So, many web designers settle for low paying projects. They make excuses as to why they’ll never attract the high paying web design clients they see others get so easily.
“I’m just not that good.”
“I don’t have an official degree.”
“I haven’t been doing this long enough.”
All of these excuses keep good web designers from getting the kind of high paying web design clients they deserve.
Lee Blue, runs a a mentorship program called Double Stack. There he teaches web designers how to attract the kind of clients that won’t haggle you to lower your prices because they know you’ll get the kind of results that will make a lasting impact on their business.
Focus on Results Not Features
The truth is that so many web designers approach clients the wrong way. They’ve got an elevator pitch that details all of their years of experience and things they know how to do.
But, they never bridge the gap between what they know how to do and how it will make the client more money.
Lee Teaches that if you want to attract high paying web design clients you can’t just sell them a website. You have to sell them a solution that will help their business grow.
The cool thing about approaching things this way is it will keep you from becoming obsolete when the next easy web design building platform comes out.
Lee has great insight. So much so that we had to split this episode up into two parts.
The first one will focus a bit more on how to get started and the second part will go deeper into adding the kind of value to projects that make it easy to find high paying web design clients.
- The right way to market yourself as a web designer
- Resources to get started as a web designer no matter what your background
- How to demand higher prices for the services you provide as a web designer
Chris Misterek 0:02
What's up, everybody? Welcome to another episode of the self-made web designer podcast. So glad that you're here with me today. Hey, have you checked out selfmadewebdesigner.com? If you haven't, I want to encourage you to take a second and go there. Now it's okay, you can pause this episode, come back in a little bit, you're gonna find a ton of great resources to help you figure out how to up your game as a freelance web designer, or just how to get started in the first place. Something that about 1,000 people have gone through is the starter kit course. And what that is, is a blueprint of all the steps that I took when I was first getting started as a web designer and what led me to double my income in two years and to go on and get a full-time job as a UX web designer. I know you're gonna benefit from it, and I know you're going to love the resources there. This week, we have a two-part episode with an amazing guy. His name is Lee Blue. What a great name right one syllable for the first name one syllable for the last name, it just kind of rolls off your tongue, you could say it over and over again. Lee blue Lee blue Lee blue. Okay, maybe you can only say it a few times before getting annoyed with yourself or with me. Lee runs doublestack.net and he teaches people how to charge good prices and find good clients willing to pay for the services that you offer. In fact, the minimum amount that he teaches his students to charge is $3,000 per website, along with monthly retainers to help their clients get the results that they need to get. So after this episode, you're no longer gonna need to charge $500, $600 even $1000 dollars, on average, you're going to be able to charge $5,000 per website from the advice that Lee gifts. And this was too much. It was just too much great content to pack into one episode. So we're splitting this up over two weeks. So you're gonna hear from Lee again next week to teach you how to up your game and how to get the type of clients that everybody is dreaming of. Are you ready? Here we go. Super excited to have Mr. Lee blue with us today. And I hope as I'm saying this, you're applauding him in your cars or wherever you're listening. Lee runs doublestack.net where he teaches web designers how to have a six-figure income while working from their home all on their own. He's got a ton of resources at doublestack.net where you can find him and his mentoring group apart. cast a YouTube channel and a ton of other resources. He's an awesome guy. And he's been super, super gracious to be on the self-made web designer podcast with us. Lee, thank you so much for being with us today.
Lee Blue 3:13
Thanks for having me on. It's really cool to be here and I love what you're doing too. And I really appreciate the invitation.
Chris Misterek 3:18
Tell us a little bit about yourself how you got started and where you are today.
