Sam talks with Entrepreneur & Web Designer Tristan Parker. Tristan tells the story of how after being let go from 2 different roles as an in-house designer, he decided to launch a web design agency that he has since grown to well over 6-figures in annual revenue. Tristan shares advice for anyone considering taking the leap from Freelancer to Web Design Agency Owner and explains why growing a Web Design Agency to 7- or 8-figures might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Episode 40 Transcript:
[00:00:00] Sam Chlebowski: Happy Thursday everybody, and welcome back to Designing Growth. My name is Sam Chlebowski, host of the Designing Growth Podcast and one of three co-founders at Motion.io. Today on the show, I am very excited to be joined by Tristan Parker. Tristan is the owner of Parker Digital Marketing, an award-winning web design and SEO company that focuses on helping businesses grow.
[00:00:24] Sam Chlebowski: In addition to his work at Parker Digital Marketing, Tristan runs a private community for web design business owners and creates educational content on his YouTube channel around starting, launching, and scaling a web design business.
[00:00:37] Sam Chlebowski: So without further ado, Tristan, how are you doing today? How’s everything going?
[00:00:41] Tristan Parker: I’m good. The sun is shining here and we’ve had Gloria’s weather, which always puts anybody in a good mood, I’m sure. So, yeah, I’m very good. Thank you.
[00:00:49] Sam Chlebowski: That is awesome to hear. we have had the exact opposite here in Denver of what you’re having in the uk and I, I think you mentioned right before the call you live a little bit, south of London. Is that
[00:01:00] Sam Chlebowski: right?
[00:01:00] Tristan Parker: Yeah, that’s right. So you imagine the island, it kind of has that foot sticking out towards the bottom. We are down that way. So down the southwest.
[00:01:07] Sam Chlebowski: Very cool. Here in Denver, it’s normally at this time of year in June, like desert conditions, basically, no rain. Constantly sunny. This year we have had the most rain I’ve ever seen. In Colorado, it’s literally been raining almost every day for three weeks, which is very, very unusual.
[00:01:25] Sam Chlebowski: The creeks are like overflowing. All of the grass is green. it’s been, uh, pretty wild.
[00:01:30] Tristan Parker: that’s crazy. we’ve had the opposite, uh, I dunno if you guys get this over in the States, but we’ve got, What’s called a hose pipe ban, which means that we are not allowed to use water externally from a property, so we’re not allowed to water our lawn or wash our cars or anything like that.
[00:01:45] Tristan Parker: There’s a ban.
[00:01:46] Sam Chlebowski: Very interesting I only hear about that maybe once every like five years if there’s a very, very severe drought.
[00:01:53] Sam Chlebowski: But it’s not something we really do a lot. So I was really excited to chat with you today,
[00:01:58] Sam Chlebowski: Tristan, And [00:02:00] specifically, you have a business that does web design and, seo and then some other marketing I know you build your sites primarily on WordPress, and I’ve mentioned it a couple times on this show, but that is really how I got my start.
[00:02:15] Sam Chlebowski: How long have you had that business? Parker Digital Marketing, and, How has it been going?
[00:02:20] Tristan Parker: is been going well. I mean, there’s no deny that over the past couple years, certainly, that a lot more people that have taken to, start an online businesses and web design essentially, especially how accessible WordPress is, has.
[00:02:34] Tristan Parker: Opened up a lot of doors and opportunities for people off the back of the pandemic it’s had its challenges there’s, as you say, a lot more fishermen fishing in the same pond. my agency, started just before the pandemic and we ended up going into lockdown, which I was March, I think, 2020.
[00:02:52] Tristan Parker: it’s relatively young as a, as an agency. There was a couple things that I did before that, you know, to get to that spot. But, uh, overall it is going well.
[00:02:59] Sam Chlebowski: So definitely a newer business then if you launched in 2020. but I think still, you know, you’ve been around now for long enough that, there’s time to really get established. prior to that agency, what had you been doing? Did you have a different business or were you doing something else?
[00:03:13] Tristan Parker: so I kind of went through the cliche route of, going to university, which I think you guys refer to as college.
[00:03:21] Sam Chlebowski: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:07] Tristan Parker: it was a lot more of the visual side that I was drawn to. And so I was kind of doing that on the sidelines while I was, going through my undergraduate degree.
