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WEB SCHOOL The Journey Begins (Backstory and Ongoing Updates)

Discussion in 'Web Design as a Hustle' started by GaryPhoenix, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Figured it is time introduce myself and give a bit of backstory along with the direction I will head moving forward.

    30 years old, "great job" by society's standards- stability, good pay, upward mobility and an aggressive 128 hours of paid time off yearly. Laughable I know.. Without even realizing it, my previous ambitions of being self-employed, traveling the world, and controlling my own destiny have been slowly taking the back-burner. How did this happen?

    After finishing college, I moved abroad and lived in Asia for four years. Started out teaching English to get out because I knew going to law school or grad school was not what I wanted to do deep down. So I got out. And it was the best choice I ever made. I moved into a management position with a small chain of English schools about a year in. Life was pretty good; working a few days a week, making okay money, and seeing places of the world most never have the opportunity to. Then things went south, we had to close two of the branches, my stress was rising and I decided I only live once so am going to go meet up with some buddies in Australia, and move with my girlfriend to do a working holiday for a year. I wound up coming back home first for a few months, but then got restless and decided to get a part time job until moving back overseas. I got into the mortgage industry with ambitions of making 100k, brought my then girlfriend over from Japan, and we decided to give up on the idea of Australia in pursuit of stability in America.

    Bounced around a few different companies until the volatility of the industry became too much to bare and had a baby, so it was time to go for something much more stable. I moved into the logistics industry, climbed the ladder quickly and am now a manager. Long hours, I hate waking up on Sundays now because my whole day is obsessed about the dread of Monday through Friday coming. Five for two is never a good trade.. More on that later.

    I had been dabbling in numerous business ventures that I started up over the years. Most had some success, but I gave up too quickly. I went for the quick buck, maxed it out for a couple months, and then moved onto the next big idea.. Couple of the businesses below:

    I opened a house cleaning company but told myself there was no way I was going to clean houses. Hindsight, I should've dove in and learned it inside and out, but hey, rich people don't clean houses so I wont either. It was too below me. So I solicited cleaning companies on Craigslist, stated I had an excess of houses to be cleaned and wondered if they would be interested. I then hired them out as independent contractors, paid them 70% of the cleaning cost, and I netted 30% for doing very little. I had a handful of cleaners going, but wasn't really pushing to market that hard- just kept putting craigslist postings online and directing them to my website where they could chat with me and then I would get them setup. Had some fallout with back solicitation with my cleaners, them not following through with appointments, missing cleanings, doing a sub par cleaning, etc. Then I just closed shop. Onto the next idea:

    Did the same thing with lawn care. I liked the idea of just taking a percentage and focusing on networking and attracting more customers. Did a few yards, winter came, and I never pursued it again. Next idea:

    Doing Amazon FBA. I bought a few pallets of textbooks, sent them to the Amazon warehouse, sold them all and made a few hundred in profit, but then thought it was too much work. Next idea:

    Create my own product, get it manufactured through Alibaba and then sell through various channels. Spent probably 100 hours researching everything, only to not follow through. You get the point and are probably starting to see a trend, right?

    I moved onto websites finally after reading a Reddit post where a guy was clearing 80k in net rev by slapping together Wix websites and selling them to low barrier to entry companies like restaurants, lawncare, etc. Hot damn! There it is. I will sell a bunch of $500 websites that I can make in a weekend since I've already done it myself for my 5+ different companies. It doesn't matter what the website does, just as long as it looks clean. That is all customers want anyways is a clean looking website. Boy was I wrong. Got my first client after sending a big BCC email to all the members of a local Chamber of Commerce. I overpromised, under-delivered and wound up not being able to finish it. So it was almost onto the next idea.

    Thankfully I was stumbling through r/Entrepeneur and bumped into @Fox's infamous post. We all have read it so no need to link it. But thank you so much! It has led me down the rabbit hole and is going to forever change my way of thinking. That was a couple months ago now, maybe less.