Lee Blue 3:23
Well, in the very beginning, I got like a computer science degree out of college and I started doing bioterrorism surveillance for the government and super technical stuff. And basically, that was back when like anthrax was like a thing like remember back in like, like 20 years ago, people were getting like the white dust in the mail and nobody knew what it was and birds were randomly dying on the streets and stuff. And so what we did back then was all up and down the East Coast. Every night we would pull all the emergency rooms and try to collect all of them all the encounters all the reports that happened for that day. See if there are any anomalies like is, is everybody in New York City getting a respiratory illness? And if so, throw a flag, whatever. And, and that was really cool. I really liked the tech side of it. And the story is kind of cool, because it seems like you're saving people's lives, you know, stuff like that. But the everyday aspect of it was like, just mind-numbingly boring. It was just like, You're not even dealing with you're just dealing with numbers and random statistics, and it got old quick. So I started thinking of side hustles, which, which was really appealing about what you were doing. And so I kept the job doing the government stuff. And then I started doing some other stuff with WordPress. And then the next thing I know, I'm selling headphones online, I'm selling exercise equipment, I built an e-commerce plugin, and you know, all of this stuff was going on. And then I said, Hey, you know, and it was in 2002, I started a web design business, and you know, just kind of reaching out to people and, you know, a lot of times I'd work with agencies or, you know, direct mail companies, and just be That needed a, you know, to add web design to the mix, but they didn't have a web design team. And all my work came from that. And that worked great for a while. And but then things began to shift a little bit, you know, WordPress, we got, you know, became more popular and a lot of the people that were like, at the graphic design firms were like, Hey, you know, I'll just take my word for my, my graphic design skills got to cram it into WordPress, and they didn't really need websites anymore. But yet, the complicated stuff they still needed. So my job profile sort of shifted towards, you know, not just websites, but really the more complicated things like e-commerce or multi-page forms or pre-populating a form when somebody lands on the page with what you know about them. Like for example, I had a client that sent out a lot of college applications. I tried to get people to apply to colleges, and they would mail you basically like a postcard with a link on it. Then you would then go to the website and it would pre-fill out your college application with all the information that they knew about you from when they met you when you visited or whatever. So, you know, probably 25% of that, like all your name, and your birthday, and your address, all that stuff is all filled out. And so they needed me to kind of make that happen. Because of the designers, you know, that was beyond what they could do. I was like, Sure, I can do that. And that worked well for a while. And then, you know, Gravity Forms came around and, you know, WooCommerce and, you know, everything that used to be complicated from that became a little bit easier. And then and then recently, what's happened is, you know, there's Wix and Squarespace and super inexpensive developers on Upwork and Fiverr. You respond to a Facebook ad for a $50 website if you want to. And so and so now, it's like, everything has totally changed in terms of like, how you find clients and what you charge for it and you know, the whole thing. And so I was like, Well, you know, how can I help people do better because so I would go to work camps. I would talk at work camps about what I was doing. And meetup groups like local meetup groups, you know, pretty much what I could drive to you But on the east coast and computer-like, Hey, you know, we go, I don't know what to say when someone says Why should I pay you $5,000 instead of, you know, $5 for a Wix website, or whatever. And so that's where double stack came from. It's like, how can I help people in like an organized way? Because I used to be like, Well, here's what you do, and I'd send you some emails, and we just try to communicate back and forth kind of randomly, but that wasn't enough, it wasn't enough to actually get someone results, it was enough to kind of convey ideas as to, you know, here, try this or, you know, think about that, or whatever. But it wasn't enough to really make a difference in their business. Because it really comes down to three things. Like the first thing is how do you drive better results for people? And, like better business outcome style results, not just how do you get a faster loading website or a responsive design that looks great on mobile or whatever, but like, how do you actually get more calls or sell more products or, you know, get more people in your restaurant, you know, something like that? As a business result? And so one of the big changes that I think we've experienced recently, and especially with WordPress work, and web design, in general, is like anybody can get a website. Like any business owner who wants a website can get one for free. If they want to roll up their sleeves, they got to do it do their stuff themselves, or for really cheap, you know, 500 bucks. I think if you had a $500 budget, you could go into Fiverr and get a pretty decent looking site, or get somebody to build you a Squarespace site. And so if you want to charge 5000 instead of 500. Well, what what what gives you like, well, how is that a good investment for someone? And the truth is, yes, everybody can get a really good website, but nobody knows what they're doing. You know, like business owners don't know how to do the marketing thing. They don't really know what the tools are available. You know, the people that are selling the $50 websites really don't know what they're doing either. Otherwise, they wouldn't be selling $50 websites. And so we've gotten to a point where Yes, anybody can get a