From Laid Off to A Successful Business: One Web Designer's Story

From Laid Off to A Successful Business: One Web Designer’s Story

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Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

Every week, I write an article and release a podcast episode. Sign up if you want to get notified when that happens.

Some times the most inspiring stories come out of disappointment. That certainly was the case with this week’s guest: Jasmine Glasgow.

Jasmine had a fairly steady job at her family owned company. Then COVID hit and they had to make cutbacks. Her job was one of the first to go.

BUT, instead of going the safe route and looking for something similar she decided to start freelancing as a web designer and that’s when things took off.

Her problem now?

She has too much work and clients waiting in line for her help. I hope Jasmine’s story will inspire you if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Like Jasmine says, “You either shrink into comfort or grow into opportunity.”

The challenges you’re facing right now might be the perfect opportunity for you to grow in ways you didn’t think possible.

Main Takeaways from This Episode

Here are the main takeaways from my conversation with Jasmine.

1. Find Your Community

One of the main reasons Jasmine was successful when she launched her web design business is because she had been building relationships in a facebook group.

She didn’t join the group with the intention of finding clients. She just wanted to be a part of the group. She made friends, offered advice and in general was a good human being.

When she decided it was time to launch her freelance web design business she told the group and hiring her was an easy “yes.”

As a freelance web designer it’s so important to know that you have to be willing to give more than you get. Many clients will take anywhere from 4 to 7 interactions before they hire you.

Every interaction is your chance to establish trust. Once that trust is built it won’t be difficult to convince them to hire you.

2. Establish Systems ASAP

Once Jasmine began getting clients she quickly realized she need to establish some systems to make her processes easier.

There are a lot of things as a web designer that you find yourself doing over and over again:

  1. Setting up a meeting
  2. Talking about pricing
  3. Outlining your process
  4. Getting feedback

These are simple tasks that don’t take much effort BUT if you’re not careful they can take up ALL OF YOUR TIME.

That’s why it’s so important to have things in place that will AUTOMATE those reoccurring tasks.

This is such an important topic that I’ve talked about it with multiple guests on the Self-Made Web Designer podcast.

It’s super easy to get crazy busy doing the work that gets you paid like busting out a project BUT it’s essential to slow down and think about your processes and then find a way to make them more effecient.

3. Just Pick a Lane

There are a lot of different avenues you can take as a web designer, a lot of different tools you can decide to master. It’s enough to make you paralyzed wondering if you’re making the right decision.

When it’s all said and done you’ve just got to pick something and go for it.

Jasmine admits that she’s the type of person that loves to analyze and re-analyze before finally making a decision. But, at the end of the day you just have to pick a lane.

What I’ve found when it comes to learning new things in the web design world is, it’s hard to make a good decision on the right thing until you have a little bit of an idea of how it all works.

So, it’s better to just pick something and figure it out as you go. You can always go back and start again.

Becoming a Web Designer After Getting Laid off

There is a ton of opportunity to be successful as a freelance web designer if you find yourself in a similar situation as Jasmine.

My own story is very similar.

This might feel like a big set-back. BUT, it might be your biggest opportunity yet.

Chris: [00:00:00] This week's guest is like a lot of us out there in this season. She had a fine job. It wasn't the best job in the world, but it was bringing in money for her and her family. Then the pandemic hit. And unfortunately she got laid off, but instead of giving up and just going and trying to find a similar job out there to what she was doing, she decided to go for it and start her own freelance web design business.
And now she's crushing it. Do you want to know how she did it? That's what we're talking about this week. Are you ready? Let's go

What's up, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the Self-Made Web Designer podcast. Hope you had a great week and I'm glad to have you back. This week's guest is actually a listener to the Self-Made Web Designer podcast. She emailed me and said, thank you for all your help. I just recently got laid off. I started a web design business and because of your insight and others out there, like you, it is going really well.

