Speaker 0 00:00:00 The other thing that I'll say too, when it comes to imposter syndrome in the early days, is a quote that you told me, Troy, when I interviewed you on my podcast. Oh God, you told me one of the best quotes of the year, and that was that you don't need to be the best web designer period. You just need to be the best web designer in your client's sphere. And I don't know if you thought about that much, you said it kind of offhand, but I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. That is, that is good.
Speaker 1 00:00:26 Welcome to the Agency Hour podcast This week we have no agenda and there are no giveaways. That's right. We are just jamming, keeping it authentic, and having a genuine conversation With my good friend Josh Hall. We're discussing everything from competing with lower price course providers, the end all to imposter syndrome, and the need for what we are calling a webmaster. I'm Troy Dean. Stay with us Goodday. Folks, welcome back to 2023. This is our first podcast recording for the year, and I am super excited to be back in the seat here hosting the agency Hour. My name is Troy Dean, of course, coming to you live from the greatest city on the planet Melbourne, Australia. And my guest for the first, uh, first episode this year. My guest is none other than Josh Hall. Hey brother, how
Speaker 0 00:01:10 Are you? Good to see you again, Troy. I'm coming from the best city state side, at least Columbus, Ohio. Uh, so it's, it's, it's dinnertime here. Morning time where you are, but that's the beauty of the online world now. We just, we we'll work
Speaker 1 00:01:23 It out. So good. Max, I was telling Max that I was on your podcast a while ago, and Max was telling me he saw this clip over the holidays. Max is our producer, by the way. He, he saw this clip over the holidays of a guy who is pretending to be, uh, two characters. And he, he says, oh, hey man, welcome to the podcast. Oh yeah, good things. I was on your podcast too. Oh yeah. How did you find out? My podcast from this other guy's podcast who loves your podcast and basically spent the entire episode talking about everyone's podcast. And it was just like a great big echo chamber. And I feel like it can get into, I feel like it can become a bit of an echo chamber, but I straight outta the gate. I wanna ask you, how, what impact has your podcast had on your business and your life?
Speaker 0 00:02:00 Oh my gosh. Massive, huge. Like it's the number one generator for my best students and customers who come into my courses. Now, I'm a essentially a web design business coach, not dissimilar to what you guys are doing with a agency, Mavericks. And that is from the, like the, the customer standpoint, but then there's the relationship side and the, the people I get to meet, like Troy, I don't know if you and I would ever communicate outside of this other than maybe if I was on your email list and I responded like, the, a podcast gave me the chance to hang out with Troy Dean, which is my mind is the biggest win I can think of it. So <laugh>. Yeah, there really is the two And honesty, I'll stop it this, stop it. There's the two sides of it. There's like, there's the, the trust building authority aspect of it, and then there's the relationships that it opens up. Uh, cuz there's just something about last point on this, I think for me is there's something about the trust that you build with audio in your ears that you just don't get with quick video. And I'm a huge fan of blogging and writing and all sorts of mediums, but there's something about listening to somebody while you're doing the dishes, mowing the lawn and driving, that just adds this element of trust and authority. So it's been a big impact.
Speaker 1 00:03:10 Yeah, totally. And I feel, I mean, I feel like it, I feel like you kind of, I, whenever I listen to a podcast, I feel like I'm eavesdropping on someone's private conversation. I, I feel like I've, for me, it's the format that, uh, I feel like I'm cheating. I remember the, one of the first podcasts I really got hooked on, there were three, there was John Lee Douma, pat Flynn, and Amy Porterfield. And I would just listen to those guys on rotation. And every time I, I would just get off the, the end of the episode, be like, I felt like I was the only person that was privy to that conversation. It's such an intimate format in having the, especially having headphones on it, such an intimate format. I love it.
Speaker 0 00:03:45 Yeah, I agree. There, there is something. And I think that lends itself to be more conversational now. I actually think now there's no better time to be more just casual, real authentic and less polished. Like I'm a big fan of just letting it go, just record. If you say something that absolutely needs to be taken out, I guess that's your prerogative. But in my mind, if you say a little filler word here or there, it just keeps it real. Like I think in a world of AI and things that are too polished and perfect, the little humanism we have, and just a real chat casual conversation that let people ease on, ease in on that. I, I think it's really powerful. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:04:23 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and, and just for the listeners here, right, just to prove a point for the listeners, we basically have no agenda for this episode, right? I mean, we, I know what you do. I know a little bit about your background. You know, you know what we do. I mean, we, we don't have like, here's the three things that we're gonna cover in this episode. We're just hanging out, having a conversation and we're recording it, and we're gonna publish it, and hopefully it's valuable to people. Right?
Speaker 0 00:04:43 I honestly, that's why I was so excited to do this on top of just getting the chat with you again and being on the show. It's like, there is not like a, can you give us seven bullet points and you have two, two minutes each point. Like that just lends itself. Like, if you're doing a polished YouTube video that is gonna piece be a piece of content that is intentional in certain places, then yeah, that might work. But there a podcast is by definition a conversation unless it's a solo episode. So yeah, I love episodes that are open ended. And to be honest, I've been doing a podcast for over three years now. Some of my best episodes have been the, like, I don't know exactly what we're gonna talk about. And then it just gets awesome.
Speaker 1 00:05:21 Usually. Yeah, I, I also, I I know like guys like Andrew Warner at Mixergy and John Lee Douma. I know they, they do like a lot of prep before the call. In fact, with Andrew Warner at Mixergy when I was on his podcast, you have to, you haven't like an hour long call with his producer before you do the episode, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I'm like, okay, first of all, that's too much work. I don't have the attention span for that. Two, I like, I mean, I, and I love Andrew Deitz. I hang out with him in San Francisco when we're out there. He's a great guy. He's very generous with his time, and he's just awesome and shorter in real life than I thought. Anyway. Um, I like discovering things about my guests at the same time as the audience, right? I remember doing one of my, I remember doing an episode of a podcast, and this guy was telling me that he was flying, uh, he was flying internationally, and during the flight, his father passed away.