[00:04:16] Tristan Parker: I learned the fundamentals of programming. have a relatively good understanding of how to read code and it certainly served me well in the early stages of my career in being able to build websites. From code using html, CSS, and job script. Towards the end of of my degree. When I graduated, I started diving a lot more into WordPress.
[00:04:35] Tristan Parker: a student that I became friends with at university that was much further ahead in life than I was. He was slightly older. He, he already had a job and he was just there to get his degree and he showed me WordPress and he was. harping on about it. And so I thought, right, yeah, let’s have a look.
[00:04:49] Tristan Parker: And it was crazy, you know, being able to, at this time, this was, I think back in 2011, being able to create a website and manage the content in a environment that was not code related was pretty cool. So I got a job as a web designer, and this was for a internet service provider, so a company that provided broadband.
[00:05:10] Tristan Parker: So this was an in-house designer for this dedicated company, and I learned a lot there. I was there for three years. a lot of skills around being able to design. Properly you know, understanding web conventions or website conventions and ui ux and, and all of that stuff, as well as still diving into areas of code.
[00:05:29] Tristan Parker: kind of really a hybrid role of developer and designer, like it was a lot of front end development design. And then from there got another role for what they call an Apple reseller company. So this was a company that was dictated by Apple working with them was really interesting because it was really nice to have that insight and work alongside, team members of Apple that were based here in the uk. but also it come with constraints because as a designer, when you want that creative freedom, you couldn’t have it.
[00:05:56] Tristan Parker: Apple would dictate with their vanguard lines and,[00:06:00] we would just have to fall in line. So I was only there for two years. It was, it was short and it got very boring very quickly. And from there I moved into, in my first ever agency role. Where I worked within an agency environment and I loved it.
[00:06:13] Tristan Parker: and the reason for that was it’s so varied and diverse. multiple clients all with their own set of brandings brand guidelines. And so no day was the same. You’d be working on one brand one day, you’ll be working with another brand. The next day you could multitask you could have projects running in parallel.
[00:06:31] Tristan Parker: And so, I knew at that point that the agency environment served me a lot better than working in-house for an individual company. And so that I think brings us up to around 2017 and then that agency closed down, We have something here in the UK called Redundancy, which essentially means that for whatever reason, your role is no longer required.
[00:06:50] Tristan Parker: And so you become redundant to the company and that that’s exactly what happened. it’s super scary if anyone’s sort of just been out of the blue let go from their role. you kind of think, well, you know, what do I do now? I think it was at that point where I then started to consider, You know, I’ve always wanted to Go alone, start a business and work on my own terms. Maybe this was the right time to do so. anyone that wants to start their own business, like it’s incredibly scary. And, and I think, it’s very easy to talk yourself out of something.
[00:07:16] Tristan Parker: And so I, I actually started freelancing had a couple of very small clients. I was kind of bibbling along only just making ends meet. But one thing I quickly realized was, man, I don’t know how to get clients. I’ve only ever been a web designer. I know how to build websites, and I naively thought that.
[00:07:32] Tristan Parker: because I know how to build websites. people just want websites and I can do that. But yeah, that’s not, not the case. There’s a whole, world of sales and, outreach and, networking and all of those things that I was completely unaware of. And so, feeling a struggle very early on.
[00:07:47] Tristan Parker: was approached by another agency who, at this stage, I thought needed support on a freelance basis. having had a few conversation with them, they offered me a job and I thought, yeah, you know what? I’m gonna take it.
[00:07:59] Tristan Parker: [00:08:00] and unfortunately, Three months down the line, they also started removing staff, so
[00:08:06] Sam Chlebowski: Oh man.
[00:08:07] Tristan Parker: I know, right. So, kind of one of those scenarios where you’re like last in, first out type thing. So, you know, I was new, I was only there for three months, still finding my feet and they decided to let me go It was at that point when like, right, there is no way this is gonna happen again. It can’t happen again, so I’m just gonna go all guns blazing and, start that business. that’s where I really realized, I didn’t have a clue how to find clients and I knew that I needed to change that, and that’s where the whole.
[00:08:33] Tristan Parker: New adventure, you could say. Started with me trying to figure out how to find clients, you know, learning sales, watching partners, YouTube videos, figuring out what additional services I can offer within my business really just to improve. that was a good, I think, four year process now, I’m here today.
