7 years ago, if you told me I’d one day be offered $10,000 to build a website I probably would have laughed at you.
At the time, the most I’d ever gotten was a $100 gift card to Amazon. And, that was because someone was just being nice.
The possibility of actually making that much on a single project as a web designer seemed like a fairy tale.
And, I think a lot of freelance web designers feel the same way.
You almost immediately dismiss yourself from the conversation when someone starts talking about how it’s possible to get really good, high-paying clients CONSISTENTLY as a web designer.
You say things like “That could never be me” or “If they knew my specific circumstance they’d no it wasn’t a possibility.”
But, I’ve got good news.
No matter how impossible it feels for you to get there as a freelancer you 100% CAN DO IT.
Selling Websites for $10k
This week I am talking to Ran Segall of Flux Academy.
Ran built his web design agency from the ground up. He started out like everyone does: with hardly any design/development skills or business know how.
BUT, he worked hard to build an agency that consistently pulled in projects of $10,000 or more.
NOW, he’s helping other people learn how to do it themselves.
Want to know a shocking truth?
Selling websites for $10,000 vs. $500 doesn’t have as much to do with skill levels as you’d imagine.
Sure, it does take a certain level of skill BUT that’s not what most freelancers struggle with.
After all, we’ve all seen really bad websites and been outraged by the amount of money the client paid to have it built KNOWING we could have done way better for half the price.
Selling websites for $10k has much more to do with:
- How you market yourself as a freelancer
- Having confidence in your ability and price point
- Knowing how to spot the right kinds of clients willing to pay what you’re worth from the get-go
Thankfully, Ran is telling us all about how win $10,000 projects so you too can start charging more and find higher paying clients.
- How to communicate your worth easily to clients
- How to have confidence in your prices
- How to avoid clients that are looking for the lowest cost possible
- How to approach what you do for clients as a problem solver
- How to build your value so you can command higher prices
- How to negotiate your prices as a freelancer
Chris: [00:00:00] What if I told you that you're probably not that far off from being able to charge $10,000, 20,000, $50,000 for building a website, would you laugh at me? Well, this week we are chatting with somebody who learned how to do that himself and is now. Teaching other people how to do it as well. Dreams do come true my friends and we're talking about it this week on the self-made web designer podcast. Let's go.
What's up everybody. Welcome to another episode. Another week of hanging out with you on the self-made web designer podcast, I hope you're having a good time learning how to build websites, learning how to. Build a freelance web design business. And this week we have an amazing guest. His name is Ran Segall and he runs the flux Academy.
And Ran is just a huge inspiration for me as a web designer. And as. A content creator. He's got some amazing stuff out there. And I feel like I should just mention it right off the bat. Go find ran on Instagram. That's ran Segall, S E G A L L, or find him on YouTube simply by searching flux in YouTube, F L U X.
There's some great stuff on there. Ran has coached thousands of freelance web designers over the years, and he's done that not from a place of lack of experience. No. He learned how to build a web design agency, him self, and learned how to go from charging very little, if nothing at all, to charging clients tens of thousands of dollars to build websites.
And we're not talking about like crazy websites that are super complicated and, and take years to make we're talking about the average websites that you would be contracted for as a freelancer. Web designer. So he learned how to do it himself. And now he is teaching other people how to do it as well.
And he's teaching us this week. He was gracious enough to come on the show and he's got a lot of great insights. So we're going to dive in, but before we get started, A little bit of a change of pace. I just want to let you know if you want to have a conversation, if you need a little bit of help, that you're not necessarily able to find on the podcast or the blog sign up for a phone call with me, it is 100% free and I am selling absolutely nothing. There's the link to my calendar on my homepage, where you can sign up for a 15 minute slot. I'd be happy to get to know you and to try to help as much as I possibly can. All right. Are you ready to dive in to how to win $10,000 clients as a freelance web designer? Okay, let's go.
Hey Ran. Thanks so much for, uh, being on the self-made web designer podcasts. Just honored to have you, bro.
Ran: [00:03:02] Thanks Chris. Thanks for inviting me.
