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WEB SCHOOL Under 18, know web design but can't get a contract because of age. Any advice?

Richard Gao

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This thread is a more specific continuation from my previous thread: Starting Web Design/Development Issues

I am 16 and I am looking to do some web design as a hustle, I tried getting started on Upwork, but they ask for ID and say you must be 18+ to enter.

I am kind of stuck on what to do now. I have tried to do some cold emailing and offering to design websites for free for small local businesses with no results, (given, I have not honed my cold emailing skills and have just started doing it, so I will keep this thread updated on that.) I can't do cold calls at the moment due to racking up costs on my cell phone bill, so I would appreciate some advice on the topic.

Here's one of my cold email samples:

Subject line:

hey, trying to contact you, an inquiry, etc

Email:

Hey there, I live locally and I've seen (your business) around a few times, although the place is great, the website could use some work. A redesigned website can let your customers know and find your services easier (or insert any other benefit here). Luckily, I'm a web designer offering you to design your website for free.

If you're interested, contact me and we can talk.

Thanks,

Richard

I don't just copy/paste the same thing each time, but my emails usually follow along this format. I just found out this probably isn't the best way to email, so I'm doing some more research on cold emailing now.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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dmichaelmccann

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Hey Richard,

I tried doing cold emails and calls when I was trying to get free portfolio pieces and it didn’t work out great either. You’d probably be better off waiting to do that until you have a few sites under your belt.

To get that first job you need to be creative:

Instead of emailing or calling, actually walk in to the businesses you are trying to target and ask the owner if they’d like a free website upgrade.

Ask your family/friends/acquaintances if they know anyone that needs a website.

Make a public Facebook post saying you are new to web design and are trying to build your portfolio, and will do 1-2 sites for free.

It’s not easy to get the first job but there are a lot of ways to do it. Just make sure when you are doing a free website that you work with someone that you can actually get results for and that is invested in the project, knows the value the site will bring. It’s never happened to me personally but you don’t want to build someone a free site only to find out afterwards that they don’t want to shell out $60 for a domain and hosting to put it online.
 

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I walked into the boardroom of a 7-figure military electronics company and closed my first web design contract there when I was 17.

Age won't limit you unless you let it.

UpWork's not the only option, man. Go to PeoplePerHour, Freelancer.com, Guru.com, Fiverr if you just want to get your first portfolio pieces.

When I began cold emailing, all I got in response was angry business owners. My emails looked like yours. "Although the place is great, the website could use some work." focuses on how crappy their current website is, which they either already know - or they designed it themselves and just got a hurt ego. Focus on the incredible sales-boosting benefits of getting your help.

Alex Berman has a great YouTube channel that provides tips on cold emailing. FYI he doesn't upsell a course but actually runs his own lead generation agency.
 

Real Deal Denver

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1) I don't know of anyone that reads cold emails. I don't. I get more than 100 a day. But they keep on trying. It's sooooo easy to do things that way. It's also sooooooo ineffective.

2) I'm not going to have someone design my website that waltzed in out of the blue. That is a very important part of my business, and therefore I will not put myself into a situation where I might be held hostage to them, as they "own" my website somehow, which is a measure of control over my business.

3) Why do anything for free anyway? You can build your OWN website which promotes what YOU do. You definitely need to hone in on how business people think and do business. I don't want free services. I want VERY GOOD services.

4) If all else fails, become an employee of some sort in your own company. You don't own the company, but you are learning the business as an intern. People want to help interns. Who wants to hire a high school kid that knows something about building a web site? A high school kid - that's who. Get an older brother, or your Dad - anyone - to lend you their picture as the CEO on the website you build for YOUR business. And don't call yourself an executive vice president on a business card. Marketing associate maybe. Be very humble. You are not 28 with a BA degree in computer science, so step back and act like an eager worker doing his best. If you think you CAN compete with a 28 year old computer science major that knows five or six programming languages, well good luck. I know a few of those, and they are damn good at what they do.