So I thought, Hey, why not bring her on, ask her about her experience and see if she can offer any advice to people who are in her situation as well. And guess what she came on and she absolutely crushed it with some incredible thoughts, insights, tips and tricks that I know you're going to walk away with going I'm so glad I listened to this. But before we dive in, I got to ask, have you signed up for the web designer starter kit course? It is a four video course that I lay out every step that I took six years ago when I was becoming a freelance web designer and how I went from making no money at all to doubling my income as a freelance web designer.

Best thing is it is 100% for free. So go to self-made web designer.com and sign up today. All right. Are you ready to hear from miss Jasmine Glassgow? All right, let's do it.

Well. Hey Jasmine, thanks so much for being on this self-made web designer podcast. It's so good. Yeah. Yeah.

Jasmine: [00:02:10] Thanks Chris. Thanks for having me.

Chris: [00:02:12] I'd love it. If you'd take a second and just kind of share your story, share where you are now and, and how you got to this point.

Jasmine: [00:02:18] Yeah, sure. So I guess a bit like everybody is a bit of a long story. I'll try not to drag it out too far, but I guess. I was one of those lucky people when I finished high school in that I actually knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I wanted to help people. So I signed up for university, like a lot of us do I do the degree in psychology. And then I actually went on to help young people, homeless, young people in particular who had drug problems. And I actually really loved that. But I got a little bit fed up with the red tape.

Side of things and I wanted to travel and you know, it wasn't a particularly high paying job. So I ended up signing myself up to about family business, which was a software company advertising software. And I was in the support team. So I was still kind of helping people, but when people asked me what, what I did for a living, I would often say, Oh, you know, it's not my passion, but it pays the bills.

And I kind of stuck in there quite a while. Actually. I was there for eight years until just recently when I became redundant which I think a lot of people would have kind of, Oh, you know, panic, but I I'd always kind of had this side. Not even a side hustle, really a side hobby alcoholic which was the web development, web design.

I'd just done a few little bits and pieces for friends. Even back, you know, 10 years ago when I was in youth work, ended up making this website for youth organization that I was working for. So it's kind of given way to this really slow beginning idea. And I've decided, you know what, today's going to be the day I'm gonna, I'm gonna go from side hobby to full-blown freelancing business.

Chris: [00:04:12] It's really cool that you bring such a unique perspective from a lot of other guests that I've had on, in that you are in the midst of trying to figure this out. And so I told you before, I think you're going to have just a lot of great insight for people who are exactly where you are.

They're they're thinking, okay, everything happened with the pandemic and I'm suddenly in need of some extra income or a new job altogether. And so what's next? And how do I do it? So maybe talk a bit about your background. How, how did you learn the skills to feel confident that you're just going to go forward and freelance?

Jasmine: [00:04:52] Yeah, that's a really good question. I think because it's been such a, such a long time. I mean, this is sort of 10 years in the making. I actually don't really remember the grassroots of. You know, my first website and what actually kind of led me to that. But it was almost like someone had this. It was because I had this it background, I guess.

So the family business, like I mentioned it's this software business. And so I was just the, it. Guy, the it girl at every job that I had, you know, if the printer didn't work, it was ah, jazz. Can you, you know, you, you know it, you know, computer stuff. And so a website was just kind of, you know, that, that, that everyone just kind of throws it all in the same basket.

Oh, we need a website. I'll just ask Josh. He probably knows something. And as most of us in it, no, we really need to know is how to Google something and. So how do you choose something? And so I kind of self taught myself a lot in the beginning. And, and yeah, just kind of slowly, slowly built on that.

About four years ago I started kind of revisiting it more seriously. But then I had my daughter, so I kind of just put the whole website thing on the back burner again. And The start of this year, actually, I decided to do something for myself. You know, I'd been a stay at home mom and I'd been working part-time in this it business.

And so I decided to sign up for a web development diploma because. I actually don't have anything on paper at all, but says, I even know how to turn a computer on. All of my qualifications are in these other random fields, you know, psychology and youth work. And it just kind of fell into the it side of things.

So yeah, once I started doing the diploma. It kind of led me to a lot more resources, I guess. So the people who are doing the same thing and I actually decided to really get my hands dirty and build my first. Website for myself. Which of course I want it to be perfect. So that taught me probably more in, in that couple of months that I've learnt in the previous 10 years.

