- by Andy Black
Andy: Hi Nico?
Andy: How are you?
Nico: I’m good, how are you?
Andy: I’ very good, I’m very good. Worth chatting anyway and maybe we could record it, drop it in the forum, maybe it will help some people.
Nico: Yeah sure.
Andy: Just a normal format of any of the calls you might have heard where I’m just yacking away, or we’re yacking away anyway.
Nico: Sounds good.
Andy: Just for the benefit of anyone who does listen to this, what is it that you do and how did we end up talking?
Nico: I do mainly graphic design and all sorts of graphics that are mainly digital. Meaning websites and banners and images for ads online, such as Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Instagram ads, stuff like that. Logos and all that sort of things and we ended up talking because I saw one of your B-logs on the forum actually, and I thought I could help you make it even better and I offered you my help to edit it and work together on it and you said, “Okay, let’s jump on Skype and have a chat about it,” and that was our first contact and from that initial Skype talk, actually our collaboration like we spinned it off from that.
Andy: Yeah, it was quite quick. I remember you sent me a PM saying you had seen one of my videos posted on Facebook, and the audio and the video was out of sync which I had noticed myself. You said that you had spent a year and a half editing videos for marketing agency, that you want to have a chat about how you could help me. I was like of course I do. I bet your hand-off and we actually chatted that evening, arranged a call. I didn’t know at the time that you also did graphic design and create images, logos, banner ads and all the kind of stuff that I actually needed at the time. I remember that call. The first half of the call, we talked about videos and what I was doing and why, and just to give you an idea and then you discussed a few things that might help and then we set that off as a little project on the side.
Then I said, “So what is you do video-wise?” Then whatever stuff, and then you mentioned all that stuff. I was like, “Oh, hold on, I could really do with that help.” Then we just chatted and my view and I think I mentioned it was … What was I trying to do? I was just saying I’m a marketing guy, freelancer/agency owner. As in I want to say still freelancer because I’m mostly doing the work and I’m not [inaudible 00:03:12], and AdWords kind of doing the work. I was trying to explain to you all the problems I had because there’s probably a lot of other people like me out there who are struggling to get the graphics side done, because we specialize in either AdWords or web development or content marketing, and we don’t want to do the graphic design bit, but we have a lot of clients potentially.
If you could offer service that worked for me, then it could work for a lot of other people and someone like me could bring you my clients. My portfolio of clients could suddenly become your portfolio. Whether I white label your services or you deal with them, is like I refer them on to you etcetera. That’s how I was approaching it, was to think if I unload on you all the problems that I’ve got, you could go away and think how do I solve Andy’s problems, and also with bearing in mind that I’m not just probably solving Andy’s problems, but there’s a whole segment of people, I can be out there. If I can work out to solve his, then I could probably solve a lot of people’s. I think, did we … We went off and we talked about my videos and we kind of came up with the process of what to do with the videos etcetera, but that’s kind of gone on the back banner and that was deliberate.
That’s because I said it’s not bringing in revenue directly for me. Whereas my client work does. That’s like instantly billable, and I what I was trying to do is get you revenue by adding you as a line item to the invoices I was sending to my clients. We were focused more on that because he was going to help me immediately rather than create nice videos and stuff that doesn’t really have like immediate ROI at the minute. It was going to help me and it was going to help you. That’s what we ended up focusing on. Was it last week? Yeah, last week I picked up a client and I had in mind, how do I get you, my graphic designer and my web developer, how do I get you both an extra bit of money, and help me as well by adding an extra string to my bow when I sell my service into a business?
I signed up a business last Wednesday, I said to you, “Web developer, all right, let’s build a landing page for these guys.” That was our first piece of paid work. I’m interested, from my … I’ll tell you what I saw from my end, and then you can say what you saw your end. I just said, right this is what we’re doing. This is what the client needs and this is why we’re doing it. I let you go and create something. I don’t want to specify the how because you’re the graphic designer. If you just followed my instruction, you might end up with not the … You could have come up with a better solution potentially. You came up with something and I was like … Then I ended up worrying that I was the client from hell with all the revisions I was giving you. I just kept saying, tweak this, tweak that, tweak this … I eventually changed it and it was probably quite apparent to you that I had an image in mind of what it would look like I guess.
You made it actually appear a lot better than these black and white image I had in my head. You made it technical and I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” It had to serve a certain function, like it’s a lead generation page. The phone number had to be really prominent and it had to be really simply. I had to flow from top to bottom if it was on a mobile, or the phone number had to be top right rather than the email address top right on the desk top, because that’s where the eye would naturally end. I kind of stated towards that with lots of little revisions. I didn’t know whether I was annoying you or not, but I think like you said politely that, “No, no, this is great, I’m learning loads.” I was like okay, so the amount of money I’m spending with you or giving you, this is taking you quite a while.
Then we’ve seen on a second piece of work and I know because you’ve gone through that process at the first one, the second one is taking a lot less time, and then the third one we do, is going to be even quicker and quick and we’re just going to get faster and faster. I’m looking at what has been produced, I’m thinking we could charge a lot more than what we did. That’s all good from my point of view, I think that’s all good, so I’m just wondering, how did that first engagement go from your perspective?
Nico: It went really well in my view because first of all it was really important that you gave me that freedom. You gave me, like you had a specific image in mind, but you said start your work. Start how you would approach it and I did. Then when I presented my work to you, you had comments and we met in the middle so to speak. That was very important because getting started on your own without necessarily knowing exactly what the other one has in his head, is important to be able to also bring your own ideas to the table, but at the end of the day you also have to agree and of course the client has to agree. It’s always a mutual design process. It’s not only the graphic designer. A graphic designer’s basically only a translator I would say.
A translator of clients’ ideas or partners’ ideas or colleagues’ ideas, and you listen to all of them and collect all of this and then brings it together in one design. Whatever that design might be. Can be a web page or a logo, or something else, and process-wise, I think that was a really good start, and also I really like that I started actually like designing and at the different stages. I updated the developer with my designs and he started actually working in the background setting up basically a framework, where my design would be interpreted later. I think that saved a lot of time at the end. He had to tweak quite some details recently, but I think once we know each other better and once we’ve figured out the process in more detail, that won’t be a problem anymore.
