Rise Above The Crowd - How do you go from building $500 WordPress sites to $5,000+ projects while fortifying and stabilizing your business with recurring monthly revenue - and not just for WordPress maintenance? When your clients stop seeing you as a service provider and start seeing you as their path to financial growth you dramatically increase your value. This podcast is all about how you can build an awesome, sustainable, and highly profitable business as a WordPress consultant while serving your clients more deeply and effectively than ever before. Join host Lee Blue as he shares his insights into High-Value WordPress consulting based on over 16 years of experience running his online agency.
Why Most Web Designers Can’t Make Over $50k/year
This isn’t a glass ceiling. It’s very easy to see. Just do the math.
If a business owner wants a website there are a bunch of options. Wix and Squarespace are options in the $250 price range for DIY people. It’s not hard to get a WordPress site for around $500 – $750 from a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork. Local freelancers working with local clients tend to charge about $1,000 for a website. So, if the deliverable is just a website you can’t charge much more than $1,000 because of all of the other low-priced alternatives.
So, let's go over the five shifts you need to make to bust through to much higher income goals so you can build your own 6-figure web design business.
The Math Doesn’t Work Out
Let’s suppose you land one client per week. That means you build, launch, and invoice a new website every week for an entire year. If never get sick and never take any time off that means you’re launching 52 websites per year for a gross revenue of $52,000.
Then, factor in your costs. The biggest expense is going to be generating enough leads to close a client every single week. Of course, there are other expenses to like your software, your computer, your internet, phone, etc. All of that is going to add up to several thousands of dollars.
So, add that all up and it becomes clear that you can’t make more than $50,000 per year as a freelance web designer because the price per project is just too low. Furthermore, most web designers are not able to generate anywhere near the number of leads required to land a client every week. In reality, web designers can realistically
expect their annual income to be more like $35,000 per year. That’s the bad news.
Web Designer vs Online Marketing Consultant
The good news is that your web design skills are still valuable. But you have to make a transformational shift to how you deliver your skills.
The days of:
* Meet with the client
* Get the copy for the website
* Build and launch their website
…are over for anyone trying to make a decent living as a web designer.
The shift is to upgrade from being a garden-variety “web designer” into being an online marketing consultant. The truth is, if you build websites you are already offering “marketing” services. Let’s take a look at how you can expand that into your own 6-figure business.
What Is An Online Marketing Consultant?
The way I’m using the term, what I mean is that you have the ability both to recommend effective lead generation strategies AND you have the technical chops to pull it off. I often refer to the combination of lead generation and marketing strategies as “business consulting.” Then you also have your technical skills so you can implement the strategies you are recommending.
The Two “Stacks”
Marketing skills and business development strategies are the two “stacks” we focus on in DoubleStack – both for you AND for you to leverage on behalf of your clients. The goal is to make sure you’re comfortable and confident executing a wide variety of marketing techniques, tools, and platforms.
Then we focus on the changes that need to take place in your business to find your ideal, high-value, long-term clients.
5 Major Areas Of Transformation
It’s not complicated, but there is some serious work that needs to take place concerning how you position yourself and your business in the market. You can’t just raise your prices and hope for the best because you won’t land clients like that.
The five main areas we focus on transforming are:
* Your messaging
We work on what you need to say on your website to attract the right type of leads
* Your pricing
We substantially increase your pricing so you’re focusing on five-figure projects
* Your client meetings
You develop a leadership framework for meeting with ...
How To Write About Yourself To Get Leads
One of the big omissions I see on a regular basis is that web designers tend to not have an “About Me” page. Or, if they do have an “About” page, the content isn't helping them drive leads. Here are three ways to write about yourself. We'll start with the worst structure. The middle approach is, meh… The third concept is the one that will generate the most leads for you… by far.
The Accident Method
The worst way to write about yourself is to make it sound like you started your business by accident and it's just good luck that you have a business. The accident method sounds something like this.
I've always loved art and design but never really knew how to make a career out of it. When I got out of college I got a job working at an RV campsite and they didn't have a website. They were going to hire a web developer but I said I wouldn't mind trying to put a website together on my own. That's when I built my first WordPress site. I had such a great time and realized that not only did I love the design aspect of working with websites I also loved the idea of helping companies grow.
So I started building more websites on the side and now I'm doing it full time! Give me a call and let's grow your business together!
