It’s a week before I head back to the states and I figured I’d host a meetup.com group to see who is doing what and if I/we can’t help each other improve our efforts to secure more clients.
(For any of you from the meeting, I posted a 25% code to the meetup group description. It’s 25kevin25 if you want to use it to save about $25 on the guide. I’ll let it go for two days. Enjoy!)
It was held in the central library, a cool spot, for the WordPress Web Designer Meetup Group in Auckland.
Here are the key frustrations from the meeting and a few bits of wisdom I’ll share from our discussion.
How to make the jump to doing your own thing if you’ve only had a few side clients.
One guest wants to know how to make the jump. He’s an employee with a few side clients and wants to have his own business as a website designer.
I advise not to jump to high, but do make a small smart step. Make a small effort to hone your focus and get more of the ideal kinds of clients for you.
I suggest taking a few days to research and think about a good nice. Then go get new clients in that niche right away and see if that niche (I call specialty) is really worth it.
You will have to try something – something that will help you stay busy and get work easier.
How freelancer profile sites suck.
A few guests had done profiles to get web design projects from sites like freelancer.com and rent-a-coder.com. We all agreed, that you need to live in the Philippines and it’s hard to earn much.
Same for me. I tried them. No luck. I also don’t recommend doing these kinds of find-a-freelancer sites because you’re mostly competing on price. I don’t think it’s good to do that. I think it’s better to position yourself as a specialist as I teach in my guide.
How to handle too many leads that take forever to close.
One participant keeps a lot of leads and follows up with them over time to try to close them. It’s a long time-consuming process – and the clients are small, so they don’t pay so well either.
I would advice you, if you’re chasing clients for months to sign a contract, to stop because it’s not efficient or effective use of time. There are definitely good, high-paying clients out there. I think it’s better to find those – and they are often faster to pay, less fussy, and value your work.
How to handle clients and content – they suck at it.
One guest found a way to get just a little bit of content from the client so as to get the project done – even if the content wasn’t perfect.
I agree, you need to help clients get content together, even if we have to start out small.
A little while back I interviewed Kenneth Westgaard who wrote about a trick he uses to earn more and get clients to sign up (improve his close rate). It’s The Roadmap Trick.
There’s a lot of competition.
Everyone felt there was a lot of competition. It makes it scary to think about if you’re struggling to get clients and make money.
If you’re another “I’ll design anything for anyone” kind of web designer, you will “appear” the same to the client as any other web designer. Hence, competition.
If you put me (web designer for coaches) and 9 other general web designers in a room. I will stand out hugely. Any client who is a coach or runs a similar kind of business (attorney, consultant, advisor, teacher) will immediately want to talk to me and bypass the other 9.
The other 9 will have to all submit proposals and fight each other for the rest of the work. That’s rough.
Creating proposals that take so much time.
We all agreed that proposals take a lot of time to create. And it sucks if you don’t win the project.
You find out you’re one of 5 offers, or worse, the client just disappears from the planet.
The client puts you against other bidders and it becomes a little bit of a price war. That sucks too.
Because I’m a specialist, and because I have a core package and because my past work speaks for me, I don’t even write proposals anymore. Moreover, I often get paid in full before starting the project.
Thanks gang for hanging out and sharing your stories. I hope you walked away with some ideas and motivation to improve things in your biz!