Q and A for Feb 2021 meet up
Table Of Contents

I’m just curious how you deal with billing and how you deal with the state and federal taxes?

When it comes to the billing, I’ve tried HoneyBook and I’ve tried QuickBooks. To be honest, it’s always kind of been a little overkill, especially to pay for that. Right now, I just basically create the invoice through PayPal. Which a lot of my clients have actually been a lot more comfortable in doing, considering that a lot of them have PayPal accounts, and they choose to pay with PayPal or even Venmo. Primarily, it’s always been PayPal for me, though.
As well as for the accounting, I was grateful enough to actually have an accountant who’s close to the family. She’s been able to manage pretty much all the taxes. The only thing that I’ve actually had to be careful for is to reserve a small part or a certain part of each project that I do. Right now, I just save up– I take 25% of each project and I save it, just in consideration that that’s how much the taxes are going to be. It’s always good practice to start reserving that 25% when you’re ready to fill your taxes in.
I usually do recommend quarterly, not yearly. Quarterly is always so much better just so I can get it over with. I don’t have to worry throughout the entire year to do it. If you want to get started, I’d just recommend try and keep 25% of each project that you do and just put in your savings account and don’t even touch it. Just pretend like it’s not there.

How do you find business, typically?

There’s a couple of ways that you can. I’ve tried direct marketing- direct marketing being cold calling, cold emailing. That works for some people. It didn’t work for me. Frankly, I despise it. I really don’t like calling strange people out of the blue saying, “Hey, do you need this or do you need that?” Most of the time, it was always no. What I’ve learned is instead of trying to find clients to provide your service to, it’s always a better idea to attract people to you.


One of the most important things about freelancing that I’ve learned is your branding is everything. This word gets tossed around a lot but to a simple basis, it’s basically just the value that you promise on giving to the person that has a problem. You’re providing a solution to someone who either has, let’s say, trouble with creating copywriting for, let’s say, an advertisement or for their website, or they’re having trouble gaining leads from earned and paid media to their owned media and it’s just not converting. Your promise is basically to provide that solution to them.

The three different types of media.


When you’re trying to get clients, it’s always a better idea to try and attract people to you. The best way to attract people is by delivering content. Whether it is a blog post, or just starting conversations within social media, finding groups that are within your niche and building relationships with them. There’s a variety of ways.


The ways that I do it today, and that I actually started back in November and I’ve actually noticed a lot of progress in gaining leads for people who have the problem that I have the solution for- in other words, if they need a website that needs to convert people into creating an email list, or they’re trying to get more traction through organic searches- the strategy that I started picking up is what’s been called a 365. Which is you create content 365 days out of the year. Each day you have to deliver some piece of content.


The way that I’ve actually done it is Mondays and Fridays, I reserve those days to create a blog post. Normally, I like to do it in the morning when my mind is fresh and ready to start building or it’s just fresh off from waking up. Mondays and Fridays, I’ll write blog posts. When I’m done with that, I’ll post it on to my website. I’ll go to medium.com, or if it’s tech-related, I’ll send it to to dev.to or dev.com.


Then on Tuesdays, I’ll get parts of the blog posts that I wrote, turn it into quotes or I’ll turn it into just a regular social media post, and I’ll deliver it to either Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Wednesday, it’s I’ll share an article that I read. Whether it’s about marketing, or it’s about web development, or just something that typically interests me.


Thursday, I’ll take another piece of content from a blog article that I wrote, or I’ll just take a quote from a book that I’m reading and I’ll send it into social media. Friday, it’s release the blog post. Saturday, Sunday, I just go on to Twitter or I’ll go onto Facebook into one of the groups to start talking to people. I’ll just either start a conversation, or I’ll join another conversation that I’m interested in or something that I could actually help someone out. I’m in a group where it’s full of WordPress users, but I’ve managed to get actually pretty good leads from the WordPress group. Usually, if someone will have a question and I could answer, I’ll provide them an answer. I’ll try and help them as much as I possibly can.

my content schedule


The most important thing is to actually get you recognized in social media. That’s basically my entire schedule from Monday to Sunday. I’ve started doing this in November, and I’ve actually managed to get a pretty good increase on leads for clients. Right now that’s actually been what’s helping me a lot or that’s what’s actually been working for me.

What about like fiverr.com or what’s the other one?

No, I don’t. I’ve tried it a couple of times. I really don’t like it. It works for some people, It just doesn’t work for me. To me, my time is very valuable and so sending proposals, to me it feels like it turns you into a commodity versus being an actual brand or being part of a business. I’ve gotten one job from Upwork. It was okay. It didn’t pay great. I have clients who are paying me more. I just didn’t really see too much of a promise in it.
It might work for you, if you’d want to give it a try, but to me it didn’t work out for me. I’ve always just ended up using all my energy in creating content, so I could deliver to the various social media networks and then try and network like that.

Do you ever offer websites for- a trade in services? Is that something you ever considered doing? Is that smart? Is it stupid?

I’ve, luckily enough, never did that either. I know that’s helped out some people, but I’ve never actually had a trade or I’ve never actually met someone that wanted to trade. I think I’ve actually offered a few times to trade for something and it didn’t go anywhere.

