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EXECUTION Starting a web design business in high school

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Richard Gao, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. Richard Gao
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    Richard Gao Contributor

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    Hey guys, I'm a 16 year old in Canada and I've just started a web design business. My updates were originally posted here. But the thread didn't quite fit the content, so I'll repost the posts I already had up there and continue my updates from here. Here are my updates on progress so far:

    Update 1:

    I've just started sending out consistent cold emails every day (around 5/day) to businesses. Not all of them are local, but they're all in Canada. Also, learning more stuff, Javascript, SEO, etc.

    Here's how my cold emails look, any advice?

    Subject line: Hi, from Richard, Hey <name>, found you through <media>, Hey name, about <company> and Etchedy, etc

    Email 1:

    Hey there <could also be person's name>,

    Just came across <company>, congrats on the Google reviews!
    I'm Richard from etchedy.com and I'm in charge of developing websites for auto repair shops like <company>.

    A large chunk of customers could be lost from a business's website, or the website could rank so low on Google that nobody sees it. In the case of <company>, we can help.

    Anyways, if you're interested, shoot me an email and we can discuss some ideas. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    Do you have a preferred contact method?

    Thanks,


    Email 2:

    Hey there <could also be person's name>,

    Just came across <company>, congrats on the Google reviews! I'm from etchedy.com and I'm in charge of developing websites that increase clients of businesses like <company>.

    We do this by optimizing your website to rank higher on Google and improving the overall design to increase clients, so in the case of <company>, we would get your website up to modern web standards.

    If you're ready, shoot me an email and we can talk. I'm also more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

    What is your preferred contact method?

    Thanks,

    Richard


    Do you guys have any advice on the cold emails? Also, what would I say when I approach a business? Just coming in and saying "hey, do you need web design" sounds a little strange.

    Thanks

    EDIT: I'm doing web design for auto and car repair shops.

    UPDATE 2

    The couple of days after my first update I got into cold calling my web design prospects, I realized the cold email wasn't going to cut it and stopped being lazy. I did 5 cold calls the first day and got rejected. Then upped my number to 20 cold calls and got 2 potential clients who were interested out of 20, I was quite surprised.

    One of them apparently got scammed by some web design company and now pays $16 a month to maintain his site, since I usually just got rejected after mentioning i do web design, I really didn't know how to progress the conversation so I just said I'll call later at a better time.

    The second said they might call me if they're interested and they'll take a look at my site, they're a decent sized auto repair shop to with 30 employees.

    The rest either said no, or said their boss wasn't there yet (granted, i did call quite early, or they just wanted to be polite lol)

    Overall, I was quite surprised I wasn't rejected for all of them.

    I will definitely keep doimg cold calls everyday, plus, I have 2 potentially warm clients. So I'll keep you guys updated on this thread and to keep myself accountable.

    UPDATE 3

    So it's been 3 days since I've upped my cold calls from 20, to 40 a day. It's still summer so I have time off school to cold call.

    So far I've gotten 3 people that were not only interested enough to check my website out, but warm enough to give me their personal email. I followed up with a mock homepage for their website in the emails, as well as a few tips. (trying to offer value) Unfortunately, none of them have responded.

    My cold call is fairly simple, something along the lines of "Hey, this is Richard, I'm from <where I live> and I noticed <something about their site> and I wanted to see if I can assist with web design."

    They usually reject me at this point, but some are interested and ask me about what I do. Those interested usually ask for my contact info, and sometimes my price (I just give it to them) then they give me their email (or I ask for theirs) and we hang up.

    My cold calling skills are still pretty poor, so I can understand why my warmer leads might not have followed up. Do you guys have any advice on what I should say after they're interested? (I also left my follow up email in attachment)

    What I noticed is, the more I cold call, the less interested people I get for some reason. What I assume is happening here is when I increase my calls to 40 a day, I have to lower my standards for prospecting, so instead of having 20+ prospects who already have (bad) websites, I'll also have some in there who have NO websites, (and those usually reject me more often, likely due to the fact they're convinced they don't need a website,) so I get more rejections.

    Right now I've mainly been focusing on marketing: cold calling and prospect finding. I might try Linkedin as well.

    It feels like I'm getting diminishing returns from cold calling, but I'm keeping "the desert of desertion" from TMF in mind, so I'll keep at it and continue to refine until I get some leads.

    Thanks for the advice guys! (don't worry, none of you are too harsh on me :) I'll be back with another update in a couple of days or a week.

    More posts below
     
  2. Richard Gao
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    Richard Gao Contributor

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    UPDATE 4:

    I just got my first client! I was so surprised, it was not from one of my cold calls, but from one of my cold emails where I sent them a homepage mockup. It was a local auto shop and apparently the guy has called me many times, but I never received his calls, so he emailed me and we eventually set up a meeting in his office.

    I'll admit, I made many mistakes with this deal. I was pretty nervous during he meeting and my main mistake was quoting too low. I offered $50 for my website and the guy claimed I deserve more so he's paying me $100. It went along even better than I expected and he wanted me to keep up his site for $25 a month.

