1-on-1 with Patrick is a series of web design coaching sessions for wannabe web designers.
In this episode we have Fernando Alvarez Jr from Anaheim, California, USA! We discuss:
- Where Fernando is currently at with his web design journey
- Why Fernando chose Webflow as his website builder
- How to decide what to charge for your services
- What Fernando’s first priority should be right now
- Building a new brand from scratch
- Learning SEO and web design simultaneously
- How I started my web design business and what it looks like today
- Hiring the right freelancers to grow your business
- Choosing a pricing model
- How I’m able to build websites so quickly
- Choosing your ideal clients
- Final thoughts and takeaways
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Tools & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- How to Decide What to Charge For Your Web Design Services
- How to Build a New Brand From Scratch
- How to Build a Web Design Portfolio
- My 2019 Web Design Business Review
Where Fernando is At With His Web Design Business
Fernando: Hey Patrick.
Patrick: How’s it going?
Fernando: 10 out of 10 and yourself?
Patrick: 10 out of 10. That’s awesome. I just broke my chair. There we go.
Fernando: Can 2020 get any worse now?
Patrick: Yeah, for real, right? Well, apparently not for you. You’re 10 out of 10.
Fernando: I try to be at least, you know, enjoying the vacation while I can.
Patrick: That’s a good way to look at it. So you’re out in Anaheim?
Fernando: I am, yes. Here in sunny Orange County, California in Anaheim.
Patrick: Why don’t we start by, maybe you could tell me a little bit about yourself and why you chose to get into web design.
Fernando: Yeah, definitely. So a bit about myself, for job wise, I’ve actually been a kid’s entertainer providing magic shows and balloon art for birthday party events here in Orange County. And I’ve been doing that full time for about a year and a half or so. I’ve always kind of dabbled with the idea of wanting to do web design stuff just because it was something that interest me. I was always kind of on the creative side of things. And with the whole COVID situation really my work suddenly disappeared like many other peoples, especially me with my work relies on gatherings, birthday parties. And so as soon as gatherings were out of the question, all my events and parties were canceled and everything was out of the question. So with this two month patients, I really had obviously a lot of time to devote to something.
And so I just kind of buckled down and really started diving deep into learning web design program. Currently taught myself how to use Webflow, which is what I plan on using to design websites in the future. I am currently working on one project right now, which is kind of my test free project in order to see how everything goes. And my idea is to have the niche and work with other kid entertainers and magicians like myself in the industry. I think it’s a good, solid niche because since I’m in the industry myself, I have an understanding of what it is that they’re looking for. I could speak their lingo and I’m already surrounded by all the potential people that I could target and know exactly where they are, how to target them, how to communicate with them, et cetera. And so I’m excited to see how this yeah goes.
Why Fernando Chose Webflow as His Website Builder
Patrick: That’s a good idea for a niche as well, especially since you already know a lot about it because that’s what you’re involved in right now, so that’s not a bad idea. What made you go with Webflow?
Fernando: I was really just looking at a bunch of thing. First thing that I tested was WordPress. I did test Webflow, I tested also Wix. Those are the kind of three main ones. And Webflow just caught my eye because of the level of design capabilities that I have to myself. It’s kind of endless what you could design on there, where with the other programs wakes and even WordPress to an extent. So it’s kind of limited to themes and drag and drop tools and you couldn’t really get exactly what kind of what I was going for. And so just the overall design freedom is what drew me to them. And then the second thing that drew me to them aside from design freedom was it being kind of an all in one platform thing where I could design the website and set up my client hosting all within one thing without having to worry about having to host from an external company or having to worry about any plugins or updates for them on that end.
And so just the ease for both me and the client, and then the CMS features that it has because one of the things that I assume with my clients, that was they’re going to want the ability to easily update a continent or images on their website. Because as entertainers, we’re constantly getting new photos coming in that we’d like to use to promote our services. So something that provides them that easy ability to just simply swap out pictures and content and the CMS with Webflow easily do that. It’s all just login through there end, type something up or drag and drop a photo and they’re updating their own site in real time.
Patrick: Really. I didn’t know Webflow offered that feature.
Fernando: Yes. Super cool; super simple to use for them.