The only pitfall is that you would do it on a consistent basis, which just be careful because if you offer something that’s very cheap and people will tend to gravitate towards you- I mean, in some ways, it’s good but in other ways, it’s bad. I would just be careful, especially when it’s doing consistent trades like that. The way that I could see is that it’s a good way to build relationships. I know people who are also freelancers who have traded and they’ve managed to build meaningful relationships. I’ve just never been in that situation where I’ve actually needed to trade.

Being an independent means– I mean, it’s probably more expensive for you to operate in some respects. I guess it’s just over time you realize how much things cost and how much time it takes to do things, but how do you price? It’s a hard question for me to ask because I don’t even understand like how do you know what your worth. That’s a ridiculous question to ask. It’s a hard thing for me to understand.

I know where you’re coming from. This by far is actually the most popular question, especially about pricing, that I’ve always run into. The best way that I could actually put it is there’s these two pricing psychologists and what they did is that they went to a garage sale. They purchased, I think it was a bracelet or ring, broken goggles- diving goggles- and they bought them for, I think, $1.50 or $1 a piece.
These are psychologists. They like to try and understand how people’s brains work. They decided to go to eBay and they sold the stuff that they bought for $1. They tried to sell them for $25 or right around that price range and no one bought it. It was there for a week and no one showed any interest in it.

What they did was it was really an experiment. They first posted it just with the description of the item. They wanted to see if anyone would buy it. They took everything down and then they wrote stories pertaining to a personal experience that they had. Like, “This ring was found in the attic of my grandma’s house who passed away, and my mom is cleaning it out and they asked me if I wanted this stuff. I wanted to look for a good home.” Or the broken goggles was they bought it because they wanted to scare a couple of kids down the river, but when they got into the water, all of a sudden, an alligator came out of nowhere, bit the goggles and now it’s damaged. I don’t know what to do with it, so I’m just going to sell it. They sold the broken goggles for like $80, even though they bought it for like $1.
The whole moral of the story is pricing is really an illusion to– It’s an illusion.

Image comparing TB Dress, Nike, and Fendi

The best way to explain it is that you have– The three things that I always pull up are the three shoes. You have a generic TB Dress shoes, which is maybe $50. You got Nikes that are $180, and then you have Fendi sneaker shoes, which are like $1150. There’s no way that you could actually determine the value between those sneakers because you put them on your feet, you wear them outside and you just make sure that they’re comfortable. The only value that you could actually pertain is what you feel like you’re worth.
This is the hardest concept, especially for me in the beginning, because I didn’t exactly know how to price my stuff either. This is why I always tell people to make sure you focus on the solution more than the pricing because people are more willing to buy the solution regardless of what the price is. I started off like $25 an hour building websites. I was getting nowhere fast with $25. Then what I started to do was I started to increase the pricing, but I started to work on more of my branding, my messaging and solution that my service would provide them. I noticed that clients are willing to pay more.


They have no problem with the pricing because it’s more of the solution that I’m actually providing them. It’s the headache that I’m removing. If you’re talking to a business, that business has to be confident enough that they could actually recover the cost of– Let’s say, I build a website for $7,000. That business that wants to talk to you that wants to buy the website for $7,000, they’re confident enough to know that they could actually recover from- maybe like in a month- from that price. Pricing is really entirely up to you and how you feel your worth.


The only thing that I have to tell you to be careful with is making sure that you don’t sound like a commodity versus a service. When you sound like a commodity, people are going to start pricing you to the lowest bottom dollar, like what you see on Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer, which is something that I’ve always had an issue with; sending proposals. Your pricing should always just be what you’re comfortable at charging and then maybe, I don’t know, multiplying it by four times.
Because if you’re not getting a “no” or “That’s a little too high,” then you’re not doing it right. That’s the rule of thumb that I’ve gathered from other freelancers. You don’t ever want to try and lowball yourself.
The other best thing that I can really talk about pricing is [silence] if you have to start from somewhere– Let’s see. If you have to start from somewhere, I would recommend in figuring how much you want to charge per hour and then trying to figure out how much it will cost you- how much time it’ll cost you to do that service.
For example, let’s say if you want to start off with $30, because that’s how much you’re comfortable at charging, or if you just want to immediately just go to $60 an hour and that’s how much you’re comfortable at, then from past experiences, that it would be- it would take me 50 hours to build a website. Then I would charge per hour to that 50 hours and then I would actually add more because you actually have to cover the cost for the meetings. You have to cover the costs for the accounting. You have to cover the cost for the project maintenance thing.
I would just go on to figuring out how much you want to charge an hour. Think about how much you want to- how much it would bill you, or how long it would take you to do the service. Let’s say a five-page website takes you 20 hours. Getting that sum total and then at least just doubling or tripling it. Just start off at that price point. Because like I said, the thing that I don’t like about freelancers and what they do is that a lot of people tend to lowball themselves. They always undervalue themselves.
That’s something that I really want to try and prevent anyone from doing because I was in those shoes. I undervalued myself a lot. It ultimately didn’t get me anywhere. I think that would probably be the best practice, if anyone has to think about the pricing, then I would just recommend doing it in that kind of framework.

I mean, it is, but there’s a huge psychological point of view. When it comes to selling, like I said, where a lot of the fear of being told, “No, that’s too expensive,” or losing a potential client because you’re expensive primarily comes from the fact that the economy used to be really kind of a scarce economy. What that basically means is in this scarce economy, you got to price your services according to how many people provide the same service. Then you got to compete with them for the lowest price. If you’re going to race to the bottom then at zero, you’re not going to make any money.