[00:08:51] Tristan Parker: My agency started in 2020 and I wanted to move away from the freelance model and actually physically build a business with a goal to eventually be able to, fully remove myself from that business, so two years into it, I met someone that’s fairly local.
[00:09:06] Tristan Parker: he was in a similar space. we became friends, we were vibing, and I decided, okay, this would be a really good fit for me. He has a sales based background here. He could potentially take care of all the things I’m not very good at. And so, we formed a partnership. we’ve merged, uh, I now have a business partner.
[00:09:23] Tristan Parker: his name is Johnny and he takes care of a lot of the client comms, you know, the sales calls that comes in, the inbound emails, all of that sales process, because that’s his background. So our skillset at the moment works very, very well.
[00:09:36] Sam Chlebowski: That’s amazing. And it’s, And I think something that I would, love to get into because it’s not, something that I’ve talked about really on the show with people, the value of partners or co-founders when it comes to establishing a business that is more than just yourself.
[00:09:51] Sam Chlebowski: There’s a lot of people entering the market right now starting as a freelancer. taking on more and more clients.
[00:09:57] Sam Chlebowski: And there does come this critical point, I [00:10:00] think, in the journey of someone who starts their career as freelancing, where you have to make a conscious decision to build a business than just keep building a freelance career. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s a good thing to think about.
[00:10:14] Sam Chlebowski: And I love the way that you found a partner. That could also backfill some of your own weaknesses. And you have the foresight to basically recognize like, Hey, this is something that I am not great at. I’ve been doing it for years, I know how to do it, but I think that there’s somebody who could do this better.
[00:10:32] Sam Chlebowski: And then bringing them on to handle those parts, and help you both grow together and create this business where someday you can both eventually totally remove yourselves from.
[00:10:43] Tristan Parker: is really interesting what you mentioned there between the difference between a freelance model and the agency model. Certainly from a mindset perspective, when I was a freelancer, you, you’re essentially trading your time for money you give yourself an hourly rate and you have.
[00:10:56] Tristan Parker: X amount of hours that you can, you can work, you know, I was working with companies on a day rate time was dedicated to them for x amount of days a week and things like that. But you, you have a cap on really what you can earn unless you up your prices. . So I knew that I would have to switch, the whole model And build a team, whether it’s of contractors or hired members of staff. I knew that that would have to happen at some point in the future, but what I actually found I struggled with the most was the mindset. I’m trying to build this agency, but I’ve still got this freelancer mindset, that’s not something that changes overnight.
[00:11:30] Tristan Parker: over a period of time, very slowly changed the, the way of thinking and just remembering that you are not there to deal with the work, and it’s very easy for you, especially if anyone’s like me. I feel like I can do everything and a little bit of a control freak sometimes. I just want to make sure that everything’s done to my standard, very least, unless it can be better.
[00:11:52] Tristan Parker: And, and so it’s very easy for you to be like, don’t worry. I’ll do this or I’ll do that. And taking tasks off people that you’ve hired to do [00:12:00] things because you’re struggling to get out of that, that freelance freelancer mentality. Do you know what I mean?
[00:12:04] Sam Chlebowski: Oh, I absolutely know what you mean. And it’s something that.
[00:12:08] Sam Chlebowski: Is pretty hard to realize and it takes, I think, a lot of time you just heard it with your story, like it took you a couple years to come to this spot where you said, I need to give away my Legos. That’s this, expression from Molly Graham, who is pretty famous, in the startup, business world.
[00:12:27] Sam Chlebowski: She’s worked at Google. she, was the CEO of Quip, which is the toothbrush company. And she basically has all of these commandments for scaling a company. And one of them is giving away your Legos, which means basically you need to be willing. To trust people with things that you care about,
[00:12:44] Sam Chlebowski: and in this case, The thing that you care about is Working with clients, you care a lot about the design, their experience. But at some point, and I love the way that you said this, when you are freelancing, you’re gonna run into a ceiling and a cap on the ultimate amount of revenue that you can make. Because, like you said, you are trading your time for dollars and when you can stop thinking.
[00:13:08] Sam Chlebowski: time in dollars out and start thinking, Hey, if I can build a team to do these things for me, It removes that limitation. but it’s something that’s really hard because I think that there’s a lot of things that come with it, like developing processes for your team members and hiring and helping educate them.