Patrick: Because I know Webflow is definitely more advanced and it’s more custom than WordPress. I mean you could do a lot with WordPress, but like you said, Webflow is kind of a more of an all in one system. You don’t have to rely on plugins and stuff like that. So I always knew it was more advanced in that sense. But, I did not know that about having like a front-end CMS for your clients to log into to make changes like that because for me, that was always the biggest concern. Because I always want to be able to have that feature for my clients, so that’s interesting. I’ll have to look into that. So you don’t find it overwhelming as a new designer getting into Webflow?
Fernando: At first I did. It is definitely a learning curve compared to the other programs out there. But luckily they do have what they call Webflow University. They have endless hours of tutorial videos on there showing you how to use it. So I mean with all this free time, just buckle down two, three hours a day watching those videos and eventually, you get the ball rolling and really understanding it.
Patrick: That’s fantastic man. Good for you. A lot of people need to be doing that, but I have a hard time kind of setting aside the time and really digging deep. Because like you said, all the information is out there for free to learn it.
Fernando: It is.
Patrick: And especially if you’re going to start from scratch learning and advanced tool like Webflow you’ll be set up for future success real nicely. That’s great. Good for you. Okay, so as you’re just starting out, I know you mentioned you don’t have a website for yourself yet. What’s your biggest roadblock right now? Your biggest, let’s say challenge that you’d like help with?
How to Decide What to Charge For Your Web Design Services
Fernando: One thing that I mentioned that I needed help with was kind of just figuring out the best pricing structure for myself. One thing that I’m really big on working on is getting some sort of monthly reoccurring income to be coming in itself, so figuring out the best way to offer something on a monthly basis. That one is has high perceived value for my clients, but at the same time doesn’t eventually overwhelmed me if I were to scale this, you know, with a bunch of clients, I wouldn’t be bombarded with all this work at the same time, if that makes sense. That, and kind of just, I mean, I’m new to this, so I really don’t know what I don’t know. So, you just finding the little nuances here and there and going through the logistics of everything and stuff and going through it all.
Patrick: Yeah, okay. So with regards to the recurring revenue, it’s great that you have that mindset, especially when you’re first starting out to get that set up as soon as possible because recurring revenue in my opinion is everything and they’ll save you from a lot of unnecessary stress in the future. So yeah, the difficult part is finding the value proposition for your clients. So if your niche is going to be child entertainment niche, if you know anyone in your industry, it’d be great to reach out to them and ask them straight up. Like what would be valuable to them as a web design or a website, and let’s say a hosting or maintenance plan, and then kind of gauge what they’d be willing to pay for that.
The other thing you can do is compare to see if there’s anyone else in the industry already doing something similar to this. What are they charging, what are people paying for that? So that’ll give you a kind of a reference point and then you can decide whether you want to add additional value for people to choose you instead or do it at a more affordable rate. But that’ll come down to what your ideal clients are looking for. And then the last thing is just testing. Like, especially since you’re first starting out, you’re going to learn as you go. I know I did. And when I first started out, it took me about a year and a half before I even started getting recurring revenue; before I even started getting recurring hosting clients. The biggest challenge you’re going to find first and foremost is building your portfolio; is getting those first clients. And that really should be your priority more than anything else; even the recurring stuff. The recurring stuff is great. You want to give some thought to that so that any client you do sign up, you can get them recruited on that. But first and foremost building your portfolio– sorry, can you still hear me?
What Fernando’s First Priority Should Be Right Now
Patrick: Okay. I got like a weird notification. Building your portfolio, getting your first clients, that’s your priority. So the reality is you’re probably, I know I had to do work for free initially just reaching out and saying– I don’t know if you had a chance to look at any of my other content. Did you see the video I had about Google maps about finding clients through that?
Fernando: Google, that video I did not see no, but I have taken a look at your other blog posts and some of your YouTube videos.
Patrick: Okay. So what I did when I first started out is I basically went through Google maps in my local area and looked up local businesses that either didn’t have websites or more importantly had really bad websites that were built in like the late nineties or whatever. And I would scraped the content from those sites and then basically rebuild their homepage for them and then just cold email them with a link to this new homepage I had already built for them and say, I’d like to redesign your website, here’s what it could look like. And basically they already know what their new site is going to look like, so it makes the sell that much easier. It’s more of like a warm sell than a completely cold. Just like emailing someone and saying, “Hey, I noticed your website could use this and that, or this is broken.” You know, businesses get bazillions of those spam emails like all the time.