Andy: From my point of view I was … Sorry I’m interrupting, but just while I say it because I think it’s worth saying, I was watching what was happening in basecamp, your communication backwards and forwards, and you were quite detailed in some of the little changes that you wanted done and etcetera. He took them really, really well and like you even said, I hope this is … I hope you don’t take this feedback the wrong away but can we have this and that etcetera, etcetera and I thought he was brilliant. The way he just said look, bring it on. The more feedback the better. It helps me to learn, and then we end up with this really good design out of it, and I just sat out of the way and just clicked, applaud or like whatever it is in basecamp just so you know it ready. I just left 2 professionals to get on with each other who had never met before.
Who I had brought together, and it was great just watching you both just working together as professionals and I think that’s quite … For me that was actually quite an insight to, if I work with a freelancer somebody’s that already up and running as a freelancer, then they’re used to dealing with clients. They’re used to getting stuff done and delivering things and they take … They’re not precious about their design or the way … It’s got to be done this way. That’s why I was like come up with the design and then we’ll take it from there. I hope you didn’t spend too long with that design. That was another learning for me actually, is get a design up as quick as possible and getting in front of the client as well, and get their feedback on it rather than go off down the rabbit hole. Then show it to them, and then they go, “Oh no, whatever.” That was one of my little learnings as well.
Nico: True, because of course you could spend like weeks on designing a web page in all its details, but at the end of the day, like after designing for weeks and you show it to the client, and the client doesn’t like it because first of all you kept him out of the whole process, which is wrong and then you also wasted your resources, because you actually didn’t listen and designing is a lot about listening to what people think and sometimes people don’t know what they want, but if you listen carefully, you actually can hear what they want. They just might not be able to express it themselves in that very moment. That’s the crucial skill, and what you said about me communicating with the development guy. I think in a process like this where different professionals work together, especially professionals that not necessarily are proficient in the fields.
The other professionals are proficient in like the development guy is not as proficient in design as me. I on the other hand don’t have any experiences with actually programing websites myself. Communication is key because wrong expectations only happen only if you don’t communicate properly. Also essentially is to be able to take feedback from anyone and not get it the wrong way, because at the end of the day, design is also subjective. It’s never going to be objective, because even good design you might not like it at the end of the day, because of various reasons. Especially from the creative side, you always have to be willing to question your perspective to change your designs and to adapt to what people actually tell you.
Andy: Yeah, and I noticed you actually said it earlier, often you don’t know what you want until you see it. They can’t tell you what they want for their website, but they can tell you what they don’t want. You create something they go, “No. no I didn’t mean it like that and I don’t like this and I don’t like that.” I found it hard to come up with words to describe. I said, “That’s a bit too … what did I say? Wet [inaudible 00:14:27] pretty.” Whereas this is a brick and mortars kind of 20th century business. The website almost has to look a bit less fancy. I didn’t even know how to describe it, but you understood what it was all about.
Andy: It wasn’t until I saw it, I’m like, “Oh no, it’s a bit more like something or other else.” I thought that was interesting that I wouldn’t have been able to describe what I was looking for until I saw what I wasn’t looking for, if that make sense. I’m sure you get that a lot actually.
Nico: Yeah, yeah it makes perfect sense actually and this was actually one of my biggest takeaways from the first project because when I working for that agency and there was designing websites, it all had to look fancy, like cutting edge design, like basically the latest you can think of, with all fancy features and perfect design and whatever. I thought in the beginning I didn’t really know what to expect, and like as you said, you don’t really know what you want until you see it. I kind of like shot into the blue let’s say, but then I quickly figured out and there was such a valuable lesson that with this specific client, they have a certain, they have appearance right now on it. Designing that certain page for them and making it look cutting edge, people that actually know about that business and then see the new page, they would not make the connection because the gap is too big.
Actually going back to a more basic appearance, initially I would have never thought about that, but at the end it made perfect sense, and the result is going to be much better than if we did it the other way around.
Andy: Yeah, and actually myself and a developer were chatting about that. We think it’s going to work better than some of the website themes, templates that clients have used. They picked one, they went, “This will be really good.” We think they just look good for the person who’s going to buy it as a theme, but at the end consumer who lands at the page is not going to think it’s a genuine bricks and mortars website, they’re going to think it’s some sort of I don’t know, lead generation site. Not that they will know it as such, but it looks more like a thumb tech landing page where they land, and it’s pretty and it’s like looking for a wedding photographer and such and such, and it’s got a nice background image of a wedding shot and what not. Versus picture of a guy and his vans or whatever.
Actually that’s a really bad example because a wedding photographer’s website hope looks really good, but let’s say a plumber for instance. You could have an achingly beautiful plumber’s website but it might not, probably won’t work as well as one that looks a bit like it was built. It looks a bit more like it was built by the 12-year old nephew and has a picture of a van and some logos, and a little bit out of sync, and colors that are a bit garish. You figure that’s a proper plumber’s website and the other one is like hold one, are you actually a plumber? A plumber wouldn’t have a website like this. That’s part of it. Actually I remember we did discuss this before we had that project. Where you were talking about you were building websites.
I showed you some of the ones that are working for me and you were like, “Oh, they’re just so different from the kind of ones you were building.” It almost sounds like the agency you’re working for were building websites to win awards rather than necessarily bring more business to the client unless those clients are in the web space or something, online space needed to be cutting edge. That’s … You actually said you were intrigued as to what designs actually worked with when the goal was to send visitors to the page and convert them into phone calls or email inquiries. Personally I’m delighted that so quickly we got to a page that looks great. Where it’s now nearly coded up. It’s pretty much coded up, and we should be able to show it to the client next week, an actual working model, and it’s kind of taken 2 weeks for us to get there.
I think it will take us a lot less time for the future ones but it’s fine because the ball is in their court as well because I’ve sent them access to an AdWords Account. I said log in and add your billing details. Once that’s done and once the page is done, we’ll be able to start sending visitors to the page or play ads. Have the ads run. Count how often they run prove … Not prove, but find which areas, which search terms and occasions have the volume and then we’ll focus on those, but we wanted an initial page set-up. They still haven’t added their billing details. The ball is still in their court. I even saw them on Tuesday and they apologize, “No, no we still haven’t added the billing details.” They’re busy doing other stuff. It’s not like they’re champing at the beat and waiting for us.