Speaker 1 00:06:07 So when he landed, he discovered the news that his father passed away. And I went, holy shit, I had no idea. I discovered this, this, this piece of information at the same time as my audience. So I had an authentic reaction to, I mean, I was almost in tears. The guy was being, he was like, so, and it was recent, so he's still pretty raw from it. And I like this. I don't like to know too much about the guest or what we're gonna talk about before it happens, because then I feel like my responses are contrived, right? I, I just like to kind of go, oh, wow, I didn't know that. Let's park here for a second and explore that
Speaker 0 00:06:37 Because it's real and it's real time. I guarantee I would prefer to listen to that first hour of you getting to know each other before you hit record than the actual, than the
Speaker 1 00:06:46 Ax. Actual a hundred percent. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:06:48 Yeah, yeah. Totally. Actually, it's funny, GoDaddy, recently, I, I did something for GoDaddy. They reached out and requested if I would be interested in doing a feature video, uh, for their YouTube channel. And I was like, yeah, I, I don't love GoDaddy for hosting, but I use it for domain management and well, that'd be kind of cool. So I did it, same thing. They interviewed me for an hour and we went over all these questions and I was so much better and like during that interview process, and then they were like, okay, now we're gonna record and do it all over again. And then I was suddenly like, stiff and robotic and God Exactly. And things like that. So I hope this is a good lesson, that if you do anything, even when it comes to talking with clients and stuff, real authentic off the cuff often, uh, goes over better. And it's just more enjoyable all around in my
Speaker 1 00:07:31 Mind. I wanna come back and talk about that in, in a minute because I think, I think confidence and conviction, uh, the two things that allow you to just kind of wing it or think on your feet and, and not have a planned agenda as such. Right. Um, so let's come back and talk about confidence and conviction in a second. But before we get there, uh, who the hell are you and what do you do <laugh>, and why, why are you on the podcast
Speaker 0 00:07:51 <laugh>? Yeah, so I now, I am a, essentially a web design business coach. So, like I said, similar to agency Mavericks, I think where I'm positioned is in the market is I primarily help freelancers and solo openers with small teams. And I just focus on web design. I do not teach digital marketing agencies or really people who identify as an agency. So I'm really in kind of a niche market. I'm basically teaching people where Josh was 10 years ago, building a solo printer business to six and, and like multi six figures in the quarter million range. That's my sweet spot for students. Previous to that, I was, I guess depending on how far back we want to go, it all started when I was a cabinet maker for a tour bus customizing shop. Uh, got to work on like Johnny Cash's bus one time, a Metallica's bus.
Speaker 0 00:08:42 I literally, wow. Yeah, it was for tour buses. That was my job through high school. And then I became a cabinet maker and it was a cool job, but I got laid off in 2009 when the, uh, the US economy got hit really hard, as I think, think everyone did back then. I don't know, I was so young, I didn't know what the heck was going on, but cabinet maker by day, and I was also a drummer in a rock band at night. We were playing all over the states kind of weekend warriors. And because I was in a rock band, we needed artwork and we needed t-shirt design. So I had always had an interest in art and design. So the day after I got laid off from my cabinet making job, I was like, screw it. I'm gonna learn Photoshop. And then I started doing t-shirt designs and artwork and, um, did it for my band. And the next thing you know, I, we were playing a festival and somebody asked me, like, the light bulb moment moment for me was when they said, Hey Josh, how much would you charge to do our artwork? And I was like, wow. I can get paid at doing something I enjoy doing. That was the start of my foray into graphic design and website design. I did that for nearly a decade before I started teaching
Speaker 1 00:09:45 It. Wow, that's great. Um, how the hell did you get the job as the working on the tour buses? Did you know people or did like,
Speaker 0 00:09:53 We did know the owner. The owner used to be my, my family's neighbor. And then turns out where we moved to outside of Columbus was literally I could throw a rock and hit the shop. So he was like, I'll tell you what, he's like, we need help. Like, cleaning the floors and cleaning the bathrooms, what you wanna talk about, a terrible, shitty job. Cleaning the bathrooms for a bunch of warehouse dudes after a full day of work was rough. So any hardship I've experienced in web design is cake compared to what I went through back then. Yes. But, uh, in all honesty, like it was literally right down the road and I just walked down after high school. I worked for a couple hours and, and then eventually once I graduated, I have a very, uh, kinship feeling with you, Troy, because I was not an academic. Um, I wouldn't call myself a rebel by any means, but that world was just not for me. I would lose my mind in a cubicle. So I just became a cabinet maker outside of high school and, uh, started doing that until yeah, getting into design.
Speaker 1 00:10:48 Wow. And then, and so then at some point, okay, so you, now you're doing some artwork for other bands. At what, at what point do you tackle, because, you know, building, designing and building a website's very different from designing a t-shirt, right? You design a t-shirt, it gets printed, you're done, you design and build a website, it goes live, and then you're attached to it for the rest of your miserable life doing updates and, you know, <laugh>. So at what point did you make that leap into, into the web and what, what timeframe are we talking? What year are we talking here that you went in, got into web design?
Speaker 0 00:11:15 It was pretty quick. It was less than a couple years. I think it's, and I've, I've seen this with a lot of my students who come from a graphic design in branding background. It's like all roads lead to the web, all roads lead to websites. So inevitably I'm designing t-shirts and eventually I did like brochures and business cards for real companies. And they'd be like, we love our business card. Do you do websites too? Because we need a website. So that's kind of how it started. Uh, and I technically started getting like trained for websites back in the dream weaver days. This was, oh yes, 2010 is when I, so it was actually less than a year that I, I started diving into website stuff. I was actually helping out with a church. I used to be a drummer for the praise band at the same time.