5) I charge a lot for my services. Do you know what that says about me to my customers? It says I'm worth it. I don't compete with the cheap people in my business at all. Do you know what it says when they say they are the cheapest - or, worse yet, free? It says they know what they're worth, and have priced themselves accordingly. And that is not a good thing in any way.

When you are in business, you are in business. This isn't an extra credit project for some class. You are entering the realm of professionals. Act accordingly.
 

rpeck90

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1) I don't know of anyone that reads cold emails. I don't. I get more than 100 a day. But they keep on trying. It's sooooo easy to do things that way. It's also sooooooo ineffective.

2) I'm not going to have someone design my website that waltzed in out of the blue. That is a very important part of my business, and therefore I will not put myself into a situation where I might be held hostage to them, as they "own" my website somehow, which is a measure of control over my business.

3) Why do anything for free anyway? You can build your OWN website which promotes what YOU do. You definitely need to hone in on how business people think and do business. I don't want free services. I want VERY GOOD services.

4) If all else fails, become an employee of some sort in your own company. You don't own the company, but you are learning the business as an intern. People want to help interns. Who wants to hire a high school kid that knows something about building a web site? A high school kid - that's who. Get an older brother, or your Dad - anyone - to lend you their picture as the CEO on the website you build for YOUR business. And don't call yourself an executive vice president on a business card. Marketing associate maybe. Be very humble. You are not 28 with a BA degree in computer science, so step back and act like an eager worker doing his best. If you think you CAN compete with a 28 year old computer science major that knows five or six programming languages, well good luck. I know a few of those, and they are damn good at what they do.

5) I charge a lot for my services. Do you know what that says about me to my customers? It says I'm worth it. I don't compete with the cheap people in my business at all. Do you know what it says when they say they are the cheapest - or, worse yet, free? It says they know what they're worth, and have priced themselves accordingly. And that is not a good thing in any way.

When you are in business, you are in business. This isn't an extra credit project for some class. You are entering the realm of professionals. Act accordingly.
To add...

If you're 17, the biggest advantage you have is your freshness - you're perceived to know all the latest trends etc. You'd need to use this to your advantage somehow (how is up to you).

In terms of "getting clients" etc, I believe you're thinking about it wrong. I've done that before (and continue to do it every single week), and get several emails per week from people pitching on some new "corporate video" or "web design". They all go in the trash.

The way you need to consider it is several-fold:

1. Go in to genuinely LEARN - be disposable to business owners (IE be their slave to achieve results for them) in the pursuit of the bigger prize (KNAWLEDGE). You're doing the default problem (that everyone does at some point) of trying to force yourself onto the buyer, like a creep leering over some girl at a nightclub.

Business is kind of like dating without the sex. You can "speed date" (networking), "Internet date" (LinkedIn) or go full retard and try to get with the model (take bold risks). Just like in the dating game, you are judged primarily on your performance in particular situations - just like if you get good with women (be matter-of-fact, bring more to the table than you take away, are genuinely interested in living a decent life), people will start to get interested in what you're doing.

2. Build up something *of your own* and lead with RESULTS - this is the biggest one. Build your own Wordpress site / blog / ecommerce site in a "high traffic" niche and start working to get traffic to it. I owned the "second largest" Webkinz website when I was 16 and had a bunch of other stuff (most of which didn't do very well).

You'd be totally surprised if you went into a company and showed what you've actually done. When people see you're legit, they start to get interested in what you have. To liken it to the dating stuff again, it's very similar to how attraction is triggered. Do *anything* to try and make progress - @Damian Pros has a book about Fiverr which may serve you well (don't be afraid to invest into your education).

To give Damian his due, I got my friend onto Fiverr and has been experiencing semi-decent results (nothing like his, but still proves it's a decent platform -- especially considering one of those orders is for $300):

Untitledggg.png

Another good example is this "book" I found at 17 which basically sold me on the whole "business" thing (notice how the page LEADS WITH RESULTS):

Untitledfg.png

Get rid of any ego you may have; suit up and act like you are "trying to figure it out".