Nico: Which is good because that’s part of our service that we offer them the whole package done for them for them, so they don’t have to worry about it.
Andy: Absolutely, they don’t want and now we get to another conversation, but they don’t want, they’ve never heard of Upwork or Fiverr or anything like that for getting a website built. They literally want a local person, and when I spoke to … I met them on a course and they came to me afterwards and said, “Do you have a business card?” I was like, “No, here’s my email address.” They contacted me and they wanted … I said well we can meet up for coffee. They said, “No, no, you can come inyo my offices” and I said, “Oh, no it’s grand, I just live around here, we can meet after the course next week.” “No, no come into my office.” She said it twice. I was like, “Oh, okay yes I’ll come up to your office which was only 10 minutes down the road. I went up there and I was chatting to her and she even said, “If we got IT problems, I don’t want someone to talk to me over the phone to fix it. I want someone to come and fix it.”
She was like, “The fact that you’re here, this is how I do business. I want to talk to somebody.” She kept saying, I’m just rubbish at technology. I just know it’s not my thing, but she manages all their … I’ve heard she’s got like spreadsheets to manage like cash flow and all sorts of … She’s doing all that stuff, but in her head she doesn’t think she’s good at technology, like a lot of people are. I’m not good at computers when they actually blatantly are, but they just don’t feel they are. Even she knew about Upwork or if I was a graphics designer or a AdWords guy or web designer in Dublin, that’s too far away for her. She wants somebody local, and that’s what I was saying to you today is you were asking … Well you’re getting some work Fiverr, and you’re maybe going to migrate to Upwork because you think maybe you can get a higher hourly rate.
Effective hourly rate there. I was saying, okay, try that but also don’t neglect the fact that within 50 meters of where you are based, there is a lot of … There are a lot of businesses that need your skill set. That whole spend your money on diesel and coffee. You don’t even have to spend money on diesel, just go and meet people for coffee. Just get out there constantly. Then you said something that was quite telling. You said well, that you’re right, “Maybe it’s my natural shyness that I don’t want to do it.” Then I suddenly realized of course graphic designers, computer programmers, people like that who want to spend time at computer are good at it. Possibly it’s because they are possibly shier. I don’t know, more introverted. I don’t know, did that sort of resonate with you?
Nico: Yes, yes, it did and I actually listened to your second radio interview today and it’s a bit like the first step, you have to do is to realize that you already possess skills you can help people with. Instead of developing an app or working away on an idea or on a web platform for months. Spending thousands of dollars, you can actually take what you already have because most probably you’ve been around for quite some time, and very few of us didn’t do a thing. You have some skills, and you can go out and help people with those skills. That’s the first step of the process. Once you realize that the door is open basically. This is what happened to me when we first talked. Then I was thinking, okay so how do I get my skills out there. How do I find people, how can I sell myself. Being able to sell myself was always something … I won’t say it was a problem for me, but it didn’t come naturally to me, or it still doesn’t, I’m still working on it.
It happened quite often to me that I actually started talking to people and then they saw me working and saw the results of my work and they were quite surprised that that came out of me, because I undersold myself. Which is I guess at the end better than overselling yourself and delivering poor results, but yeah it also doesn’t really help. The second step is actually like what’s right under your nose like you said in that interview. First of all within your radios, your home base, there are lots of small businesses you can immediately visit and ask how you could help them. You could even help them for free just to get your name out there and build a brand. Second thing that is right under your nose, is your mouth, so use it. Listening is very important, but at the end of the day you also have to do some talking, otherwise no one’s going to know about you.
You don’t know how to help people if you don’t approach them. Actually me going online, and I was like I’m going to use Fiverr and Upwork and so cool, I can sit behind my screen and I’m going to make a lot of money just Skyping with people and designing stuff for people that sit on the other side of the world, and I can work while they’re sleeping and can deliver results in the morning. At the end of the day like you already mentioned, today I realized that it’s actually just an excuse. It’s just an excuse for not going out there and actually making it happen. Going out there and talking to people. Another lesson I learnt from you, is that business is actually about relationships among people. Hiding behind a screen is not the solution because you do business with people.
You provide value for people, and as you always preach, it’s not numbers, it’s not clicks on your website, it’s actually people coming to your website. Looking for a solution to their problems. This is what I really decided to do, and I’m going to start with that tomorrow. I’m going to move away from being online too much. I’m going to move away from being in front of the screen, but I’m going to make a 180 degree shift and actually start talking to people. Also if it’s a problem in the beginning, but that’s fine. The magic happens out of your comfort zone, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Andy: Damn you talk a lot of sense, very good. Brian [inaudible 00:26:53] is easy mouth, can’t speak to people. That advice obviously applies more to people providing a service to consumers or businesses but I think it probably applies to people selling products. You’re building relationships. They got the product, they’re delighted, you build a relationship with them, they’re more likely to buy from you or refer you on. What I find also interesting you’re in the B2B space, so am I. Our clients are businesses, and if you get out and talk to business owners as if they’re a person because they are people actually. The way you just talk to business … How’s business going? You’re just having a coffee, you go talk to someone and the say they do, “Oh yeah …” I say our pension is all right. I’m a business coach or whatever the hell it is. “Oh yeah, how’s that going for you?”
They’ll start talking to you because nobody really cares. Nobody else wants to know because most people, they head down thinking about themselves. It’s very easy to get talking to business owners and if you’re not looking for a sale, if you’re just chatting to people. Then you go, “Oh, you know what, you could do this, you could do that. I know a guy who does that. That print up the road, is very good for business cards, or whatever.” That’s it, you’re just chatting to people. It’s just natural, it’s normal, and the other really good thing that has helped me immeasurably over the last 5, 6 years is I deal with business owners all the time. It up-levels me, I learn from having all these clients. I learn what not to do and what do as well, and just chatting to people.