Speaker 0 00:11:59 And they knew I was doing design, and they were like, Hey, we don't have anyone doing our church website. Would you like to give it a go? We'll pay for some night classes at the community college. That's how I learned Dream Weaver. And then, man, once I found WordPress, and it was just like everyone was asking about websites, and eventually I was like, okay, I need to take this seriously. And, uh, then eventually I discovered divvy and page builders, and that's what really changed the game for me. And then I went from essentially doing like half graphic design, half website design to phasing all the graphic design out and focusing solely on website design for clients. Love
Speaker 1 00:12:32 It. And then at some point you decide that you want to teach, and I've been through this same journey myself, so I, I kind of get it, but I wonder if you can explain to the viewers, at some point you decide that you want to teach others to design websites or start a business as a web designer. Which, which is it?
Speaker 0 00:12:49 It started with designing websites and now it's the business side of things. So yeah, even the progression that I made as a freelancer, going from graphic design to web design, it parallels what I've gone through the last five years as, uh, I don't know what to call myself a coach educator, influencer. I don't know, from like teaching people to build divvy websites. And if you, if you search divvy tutorials, you'll probably see one of my videos mm-hmm. <affirmative> in WordPress tutorials. I do have a lot of those out there. But then eventually I realized that, you know what, I've built a six figure web design business. I'm not doing seven figures, but a lot of people would kill to get to a quarter million. And I undervalued the knowledge that I had accrued and, and created, and I found out that what I thought was like, no big deal were actually some really cool processes that no one else like taught me. I just kind of came to them on my own, and that's what I started sharing. And then that eventually got me into more of the business coaching for web design. Um, so yeah, similarly, it's like it's, it goes niche and then it goes niche and niche and niche. You know, I think it's really common with any sort of service, service work. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:13:57 Yeah. And, and so did you, at some point, did you stop doing web design for clients and just go all in on the coaching?
Speaker 0 00:14:02 Yeah. The way the coaching came about, there was a couple different things that I think sparked the, the teacher inside of me. One was I joined this afterschool program for my local high school for, um, creative students. It was like a, like a media school, uh, media program. Most of the kids in there were interested in like 3D design or game design, although I'm sure none of them could hit deadlines, like 3D designers need to. Uh, but I did have a couple students they gave me that were awesome and they were so interested in what I was doing. They were like, whoa, whoa, whoa, you don't work for anyone else. Like, you just work from home and you make like a hundred thousand or more a year. I had a couple of those students who lit the fire in me to teach them. And then when I had some opportunities to teach at scale, when I thought, wow, I don't need to like go, go to a high school in a room with three kids.
Speaker 0 00:14:53 I could like do this online at, at scale, at mass. It was a big, big turning point that that really stoked the fire for, for teaching. And actually that point came when I found out that the content director for Elegant themes, the creators of Divvy, also lived in Columbus. I found that out and I was like, you know what? I'm just gonna ask him to coffee. No ag, kinda like this call. No agenda. No, I'm not gonna like ask to be on the team or ask for anything. I just want to hang out and get to know him and share what I've done. And then getting to know each other. He was like, Hey, would you be interested in sharing your experience and writing on the Elegant Themes blog? No pressure. There's like 3 million viewers right now on the blog and we get massive traffic. Uh, so that was, that was my foray into getting into like the divvy community and then sharing what I knew. And then, then I started my personal brand and started teaching from there.
Speaker 1 00:15:43 Got it. No pressure. Uh, love it. And so, uh, did you, so you leveraged the elegant themes, um, profile to build your own audience. How did you start, how did you, because you know, I've, not only have, we, not only are we, uh, we are now essentially an agency coaching company, but I also had a sideline for about th two years called Rockstar Empires was I was where I was teaching other people how to create and launch courses. And the one thing I saw more than anything is people trying to launch a course to an audience of like 50 people. And it's like, dude, like you, you need an audience. So how did you leverage your profile there to build your own audience to then launch stuff to
Speaker 0 00:16:21 Yeah, it's a great point. I, it's so tough because you build an audience. Ideally you have, you would've something to sell just to make it worthwhile on the books. I'm kind of glad I went the opposite way. I literally built an audience with selling nothing. Um, at the time I was still running my agency and scaling it, and by scaling, I basically had a couple contractors. We were doing, you know, the, the 200,000 rangers. So with my web design business, which was totally fine. What, what I learned was as I was scaling my web design agency, it freed me up to do this teaching, this side hustle, which was basically a passion project. But I was in a business coaching program at the time and they were like, Josh, I understand you're really passionate about this, but on the books, this is killing you. Like you're spending half of your time now creating tutorials and writing for elegant themes and doing all this stuff, like you're not selling anything.
Speaker 0 00:17:09 But what I was doing was building an audience. So when I released, my first course I made about, it was around $10,000 my first launch. And I was like, I'm in, I am in, if I could do this over and over and do higher courses, I mean, it was like I'm done with the agency stuff after that. I, uh, to answer your question from a little bit ago that I didn't answer, yes, I did eventually stop working with clients. I actually sold my agency in 2020, uh, coincidentally to one of my students actually who had been through all my courses and, uh, he took over all the clients and I'm happy to go into that. That was not an easy decision. I had a couple tears on that one. Like, that was a big life change for me to go full-time courses in coaching. But, uh, that's what I did. Yeah. Once that course bug hit and was slightly successful, it just steamrolled and spiraled from there.