Be amicable with people (real world business is opposite to how it is on Netflix; I've sat across the table from guys before telling me how they were on anti-depressants setting up their businesses & getting sued by their former employer for stealing a $500k/yr clientbase - provide them with stoic determination and you'll gain their trust).

3. The advice of actually going into companies is legit - you'd be surprised at how your luck changes the moment you show up in person. If you wrap the encounter in wanting to learn, there's not a lot they can do about it. Yep, it's difficult & takes balls... but that's where the magic lies.

The real secret to business is results.

99.99% of business owners don't care about anything other than how they're going to cover payroll next month. Showing up asking them for some money to design a shitty website doesn't contribute to that. The best thing you can do is focus on what results you generate for the client (think about a personal trainer -- the ONLY thing they need to sell new clients is before/after pics) - the more potent the results, the more interested they'll get.

--

The biggest thing I would do if I were you is get rid of ANY labels you may have attributed to yourself.

Does the world *really* need another "web designer"? What makes you different to the next guy?

Rather than labeling yourself, go after what's going to make the most money. Copy successful websites to make your own $$ - go to Clickbank.com and pick out any product that's doing well, make a site to sell it and then see if you can make money with it. Make review sites for popular Amazon products/niches, build up traffic with YouTube/Medium etc. Put your own spin on stuff. Get products sold. That's all business-owners want; someone who's able to increase sales.

--

As to the 18 thing...

People don't care about your age (unless you're trying to tell them you're better than them // Erik "look at me" Finmann).

If there's really a problem with it, get someone over 18 to provide their details (dad? older brother? sister wouldn't do it; most women scared shitless of "breaking the rules"). l bought some skateboards at 15 and they refused to sell to me because I was "under age" - told them to sell them to my Dad instead. Ain't nothing they can do about that.

--

Quite pertinent actually - check out my school report card (found last night) from when I was 17 (excuse swastika... really didn't like school at this point) - sometimes, you have to burn bridges:

IMG_1240.JPG IMG_1242.JPG IMG_1243.JPG IMG_1244.JPG IMG_1245.JPG

--

Finally, if you're interested in the online world, you may want to consider copywriting...

rails_fiverr_pitch.png
If you can write slick copy (that makes people want to buy), you'll have infinite amounts of business.

@Damian Pros business is SPXMAC - look at which of their Fiverr gigs are doing well and make your own versions. DON'T copy them (they've earned their success and you must respect that) - provide your own twists on things (for example, maybe instead of Amazon listing copy, do eCommerce listings or something). There are plenty of ways to make money without being a douche.

Most of success in the modern world comes from mental dexterity.

--

Now, a secret I found in my early 20's - give it ALL away up front.

We're lead to believe that business is meant to be shrouded in mystery, only showing people what we feel they want to see. The reality is that, in my experience, people want "access all areas" (so they can make their own mind up -- this is partly why the Kardashians are so popular) - and the modern web gives you the ability to do this very simply. Expounding your experience is the most effective way to make legit money.

Create a blog to document your progress. Put NOTHING else on the blog except documenting anything you've "done" -- cold calls you made, pitches you presented, wins/losses etc. If you create a Twitter / social presence, only put up stuff pertaining to your own growth. None of the horseshit about "book reviews" and other crap that has already been done before. Create small "business" websites to sell new products; if they don't work out, put them on Flippa for some dude to buy.

The biggest fear people have is of exposing themselves. I have it; I'm sure others do too. But in order to be truly able to make progress - be willing to bare yourself to the world. "Warts and all", as Cromwell said. You do that, with enough people, and you'll eventually make decent progress.
 

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Let me solve your problem.

1. If you already haven't, make some websites which you can show as an example of your work. If you have a hosting account, make a couple on your subdomain and screenshot them.