website, but we've kind of sacrifice results. To get there. And so, you know, so a double stack is all about is, well, first of all, like, let's make sure that you've got really good tools and skills just so that you feel great from a technical perspective that you can build a great website that's responsive, it loads quickly and secure, you know, the hosting the backups, like, let's make sure that's settled. But also, let's make sure that you've got some skills in place to you know, you know, build a sales funnel or drip campaign or different kinds of email marketing tactics or write better copy more persuasive. Copy that so that your pages actually convert. And so you have like this marketing side as well. And so, you know, that's kind of the first thing is let's make sure that's in place. Then the second thing is, okay, well, now that that's there, how do you attract clients that are willing to spend 5000 instead of 500? Or, you know, I usually say in terms of, you know, when I'm coaching that the double sackers, you know, have to two components to your project, have a build-out phase, and charge like three to 10,000 you know, maybe five on average, but you know, with the At land $8,000 projects, $10,000 projects, but there's a lot of work. It's not like you're not just charging $10,000 you're working on it for like six weeks, you know, nonstop. It's like you're writing copy, you're taking photography, if you're a photographer, you know, add that into the mix, you know, just like making sure that you set up all the tools, social media, branding, logos, like all this stuff. And then you say, Okay, well, what do we do to attract clients that are willing to spend prices at that level? And so we work on marketing and kind of shift away from saying, saying, Hey, I build websites, into whatever the outcome is that you help someone deliver. Like, say, for example, you've got these bills that are really good for photography or something. Instead of saying, Hey, I build websites, do you want a website say I help photographers generate six figures with a camera working out of your house, you know, something like that? And then when somebody hires you for that, well, now you're going to build the website. Maybe you get e-commerce in the mix, maybe you put a Google Calendar online, so you know, booking You know, photo sessions online, it's kind of streamlined and you get email marketing employees like they're hiring you for all your best stuff all at the same time. And so that puts you at a much higher value position than if you said, Hey, do you want, you know, a website or I can also do a logo, or I can help you with your email. And then somebody says, Oh, yeah, Chris, you know, helped me out with a better logo. And you're like, Okay, I can do that. But they just bought one thing, what you really want is you want to get all this stuff, so that not only are you in a higher value position, but you can drive better results for people, you know, like, the logo is not gonna get more leads, you might, it might help with the conversion process, and you look more professional and more established, but it doesn't draw in the leads initially, you need more than just a logo to get the results. And so that's so the second thing we work on is the marketing to make sure that you're attracting clients that want a larger outcome than just a website. And then the final thing that we work on is the business structure aspect of it so that you don't have to go out and find leads all the time because that's the biggest thing. That sucks all your time away, is you have to constantly be hunting for leads. If, when you land a project, all you have is a one and done project. And so the solution is, hey, okay, yeah, we have that build-up phase that we just talked about. And it's a higher value, it's maybe five to $10,000. But after that, move into something, where you have, where you begin to exercise the marketing side, like the business development side. And so like So you not only are you exercising your technical skills with regard to email marketing, and drip campaigns, and landing pages, and sales funnels, and all that stuff, but you're also exercising your business development knowledge, which is, you know, a lot of people I work with have been doing stuff for like 10 years, or five or 10 years, 15 years, you know, long, long history, and they're leaving their knowledge of certain industries and what it means to be in business and more of like, the softer skills are just kind of on the shelf, and they're not leveraging that to the benefit of themselves or their clients. And that's another thing that gets your value up. If you can, like walk Somebody's through what they need to do from like a business development perspective with regard, especially with regard to their online presence. That's a really big deal. And you're not gonna get that on Upwork or fiverr or Craigslist or you for 500 bucks or Wix isn't going to do that for you. And so that, so then the question becomes, okay, well, the first thing that we've got down is we've got the skill set to drive results. The second thing we get down is we've got the marketing to attract these higher value long term clients, where you keep working with them on an ongoing basis. And then the third thing, which is the business structure side is okay, well, how do you meet with the client? Because you don't want to do discovery sessions. You don't want the client to feel like you're figuring it out on the fly. Because if you do, then, first of all, that's what everybody does, like everyone, they will go say, hey, how many pages Do you need on your website? Who's your competition? You know, what do you want your website to do? What do you even do? You know, there's, you know, you usually don't even know who the client is when you first get that lead because there are no steps in the process with regard to most people's marketing. You just hope they get a referral word of mouth, somebody calls them they find their website, and you have, you're going from a blank slate, you don't know who they are what they want. And so you have to discover what they want and listen to all that stuff. So instead of that, we have like