“So I’m on this business course,” the fact that I have skills, I’m able to generate leads, I offer service that pretty much all of them are interested in. Maybe 10, 15% of them have come spoke to me and I went for coffee on Tuesday with 3 business owners, all 4 us went, but one asked because he had missed my presentation a couple weeks ago. “What does your business do?” I had to do a quick 1, 2, 3-minute thing, and they were all like listening intently as I said this is what I do, and I can find out what people search for and then I can build that and then I … “That makes a load of sense.” There we go, I’ve got a skill or I offer service that adds value to a business and they can see the value it adds. That’s it, they treat you as a peer because you’re a business owner as well, and you get to learn loads of interesting stuff.
One guy he is … I don’t even know what his actual business title, what he calls himself but he does business … He’s like a business advisor, but he does the exit and succession plan in all these sort of stuff and he’s been going like 40 years locally. How many business owners does he know locally? He’s well up in the community, and he’s well known. One of the things always saying to yourself before is who already has your client. If you were to design the website for … And actually it was your suggestion. You took that and went, “If I designed a website for accountants, a lot of their clients are business, so they might speak to those businesses and just say, the business might go, ‘Wow nice website you’ve got, who did that for you?”
There you go, so that accountant potentially has a lot of clients, a lot of your clients. This guy if I do some work for him and he helps businesses … I don’t actually know anything, I need to have a longer chat with him. He has like a big portfolio of businesses or he just is plugged in to the local business community and just the local community full stop. If he knows what I do, I already know, but the fact that I’ve got my elevator peach … It’s not an elevator peach, but I was able to explain what I do really simply. Then they all got it, they all went, “Ah.” Like a big “Aha” moment. They can go off and tell other people that they know. Somebody will go, “I’m going to spend 5 grand on a website, they’ll be like, “Oh, no, no, hold on, you need to speak to a guy I spoke to. He says he can turn a 200-good page, and load some ads and then find out people searching for whatever you’re going to build, and then not waste your money, or it will give you a business case to do it.”
That was what I was telling them, I wasn’t thinking, so you can tell other people, is because it’s like my soap box moment. It isn’t something that I want everybody to know. I’m like, “Oh man, I really want to do local workshops just to tell people to stop them, going off and doing something crazy.” That’s my point, it’s like you are dealing with business owners all the time. If you got out there into your local community, you’ll be chatting, you would get known so rapidly. Just so quickly if you just focused all your efforts on local, but also you can’t rush it. You can’t run around giving business cards out to everybody. You just chat, and you just go at a nice pace, but in a year’s time you’ll be exponentially further on if you position yourself as a particular … In their eyes. I’ve mentioned this numerous times.
I am the AdWords guy. He’ll be like, “Oh, I know a guy, he’s an AdWords guy.” In 6 years I’ve not changed that, I’m still the AdWords guy but he uses AdWords to generate leads but also to find out what people search for, so you don’t waste your money. Graphic design, it must be niche enough. A lot of people are looking for graphic designers or web designer or something like that.
Nico: That’s true, so today’s biggest lesson learned was what you just explained that actually what did you call it? You called it like integrate your marketing into your clients or something like that. Basically targeting people that are well connected.
Andy: Yes, sorry the line was actually was bake the marketing into the product which actually is more like for products. If you’ve got a product, everybody … Like Dropbox, it grew, maybe still does grow but you sign up and you can get more space if you sign up other people, and it’s great service. You’re going to do that to get more space. The marketing was basked into the product, but also that’s just a line that I’ve heard that resonated and also it’s like what MJ did with his book. The book had so much value that people naturally tell other people about it. I’ve bought copies to give other people. The marketing is baked into the product by it being a great product. Obviously our service could be so good that other people tell other businesses about it. Also what I meant, what you took away immediate from it is if you provide this service to businesses that have other potential clients for you, then bang you’re off to the races. Sorry I interrupted you.
Nico: No worries. That was a great takeaway for me, and the second thing I just realized now while we are talking, you just said that graphic design might be niche enough already, but reading your post on the forum, I was always read like or specific line that like I very clearly remember right now is that you went from as an example from being the AdWords guy, to being the lead generation guy, to being the lead generation guy for Blacksmith locally for instance. Graphic design might be enough niche already, but I think it needs a specific twist to it, because my experience with design or graphic design especially is that for most business owners, it’s a nice to have but not a must, because they don’t necessarily see the ROI right away. For them it’s just an expense, but they don’t see how it helps them.
My goal now is to translate my skills into a service or wrap them into a package that I can immediately show local business owners, how it benefits them. That it’s actually worth spending their money on, and so that skill of graphic design also flows into editing videos. Like being on YouTube, and creating videos for Facebook and all sorts of platforms is an asked skill right now. I’m going to integrate that as well. Again it comes back to what you can actually help the businesses with. At the end of the day, what does the business want? More business for them. More customers, more leads. If you cannot show them how what you’re doing is helping them with that specific goal, they’re not going to want to invest in you. I think that’s the big turning point for me at this point right now.
Andy: That is … If you can somehow … Actually we discussed that as well. There’s no secret, I can quite happily say that. Is that your skill, graphic design, but let’s just say web design for the minute. You can design landing pages. Then a developer can implement or make them actually live. Then I can create AdWords campaign and send traffic to the landing page that then results into phone call. That skill set, that combined skill set of 3 people doing that, like maybe there’s one person can do that on their own great, if they can’t, but our 3 together, that service generates leads for businesses they can see the potential ROI on that.
Hopefully they will get ROI, and they can see that they could get ROI on it. That’s such an easy sale for me when I go to a business. I say, “Gosh, I know there’s loads of people going … writing in the forum they need to create websites and sell them high, I would recommend those people also think about getting a monthly recurring type of things, as well as nice 5k piece of work, and then they have to go and get another 5k piece of work. What we’re doing is showing a business that we can generate more revenue for them. I can go in and sell it because I’m selling them money effectively.
I can anchor the price of what we’re doing against whether you could spend 5 grand on the website and you can see that look really good and note the head because it been down that loop a little bit, and you can still stare at your phone and wonder why it’s not ringing or we can just concentrate and try to get your phone ringing. To do that, we’ll create a landing page and then people search it on Google because they’re searching, that means they’re interested and want to speak to somebody. We get them to the page and page we set up like this and then we encourage to ring you.
