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Strategy

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 ūüėČ ) 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!

[thrive_leads id=’7688′]

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! ūüėÄ

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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The Number 1 Rule All Web Pro's Need To Implement

I’ll probably get some flack for this, as I have in the past, but I really don’t care, because I’ll stand behind this rule forever.

Take A Break

The worst thing that can happen to you is Burnout and believe me when I say, that shyt sucks!

I generally work every night from 8 to 10, but keep in mind that I have 2 little kids.  One is 1, and the other is 4.

This get’s pretty exhausting. ¬†My youngest doesn’t sleep very well, so there are some nights where I am just way too tired to do anything!

Here’s what I do…

I try to think of anything that needs to get done that I can get done pretty quickly. ¬†On Monday it was to create a FaceBook group. ¬†So that’s what I did. ¬†It took me a few minutes to get the graphic in and set up, but that was it.

I went to sleep right after that, I was totally shot.

And THAT’S PERFECTLY OK!

It get’s really annoying to constantly hear, “Keep going, don’t stop, you need to work work work, someone else is going to beat you” OMG Please SHUT UP!

We’re freakin’ human, right? Sometimes, we need a damn break!

[clickToTweet tweet=”We’re freakin’ human! Sometimes, we need a damn break!” quote=”We’re freakin’ human, right? Sometimes, we need a damn break!”]

So the next time you’re feeling rushed, or a lot of pressure to get something done, just take some time for yourself to enjoy the moment.

Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air. ¬†If it’s too cold (Like where I live) watch a funny tv show and just enjoy some time for yourself. ¬†Then when it permits, go back and do something.

Trust me, it’s totally worth it! ¬†When you feel refreshed, your brain will work so much better and things will just pop in! ūüôā

Make sure to join the FaceBook Group Zero To 30k, then you can vent your heart out ūüôā It’s definitely a healthy practice and a no judgment zone.

Need to make a decision? Here are a few ways to go about it?

One thing I realized early on was being alone in business, sucks.

It’s hard to balance ideas and thoughts when you are the sole person who makes that decision. ¬†At least with a team, you can hear the pros and cons and concerns of each team member. ¬†When you fly solo, you are it!

You get to drive yourself nuts wondering if the decision you just made is a good one.

Welcome to my world!

The great thing is I have some advice that I can share that will hopefully help you out on your journey.

Masterminds

One thing I am planning on doing is being a part of a mastermind in 2017.

A group of like-minded individuals with specific goals that each person can help achieve. ¬†I’ve never actually been a part of one, so I don’t know what to expect, but I’m so looking forward to it.

I’m not so quick to jump into one, though. ¬†I’m actually friends with a few exceptional individuals that I’m trying to gather up to start helping each other grow in business. ¬†I think these masterminds need to form themselves.

You can spend a ton of money to join one, but that doesn’t make much sense to me. ¬†Only because you want to build some comradery¬†with the people that are helping you out right? If you pay someone, they’re just helping you because you paid them, the moment you stop paying them, they’re not gonna care what happens. ¬†That’s just my opinion.

Mentors

A mentor would also be a great move to make, but you have to really be careful and do your research.

A lot of people would just take your money. ¬†Make sure to find someone that has much more experience than you do. ¬†Find someone who’s in a position where you want to be. ¬†Then just ask.

Seriously, it’s that simple. ¬†They’ll either say yes or no. ¬†Keep in mind; mentors are very busy people. ¬†Maybe they don’t have enough time in their schedule to mentor someone. ¬†Maybe you can work something out. ¬†In either case, I think it’s super important to find one.

Check out this video by Andy Mineo talking about his mentor.

I don’t have a mentor yet, but that’s because I’m stupid lol. ¬†Kidding! I’m not stupid; I’m just stubborn. ¬†But in 2017, one of my goals is to find someone that I respect, and that I know can bring me to a new level, and reach out to them. ¬†I have to be clear on what I want first.

The last thing I want to do is ask someone to mentor me, but have no clear direction on where I want to be.

Ask a friend.

Aside from being involved in groups, and finding a true mentor, the easiest thing to do, IMO, is just ask a friend. ¬†I’m sure a lot of you are friends with other people in the field. ¬†Just reach out and ask them what they think. ¬†I’m awesome friends with Kim Doyal. ¬†We’re pretty much like accountability partners, and it’s something I freakin’ cherish.

When I have questions about something, I just ask her and she breaks it down and gets me to think.  We help each other out.

Ask a like-minded about your decisions. ¬†They can be an accountability partner to make sure you’re doing what you need to do, or they can just pop in here and there and help out. ¬†But it’s super important to have that relationship with someone.

Get A Coach!