    I then found his Youtube channel, found his post on this forum and his Facebook group. I consumed everything I could. Since then, I finally got onto this forum, and picked up both books by @MJ DeMarco and finished those within a couple days. My jaw hit the floor and saw the light. All the books I read previously was putting me in the Slowlane. Put 10-15% away month over month, get frugal, set strict budgets, eliminate all debt, mutual funds, rinse and repeat for 45 years and bam, I am a millionaire next door finally. Screwwwww that. Thanks for opening my eyes MJ!

    I then read through all the posts by @Fox, @AllenCrawley, @Andy Black, @G_Alexander, @IceCreamKid, @LexDeVille, @RHL, @SteveO and all gold threads. Jesus, there are some smart people in this community. And everyone is so helpful with problem solving. Why on earth would they all give up this information? Maybe they are onto something. By solving problems, adding value, and being a descent human, the money will come to you?

    Down to the brass tacks. Since following Fox's advice, I have built three websites. One for free, one for $500, and now one I am working on to the tune of $4000. Cha-ching! And guess what? The customer is getting a great deal. I don't feel sleazy about it because I understand and he understands the value he will be receiving in return.

    As of now, I am still working my Slowlane job. Goal is to make enough money through web design to make this full-time and focus completely on growing this business into something that I can scale out pretty big, hire on a small sales team, and a web designer so I can focus exclusively on client acquisition and networking brand awareness. But the big takeaway is that I am going to focus exclusively on web design and not jump to another idea the second the grass looks greener somewhere else. I need to be around 10k month over month to meet the lifestyle I have now. When I hit 5k three months in a row, I will quit my job. If I can make 5k while working 50 hours a week, then there will be no problem hitting 10k without the slowlane job distracting me. Still a bit of a risk, but it is one I am going to take.

    As I continue to grow, I will keep this thread updated, show you what is and isn't working for me, and hopefully can shed some light that will help new people succeed as well. A couple months ago, I would be hoarding my secrets, fearing that there is not enough ice to go around, but I see things differently now. Thanks to all for reading and good luck in your endeavors. Again, huge thanks to Fox and others mentioned above for all that you have done in pushing me to get started.

    Godspeed,

    Lorus
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  2. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Great story, thanks for sharing. You write well too, so add that to your talents.

    You’ll have learnt a lot from all those start-stop business endevours. They’ll help you with your current one.

    The beauty of providing a service to business owners is you’ll spend a lot of time with ... business owners. You’ll learn lots from them (not just what to do, but also what not to do).

    It could also satisfy your desire to do different things. Your core service will be the same, but you can provide it to many different verticals. Or you could settle on a specific vertical and start providing different services to them.
     
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  3. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Appreciate the kind words! I've read through all your posts and a lot resonates on a level that I previously didn't see. Looking forward to climbing the ranks and getting to your and others' levels on this forum in the future.

    In my current position, I speak with high up decision makers at large manufacturing companies now, so I am confident that there will not be any issue pitching my value, getting them on board with my vision for their online presence, and what a proper website can do for them. Cheers!
     
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  4. Fox
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    Fox Moderator Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Great to have you. A detailed write up like that says a lot about a person so I am sure you will do a well. Keeping checking out the other gold threads and you will go far. Web design is just one way (even though you are doing great) so it is helpful to get a feel for other perspectives and industries too.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  5. Zarar
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    Zarar Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Great post I am following the same route(Web Design) currently as well. It is certainly motivating to read your thread :)
     
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  6. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Still getting started but am starting to have some successes. It will be great to see how this develops and look back in a year. Good luck to you as well!
     
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  7. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thanks man! Great to hear that coming from you. Looking forward to starting your online course soon.
     
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  8. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Quick update,

    A couple recent hurdles an complications. The company that I charged 4k for paid half of their deposit, I have the website created for initial review, but they have not reached back out to me. Phones are down and the email is bouncing back.. Pretty odd since they gave me $2000. We will see what happens with this one.