They get that; I can make that fraction of the price. For instance, should I use this, I say, “A website can cause 2, 3, 5 grand, and they don’t shake their head and go, “No, no, you’re getting much tip in that.” They are just looking at me going “Yeah, it could cause 5 grand, why is that this is going to cost me?” Is what they are thinking. Then I say, “Well, but this could be like €200 for a landing page and 500 a month for the set up and maintenance and tweaking and working with you to get these visitors at a website. That’s like spend plus … then you will have ad spend, but the ad spend is only where somebody clicks, you get this …
If we get the right click, you want them to your page anyway. If that spend is big, then hopefully you got a lot of phone calls, if you spending small, you didn’t get as many, that’s going to be a variable. For me selling that to them, is a lot easy for them to buy, because I also say, “Look, after the first month or 2 if it ain’t working, you can cut it, but for me, I didn’t get a boost of 5k revenue in 1, 2, 3 months or however long it take, I’m going to get 500 a month. If it does work, if goes to 12 months, that 500 ends up being 6k anyway and I’ve got 12 months relationship with the business.
Where we may end up saying, “Landing page didn’t work so well, why don’t we rebuild your whole website? That will cost 3 grand or whatever.” We end up getting that piece of work. Then it’s like, “We could run your Facebook ads for you and you’re probably going to need images for that.” All of a sudden, your service of providing images for Twitter, for Facebook, designing a landing page specific to an offer they’ve got for Halloween or for Christmas or whatever, we are offering a monthly service to them. I’m adding me personally; I can add Nico’s services as line items into the invoices I send monthly. I’ve got my line item, the main piece and that could go up and down.
The other thing I’ve done with the landing page, this is the first time I sold the builder for landing page, I said right €200 and we had to spend 50-50 between … I said I’m going to split it between developer and designer, I don’t know to take account on that my work is the 500. That’s split. I’ve tried, I’ve said look, “And then there is a monthly ongoing support of that landing page, and that would be like just €20 a month, which is nothing. Maybe that’s too cheap, either way, they’ve just not … done, and the money was in my bank account about 2 days later. Potentially, they end up like 10 pages for different offers, different things. Because each page is generating them revenue, there is just like 20 creator page or 10 creator page, whatever the hell is, is so cheap for them because it’s power of a lead … power of a fun always generate massive ROI for that 20 creator in the ad spend whatever. This is how potentially I can get you or a graphic designer could get themselves a monthly recurring revenue, with a piece of work that they did a while ago, because you are going to end up tweaking it occasionally anyway.
They like the idea even of just always supported, they are paying 20creator for that page, when they see you they can go, “Oh yeah.” Don’t even mention it, they don’t even come up, so cheap. What, I suppose I rumbled there, what I’m trying to say is I really like definition from one of the tropical MBA podcast of a market not being a demographic is not like “I’m targeting all the blacksmiths. I’m not targeting all blacksmiths; I’m targeting blacksmiths who advertise on AdWords because they have shown they’ve got a demonstrated cash flow of spending money every single month to get more leads. Same is like blacksmiths who are in the Yellow Pages; they are paying, so demonstrate cash flow.
I don’t want blacksmiths who won’t touch AdWords or won’t touch Yellow Pages. The ones who say, “No, no, I’m not going to spend money on advertising.” The ones you thought haven’t thought about ROI. I just want the ones with a demonstrated cash flow and the best demonstrated cash flow that I want to go for is a monthly recurring demonstrated cash flow. People spending money on AdWords, done, that’s where I advertise myself too. Bringing in your services and web developers are like, “Oh, hold on, it’s not just managing the AdWords account, it’s like, “Go create your landing page, because they go together, don’t they?” I can try an AdWords account, but if the client website sucks, it isn’t going to work. I can actually … oh God. is there a business that’s not going to pay 200 to get a landing page build?
Andy: Maybe there is, maybe I found one already actually, that second one that we’ve build, I haven’t mentioned cost, but they look like they’re scared, I’m going to bring it up. We’re not with them, but even if we don’t, I know it took you a lot less time to build it. We’ll work something out with them. Even if we don’t, I know it took you a lot less time to build it. It looks brilliant in the local community, people are just going to look at it and go, “Oh, wait, who built that for you.” By the way it’s not fine, I try and get some money out of them for it, just because it’s like people I know. I’ll work it, I’ll wangle it, I just have to work how to approach them. Is that kind of help as well, don’t just go for provider service, go for a monthly recurring type of things. We can do all the YouTube videos for you, but the YouTube videos, you should change them based on your latest office and the season and all stuff like that.
Nico: Something interesting you mentioned is that, what you just mentioned with blacksmiths who already show a demonstrated cash flow. That goes back to what you posted on the forum and is your crowd starving, is that right?
Andy: Yeah, that’s a Gary Hulbert line, “Your crowd needs to be staring for whatever you are selling.”
Nico: First of all it’s a lot easier to get that sort of clients for the service you are offering because they already showed their spending behavior and they don’t have to be convinced to spend money on that. They know that they need it, but they might not do it right at that moment and that’s where we come in. If we showed them that we actually can get them result, the nicest thing is to have their clients pay for our service. Which means that we brought them new or additional or retiring clients and from the extra money they are making from those clients, they pay actually our service, which means it’s a win-win for all.
Nico: Another important thing for me is that we approach clients with a very small task let’s say, relatively to compare to building a whole web page. We say, “Hey, let’s build one landing page, we design it for you, we program it for you and we connect it to AdWords and we see if that gets results. We don’t approach them with like, “Hey, we want to rebuild your whole website, because that would … They would feel uncomfortable with that idea because they might not know us, they might be scared of spending a lot of money.
I think getting your foot in the door with something smaller and showing results immediately is a much more efficient long terms strategy, because as you said, over the span of 12 months, you can prove you are a very good company, you bring in results. Once they see that, they are going to start asking for more and even start asking for different things that we might not be offering at that moment, but we would still do it for them.