Right, that makes sense. Pricing is always tough. You’re worth whatever someone’s willing to pay for you and then what you’re willing to accept.

Yes. I mean, it is, but there’s a huge psychological point of view. When it comes to selling, like I said, where a lot of the fear of being told, “No, that’s too expensive,” or losing a potential client because you’re expensive primarily comes from the fact that the economy used to be really kind of a scarce economy. What that basically means is in this scarce economy, you got to price your services according to how many people provide the same service. Then you got to compete with them for the lowest price. If you’re going to race to the bottom then at zero, you’re not going to make any money.

Back in early 1993, we started to really transition into an abundant economy where there’s enough capital where people are actually able to shop around. People, if they decide to- they want to buy the $1,200 sneaker or they want to buy the $50 sneaker, it’s really up to them. To us, or to you, it’s like, “Why would you buy a $1,200 sneaker?” To that person, it’s their solution, it’s their preference.
It’s a hard concept to grasp, especially because you don’t know how much value you bring, but you just kind of got to push it.

You don’t have to be an expert. You just have to know more than the average person because like I said, the whole point is that you’re trying to relieve a pain from someone. If that business has a pain and it could just be bought out with money, then they’re more than willing to pay up.

I’ve sent proposals off. I know a couple of freelancers who I’ve competed with on a personal level. I’ve talked to them on the basis. It was like one of my first project where I decided, “You know what? I’m going to charge this price. If they say no, then that’s it. Then at least I’ve done it.” I think I priced it at like $6,000. I talked to the guy that ended up getting the job. I was talking to him and I told him, I’m like, “How much did you charge? How much did you say that you’re going to do that project for?” Right off the bat, he told me he charges $10,000. I told him- I was like, “I was going to charge this guy $6,000, but you got the job for 10,000,” and I didn’t really understand how that was possible.

Then that’s when he told me, “It’s all about communication. People want to build a relationship with you. They’re not really looking at the price. They just want to figure out if you’re going to have a good relationship with them.”

Guest [ That actually makes sense. When the pandemic kicked in, we actually were running a special for WordPress sites. I think we were only going to charge $300 for a WordPress site. Literally nobody touched us. Another friend here in town that actually specializes just in WordPress sites, he asked me some help to do some back-end for him.
I was like, “How much are you charging?” He’s like, “Anywhere between $7,000 to $2,000.” I’m going, “What the heck,” but that made sense because if you’re looking actually to buy something, you want to buy quality. If someone is lowballing, you’re like, “Well, they really don’t know what they’re doing. They probably are kids working out of someone’s garage instead of actual professionals.” That actually makes perfect sense what you’re saying with that.

Also, I think with the higher prices, we actually started charging- and we’re actually low in the industry- like $90 an hour. That helped out with scope creep with people going, “We want to add these extra features in.” Well, now they actually have to look at the price of actually doing that, so they back off because we go, “Well, we’re going to have to change the contract for that and I have to charge you by hour.” We try to stay away from fixed-price bids but because of scope creep, since we’re charging a higher amount, people literally- they go, “No, we don’t want to buy the extra thing. We’ll put it on the back-burner and go forward with that.” It actually makes perfect sense.
Actually, just out of curiosity, do you use milestone payments when you set up a website? When you first buy, first you put in an X amount of money and then when halfway done, you put in an X amount of money and stuff like that? Joseph, I think you’re on mute.]

I do 60- 50, 30, 20. It’s half down to get started. Then after I move into the development phase– Basically, I have the introduction phase, which we’re talking entirely about the project, I’m trying to understand what it is or what exactly the client needs from me. Then once that’s done, I move into a design phase where I’m trying to map out and design everything according to what the client needs, but also what’s going to help generate the level of traffic that they want. Or do a little bit of trying to figure out what their customers are going to want to see the moment they reach the front page.
That’s basically the entire design phase of the process. Then after that I require 30% of the total price and then I move forward. Then after I launch and I test it and then I get it migrated, then it’s the rest of the 20%.

Are they providing their own graphics and arts?

That depends on the price. If I’m going to need someone to come create the graphics and they’re [client] not going to do it, then it’s extra just because then there’s going to be another contractor who I’m going to talk to and it’s another one that I have to pay. It’s all depending on their budget and their price, and really what they could afford or what they really don’t want to go over.

Do you find that your customers generally want you to be like a one-stop shop?

I usually pitch maintenance packages. They don’t really stray too much into the marketing only because it’s me and I have other clients that I need to help out. What I can do, or what I usually do is if they need to, I’ll create a landing page for them. Then from there, I’ll tell them, “Hey, this is what you got to do if you want to design a piece of work, create content that is relevant to that landing page.”


Let’s say they want to collect email addresses. I’ll create a landing page that’s going to be solely dedicated to gathering or trying to get people to sign up for a newsletter. Then I’ll tell them, “This is what you got to do. You got to create the content that’s relevant to the landing page.” Let’s say it’s underwater basket weaving that they’re trying to promote. Then I’ll tell them, “Anything that has to relate to that, send it through social media, send it to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever you currently find your potential clients, and then have that link on each post be connected to that landing page.” Then that landing page should act as a way for them to subscribe to a newsletter.


