$100,000 a year from Web Design possible?

by ckbank
36 replies
To the experienced designers/entrepreneurs, is this a possibility if I'm a one person company? Easier said than done, but the math is this:

2 clients x 1 week x 52 weeks = 104 projects x $1000 / project = $104,000

Doable?

Cold call 4 days a week x 200 calls/day = 800 cold calls a week

I would need a 0.25 % conversion rate for 2 projects a week.

What do you think?
#$100 #design #web #year
  • Profile picture of the author maxrezn
    Ofcourse it's possible...thousands of web designers do it. You're taking a very weak approach to it though.

    $1,000 per site...more like $2,000-3,000 if not more.
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    • Profile picture of the author ckbank
      Originally Posted by maxrezn View Post

      Ofcourse it's possible...thousands of web designers do it. You're taking a very weak approach to it though.

      $1,000 per site...more like $2,000-3,000 if not more.
      I assume anything above $1000 would be highly customized or would you still charge $2000-3000 for very basic websites with already designed templates?
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        You posted in another thread that you are starting to offer web design - so why not do it for a few months and then project potential earnings? After 60-90 days (6 months would be better) you can evaluate the earnings and decide what is needed to increase the earnings in the next time period.

        You can always choose numbers that will give you the $$ results you want - making those numbers happen is something else. I think many people start a business and quickly become discouraged because they did too much "planning future income" on paper before they'd done any work for clients.

        If you convince yourself the number of clients and income you've listed above is "right" - you'll be more inclined to quit when you hit a few weeks with no new clients (and that will happen).

        If you get clients, do good work and expand your business - the money will come.
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        • Profile picture of the author ckbank
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          You posted in another thread that you are starting to offer web design - so why not do it for a few months and then project potential earnings? After 60-90 days (6 months would be better) you can evaluate the earnings and decide what is needed to increase the earnings in the next time period.

          You can always choose numbers that will give you the $$ results you want - making those numbers happen is something else. I think many people start a business and quickly become discouraged because they did too much "planning future income" on paper before they'd done any work for clients.

          If you convince yourself the number of clients and income you've listed above is "right" - you'll be more inclined to quit when you hit a few weeks with no new clients (and that will happen).

          If you get clients, do good work and expand your business - the money will come.
          Or I could REALLY treat it like a regular career. Salespeople who can't hit quotas get canned. They just have to hit quotas. Why wouldn't I be able to treat my web design business as such?
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          • Profile picture of the author maxrezn
            Originally Posted by ckbank View Post

            Or I could REALLY treat it like a regular career. Salespeople who can't hit quotas get canned. They just have to hit quotas. Why wouldn't I be able to treat my web design business as such?
            Now you're talking! With that attitude don't be surprised at doing $150,000 annually. A lot of freelancers and offliners (myself included sometimes) fall short because we don't have anyone pressuring us to perform besides ourselves. I personally hold myself accountable to my 35 year old imaginary self. If I slept in until noon and haven't made any money that week would my future self be happy with me? Most likely not.
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            • Profile picture of the author ckbank
              Originally Posted by maxrezn View Post

              Now you're talking! With that attitude don't be surprised at doing $150,000 annually. A lot of freelancers and offliners (myself included sometimes) fall short because we don't have anyone pressuring us to perform besides ourselves. I personally hold myself accountable to my 35 year old imaginary self. If I slept in until noon and haven't made any money that week would my future self be happy with me? Most likely not.
              Heck yeah. Now I'm pumped up.
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              • Profile picture of the author goldog
                Don't forget, you will be their "web guy" not just a designer. You'll give them a site that performs better than the canned template or close to free option. Just the fact that you are here on the WF is worth the price of admission to them. Whether they, or you, know it or not.

                Also, if you can pick up some recurring income the need for marketing yourself will subside. Hosting including monthly or quarterly updates for 50-100 a month for a few clients can add up. Let's say you could get $50 a month. That would up your return by $600 a year each. Add some other marketing options (think Big Postcard= $400 quarterly) and the goal could be in sight sooner than you think.

                The question remains though. Are you able and willing to both make the calls, close the deals and deliver the product? Not as easy as it seems until you get out there and do it. Don't get discouraged if you're only doing 1 deal a week or even 2 or 3 a month. That would be a great start. 40 or 50 clients the first year should be enough to prove to yourself you can make it. By the 2nd year, if you are good, 100k should be a breeze.
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                • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
                  Originally Posted by maxrezn View Post

                  Ofcourse it's possible...thousands of web designers do it. You're taking a very weak approach to it though.