Andy: Funny you say that because in that chat with Sinister Lex, I don’t know if you hear that one, that’s exactly what happened with me. I’ve gone in to do an AdWords and then they’ve asked me, “Can you so the SEO, can you do the WordPress support?” and all these other things. I’m like, “No, I don’t do that.” Now I’m like it happens so often, maybe I should consider, so yeah, absolutely spot on.
Nico: Cool, that’s nice, I haven’t come around to listen to that talk yet, but it’s on the schedule for the weekend, so I’m going to do it on the weekend.
Andy: Right in fact I’m wary of turning people to consumers that I want to do that.
Nico: No, it’s fine because I’m actually planning … I see it that way, first you consume and then you produce. First of all, you get ideas, you learn, it’s the same way the forum works. Actually, it should be the other way round of course, you should first give to get, but in that case, in that specific case, I’m listening to your talks, I’m learning a lot and then I’m taking everything I learnt and try to get my message out there in a similar or slightly different way and help other people to get started. It’s not purely based on the idea of consuming. At least that is what I think about.
Andy: I think that’s good way, the good mindset to have. If you consume it and then that’s what I encourage people to do in some of my threads of creator listen to this, and if you couldn’t takeaways at domain because it helps other people who haven’t listened to look at it and go, “Oh yeah, that’s interesting, I like that take away, I’m going to listen to it now.” I learn from it I thought “Never thought a conversation would start between me and Lex actually helped.” Applaud that to a full moon whatever interview type podcast. I was like I couldn’t think of that. Somebody said, “That’s good example of conversation selling.” I was like “Is it, what’s that? I’ve never heard of that before.”
All these learnings, but I think even from your point of view, if you listen to something and then try and summarize it with your takeaways so that you help other people who haven’t listen or who’ve listened but not seen what you saw. It actually solidifies and clarifies in your own head the fact that you put it done in words. That’s one of the biggest benefits I’ve had being in the forum in the last 2 ½ years is I’ve keep writing staff to try and explain what’s gone … I’ve just learned something, it’s all jumbled up in my head. I try writing and explaining, this act of putting on paper, even if I was to just write it on a wood document, and nobody ever read it.
The act of pen on paper gives me clarity because I’m going, “That doesn’t make sense,” and I just keep reediting it until it makes sense. The fact that you can drop it into a form and other people can edit it or tell you whether it makes sense as well helps you immeasurably. Then when you find someone in some other threads says something and you go, “Oh, actually, I’ve said something similar,” so you apply to it, and you are as click it this time, the same way our second landing page is clicking first. You click it to get to it and click the next and the next and the next and my answers get shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter as I think I’m finding the kernel of whatever truth thingy not get in the middle.
Then, great post, I’ll just keep to that now, but that whole mindset of you can see something and then you’ll turn round and from what you’ve learned, you’ll then try and pass that on. I think that is giving to get as well. That’s going to help you, your mindset is trying to help other people there, but it’s going to help you so much. I just had to say that because I just think that’s so important, that’s such a big learning for me from being in the forum of producing. Producing, producing content, it gives me so much clarity.
Nico: Yeah and not being scared of feedback, producing, knowing it might not be perfect and but actually getting it out there and listening to what people have to say about it. That’s what is important about it, because you are not theorizing at home, you are not only thinking about it, you are doing it and you are getting feedback. You take the feedback, you learn from it, you move on, get better, that’s what it is about.
Andy: Yeah, and that’s what the forums are good, it’s because their feedback is generally 99%, they’re so constructive and supportive. If there is somebody being a bit silly the forum members will slap him down anyway, in a good way. Just like make him realize there’s another way. That could have said in a different way whatever. Gosh, we are seeing high prices for the forum. Anyone who is listening to this, who isn’t in the Fast Lane Forum, should go and join now. I’m saying that in a jokey voice because someone can add, I’m embarrassed that someone can add, but really they should.
It’s just been, for me it has been brilliant and not because I became known as AdWords guy the forum people have referred business to me, that’s been great, but the clarity in my own head of having explained lots of things in lots of different way to lots of different people has meant that I can meet 3 business owners on a Tuesday after a course hyper deep and coffee and somebody can just drop a thing on me like, “Where is your business going?” I was like, “Ah, what do you mean?” As is in, he said, “Where’s your business come from …” I was like … no he said, “Where have you come from? Completely says your business. I was thrown at the star and I still manage to boom, in 3 minutes. Just is down at 3 minutes or 4 minutes or whatever the hell it was.
That’s from repeating myself all the time. I had that conversation with Fox and he say, “Yeah, he’s noticed that from saying stuff in the forum when he talks to clients now he’s so well rehearsed. Anyone who is lurking in the shadows, just get in there and just produce, it will be the best thing you’ve done.
Nico: Exactly, because being able to explain something with just a few words, that is when you really understand it and that is so essential and like you said and I’ve found that really interesting that you pose the interviews and the videos on the forum and you encourage people to actually post the summaries and their thoughts and their takeaways right under your post. Because I think what sometimes holds people back from posting on a forum is that the same thing that holds people from actually siding up. They think they cannot provide enough value already.
The simple fact that each and every one of us has a different history, a different life story, a different mindset and looks at things with his own eyes, means that everyone who sees the same video or listens to the same interview thinks of something else. If you realize that and you share your summaries and your thoughts and other people read that and they actually get results from what you shared, that’s the best thing that can happen. If you keep your thoughts to yourself because you think no one might be interested because we all saw the same video, what is going to be different in our minds, it’s just a shame because then you yourself you’re missing out and all the others are missing out too because they cannot read what you thought and build upon that.
Andy: Yeah, actually I’m delighted you said that because that is A so true but also there’s another thing that just recurred to me. Somebody who’s watched it they have a thought and we’d love them to put it down because it’s going to be unique, “Thank you very much for that post bio face that’s really helped me overcome this hurdle,” my biophase created something and he had never thought of that hurdle, he’s like, “Oh.” Even if it’s something really small and you just say thanks I got … Ideally you say why thanks that really helped because I was stuck at this and now I’ve suddenly realized that. Then other people might come out and go, “Oh yeah I’m stuck at that as well,” that was one thing that wasn’t the point I was trying to say.