Kind of like a mentor, but usually paid, a coach can help you in a lot of ways. ¬†This is also one of those things that you have to be super careful with. ¬†Make sure you do your research. ¬†A coach can surely help you get organized and figure a LOT of things out for your business, but make sure that you know who you’re dealing with.

You can get some recommendations or if you follow someone, see what they’re about and make sure they’re someone that can actually help you out before investing in them. ¬†What’s their experience? ¬†How successful are they? ¬†Ask questions.

What you shouldn’t do!

I see this a lot, and I tend to cringe every time I see it. A lot of folks like to ask decision-making questions on Facebook Groups, or very public forums.  This is a BIG NO NO.

Some may disagree with me, but I don’t care, I think it’s a mistake and here’s why.

Everybody has an opinion. If you ask a group of people what they think, about ANYTHING, you’re going to get every answer under the sun. ¬†You’ll get the stuff you want to hear; then you’ll get the stuff you don’t want to hear, and then you’ll be back to square one not knowing what you should or shouldn’t do.

So please, if you need to make a decision on something, don’t ask a group.

The only exception I have to this is if it’s a small group. ¬†That’s it.

So how do you make your decisions? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. ¬†If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’re having a special on custom design work for your projects. ¬†All design work is half price if you order before the end of the year!

Tips to Manage Your Clients Better

As folks related in the web industry, we’re no strangers to the pain and frustrations that this job brings.

When I first started getting into building websites, one of the biggest pains in the arse that I faced was getting content from clients. ¬†This would make projects drag on and on until it got to the point where I didn’t even want to work on it anymore.

The same would go for approvals.

“Hey client, the design is done, can you please look it over.”

…3 weeks later…

Client: “My team of 20 is still making changes. Can we hop on a conference call?”

WHAT!! lol

All of these things end up taking forever just to get a project done.

The fact is, when you lose control of clients, you start to lose motivation and interest in the projects you’re working on.

Here are a few tips to start grasping control of your clients and managing them better, so you can start collecting that Mula!

Make Sure There’s One Point of Contact

The line above mentioning a team of 20 is no lie.  In fact, when I was getting into this, I had a few clients that would take a design, and then have a round table with the look.

Then they would get back to me with a ton of mixed suggestions, contradictions, and nothing would get resolved.  This lesson was learned pretty fast.

Determine¬†who the final decision maker is before moving forward with a project. ¬†You don’t want too many chefs in the kitchen, especially when it comes to design.

Design is 100% subjective. ¬†What’s beautiful to you, is not nice to someone else. ¬†The key in design is making sure the sites are functional and work in a way to get business, not whether something is green or blue.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Design is 100% subjective. What’s beautiful to you, is not nice to someone else.” quote=”Design is 100% subjective. What’s beautiful to you, is not nice to someone else.”]

The decision maker can take suggestions and run them by you, but work with them to come to an actual decision in what is going to get done and not speculate over every little detail.

Create A Timeline

It’s very easy for a project to lose control and end up taking six months or more. ¬†This is a horrible way to run your business. ¬†Unless you’re charging a small fortune for the project, you need to wrap these things up.

We give about a 4 – 6 week timeline for full design and dev jobs depending on the complexity.

You can create your timelines based on what you do and how fast you can deliver, but it could look something like this.

  • Start Date – x
  • Design Delivery – 1 week after x (You can replace these with actual dates)
  • Then continue with development, testing, and launch in a similar fashion.

Now the key here is to instill some type of penalty or clause in your contract to make sure the client sticks to the date. ¬†You can charge $x amount for every day over the schedule, or you can say something like, “if this project isn’t approved by the deliverable dates, it no longer becomes a priority,” or something like that.

Anything you need to do to make sure the client sticks to the given dates provided.  This will help keep your project organized, and you will be much clearer on your budgets and what you need to deliver and when.

Take Ownership

Sometimes I like to say, be the boss. ¬†Truthfully, you ARE the boss. It’s your company, your rules, so you say what goes.

The authority and confidence that you have in yourself need to reflect that in your business and your projects.

Don’t second guess the things you know you should be doing. ¬†If you feel strongly about something, voice it to your client.

Remember that you’re the professional here and you have your customers best interest at heart. ¬†You would never go into an auto shop and start telling the mechanic how to fix your car right? ¬†Same with a website.

[clickToTweet tweet=”You would never go into an auto shop and start telling the mechanic how to fix your car right? ” quote=”You would never go into an auto shop and start telling the mechanic how to fix your car right? Same with a website.”]

Take control of what you know should be on the website and run the project the same way. ¬†Sometimes you’ll get resistance, but that’s normal. ¬†In that case, what I usually do is say something like:

“I highly recommend you don’t do that, but if it’s something you truly want, we can do it for you, but it’s not something I agree with.”