Let’s say it’s just a landing page for underwater basket weaving, then that’s ultimately what I’m there for is to help them create the lead-generating landing page, versus me having to do pretty much the entire marketing. In the very beginning, that’s what I tended to do was to be part of the marketing and part of the web development. It was a mess. I couldn’t do it because it started to get into the lines where the client didn’t know what it is they wanted to promote. They didn’t have clear specific goals to their marketing because in the first place, they didn’t understand marketing.


I do tend to make sure that the clients know, or have some level of a marketing goal that they have in mind. Then that will help me out create just a simple strategy for them to use. For the most part, it’s just maintenance packages that I’ll offer. One package I’ll offer updates. The next package, if they have content, or they need extra landing pages because they have other ideas that they want to promote, then I’ll assign them to that package.


Then I also I have a security package, which I monitor their website to make sure that there’s no hacking attempts or brute-force attacks or anything like that engaging on their website, so then I have that package. I usually try to get people to stay away from being a one-stop-shop. Unless you actually have people who you’re partnered with to do the other aspects that you promised the client to do.

Yes, that makes sense. I’m trying to learn a lot of different things only being a few months out of camp. I knew a few things before, but I feel like I’m just spread thin.

Yes. Focus on what you need to know now. I think you’re going forward. You don’t want to strain to a tutorial hell of– You need to feel like you need to be the top expert in that field in order to start offering the service. Like I said, you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person and just do it and then learn as you go. Don’t try and learn anything that you’re not going to use or that you’re not going to need unless it’s just a pastime thing. I like to experiment with different coding languages just as a hobby. I don’t really look to doing anything with it.


I do tend to try and focus mainly on either the business aspects of what I need to learn or if I feel like there’s something that I need to work on, like let’s say it’s my whole entire system of onboarding, then I’ll try and figure out what other people are doing, what other freelancers are doing and then I’ll try and either mimic it or try to shape it to how it’s going to work for me. Just learn what you need to know and just keep going.

I have a small question. How often are you brought on to a project that already exists versus building something from scratch?

I will say, 40% of the time, it’s already a project that’s already been started but then abandoned. I’ve always tried to either do brand new websites or redesigns. I have on occasion, been dealt hands where someone goes up to me and says, “Hey, you know, this is kind of a project that we started, but something happened to the developer that was using it and I don’t know what’s going on.” Sometimes it could be a headache because I don’t exactly know– I’ll be lucky enough if it was a page builder that they were just using, but sometimes people try and develop their own personal things.
I have to go in and have to try and figure out what actions, [unintelligible 00:47:42] they’ve been using and what exactly have they been trying to do. That happens on rare occasions, but I’ve managed to pull through them. There’s times when you’re going to take on those kinds of projects where it’s just kind of– It’s a headache, but it’s a choice that you can either do right now. That’s why I strongly believe in onboarding clients before doing it.

When you approach a new client, do you have a questionnaire that you have to figure out what they want and fun stuff like that?

No. The way that I like to do it, is I like to make sure that I understand everything it is that they need. When a client reaches out to me, they’re going to be like, “I need this, this, this.” The two things that I require is that I connect with them on either LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever profile they have, just to make sure they’re an actual person. It’s just another way to build a relationship or build a following. The second thing that I do, is I send them a link to a questionnaire that I have and I have them fill out that questionnaire. It’s basically a questionnaire that asks two different things.


It’s a filter to make sure that it’s people who actually want to embark on the project, and it’s to ward off people who are just kind of scope creeping, and they just a general answer of how much something is going to be because nothing is ever clear cut on– Just because you need this, I don’t exactly know the entire– what you didn’t tell me to do. I’ll connect with them on LinkedIn or Facebook, and I’ll send them a questionnaire. They fill out the questionnaire, I look it over for about three days just to get a good understanding of what their goals are, what their company’s about, who their audience is to make sure they know that they have an audience, then I’ll look it over.


I’ll grade it. [unintelligible 00:50:14] they’re giving a pass or fail. If it’s a fail, then I will just say, “You know what, I don’t think there’s going to be a project.” I’ve had to refuse projects before, just because I’ve had that general feeling where I don’t know if they’re fully understanding– They don’t fully understand what it is that they need, or I’m not the right person that they’re going to– that I’m going to be able to provide a solution for. If they do pass, I do say, “Okay, let’s arrange a meeting.” I’ll bring up everything that they filled out in the questionnaire. I’ll talk to them about it.
Then this is the chance when I really get to dive deep down into trying to figure out what their main goal is. Then from there we all fill out the proposal and I’ll send it to them. It gets signed and then we kick off the project. That’s pretty much– That’s my system for everything. Every client that I go through has to go through that process. I don’t cut corners because if you could simplify everything, that’s the best thing that you could do. That’s just a system that I created for onboarding clients. Actually, that’s fine with it.

Did you come up with that question, this by yourself, or did you find something online or did you have a mentor that push that way?

No. I joined different communities and one of them was luckily enough, they have a questionnaire that was just a regular question. Then I’ve either improved it, added or I’ve taken away stuff. Just if I needed it, if I needed some things off and I just took them off. It all started out from a framework.

