexander who used web design to make millions in non direct ways.
 

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Hey Andy,

To be completely transparent, at the moment I feel like I'm 1-2 clients away from being 100% maxed out for the amount of work I can personally do in a day (while running everything). At the same time, in the current state I feel like I'm not making enough yet where I'd feel comfortable cutting into my profits outsourcing.

My main goal is to just keep the sales pipeline going so that I basically force my hand to get creative and outsource to start building up a scalable business (instead of doing it all myself and going crazy).

So far I've been able to manage all of the juggling between different client projects (I'm sure it's been a little bit tougher just because of the learning curve as I'm working with my first SEO clients in the past few months) but all of the clients are very happy (both SEO and web design) so just need to keep going with that and make time / prioritize to build up my pipeline and keep moving leads along towards closing more deals.

I know how it's such a common beginner mistake to just put your head down and take a step back to see the big picture, so I'm working constantly... if not on a daily basis, definitely on a weekly basis to basically question every single part of my strategy / ways that I'm spending my time.

I feel like I still have so much to learn from everyone here on the forums, so I want to make sure I'm not stubbornly going down the wrong path when I could easily make some changes (such as outsourcing more of the minutiae of web design/SEO) to really scale things up.

I guess the point of all of my rambling would be given the situation that I'm in (almost at max capacity but able to handle it all myself and don't want to cut into my profits yet) do you think it's a viable strategy to just keep doing what I've been doing and focus on closing more larger deals to in effect force myself to start outsourcing and really build out a system?
I’ve done exactly the same thing: get enough clients till I’m almost maxed out so that my new problem is that I can’t do all the work. Now I’ll figure out how to grow.

You’ve mentioned a couple of times that you think outsourcing is the way to grow. I think most books will advise that. I don’t think it has to be though. Myself and @eliquid chat about that. We have a chat in here somewhere. The thread title is something like “Andy shoots the breeze with eliquid”.

A couple of excellent podcasts are:

Here’s my random thoughts, although bear in mind I’m also trying to figure this out, and we all have different paths anyway:

1) If you’re going to outsource you may well have to increase prices. The first of those podcasts mentions tripling whatever price it costs you to get it done. I personally don’t want to do it this way, but want to scale by picking a different(ish?) business model, and scale via processes and technology rather than by people. Increasing prices is a valid route. That’s where @Fox ‘s course and processes really shine.


2) I do outsource development and graphic design (and book-keeping, weekly reports, Google Analytics config, conversion tracking implementation, etc). I do the Google Ads campaign builds myself. I still also do the prospecting and sales calls and account management. I’ve outsourced tasks I’m either not great at, or can be done simply.

What can you outsource already that takes you time and is easy to do?


3) MRR? I’m most interested in monthly recurring revenue. I don’t have one off offerings. Clients and prospects often want one off work. So far I push back on it and have started referring people to other businesses now.


4) I don’t want to build an agency that does bespoke work for clients and therefore needs more experienced staff. My goal is to build a productised service, then platform(s).


5) Consider offerings at different price points? What would be 10x your current price? 100x? 1/10th? 1/100th? 1/1000th?


6) Different ways of getting paid? Pay-per-lead? Pay-per-sale? Renting assets you’ve built? JV with other folks? Spread an upfront build fee across many months and make it an ongoing MRR stream?


7) Really niche down? I have 25-30 clients in many different verticals. If they were all Blacksmiths then I’d have a very different business (and probably better).


8) Sell other services as well? You’re already selling SEO as well as web design. What about Facebook (paid and non-paid), Google Ads (paid search, GDN, YouTube)? Video creation? Content marketing? PR? There’s sooo much that businesses might now ask you to do.
 

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