Starting a Productized Web Design Business

The whole point of this site is me to position myself as an expert in the online course / education industry, and eventually teach courses around strategy and tactics. And here I am, I’ve set up a partnership to validate things, and I have been freelancing web design, just the last 9 months I averaged around 1k a month from working a bit on the side, and my accountant is saying – sell some services, get some money in the door, validate your business. Good advice really. So I thought let’s get a bit more into web design.The dumb things is, I don’t even like it that much. I mean I love designing cool sites. But I hate coding, I hate hosting, I hate when things break, I hate code envy, I hate other dudes who tell you how much better they would have done. I hate design speak. I hate how everyone either goes on about how technology has killed web design, any dope with 2 hours playtime can make a website, it isn’t good for design and blah blah.

I mean, my whole goal is to create real value in this online course niche, get the message out to people I connect with, then build some really valuable courses and sell them to this niche, focused market, and really serve my audience. Teaching something I really find fascinating. This is so far from that – web design? Bro, this is so 90’s. So, to make it more real, I thought I’d focus on the things that will matter in the industry I have chosen – and that is web site and lead magnet optimization, audience / list-building strategy, email & content marketing strategy, sales funnels, online course implementation etc.

I have no idea who or where this market is. Regardless, if I where to follow the usual model, I would assume there is a market, make up some positioning, build it in secret, write the sales copy myself, release the product, then try to find some customers.  Instead, I am starting out low impact – I haven’t bought a domain, or decided who or what I will really serve. I just know I’ve got some good value based around landing page development, lead gen, list building, content marketing etc and once I find my market I can really kill it.

When I said I was going to get into web design I knew I’d hear a few repetitive comments. One was “heaps of people do that”. Another, “anyone can do that these days”. etc etc. I have long ago realised any asshole who talks like this isn’t in fact an asshole. They are just suffering from a scarcity mentality, that because someone else does something, or does well, that means there is less for everyone else. I’ll rant about that another day. For now – it’s crap. Your results are a function of your relevance, your marketing, your sales, your personality, your connection, all matter of things.

Now, the last 3 sites I have worked on were tourism related – a Ski School / Outdoor Center in the Japanese Alps, a Boutique accommodation provider in Napier and a bike rental and tour operator in Hawke’s Bay. I have years of experience working in tourism and understand the industry well. But for me to really add good value to tourism providers, I should be looking at custom coding a booking engine. It doesn’t sound that hard does it. “Just set up rules by which to create questions and functionality and have a drag and drop interface”. “Get some developer in India”. I have read 4HWW. I have listened to Chris Ducker’s podcast. I know all about it. I worked with a Ruby developer trying to build exactly what I wanted for our ski school in Japan. It takes time. It’s clunky. It’s not me right now. So I can niche even further. NZ Tourism operators who need a modern website but don’t need a custom booking system. I don’t think I can really serve that niche that well.

Midwives? Yes. Accountant? Yes.