Have you had any success building any kind of passive income or just a revenue stream where you’re not doing all that much, you’re still offering some kind of service to your clients and you can rely on that revenue stream?

So far, it’s always just been the maintenance packages that I try and upsell. Typically, what I do is either set it for a six month thing or it’s a one year. Then from that, it’s just a month to month basis where I just either depending on the package that they buy into, I’m either doing the updates, or I’m updating their plugins or their themes or anything like that. The second package is when I’m actually adding content or building landing pages that they need or that they want to start running promotions on.
Then, the next one is just the security to make sure that there’s no malware or cross site hacks going on or anyone trying to brute force their way in. Maintenance has been the bread and butter lately versus just building an entire website by itself.

What are some of the tools you’re using to be able to find new clients, prospect clients, prospect existing clients, upsell, et cetera, et cetera?

When it’s going to promoting, for a while I was using Zoho, to link to all my social media accounts. Recently, I just ended up switching to Hootsuite. That’s what takes care instead of me going back and forth between different social media platforms. Right now, I think Twitter’s the only one where I would actually have to go in and then add a post for my marketing content. I don’t know, Hootsuite takes care of most of it. For the sales, it’s MailChimp and it’s either just– I’m pretty much trying to automate everything. The way that I have it set up is, if someone emails me because they’re interested in a service, then I’ll automatically shoot out a message with the link to the questionnaire, as well as their actions of following me on LinkedIn or Facebook.


If I could get them to the questionnaire, they fill it out and then it just sends another email, as soon as they’re done that I’ll get back to them within three days, when we could sign up. I use Calendly for them to pick a date of when they want to set up a meeting. They pick a date, and then we set up the meeting. Other than that, everything is just manual from there. I switched to Upclick, which I’ve actually liked Upclick. It’s simple and it’s not as complicated as using something like Asana where it comes up with a ridiculous price tag. Just recently, in December, I ended up switching to Upclick for project management.
That’s what I’m currently using for any kind of project to manage all the projects that I have, as well as the clients.

I have my own personal hobby, artist business that I’ve been branding, would you suggest to keep it separate? I was thinking about maybe putting it on my website, but keep it separate and make maybe a new Facebook business page or a new Instagram page that’s just for the digital media stuff I make. Or what do you suggest like branding?

Yes. I would do it separate. I wouldn’t completely shy away from the other business that you do now, because I think what you should do is separate them, but also show that you’re interested in pottery, even though it’s just drone flying, then maybe you could incorporate something that uses a drone while you’re doing pottery or something like that. Or even just showing that you have interest in certain types of things. It doesn’t specific like– When you start your drone Facebook page, it doesn’t have to be all about drones. Some parts of it could just be like, “Hey, I have this other Facebook page where I’m interested in pottery.”


The way that it helps with your branding is it shows that you’re a person, you’re not just a faceless identity. That’s how people build relationships is when they see the other things that people are interested in. Sometimes when I market or when I send out content throughout social media, sometimes it’s not exactly about web development or it’s not about lead generation or anything like that. It’s just like, “Hey, I just watched this movie. I can’t believe I’m just watching it now. It’s a pretty good movie.” People will actually start a conversation about it. It just shows that you’re an actual person.


That’s the way that branding works today is showing that you have interests, that you could relate to people to different people, and at the same time say, “Hey, this is what I do though. This is my primary purpose.”

How am I going to do that? Do you think it’s important and also to make a separate Instagram page that just is about the drone or the digital media side as well?

Yes, it would fall under the same though. Your page doesn’t specifically have to be about drones. It’s always good to show different interests every now and then. It just freshens up your page and it shows that you’re just not all about business, but you have other things that make you happy as well. It’s not only drone flying. The best thing I like about Instagram, it allows you to keep different– you can have two different profiles and then you can just switch back and forth between them.

That’s the way that I was working for a very long time before I ended up getting a Hootsuite, which is what I was using for social media now.


Your page doesn’t have to be entirely about what it is that you do. Its good to incorporate stuff that interests you. If you find an article that relates to pottery, then you could just post it onto your drone account and say, “Hey, this is interesting because this does remind me of this, this, and I’ve always liked this growing up.”

Do you have a go-to people in different segments?

Yes. I do. That’s another important thing about networking especially as an individual. Like I said in the beginning, I wanted to be the go-to person for everything and that was including the development, the marketing, inbound marketing, and outbound marketing, and everything and it was just way too much for me to handle. Along the way, I meet people who could take on different things that I wouldn’t have to. If I do need content for a website– I’m not a huge fan of writing but I know someone who I always go to and that I can rely on who I just go to them and say, “Hey, I need this kind of content. Let’s work together, let’s collaborate on this.”
I do bring other people if I need to to a project and that’s if clients don’t have any content writers or if they don’t have any graphic designers and it’s out of my scope. I know some things about graphic designing, I just don’t want to get too deep into. If it’s something that does require me to have an expert level at it, then I’ll turn to someone who does know more than I do and then we’ll start working together. Like I said, that’s where the price comes in as well. If there’s any reasons why I need or require someone else outside of my skill set I need to come in, then that’s when usually the price does increase because then I have to take care of someone else as well.

Do you usually charge a percentage on top of that? Say, Mary charges $50 an hour for graphic design. Do you normally put a 20% premium on top of that, make sure you’re getting paid along with her?