Chris: [00:07:07] Yeah, that's great. And I that's something I always tell people, is that the best way to learn is to just go for it, just build something. Cause that is really where the best learning takes place. You know, like it's, it's one thing to follow along with a tutorial. It's another thing to actually be in the middle of a development project and have an issue come up that you've never seen before and have to Google your way out of it, you know, until you finally come to a solution.

So, so we know a little bit of your background, we know, you know, kind of Being, let go from your job has kind of led you to kind of go for it. What, what do you think was holding you back from just going for it altogether? What was that? What was that thing that was keeping you from going, you know what, I'm going to start a freelancing business.

Jasmine: [00:07:53] Yes. So it's really interesting you ask that because I've gone to a few friends, you know, kind of in varying parts of this process. One of them is, is out, she's doing her own thing. And then a couple of the others In that ideas phase or the side hustle, the side hobby phase. And one of my friends said to me, you know what, you're so lucky that you got made redundant because you don't have to overthink it then, you know, and I think I probably could have done this quite a while ago, but it was just a little bit too comfortable.

You know, things were easy. And there's always that kind of fear, you know, when you, when you make that jump, you're going into this great unknown. And I think, you know, naturally we, we, we seek out the known and we avoid the the unknown as much as we can. So yeah, you know, it's a real blessing in disguise actually, because.

Like I said, I've been in this support role for like eight years and possibly would have been there for another eight. So yeah, I'm lucky in that respect.

Chris: [00:08:53] I mean, that was the same exact thing for me. Had I not had a situation where I was forced to learn how to make extra money no way I would be here.

I probably would not have even pursued this. If I did, it would have been much later in life, like you're saying. So it's crazy that kind of tragedy can push you to a new level in your, in your reality or a new level in your life. So that's, that's awesome and, and good on you for not just going to find another temporary job, you know, I think that would, as much as you think, like, you've, this is kind of a blessing in disguise.

Like you still had to make the decision. To, to do this. So, so why not, why not go for another support role at another company? Why, why now, you know, is, is there, is there more to that or was it just I'm just going to go for it?

Jasmine: [00:09:40] Well, I think you know, I think back to every time someone said to me, you know, what do you do for a living?

And my, my rehearsed response was: it's not my passion, but it pays the bills. You know, every time I said those words, it kind of crushed myself just a little bit more. So I sort of got to this crossroads where, okay, this comfortable, easy, not passion, but pays the bills. Job is gone. Am I really gonna sign myself back up for that?

Or is this the time that I say, you know what, I'm going to do something I actually really enjoy and something I actually really care about. And so, yeah, it kind of seemed like the natural decision. And, and like I said, I'd kind of been building this site this year as a bit of a hobby and I'd started the diploma.

So I had my little piece of paper that says, I know how to build a website. So it kind of, I mean, it almost took on a life of its own way. You know, this time last year, it was barely enough in the back of my mind. And then the more kind of the further down this road that I got, the more things I just seem to attract to, you know, this idea almost like a magnet, you know, I met a girl who just started her own business and she had this great advice.

And then I'd stumbled on these podcasts, like your podcast and, and others that just literally seemed to come out of nowhere. And so it was almost as if this decision was kind of made for me. It was like, there was, there was never going to be another another option

Chris: [00:11:07] Talk a little bit about what you're doing now to kind of get your first few clients and kind of ramp up on the freelance business.

What does that look like?

Jasmine: [00:11:16] Yeah. So I, I am actually sort of lucky. I've got a unique problem where I've actually managed to attract quite a few clients, quite a few potential clients really, really quickly almost sort of by accident. So my, my challenge at the moment, I guess, is kind of getting the foundations of the business, the processes, you know, there's a lot of really cool automation tools that are available now.

So I can kind of you know, use that, I guess, to save me time to spend doing the things that I need to be doing for clients, but also the things I enjoy doing. But it's really hard to kind of put those foundations in place when I've got all these clients kind of coming my way. So I'm kind of trying to hit the ground running and, you know, got a few, few too many balls in the air at the moment, which is a good problem to have.