This is obviously the worst because it doesn't inspire confidence or position you as an expert with the authority to solve big problems for your clients.
The Recruiter Told Me To
The next approach that is common to see is pulling the pattern right out of a recruiter's playbook. Maybe you've tried to get a job through a recruiting firm or just had somebody coach you through posting a resume for a corporate position somewhere. It's easy to assume that the same pattern would work great on your About Me page.
When that happens, you end up with an About Me page that reads like a resume where everybody follows this 5-step little formula:
* Introduce yourself and let people know your basic information – name, phone, email, etc.
* List a few past projects or name-drop of few clients (that you probably worked on through somebody else's agency)
* List your tech skills (even if you're not 100% confident in everything on the list)
* Talk about how much your care about your clients to the point where it almost sounds like your begging for work
* Wrap things up with some personal stuff you like to do when you're not working
This is a lot better than the Accident Method because you're at least giving some details about what you can do. This may help you land a few clients especially if the client is really more of a “middle-man” style client where they hire you as an outsourced resource for one of their clients. In other words, where you are not working directly for the actual client – it's your client's client. We used to call this “your grand-client” (like your grandparent).
Anyway, the point is, describing yourself like this will help you by telling people what you can do. If people like what they see and need somebody to do those things then maybe you'll get hired.
Establishing Yourself As An Authority
The goal of becoming a DoubleStacker is to become a sought after, high-ticket consultant, not a low-budget implementor. The truth is, if you're going to be a high-ticket consultant, you don't want people to simply hire your fingers to spin up a website. You want people to hire your mind so you can deliver a transformative impact for your clients' businesses.
As we saw in the previous two techniques, the temptation is going to be to focus on yourself but that's not what you really want to do. Instead, you always keep the spotlight shining on your client even when you're writing about yourself. In other words, what is it about you and your history that builds up confidence...
The Death Of Freelance Web Design (RIP: 1999 – 2020)
This global pandemic has put the final nail in the coffin of freelance web design. The industry has been slowly fading away over the last few years and now I believe it's totally dead in the sense that it is no longer possible to make a sustainable full-time living if all you're offering to do is build websites for people. It had a good 21-year run.
What was the cause of death?
These three things:
* Global Competition
* Dropping Prices
* Value Shift (this is the big one)
3 Lead Gen Tips For Modern Web Design
People no longer buy “web design” for the prices you probably want to be charging. Many web designers, however, are still trying to generate leads for traditional, old-school web design.
* You are competing against the entire world
(Upwork, Fiverr, crowded Facebook groups, everyone on LinkedIn, etc.)
* Paid ads are prohibitively expensive due to the saturation of the market
(so you primarily – if not entirely – rely on referrals)
* It's almost impossible to differentiate yourself from everyone else offering the same services
* If you do manage to generate a lead, it is usually for low-ticket, one-off projects
* Then you're back looking for more leads
(repeating this sequence of problems)
This sequence is the underlying root cause of the price race to the bottom for web design.
The Price Race To The Bottom
When I first started coaching web designers a few years ago the average price for a WordPress website was about $3,500. Even that was too low to build a reliable 6-figure business. Now it is even worse. Today, people struggle to get over $1,000. Most clients who are “looking for a website” are thinking the price is going to be around $500 to $1,000. If you quote a price much higher than that, the client is just going to go with someone else who (in their mind) will do “the same thing” for less.
So, here are three lead generation tips for modern web design that will enable you to find the type of clients that will enable you to build your own 6-figure web design consulting business.
What Interests Your Clients?
It's super common to want to write about what you know – especially if you've ever tried to blog. The idea is to write about stuff like the latest Google algorithm update, the benefits of making noise on social media, and new trends in web design. In other words, you write about what YOU know, the stuff YOU have been learning, and the topics YOU find cutting edge and interesting.
Stop doing this.
This is a massive waste of time and energy. The content won't be unique. You're just echoing summaries of things people (with more of a following than you) have already said. Furthermore, even if you do create some traffic for yourself the traffic is going to be more web designers – not the business owners you're hoping to work with.
If you want to build a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, etc. talk about what YOUR CLIENTS are interested in, not what YOU are interested in.
How Do You Help People?
Another huge opportunity you have is to tell people how you help them. Very few people are doing this. Most people simply list the services they are able to provide and then leave it up to the client to figure out whether or not those services will be helpful.