Yes. I always try and stay away from hourly but sometimes on occasions where it does require me to have a good rough estimate of how much something is going to be then I do have hourly rates that I usually ask other contractors who have that skill. I ask them how much do they charge. What I’ll usually do is tack on a little bit more just to have a little bit of cushion room to make sure like if there’s any mistakes then at least, we can rebound from that and then it’s not going to eat up within the profits or within the budget.
Like I said, usually, that’s the whole reason why I’ve created a system where they fill up the questionnaires so I could get a bigger understanding of exactly what it is that they need. That’s why I always like to have the questionnaire before I have meetings with a client so that nothing just jumps at me and say, “Oh, well, I didn’t know I was going to need this.” I don’t like things that jump out the last minute.

Feature image for the need to know about wordpress child themes

In this article, I hope that I clarify the idea about WordPress child themes, the uses of a child theme, and how to create a child theme. 

this out a doubt, the most common questions clients asked me about WordPress child themes are: 

  • What is a WordPress child theme?
  • When do you need to create a WordPress child theme?
  • Why do you need a child theme?
  • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a child theme?
  • How to create a child theme?

What exactly is a child theme

A WordPress child theme is a WordPress theme that inherits the functionality and style from a parent theme. WordPress created the ability to create a child theme. Because any customization or functions added to a theme would be erased or could break the website whenever the user would have to update. An update is essential for security and the prevention of others hacking into your site. 

With a child theme, you can keep the customization done to your theme and continue to update your parent theme without losing your work or being available to hackers. 

This is the most significant benefit of having a child theme.

To learn more on how to customize your WordPress website. This article will help you achieve the design you want.

THIS IS HOW TO USE ADDITIONAL CSS BOX IN WORDPRESS

Why and When should you use a WordPress child theme?

Using theme frameworks helps designers and developers decrease the production time for creating a website that meets the clients’ needs. There are few occasions when creating a theme from scratch is beneficial, but it is unnecessary in most cases. 

Suppose users are going to customize and make tweaks to there CSS or functions of their WordPress site. In that case, requiring a theme to have a child theme is necessary not to lose your work when you update your parent theme. But if you are going to stay within the limits of the theme’s features, a child theme may no be necessary but would still be a good idea to do anyway. 

On top of everything else, another reason why using a child theme is great to have is because it acts as an extension to the parent theme. The user or developer can create a header.php, footer.php, templates, JavaScript, and CSS file and not worry about affecting the parent WordPress theme. Theoretically, the user can have more files than the parent theme and not worry about losing your work when updating. But if this is the case, I would recommend finding a parent theme with the functionality you need. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a WordPress child theme? 

The advantages of using a child theme are

  • You can safely update your theme regularly.
  • Creating a child theme allows you to have the capability of creating a website that meets your exact needs.
  • It is excellent to have as a fallback just in case a custom functionality breaks. You can away go back to the original function. 

The disadvantages of using a child theme are:

  • There is often a kind of learning curve associated with the parent theme because each theme has its hooks and filters that make up the theme itself. 
  • Another disadvantage comes from the parent them. When dealing with clients’ WordPress websites where the framework’s developers abandon, I have run into many situations, lose interest in maintaining or get acquired by a different development company. 

How do you create a WordPress child theme? 

Fortunately, I have noticed a trend where themes are starting to come with their WordPress child themes attached. This is awesome because it saves you time.

But if a WordPress child theme is not available, then there are two popular methods to creating a WordPress child theme. 

  • Manually create a WordPress Child Theme through FTP or CPanel File Manager
  • Use a WordPress child theme plugin

Manually create a WordPress child theme.

locating the theme folder
  1. Either in your File Manager in your CPanel or through FTP, head to the Public_html > wp-content > themes folder. 

2. Create a new folder within that theme directory. I usually name the child theme after the parent them but attach the child theme afterward like in this example. I turn twentytwentyone into twentytwentyone-child. Do not use spaces for naming. 

3. Using a text editor like Sublime if you are using FTP or in your file manager’s text editor, create a file named style.css and add the following code. 

/* 
Theme Name: Twenty Twenty-One Child 
Theme URL: http://yourdomain.com
Description: This is the child theme of Twenty Twenty-One
Theme Author: Your Name
Author URL: http://yourdomain.com
Template: twentytwentyone 
Version: 1.0.0 
Text Domain: twentytwentyone-child 
*/

4. Make the necessary changes to the code to fit the child theme you are creating for yourself.

5. In the same directory, create a new file named functions.php and the following code inside the file.

<?php
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'enqueue_parent_styles' );
function enqueue_parent_styles() {
   wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri().'/style.css' );
}
?>

6. After this, log in to your WordPress website and make your way to the themes page. If done correctly, you should see the WordPress child theme.

How to create a WordPress child theme using a plugin. 

Image of the WordPress dashboard
  1. Head to the Plugins page in your WordPress dashboard.
Image of the WordPress dashboard

2. From your plugin page, navigate to “add plugin.” For this example, in the search bar, type child theme. I will be using “Child Theme Generator” to create our WordPress child theme. Install and activate the plugin. 