2. Make an Instagram account and post those screenshots on there.

3. Find businesses on Instagram that have shitty websites and DM them on how they can improve their website. As a result, they will see that you know what you are talking about and you will make sales.

4. Shoot 50 DMs a day and you have yourself a business.

5. DONT SPAM! Take the time and analyze their website and give sincere feedback. If you just copy and past a template for everyone no one is going to give a crap about you.

I started at 17 with that so your age is just a bullshit excuse.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEEwb1coDFc
 

broswoodwork

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Op, any examples of your work?
 

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Hey Richard,

I tried doing cold emails and calls when I was trying to get free portfolio pieces and it didn’t work out great either. You’d probably be better off waiting to do that until you have a few sites under your belt.

To get that first job you need to be creative:

Instead of emailing or calling, actually walk in to the businesses you are trying to target and ask the owner if they’d like a free website upgrade.

Ask your family/friends/acquaintances if they know anyone that needs a website.

Make a public Facebook post saying you are new to web design and are trying to build your portfolio, and will do 1-2 sites for free.

It’s not easy to get the first job but there are a lot of ways to do it. Just make sure when you are doing a free website that you work with someone that you can actually get results for and that is invested in the project, knows the value the site will bring. It’s never happened to me personally but you don’t want to build someone a free site only to find out afterwards that they don’t want to shell out $60 for a domain and hosting to put it online.
yup happened to me 3 times. People are cheap especially when you work for free. Make sure they NEED a website and its in-line with their marketing strategy. Filter out as many people as possible. If they agree to a free site, make sure they buy the domain name and registry FIRST, so you know they are committed.
 
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Richard Gao

Richard Gao

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Op, any examples of your work?
Yep:

Etchedy (Personal Website)

Autofiction (fictional auto repair company)

Orgone Manufacturing (fictional manufacturing company)

These are all example websites that I've included in my cold emails before, but they were all ineffective, I plan on having the Etchedy one in an actual domain soon, but the other ones will stay in 000webhost as examples.
 

sparechange

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Use someones ID? Give them 20 bucks

#breaktherules

Your websites look good, good job!
 

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Late Bloomer

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I have an idea about the legal question of "too young for a contract." In the U.S., there's the Small Business Administration, which has offices all over the country. In most offices, there's some free business consulting available. The consulting might not be state of the art for tecnology or marketing, but it's usually very good about basic business infrastructure questions like taxes, insurance, accounting, and contracts.

I would guess there is something similar in Canada. A reference librarian should be able to help you look this up.

I suggest you ask someone who could know for sure, in your province, exactly how old do you have to be to sign a legally valid contract? Do parents/guardians have a legal right to override contracts made at a younger age? Can they write a simple statement that they endorse your own business agreements?

It seems it might provide you some peace of mind, if you know how to address the concerns a client might have here.

There's another strategy that's been used by a lot of musicians and soldiers, who wanted an early start: lie about your age, join, and accept the paycheck! I can't give any more advice about that one, but it's worked for a lot of talented young people!
 
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Richard Gao

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Update:

I finished setting up my website (etchedy.com) completely, along with 3 example sites, just have some issues with my business email, will start approaching local businesses soon.

Feedback on the site is welcome.

Thanks
 

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Update:

I finished setting up my website (etchedy.com) completely, along with 3 example sites, just have some issues with my business email, will start approaching local businesses soon.

Feedback on the site is welcome.

Thanks
Are the websites under "Example Websites" ones you've actually done? If not, pull them. If so, build them out more. If I click on an example, I don't want to see the template Latin on an example of a site you say you built.

Your "About" section is weak. Check out some of the copy-writing threads on here, or ask for help. I would offer suggestions, but I suffer from the same problem.
 
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Richard Gao

Richard Gao

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Are the websites under "Example Websites" ones you've actually done? If not, pull them. If so, build them out more. If I click on an example, I don't want to see the template Latin on an example of a site you say you built.