But yeah, I've, I've actually been really. Really successful in, in the way that I'm getting clients. So you might want to hear a little bit about that. Because just in the last two weeks s ncei we've been speaking, I have kind of stumbled across this marketing strategy, I guess you'd call it very much by accident.

So I, when, when I was pregnant with my first child, with my daughter, I joined this Facebook group of mothers who were having their kids that year. And, you know, we're all kind of at the same place of life and at the same kind of issues and same things we were celebrating and all, and all of that. And so when I decided to start freelancing and, you know, take the plunge and do web design and web developer full time, of course, I went and joined a bunch of Facebook groups, you know, people in the same boat as me, people I can talk to vent to.

And you know, of course there's people in these kind of startup groups I need a website or I've got a website, but it doesn't do what I want it to do. Or can anyone help me with this? Just one little thing. And you know, maybe, maybe with this kind of, I like helping people I just started commenting.

I just started giving people a little tips and would just say, you know you know, my startup is actually a web development business. So if you need some more help, just reach out, I'm happy to chat. I'm happy to set up a meeting. You know, whatever the case might be and a surprising number of people who have been kind of coming to me and saying, Hey, yeah, I'd actually really love to take you up on the offer.

Can you maybe build me something. Can you even just give me some advice? So it's, it's been really successful. Even people who I haven't spoken to directly have kind of seen my comments and gone. Oh wow. You know, she, she genuinely looks like she genuinely wants to help people. And, and that seems to just kind of attract people in a very genuine authentic way.

And I think because my my clients are kind of just like me then that kind of gives us this added a rapport, right from the start.

Chris: [00:14:11] It's so crazy because I feel like so many people think that right now there's no way to network and meet new people. But, but here you are and you're crushing it. It sounds like it's all online from the Facebook groups. Is that right?

Jasmine: [00:14:24] Yeah, pretty much. And, and I mean, it's kind of endless at the moment. I'm primarily on Australian groups, cause we're kind of all on the same time zone, but you know, there's even global groups around that. And I think, I think you've gotta be careful , You know, in the way that you approach it you see people occasionally, like, you know, just kind of spamming, like yeah, h re me and putting out there, you know, whatever their, their product or their services.

And I don't think that people really can connect with that. But if you approach things in the right way and you know, I mean, when I, when I help these people is every chance that I'm never going to hear from them, or they might just say a simple, thank you. And I think you've got to really be okay with that.

But yeah, it's actually quite surprising how, how easy it is yeah. To connect with people online. And I, I think it's going to be more and more important. Moving forward that people sort of know how to do that.

Chris: [00:15:17] I think you've really hit on something that actually a lot of people talk about, which is just going and offering free advice, you know, essentially giving value to someone without the expectation that they would give you something in return. And I think probably a lot of more aggressive people would just go into somebody's DM or go into somebody's inbox and say, okay, I can build you a website. Do you want any help?

And I know people who have sent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of messages to people that they didn't know, you know, and, and the return on that is, is minuscule, you know? And so figuring out a way to, to be able to add value to somebody before there's ever an ask is kind of the name of the game. And of course, like you're saying that's risky.

They could go off and say, Hey, thanks for your help. And you never hear from them again, but it sounds like it's, it's really turning out to be in your favor.

Jasmine: [00:16:18] Yeah. So far so good. Well, I've got a lot of people yeah. Getting in touch and booking barriers, you know, different things. And I think. Yeah, like I said, do you have that instant kind of connection with them?

You've already offered something when you haven't had to. And I think that kind of from the very get-go, you know, from the very first step you're taking with a potential client, it's like, I will, this person genuinely wants to help people. And. That's a good way to start.

Chris: [00:16:46] So talk a little bit about those challenges that you're talking about with figuring out a way to be efficient and get the process done quickly so you can serve more clients.

What, what are your thoughts on that? How are you putting together those puzzle pieces?

Jasmine: [00:16:59] One of the greatest challenges. That I have is this kind of information overload. I'm a bit of a fact finder. I like to do my research. You know, if I'm trying to make a decision, I'll kind of spend hours or days or weeks trying to get all the information.

