Endless Tasks. Empty Pockets.

Do you ever feel like you’re swamped with stuff to do, but you’re not making any money doing it?

This is a huge problem, especially for solo web agencies, and it’s actually a really hard problem to fix. You can make some decent progress with better project management, but the truth is, if you really want to make a meaningful difference to your business’s profitability, it is probably going to involve changing your business model a little bit.

Racing A Station Wagon

Station Wagon with enhanced exhaust system

I used to work with two guys who were both into high-performance cars. I don’t know anything about cars, but Torin was a single guy who spent his extra money continually enhancing his street-legal race car. My other friend John was married with a couple of young kids. He liked cars, too, and decided to put a huge exhaust system on his family station wagon.

I’m sure it improved the performance to some degree, but he was never going to catch Torin.

Trying to “enhance” the old-school web design business model makes me think of John’s “racing” station wagon.

Success Is In The Margins

Trying to make a “traditional” web design business more profitable with better SOPs and more attention to project management will help some, but there’s only so much that’s going to do because the business model is not optimized for high margins. In fact, it’s the opposite.

If you ask most web designers how they figured out what to charge, most people say they offer a little more for a little less than the competition. That’s how you guarantee that you have no margins on your work.

What Are Margins?

The difference between what you charge and the cost of delivery is a basic formula for your margins. It’s sort of like the “profit” you make on a project. It’s the income minus the cost.

When you’re working on your own as a web designer, the “cost” is mostly just your time.

So, the goal is to INCREASE income and DECREASE cost.

How To Increase Your Margins

Charge more for working less. In other words, increase the money that comes in while decreasing your costs (mostly time) to complete the work.

The “offer more for less” people are literally doing the opposite by doing more work (increase cost) for less money (decrease income).

Why Traditional Web Design Fails Today

The root cause of the problem is that implementing a website isn’t hard anymore.

I’m not talking about everything that goes into creating a good user experience. Yes, of course, it is still a lot of work and requires a deep skillset to deliver a professional website. But most business own clients don’t know the difference between a custom website and a Wix website.

Selling the value of implementation is over.

We used to be able to charge a lot to build and maintain websites because the skill required to pull that off was hard to obtain. It was rare. Rare things cost more.

Here are some of the reasons the old-school approach no longer works:

  • Clients from all sorts of industries (no focus)
  • Everything is custom (not reusable)
  • The value is tied to the work (not the results)

Higher Margins In Five Steps

This five-step system has taken more web designers into the six-figures than anything else I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been running a web agency for over 20 years.

  1. Pick a niche
  2. Discover the specific outcomes your niche needs
  3. Build a reusable solution that delivers those outcomes
  4. Offer the first small step for free
  5. Convert those “small favor” leads into high-ticket clients.

I go over all the details in this new workshop called The Authority Framework. Also, if you watch that video you’ll even get access to my newly updated Niche Mastery course for free.

The real tragedy is that there are a lot of really good web designers out there who can help a lot of people. You’re probably one of them. But they’re thinking about quitting because they can’t get the money part of their business to work for them.

I’m not saying it is easy. It takes work. But I’ve seen more web designers get over the six-figure mark with this system than anything else I’ve ever seen… and I’ve been doing this stuff for over 20 years.