Your "About" section is weak. Check out some of the copy-writing threads on here, or ask for help. I would offer suggestions, but I suffer from the same problem.
Yes, they are ones I've actually done, however, they are not real businesses so I decided to put in some Latin dummy text.
 

CareCPA

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Yes, they are ones I've actually done, however, they are not real businesses so I decided to put in some Latin dummy text.
Gotcha. I would say replace them as soon as you get real examples. Or, if you have downtime, build them out more fully.
 

Late Bloomer

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One quick note on your site is that it says, "(implied targeting to small business owners), you really need a web site."

Half of all businesses aleady have a site. The owner could glance through your page, and say "yep it's important, I'm glad I already have one." They'll click away, feeling satisfied.

There should be something about how web sites need to be regularly updated for so many reasons. Security and privacy concerns, trends in society, changes in marketing and business needs, as well as to use more up to date technology.

There should be something about how web sites should be integrated with a social media management process.

These are reasons that if someone already has a web site, they still might have a need for further help.

I recommend you consider following Andy Black's model of free initial consultation calls that are recorded and shared with permission. If you happen to sound way too young to be given the keys to the car, then maybe use transcriptions. If you sound young but astute and trustworthy, include the audio.

If the initial pitch is "let's look at what would be a better plan," that might be easier than a jump to "let's talk about how much you'll pay me" as the goal of the first call.

Are you up to speed on Fox's material here and on Youtube?
 
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I know a retired 70 yr-old scientist who taught himself the PHP stack, and started to look for work online. He got terrible results, which confirmed to him "the whole system is rigged", and nobody wanted to hire an old guy. He went to meetups, and met some people at startups, but he didn't fit in. Some 20-ish guys said they couldn't hire him since he didn't want to "party" after work. So he got disillusioned, and made a website for gathering data on some weird medical issue a friend of his had. Then one of the people using that site knew someone who needed a WordPress theme changed. That person knew someone who needed a website to be mobile-friendly. Then an obscure musician's website. Then the company that makes some instruments used by the musician. And now a celebrity who uses the musical instruments. So I caught up with my friend, and said, "Hey man, I thought the system was rigged against you!", and he said, "Oh no, it's the job searching that is rigged, you just have to avoid it."
 

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I am 16 and I am looking to do some web design as a hustle, I tried getting started on Upwork, but they ask for ID and say you must be 18+ to enter.
If this is your problem. Ask one of your parents/sister/brother to register and act from their account/on their behalf. Same with registering a company. Ask them to do it.
 
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Richard Gao

Richard Gao

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Update:

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.
 
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Richard Gao

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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.
 

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So you're reaching out to auto and car repair shops. What kind of emails do they have? info@autorepair.ca style adresses? I've found they're often unsupervised or managed by the receptionist, owner's wife etc. Have you tried doing some digging and trying to get the personal email adress of the person in charge?

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,
"congrats on the Google reviews" would turn me off if I was a business owner. Just sounds weird, as if it wasn't my hard work and great customer service that lead to those great reviews.

Maybe rephrase it like, "Found you on Google reviews and from what everyone seems to be saying, you're the best auto shop in town. If you ask me, you definitely deserve to be found by more people" (Not the best but you get the idea)

"I'm Richard from etchedy.com and I'm in charge of developing websites for auto repair shops like <company>."

IMO it's way to me-focused. Why would someone care about a stranger like you?

"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."
Okay, to be honest it just reads like a bland elevator pitch at this point.

"A large chunk of customers could be lost from a business's website"

Okay... How do you think a business owner would perceive a sentence like this? How do you think this sentence helps you get an answer by persons who want help with web design?

You're talking about how a large chunk of customers can be lost from a website... By talking about negative stuff like that, that's what people will associate you with. (This isn't always true, but now I'd say it is)

Nobody wants to talk to Richard "websites lose you a large chunk of customers" Gao.

People would love to partner up with Richard "the guy who helps business owners put food on the table with websites" Gao.
"the website could rank so low on Google that nobody sees it"

Again, negative connotations only.
"In the case of <company>, we can help."