Chris: [00:03:05] Yeah. So, uh, I wonder if you can take a second and just tell us a bit about who you are, how you got started in web design and where you are today.
Ran: [00:03:12] So, um, I'm a designer been a designer for now 20 years. Um, started back in high school, hustling, you know, doing favors to friends with a pirated version of Photoshop.
Um, and that. Escalated, as they said, uh, started working in advertising and branding also ended up going to like an actual design school for four years. Um, then ended up working in startups before going freelance. Um, Full-time about seven years ago. Um, yeah. And I've been, I've been growing my freelance business for, for a few years while also documenting some of my process and learnings on YouTube, um, which is what, uh, eventually two years ago, um, you know, led to me kind of migrating into teaching design and building an online design school, focusing on web design about two years ago.
Um, yeah, so that's the story pretty short.
Chris: [00:04:14] That's great. And I am a huge fan of your stuff on YouTube. You've got some great Instagram posts and almost like miniature tutorials that are just like packed with such wisdom. So if anybody's listening right now, just don't even listen to the podcast anymore.
Just go find Ran on YouTube, find him on Instagram and just start following because you will not be disappointed.
Ran: [00:04:40] I have to give credit though. Uh, because we now have, as we're building our team, we now have a whole content team. So the stuff that you're seeing on Instagram is not purely mine. It's the whole team behind it.
Uh, we actually show them at the end of, of our posts. That's. Just have to give credit where credit is due.
Chris: [00:04:57] Yeah, absolutely. Well, yeah, it's certainly takes a good team to pull off something like you guys are pulling off. So I definitely appreciate that. Well, tell me a little bit about the inner workings of kind of how you, you built your business because I think your story is.
Really similar to what a lot of people that I've talked to, who are entering into web design, um, have experienced themselves from, um, kind of playing around with it a little bit to maybe thinking like, Hey, this is maybe something to this, you know, maybe I can make some money out of it to growing it and expanding it.
So, so what did that look like? How did you strategically grow it from the early days of. A, you know, hacked Photoshop version to building it into this big agency. I mean, it was a very, very long journey because it wasn't really planned out. Um, I didn't have a very clear goal in mind when I just started out.
Ran: [00:05:55] So. Like a lot of people who start this off as a hobby. And initially you, you can't even believe somebody is actually going to pay you for doing what you enjoy, what you would be doing for free. Anyway. Um, I think I've, I've stumbled into discovering what I want to do. You know, I was conflicted. Do I want to do branding?
Um, do I want to work with tech companies and design products? Do I want to build websites? Um, what do I want to do? Do I want to work within a team? Do I want to, you know, run my own business? Um, what am I good at? Where, where is my strengths? What is my niche? And I, it was a long journey because as I said, I.
I wasn't really clear on both what I want and nobody really showed me the path. So I really, it was a very long journey of really starting from the bottom, working with crappy small little clients, you know, the, those who give you, you know, give you how for, and then pay you $200. Um, and then really slowly working my way up and then also investing in understanding, learning business side, learning how to negotiate, learning.
What's valuable, um, learning how to deliver good service. So I, I don't, I I've tried, I've always been into learning. Uh, I've been a self-learner and I'm reading a lot. I'm always trying to improve myself. I'm big on improvement and it has worked out. It has paid off. I think so as I grew, you know, both obviously my skills and capabilities improved, but also my focus in terms of what I want to do.
What's more interesting to me to work on, um, helped me to define really what my niches and, and. What projects do I want to work on with what clients.
Chris: [00:07:44] I wonder if you could just chat a little bit about, because I know as kind of the, the industry of web technologies gets more and more popular for people to kind of jump into and freelancers seeing opportunity.
And, you know, not that I don't think there's not plenty of work to go around for absolutely everybody. Um, but there certainly are things that set apart folks. Who are web designers who build $500 websites versus 2000 versus 5,000 versus 10,000. And you've worked with a lot of folks and coached a lot of folks.
So what are, what are some of the differences between the folks who are playing maybe on a smaller scale with, with lower prices and those who are playing on a, on a bigger scale with higher prices?