[00:13:26] Sam Chlebowski: how big is your team now? Are you working with contractors? Do you have additional full-time employees? What does that look like?
[00:13:33] Tristan Parker: Yeah, so we are still very much on the contractor model. it’s very lean and lightweight for us at the moment. That might change in the future. at the moment, obviously it’s myself, my business partner, Johnny. we have, two new contractors that are taking care of SEO clients. so that’s five.
[00:13:50] Tristan Parker: We have. Dan, who is our dedicated web design and developer, and he has been an absolute lifesaver, for me, certainly being able to hand [00:14:00] off that, process because, you know, web design is my bread and butter. that was my baby. And being able to hand that off, I needed to make sure that that was absolutely done in the right way.
[00:14:08] Tristan Parker: And so, yeah, I think we’re at five all round.
[00:14:10] Sam Chlebowski: Love it. Yeah, and that’s something too that I think when you do go to scale up your business, bringing on contractors is like the perfect place to start. for a lot of web design businesses, I almost wouldn’t necessarily recommend. Bringing on like a full-time employee right away, unless you are a hundred percent certain, you can fill their hours and their time with enough work.
[00:14:30] Sam Chlebowski: it’s a good kind of testing the water phase to bring on some contractors. And then, you know, I think what you can also do too is at some point you can consider bringing them on full-time. We worked with a ton of contractors and then some of them went on to become full-time employees. So
[00:14:44] Tristan Parker: I mean, I won’t lie, there’s, there’s certainly limitations with the contractor model, but I feel like unless you are in a position as a business and you have not only the time to fill. but if you have the budget to pay the salary on a full-time basis as well, which, you know, certainly not every new company has. the contractor model is, is almost like the only option for a lot of small, new businesses within the agency space. But as I said, it does come with limitations because you can’t really dictate the way that they spend their time They will work on your project when they have the availability because they are certainly managing other projects. You know, it’s not an exclusive relationship. that can be challenging also if you’re working with contractors in maybe different time zones. That, again, can be challenging. your client wants the answer to a question and you want to get that answer to them the same day or within.
[00:15:32] Tristan Parker: You know, half a day or something like that. If you want to be responsive but your contractor is not responding to you in that moment, it can be challenging. So, the contractor model has worked really well for us, but it has come with its challenges and I think it’s just good for everyone to know that, there’s we say, swings and roundabouts, pros and cons.
[00:15:48] Sam Chlebowski: Yeah. One of the things I wanted to talk about that has a direct correlation, I think, with this idea of scaling up your business, transitioning from. Freelancer to, employing people, whether that’s contractors or [00:16:00] full-time employees.
[00:16:01] Sam Chlebowski: There’s kind of two different ways you can go once you start getting a lot of inquiries and clients who are wanting to work with you, you can one up your prices so you’re getting less clients at a time. Or you can two.
[00:16:14] Sam Chlebowski: Start bringing on people to handle that additional demand. How do you look at that choice? Is there a third option that I’m missing?
[00:16:23] Tristan Parker: that is a good question and. Maybe not something I’ve overly thought about. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about scaling. from a scale standpoint and a growth standpoint, when I got started, I had a money orientated goal I wanted that glorious. A hundred K agency a year.
[00:16:42] Tristan Parker: that’s what everyone spoke about at the time. A lot of people still do. And so I thought, yeah, brilliant. 10 K a month. Easy, easy peasy. I can do that. It was certainly a lot harder than I anticipated, that’s for sure. you know, I think it took nine months to get there, whereas having consistent monthly income of around 10 K, Now. What happens when you finally get there, is a lot of things change in your life. are earning more money. You are. Cost of living, adjusts, you become comfortable. I feel like you kind of have to then figure out, well, what’s the purpose?
[00:17:13] Tristan Parker: you want this big agency that is bringing in hundreds of thousands year? Do you want to reach a million? is that still the goal? on what the end goal is, certainly depends on the direction that you take. And so my point here is initially I had this idea of, yes, I want a really big agency. I want to build a team, I want employees, I want to be earning hundreds of thousands, in revenue through the business.