The other thing is if you did post what you thought about it you would realize that it is valuable one thing but it’s also unique it’s different from what other people post. That in itself is really, really interesting, like me getting feedback about videos or audios I’ve done about things that I just hadn’t occurred to me just makes me realize that everybody thinks differently, and that’s a really good thing to realize when you’re in a business full stop. When you’re in business because the consumer your customers all think differently and they think really different from you and you’re a weirdo yourself you think you’re normal but no you’re not. Someone goes that comment of … This is the chat between me and Lex, I’ve listened back to it actually just, “Oh my audio doesn’t sound good I can hear him breathing,” and things other people don’t really notice or don’t care about.
I noticed that Lex is quite quiet and he asks questions it’s almost like he’s interviewing me, he’s not preferred any questions but we’re both people who use Skype a lot. I remember reading a post of his where he said this is his style he’s quite shy or and he likes … He shuts up and lets the other person to talk and then he just has little questions just lets the other person talk again, and he learns so much from that. I’ve got a different style where I talk a lot I have to learn to shut up and it’s kind of apparent in that interview, see I even called it an interview Lex is interviewing me he’s not we’re chatting. I did all the talking and I’m apologizing and not to do a talking, but I think that’s what Lex would do anyway he would make that happen.
Somebody noticed that he says it’s conversational selling, I was like, “What the hell is conversational never heard of it?” I thought yeah I suppose we’re both good at Skyping with people and we’re both sale, we’re both good at doing the sales for our businesses. That’s his way of doing it and I have my way of doing it and we both … That was what happened when two of those met. Even us 2 talking you’re used to chatting to clients I am as well so we’re not interrupting each other I’m not sure I get my point over you and you over me and blah-blah-blah a measuring contest type thing.
When I chatted to the J in the forum it was obvious that he talks to clients a lot over the phone, so it’s another good example. My point and I rumble off again is that somebody mentioned conversational selling I was like, “What?” Then I had to go and listen back to it and go, “What?” I thought we were just having a chat, but I was obviously selling my ideas o Lex when he questioned me on some things and I was just chatting, and then likewise he did the same to me. Anyone listening honestly just needs to start producing because once you get stuff out there A you realize it’s not so bad B you realize nobody’s even flipping and listening anyway, just because you put something out it doesn’t mean anyone gives a damn.
Then the other thing the other good learning I that everybody thinks differently everybody is a weirdo in their own right in a great way. He’s like, “Wow hold on who …” as soon as a completely different … Comes out of it from a different angle and another angle and another and there’s so many angles that you wouldn’t have known and you realize your own language is one of a million, that’s one of my learnings even just from the last chat with Lex and just I thought “Why don’t …” I tell you why I even did that it would cost me $90 to get it transcribed, for like $1 a minute.
I am not going to pay $90 to get it transcribed, and actually the transcriptions of audios don’t read great anyway. Someone could listen to that and right up their take aways and their take aways are better than any take aways I could write, the teasers at the front. “Listen to this if you want to learn how to bla- blah-blah.” Somebody else’s take aways is better anyway and I could just grab all the collection of them and shove them up there, so here we go I’ll shut up for a bit.
Nico: No, no it’s fine. Yeah exactly what you said everybody has a different style of doing the same thing and Lex is obviously is learning by listening and asking specific questions here and there whereas you learn from actually talking about it, and at the same time thinking about5 what you’re saying to the other person. I think that’s perfectly fine and that’s what makes us unique and the important thing is to realize that and to give each other space to actually do it the way we want to do it or the way it works for us.
Andy: Yeah that’s really important really important that people understand their preferences and their natural strengths and really play to them instead of trying to be, “Oh I’m going to copy that style,” it’s like, “No, no what style works for you?” The style that works for you is one that you’ve had it for so long that you don’t realize probably.
Nico: That’s actually very interesting what you just said because I just thought of something that crossed my mind when I was new to the forum and there was reading all the goal threads by all the legends and stuff. I was like slowly, slowly started like trying different things, I started hustling used items where we have a similar website where I live that is similar to Craigslist or I tried to use that. Then I started doing other things and somehow something until now it never really worked to the point where I said, “Wow this is incredible,” and I think that is because I tried to imitate people and this goes back to what you said you have o become the guy for XYZ. You’re the AdWords guy. Everybody thinking about AdWords just got to come to you.
It’s good to know about AdWords and I’m going to learn some things about it but I’m not going to try to be the next AdWords guy or the bigger AdWords guy because that doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t come naturally to me. I think that’s important and it shouldn’t be confused with following your passion or do what you love, but you also mentioned again one of your radio interviews I think it’s the second one where you actually tell about your accountant and the comparison that if the woman interviewing you was trying to get a better accountant than your accountant it’s not going to work. Your accountant like she loves doing it she loves the numbers and the procedures and everything and because it comes so naturally to her there’s hardly anyone who’s going to be more efficient or more motivated to do those things.
When you think long term I think that’s very crucial to keep in mind that you should think about the things that come naturally to you and try to actually repackage them and sell them.
Andy: Yeah actually really this might be a really good line, so what you’ve said I 100% subscribe to, do the thing that comes so natural to you it’s like breathing. If you do that then it’ll be like hitting the jet stream from the same method you will be propelled forward faster than you’d ever believe rather than me trying to do my book keeping, “Oh my God I did it for 10 years I hated it I was always missing deadlines because I hated doing it,” and then outsource things it’s just a weight off my shoulders. This line that Bleigh said … It’s in his book one of his books but also he said it in the course best piece of careers advice is find somebody to pay you to do what you love doing.
Which is not that follow your passion kind of junk thing, but get paid get paid to do it that’s the best piece of creative advice, get paid to do something you love doing. Each person loves doing something differently and they do it differently.
Andy: You’re a very wise man. Here’s another thing, while I’m on this topic. The interesting thing about chatting with people in the forum, you can then just go through and have a look at all their posts, and there’s a summary thing where you can look at the postings and see the first sentence. It’s amazing what you can get, what picture you can get of somebody from their first sentence of the last 20 posts or last 50 posts or something. For some people it’s like “Thank you for, thank for this, oh wow thank you for …” You can get the tone, it’s like they’re appreciative and others, and then some people are very can be abrupt and rude. You can just and then you can look in and say, maybe you’ve gotten the wrong impression, but … I remember this was right after the fact just had a look at some of your posts to try and get an idea, and it was like you’re always trying to help people and you got little tips.