Dude, it's such a vague statement. What do you mean? How do you help them? What do they get out of it? A nice-looking website? More customers? You need to be more clear about the real value you're providing.

Because let's look at it this way.

Mike is a real 45 year old man who runs a small-town autoshop.

Business used to be great, but lately things haven't gone the way they should. He hasn't made a profit in two years, and the stress is slowly creeping up on him. Once he even had a small mental breakdown due to the poor performance of the autoshop, walking out on his family 11 PM a wednesday and not coming back for two days.

The family was scared and worried he'd taken his own life. Luckily, that wasn't the outcome. But that event planted a seed in their minds. They are constantly hoping their beloved father and husband would close down shop and get employed instead.

But Mike just can't do it. The autoshop is his baby. His livelihood. His pride.

What would you rather say to Mike:

"Hey, great reviews on Google. Website can lose a large chunk of your customers. I can give you one."

Or:

"Hey there, have you ever felt like you need more customers to your shop? You do?

Have you thought about focusing more on online marketing?

Yeah, I know it looks complicated, but it's actually pretty easy for autoshops to start out and get at least 5 more sales each week. I know, because I've seen other autoshops -- exactly like yours -- do it before. You don't even need to do anything yourself. Just hear me out...
"

Because in the end it's not about your web design, your JavaScript or SEO.

It's about the business owners putting food on the table, and how you can help them do that.

Most things are both true and false at the same time. For example, you might not want to market your services in a way that attracts people like Mike, because they're just bad at running a business. A website wouldn't make up for his horrible work and unfriendly customer service.

However, what you need to understand is that people don't buy a drill. They buy a hole in the wall. They buy the ability to hang a family photo on the wall. They buy that warm, cozy feeling of looking at that frame.

You need to understand what your audience's hole in the wall is and help them drill it.

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

Honestly I doubt anyone's interested after reading this email. And that's not entirely all because of you. It's your first point of contact. On email. Shit's hard. But in the way your phrasing this paragraph, your give off the impression that replying to you is some kind of commitment.

"if you're interested"

Instead you could lower the perceived commitment and focus on getting a conversation rolling by just asking a question. This also gives them a framework for what to do next.

Because your current call to action is quite ambigious. "shoot me an email and we can discuss some ideas". What would you expect a guy like Mike to reply with? Do you think he'd know what to say and do?

Asking SPECIFIC questions could possibly combat this, since Mike gets a clear idea of what to do next. Answer that question.

Anyways, I typed this up in a hurry. Don't take anything of what I wrote in a bad way. You are on the way to success if you just keep going.
 
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Richard Gao

Richard Gao

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I agree, my first emails were terrible, I have since refined them, and I'll only email them once I get their personal email from the phone now.

Also, most of the, dont use an "info@company.ca" they're pretty dated, so they don't bother to do anything online.
 
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Richard Gao

Richard Gao

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Mar 24, 2018
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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.

(ps: Should I move these updates to a new thread? I feel like the title and the content I'm posting as of now are quite incongruent)
 

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Bdenner64

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Age barrier is all in your head. Its cuz you are looking at it glass half empty.

Someone looking at it glass half full would say: it shows drive, an ambition to learn and leverages our generation's reputation as tech-savvy millennials or some shit like that.

And btw i'm in the same boat as you - I turned 22 just a few days ago and if anything I think age has helped more then anything. ESPECIALLY when I screw up. I've noticed that when older, "more experienced" people screw up some of the shit I do - they get chewed out WAY more. Not that it's a good excuse, rather just an example of how being young can be helpful.
 

Bdenner64

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Oh and be proud dude. You've started taking action. Cold calling is tough, that's why other people don't do it. Keep it up right now and when you're 20 you may be paying people to cold call for you/getting cold called :)
 
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Richard Gao

Richard Gao

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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!

Also, I figured this isn't the best place for my updates, I'll be posting all new updates here.
 

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