In this episode we start with a recap of episode #3 (How To Start Conversations With Potential Clients) and then dive right in to the two principles of writing proposals via email. Then we look at the 7 elements of a proposal and explore each element in detail.

Episode Highlights

  • Anything that can be misunderstood will be. Work hard to make sure that the details of your proposal are as clear as possible. Keep context and the knowledge-level of the decision maker in mind.
  • Less is best. While working to include all the important details work just as hard to cut out anything that’s not really needed. Keep the process, your recommendations, and the “next steps” you suggest as simple as possible.

Episode Notes

First off, here’s the outline for your review:

  1. Introduction – Make a personal connection.
  2. Objectives – Your re-stated understanding of their objectives
  3. Recommendations – Based on the objectives.
  4. Scope – Based on the recommendations.
  5. Price – Based on the scope, with options as applicable.
  6. Timeline – Based on the scope and time constraints on your end / theirs.
  7. Next Steps – Your conclusion and guidance on the next steps.

Next are the examples I shared during the episode.

Introductions

Example #1

Hi Robert!

Good afternoon to you! Thank you for your time and the additional details you’ve provided. They’ve been very helpful and I’m excited about the opportunity to work with you!

Example #2

Hello George!

It’s getting colder here in North Idaho and as beautiful as our winters are I’m going to miss the summer. Thank you for that link you sent over – there sure are some beautiful places to visit there in Florida. Enjoy the winter!

Objectives

Based on our conversations so far I understand that your objectives with this project are as follows…

Recommendations

With those objectives in mind, here’s what I recommend be done..

Scope

With those objectives in mind here’s the scope of work I suggest we focus on together..

Next Steps

Do my recommendations, the scope of work, the price, and timeline sound like a match for your needs? If so, I’m looking forward to working with you! The next step is to let me know which package you’d like to start with and, from there, we’ll schedule a start date and I’ll send an invoice your way for the initial deposit.

If you have any questions or if you’d like to go over any of the items in more detail just let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!

Example Proposal

The following example is loosely adapted from an actual proposal I worked with one of my students to prepare. Enjoy!

Hi William!

I was talking to my wife last night and I realised where I know you from! We met you at the Georgetown small business meet-up back in August. It’s great to connect with you again!

Based on our conversation yesterday I understand that your objectives for this project are as follows:

  1. Keep things simple
  2. Get up and running as quickly as possible (you’ve already been waiting awhile)
  3. Keep the costs down in the beginning

Based on my understanding of your objectives I recommend the following:

  • WordPress Theme – WordPress is a highly popular tool that offers high quality designs (called “themes”) that look great and are optimized for mobile devices from the beginning. I recommend we choose a theme and implement some very basic customizations (adding in your logo, customizing the color scheme, etc)
  • Google Places Optimization – Using WordPress puts you on a good foundation for SEO. Building on that, I recommend that we start small and optimize your business listing on Google Places, which helps to ensure that your business shows up for local search results.
  • (Optional) Content Development / Photography – For all sites good content is the key to helping customers make the decision to contact you. I can schedule an interview to get all the relevant information from you and then write the content for the website on your behalf. I would also work with you to schedule a photo shoot to add high quality photos of your work / equipment / yourself to the website, which goes a long way towards increasing credibility.

As far as pricing goes, here’s what I can do:

  • Website + Google Places Optimization – $2500
  • Content Development / Photography Session – $1000
  • Website Maintenance – $1500/year – Includes free hosting + domain registration and unlimited minor updates throughout the year.

If budget allows, I recommend going with all three items (total cost $5000 for the first year, then $1500 thereafter). If you want to keep costs as tight as possible in the beginning you can provide your own content / photos and I can give you instructions on how to setup your own website hosting and register your domain, plus a short guide on making updates to your site.

As far as schedule goes, the good news is that by keeping things simple we’re able to cut down on time by quite a bit. Depending on which route you go I’d expect to have the project completed and online within 3-4 weeks.

Does that sound like a match for your needs? If so, just let us know whether you’d like to go with the whole package ($5000) or if you’d like to just go for the Websites + Google Places Optimization ($2500) and handle part or all of the rest yourself.

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Jonathan Wold

And there you have it! Notice that it’s simple yet conveys the relevant details and offers a clear path for decision making.