You start the post with, “That’s really good.” That’s a supportive type of thing, and then you might add a bit of your wisdom to it. I was like, “Oh that’s interesting. “ It’s interesting that I ended up working with someone like that because I would like that style anyway. Like you, me, yourself and our developer friend, who I’m not naming, because he wants to stay anonymous. We seem to be 3 peas in a pod, and that’s why even in 2 weeks, he seems to be working really, really well. The type who works continuous, but no pressure for that to happen, but it was actually … We are reckoning we’re going to talk tonight about specific things, and then thought, “You know what, fuck who is recording this our second chive because of the … just to record how we’ve got to know each other and the progress in the first 2 weeks of working, just one little piece of work.”
I think that’s been handy, but there were specific things that you wanted to talk about or that we thought we’d better talk about, or it will be worth talking about like your business model, things that you were talking about, or stuff that we mentioned today in base camp and then you were like, “Oh, I’m going to mull over that and go away.” I know some of it was Fiverr, Upwork versus Dees and Coffee.
Nico: Exactly. Well, the thing was I started out on Fiverr, I think it’s now been 2 weeks or something, and I had a very quick start there. There was of course like, there was also some luck involved, but I got my first gig I think 5 hours after I completed my profile, and since then I completed 6 projects so far, and I only got good feedback. People are happy with me, but at the end of the day Fiverr is something for people who are looking for let’s say graphics for $5 or something, and in terms of over the laboring, I sometimes spend nearly 2 hours on a $5 gig which is not a very efficient use of my time. During the first 2 weeks I said, “No, problem, I’m building a brand, I’m getting my name out, so let’s not worry about it.”
Learning about Fiverr, and how Fiverr works, I think there are certain limitations to what it can do for you, and that got me thinking about my overall strategy and how I should approach clients and how I should sell and package my skills. At the end of the day, maybe you get into a better routine and you’re able to get a little pricier gigs and you’re faster in completing them, but there are certain limitations. Again, I had that realization that I was just hiding behind a screen, so I’m moving away from online platforms and focusing my efforts on helping small businesses locally. I’m going to, and that’s what I realized due to the very recent costs on base camp, when we started talking about a very specific solution to a problem people are having at the moment, is that Fiverr is a good testing ground for actually trying to sell specific services.
Let’s say I found a very specific scenario in the graphic design world, that people could meet, I’m going to go on Fiverr offer that as a gig, sell it as a skill and see what the response is, and if the response is good I’m going to repackage it and integrate it into what you’re offering people right now.
Andy: Interesting. That comes back to a point, ties up a loose end I’d forgotten to tie up, what we were chatting about earlier, about me being the ads words guy. Right sorry, you being the graphics design guy. Graphics design guy, isn’t niche enough in the whole of the UK, but in your town it is, because you’re the graphics design guy in small town Bristol whatever. I know you’re not living in the UK, but I’m just giving that as an example. You could be … When you’re meeting people for coffee in a queue and you chat to people, everyone of course, you can introduce yourself as a graphic design and you specialize in this, this and this, rather than saying, “I just do … What you’ve done for me. You’ve helped me with that, that, that. I just do the header image on blogs.”
If you said that, that’s probably too niche for the 20 people in the room, but in the world, that you’d get a lot of people going, “Oh my goodness, I really need that thought.” When the geography is really small, then part of it is, “I’m the graphic designer in this city.” “I’m the AdWords guy in County Island.” That’s fine, but I would get a lot of work for that if I got really known for that. Worldwide there’s so many AdWords guy, so then I would be the lead generation guy for blacksmiths. What you’re doing there, so that ties that up. When you’re chatting to people in the 50m radius of where you are, being known as the graphic design guy, that covers like geepers that covers everything, so many things, logos and printed stuff, and online stuff, and all banners and ads for Facebook.
That could be fine because you’re in the 50m radius and people go, “Is any leads over there. The graphic designer leads over there,” “Oh okay,“ so people come over to speak to you. If you want to test a really specific service, then what you were just saying, sounds smart, seems if that was on Fiverr, if there’s anybody interested because it’s a big enough marketplace audience, whatever you want to call it, has big enough number of buyers on there. See how it goes and then from your learnings, go and make that a service that you offer off of Fiverr and work at how to get visitors to that page or get your name out there as being carved as X, Y, Z, really niche. Does that make sense?
Nico: That makes perfect sense, yeah. It does. I think I know what to do for the next 2 weeks let’s say, and I’m very curious how everything is going to turn out. I’m pretty optimistic about I’m sure I’m going to learn things and find things that I would not have expected but, that’s what makes it exciting at the end of the day.
Andy: Cool. Yes, you approach it like a test rather than … Exactly, rather than get it to this point if it doesn’t work you go, “That was interesting. It doesn’t work.” That’s my way of looking at things. “I’ve got a landing page idea, oh it didn’t work.” Probably, damn I’m embarrassed because it didn’t work. Anyway, I know it’s really late there, and we’ve been chatting nearly an hour and 15 minutes. I’ll let you go. I actually learnt a lot from this call. I’m going to just shove it on sound cloud, shove it in the forum, tag you so people know. There we go. Actually he’s a great graphic designer, if anyone is looking for, wants a graphic designer reach out to Nico, and there we go. I’ll speak to you again, no doubt soon.
It will be interesting to catch up on these other projects, and also on our own projects because it’s really interesting for me to learn from your side how it went, because it means I can get better at it next time. I also think it will help other people in the form if they can engage a graphic designer, how to go about it.
Nico: Yeah, that’s why we’re doing it to help people to show them that it’s not that hard. That they should not over complicated things but just go out there and do it. I think that’s the main points. Thank you too for your time. Thank you for your attention and I learnt a lot too, and I’m very happy to speak to soon again.
Andy: Brilliant. All right, have a good evening.
Nico: You too, thank you.
Andy: Cheers, bye-bye.