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EXECUTION Plan to start web/app development business + a couple of questions

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blestd

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First post, and I just wanted to say thank you to @MJ DeMarco for his two books. I've read both of them, with TMF shifting my thinking in a new direction and Unscripted bringing about a desperation in me that I had to take action, which I'm starting today! Thank you also to this Forum for providing more fuel to the fire. Hope to see all of us achieve the Fast Lane soon!

Daily plan for right now is as follows:
- Work Mon to Fri 8-4pm (working as an Analyst Programmer)
- Code MVP of mobile app I'm working on when I get home (530pm - 930pm Mon to Fri, 7am - 2pm Sat, Whole day Sun)
- Cold email small businesses in my area that I've identified to be in need of better websites in terms of attracting online sales

Short-term Goals:
- Finish MVP of app then distribute for user tests, while going to entrepreneur meetups to pitch and acquire feedback. Iterate till launch/scrap.

Long-term goals:
- Build up a sizeable client base from web development business to supplement my primary income so I can quit my job
- Leverage the extra time freed up from doing the previous job to further my app/web development business

I'm quite sure with all the tasks above except the cold emailing, in which I have a couple of questions:
- Would it be more advantageous to cold email as an individual or a firm/business? (I am only operating as an individual right now, no corps/business website set up etc.)
- What is the price I can offer to clients initially, given that I've created a few websites before (using WordPress, though they weren't e-commerce sites)? I've researched that web dev firms charge 3k-6k USD per project. I'm thinking to charge 1.5k per project as a start. Additional charges will be things like building online presence (blogs is what I'm thinking of right now) and after-project maintenance (thinking it should be a subscription model, planning to train client's current employees instead as part of the initial project to free myself of the time required for maintenance)

Any guidance/criticism is much appreciated. Very open to receiving honest and constructive feedback. Thank you again everyone!
 

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Hadrian

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Sounds like you have a very structured plan... Best of luck to you... Are you making a SAAS style app?
 

The Racing Driver

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Hey @blestd, I read your intro. Interesting story and plan you have.

I'm the same age as you and live in Hong Kong too. (Not ethnically Chinese but I've spent nearly my whole life there).

To answer your questions:

- Would it be more advantageous to cold email as an individual or a firm/business? (I am only operating as an individual right now, no corps/business website set up etc.)
This is my opinion only, as I've done website projects for people. If you haven't really made and sold websites as an individual, there is not much point trying to create a firm or business. You can start now and once you are making sales. You can always register a business later. In Hong Kong, you can start doing business 3 months before you register a company.

If I was a customer needing a website done, I'd prefer going with an individual I know and trust. I've seen dozens if not hundreds of web design/development "firm" websites in Hong Kong. Their websites all look so generic and devoid of any personality or differentiating factor.

- What is the price I can offer to clients initially, given that I've created a few websites before (using WordPress, though they weren't e-commerce sites)?
You can easily sell a nicely coded and well designed website for $1.5K+. If you find the right client in the right niche, which is very important.

If you have already have a job, I'd say maybe work on the web development business on the side, and focus on the MVP of your app. Because that's your short term goal.

See if you can find a few clients and get a few successful projects out there. I did web development for a few clients and personally did not enjoy dealing with a lot of them. I made very little money for all the time I put in.

I stopped doing web development for clients some time ago, however I'm completely open to helping people I like with their web development work. If it results in a paying gig, then great.
 
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blestd

blestd

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Thank you so much @The Racing Driver for your feedback! Maybe we could meet up sometime too and we could share each others' stories - the fact that you're not ethnically Chinese (me too! HK is such a diverse city haha) and you have a karting picture as your profile picture (I'm very much into F1, but not keeping up too much due to the grind) intrigues me quite a bit. :)

This is my opinion only, as I've done website projects for people. If you haven't really made and sold websites as an individual, there is not much point trying to create a firm or business. You can start now and once you are making sales. You can always register a business later. In Hong Kong, you can start doing business 3 months before you register a company.
Duly noted. This confirms that I also need to be honest and upfront when it comes to doing business. Will keep this in mind!

You can easily sell a nicely coded and well designed website for $1.5K+. If you find the right client in the right niche, which is very important.

If you have already have a job, I'd say maybe work on the web development business on the side, and focus on the MVP of your app. Because that's your short term goal.

See if you can find a few clients and get a few successful projects out there. I did web development for a few clients and personally did not enjoy dealing with a lot of them. I made very little money for all the time I put in.
Also duly noted. Gonna have to think about what my priorities are: "MVP or the web dev business?" Is your recommendation of focusing on the MVP first because of the fact that the web dev may not be enough to replace a stable, full-time job financially?

Also, what were examples of situations as to why you did not enjoy dealing with the clients you had?
 

The Racing Driver

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Thank you so much @The Racing Driver for your feedback! Maybe we could meet up sometime too and we could share each others' stories - the fact that you're not ethnically Chinese (me too! HK is such a diverse city haha) and you have a karting picture as your profile picture (I'm very much into F1, but not keeping up too much due to the grind) intrigues me quite a bit. :)
Sure, we can meet up soon. Currently stuck in my hometown and waiting for flights to restart back to HK.

Yeah, since you already have a job. You have a source of income which can help you with your business.

Web development can replace your income, but you definitely need a good sales system. Because you can get so busy with the client work, that you don't put enough effort into selling.

I think a consistent theme with the clients I didn't enjoy, was that they didn't understand the value of the work. They would consistently ask for changes but would not want to pay more for any extra work done out of the scope of the project. It was also my fault for being so flexible and not setting proper boundaries. Definitely choose your clients carefully!
 
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Olimac21

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Maybe a bit unrelated to this, but have any of you tried SoloLearn for learning how to programme? What is your opinion?
 
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blestd

blestd

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Sure, we can meet up soon. Currently stuck in my hometown and waiting for flights to restart back to HK.
Cool, please let me know once you're back! Stay safe and take care.


Yeah, since you already have a job. You have a source of income which can help you with your business.

Web development can replace your income, but you definitely need a good sales system. Because you can get so busy with the client work, that you don't put enough effort into selling.

I think a consistent theme with the clients I didn't enjoy, was that they didn't understand the value of the work. They would consistently ask for changes but would not want to pay more for any extra work done out of the scope of the project. It was also my fault for being so flexible and not setting proper boundaries. Definitely choose your clients carefully!
Will also keep these in mind. Thank you so much for your help!
 
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blestd

blestd

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Maybe a bit unrelated to this, but have any of you tried SoloLearn for learning how to programme? What is your opinion?
Hi @Olimac21! Never tried it myself but from looking at the topics of the courses, but it seems like they offer what you need to learn in terms of the the fundamentals so you can start creating things from it.

Are you learning to program?
 

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