How Solopreneur Web Designers Build 6-Figure Businesses In Today’s New Economy

What is the #1 thing you feel like you need right now? Is it more leads? A steady flow of clients willing to pay higher prices?
If you feel like the most important thing to figure out is how to develop a strong, consistent flow of leads that should be a red flag that you are running your business on an outdated business model.

Generating leads and winning new clients is the most expensive and most time-consuming thing you can do – and you’re doing all that work for free. All of those hours are non-billable hours. It also means you are establishing your business on an outdated business model.

Think about this…

Where are you spending most of your time during your workday? Is it doing billable work or are you spending most of your time trying to find clients? Maybe thinking about your workflow in terms of days is too narrow. How much time did you spend last week doing billable work vs. non-billable work? What if you flip-flopped those numbers and all the time you spent cold emailing, cold calling, blogging, and fiddling with social media was actually billable? What would that do for your monthly revenue?

If you are like most web designers, you’d be making a lot more money if you could flip-flop your ration billable hours vs non-billable hours. Have you gone a full day without logging a single billable hour? Multiple days? Weeks? That should be a giant red flag that your business structure is out of whack. How are you supposed to make the money you need if the majority of your time is spent doing stuff you can’t charge for? Here’s a new business structure that fixes that.

The High-Volume Business Model

There are two approaches to building a web design business. One way is to go high-volume. In other words, you develop a streamlined system for cranking out websites very efficiently. Then you price them pretty cheap and try to sell as many as you can as fast as possible. The benefits of this approach are that you have a really broad audience and pretty much everybody can (at least in theoretically) afford your services. It’s also not very hard work. And… that’s really where the problem is.

Very Low Price Ceiling (and getting lower by the day)

Not only is it not very hard work, but low-cost websites have gotten so “cookie-cutter” that the entire process has been automated. We call it Wix and Squarespace. With platforms like that the average business owner can just build their own website without needing a web designer at all. The site will be stable, secure, and responsive right out of the box.

So, if you’re in the high-volume web design business you’ve got two big problems. First, you’re competing against VERY low cost (sometimes even free) alternatives. So, you really can’t charge very much while still staying competitive. In other words, there is a very low price ceiling before you price yourself out of the market.

Competing Against Marketing Giants

Second, you can’t compete against the marketing budgets of these huge platforms. Squarespace ran a Super Bowl ad, for crying out loud. How are you going to compete with that?

High-Volume Is A Dead Business Model

As we move forward into 2020 and beyond, the days of being able to generate any significant income as a high-volume, low-ticket web design firm are gone. If you feel like you’re having a hard time attracting leads is it because you’re losing the marketing battle against platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace?

When your client asks about your pricing, have you noticed people asking why your prices are so high? Do they tell you that you’re out of their price range? You’re not within their budget? You’re feeling the reality of the fact that high-volume, low-ticket web design has is no longer a viable business model for web designers.

To prove the point, just think about how much non-billable time you spend on your business. There are only so many hours in the day. If you’re spending the majority of those hours trying to find work rather than actually doing the work there is no way to generate the revenue you need to stay in business. It is not sustainable. You’ll burn out.

High-volume, low-ticket web design is dead.

The High-Ticket Business Model

OK, so what about high-ticket web design?

Right now, you might be thinking:

  • But I’ve been doing this for years and have genuine, professional skills!
  • Wix websites are terrible for businesses that care about things like SEO and lead generation!
  • I’ve got years of experience and can really help people!

All of those things are true. Therefore you should be able to charge high-ticket prices for your work, right? Well… maybe. It depends on who you are marketing to.

If you’re trying to pull people away from Wix and Squarespace by offering “websites to business owners” you’re going to have a hard time raising your prices because everyone is expecting websites to be cheap.

Hint: the key is to stop marketing your services and start marketing your results.

If you’re interested in that, check out our last week’s workshop and discover the fundamental marketing shift that needs to take place in order to attract web design clients that have real budgets.

Winning High-Ticket, Long-Term Clients

Shifting to results-driven marketing is a critical move in the right direction but even that isn’t enough. Ultimately you have to cut out the majority of that non-billable work – most of which goes into finding new clients. The new, most profitable business structure for web designers today is to focus on winning high-ticket, long-term clients. You do this by developing solutions for your clients where you provide the business development leadership to generate great results for your clients and you have the technical chops to pull it off.

Three Components For A 6-Figure Web Design Business

The bottom line for building a 6-figure web design business in today’s marketplace boils down to three things.

You need:

  1. The tools and skills to drive measurable business results
  2. The marketing story that focuses on results rather than services
  3. The business structure that allows you to spend the majority of your time doing billable work

When you have those three pillars in place you have a solid business model that will enable you to charge the rates you’re really worth. That means you will be able to do your best work. When you’re doing your best work you are generating outstanding outcomes for your clients. This is the pattern where everybody wins.

Are You Ready To Win High-Ticket Clients?

If this is the direction you want to take your business, let’s talk. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and we’ll put together the exact step-by-step plan for you to build a 6-figure web design business that you can run on your own without working crazy hours and without losing your integrity in the process.

Let’s Talk ➤

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You can send me questions as we work on this together.