Most of the time, they’ll follow your lead, because¬†good clients trust who they hired to do the job for them.

Be Cordial and Honest

The key here is to realize that you’re clients aren’t just dust in the wind. ¬†You’re not selling a product here; you’re building a service and building your brand. ¬†With your clients, you’re building a relationship. ¬†You need to remember that with every interaction.

It’s like dating. ¬†Don’t turn off your date, the goal here is to get married! ūüėÄ

[clickToTweet tweet=”Client Relationships are like dating. Don’t turn off your date, the goal is to get married!” quote=”It’s like dating. Don’t turn off your date, the goal here is to get married! :D”]

Take everything your client says lightly (unless they’re being a total jerk) but remember that they’re not the web professionals. ¬†It’s easy for us to take for granted all the things that we know.

Take your time, explain what they don’t understand, answer any questions they may have, and do it because you genuinely want to help them. ¬†When you’re both on the same page, it benefits both parties.

Don’t be afraid to say no.

Sometimes, you just need to stand your ground. ¬†I’ve been involved in cases where the client just want’s something absurd.

“Make that header light green with yellow text.”

“No.”

And then if they are pushy about it, push them into understanding why you don’t want that to happen. ¬†Sometimes I’ll tell them something like, “OK, but if we do that, I’m not going to be able to put this on my portfolio.” ¬† While it may work, some clients are super stubborn, and those are the ones that end up giving you a lot of problems, mainly because they do NOT see you as the professional in the situation.

You may have to fire them. ¬†Don’t be weary if you do. ¬†On many occasions, it’s a load of stress off your plate if you just remove a client from your workload.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Sometimes, clients just need to be fired.” quote=”Sometimes, clients just need to be fired.”]

I had a customer earlier this year, the biggest one I ever had! We had a $20k contract to build out some sites for them. ¬†In the end, though, it didn’t work out. ¬†They weren’t clear on expectations, and without getting into too many details, ¬†I felt like my company was put in a position to fail. ¬†What’s funny is since I use Genesis, Beaver Builder, and Views, the client yelled at me saying I didn’t know WordPress!

So, I kept it cordial, and we parted ways. ¬†Money wise, it sucked, but I never want to work with anyone who doesn’t respect what I do, and you should either.

Do you have any tips on managing clients? I’d love to hear some, share in the comments!

 

A Beautiful Strategy To Create Valuable Lead Magnets

I’m getting big into strategizing and testing and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

It’s really the strategizing part that gets me. ¬†The thought process, figuring out, drilling down, it’s just so amazing how all these things come together.

I was just talking to a friend because I needed a lead magnet for my new site, and I was stuck.

What the hell would make someone opt-in?

Well, I guess I’ll just have to test and see what works best, but the conversation we had helped me nail down what to try and offer first.

One thing that many people love is lists. ¬†Lists of the tools you use is always an attractive opt-in strategy so that’s what I’ll be going with.

If you’re looking for something to put together, try this method:

  1. What kind of a lead magnet would YOU want?
  2. Who do you want to attract?
  3. Now Brainstorm some words/phrase that would appeal to your audience.
  4. Continue to analyze your perfect target user while you brainstorm.
  5. What problem are you solving?

The best thing is to actually do that with someone who is somewhat familiar with what you do. ¬†They’ll be able to help you analyze and answer the questions to really nail down who you’re trying to talk to, and what your lead magnet is going to be.

I did this with Kim Doyal.  Within 15 minutes we nailed down some taglines, who the target is and what to offer. It was unbelievable!

Once you have what you want to offer as a lead magnet, head over to canva.com (if you’re not a designer, hell even if you are a designer, this will just make it easier.)

I used a template that they had premade and just edited it to suit what I wanted.  Took me a total of about 30 min and cost me a buck.

Once you have that ready, you’re about 80% done! ¬†I like to make my graphics 2 pages, so I have a cover and then the content. ¬†With the cover, I use something like PSD Covers¬†or Cover Action Pro¬†to give it that 3-D look. ¬†(Kim actually helped me with that one).

The last step would be to set up your conversion software to promote the lead magnet! ¬†I user ConvertFlow and Drip¬†because I don’t think there’s anything better, but that’s just me.

Now you should have your lead magnet ready to roll.

My Lead Magnet will be along the lines of:

  • 3 Tools I Use To Maximize Profit on Every Web Project
  • Say No to Dragging Projects! Top Tools To Building Sites Faster
  • Faster Project Builds Means Faster Pay. ¬†Access The Modern Developers Toolbox.
  • Make More Money by Building Faster. My Top Tools To Help Get The Job Done.
  • That semi-colon Wasted 3 Hours of Your Time. No More Headaches, Check Out The Modern Developers Toolbox.

Just a few examples, what do you think?

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