Fernando: I know I do.
Patrick: So if you have something that you could actually, yeah, exactly, I’m sure you get them too. If you have something you could actually visually show to them, that’ll make the sale that much easier. But definitely, getting clients in the beginning is going to be your biggest challenge. So I would focus your energy on that.
Fernando: Okay. Yeah, definitely, this a client project that I’m working on right now, I am, like you said, doing it for free at the moment and it’s really just to test the waters. Luckily, I’m a part of a bunch of Facebook groups out there and so– or entertainers are giving advice to one another, et cetera. And one of the common things that you’ll see throughout these Facebook groups is newer entertainers or older entertainers, et cetera, putting their websites out on there and asking for feedback on those websites. So that’s actually how I got my dispersed test client; free client. He posted his website on one of those groups. I commented with some ideas on him. He liked those ideas. I sent a Facebook message to him, kind of chatted and continued through there and it just ended up working. He wanted to work on it.
Patrick: That’s awesome. That’s a perfect example of doing that. Then the other thing you could do, well first off, it’s great that you have that because then you can, as we talked about before, you can reach out to people in your industry and say, what would you like in a website? If you have a website, what are your current struggles? What would you like to improve? Maybe certain features that might be specific to your niche or your industry that people are looking for, so getting that feedback is crucial. The other thing is too, if you can get your hosting set up properly right away, you could basically, when you’re making these free websites for people to start building your portfolio, you can make an offer. Like, listen, I’d be happy to build your website for completely free if you’re willing to commit to just caring for the hosting and maintenance plan afterwards. So maybe you’re charging 19 or $29 a month for this hosting slash maintenance upgrade plan, whatever you come up with. So they don’t have to worry about the huge upfront cost of a website, which usually will cost thousands or at least seven or 800 bucks on the low-end. If they can get that for free, and you’re just like, pay the 29 bucks a month afterwards; that might be a good way to set up some recurring revenue real early on.
Fernando: Yeah, definitely a good idea and something I’ll be testing on as soon as they get the hosting situated.
Patrick: Yeah. And the other thing also is you got to get your own website up there and you got to get your own, like you’re still at the foundation, right? You got to come up with a brand and your own domain. Do you have any questions about that stuff?
Building a New Brand From Scratch
Fernando: I mean, it’s really just a matter of brainstorming it all. I think I do have the niche down; niche, however you pronounce it down, so it’s just a matter of tailoring the brand to them. For me, coming up with the name is always the hardest part, so I’ll be working on that. I don’t know any just generic tips you have on creating a brand and things to think about while doing so.
Patrick: Yeah, definitely keep in mind that whatever brand you go with, you’re going to need a domain for it. So, like when you come up with a few brand ideas, look up what domains are actually available because you’ll find that you’ll come up with some really cool names for a company and then you’ll find all the domains for it already taken. And you don’t want to end up– they’ve opened up a lot of different types of domains now. Like it doesn’t all I have to be .com like they have .co and .xyz. Like literally anything, but .com is still the best one, and people are used to that.
Fernando: Accustomed to it.
Patrick: Yeah. So ideally, it’s not like important from like an SEO perspective. Google will rank any domain that’s quality, but the branding, the visual of a .com I still like, and most people still like. So if you can, try to get a .com domain. And whatever brand you settle on, like I know you’re going for the niche, sorry, child entertainment, is that the name of– is that how you say it child entertainer, or is it a different way to–?
Fernando: Yeah, that would be the all-encompassing thing. You can get more specific within it, like magicians, face painters, balloon artists, et cetera.
Patrick: So you know your industry better than I do and better than anyone else, so you have to decide how much potential there is for growth within that niche. Because it might be so niche that you’ll only be able to grow it to a certain point and then you’ll kind of hit a plateau and then you’ll be looking to expand to another niche. But because of the brand you’ve decided on, you’ve kind of cornered yourself into just this one niche, so you want to consider that. The niche might be big enough that you never have to worry about that. I don’t know how many different workers there are involved in this industry, in the United States or even globally because it doesn’t just have to be the United States. But I would do some research into that and see what the real potential is there before you cap yourself right from the beginning. And then further down the road you’re like, “Oh, I want to expand into landscaping, but I have this child entertainment.” You definitely want to consider that.