                  $1,000 per site...more like $2,000-3,000 if not more.
                  I kind of disagree.

                  There are two directions to go, and you need to decide which fits you. Are you building a business or are you an independent consultant that is a freelancer? If you're building a business I believe you need a price point that isn't too high, and isn't too low, you need to find the sweet spot.

                  $1,000 websites is perfect. Then you charge for hosting and maintenance, then you get a logo design deal out of it, then postcard design, then you get an SEO gig from it, then rep management and so on and so on. That's just how it goes.

                  If you are just an independent consultant, then charge higher. Everyone has different goals.
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                  • Profile picture of the author 300SMG
                    Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

                    I kind of disagree.

                    There are two directions to go, and you need to decide which fits you. Are you building a business or are you an independent consultant that is a freelancer? If you're building a business I believe you need a price point that isn't too high, and isn't too low, you need to find the sweet spot.

                    $1,000 websites is perfect. Then you charge for hosting and maintenance, then you get a logo design deal out of it, then postcard design, then you get an SEO gig from it, then rep management and so on and so on. That's just how it goes.

                    If you are just an independent consultant, then charge higher. Everyone has different goals.
                    This is truly the only reply the OP needs to read. Other than saying yes 100k is possible by simply doing web design. You need to be the goto agency for all of their needs in this area. SEO, List Building, Consult, Direct Marketing, Ad Design, etc.
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                    • Profile picture of the author curly sue
                      make a joint venture partner with someone experienced in sales and cold calling.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carl Fridsjö
    No problem, It's close to what I did my first year as a total newbie.
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    • Profile picture of the author ckbank
      Great to hear. This is something I'm actually passionate about, but I do have to get OVER the feeling that I somehow would be screwing business owners with such high prices. I know people use wordpress themes that take them 5 minutes to install and charge thousands. How do I not feel bad about that?
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      • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
        "I know people use wordpress themes that take them 5 minutes to install and charge thousands. How do I not feel bad about that?"


        But, you would have a range of prices for the project, changes, and ongoing work.
        "x" for properly installing a wordpress theme.
        "y" for properly installing a wordpress theme with all the pages and plugins and API's and loading their content and pictures and working with them until they are happy, or up to two revisions...
        "z" for properly installing a wordpress theme and creating the content and working with them until they are happy...
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      • Profile picture of the author digichik
        You're looking at this from the wrong perspective. First, you must consider the time you put cold calling, going out on appointments, setting up lead generation,etc. Second, you must also consider the cost of doing business -- phone, internet service, postage, software, prospect lists, outsourcing, paying yourself, etc.. Let there be no doubt, you will have lots of expenses. These costs must be covered by the fees you charge your clients. It takes time to learn how to use even the most basic wordpress theme, the client must pay for that. The same way they have to pay a doctor, lawyer, plumber, etc., for their expertise. They have to pay for your expertise.

        Just because a task can be done for free by a client doesn't mean it should have no value. If they don't want to take the time to learn how to do it, then they must pay. I can paint my house myself, but I'll pay a painting contractor $1000s of dollars to do it for me, because I don't want to take the time.

        If you don't value your time and expertise perhaps this isn't the field for you.

        Originally Posted by ckbank View Post

        Great to hear. This is something I'm actually passionate about, but I do have to get OVER the feeling that I somehow would be screwing business owners with such high prices. I know people use wordpress themes that take them 5 minutes to install and charge thousands. How do I not feel bad about that?
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    Even though I was doing web design independently I was still making decent money. And that was starting at $500 for my first site. On my second and third I charged $800, then after that I was charging $1000 a site.

    At one point I was putting people on a waiting list because I didn't want to outsource any work. And I didn't want to outsource because I was afraid of getting crappy work done, then redoing everything myself. I was glad that I did that, because it forced me to learn more, which enabled me to finish sites quicker.

    Then like iamnamless said, people starting asking me for other services. And then I started outsourcing THOSE services. But not the webdesign.

    My biggest tip is bust your ass on your first 5-10 sites. Do an incredible job. Even if you feel like you're doing too much work. I was so insecure about my work that I wound up overdoing everything, and apparently people liked what I did... which led to a ton of referalls.

    So seriously, make the best sites you can, thats my best advice.
    Eventually I stopped and started doing other stuff (I was losing my mind being trapped behind my computer all day) but if I ever need the money, I'll definitely do it again.