I have many more actual examples where that came from and I’d love to share them with you! Be sure to take a look at my new product / service opening today on http://creatingclients.io/

Next Steps

Share your questions / thoughts in the comments below or connect with me via email at howdy@jonathanwold.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

In this episode we start with a recap of the last episode and cover the three principles of connection in further detail. Then we look at three different strategies for starting conversations with potential clients.

Episode Highlights

  • As counterinuitive as it may seem, our motive in starting conversations should not be about getting new clients.. After all, you have no way of knowing whether or not you and the individual you’re connecting with are a match for each other! I suggest that your only motive should be being of service.
  • Put conscious thought and energy into the conversations you start.
  • Take your local region, find interesting businesses / organizations, interview them, and post the interviews on a website you’ve created specifically for your local region.
  • Use business lists (local or market specific) and the phonebook to find interesting businesses and connect with them with the purpose, not of selling something, but connecting for the sake of connecting and being of service.

Episode Notes

We’ll explore the “Local Interviews” idea itself in a future episode. To get you started now, though, here are some examples of questions you can use in an interview, organized into three categories:

About Their Business

  • So tell me about your business.. What do you do?
  • How did you get started?
    • Ask further questions based on what they say.. e.g. “Oh, that’s really interesting! What inspired you to..”
  • What do you enjoy most about the business?
    • Look for opportunities to ask additional questions based on what they share..
  • What have you found to be the most challenging?
  • Are there any mistakes that you’ve made that you’d be willing to share?
  • Are there any successes you’re particularly proud of?
  • If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently?

About The Region

  • Why did you choose [region] as your business base?
  • What do you like most about [region]?

About Other Businesses

  • What are some of your favorite businesses (besides your own) in the area?
  • What do you like most about them?
  • What advice do you have for other businesses wanting to start up in [region]?

Next up, introducing yourself to new businesses! First, here’s the format I suggest you follow, particularly when initiating contact via email:

  1. Introduction – A few short words introducing yourself and giving some context to what you do, particularly as it might relate to them.
  2. Interest – Something you noticed about them / their business that you’re genuinely interested in.
  3. Question – A genuine question you have about their business / work they’ve done, etc.

Here’s an example I’ve created:

Hi George!

My name is Jonathan Wold and I’m a business consultant here in North Idaho, specializing in web development / Internet marketing.

I found your business on the list of new businesses in our area and took a look at your website. You have a really interesting line of work! We’ve driven by your llama farm on multiple occasions and my son has been wanting to take a closer look.

Do you offer tours of the farm? Your website didn’t mention anything about it but I figured it would be worth asking!

I look forward to hearing back from you as you’re able!

Jonathan Wold

Last, let’s say you found a business with a website that is clearly broken. Here’s an example email you might send introducing yourself, pointing out the problem, and offering a fix:

Hello LouAnne!

My name is Jonathan Wold and I’m a local business consultant / web development specialist.

I came across your website today and I’m really interested in what you do! I’ve been a piano hobbyist for some time now but have been wanting to get more serious about my skills. Are you still taking on new students?

While I was on your site I noticed that the contact form on your “Contact Us” page wasn’t working! You’re using WordPress to manage the site and it looks like you were using a plugin called Contact Form 7 to setup the form. My guess is that the plugin was recently deactivated (perhaps during an attempt to update it) and that would explain why you’re contact page is displaying a shortcode instead of the actual form.

Are you working with someone to manage the website for you or are you doing it yourself?

To get it working again all you or your service provider should have to do is reactivate Contact Form 7. That can be done from the “Plugins” page within WordPress.

If you have any trouble or if I can be of any help in the process please don’t hesitate to let me know!

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Jonathan Wold

And that’s that! I hope those examples are helpful!

Next Steps

Share your questions / thoughts in the comments below or connect with me via email at howdy@jonathanwold.com.

In this week’s episode I pick up from last week, recap the four steps in creating great client relationships, then explore the first step – connecting – in greater detail. I review the three principles of connection and share several examples from my own experience.