If I want to bake an apple pie, you're not helping me by taking me to the grocery store UNLESS you also tell me what to buy. If I don't know what ingredients go into an apple pie, walking around a grocery store is not helpful. It's frustrating and overwhelming. I want you to tell me what I need so that I end up with what I actually want.
I'm not looking for ground cinnamon and nutmeg. If you're blogging about those things you'll never attract me because I'm not searching for that. I'm searching for the RESULT – the apple pie. This is crucially important to understand if you want your content to attract the type of traffic that will turn into leads.
Tell people how you help them, not what things you can do for them.
What's Different About You?
One of the biggest changes in the web design world over the last few years has been the massive explosion of all the low-budget ways to get a website. Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace are out there for people who want to build their own websites. Upwork, Fiver, and Facebook groups are packed with people who wi...
3 Strategic Steps To Making More Money As A Web Designer
When most people start their web design businesses they position themselves as a resource for any business to get a website.
The problem is, you quickly run out of friends and family to build websites for. Then you're basically relying on referrals while you exhaust and devalue yourself sending cold emails and reaching out to random people on LinkedIn.
So, here are three strategic steps you can take to make significantly more money as a web designer while giving yourself more stability and job security at the same time.
Each step will give you some strategic and super practical ways to increase your revenue and upgrade the quality of your clients.
Over $20,000 In Under 20 Days!
In less than 20 days Robyn and Nathan landed over $20,000 worth of new business. Since then they've continued to land high-ticket clients including one immediately before we started recording this conversation! Join in and hear how they did it!
Watch the video above or catch a summarized version below.
The following is a summary of what Robyn and Nathan had to say about how they took their business to the next level and how they are now winning five-figure clients.
We Started By Relabeling Ourselves
The first thing we did was reposition our business. I used to say I was a graphic and web designer and that put me in a little box. Now, when people ask me, “What do you do?” I say we're marketing consultants because we provide a wide variety of services. We really like working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our clients are awesome. We work with some non-profits and businesses that have a cause.
Changing The Type Of Clients We Work With
When we started we saw ourselves as professional amateurs. We had skills to offer. We had services that were valuable but we weren't sure how to communicate that to our clients. We would reach out to people starting a new business. Or maybe they had a business for a while but they didn't really know what they were doing with their marketing.
This worked OK for several years. We've always been busy and we were doing fine – but “fine” wasn't good enough. We wanted to push beyond this cap we hit. We knew that even though we were OK we needed to be able to push beyond.
It was really an answer to prayer. Just a week before we learned about DoubleStack Robyn and I were talking. We weren't doing anything wrong but we needed to be doing it better. I know what I'm doing but people are not listening to me.
DoubleStack really helped our proposals and the way we were presenting them. We needed a more effective way and we needed to be more confident. I actually started to turn a few people away because it wouldn't be a good fit. I like to help people and we want to see businesses succeed. DoubleStack helped us fill in the gaps to provide better services.
At First, We Didn't Know If DoubleStack Was For Us
We have three kids and we were doing OK. But we also knew we needed to do something different. Something better. To kick things into overdrive. And it turned out to be well worth it. In 20 days we had made over $20,000. So, yeah. It was more than worth it!
One thing that was said during our initial conversation was that even though we were doing OK we wanted to do business like it was on purpose. We didn't want to stumble into success.
Being honest with ourselves, we didn't know how we got to this point. We were doing everything right but it was just guided along ethical lines. Be honest. Treat people fairly. Do to other business owners what we would want them to do to us. That had kept us afloat and we weren't really struggling. But, to go to that next level we were missing the blueprint. We weren't able to take that extra step.
The Results Were Almost Overnight
DoubleStack provides a lot of good information, but the application is where you succeed or fail. You have to know how to put it all together. A blueprint will make or break any project. What you provided was something that we could immediately apply to our business. The results were almost overnight.
Concepts You Can Immediately Apply
I love how you organize the membership area. The way you laid it out I was able to immediately apply them and then go back and dig deeper.
I really like that because we've invested in stuff before but it was like I had to block out 6-months of my life to learn everything before I could even use it. But with DoubleStack you could immediately apply it. I didn't have to pause my business in order to improve my business.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Each time I listen to an episode I think ‘how’d you know that about me??’ Definitely my favorite WP podcast.