I talk to a very large number of WordPress developers and the main question on everyone's mind is this. How can I get more clients? Today, we're going to dive into that question and take a really good look at the root cause of this problem and how to overcome it. We'll be talking about how today's WordPress economy is different from how it was just a year or two ago. We'll get into the details of what it looks like to take on more clients, how to raise your rates, and how to hit your income goals without pricing yourself too high and losing clients to cheaper alternatives. If you're feeling stuck and unclear on how to move forward with your business, then this is for you.
Is More Clients Really The Answer?
All myths are seasoned with a pinch of truth and that's certainly true for this one. Almost everyone I talk to starts of thinking that if they could just get more clients then they would be able to earn more money, scale their business and hit the income goals they want to achieve. It is the obvious and clear solution. So, we dive into the details a little bit and talk about the average price per project. Then we talk about what their income goals are for their business. Then, with a little math, we figure out how many clients they would need to hit those goals.
What's Your Monthly Revenue Goal?
For example, if the average price per project is $1500 and they want to get to $6,000/month then they need to win 4 clients per month. Or, in weekly terms, 1 new client every week. So, if that sounds about right to you, that means you need to launch a website every week to hit those goals.
So, let's suppose that you were able to generate enough leads so that you could close 1 new client project every week. Forget about the marketing effort that would take and the time and money you would have to spend to generate those leads. Let's just assume that's what's coming in. Do you have the bandwidth to actually build and deploy 1 website every week?
That Is a LOT Of Websites!
Having run a web agency for over 16 years, I know that it usually takes at least 1 month to complete a web project. You generally don't work 40 hours per week every week of the month for one client, but by the time you wait for content, figure out the technical details of DNS and hosting, schedule review meetings, go through some revisions, etc. It's usually at least one month of effort to launch a new website. Even if you try to stagger the deadlines, it quickly becomes pretty obvious that you just can't build and launch a website every single week. Add into the mix your marketing expenses and you'll need to launch even more websites than that. Bottom line: at those rates it just can't be done.
Should You Raise Your Rates?
The next logical step is to think that the answer is to raise your rates. That way you don't have to win as many projects and build as many sites. Rather than charging $1500 per site (which is higher than the average of $1,000 for a WordPress site) you decide you'll twice as much. Now you're trying to sell $3,000 sites so you only have to build two sites per month. You then quickly find that your clients are shocked by the price. It's just too much. They could get a cheaper site working with a different developer. Or maybe they build their own website on Wix or Squarespace. Either way, they don't work with you and you have now priced yourself out of the market.
So… You're Stuck
OK… So, the only way to increase your revenue is to either:
- Get more clients and build more websites
- Raise your rates
We just talked about how neither of those solutions work. Even if you got more clients, you can't build sites that fast. If you raise your rates you lose clients to cheaper alternatives.
What's The Answer?
You can't keep fighting it out in the price race to the bottom. Obviously lowering your rates to attract more clients isn't going to work. That just makes the problem of not being able to do that much work even worse. You destroy your hourly rates. You work way to hard. You lose your freedom. Not only that, but the problem is going to keep getting worse.
There is more and more super cheap labor being added to the WordPress marketplace every day. Sites like Upwork and Fiverr are fueling this fire. DIY site builders like Wix and Squarespace are winning more customers as well. This also pushes the price of “getting a website” down even farther.
The answer is to break out of the pack and fundamentally transform the way you deliver your services. Stop selling “websites” and start selling business solutions to the problems your clients face. Graphic design, SEO, responsive design, HTML, CSS, digital marketing, social media management… None of those things are business solutions. They are low cost, commodities now. Everybody says they can do those things. Even if you can do them better than most other people, your clients don't have any meaningful way of distinguishing the good from the bad. If these are the types of services you are offering your clients and promoting on your website you are not going to be able to command the premium prices you're looking for.
If this sounds like the kind of problem you're facing with your business, let's get on the phone and talk. The specific solutions look different for different types of clients. So, we'll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and talk about:
- How you can hit your income goals this year
- Your target market/audience
- What rates you should be charging
- How you can start tapping into recurring revenue right away