Speaker 1 00:17:58 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I wanna come back to confidence and conviction in a second. Uh, but before we, just before we do that, what's your team like these days? How ma what infrastructure do you have now to manage your business and how different is that to the agency?
Speaker 0 00:18:09 It's different in the way of, that's a great question. With the agency I had, I started small and I teach all my students. When you start to scale, scale could be anything from like, yeah, having like in-house full-time staff to just having a couple subcontractors who do the work or take off the task that you just don't want to do or they're killing you or you're just not well suited for. So when I started dishing out and delegating work in my agency days, it was for the design work and repeatable tasks, things that we couldn't automate. Eventually I brought my lead designer who was actually based in Melbourne, so, uh, in Australia and Ozzy, um, which is kind of cool cuz I worked during the day and then he worked during the night. So by the time I checked in in the morning the work was done.
Speaker 0 00:18:51 It was kind of cool. Yep, yep. But yeah, I brought him in. Eventually he started doing project communication and working with clients and then eventually I got to the point where all I was doing in my business was sales and onboarding with clients than he took over the projects. Um, so the, when my team there, it was actually probably less than what I have now cuz he was just doing projects, a couple other support people. Um, now my team looks like a virtual assistant who does all of the podcast distribution, a lot of my emails, um, she keeps me on track with all the calls that I do for coaching and stuff like that and my membership. And then I have a editor who edits the podcast, both video and audio snippets together. I did recently hire a, a social media guy who was also one of my students, um, who's dished everything out on social media. So generally if anyone follows me, I, I'm not the one posting most everything. It's him now. And then, uh, I have a couple contractors who help out with some web design work and, and additional projects I'm doing. So yeah, that's kind of what it looks like now, but it's very low cost. Um, I actually, I think I pay more in subscriptions and tools than I probably do with, with team members nowadays.
Speaker 1 00:19:57 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so you are doing the coaching, you are the one that delivers the course material and then you are the one that coaches the clients through that curriculum.
Speaker 0 00:20:05 So here's what's weird and wild. I have not created a new course since 2020. That is what really blows my mind. Like I've been able to sustain a multi six figure online coaching and, and course business with materials that were are three years old at this point. Now I have gone in and revamped lessons that need to be revamped, but it has been an interesting case study showing that a course can still do very well if you continue to market it and do things like podcasts, authority, building content, as long as the course is good and is getting results. Um, but I essentially have two different, like main products, my income right now, how timely. I literally just looked at the percentages of everything. Most of my income, like 60 plus percent comes from my courses, my online courses. And then about 30% comes from my membership. I have a, a web design community, probably not dissimilar from agency Mavericks, and then I have some other money with like, affiliates and, and random stuff. Uh, but those are the, the two biggies and they kind of marry, uh, with each other as of right now.
Speaker 1 00:21:07 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cool. Love it. Um, thank you for sharing, dude, that's super helpful and I think is really insightful for people listening to this as well. Cause I know there are a lot of people in the agency space who, who, so there's a lot of people in the agency space who think that they're gonna pivot into the course space because they have some knowledge and then they do it and they realize how freaking hard it is.
Speaker 0 00:21:26 It's very hard.
Speaker 1 00:21:27 It's very difficult. It's very difficult. It's like, it's not for the Fainthearted man at all. I've seen a lot of people try it and fail because they don't have an audience or they just don't, they just give up. They just don't promote it enough. They don't do enough marketing. They feel like they've built it and now people are gonna come and they're just, they're just not. And also you're up against you Demi and Coursera and Skillshare where you can, I mean, whatever you feel about those platforms, the reality is you can go and buy a really, uh, mostly you can find really good training on those platforms at the consumer can find good training at really cheap price points, right? So you have to differentiate what it is your, if you're selling a cause for like 4 97 or a thousand or whatever, you have to go, you know, this is not Coursera, it's not you Demi, everything on Udemi is $19. Right? How do you differentiate from that? It's a very competitive space these days.
Speaker 0 00:22:16 That's a great point. I think for me personally, it helped that I had the authority I did in the Divvy community and I was posting divvy tutorials weekly on my YouTube channel. So my YouTube channel blew up around that once I started my podcast. Interestingly enough, that really brought me into the business realm. Like people were more business-centric listening to podcasts. So that's, that's an interesting takeaway too, for anyone considering YouTube or podcasts. They can work well together, but generally the behavior is different for YouTube. Like for YouTube in MySpace, most people are searching web design tricks or how to build a divvy website, things like that. Podcasts, people are like clients, the, you know, the business side of things. So I think all those things married into the value that I had versus some of these Udemy courses or stuff like that. And I think honestly, having a personal brand helped me as well.
Speaker 0 00:23:09 I was just probably like everyone, I'm like, do I go with a business name or a personal brand? I don't know. What do I do? I eventually, uh, are you familiar with, uh, bird's Donkey? That, that, that tale? It's, uh, so one of my favorite authors, Derek Severs, um, oh yes, he's, yeah, Derek's, uh, he's actually coming on my podcast in a couple weeks. I'm stoked to, to chat with him. I love Derek. He talks about this though. Whereas basically there's this donkey and he's in the middle of like, there's hay over here and there's water over here, and he just can't decide whether to get the hay or whether to get the water. And he just stands in the middle and eventually he just collapses and dies. <laugh> and Javita known, just go get some water, then you can figure it out, then you can go get some hay or backtrack like that would've been fine.