    Good luck!

    -Red

    ps. I never did 2 clients a week. Only 1. =]
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    • Profile picture of the author maverick8
      You over doing it on the calls i reckon. Create a good referral strategies and it will reduce the amount of work you do to get leads. The leads will be better quality and convert much better. You need to leverage your current client base.

      You need to do good work though. Make it easy for the client to refer you and offer an incentive. Like free web hosting for each referral. web hosting cost costs say 100 bucks per year. spending a $100 to make 1000-1500 comes down to how many times you can spend that $100. cost per acquisition is the key in all forms of marketing.

      A REFERRAL STRATEGY WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        It is not going to be easy and you need to start on a business plan as
        to how you will complete jobs, customer service, billing, acquisition.

        Getting 100 jobs at $1000 is not easy. Doable? I know of people
        on this forum doing it, so that would be a yes
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    Sure you can do it. People do it right now. So as I always like to say to myself: It "CAN" be done. It is certainly within the realm of possibility.

    I'd like to offer a quick nugget.

    What are your minimum expenses? How much to do you need to make just to break even?

    Divide that number by your average PROFIT per customer, then you know how many clients you need just to keep the lights on.

    What is the max number of clients you could handle at any given time in your CURRENT setup?

    Multiply that number by your average PROFIT per customer, and you know roughly what your MAXIMUM possible earnings are in your current situation.

    There are more calculations (can't share here) - but those two figures should get you started.

    Best of luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      The US Census tells us 75% of businesses are without websites as of this year.

      Hard to believe.

      Here's the stats...Businesses With No Website Statistics | Statistic Brain
      Source: US Census Bureau
      Date Verified: 5.9.2012

      So you just gotta be able to find them.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        The US Census tells us 75% of businesses are without websites as of this year.
        Add the monstrous stat of businesses with prehistoric websites.. there is
        tons of opportunities. it's just getting them to realize they need it, and need it
        done by you...
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        • Profile picture of the author ckbank
          Last time I was dealing with Adwords, hosting keywords were pretty expensive. Anyone have suggestions on using Adwords to get clients. Also, since nobody can know or guarantee success, would you recommend I have a day job? I know it will be extremely difficult and some of you would probably say impossible, but the weekend is plenty for getting things done. Instead of 2 projects a week, maybe I can do 2 projects a month and build a nice portfolio. Once it gets going, I can definitely think about quitting a job that I don't even have now. I've made the mistake of quitting a job to do a postcard business before, but it really didn't work out. Fear is definitely a factor, because there are many "what ifs." What if the business doesn't work out? What if that makes it harder for me to find a job in the future? These are things one definitely needs to take into account. After all, companies look for individuals with nice job progression and not resumes that lack skills and have many gaps. I know this is a whopper, but one has to be strategic. I can't make the same mistake again and assume starting this will turn me into a millionaire (well at least a hundred grand a year) in a short period of time. I try to be less naive now.
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  • Profile picture of the author Captain Kent
    well, I believe you can do much more than that if you do your job properly
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  • Profile picture of the author tonyscott
    Keep your eye on the residual income - at $30pm for hosting/support based on your numbers, you'll have $100,000pa residual after 3 years.

    Is it just you doing this?

    If it is, I think you're being optimistic about what you can achieve

    You'll need a break and you'll need time for admin so 52 weeks a year is unrealistic.

    Outsource lead generation and web design leaving yourself free to coordinate it all - and it's possible.

    Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    I would totally forget trying to sell 2 sites a week for a year because there's so much that's going to happen with each client that you won't have time to keep cold calling and selling more sites. The time spent on maintaining and building your clients sites is going to compound really fast.

    It's not as easy as simply slapping up a wordpress site and moving on to the next one. They're not going to hand you $1,000 and forget about it.

    Like Nameless mentioned, sell them a logo package, SEO, maintanance, hosting, postcards design, etc.

    Focus on getting some clients and then upselling those existing clients. It's going to be more profitable, less time consuming, and less stress. The communication between you and your clients will be better, their results will be better, and your relationship will be one that they want to refer you.