WordPress plugin page showing Child Theme Generator

3. From the plugins page, locate the “Child Theme Generator” and click on the “Create” option. 

selecting the WordPress theme from the drop down menu

4. In the drop-down, locate the theme that you want to use to create the WordPress child theme. In this example, we are going to continue to use the Twenty Twenty-One theme.

filling in information to create the WordPress child theme

5. In the “Heading,” type the name you want to give your WordPress child theme. Here I typed “Twenty Twenty-One Child,” and for the “Description,” I placed a description about the child theme being created, “This is the child theme for Twenty Twenty-One Theme.” After you are done filling in the two fields, create the new child theme.

finalize the Child Theme installation and activation

6. Check the “Activate child-theme” box and then click the finished button.

preview of the WordPress Child theme

7. Go to the Themes page in your dashboard, and you should see the new child theme created and activated. 

Conclusion

I hope you now have a good grasp of the importance of a WordPress child when to use, the pros and cons, and how to create a child theme for your WordPress website. My goal for this article is to provide easy to consume knowledge about WordPress and Web Development. 

Please share if you found this article helpful!

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Featured image for the blog 4 Ways to Help with your branding on your website

In an online world, presenting yourself to your customers or audience is important. It is equally important for your website to match your same branding. There is no more of a turn off to customers to have interest in someone or something like wanting one thing but than to find out it’s not the same as the product or service offered. That is why, besides the 4 ways im going to mention, consistency is important through out your whole marketing strategy. So here are the 4 important ways on how to help your website match your branding.


Clear goal

There are many goals as a business that you want to accomplish.

  • get traffic
  • make sales
  • nurture leads
  • market your business
  • the list goes on

Not to say that these are important, but trying to accomplish all of these at once is not practical. Instead of pulling yourself into many different directions, Focus on one goal and let the rest fall into place. 

What is the one thing you want your visitor to do?

  • sign up for a newsletter
  • sign up for a class
  • contact you for information about a service
  • buy a product or service from you

If you want them to sign up for a newsletter, then offer an enticing E-book, industry report, or make an offer that you will provide unique content. 

Website Visuals

As soon as a visitor comes to your website, you have 3 seconds to draw them into something fascinating. The fascination is your personality and cohesive visual flow. 

  • Personality

Today, visitors and customers do not want to buy from you, they want to have a relationship with you, and they want to know who you are and what you believe. Websites have come a long way from the simple info site format. Websites need to feel like you are having a conversation with the viewer, so make sure that your website sounds human and compassionate and not cold and logical. 

  • Logo

Your logo must feel relevant to your branding or business. There is no such thing as a perfect logo or an ideal design of a logo, but put some effort into it but not so much where it becomes frustrating. 

These colors will help you design a fluent design and help you add some character to your pages throughout the website. 

  • Images and Illustrations

Nothing is more distracting than mismatched images and illustrations. A website is about consistency in everything from colors, text, fonts, and Images. Your photos should be high quality images but also use the same filter if you are going to be modifying them as well as the same style and same environment.  

  • Fonts
    • You don’t want to overwhelm a visitor with a barrage of different fonts in your paragraphs and headings. There is nothing attractive about that. Also, it can complicate the process of building a website where it should be simple. It’s not only your website, but fonts can also be handy in all your marketing material. I recommend using no more than two fonts (three under certain circumstances): 
      • Headings (elegant or unique font)
      • subheadings and paragraph text (readable font)

Template Layouts

It is rare for a theme or page builder to offer some page builder template. Utilize this because it not only saves you time but also helps you stay consistent when building support and landing pages. Using templates is a great idea is because if some are skimming through your web pages or blog posts. Help the readers maintain a flow, so it gives your reading a chance to absorb as much information as possible without the need for your reader having to learn a different layout on different pages. 

Cohesive Content Strategy 

  • Messaging
  • SEO
  • Mission
  • Unique Value Proposition

The words you use, the tone in how you say it as well as what you say is important because it helps you build 

  • Authority
    • Authority is the driving force to becoming influential in the space you want to occupy. When someone has a problem that needs to be solved, having authority gives you the advantage of providing a solution over others. 
  • Trust
    • Staying consistent with your messaging also helps build trust. This is because when you remain consistent in speak and action over and over again, your audience will see that you have integrity in your beliefs and values. This kind of trust brings the necessary comfort to your audience to buy from you. 
  • Affinity
    • Affinity comes when trust is built. Affinity is when your audience likes what you say and stand for. This is also important to make because this provides the opportunity to nurture your audience. 

Through this short article, I briefly touched base upon why branding is essential for your website. I only scratched the surface of this topic. But if I can offer you one more piece of advice, you need to be consistent and keep it simple. Starting is hard enough, and going deeper into this subject will only overwhelm you.

Are you ready to make an impact for your business?

I briefly touched base upon why branding is essential for your website. I only scratched the surface of this topic. But if I can offer you one more piece of advice, you need to be consistent and keep it simple. Starting is hard enough, and going deeper into this subject will only overwhelm you.

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feature image for the article 4 Characteristics That Make an Effective Landing Page

There is one reason for creating a landing page.

They are converting prospects into buyers.

Creating a landing page, especially if you are a small business owner or start-up, is intimidating to go through but very important for your marketing strategy. There is no such thing as a perfect landing page. A landing page needs to be a page that goes through the process of improvement over time. 

However, some characteristics need to be focused on to create a high converting landing page. Here are the four characteristics that successful marketers have found to be essential in every landing page. 