Speaker 0 00:23:53 So I say that to say, when it came to choosing a business name or a personal brand, I was a donkey for a while and I was like, screw it. I'm going personal brand. If I wanna do an agency name, eventually I can do it. Uh, but I think in hindsight it was really good because it made it more personal for my students. And I don't mean that disparaging to a agency, Mavericks or anyone who has a more robust type of like multiple, you know, team behind it. Um, but I do think that's what may have separated me at that point with some courses. But there's pros and cons to that. Some people wanna have more support with, with more people involved as well. So, uh, I think it could work both ways. That's just my experience and, and what's worked for
Speaker 1 00:24:29 Me. Yeah, for sure. And I think the personal brand is definitely, um, more accessible to people. Like I, you know, one of the things about the HubSpot podcast that intrigued me initially and then kind of just bugged me is that every episode I tuned in, I didn't know who was gonna host it, right? It was like, it could be someone different every time. And that inconsistency actually really bugged me. One of the things I like about the Entree Leadership podcast was that for years it was, it was Ken Coleman and then they transitioned and Ken Coleman went and did the Ken Coleman show, and he didn't wanna do the Entree Leadership podcast anymore. So they brought in another guy, Daniel, who sat in and kind of co-hosted a few episodes for a few months, and then they transitioned over to Daniel. And by that time I was used to Daniel and I had trust in, in that relationship as a presenter, right?
Speaker 1 00:25:14 So that consistency, I think, and, and the, because with it's, particularly with a podcast, right? Is it's such an as, as we've already spoken about, it's such an intimate personal thing, is that you want to feel an affinity for the presenter. And so if it's just this, well, today we've got the marketing manager from HubSpot, and next week we're gonna have a guy from the production team because the marketing manager's not available. It's like, well, I dunno what I'm getting. And it's a bit inconsistent. Turns out that was my experience as a HubSpot customer too. So, um, you know, there you go. I spent 70, I spent seven years wanting to be a HubSpot customer, two years being a HubSpot customer. And, and now I'm kind of burnt. Anyway, that's another story.
Speaker 0 00:25:51 Well, in quick story, funny enough, I actually just recently rebranded my podcast from a personal brand to the web design business podcast solely because with Josh Hall, it's in there. But solely because when I thought about new people from a podcast, since it's like, I don't know if they're gonna click on this show, that's a personal brand. Well, they do not know me at all. It was Josh Hall web design show when I had you on. And then it's like, well, are they talking code? Are we talking platforms? Or like, now it's so clear that I transitioned to business, that web design business is the focus of the show. And that has actually really helped. So I'm, I'm kind of playing around with both, like I have my personal brand, but coincidentally, some of the new programs I'm launching this year are like basically their own entities under my personal brand.
Speaker 0 00:26:41 So I'm launching, I'm revamping my, my current membership to what's called Web Designer Pro, um, tm, it's trademarked. I also just dropped $5,000 on the domain name. Wow. So I'm taking that very seriously. And then eventually I'm gonna come out with web design business Mastery. That's like the high level folks who are going to six and multi six figures, but it's all under josh hall.co right now. So the problem with a personal brand, as you probably know Troy, it's like you can't sell it and it's hard to scale at a, at a certain point. So unless you're like Tony Robbins. So, um, basically what I, what I'm playing around with is creating entities under a personal brand that could scale in their own right, bring in more people if we need to, or eventually sell if I wanted to as well. Keeping that open. But it's, again, it's kind of its own entity. Uh, and I still have josh hall.co as my, as my main brand.
Speaker 1 00:27:30 Love it Now. Um, so, uh, the other, um, strategy rather than selling, cuz I, I have this conversation a lot with agency owners who wanna sell and agencies are really hard to sell. It's a really hard business model to sell because it's usually bespoke custom services, right? And it's people heavy, uh, or it's like the guy who does the thing. So it's like the Josh Hall who builds the websites, right? It's, it's, they're a hard model to sell. But the other thing, but they're, but they're profitable. They usually high profit margins. And so the other strategies to take the profit out of your business and invest that profit in other wealth building strategies like, you know, property or shares or whatever, or you know, crypto or fucking chat G p t or whatever you, whatever rabbit hole you wanna go down. <laugh>. Um, I'm not a financial advisor by the way.
Speaker 1 00:28:12 Just a disclaimer there. Um, I wanna come back and talk a little bit about conviction and confidence. It's easy to sit in front of someone and not not have an agenda like you and I have no script for this. We are just wing it. We are just jamming. I think I feel, I think of it as like playing jazz. We're just gonna improvise, right? Because we know our shit. And I'm not saying that to be arrogant. I'm saying that because I know I could just about ask you, I know you well enough and I dunno you that well, but I know you well enough to know that I could ask you just about any question and it wouldn't be a curve ball or if it was, you could think on your feet because you know, your, your staff, right.
Speaker 0 00:28:46 Also, it's based on experience. Just as a side point, it's like I don't really need to think about an answer, I'm just sharing what I did or what I know for, for <laugh>. For good or for bad. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:28:56 Yeah. Right on. Which is, which is the point I wanna make is I, I'm curious, as you've witnessed your students, where do they get tripped up where they, they may try and bite off more than they can chew or they might sell something that they, you know, and then, and then it's like, well now am I gonna get paid to figure it out? Right? I feel like there's a, I feel like there's an expectation where, uh, I feel like people are looking for a shortcut and they're sometimes they're just not aware or maybe not willing to do the work and get punched in the face 150 times and do the hours in the trenches so they can then get on in front of a client or on a show or on a video or on stage or whatever and just have the conviction and the confidence to talk about what they're talking about. And nothing will rattle them because they have the experience.
Speaker 0 00:29:51 This, what a great question. I do get this a lot from students, particularly early on because they're like, I wanna sell, I want to be confident, but I don't have that much experience yet. But I also want to sell some websites and make some freaking money here. So what I learned personally and what I advise is in the early days, just share what, you know, you may feel like you know nothing, but you know way more than your clients do for sure. And you probably know way more than your, your like, like you feel like, you know. So that was my, that was the, the first lesson I learned early on was like, yeah, I don't know that much. Like in the beginning I didn't know anything about copywriting, nothing about seo, barely anything about conversion design. But I could design a pretty nice site.