Ran: [00:08:30] First of all, I would say that not only is it, is there enough work to go around? I do feel like there is. A very big shortage in the people who can support the higher end of the market, you know, the $10,000 projects.
And around that part, there's a lot of clients with money who are looking for designers to help them, uh, in that level, but not enough people. Um, Are are helping them or capable of helping them. And that's part of what we're trying to do, you know, with the school that we're building, we're trying to train people to do that because we, we feel like there is a shortage there.
I think, you know, from a high level perspective, the difference is both the types of projects and the types of problems that you solve for, for your clients. Um, meaning when you build somebody a $500 website, you're solving a very small problem. Um, when you're selling, when you're selling a $10,000 website or $50,000 website, you're usually solving a bigger problem, more valuable problem.
And that's why it's worth more. Um, and that a lot of times that also correlates with skill meaning sometimes you can, if you don't have the skills you can't. Solve bigger problems, but not always. I do feel like there's a lot of very, very talented and skillful people who are still stuck at solving small problems.
Um, and I'll give an example, you know, if the problem that you're solving is, you know, I need a website or I need a logo or something like that. That's actually a very small problem because building a website, you can probably either do it for free. You know, every, uh, hosting company where you bought your domain, we'll give you a free website builder, or you can set up your WordPress or buy a template or sign up for Wix or Squarespace and get it done for like $10.
So having a website. Is actually a very small problem. If that's a problem that you're solving, no wonder that you're stuck at the lower level. Um, but if you're moving into the higher level problems of businesses where they're asking themselves, how do I, how do I grow my business? You know, how do I differentiate myself from competitors?
How do I get more customers to trust me? You know, how do I convert more customers or more leads into paying customers? How do I increase the value of each customer? These are very big business problems that a lot of times can be solved with a better website. And if you are solving these types of problems for your clients, then you are now solving, uh, Problems that are way, way, way more valuable problems that can make impact of millions of dollars for, you know, businesses.
And that's when your value increases dramatically. Now, the other thing about this is you also need to understand that there is just different types of clients who just want to pay different prices. Right? And you can think about this. You can think about it in the food industry, right? If you want to get a burger, you can go to McDonald's and get it for a dollar, or you can go to like a chef restaurant and pay.
I don't know how much it's basically the same thing, right? The same materials, almost the same. Um, but there's something different in the experience. There's something different in the brand. There's something different in, you know, the whole service experience. So all of these things. What you might call, you know, user experience or customer experience.
Those things matter too, because some people want to work with. High level people who are dressed nicely and who serve you, nice coffee in their nice office when you meet them. And this is part of what people are willing to pay money for. Um, some people want to say, I worked with this famous designer because it says something about them, just like some people are willing to pay more, to get a, whatever, a Gucci bag or something.
Um, so there's a lot of. Psychology that goes into why people pay high prices. Um, and I think it's a combination of both these things, right. Solving big problems, and then also understanding. Why would somebody want to pay a lot of money and tapping into that?
Chris: [00:13:03] Speaking of psychology, I think a lot of times the psychology of the freelancer or the web designer plays a really big part in this as well.
And understanding, you know, that, um, it's, it's, it feels really scary to say. I need $10,000 for you to hire me, but it's actually not as scary as, as you're feeling. So there's all these insecurities that kind of go into the process of hiking it up another level. And I remember when I started raising my rates.
I reached a ceiling and I knew I needed to go to that next level. And the next client I pitched to, I about had a panic attack saying I needed, you know, X amount of dollars to actually do this website for them. And, uh, and so talk a little bit about that. Talk about how you've coached folks to kind of get over their own internal struggles when it comes to charging higher prices for websites for clients.
Ran: [00:14:05] Right? So I think you've, you've tapped into something that is really important. I think when I think about why most people won't charge higher prices, some it's, it can, it can be either one of two things. One, they don't have the skill, meaning they will ask for a lot of money, but they will not get it because the person can see their portfolio or something like this.
And they say, no, you're just not, not good enough, but. Most Mo more often than not, it's a confidence issue, meaning your skills are okay, but you just don't have the guts to ask for it. Um, and of course, if you are asking it in a non-confident way, like. I think I need $10,000. If you ask it this way, they obviously read it into you.