    I have been doing a lot of email prospecting in the initial stages. Still tinkering around with formatting and what works best. At first, I was sending emails like this below:


    Hello Jim,

    My name is Lorus and I am the owner of XXXX, a website design company, based in XXX.

    I am hoping we can possibly do some business together. I specialize in web design and work with improving companies’ online presence to generate additional sales. You can check out my site at www.XXX.com

    I like your current site but I think there is a lot of potential to do something great. Impressively, you are on Page 2 of Google when someone searches for “Steel Companies Kansas City.” We need to get you to the first couple results on page 1 which is where you want to be. I know that having a great visual portfolio and quality content is huge factor for success and I would love to build a new website that really helps target your services to potential large customers while still appearing very approachable to smaller customers as well.

    I build websites that focus on sales and results. I know a lot of web designers like to talk about design but my focus here is on the bottom line. Building a website that gets you a lot of new sales and satisfied customers.

    I have a few ideas on where you can improve on the site, and why I think it will benefit your business:

    · Better sales path for your clients – At the moment, when I go to your website, there is no clear direction. There is a lot of valuable information, but it is not organized in a fashion to direct customers down a desired funnel to lead to them picking up the phone to call or email KC Steel Inc. I can fix this easily.

    · Your current website URL has the index.php file attached. This is messing your page up for search engines. We need to remove this:
    1.JPG
    · Current site looks a little outdated (although it has a lot of potential). The design of the site now could use some updated pictures on your homepage as well as a more professional background that still caters to your industry.

    · I think we should showcase a more engaging set of pictures and content for your home page. I like some of the photos that show the inside of your building with machinery, but we can do a lot more to make this look more clean.

    · The ABOUT link should have a little more about your company history. I can write some good content that is engaging as well as educational to potential customers. Plus, the phone number overlaps the About Us text which I circled below. Small stuff, but if you are a big organization, the little details is what makes a big difference:
    3.JPG
    · I think THE DIFFERENCE page is extremely important. Let’s get some good content and engaging material on this page to really differentiate yourselves from the competition. I have some fantastic ideas for this that I would like to share.

    · The PRODUCTS AND SERVICES page has a lot of great information. It is almost a little overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Rather than having all the products in one column, I have some ideas of how to clean this up and make it more navigable for the customer online. Plus, your online product catalog is a great idea! I think we can make this even better so users are more likely to click on it and reach out for a quote or to place an order.

    · Your site is currently not optimized to work correctly on mobile devices. Traffic from mobile devices is growing fast. We need to optimize your website for mobile, or you are missing out on valuable traffic. Plain and simple.

    We specialize in proven sales techniques to get people taking more action (and not just browsing) and have them get in touch more often. This will greatly improve possible leads and the number of client interactions you have. These are just a few items that I saw right off the bat. When is a good time we could talk for 15 minutes or so?

    Thanks,

    Lorus
    www.xxx.com
    123-456-7890


    I then gave a call a couple days later if no response asking if they had read. Most hadn't..
    I found that this is too detailed of an initial email. It only took 10-15 minutes to write and I thought by adding a bunch of value upfront, they would be more likely to read it. So changed this up to something a bit simpler for a few days to see how it worked. Ill post that next.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
  9. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Since the previous email was too long and wasn't having good results, I scaled it back a bit and included a PDF attachment. Really simple to make these with Snipping Tool if you are on Windows, and then use CutePDF writer to save everything as a PDF. I thought there would be a better click through ratio. Here is what I was doing for a few more days. Results have been mixed. I think the idea is great on the surface of including a free website review as a PDF attachment- it conveys a more professional email I feel. Still am thinking that it may be a bit much initially:

    Hello Mr. Lewis,

    My name is Lorus and I am the owner of XXX a website design company, based in XXX. Hopefully we can do some business together. I specialize in web design and work with improving companies’ online presence to generate additional sales.