The Flow of Information Needs to be Organized

Prospects visit your landing page for a specific reason, so don’t expect them to hunt for what they want to know. On the top of your page, give your prospect the best and essential feature along with the reason why they need that feature. Also, Include a call-to-action with that feature. 

Placing the CTA (call-to-action) above the page may feel awkward to do, but you must consider that your prospects will not scroll past half of the landing page before they decide to leave. 

recap: On the top of the landing page, you should have

  • The best feature
  • The reason your prospect needs that feature
  • A call-to-action to get your product or service

Headlines Need to be Priority

The headline is what drives the prospect to your offer. It is as simple as that. How do you write a compelling headline? 

Here are some quick tips on how to do that.

Use Colors Effectively

Before you put preferred colors on heading and bold words, it is crucial to consider that colors trigger different emotions subconsciously. 

  • Yellow: Clarity and warmth (Nikon, UPS, Hertz, Mcdonalds)
  • Orange: Friendly, cheerful, confident (Shutterfly, Amazon, FireFox)
  • Red: Excitement, youthful, bold (Nintendo, Target, Lego, Coca-Cola)
  • Purple: Creative, Imaginative, Wise (SyFy, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hallmark, Yahoo)
  • Blue: Trust, Dependable, Strength (Dell, WordPress, American Express, Walmart)
  • Green: Peaceful, growth, healthy (Whole Foods, Starbucks, Animal Planet, Girl Scouts)
  • White: Balance, neutral, calm (Apple, Nike, Wikipedia, Honda)

If you want to learn more about how colors can affect your brand, Help Scout has a great article on how colors are used in many ways regarding branding, logo, and website design. 

Provide Credibility and Approval

Social proof is essential to have on landing pages because influence is created when a person finds out that others have experienced something. We live in an age where testimonials have become more valuable than a word-to-mouth referral; that is not to say that word-to-mouth referral is not beneficial, but providing social proof gives you credibility and authority. 

There are five ways to add social proof:

  • Customer testimonials (this is a classic)
  • Case studies. Similar to a testimonial. However, the difference is that case studies detail how your service and/product impacted your customer. 
  • Have the number of shares visible to see. 
  • Embed social media posts into the page. 
  • Show how many downloads your product has or how many customers you have provided a service to. 
  • You can use more than one of these ways listed above to provide social proof to your prospect.  

Hubspot has an in-depth article about social proof

Conclusion

As I mentioned before, a landing page is something that you have to improve over time, let’s say, every business quarter. But adding these four characteristics to your stray of creating a landing page will help boost the conversion rates and see the growth you want to see from the investment of taking the time to make your landing page. 

Are you ready to make an impact for your business?

Tomorrow never comes today! Feel free to reach out if you want to make an impact to your businesses digital presence.

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featured image for the article A simple strategy for your business during covid and beyond

I talked with a client during our weekly meeting, and we stumbled into a conversation about how we would determine a business’s success during COVID and beyond. 

Without a doubt, COVID has changed the way we do business, But the tools we use to do business existed before COVID. The most important tool is “owned media.”

There are three different media types every business needs. 

  • Earned Media
  • Paid Media
  • Owned Media

Earned Media

Earned media” are platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In (my favorite), YouTube, Google, etc. Earned media platforms are anything that you have to put effort into communicating with your audience. 

This media is excellent for building exposure, branding, trust, and authority. This kind of media should never be entirely relied on for creating a presence. Many small businesses have a social media profile and no website. This puts your business at significant risk because if that platform were to decide that your business page violates the platform’s code of conduct and then removes your page. All that hard work of building an audience is no thrown away. 

Paid Media

Paid media” is any advertisement you pay for on any of the platforms listed above. Paid media is a good investment only if you know who your audience is. 

If you are still in your business’s discovery stage, the discovery stage is when you are analyzing who is interested in what you have and narrowing it down to the perfect buyer. Otherwise, you will be throwing money away if you try and target the general public and not a segmented group of people. 

Owned Media

Lastly, “Owned media” is a necessity. Owned Media are any platforms that you own. This means websites, podcasts, emails, newsletters, blogs, online learning content, and even a membership site. 

The reason why Owned media is essential to have today is that you own that media source. That is your domain to use. Whether you are promoting, selling, or expressing your views of the world or industry, your site’s content cannot be taken down. 

Going back to the question, I was asked, “how I would determine a business’s success during COVID and beyond.” My answer is any business that UTILIZES their owned media by leveraging earned and paid media. 

When you, as a business or influencer, post something on earned media or pays for advertisements, It needs to be linked back to you, something you own. 

for example:

You post a video or do a live stream on FB (earned media), that video needs to be linked to your website or e-commerce (owned media) site so your audience can either find more information or purchase that product or service from you. 

simplified version

Earned media > product or service > website or ecommerce > buy

Conclusion

It sounds like common sense, but so many small businesses make the mistake of not using the simple flow of driving people from the marketing phase, using earned and paid media to attract an audience, to the selling phase, urging the audience to buy build interest. 

If you want your business to not only survive but to thrive, then utilizing your owned media and leveraging earned and paid media traffic toward your owned media is the best place to start.

Are you ready to make an impact for your business?

Tomorrow never comes today! Feel free to reach out if you want to make an impact to your businesses digital presence.

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