And then finally, inject yourself, your personality into your branding. So give some thought as to who you are, what your values are, how you would describe yourself, things that you love personally, and just write all this stuff down on a piece of paper. Like nothing’s too stupid. Like anything that comes to your mind, just it on paper. All the information you can get and really try to make you your brand because you’re going to have a tough time standing out. You’re just starting out. So people are going to want to– and people ultimately buy from people, not from faceless companies. They want to know who you are, what you stand for, what your values are, and they want to connect with you on a personal level. Like mine is, you know, Rapid Web Launch is very specific towards the idea of fast web design.
But over time all the content that I would make, my blog posts, my videos, my podcasts, whatever it is, even everything down to the whole customer experience, every email people receive, even just confirmations of people submitting the form, everything I do is centered around a certain type of brand and my personality is injected into it. And people always say how much they appreciate just the way I write things. Like it’s almost like I’m conversing with them directly. It’s a person one-on-one, and people love that. So yeah, those would be my suggestions with creating a new brand from scratch. And I do actually have a video and blog about that as well, that you might find useful.
Fernando: Oh, cool. Yeah, I’ll definitely be checking that video out and blog posts.
Patrick: Cool, so anything else? Any other questions you got for me?
Learning SEO and Web Design Simultaneously
Fernando: Yeah, you said the word SEO, so that sparked a thought in my head. I’m assuming one of the major questions that I’m going to get when designing websites is the SEO question. How was this website going to rank on Google, et cetera, et cetera? At the moment, although I do feel I have a better understanding of SEO than the average person out there, I’m by no means in any way, shape or form an expert in SEO itself. So I don’t know, I’m kind of a little nervous, I guess per se of designing these websites without knowing how well they are going to do on the search results itself. Should I be thinking about– should I really also buckle down and learn SEO as well as web design? Is it okay to just focus on the web design and not kind of think about SEO and just be transparent with clients that I am not an expert? What are your thoughts on that?
Patrick: That’s a good question. I would always recommend that people learn SEO as well if they’re going to learn web design. Because you’ll quickly find that you’ll build this beautiful website for a client, and the first thing they expect is to be on number one in Google and for traffic and clients to just start swimming in freely, and that’s just not how it works. So part of your job is going to be educating your clients on what the differences between a website design and search engine optimization. And search engine optimization is always evolving, it’s always changing. It’s changed a lot even just over the last few years. But you do want to understand the basics and the fundamentals of it so that you can integrate it into the websites you’re making. They’d go hand in hand.
SEO is a lot more about user experience and less about the technical keyword stuff. It’s a lot more about search intent versus the specific keywords because Google keeps getting smarter and they’re understanding the meaning behind people’s searches, rather than just the actual words they use. So that is a huge difference and it’s important to know that because that should go into– even if you’re not helping a client with ongoing SEO, which that is a separate project and a much bigger investment, you should understand how SEO works because it will change how you design websites as it should. I would definitely recommend at least learn the fundamentals and the basics and that’ll set you up for a better success with website design.
Fernando: Definitely. Do you have any off the top recommendations of where the learner? Is YouTube and Google my best friend on this one as most thing are for learning?
Patrick: Yeah, Google and YouTube are definitely our BFFs for all information. As far as SEO blogs go, Ahrefs is my favorite by far. Do you know Ahrefs?
Fernando: I heard of it, yeah.
Patrick: Yeah, so they’re an SEO tool. I use it personally. Some would say they’re the leading SEO tool in the industry now. And they came out of nowhere from like four years ago and they built this awesome platform, but more importantly, they mastered content production. And they went from nobody to the top SEO tool in just four years in a hugely competitive industry. The content they make it’s what you should be aspiring to if you’re creating content for SEO purposes. So definitely both their blog and their YouTube channel Ahrefs, I’d recommend them.
Fernando: Awesome. I’ll be checking them out for sure. How did you get into web design, if I could ask?