Speaker 0 00:30:35 And more than anything, I honestly genuinely cared. I really wanted to help my clients. And if there's any takeaway in the beginning when you don't know that much about web design in particular, if you care, you can sell care. Cuz clients real, what, what's the old quote? Clients don't, uh, care about how much you know until they know how much you care. That is super cheesy and corny, but also 100% true. True. And I found that's how I literally built my business. But to your point, like that does not mean that you shouldn't work to feel comfortable about all these areas of web design as much as you can, or at least as many as that you w have interest in, like, I have a ton of students who have zero interest in copywriting. So my advice is to, number one, get in a community of other web designers so you can partner with them and become a referral partner.
Speaker 0 00:31:22 That way it's not just you, it's like you, but then you have this network of people and it's not hard to do that with Facebook groups, with communities like mine, with like yours. Pre premium ones are the best because you're gonna get reliable people who are likely gonna be business focused and minded. Those are your tho they're like an extension of your team. Basically. That's literally how I built my business was I said, I'm Josh, I have a small team and if we can't figure this out or we don't know it, we'll try really hard to find someone who will be a good fit for us. Um, so that's kind of, I don't know that answer to the question, but that's how there's, there's a, there's a pendulum between like just starting and having no experience but wanting to sell to being 10 years in and being super confident about everything, you know, and then there's the middle of like, just find people who are really good partners with you. You will learn every day, every week, every month, and then eventually a few years in, you'll, you'll, you'll sound like an expert and you don't even realize it.
Speaker 1 00:32:15 That's right. A hundred percent. And, and you know, it's interesting because when you have, when, when this weird thing happened, when I started coaching and I had massive imposter syndrome when I started teaching other people, right? Huge imposter syndrome. And I coach agencies now who are much larger than my agency ever was, right? And so I still have, I still get imposter syndrome sometimes. Not so much these days, not, not as bad as I used to. Cause I've, because because I have the years of experience in success stories and case studies and testimonials and I, if I'm ever freaking out, I just go look at our testimonials page and I go, well, fuck, we're doing something right? You know? Beautiful, beautiful. And you know, and that's a confidence booster. But I I, everyone has imposter syndrome and I had it a lot when I first started out.
Speaker 1 00:32:59 And what I realized, and I, I remember teaching this to the guys who were then following me into the course creation thing when I did Rockstar Empires for a bit. And I said to them, listen, this is a two year play, at least, right? Like 10 years. I, who knows what's gonna happen in 10 years? Who know, who knows what's gonna happen in five years a year I don't think is enough. Two years for me is a sweet spot where if you can, if you're not prepared to commit to something for two years, don't start like that as far as I'm concerned, right? If you, if you're gonna, if you wanna start a YouTube channel and you are not a hundred percent committed to making videos for the next two years, maybe one a fortnight, probably one a week for the next two years, don't start because it takes two years.
Speaker 1 00:33:41 I think in my experience, it takes two years to have meaningful impact and to get meaningful experience under your belt so that you can become seen as someone who is helpful call that an expert or an influence or whatever you wanna call it, right? But what's interesting is when people see you as an expert, they start asking you to help them with other parts of their life that you fucking know nothing about. Right? Yes. People think I'm a life coach. I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. My wife's a psychologist. I will not help you unblock your painful childhood memories and get you moving in the right direction. Yeah. Go and have therapy. I don't want to do that. I will help you with your business if you are stuck. Go and see another expert. I have people tell me all sorts of stuff and I'm like, why do you think I can help you with that? Like, just because I can help you with this.
Speaker 0 00:34:26 Every web designer listening knows the feeling of like doing a website for a client and they're like, oh, will you also do my email marketing and social media and logo design? And they're like, whoa, whoa, whoa. I just do the website. Like that is very, very common. Yeah. And I've experienced that as a freelancer and now you know what I do now. Yeah. Cause I get pitches for like business coaching too. And I'm actually just, last week one of my old friends from school was like, I know a sales guy who's growing their team from like two and a half million. They want to get to 5 million, would you like to consult with them? I'm like, I, I don't know anything about that. Maybe some things I know could help, but I, I pass cuz that is not my cup of tea. Sounds cool, but no, not interested.
Speaker 1 00:35:07 Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's interesting when people see you as an authority, they think you're an authority across everything. I, I've had, I've had clients ask me what they should buy their 16 year old niece for their 16th
Speaker 0 00:35:17 Birthday. Oh wow. <laugh> what make getting personal <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:35:21 What I'm, I'm a gift consultant Now ladies and gentlemen, that's
Speaker 0 00:35:24 Right. There's probably some, there's probably a mar a market for that. A nice niche consultant for that. The other thing that I'll say too, when it comes to imposter syndrome in the early days is a quote that you told me, Troy, when I interviewed you on my podcast. So I want to, to make sure everyone, I recommend everyone go check out episode 1 59 of the web design business podcast, cuz yours truly, Troy Dean was on that. Oh my God, you told me one of the best quotes of the year. And that was that you don't need to be the best web designer period. You just need to be the best web designer in your client's sphere. And I don't know if you thought about that much, you said it kind of offhand, but I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa. That is, that is good. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:36:02 Quote it, quote it, toy Dean Abraham Lincoln, quote it, whatever. But that, that really, that really boils like, like that's the end all to imposter syndrome because in the case of working with clients, you should stack your quote unquote expertise up against what your clients know's, which is basically nothing's. So you will That's right. Look like the expert's. Now if, if you're a year in and you try to figure out how much you know against you, Troy or me, yeah, you're not gonna know a fraction of much, but we're not your competition. Like yeah, you're, and you don't need that many web design clients to get to six figures consistently in web design. Now I actually side note, sorry if I'm taking this on tangents, but please
Speaker 1 00:36:42 Dude, go, I,
Speaker 0 00:36:43 I would love to get your thoughts on this, Troy. I feel like there's a resurgence and a bigger need than ever for webmaster. And I don't know if that term is gonna catch on, but do you know what I mean? Like, there is a, there is a need for most all businesses, particularly small businesses who just want one trusted person or a very trusted small team to help them with as many things as they can. So it's kind of like a digital marketing agency, but more, more of a webmaster. I, that's what I see in the market as a trend right now. They want that trusted person who can help out with as many things as they can.