an upside-down process, whereby the time you actually meet with a client, you know exactly what they want, because of the marketing that you put in place, which is in the, in the way you figure out what the marketing is, you figure out what are your best skills, and so, you know, kind of building it up from the ground up, you're like, Well, you know, here's all the stuff that I'm the best at doing, not just from a technical perspective, but also from a marketing perspective. And also from here's my business knowledge and the things that I'm passionate about, and, you know, stuff that I know, like, you could fill in the blank for yourself, but like for me, like a lot of my clients tend to be in like health and wellness and kind of the medical arena. And I know stuff about that like it's kind of interested like we have an organic garden right out the window. And, you know, I'm just kind of like that kind of stuff. And then Then the other side is like, well, what if someone called me and said, Hey, you know, I've got this trucking business, I know nothing about that. So I wouldn't be very helpful with business development for someone doing like trucking. Whereas with, you know, with anything with health and wellness and natural paths and functional medicine and stuff like that, like, I know a lot more about that, so I'm gonna be better. And so like, bring that into the mix. And so then that brings us to the final stage of what double stack is all about. It's like, Okay, well, how do you talk to clients like that? Like, how do you like, like, what's it What's a blueprint or a framework for a meeting that enables you to lead your clients into a level of success that they can't get if you weren't there? Then what does that look like in terms of what the proposal is all about? You know, because from, from my perspective, you don't want to have a proposal that looks or feels like a technical to-do list, where it's like, you know, a website with however many pages I'm going to install Google Analytics on it and, you know, whatever, you know, all the different, different things, and instead it feels much more like a business plan. Where it's like Okay, here's your business. And, you know, here's our plan to generate more of that for you. And so and so those are the three big things. So you feel awesome about your skillset with driving results, you feel awesome about your, your marketing, so you're attracting higher value longer-term clients. And then you have the business structure in place, where you know what to say, when you meet with your clients, you know how to write these proposals. And ultimately, when you onboard clients, you've got people who are going to stick with you. And you really only need about seven or eight clients. Usually, that's that seems to be about that sweet spot for hitting that six-figure income.
Chris Misterek 16:34
I wonder for somebody who's just getting started and is trying to figure things out. And they haven't even gotten those ground-level skills of creating a responsive website in in in WordPress, what would you say is a good pathway to get this mixture of skills that really puts them at a high-value position to get these types of clients?
Lee Blue 16:57
so there are a couple of things when somebody calls me from just getting started, like sometimes people be like, yeah, I hate my job or I'm not making enough money or I want to do web design, you know, so let me see if I can start building websites. So what I usually say is okay, well, I know like Elementor and Beaver Builder and oxygen are really great themes with page builders, Beaver Builder and Elementor are just page builders, but they can be built into themes like Astra themes or whatever, you know, just kind of get familiar with that. I don't feel like you have to write a lot of code anymore. Like I don't feel like you have to go and you know, be a react developer or even deeper dive into PHP. It's helpful if you can kind of look at it and know what you're looking at. But you don't have to have a computer science degree or anything like that. Because it goes there. It's like you know what, what you really need now is to just be aware of what's available and know how to mash it up so that you've got a good theme you've got a good host you've got a nice email marketing platform, a guy Adam from WPcrafter.com is I know him but he probably doesn't know me, even though we've emailed and stuff, and you probably talked to a million people, but, but I follow his YouTube channel and everything, and he's got great free tutorials. And in fact, if you go to his website, and then buy Elementor Pro from like, he's got a $200 course on how to use elements or which will give you for free if you buy Elementor through his affiliate link. And so a lot of times when people like, hey, what page builder shall use, I just send them over to Adam site and be like, you know, click on his affiliate link, he'll give you the $200 course. And then there you go. It's like, I think I think it's 50 bucks, maybe for Elementor Pro for like a single site license or something. So like for 50 bucks, you've got a really nice set of tools, and of course, to learn how to use it. And that seems like a really nice first step in terms of the technical side. So usually I just kind of try to refer people to resources like that, because like once you know the names of the stuff that's the best and like the most popular, there's a lot of free resources to kind of get you up and running.
Chris Misterek 18:57
Wow, such great insight from Lee. I love it. He encourages us to focus on the results for the client and not necessarily what we have to offer. Coming up again next week is even more insight on how to do that very thing on how to focus on results, and find clients that are willing to pay the prices that your services deserve. I can't wait for you to hear it next week. Can't wait to be back. If you haven't already. Go ahead, take a second like and subscribe to this podcast. Leave a rating, or leave a review. I'd love to hear from you. But until then, stay tuned. Next Tuesday night midnight, when another episode with Lee drops. We will see you then. And remember if you don't quit, you win.