I’m writing this letter with an intent of helping anyone wanting to start or grow a business. However, it is also an open letter to any past or current client I’ve had the privilege of working with.
It’s 2016 and building a website is so easy, thanks to the number of cheap do-it-yourself platforms, that the skills and expertise I’ve developed over 10 years are devalued and unappreciated as a result.
Not always intentionally, but it’s statements like, “Building a website is so easy you no longer need to hire a web designer to do it for you!”, that undervalue what I do and build false beliefs in those that use them.
The problem, this is a true statement, IF, you’re nieve enough to believe that a successful website is nothing more than a few pages of content wrapped in a “pretty” design.
I’m all for platforms that enable or empower people to do things they couldn’t otherwise do themselves. Like Rainmaker, it’s essentially a very powerful DIY platform for building a digital commerce website.
I even support out-of-the-box use of their 20+ prebuilt design templates.
Let me share an example.
Recently I helped a friend get set up on the Rainmaker platform and because I was doing this for free, I didn’t customize the prebuilt template we decided to use.
However, after showing him the end result of what I had done with the prebuilt template, he responded with, “OH BOYEEEEE THIS IS SOME Xciting stuff right here! I like it a lot!”.
What made the difference? It was, after all, something he could have done himself.
However, what this, and every client I’ve ever worked with doesn’t have, is 10 years of experience build, testing, and optimizing websites. Which comes with hundreds of hours of study and learning.
It’s not just the marketing message of these DIY platforms that devalue my 10 years of expertise.
With the access to so many platforms, there seems to be a new “web designer” setting up a website and social media account offering their services at a fraction of my price popping up every single day.
While I’m a big supporter of capitalism and the importance of entrepreneurship, the appeal to be cheap and cut corners by DIY or hiring one of these “popup web designers” will limit the growth of your business.
How about another example.
For about 6 months I tried to get a long-term client to update their website. A series of emails, short phone conversations, etc. However, my price was too high.
Next thing I knew, they’re calling me to introduce me to the new person they hired to build their new site.
Keep in mind, I had already done a new design. It was just waiting for approval and payment to go live.
This “popup web designer”, I was told, “is much cheaper and more affordable”.
Again, a true statement. But let me share with you why they’re cheaper.
Less expertise. In this and most cases, they use prebuilt templates and populate them with your content. That’s it!
Often there are no calls to action, no strategy to the layout and why they put specific content in specific places.
I still host this client’s websites so I’m still involved, but so much so that I could be charging consulting fees, because I’m constantly doing what this “popup web designer” is not, advising the client on the best solutions, the best strategy, etc.
I just used two very important words. These are the words that I use to differentiate me from these cheap “popup web designers”.
Let me share a recent experience.
This same client contacted me because they needed additional access to their hosting account. To make sure I provided the accurate level of access I asked for more information about their plan.
They wanted to build a “members access” portal for their customers to have access to something very simple.
And this “popup web designer” had convinced them that they need to build this elaborate system.
As a consultant. I evaluated the situation.
My solution was much simpler and more appropriate for the level of usage they were needing.
The most important part of my suggestion, it would allow them to use the built in WordPress features already available in their current website.
At first, this was all over email, a conversation between me the client and the “popup web designer”, but moved to a 3-way phone conversation to explain to the client why I was making such a suggestion.
The result, they decided to follow my strategy. It was the better solution.
I’m not sure if the problem was that the “popup web designer” didn’t know WordPress well enough to know that they could accomplish this very easily or something else. But they did get very offended by me getting involved and changing their plans. So much so that they sent me a nasty email expressing their disapproval.
I responded with something like:
It’s in my nature to evaluate a problem and find the best solution. I’m a consultant, not a gun for hire. I want the client to have the best solution and to get the best results.
This “popup web designer” lacks this ability. And I can say that with confidence because this has since happened 2 additional times.
Bringing me to my statement that being cheap is a bad strategy for business growth.
Let’s face it. When you’re cheap and cutting corners, you tend to spend more money to later fix or undo the cheap version.
Let’s use this story to illustrate this point.
As I already mentioned, I should be charging this client for consulting because I’m doing the hard part that their “popup web designer” should be. The thinking part!
So if they’re paying the “popup web designer” $25/hr and if I was charging for consulting that would be another $100/hr.
But if they would have just paid me to do this work in the first place, they’re just paying $100/hr and it’s getting done faster and more important correctly.
Yes! I charge more!
But I do it right the first time and you can be sure I’ll deliver the best solution available. All because in 10 years I’ve experienced most situations and know how to solve them. Additionally, I’ve spent a lot of time improving my knowledge and skills to ensure I can offer the best advice and support.
And this doesn’t just apply to websites.
In all things, you get what you pay for! And if you want to be cheap, don’t expect to get the results your competitors get when they spend 10x you do for those results.
If you’re wondering what can be done to get better results from your website and marketing strategies, you need to request an Audit. I’ll evaluate what you’re currently doing and provide you with a ton of advice and strategy to get better results.
On the other hand, if you’re a “popup web designer”, instead of getting offended, go download my free ebook, The 8 Fundamentals to Maximizing Profits and Build a Successful Web Design Business. I wrote it specifically for you!