[00:17:37] Tristan Parker: And I want to take home a pretty hefty salary. I dunno if I want the stress. the question I need to, you know, answer is do I want that stress because, when you grow, you get a whole different level of problems I’m pretty content where I’m at right now, I’ve got a six figure agency. I’m comfortable financially and I’m at a point now where I don’t have to work an awful lot. I’m not doing 10 hour days anymore. You know, [00:18:00] I’m able to do four hour days and things still tick along pretty nicely.
[00:18:03] Tristan Parker: and I think a lot of people need to figure out what it is that they really want. If they are considering even building a six figure business or even building beyond that.
[00:18:11] Sam Chlebowski: Yeah. And I think getting that down on paper, the sooner you can do it, the
[00:18:14] Sam Chlebowski: better. without setting too wishy-washy, it’s like, I do believe that. understanding of what we want will subconsciously push us in directions that we may not expect.
[00:18:25] Sam Chlebowski: You know, not saying necessarily anything is like fate, but I think that subconscious understanding of what your goals are and what you want is gonna allow you to, pushed in those types of directions.
[00:18:35] Sam Chlebowski: One of the questions I wanted to ask you, and I know it’s something that you talk about quite a bit on your YouTube channel, is. Getting clients. And I know that this was something that was hard for you in those early days when you were freelancing. you now have somebody who you’ve brought on who does, you know, a lot of that stuff, but it sounds like still you had a lot of experimentation and getting your hands dirty, being down in the trenches, to figure it out.
[00:19:01] Sam Chlebowski: Out of all of those early strategies, what were some of the most effective things for you that allowed you to get web design clients?
[00:19:08] Tristan Parker: I would like to say it was cold calling, but that’s certainly not the case for me. I’m naturally an introverted person and the thought of. picking up the phone and, dialing random businesses, filled me with anxiety and dread. Admittedly, it has been something that I have avoided if I could, okay, now I have, have cold called because experimentally, you know, you need to figure out what works.
[00:19:32] Tristan Parker: what I found worked for me was Loom videos. Loom was a new tool, I think about four years ago maybe. and I saw that people were using it as a strategy to, loosely audit people’s websites, be on camera and send that to a potential customer. it was something that, at the time, nobody else was doing.
[00:19:49] Tristan Parker: that as a strategy worked really, really well for me. easy for me to sit here and say, But I just recorded my screen and I was on camera. But that’s what, again, something that could be very scary for people. had my [00:20:00] YouTube channel running at the time, so I was, kind of familiar with, recording on screen and getting used seeing what I looked like, seeing what I, or hearing what I sounded like, because it’s a very strange thing when you first get into it, so having that little bit of confidence meant that I was able to kind of take that confidence that I developed from building YouTube videos and using it to create, at the time, we were like five to 10 minute loom videos to prospect that I wanted to work with.
[00:20:26] Tristan Parker: And what are we doing? The early days is I would go to a lead list and I would download all the leads within a specific industry in a location. And then I would go through that lead list individually, click on the website, have a look at it, and quickly decide, can I improve this? Yes, no. If it’s no, quickly move on.
[00:20:42] Tristan Parker: If it’s, yes, what could I improve? Quickly a loom video, introduce myself what you feel could be better, and then invite them into a conversation. The key thing I, learned very early on was to never sell them the service. At really any point in the initial stages because that is a huge turnoff you know, nobody likes receiving call calls.
[00:21:01] Tristan Parker: Nobody likes receiving email pictures that, include your price and your quote and trying to sell and things like that. So I learned very early on that my main goal with all of these videos was to just get them on call, just to have them. booking a time to have a quick conversation with me so I can learn more about their business and see whether I can help them.
[00:21:20] Tristan Parker: that was my strategy in the early days, and it did certainly work very well, and I do believe that it still works very well today, despite there being this level of saturation in the space. If you can a prospect that you can help and you can deliver that message articulate yourself well.
[00:21:36] Tristan Parker: you have every chance of capturing that person’s attention and them saying, yes, let’s have a conversation, and then you go through the steps of building that rapport, building that relationship that will then result in you helping them develop a new website.