So I feel like I'm making the best decision. And I think, you know, there's so much out there that, which is great. But actually kind of going, okay, this is. What I'm going to focus on. This is the processes I'm going to use, or the mentor I'm going to choose, or, you know, it's kind of even getting to the point where you lock down.

How you're going to plan can be quite overwhelming. And then of course the next step is actually planning, which you know, it takes time and when you've already got you know, two kids and a few clients who need your help need a website, have project deadlines. It's quite difficult to.

Really sit down and take the time to kind of step out of the business and start working on the business instead of in the business. And that's something I've heard many times it was something I thought, Oh, well, I'm never going to do that. But now here I am.

Chris: [00:18:12] So what was it that helped you or have you, have you made a decision on what you're going to focus on and the tools that you're going to use or, or is that still kind of up in the air?

Jasmine: [00:18:20] Yeah. So I'm starting to lock a few things in I'm trying to, I got some advice from. Someone who has been running their own business for close to 30 years and their advice was don't spend any money in the first year that you don't absolutely have to. Because I think I'm in kind of pessimistically, a lot of businesses fail in the first 12 months.

So the difference between kind of, you know, thinking your life savings into a business that doesn't quite make it versus taking this kind of bare bare bones Expenses approach can often be the difference between making it and not making it. So I sort of have that in the back of my mind, but then there's also the flip side of that, which is you've got to spend money to make money.

So I'm trying to kind of, you know, balance those two things out. One of the big things that I have definitely decided to invest in is some software that's going to automate a lot of what I'm doing manually at the moment. Like I said, I'm talking to a lot of people and offering advice. I'm getting people kind of reaching out to me through private messages, people who want to you know, book my time and have a chat.

And at the moment there's a lot of, kind of to, and fro with that. So it'd be great to kind of. Just free up a little bit of that time. So that I can, you know, dedicate myself to the people who are trying to engage my services a little better without you losing the sort of personal aspect of that communication in those early kind of stages of securing clients and things like that.

So I think software's going to be. A big one.

Chris: [00:19:59] So like calendaring software and things where people can sign up for a time slot kind of thing. Is that, is that what you want?

Jasmine: [00:20:05] Exactly. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I think it's going to be, you know, sort of extra beneficial because then I can set my own availability you know, not be kind of all consumed by the business, which I think is an easy trap to fall into, you know, I think a lot of people They, they decide, yeah, I'm going to freelance.

I'm going to work from home. I'm going to get to spend more time with my family, but it's very easy to kind of not set those boundaries in place. And then all of a sudden you're working more hours than you've ever worked before and checking your phone, you know, all the time for notifications and replying to messages and things like that.

So yeah, I think to kind of be efficient, but also be to kind of keep that work-life balance. I think. Yeah, automating availability in particular. But also some of that, like to, and fro messaging, just the basic communication. That's going to be important.

Chris: [00:21:00] Is there anything that you wish you knew before you started now that you've kind of gone head first?

Jasmine: [00:21:06] Ask me in a few months. I think there will be. I think they're, I think they come in there in the mail for sure.

Chris: [00:21:13] For sure. That's awesome. Well, what's, what's, what's the plan? What do you want this to look like five years from now?

Jasmine: [00:21:20] I, I, I hope that what I am building here is going to kind of support my lifestyle rather than hindering it.

Like I, I am quite used to working from home. We were actually working from home before COVID hit and I don't think I could ever go back to an office or back to an hour and a half in the car each way. You know, sitting in traffic. So lifestyle is a big one for me, but Yeah, I think looking forward at kind of how big can get, can this get, it's a bit of an unknown for me at the moment.

You know, I'm just one person. So I'm sort of sitting back going well to, to get bigger. That's kind of a whole nother kettle of fish which, which all makes it to work at at some point I'm sure. But yeah, I mean, even, even the way things are right now, where I've got a few clients, I've got a few people that I'm kind of chatting to.