And they're saying, if this guy doesn't think he's worth it, why would I think he's worth it? Right. So it's like a magic. You have to believe the magic for it to work. So the actual question I think is how do you build confidence? Um, because without it, you can't raise your prices. And I think. You know, what has worked for me.
And, you know, I look at, you know, I look at this metaphor of extreme sports. If you look at these huge skateboarding ramps or something like this, you're like, Who are the crazy people who have the guts to slide through these crazy, huge ramps. And if you think about this, nobody goes up there on day one.
They will start with something very, very, very small, and they will slowly increase. And that's just how you build confidence. You don't start on day one asking for $10,000. It's more like you'll start at $500 and then a thousand dollars and then $2,000 and then 5,000. But if you're always pushing yourself, And, you know, you, you do this $1,000 project, you get good feedback.
And then you're like, okay, I'm confident if I give, if I can make people happy on a thousand dollars, let's see if I can make people happy on $2,000. Um, so you'll, you'll do this process. Some people get stuck because they're uncomfortable pushing themselves, but if you are comfortable pushing yourself just a little bit every time, then you will slowly build your confidence.
I don't think there is a magic trick to it. One more thing that I. Think is helpful and is what we use our community for is just to see how other people are doing it. That's also helps to build confidence. Right? One of the things I did on my YouTube channel is share at the end of every year, how much money I was making.
And the reason I did this was not to brag, but actually just to show people that it's possible because for me, Knowing how other people, how much other people are making was something very inspirational to me to just even show me that it's possible. Like there was a point earlier on in my career where I didn't even think it's possible to make a hundred K 200 K a year as a designer, that book ludicrous to me.
Um, so once I saw other people making it and I got to know these people are like, These people are good, but they're not like 10 times better than me. Right. I'm not that dumb, perhaps I can do it, you know? So I think seeing other people succeed and it's, it's kind of like these, I don't remember if it's like the four minute mile or three minute mile once, once, you know, somebody has done that before, do you know it's possible?
So now you just have to practice and do it yourself. If you think it's impossible, you're not going to even try. But if you know, that's definitely possible now, at least. You're motivated to give it a shot.
Chris: [00:17:50] I think a lot of times when it comes to charging higher prices, it's more on how you present yourself more in how you are marketing yourself to the person that you're talking to.
So rather than saying, Hey, I can build you a nice website. You could point out how nice looking websites actually are proven from tons of studies that they've done from Harvard to other universities, to whatever, nice looking websites, actually, you more money without you even really doing anything. Some part of this.
Is, you know, just kind of like a slick marketing trick and what is an actual, like skill, what's the level where you've got to go? No, this is more than just me, you know, having some guru speak to some client who is being vulnerable right now and doesn't know anything about it to, you know, like actually I've got skills and I've got, I can show you how my website design increased the company's conversion by 10 X over a year.
How do you, how do you go about figuring that out for the. Freelancers that you're coaching.
Ran: [00:18:52] First of all, my perspective is I, I do not try to convince somebody to pay a price that they don't want to pay. That is just impossible. I mean, if, if they think design is not going to impact their business, they're not even, it's not going to be a good fit.
Right. I can't, I'm not going to go and educate them right now on the impact of good design. That doesn't work. I think that takes a lot of time and, you know, they have to learn it in a sense on their own. I think the right clients already have made the decision to invest, but the only thing they're not sure of is whether they should invest with you.
So that's the real question. It's not about whether design is important. They already know design is important, and if they don't know this, you're not going to convince them. So the only thing that you need to solve for is what do they need to be able to trust me sometimes talking about research. Or mentioning these numbers can make you look like an expert sometimes showing your portfolio or talking about previous client successes can make you look like a professional sometimes whatever.
If you have a degree from a famous institution that will help you build trust or testimonials or whatever, there's a lot of reasons to build trust. But I think that the main barrier is not whether I should invest it's whether I should invest. With you, that being said, it doesn't mean that there won't be a negotiation.