Speaker 1 00:37:16 Definitely. Uh, so we in my world, uh, just go back to the, the, oh man, late nineties, early two thousands, like webmaster was a thing. In fact, a lot of companies had an email address that was webmaster at Yeah. You know, oh,
Speaker 0 00:37:31 I forgot about that. I totally remember that.
Speaker 1 00:37:33 So any problems with the website, email, the webmaster, any problems with the emails, email? Like the contact form didn't work, email the webmaster, like everything went to the webmaster domains hosting everything, right? Um, it was, they're basically like the online IT guy, right? The it person who looks after the online thing. Uh, I nowadays, so I, full transparency, I don't do any client services. I do a little bit of private coaching outside the agency space just to keep myself sharp, right? So I've got a handful of clients who are not agencies, one's a lawyer, one's in the education space in Canada, and I position myself as a fraction either one of two things. Either a fractional chief marketing officer. So I basically help them with their marketing, but I don't implement anything. Neither does my team. They have to do with the implementation or a fractional digital strategist. And the fractional digital strategist is kind of like, again, I don't do anything, but I'm the one source of information they come to, to get advice. They have to figure out how to implement. They either have another agency or they have an in-house team that implements everything, but I help them with, with the strategy. Yeah. And I'm the, I'm the one source of truth.
Speaker 0 00:38:38 I do thi that's also another really common niche that's expanding right now is the, the strategy side of websites. I do feel like more often than not, that's gonna be at a more experienced level. Like, I don't know anyone who's gonna dive into web design and then six months be a website strategist that generally is gonna take a lot of real world experience, real results and more high level training probably. But that's definitely something to aspire to. And I have some students who are adding that in to their like services as we do website design and strategy is either a part of it or it's an upsell, like an upgrade once we do some basic. So yeah, there, there's a lot of that to it. I just, I have seen things shift over the past few years, almost going to our, to our conversation earlier with like the podcast of just people craving authenticity and craving loyalty over anything.
Speaker 0 00:39:29 Like, the problem that most businesses have with web designers is web designers flake out or they don't get back or they just disappear. It's worse in the graphic design world for some reason, from my experience at least, that's how I, that's how I built my graphic design business at first, was I actually hit deadlines and showed up on time. So I took all those things over to the web design world and I wasn't the best designer, but I cared and I showed up on time and kinda leading us to where we're at now with this conversation. I did become like the webmaster to a lot of my clients. Even though I didn't know Jack about email, I didn't want to touch security. I didn't know anything about seo. I just tried to surround myself with people who could do that. So I, I don't wanna say there's a need for webmasters and say that everyone needs to be an email expert because probably not many people wanna do that. But it, it just goes to, to, to say that there is a need for a lot of companies to have their trusted web guy or web gal. So it's open like, let's go guys, be that person, get them on retainer. You could build a six figure business or multi six figure with, with not that many clients. That's
Speaker 1 00:40:35 Right. A hundred percent. I in fact, uh, we did a live stream this morning and we, I'm always talking about recurring revenue, uh, packages and retainers because you know, it's the holy grail of business models. You break down the math two and a half thousand dollars a month is $30,000 a year, right? You get three of those clients, you're at 90 grand a year in recurring, you get four, you're at 124 clients here at 120 grand, right? You get 10, you're at 300 grand a year in recurring revenue. Can you manage 10 clients? I think you can manage 10 clients right now. A lot of people listening might go, well how the hell do you charge two and a half thousand dollars a month? You and I both know to sell a website for $5,000 or sell a two and a half thousand dollars a month package to someone is the same amount of work.
Speaker 1 00:41:18 It's just different words out of your mouth and a different caliber of client, right? Yeah. So I guess to tee you up to teach something that you know is if you're just starting out, right? I, I started out in the, I started out at the cheap end of town and then spent the rest of my career trying to go upstream, right? If I, if I started out again now, I would just go to the Paris end of town from the, from the get-go, right? And I'm not talking about enterprise clients. I'm talking about, I wouldn't go for, I wouldn't try and sell websites to broke people, right? Or like entrepreneurs who had don't have any money, right? I have got an idea, which is where I started cause I was an idiot. I didn't know what I was doing. I'd sell to establish small to medium business who are already doing two to five mill a year in revenue because two and a half grand a month for them is nothing. Right? If you can, if you can demonstrate value in return, if you're just starting out, what advice would you give to someone who is struggling with the kind of mindset around what they can charge? And so therefore they're gonna go after the cheaper end of town because that's where they're comfortable and that's where they feel like it's safe.
Speaker 0 00:42:17 In this case, this per it would depend on like where they are in their journey and what they know. I would say, um, if you are in a community where there's people who can help you, then there's no reason not to charge at least the middle of the road pricing. Like, say 2,500 to $5,000 for projects and eventually you want to get to 10, 15, 20, but you're not in the 500, 1000 $1,500 range like I was for the first three years of my business. So I would say number one, we all devalue ourselves as web designers, especially in the early days. We have no idea or comprehension generally how valuable our little measly website design actually is. And I often like to frame it in the context of like, leads for a client. So, okay, so for example, if you're really struggling with this and you're early on and you're thinking like, maybe my prices should be like a thousand dollars.