How I Started My Web Design Business and What It Looks Like Today
Patrick: Yeah. I was a window cleaner and I was thinking a lot about– my ultimate goal is to have some type of income that was location independent; I can do from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. And that offered me the ability to control my schedule, control my time, so basically owning my own business. So those two things were my goals and I started doing research as to, okay, what types of income or careers or business will allow me to accomplish those two things. And web design for me came out on top for a number of reasons. So while I was working full time as a window cleaner, I started dabbling in web design as a side hustle. So I’d work all day as window cleaner and then at night I’d go home and I’d research and I’d practice and experiment and slowly over time you know, I started learning more, not just about web design, but SEO as well. Critical component of SEO is blogging or content marketing. So I started getting into that to rank my site. And literally it was over a time of like two years, slowly but surely grew the business to the point where eventually I was able to pursue it full time. Then I quit my window cleaning and went all in on Rapid Web Launch, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. That was about four years ago maybe.
Fernando: Nice. And looking through your website and your blog, your personality really shows through on it. Is it just you running the venture on your own or do you have a team helping you in any steps? You have like copywriters–?
Patrick: Yeah, I have a small team now. So like probably about four or five consistent, but they work like part time for me, not like full time employees. Yeah definitely, I have some; like I have one guy helped me out with the server management stuff because I don’t want to do any of that stuff. I want to focus on what I enjoy, which is designing websites and creating content and doing SEO. Those are my passions, if you will. So once my business grew to a size that it became clear I needed my own dedicated server, I just hired someone was like, can you manage this for me? And he’s like on a retainer with me to take care of it for me. So anytime something needs to be changed or something goes down, like he’s on it, he takes care of it, I don’t have to worry about it, which is great. And then I also offer SEO services through content marketing. So I have a couple of writers on staff with me to help me with that because it wasn’t, it didn’t have the time to write everything out myself. So yeah, that took a while. I had to really filter through some not very good writers to finally find some high quality writers that knew what they were doing, knew how to write, not just for SEO, but write; like good storytellers write good content. So that took a while to find some quality writers, but I eventually did and yeah, so it’s about four or five of us now, but all the websites are built by me.
Fernando: All the websites, nice. And then they’re helping out there. Do you have a– are you a pure web design? Do you offer any like logo or graphic design or any other design services that kind of–?
Patrick: Yeah. Actually one of my team members is a graphic designer, so I do offer graphic design services. But again, I didn’t have the time or resources to get into graphic designing myself. So I hired someone; a graphic designer to work with me. It’s a good question because another thing web designers don’t do enough of is, think about what additional services can I offer? Someone’s coming to you for a website build. They’re almost always a small business. Small businesses need lots of different services. And one of the most common ones, especially if they’re first starting out, is a logo, so why not offer logo design as well? And if you don’t know how to personally design logos, then you can outsource it and hire someone that does. The biggest challenge of any business is literally lead generation; is getting clients. And they love the fact that they can have an all in one service with you.
They don’t want to have to go to you for web design, to someone else for SEO, to someone else for logo design; that’s exhausting. It takes up too much of their time. If you can do an all in one, they care if you do it personally, as long as it’s high-quality and of high-value for what they’re paying, they’re always happy for that; just like any business. If you look at a big web design agency, the CEO is not doing all the work personally. There’s a large team of people. So yeah, find some quality team members to work with and look at ways you can expand your service.
Fernando: Do you have any tips and tricks of how you went about finding members that are a good fit for you, your company and the skills? Where’d you find your current team at?
Hiring the Right Freelancers to Grow Your Business
Patrick: That’s a good question. That was a long process, a long and frustrating process and I’m still learning frankly. Yeah, hiring quality talent is a challenge. I’ve gone to a number of different resources. I’ve gone to Upwork, I’ve gone to online jobs.ph or whatever it is. It’s mainly Filipino workers. I’ve hired people here in Canada, or, I’ve made connections through LinkedIn. There wasn’t really one specific resource that I used, but if you’re just starting out and you need– like let’s say you don’t need someone like as a full time team member, you just need a freelancer. Upwork and Fiverr can be surprisingly good, but it’s highly dependent on you. You need to be extremely descriptive about what you’re looking for and what you need and what you want. Because you’re going to get a ton of applications, a ton, and most of them are going to be bad. You just got to ignore them.
One simple trick you can do that I did that helps me filter out 80% of people instantly. When you write out your job description and you’re talking about exactly what you need and want it, at the very end, you put what I write is just to prove that you read this whole thing, I want you to start your proposal with the word Panda; just a random word. It could be anything you want. So that way, as soon as I get an email response or an application from them, if it doesn’t start with the word Panda, I know they didn’t even bother reading my description, my application.