There's always going to be in negotiation. Even in the higher tiers. People are still business owners and they, they think, Oh, I need to save up money. So perhaps, you know, we need, maybe I can get this for lower, but they're talking about, maybe I can get this for eight and a half. K not, maybe I can get this for them $500. So I think that's where presenting yourself and, and, um, and positioning yourself as an expert can help them choose you. But again, categorically, they have already made the decision whether they want to work with higher end medium, you know, tier or low end designers. Um, and you just need to verify or qualify as they say in sales that you are even talking with the right person, um, that has the budget and one to invest that budget.
And then you just need to show him that. You know, you've got what they want.
Chris: [00:21:33] So let's do talk a little bit about that negotiating factor. Cause you've mentioned that a couple of times, and I do think that it can, it can play a role and being successful. Um, and it's also very scary, you know, when you are negotiating and.
Essentially you're, you're being willing to walk away from a project. If something doesn't go your way. Um, so, so what does that look like? How do you negotiate with a client to, to go up to a certain level?
Ran: [00:22:02] It's funny, you know, I just had a conversation with one of my students today and he told me, I don't think that I'm really good at negotiation and I try to dive deeper and I thought, why do you think you're not good at negotiation?
And yeah. What he actually, what I actually understood with that, he's, it's not that he doesn't, he's not good at negotiation or there's anything that he needs to learn about negotiation. He's just, uh, you know, trying to avoid conflict. And, and that's, and I can totally relate to that. I am trying to avoid conflicts in my life, you know, with my wife, with my kids, with my team, with my clients.
Uh, I'm just the person that doesn't like conflict and negotiation. Um, by definition, you're going to have a little bit of conflict. Because, you know, you want to, you want to get the most money and they want to get that. They want to pay the least money. So by definition, there's a conflict, there's a conflict.
So what are the first question is the person who is less wary of conflicts or his is willing, nobody likes conflict. They don't like conflicts any, any more than you, but if they are willing to stay with it with this uncomfortable. Conflict position. And in a way, you know, suffer this for longer, they are going to quote unquote win, right?
Because they they're going to keep pushing. And at the end of the day, you're like, I don't want to talk about this anymore. I just want to get started going back to design. I'm a designer. I shouldn't be talking about this. You know, so that is, that is that I do think that it's a game that you have to learn how to play.
I can tell you that, you know, because I was the way that I am, uh, both don't like conflict and also. A big believer in honesty and transparency. My, when I was relatively starting out, my approach was I'm just going to tell them the price and that's it. I mean, I've made my calculation. This is the fair price.
And if they wanted, they'll pay it. If they. If they're trying to negotiate, I guess they, they don't appreciate me or they, they don't trust me or they don't think it's worth it. So it's not a good fit because they're going to try to negotiate. It's just no deal. It's either my way or the highway. And luckily I have my wife who is now for a reason, you know, the chief finance of our business.
And she used to tell me, you know, People, they expect you to negotiate because this is the game that everybody in the world plays is they don't know that you are not playing the game. They expect you to play the game because everybody plays the game. Meaning they think you have asked for more money, and now they're going to ask for a discount and you will lower the price.
This is the game that everybody else is going. So the best thing you can do is just. Ask for money. And then when they ask you for a discount, give them the discount and you will both. Get what you want. You will get your original price. They will get the discount. Everybody wins. And for years I refuse to do that.
I was like, no, this is not honest. I am not going to do that. And I suffered. And then ironically, one of my clients gave me a book about negotiation and it was a really good book, super practical book called I think it's called. Secrets of power negotiation, something like this. And it's super practical.
Chapter number one is called ask for more than you intend to get. And it explains exactly the breakdown of what I just said. Both sides needs to win. So I mean, you have to, but you don't have to tell them that you're winning, let them feel that they win and you will also win and move on with it. And once I've I've accepted that, you know, Things have changed.
Also, they have a lot more, you know, um, they, they have a lot more tricks and tactics in that book, but I do think that besides those, you know, normal tricks or mechanisms of negotiation, um, I've actually re read recently read, uh, very, very. Smart book called getting to yes, which is all about negotiation basically kind of describes a process that is more, I would say, open and transparent about.