Speaker 0 00:43:09 I feel like that's a lot. If you're working with say an automotive client and you just asked them how much does your client, how much like your customers, how much do they pay you generally every year. And they say, most of our cov customers are like a thousand dollars per year on average. If they were to invest $5,000 in a website, why do I get myself into live math? I hate when I do this, but how many, how many customers would they need to get to make up that $5,000 five That's all the website would need to convert. So that little exercise for both you as the designer and the client, if they're not understanding the value, they're like, why can't I just spend 500 bucks on a website? It's cuz all these things you can do, even if it just converts five people, that's gonna, and if you do that in one month, then you've made up that investment.
Speaker 0 00:43:57 It's all profit from there. So that little exercise really helped me and has really helped a lot of my, my folks early on with, with the mindset pricing and all that. It, it really is just about like, what is this website? What is the goal? What's it gonna do? And if you can frame it, if I were to give any piece of advice on like how to sell when you're a little unct, it would be to sell results over everything. Even if you're not sure you can land them. Generally a halfway decent website is going to get better results than I'm sure whatever they have now, like some GoDaddy builder site that they have right now that they've built themselves. So sell results, don't just sell the, the pretty design. Cuz something else that you said in, uh, when you're on my podcast was, the trick is most web designers now are viewed as commodities. And honestly in my view, the way to get out of the commodity space is to sell the results and put a financial figure behind
Speaker 1 00:44:51 It. Yep. A hundred percent. Because the value is not in the pixels, it's not in the colors, it's not in the css, it's not in the logo, it's not in that. The value is in what all of that stuff delivers to the client, which is, and a lot of, a lot of the cases is leads and customers.
Speaker 0 00:45:04 And what's funny is, and I do not want to devalue design because design is very important. However, one thing I've seen over the past few years and my personal experience is that words and copy are so important. And in fact I think they trump design in a lot of ways. Case in point, I partnered with an SEO guy for a few years in my business and he was terrible at design and he offered design services for, for web design clients. I'm like, dude, you need to stick with this SEO and words and database stuff. But he designed this poorly designed site for this customer and it did really well. And two years later, so these guys got their site redesigned to this fresh, modern, I'm holding up air quotes, uh, super snazzy like, you know, like trendy website and their conversion's tanked. So they literally took that new website that was probably like a 10 or $15,000 site down and put back up this terribly designed but well copywritten site that my friend Pat did and it worked. So it, it just goes to show you to say that like, yes, design is very important. It can help, but don't devalue the things like copy and messaging and some of the other things that I, I think a lot of designers particularly tend to tend to overlook.
Speaker 1 00:46:20 Yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. And I, I, I do agree that design is valuable at a certain point. Design builds trust, which then does lead to conversions. Um, but it won't, it won't, uh, you can't out design poor copy or, or poor structure or a poor offer. Um, so yeah, that
Speaker 0 00:46:38 Is a much more eloquent way to sum up what I just said.
Speaker 1 00:46:41 <laugh>, <laugh>. Uh, hey dude, this has been amazing. I'm conscious of everyone's time. I know this is called the agency hour, but we're trying to keep this to less than an hour to give people a bit of time before the hour rolls around. Uh, where can people find more of Josh Hall and hang out with you online and get connected with what you're doing?
Speaker 0 00:46:57 Yeah, my website is josh hall.co. Uh, there'll be links to all the things there. Hopefully my site is designed and, and, uh, the UX is good enough to figure out where you want to go from there, whether it's choruses or just connect with me. I, I'm most, uh, active on Instagram right now and Facebook. I don't have the bandwidth for anything else right now, but I would, I would say the number one resource since we're on a podcast is I would definitely recommend checking out my podcast, the web design business podcast. Not because of me, but because of the awesome guests. I mean it like, I've had some amazing guests. Again, I mentioned Derek Sivers is coming up soon. You've been on the show. I've recently had Amy Porterfield, pat Flynn, like some incredible minds that have just filled this podcast with like crazy richness of goods. So yeah, dive in. It's free. Dive in and, and have at it. So
Speaker 1 00:47:43 Love it. Uh, go check it out. Uh, final question. What are you most excited about for 2023?
Speaker 0 00:47:49 I am most excited. Uh, so professionally I'm most excited about the new offer that I'm creating literally right now called Web Designer Pro. It's rebranding my current membership and I'm gonna be adding my courses in there. It's gonna be a little, a little high, more of a high level community and really bringing like awesome web designers for networking, for coaching, for community. All my trainings, I'm gonna be able to just support people better than one-off courses. So maybe a follow-up episode will be, uh, one-off courses versus courses and memberships. I'd be happy to share what I'm learning here as a case study with what works and maybe what doesn't work. Um, but right now things are a little bit scattered, so I'm excited to kind of bring it all in a little more controlled environment under Web Designer Pro. So I'm super excited about that.
Speaker 1 00:48:37 Love it. Awesome. Well, I look forward to, uh, keeping in touch and getting you back on the show at some point to hear how it all goes. Josh Hall, thank you for joining us on the Agency Hour. Yeah,
Speaker 0 00:48:45 Thanks Troy.
Speaker 1 00:48:47 Hey, thanks for listening to the Agency Hour podcast and a massive thanks to Josh Hall for joining us. I could just chat to Josh for days and I'll definitely get him back at some point in the future. Don't forget to subscribe and please share this with anyone who you think may need to hear it. Now, are you getting paid to close clients right now? We are guaranteeing you can get paid to close eight new clients in the next 30 days. If you'd like to chat with our team about how you can get paid to close, click the link beneath this episode. Let's get to work.