Episode Highlights

  • A connection is the intentional first spark of a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Place a high value on the connection, the relationship and let your motive be service. Ask yourself, “How can I be of help? What can I do to make their lives (their business) better?”
  • Connection requires conscious, directed effort. Listen intentionally. Take notes. Be 100% engaged.
  • Great relationships take time. Don’t rush anything. Don’t be quick to talk about prices.. Ask questions, listen.. Take as much time as needed. It’s worth it.

Special Thanks

  • Joshua Wold – For the great cover art!
  • Joslyn Wold (my wife) – For keeping the house quiet while I recorded (no easy task with a 1-year-old girl who’s teething!).

Next Steps

Share your questions / thoughts in the comments below or connect with me via email at howdy@jonathanwold.com.

This week’s episode serves as the introduction to the “Creating Clients” podcast. In this first episode I introduce myself, share a bit about my experience, and then dive right into explaining the concept of “creating clients”.

Episode Highlights

  • The best clients are those that are created in meaningful, impactful conversations that get to the heart of what they’re trying to accomplish and begin working towards solutions.
  • The first step towards creating “great” client relationships is to intentionally connect with an individual / organization with an attitude of service.

Special Thanks

  • Joshua Wold – For encouraging me, strongly, to start a podcast : ).
  • Nick Peterson – For letting me borrow his podcasting microphone and for dragging his feet on the ice bucket challenge.
  • Brennan Dunn – For tuning in to last week’s hangout-on-air and recommending a great book, which re-inspired me.

Next Steps

Share your questions / thoughts in the comments below or connect with me via email at howdy@jonathanwold.com.

This interview is the eighth in a series I started to share how web designers and developers got their first client.

Luke Farbox

Luke resides in Hervey Bay, Australia and is soon to be married. He has a love for good design, photography and family. Luke was once a freelancer, but has since co-founded Farbox Creative, a Hervey Bay web design studio where he works as Creative Director and Project Manager.

1. How did you get your first client?

After spending my mid-teens playing with design and freshly learning the basics of coding during my holidays, I decided to find my first client. Without realizing it, simply sharing that knowledge with a family friend led him (a trailer builder) to share my details with a serial entrepreneur who was looking for a web designer for his latest business venture, a camper trailer company.

I met with Kevin and listened to what he wanted. As I was totally new to this strange environment and only eighteen years old, the initial meeting was the definitive “What-not-to-do” experience. I didn’t ask any questions, and just listened, finally I assured him that I was sure I would be able to deliver what he wanted for the princely sum of $400.

Kevin is and was a shrewd businessman, he would have known that I was inexperienced but he saw that regardless of that, I was committed to delivering the end result, no matter what it took. I believe it was this attitude that landed me that first job.

2. What did you learn from that first experience?

Diligent work and building relationships with your clients pays off. Although it took a long time, I delivered that site successfully and it led to other work. Over the years I conducted three major rebuilds of his website, and ten websites for his distributors.

Never charge $400 for a job that will take months to complete. If I wasn’t living with my parents there is no way I could live on that kind of money. It also trains your clients to expect you to always work for $400 per website.

Work to your strengths and get help. I almost learned this lesson too late. It is better to focus on your strength and either partner with someone or outsource the elements of the project you are not proficient with, rather than struggle along and stress yourself into gray hair before your time.

3. What advice do you have for folks trying to get their first client?

Build a support network first. So when you are in a bind, you have someone to turn to for help. This can be a paid consultant or a friend in the industry (if you have no local opportunities, you can build friendships online through various communities).

Be confident. Nothing will fill a client with confidence like a confident (but honest) conversation with you. Many new freelancers have sabotaged their own efforts by not displaying confidence. Displaying a lack of confidence is almost like wearing a “Don’t hire me” sign around your neck.

Do not limit your services. Just because your main goal is to build a website, that should not mean that is all you are willing to do for your clients. Are you good with English? For an extra fee, offer to proofread and edit their content. Are they worried about downtime and maintenance? Work out a monthly maintenance plan for them (I wish someone had told me that when I started).

The secret is to keep asking them questions about their business until you start to uncover what they really need, then start filling those needs. Your clients will become loyal to you because you are working in their best interest, and your needs are being met because they will see the true value which you can offer them and in turn, they will be willing to pay what you are worth.


Hey there! Ready to get your own first web development client? I've written a free course to get you started! Sign up today: "Four Weeks To Your First Client".