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A lot of these posts were originally on SureFireWebServices.com. So if you found them through search engines or clicking around, this is their new home :). Enjoy!

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About the Author
What's UP! This is my site, I write 99% of the articles on here. I'm also the owner of SureFireWebServices.com. I help out a lot of developers and designers getting into the web game. Helping is fun for me, so feel free to ask me any questions! I've made courses and have a membership as well to help get you on your feet!

Developer To Millionaire – Interview with Andre from Project Huddle

I had such a blast speaking with Andre.

If you haven’t heard of Project Huddle, than strap on your seatbelts.  Andre is the creator of it, and it is one of the most useful tools to have in ANY designer or developers arsenal.

In this conversation, Andre and I chat about a few things:

  1. How he lost his job, and I lost mine
  2. How he bounced back
  3. How he created project huddle
  4. Insurance for solopreneurs
  5. The state and future of Page Builders and WordPress
  6. How Project Huddle is growing with NO MARKETING

And so much more!

Cheers to Andre! Can’t wait to chat again!

Links

Project Huddle

How To Grow Your Website (sponsor)

Beaver Builder

Craft CMS

Developer To Millionaire: Productivity

Today’s episode is all about productivity.

This whole life-work balance thing is pretty tough, so how do you focus on what REALLY needs to get done.

To be honest, finding ‘things to do’ is incredibly easy.  But finding the right things to do is where it gets tough.

What is going to bring us the most satisfaction?  What’s going to make us feel accomplished?

It could be something that’s billable, but maybe it’s not.

I explore all of this and more in this episode of Developer To Millionaire.

I recently picked up a book called the Productivity Planner, and I love it!

It goes around my entire mantra of doing one thing a day!  Especially if you work full time and are trying to build a side hustle, this mindset can actually shift the way you think about doing your work.

What’s in this episode?

  • My mind and how overwhelming it gets when I don’t write things down.
  • My old schedule compared to my new one.
  • Transitions in business and what to expect and prepare for.
  • The Pomodoro technique, what it is and how to use it
  • Things that you can do to be more productive

Song at the end

I went a little acoustic on this one – Ben Harper – Walk Away

Like this podcast? You should become a Devenaire! Join the Facebook group to start sharing and learning.

Developer To Millionaire: Strategies and Branding

Solo show baby!

I was trying to get a few guests on, but I work at night, so it’s a bit tough to get people on my grind schedule.

All good though, I ran with it, and doing solo shows is actually nice. It helps me get some thoughts out, and share all the things on my mind, with you!

In this episode…

Let me just reiterate that I suck at show notes, but here’s what I spoke about.

  1. Is this a WordPress Podcast?
  2. Why I’m doing a solo show.
  3. The strategy for SureFire and my new solo brand!

I share some insight as to what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how it will all work and come together!

Sit back, grab some beer, or coffee, or water, whatever you want, and enjoy the show!

Track At The End

Andy Mineo – Desparados

If you like this and list to the show, please rate, review, and or comment below.  Thanks!

How to Plan For Success in Your Web Design Business

We’re all stupid.

You may be sitting there thinking, “Nope, not me, I’m the smartest,” but you’re not.

We’re stupid because we’re selfish.

We like to do what we want to do, then do it, and wonder why the hell nothing happens.

Case in point.

Ryan Lee, super smart, super successful.

Ryan started a membership service a while back.  The service was delivering a monthly Newsletter.

The launch exploded and so did the service, to the queue of $221,000 per MONTH!!

Put that in your bankroll!

While most of us probably won’t see that exorbitant amount of money in our banks anytime soon (maybe a few will 😉 ) Ryan made a huge mistake.

Rather than listening to the audience and what they wanted, Ryan decided that he was going to do what HE wanted.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Rather than listening to the audience and what they wanted, we tend to do what WE want.” quote=”Rather than listening to the audience and what they wanted, we tend to do what WE want.”]

And so 2k+ subscribers became 1k, and one thousand eventually became zero, and the business died.

We ALWAYS do that.

We want to do what we want because that’s just natural.  Even when we listen to our audience, we tend to sway a little to the, “But I want to do it this waaaaaaay…” mentality.

