During this time I have had trouble finding my way through the shiny objects and made my share of mistakes. I now feel I have a proper success story to share however, and I'm finally on the verge of something special.
First of all I'd like to give credit to the fine offline Warrior family for all their help. John Durham and Jason Kanigan for helping me get past my sheer terror of the telephone. Nameless for showing me how to take action and to hell with what anyone thinks. You guys rock.
Right, so what I've been doing all this time is focussing on business owners without a website. I started out giving away free websites and built residual income this way. I could have easily ramped this up massively using JD's Bower script, but I was terrified of the phone, so I had to find ways to get customers to come to me. Progress was very slow.
So I finally got the courage to get on the phone and started calling business owners to sell the same websites with the same residual, just started charging $495 for them. This worked too well. I sold a whole bunch of them (the intense, amazing power of cold calling with a good offer), then struggled to fulfil the orders. I spent a month trying to catch up, wishing I could just be happy with a job at McDonalds, my life would be so much easier. I realised I can't do everything myself and it's stupid to try.
Then I read 'Offline Quick Cash' (get a free copy in the War Room), which makes a very good case for offering redesign. The business owner already knows the value a website adds to their business, they're aware their website needs work, they just need someone to kick their butt a bit. A light bulb came on.
Everyone says 'focus on a vertical.' Well my first love is travel, but having recently had two children unexpectedly in quick succession, all hopes of a Mediterranean river cruise came to an abrubt end. So I decided I would target accommodation providers. Having travelled quite a bit BB (before babies), I felt like I spoke their language.
Desperately in need of a holiday after my month in overworked hell, I booked accommodation for two nights, just three hours north. Our city was recently destroyed in an earthquake so there wasn't much point talking to tourism operators here, no-one is visiting at the moment. It had to be elsewhere and it had to be a short trip due to other commitments, but I was determined to try this new business model, desperate to see if it would work.
So in the days preceeding our trip, I found eight websites that were absolute howlers, and rung the proprietor. One added bonus is it is usually relatively easy to find their name somewhere online. As per 'Offline Quick Cash' - I rung them first before I started on the redesign and said:
"Hello is that [name?]? Hey [name], I'm just calling because I was searching the internet for accommodation in [your town] this weekend because we're coming up that way on holiday, when I came across your website. I thought you may like to see how it would look with a shiny new design, so I've put together a new look for you."
They either qualify themselves out at this point, or they say, ok...
"Are you free on Saturday? We're staying at [where you're staying] so how about meeting me nearby so I can show you what I've done? There's no strings attached, if you like it we'll talk, if not, you can be on your way, how does that sound?"
Out of the eight proprietors I rung, two agreed to meet me! I've never managed two appointments out of eight calls, so I was starting to feel like this was the right thing to be doing. I spent the next couple of days redesigning their sites, using themes from Ink Themes, adding big beautiful imagery of the area in the slider. They looked like night and day from what they had in place.
On the day, one owner couldn't meet me because he'd had a sudden rush of bookings and had three couples arriving. Doh! should have made three bookings. The other owner did agree to meet me, and showing the before and after to him side by side virtually sold itself. His website designer went awol years ago, and they hadn't had a booking in six weeks. I layered bonuses on top as we were speaking, Google Places listing, Facebook page, logo design and other goodies. He was happy to deposit the $1500 for all the value I was adding to his business.
Now to scale this model up, I am going to need help. I found someone in Warriors for Hire who I have now outsourced a couple jobs to, and I now trust to take on everything else in this package besides the redesign (which I like to do). I had to go through a few service providers in there to find one I clicked with, and so will you. Luckily there are lots of reviews for you to read until you find someone.
So the winning formula I've found with this method is:
1). Focus on a vertical you love and are interested in.
2). Offer redesign. A much easier sell than business owners without a website.
3). Get on the phone.
4). Stop trying to do everything yourself.
So that's my recent success story. Hope it motivates someone and maybe others can learn from my mistakes!