I really want you to understand what are the motivations for you? What are the real barriers? What can, what, what will be a win for you? Um, and then trying together to get to a deal that everybody's happy from. I've tried to implement that in every aspect of my life, not just negotiating. With clients, you know, we negotiate on anything, right.
We negotiate when we buy a house, we negotiate when we, uh, hire somebody or we always have negotiations. Even in your family. Um, so it's, it's, it's a good framework for trying to think about how do you create win-win situations? Because at the end of the day, it's not like win them over, uh, and trick them or something like this. You do want everybody to be happy.
Chris: [00:27:29] Well, and I think it, it goes back to qualifying before you even talk to somebody, you know? Cause if you're having to convince somebody that good design is worth it in your website, it's, it's kind of a non-starter. And so in negotiation becomes less of me trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
And more of me trying to figure out a scenario where both. Parties feel like they've got a good deal. And I've always been surprised when I've started out high thinking they were going to come down. Um, every once in a while somebody will say, yeah, that sounds great. So I've, I've just made a lot more money than I thought I was actually going to make because I started out high and then the client was okay with it. So it's, it's interesting how that all plays into the process.
Ran: [00:28:19] I wanted to say one more thing that I understood is that at the end of the day, you are the one putting a price on what your time and effort and creativity is worth. Nobody's going to tell you that you have to value it. You have to set determined where you want to play and, and set the number.
There's no calculation or market rate. That's going to determine it for you. Um, That's something that really has to come from you. A lot of people will want the answer. Like what is the number I should ask you are the only one who can answer that question. Nobody can tell Gucci what to charge for their back.
It's a, it's, it's a random that not, not a random, but it's a, it's their decision and how you price. We'll create a position for you in the market. Right? People also assume that if it's expensive, it's probably better. That's that's an assumption.
Chris: [00:29:21] I know that there's probably a lot of folks listening who. Have just disqualified themselves from the beginning of our conversations who have said, I will never be able to charge X amount of dollars for my web design services or my freelancer services. So just in closing, what's, what's some advice to some folks out there who are just having a hard time believing that they'd ever get to that level as a freelancer, as a designer,
Ran: [00:29:49] I would, I almost want to say, go read the testimonials on our website, but I mean, just look at people who are already doing it.
I mean, as I've said before, I think that's the biggest proof. Everybody started out just like you. Nobody is. I mean, I think talent is largely a myth. Um, it's a lot of hard work and dedication. These things take time and effort, but you can see that a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds, um, have managed to do this.
Um, and there's a lot of demand for it. And if you put in the time and effort, Um, you have a big chance of being able to do it as well. I think Ran, thank you so much for being on the self-made web designer podcast. It's always trying to find you online. Where would you? They go on YouTube. You can look to search for flux that's F L U X.
Um, on Instagram, I am Ron that's R a N S E G a L L w L. Um, and our website is flux-academy.com and you're more than welcome to man.
Chris: [00:30:59] Such great insight. And the main thing that I want you to walk away from, from this episode is that you believe that you will one day, if you're not already doing it, sell websites for $10,000.
And if you're already selling websites for $10,000, Where to go like you will, one day sell $20,000 sites, $50,000 sites, wherever you're at the level of the ocean is going to begin to rise because you've got it in you. And I hope you have it dismissed yourself all the way through this conversation saying, Oh, that couldn't be me.
They don't know my situation. They don't know the lack of talent, the lack of confidence that I have in the hurdles that I have to get. Over listen, everybody starts at the same place. We start out with zero skills and zero abilities to negotiate and work with clients. We all come from a place of stumbling over our inability.
The only difference between the people that make it to the $10,000 websites and the people that stay at lower levels or give up altogether is a decision. And an ability to stick with it, no matter how hard it gets and to keep pushing. And that's why I say it every week. And I'll probably say it twice this week.
If you don't quit, you win. Well, Hey, next week, we've got another amazing episode. It's going to be a lot of fun because it always is. Always just a hoot here on the self-made who have designed her podcast. So I hope that you'll join me next week. We're going to do it again. It's going to drop at midnight.
So don't forget. I'm going to say it again. I told you I would, if you don't quit you win.
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