:: Queue the sad violin ::

We need to shift our thinking a bit.

Do you want to plan for success?

We all do!  Where do you start, though?

I’m going to spew a few generic things that you’ve probably heard before, but that’s because they are vital to the success of what you do!

  1. Find your audience.
  2. Talk to your audience
  3. Get them to do something on your website.

So how do we break this down?

Figure out who you want to talk to.  It’s very hard when you just want to talk to everyone.  You have to discover your ideal client.

Create a customer avatar! There are a ton of ways to do this, but the key is to get specific.

What age group? What income level? Man or Woman? What location? What interests?

The more specific you get, the better you’ll be able to communicate.

Communicate to your audience

Now that you know who you’re talking to. Start talking to them!  What issues do they face? What do they struggle with?

The best success that I had was consistent blogging.  I would write as much as I could for a few months.  Speaking to the people that I wanted to attract! It didn’t start out that way, but eventually, after lots of trying, I got it.

It’s tough when you do all this by yourself because it ALL tends to be trial and error.  You just don’t know what works unless you give it a shot. And in the web world, you need the traffic even to see if its working or not.  Very time consuming, but let’s get back on track.

Now you’re talking to them…

Get Them To Take Action

The best thing you can do is get them on an email list so that you can reach out any time.  But regardless of what that action is, you want them to do something.

Your goal is to get the lead in so you can sell.  You probably already sold them on the information that you’re putting up on your site, so now it’s just a gentle push.

If you’re offering a service, let them know how you can help.  If you’re offering a course, explain to them how this course is necessary for their business.

Whatever it is, you’re mission should be to get them to do something.

Like I said before, it’s not easy, and it’s not something that happens overnight, but planning and sorting things out is the best thing that you can do for your business.

Great Example of Planning

I have a good friend who has done coaching calls and live training and the whole nine.  I never really stepped into that because I wasn’t sure how to go about.  I knew that I could offer that help to people, but I was just too nervous and scared to make the jump.

I had a quick call with her, and we spoke for about an hour going through the process and planning of how to offer this type of 1 on 1 service.

Here’s what we came up with:

It may seem simple at first, but just having someone that’s been through it and reaffirming things for you, made a total difference in how I approached it.

You can do the same!  Plan for success, you got this!

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Choosing A Mission For Your Website

I love the web industry.  It’s so vast with a plethora of choices for direction.

There are tons of people making piles of money and it all comes down to how you think about your offers, and how you market them.

One of the most common things I see with web designers and freelancers that are just starting out, is they don’t have a solid direction.

And it’s absolutely not their fault.

The Generic Web Industry

The easiest thing to do when you enter the web industry as a web designer or freelancers is say, “I’m going to build websites for people.

The only problem, is “people” come in all different shapes, sizes, mentalities, ages, incomes, interests, locations, cultures.  I think you get the point.

As time moves on, you should really start to pin point what it is you want to do and where you need to be going.

Even the bigger agencies tend to have a specific direction when it comes to the types of clients they work with.

For example, Vayner Media (Gary V’s company) does high end services for companies with budgets of 500k a year and up!

My company Sure Fire Web Services, Inc., focuses on White Label WordPress Services for Digital Agencies and Freelancers.

My Buddy Lee Jackson Dev (soon to be Angled Crown), focuses on White Label WordPress Development for Design Agencies.

These are tight niche areas where someone who’s looking around on the website, would clearly know the market.

Direction Comes With Time and Experience

Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who knows exactly where you want to be in the next few years, most of this insight comes with a lot of experience.

It took me a little more than 5 years to decide I wanted to go the white label route.

Most Web Designers and Freelancers are trying to find themselves and what they want to do.

You only figure that out though, by doing.  I learned a lot more by doing the things I DIDN’T want to do, than doing all the things I did.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I learned a lot more by doing the things I DIDN’T want to do, than doing all the things I did.” quote=”I learned a lot more by doing the things I DIDN’T want to do, than doing all the things I did.”]

Web Design Review

Over the weekend I did an website review for one of our 30k Members (completely free FaceBook Group).  The instructions were simple, send me a link to your website, and tell me what your goals are, and I’ll review it and let you know my thoughts.