    Before you know it, you'll have less than a dozen clients but you'll be making $10k per month working just with them. Lots better than trying to bang 2 business owners over the head each week for a grand and making hundreds of calls per day to find more.
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  • Profile picture of the author ProServices
    Remember once you get profits coming in, you can outsource it to reliable workers to get the leads. You will then be working smart and paying a very small amount for the outsourcing each month.
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  • Profile picture of the author rugman
    Here is a little tip on getting the work - find someone that has has access to the customers you want to do work for. In my B&M cleaning biz I targeted tile stores and contractors to get my tile/grout cleaning work. Why? THEY had access to tons of people so I marketed to them instead of the masses. They refer me all the the time - I am always pre-sold as the the "tile guy" recommended me. My marketing budget is pretty low.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    Why not go out and give 100% for a week to see what kind of results you can obtain? Make it a goal to call 2,000 businesses for a week and see what happens. Then you'll have some real data to base your plans on.
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    • Sure Very Easy ..
      But I recommend you hire your full time workers , so you can focus on the marketing and management for your business

      I am a full time digital agency in Indonesia right now , I began my business career just like what u just began.

      Keep the spirit upppp
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        Also, since nobody can know or guarantee success, would you recommend I have a day job?
        I think you've arrived at a more realistic plan.

        Only you know how much income you need monthly for basic survival - maybe a part time job would be enough. Whatever you do, don't count on "potential future income" to pay bills next month. Many marketers start out by working a couple hours every night and full days on the weekends.

        A job will take of your needs while you build a business to provide what you want.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Yes. Keep a day job to cover your expenses and your new business expenses such as marketing materials, flyers, business cards, gasoline to get to appointments and events, more airtime minutes, website hosting...

    I've never found it to be effective to be scary broke and trying to start a business. Hard to truly serve clients when you need money. Results may vary.

    If you are going to help a business with it's image, many prospects will be judging you about the appearance of your business and credibility. Not that you won't be able to get clients without your own website, etc., it just helps to look like you know what you are doing and to presell your service.

    If you need it, it does not cost that much to get a website and marketing materials from WSOs and Wordpress...

    Best of luck to you.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author mark healy
    i think its very possible. its alot of work n your own, but of you outsource many of your sites to be developed its duable yes.Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author TurnKeyShane
    My experience during the first year was learning how to develop a process to build the sites and also figuring out the market rates for my area. So is a 100,000 possible? Yes but probably not likely if you have ZERO experience in any of this. Its good to set a high bar but the real challenge is just getting out there and doing it and adjusting from there. Making it work and sticking with it even when it doesn't seem to be working out.

    Your sales are not going to be a consistent 2 per week and that is a high estimate. Try more for 2 sites a month to begin with. That's enough for you to start working out your own internal system to build the sites and complete the work. You can build up from there. If you obtain 8 sites a month but do not have a foundation on how to complete those sites then you will be in trouble.

    Also your sales will vary and you need to be able to handle some months you may have zero sales some months you may have a lot. A second income from a separate business I have helped me in this regard. For you this may include a job. I don't know your income needs but a 2nd shift, 3rd shift, or weekend job would be preferable if you are serious about developing this business. The daytime is important to generate leads, meet clients, and close sales.

    You are too simplistic on building the sites. Its definitely not just throwing up a wordpress theme. For long term success you will need a reliable designer and programmer to send projects to. You will need to be able to manage theme effectively. You will need to be able to customize the sites to the demands of your clients. Also realize your clients are usually the biggest hold up on getting projects completed. Its a lot of work to get approvals and revisions from your clients but customer service during and after the project is huge your long term success. You will definitely feel like you earned your money and that your not over charging once you get into this business.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidjohnfarmer
    You would just be rushing work out of the door.
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  • Profile picture of the author iamchrisgreen
    You absolutely can do this. I've been doing it for over 8 years running now.
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  • Profile picture of the author rbecklund
    If you haven't already been making sites for customers, you might want to get used to what that can be like before making grand plans.
    As Bob Ross said you can't just jam this out. Many sites can be done in Wordpress, but some will want ecommerce and many will want a custom design. You also need to be good at dealing with the customers. Some are awesome and some are a nightmare. It's important to figure out how you will deal with them.

    To me, getting the clients isn't too hard, so yes you can do this.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOZONE3
    Of course, It'll work!

    I've an Online Marketing Company, and we offers a lots of services like Article Marketing / Craig List Ad Postings / Web2.0 Site Building etc etc; and our Earning this More than $10,000 per Month. And it's increasing day by day.

    Now my target is - $30,000 per Month.

    " Work is Religion " ; give best services to your clients & you'll earn beyond imagination!
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