I'm doing my research, I'm learning new things, like, you know, an absolute sponge at the moment. I'm reading things and listening to things and talking to people. I mean, that's kinda my jam. I'm kind of already living it. You know, as we speak, so. Yeah, but I'm still doing this in five years. I think I'll be, I'll be pretty happy, you know, you're not really, you're not looking to make like a million billion dollar company.

You're, you're looking for like, probably a lot of people just trying to make a living so you can spend time with your family and not have to worry about finance. Yeah, that's exactly right. You know, I'm pretty lucky in that we have a little bit of security. So it's not so much about yeah. Making the big bucks or, you know, some multinational company.

My goals are really about, I guess self-fulfillment, you know like I said, I had this job that was really it. Wasn't what I wanted to be doing. And what I'm doing now is something I actually enjoy. I can sit down at nine o'clock in the morning and start working on a site for somebody. And I often find myself kind of Googling something in their industry to try and, you know, just make the site a bit more unique and show people, Hey, you know, like each client to me is a real person and it's not just like a paycheck.

And I think as long as I can continue to kind of. Enjoy what I do and do what I enjoy. And have enough time to spend with my family then. Yeah. That's kind of the end game for me. I wonder if you could give advice to somebody out there who's listening. Who's maybe like you were a few months, a few months before you heard that your job had been considered redundant.

So there they're wanting maybe to take that. But they're unsure. They've been thinking about it for a while. Or you could just speak to Jasmine three months ago. If you could, if you could tell yourself something before you knew that you were going to lose your job about going into freelance web design, what would you, I think I would say, just go for it.

Yeah. I heard this great, this great quote, which was yeah, say yes and then work it out. Yeah. And that's kind of been my motto. Sometimes I feel like maybe going back to that person and, you know, kind of shaking them, like, why did you say this is not working out, but most of the time I'm saying yes and working it out later on.

I mean, it's a great it's a great way to move forward. And you know, if you're kind of stuck planning, thinking over analyzing, you know now it's not the right time. You know, we either, we either shrink into comfort or we grow into opportunity. It's this? No, it's, it's, it's now whenever, you know, or if not now, then when and you know, I have no regrets, there's no looking back.

And I think a lot of people would feel the same way. You know, we, we get sucked into this comfort zone and. And the regret once we, you know, make that decision, we handed out notice or you know, we moved to another country or whatever that, that big thing is our only regret is, you know?

Chris: [00:25:24] Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on the show. If people are wanting to connect with you online or through email or through your website, where would they go?

Jasmine: [00:25:32] Yeah, so my freelancing business is Yes Dear, which is a little bit of a nod to my husband who you know, knows happy wife, happy life. But yeah, my website is a yesdear.com.au that I dont use a lot up there at the moment.

Chris: [00:25:49] Well, Jasmine, thank you so much for coming on again and we'll, we'll check in and in a year from now, And just see where you are and maybe have you on again, it's down.

Jasmine: [00:25:58] Yeah, that sounds amazing.

Chris: [00:26:01] Man jasmine has such a cool story and I'm so glad that she came on and shared it with us. And I hope it encourages you because I have a feeling, I have a sense that there's a lot of folks.

Out there who are just like Jasmine they're considering whether or not they should stay where they are, or just go for it and start a web design business. So here's my encouragement to you. Just go for it. You can go for it. And like Jasmine, figure it out along the way, but if you don't go for it, you're going to look back and regret that you never.

Gave it a shot and I have a hint that you're actually going to be super successful doing it. And Hey, if you need help or any type of support along the way, we are here for you at the self-made web designers podcasts, you can sign up for a call. To have a conversation with me. If you have questions at self-made web designer.com or shoot me an email I'd love to hear from you and help you out in any way, shape or form.

Well, that was one for the books, but next week is going to be a great episode as well. Can't wait for you to hear it, but until then don't give up and don't forget if you don't quit.

a newspaper clipping highlighting layoffs

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Hi, I'm Chris and I'm super glad you're here. 7 years ago I taught my self-web design and freelancing. Now, I do my best to teach others what I've learned so they don't have to struggle as much as I did.

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