Fernando: The whole thing.
Patrick: Yeah. Which means they’re just sending out a mass resume to everyone they see.
Patrick: Yeah, hundreds and hundreds. And that is an indicator of what kind of an employee or partner they’re going to be; team member. So I don’t even read anything after that. No Panda, gone; filter out. So that will instantly filter out like 80%. That’s an awesome– it’s such a simple little hack, so I would definitely recommend doing that. But then after that, it comes down to; so be clear about what you want, but also have a test. So have something that ready. They’re like, okay– like I filtered it down to five people. How do I pick one? You ask all five of them to do the same test and then see which one comes out. So, if you’re hiring someone to be a writer, then give them an article to write and telling them– I don’t like it, people will tell them to do it for free. I disagree with that.
I think people should be paid for their work; even if they’re trying out. It’s like a trial run. I think they should be paid for that. So if it’s a blog article, I’d say, okay, its $25 or whatever, just for like a 500 word post or something, 25 bucks, write this. People were like, but then you’re spending 125 bucks to find a good writer. It’s worth the investment. It’s worth the investment and you’re setting a precedent because this is going to be someone you’re working with. You want this to be a long-term relationship. If you start it on a bad note, getting them to work for free for you, it just leaves a bad taste in their mouth, and that’s how you’re starting your long-term relationship with this person. So, I try to always be a hundred percent fair and transparent
Fernando: And one thing that you’re looking out for at all, kind of how much they charge in order for you to figure out your margins and your pricing? Or do you kind of have your pricing already in mind? How did that go about?
Choosing a Pricing Model
Patrick: Yeah, it’s the other way around. So I figured out what I’m pricing first. I’m figuring out what I’m charging my clients first, what the value is first, and then I find someone to work with me within that price range so that I can have a healthy profit margin.
Patrick: Yeah, that’s the way I do it. There’s a lot of different ways to figure out what to charge for your services. I also have a blog and video about that too. When I first started out with web design, I was very confused about that too because it’s such a wide, wide– that’s such a huge variety of how web designers charge or how freelancers charge. Especially with digital products, people don’t know what they’re paying for. It’s very confusing and unfortunately because it’s not a physical tangible thing like renovating your kitchen, people are like, well, what am I spending $1,500 for? What am I getting in return? So your challenge is going to be communicating that and helping them to see the true value they’re getting.
I realized upfront that there’s so many small businesses that want to get online, they want to get a really good website, can’t afford to, they don’t have a thousand dollars to drop upfront, which is a big reason why I come out with a recurring hosting a maintenance plan. I kind of look at it as basically giving a discount upfront to get for someone to get a high-quality website, and then they pay the remainder off slowly over time; the hosting package. Kind of like how smartphones are subsidized, right? Brand new iPhone comes out, you go to AT&T, you can get a $1,200 iPhone for 200 bucks right there on the spot, but you got to pay off that plan over the next few years, 20 bucks a month or whatever; similar idea. So you get this brand new phone that you would never have been able to afford otherwise because you do this kind of like a subsidized plan.
So I kind of took that model and put it to web design and you’re starting to see that a lot more now. A lot of web design companies are catching on and they actually call it– there’s a new, it’s like a website as a service. Some web design companies are actually doing like no cost upfront, basically free website, but then they’ll charge 200 or $300 a month for this big marketing plan or hosting plan for them. There are a lot of different ways to price it. When I’m building the website, I try to figure out how much time is this going to take me, and then how much do I want to make per hour, and then price it out like that. Pretty simple.
Fernando: Nice. And speaking of time, I know Rapid Launch there around quick web designs and if I read correctly on your website you guys can push out a website even within a few hours itself. How so quickly, how do you do it so quickly? You have to share your secrets. But, how do you guys are so effective at being able to get these nice looking websites? Is it just a matter of you having years of practice that you now know what looks good and you’re able to kind of just jump into it and knock it out real quick or–?