    Your current site has a lot of potential and with a little work, we can make it a great resource for your business. Having a great visual portfolio and quality content is huge factor for success and I would love to build a new website that really helps target your services to potential large customers while still appearing very approachable to smaller customers as well.

    I build websites that focus on sales and results. A lot of web designers like to talk about fancy pictures, SEO, click through ratios, etc. But my focus here is on the bottom line- web design with results in mind. That means getting you a lot of new sales and satisfied customers.

    Attached, you will find a PDF document of some of the current issues with your website and how I can help. This is just after an initial look at your website. We can dive into everything else soon. Have a look at this PDF and let me know if you would like to talk after.

    If you do even half as well as the rest of my clients, you’re going to be very, very impressed. Give me a call or shoot me an email when we could talk for 10-15 minutes. I look forward to the chance in earning your business!

    Thank you,

    Lorus
    www.xxx.com
     

    Attached Files:

  10. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I called this lawyer back a day later because let's face it, that website is abhorrent! He got pretty ticked off at me for calling him out. Meh, whatever.. on to the next. I reread through Fox's posts in depth a couple days ago, and decided to keep it a lot more casual on the initial email.

    I did an initial quote email for $2600 on another customer. I think I should be able to lock him down next week. I also got in touch with a pretty large steel fabricator that has a terrible website. They heard me out and wanted to see a website I have done in the same industry.. ouch.. should've worked on that more initially. I was honest though and they met me with open ears. I am calling them back on Monday and may meet them in person to discuss. This did spark my mind that maybe I should do one more website for free in the same industry that I am attempting to pursue. I sent out a more casual email yesterday and am going to follow up in a couple hours with them to see what they think. Landing this would be great because I could get their website online by the end of this weekend and present that to the other company I am trying to meet next week. Here is the email I sent. Copied a lot from Fox:

    Hi Steve,

    My name is Lorus and I do web design based in XXX. I am trying to start to work with a lot of similar companies to yours in the manufacturing space so am offering you a website completely for free. No strings attached. I found your company online and wanted to speak with you since there is a possible fit between our companies.

    I came across your business by searching “Manufacturing Companies Kansas City” and noticed you are listed on page 2 of Google. A little research has shown me that this kind of search is getting around 12,000 searches per month. I really think some very simple changes to your website would see a huge difference in results. I believe we can get you onto page one of Google which will lead to a lot more searches and in turn, more customers and quotes. I would like to help you out completely free of charge.

    Here are some examples of things that I believe can be improved:

    1. Completely overhaul your site from a visual and content side
    2. Dramatically improve direction for users to take action
    3. Bring to life your amazing experience across quality and production that you have done in the past.

    Also your website does not work well on mobile devices and I can fix this free of charge as well.

    With your permission, I would like to do something similar to this website for you: www.xxx.com

    I’ll reach out tomorrow and would love to have a quick chat about everything. Even if you don't hire me I would enjoy showing you some simple things to get fast results.

    Thanks,
     
  11. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Next goals are to lock down this guy for $2600 next week, do a free website for a large authority figure in the industry, and then start referencing these websites in my initial emails while targeting bigger and bigger customers.

    Sidenote: I've been using Trello for workflow management. It has been very helpful and is free. Screenshot of what mine looks like with customer names lined out. I move each card along the path as wit progresses further in the process. Trello.jpg
     
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  12. GaryPhoenix
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    GaryPhoenix Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Just had a lengthy conversation with a pretty large steel fabrication company. They do about 20 million in sales annually. I am going to do this one for free as it will be a great aid in my portfolio. It's a descent size operation they are running so should be able to use this as an example for future large clients. I am going to try to put this together pretty quickly and use it to show the other customer in the same industry that I am trying to lock down next week for a paid site.

    I don't like the idea of free, but this should prove valuable as it is the end industry I am trying to reach out to.

    More updates coming soon as I progress.
     
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  13. Zarar
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    Zarar Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Good job man!
     
  14. Zarar
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    Zarar Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Sounds amazing man keep up the great work
     

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