[00:21:49] Sam Chlebowski: It’s a good reminder of. The fact that cold outreach is still a totally viable strategy, I think it’s something that a lot of people aren’t doing. And if you are willing to [00:22:00] do what other people are not, especially in the earlier days of your agency
[00:22:04] Sam Chlebowski: putting the time in and doing these things competitors are not, it can really help you grow in a sizable way. And I think your Strategy I can personally vouch for, weren’t sending, loom videos to prospective clients,
[00:22:15] Sam Chlebowski: but what we were doing was calling out things on their site that we would recommend they should change or update.
[00:22:22] Sam Chlebowski: get the conversation started that way. Don’t go in for the hard sell right away, just focus on getting them on the phone so you can have that real time conversation. So I really like that advice and it’s cool to hear somebody else’s used a similar strategy to what we did, we run the last business with your.
[00:22:38] Sam Chlebowski: Business now, are you finding that you’re getting a lot of leads from your YouTube content because you have a, really amazing channel and there’s a ton of great stuff on there. do you find that people and new customers are discovering you from that content that you’re putting out there?
[00:22:52] Tristan Parker: Short answer. Yes. but I would like it to be better. what’s super interesting is when I built this channel originally, the purpose of building it was because wanted it to be better on camera. was my goal. I, I had no idea what the end of result would be with this channel.
[00:23:06] Tristan Parker: mean, if you were to go back. You’ll see that the early videos were just complete garbage. they were random. They had no, sort of real meaning. and then that pivoted towards creating sort of how-to content and tutorials and things like that. I kind of then realized that, okay, I want to use this platform to help two lots of people.
[00:23:25] Tristan Parker: One being web designers. want to be able to give them the information that I never had when I got started. and I also want to be able to help potential clients who are maybe at the early stages of their business or they are trying to do something themselves. And so if I can give them a how to tutorial to follow where they can build their own website.
[00:23:44] Tristan Parker: they’re trying to follow along and they get stuck, they’re ultimately gonna see me as the authority and perhaps get in touch. And that certainly did happen. There was a couple of videos that were tutorial based on how to build a website, and I’ve had leads come through, whether it’s via the website, whether it’s via [00:24:00] YouTube comments or whether it’s finding me on Instagram that has happened.
[00:24:03] Tristan Parker: but actually, These days, the way that the majority of the inbound leads come is via seo. we have put a lot of time and effort into our own SEO strategy that started around three years ago. Started off locally, and we’ve kind of grown that to rank very well for a lot of towns and cities here in the uk despite us not being based there.
[00:24:23] Tristan Parker: You know, we’re an online based business. I’m based in Exeter we rank number one in Exeter and some of the surrounding towns and cities here. But we, kind of took that concept and we took it nationally here in the uk and we get a lot of leads now From our website. We certainly don’t need to rely on outbound methods anymore.
[00:24:39] Tristan Parker: and YouTube’s still taken away. But the idea behind YouTube these days is I’m fully focused on helping other web designers and if there’s a piece of content that exists out there, That a potential client has watched and felt inspired and wants to get in touch, like, you know, that’s an added bonus, but that’s, that’s not my main aim at the moment.
[00:24:58] Sam Chlebowski: the fact that you were able to use that, sort of SEO strategy, get your own business to rank and then bring that to your
[00:25:04] Sam Chlebowski: customers,
[00:25:05] Sam Chlebowski: provides a really great case study and a lot of marketing content around that. Because if there’s something that you can use in your own business, and bring it to others, that is like all of the makings of a successful service of something you can market, something you can sell, something you can really grow.
[00:25:19] Tristan Parker: Yeah, absolutely. And it was at that point where we were starting to find traction with own agency through Ssea was like, okay, well we’re now at the point now where I feel confident that we can offer this as a service. Because there was a time where we didn’t, we had clients asking for it, asking if we do it and we return ’em away.
[00:25:35] Tristan Parker: And we thought, you know, we can, now capitalize on this or have the confidence offer that to them because we’re crushing it ourselves and, and certainly when someone finds us on Google and we have that lead come in, we we ask them how they heard of us and anyone that comes in through Google, it’s a much easier sell to when you’re reaching out to somebody completely cold.
[00:25:53] Sam Chlebowski: Yeah. Yeah, Just a couple more questions before we wrap it up here,
[00:25:57] Sam Chlebowski: Tristan, and. One of the questions I wanted to [00:26:00] ask is specifically for, newer web design businesses, what are some of the mistakes that. You think newer agencies, maybe within their first one to two years of growth are making when it comes to working with clients. what are the things that you think everybody should be doing or not be doing when it comes to working with clients?