How I’m Able to Build Websites So Quickly
Patrick: Yeah. Good question. I actually had this conversation on another podcast yesterday, so when the interviewer asked me that– So first off, I can build websites within hours very quickly, but it depends on a number of things. So out of all the clients I’ve built, well firstly, the fast is relative subjective, for some people fast is a week because a lot of web designers will say minimum two, three, four weeks for this to get done. But others, I’ve had clients come to me and they say, “I need this done in 24 hours. What can you do?” The primary thing, the most important thing is that they have all the contents ready to go. So I always say 24 hours. Okay, that’s really fast. Do you have all the content ready for me? It always is dependent on that. If they don’t, then I’m like, that’s not possible.
Now you’re asking me to not only build a website, but to produce the content for you. When I say content, I mean things like primarily is the copy, the words. You’ll find that is the biggest challenge. People don’t have the copy, they don’t know how to write the copy; they’re not copywriters. And so you’re going to have to help them with that too. If they don’t– and I always charge extra for that because that is the core; it’s the backbone of the site. You always create the copy, the content first, and then you design around that. You present that copy in the best way possible through website design. It’s not the other way around where you just put a cookie cutter template and then fill in texted. That’s a bargain basement website. It’s not going to get you the results you want, so the content is key.
So if they have the content ready to go, and it’s a smaller website, it’s like one or two pages, not 10 to 15 then I can do something crazy like 24 hours. But out of the hundreds of websites I’ve done, I could literally say only three websites that did within 24 hours. And it was all because they had the content ready to go. There are only one or two pages and I was able to do that and I built basically in a day. So it was like, I don’t know, six to eight hours or something. But yes, a big part of it is experience and practice. You build processes over time, you find ways to cut shortcuts and just get faster. You just know what you’re doing.
Fernando: Speaking of content, I assume one of the things that help makes a website look great is the customer or client having great photos and other assets to use itself. Do you ever say turn down a client if you feel like you’re not going to be able to produce the best results for them because they don’t have the greatest of assets?
Choosing Your Ideal Clients
Patrick: Absolutely. Yeah. I’ll admit that. I have the luxury of doing that now. I have the luxury of being able to choose my clients more now. I’m not desperate for new clients like I was in the beginning. In the beginning, you’re definitely a lot more flexible and trying to find ways to make it work because you need clients and you need the money. But now especially, I mean, I was always honest, if I flat out couldn’t do what they’re looking for, I’d always say no, this is not my expertise. But especially now, even if I had the expertise to do it, you can kind of over the years, you can spot troublesome clients from a mile away and you’re like, I don’t think I really want to work with this person.
There’s someone who they’re always demanding this or that, they’re questioning invoices or wanting to see timestamps, all kinds of stuff. Like they’re just, you’re going to run into those people. People want honesty and transparency. If you can’t do something– the whole fake it till you make it thing, it’s really just about being dishonest. I don’t agree with that policy at all. Like, be up front about what you can and can’t do because you should always be thinking about the relationship, potential clients; the people. You treat people well, they’ll come back to you or they’ll refer other people to you even if they don’t get to work with you, they’ll remember you. And when their friend needs a website, they’re going to say, I know a guy.
Fernando: Thank you. You helped a lot, explained a lot of little things. Yeah, I guess just the big thank you Patrick for this. Any last word piece of advice you would give to the newbie I am?
Final Thoughts and Takeaways
Patrick: I love that you dove straight into Webflow right from the beginning. Like, you’re going into an advanced tool right from the start. That’s awesome. Keep that up. Keep investing the daily time into it; watching the videos, reading the tutorials, practicing. Just keep it up. And if you can be consistent every day, even if you have a bad day and you just ended up doing it for like 30 minutes and you just want to vege or play video games for the rest of the day, everyone has a day like that, but be consistent. Show up every day. You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll improve and how much faster your business will grow. It’s just about investing in your business, investing in yourself, so keep up the good work.
Fernando: Will do, hopefully as long as this free time continues, right?
Patrick: Oh yeah, and get your brand and your website made as soon as possible. It’s great that you’re building other people’s websites, but if you’re going to be a web designer, you got to have your own website. Don’t be a perfectionist with the branding right away. Try to just get a page up there as soon as possible and you can always refine over time, and once you get it up, send me a link because I want to take a look at it.
Fernando: Will do, will do.
Patrick: Alright, thanks for stopping by Fernando. Stay safe in California.
Fernando: Will do, likewise and Canada.
Patrick: Stay clean and stay safe, Fernando!
Fernando: You too. Have a good one!