    I was so shocked and surprised by this. He wants to have another meeting with me on Wednesday to discuss everything.

    I was just on a roll that day, since 2 auto shops I called told me to call back in the afternoon, when I called back one of them gave me their personal email and the other said they would email me. They both ended up flaking but it's better than a "no thanks"

    What I learned:

    1. I need to quote higher.

    I learned that lesson after my meeting with the first guy, so I quoted $200 for my calls during the afternoon and none of the guys said it was too high, (although they did flake on me) so I now know lowballing isn't the way to go.

    2. Most web designers suck a$$.

    During my meeting the guy said he paid some web designer to do his site and she ended up abandoning him. He doesn't know how to edit the site and was not left with clear instructions, so now he's been stuck with an outdated site for many years.

    It was the same with the other guy I called mentioned in one of my earlier posts, he said he was scammed by some company and can't edit his site now.

    Pretty interesting to learn all that, will keep it in mind, it seems the biggest problem is communication for web designers and clients.

    Conclusion:

    Whew! What a long post! My next goal is to get a few more customers in my home city, I have a feeling the auto shops I contacted outside of my home city flaked on me because they saw no actual site examples in my portfolio, and local businesses seem much more forgiving in terms of portfolio items since I can actually meet them. I've learned so many things and I look forward to my next clients!
     
  3. Richard Gao
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    Richard Gao Contributor

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    UPDATE 5:

    Since we had Labour Day this week I couldn't send out any calls, so there was not much to update, but not much has changed, I've somewhat maintained my 40/day call consistency since school started.

    I had one call where I tried to set up an appointment and it worked quite well. I just forgot to explicitly mention it was a call I was setting up and not an actual meeting as the guy was outside of my province. Unfortunately when I called him back he was busy and said to come at lunch, that's when I realized I messed up.

    An update on my first client: I did the meeting with him on Wednesday and he responded pretty well, he agreed to the website and even wanted for me to fix his Facebook! Unfortunately, he is not responding to my emails for some reason, but he has basically already agreed to do the site, I tried calling him today and he wasn't there, got his employees to leave a note. I don't know what is happening but I'm sure I'll get a hold of my first client without too much issue.

    What I noticed recently is that I really suck at cold calling. Although I didn't record myself (I should have) I speak too fast and too nervously, and I noticed I actually get rejections that are a lot less harsh when I'm calmer.

    What I need to improve: I've also noticed in my calls that I'm not very assertive, some people I call do not reject me outright, they'll say something along the lines of "we don't really need a website right now." or "Call us back later" "the boss isn't here." I've recently read Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount and it says that setting appointments or calls when it comes to objections like the ones mentioned above is the best way to convert them.

    I am doing very poorly on both of these things; vocal cadence when calling and assertiveness. so my main goal is to improve them as of now. I will do this by recording myself when I call, practicing, and improving based on that. I might even post some recordings (edited of course) for critique on here.

    Overall, I think I can do much better, I see other guys on here who spent much less time and calls getting clients, so I must be doing something wrong. I think refining my calls will help me get my second client but the most important part is still perseverance.

    Thanks for the support guys!
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
    GWan likes this.
  4. Richard Gao
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    Richard Gao Contributor

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    UPDATE 6:

    It's been quite a while since my last post, so here is update 6.

    Things haven't been changing much lately, my old potential client still hasn't responded, however, I've called and his employee says he will call me and will email me, but none of those has happened. I will leave a physical note at his shop, if I still get no response, then I'll move on.

    My cold calls and email have still returned no results. I notice there were so many calls I left on the table which could have possibly been turned around to a second call. I still handle objections very poorly, and to be honest, I think it's the fear holding me back from handling an objection, the fear of a harsh angry rejection. I will need to keep calling and take more notice of when I've hit an objection or a rejection, and either move on or handle the objection instead of saying goodbye.

    I won't make excuses but school has hit pretty hard these past few weeks. I've cut back on sending emails almost to 0 since every one of my emails contains a mockup of the potential client's website, and that usually takes quite a while to produce. I think cold emails are important because my first potential client was converted due to a cold email, not cold call. What I will do to combat this is to send out more emails without the mockup to save more time. Cold emails have a low conversion rate anyways, so I'm guessing my low numbers might be taking a toll on effectiveness rather than the email itself.

    Anyways, I'm still going to cold call and cold email, but I've scaled it back to 20 calls per day instead of 40 due to time constraints and running out of leads too quickly. Hopefully, improving my objection handling skills and cold emailing more will lead to some responses at least, and we'll see what I can take it from there.

    If I keep on returning empty handed, I may need to change my strategy, but for now, 100% of my marketing focus will be on cold emails and calls.

    I've recorded some calls and taken out any sensitive information, can you guys critique me on my calls? Any advice is welcome and don't be afraid of being too harsh.

    Calls - Google Drive

    Thanks for whoever takes the time to read these lol.
     
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