I’ve actually been doing this type of thing for a while.  Any time I design something or have a project, I always play the consultant role as well.  I never actually did it though, just to offer advice.  First time for everything! 😀

I recorded the entire review and you can see it below.

The site is by a freelance web designer, and the future goal of the website, is to offer white label development services.  Now you’ll notice that the first thing I noticed, just as above, is the general direction of the current design is very broad.

We are all guilty of this! So no worries there, but once you know your direction and what you want to do, planning is vital.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think!

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Difficult Web Design Clients – They Just Don't Get Us!

“Why does that cost so much?”

“Can’t you just do it real quick?”

“It’s not that hard! My nephew does this all the time!”

Sound familiar?

It seems a lot of times that no matter what we do, difficult web design clients will never appreciate us!

How can we show a client or potential client that what we do is valuable?

I want to go over a few things that I think will help when working with difficult web design clients in a BIG way.

Here are three things that you need to really focus on if you want to stop dealing with the “problems”.

PCC

Positioning, Communication, and Control. The pillars of happy clients.

You need to make sure that your business is positioned correctly.  You need to communicate EVERYTHING to your clients. Last, you need to maintain control of the relationship.

Let’s get a little deeper.

Positioning

Who are you targeting?  You need to be in a position of authority so that when you say something, it’s heard and not just brushed off.  You should work on getting to a place where you are sought after, rather than the other way around.

Ask yourself, why should your clients respect you or what you do? Have you told them what’s involved?

Communication

That leads us to this little gem.  Something so necessary and common, but constantly overlooked.  Even seasoned pro’s tend to miss out once in a while on something as simple as communication.

Are your clients clear on what you do?

Let’s do a simple example.  You can tell your client.  I’ll build you a website and we’ll start with the design.

OR

“Before I start with the design, I want to get a better understanding of the project so please tell me ….”  “Once the design phase starts, it takes a few days for us to nail down our first best guess, so please be patient.” “We can start with a wire frame if you like just to nail down what the layout will be… oh what’s a wire frame? Let me explain”

It’s all talk.  You have to treat your client like they’re a 5 year old kid learning for the first time, because that’s basically what they are.  YOU are the web pro, THEY are the _____ pro.  They don’t need to know your business, you do, and it’s your job to communicate and explain things to them so that they understand.

I had a client recently who assumed all the “extra” things I did were super easy and just included in the hosting that I offer.  After a tiny misunderstanding of “I thought this was included and you should be doing this already”  I had to explain about the courtesy that I was offering to give them a better experience.

I could have gotten all pissy and tell them that I don’t want to deal with it, but I genuinely explained everything I was doing, what it involved, and why it wasn’t a free service.

Things got cleared up, and it ended up turning into 2 small paying jobs for me.  Clients happy and I’m happy! Win Win!

Communication is so key in everything, it’s important we try not to let it slip through the cracks.

Control

I think I can talk on client control for hours, but I’ll keep it brief.  The bottom line is to never forget that you make the rules.  Clients are just people, and will try to negotiate, haggle, get things for free, push the envelope, etc., but it’s your job to draw the line.

I find it so interesting that people don’t tend to do this because they don’t want to be mean.

This isn’t about being mean, or hurting someones feelings, this is business, and a transaction in business effects your lively hood.

You can be as lenient as you want to be because it’s your business.  But you should never, ever, EVER, under any circumstance feel pressured or obligated to do something.

Business people understand business people, and things need to get paid for.

Here’s a quick tip.

The next time a client wants you to do something but doesn’t want to pay for it, reverse it on them.  i.e. Massage therapist: Could you just change this page to do this instead of that.  You: Yes, but that’s out of scope so it’s going to be a little extra Massage therapist:  Well I really don’t want to pay any more, is it really going to take that long?  You: Well if someone came in for a back massage and then just asked for hot stones, would you just give them hot stones, it wouldn’t that long to heat them up right?

Yeah it sounds a little snarky when reading it, but you get the point.  Work your shmooze 😉

The new 30k membership will be deep diving into PCC, dealing with difficult web design clients and other similar topics to really break them down.  Sign up below to stay up to date, notified, and get exclusive offers and content.

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