[00:26:19] Tristan Parker: one of the biggest mistakes that I see with, new. Freelancers or web design agencies is the level of expectation, overselling underdelivering happens so often and it needs to completely be the other way. you want to, deliver something that blows their mind.
[00:26:36] Tristan Parker: Because you set that expectation so low that it’s easy to do so, have a lot of people in the community that have struggled with this. And, have clients that are not happy or they misunderstood what they were gonna have delivered, or they’ve misunderstood any part of the process, even during, his initial sales conversations.
[00:26:54] Tristan Parker: being able to set that expectation. It’s super, super important. And the best way that you can set that expectation is just being honest with yourself and understanding, where are you at, where are you at? right now, what level of service can you deliver? And if you are a freelancer delivering yourself, you really need to be honest with yourself and. understand your strengths and weaknesses in order to be able to set an expectation. If you are, down the agency route and you are kind of relying on contractors, again, you need to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you need to fill those weaknesses. and that way you’ll be able to raise that level of expectation, but still beat it and.
[00:27:28] Tristan Parker: clients will recommend you to their friends and their family and their other business,
[00:27:32] Sam Chlebowski: absolutely love that answer and that piece, setting expectations is something that I feel like almost every entrepreneur, regardless of what industry you’re in, has to. Overcome. They have to overcome that challenge at some point and admit when you maybe haven’t set expectations correctly. Because if you can set expectations early on, it’s going to transform your client happiness.
[00:27:55] Sam Chlebowski: It’s going to transform the number of people they refer to your service and. The truth is though, it’s [00:28:00] like sometimes you’re gonna have to explain things that you didn’t know you had to explain. One of them I’ve seen previously is seo. Like we offered SEO as a part of our website packages and our design services,
[00:28:11] Sam Chlebowski: but we found that we had to really clarify like during that sales calls, before that client had paid us a single dollar that We’ll do the SEO for your site, but this isn’t gonna happen overnight.
[00:28:22] Sam Chlebowski: You’re not gonna be ranking number one overnight. that was something that we really had to craft the language and find how we can pitch the value of that service, but at the same time, not overpromise. So the client is upset their website isn’t ranking number one, the day it launches.
[00:28:39] Tristan Parker: Oh God, yeah. 100 we’ve had this same challenge ourselves and I think there is certainly a level of educating that needs to happen on an SEO level when you’re talking to a potential customer because, they think that they can rank number one in days, and that’s certainly not the case.
[00:28:55] Tristan Parker: And there’s certainly a fine balance between. being able to set that realistic expectation, but not completely turn them off and away. Because when you say to a prospect, well, great, yeah, you can rank for that keyword word and we’ll, probably get you to the top three. but it’s gonna take you 12 months.
[00:29:09] Tristan Parker: They’re gonna be like, whoa, wait a minute. Um, so like, the way that we handle this is, you know, we do set the expectation that if they come to us with keywords, And search hands, and they are considered high difficulty, high volume maybe. we will say that yes, we’ll work on these, but it could totally take you 12 months.
[00:29:27] Tristan Parker: But actually what we’re gonna do in the first three months is X, Y, and Z. And we’re gonna go after these keywords because they’re low difficulty. that will give you some volume, that will give you some initial traffic to get low hanging fruit. And then, in the long term strategy, you’re gonna see a great return.
[00:29:42] Tristan Parker: And that’s. certainly a level of expectation that needs to be set and touching onto this point as well, and kind of what we spoke about, just a second. Again, when it comes to expectations, I think for new web designers, new agency owners, freelancers, when you’re very desperate for work, it’s so easy for you to just say, yes.
[00:29:58] Tristan Parker: Or almost [00:30:00] say what you believe the client wants to hear in order for you to win that work. And I mean, I’ve done that myself. Certainly in the early days when, things were desperate, I would say that I could do things that I didn’t even know how to deliver. I just had to figure it out. you run a huge risk of over promising something and not not being able to deliver it.
[00:30:17] Tristan Parker: So I think that again, is, important that you kind of have to really work hard on. Saying no if you need to, and being realistic, no matter how much you want that piece of work.
[00:30:27] Sam Chlebowski: could not agree more, and it’s very well said, too, like don’t get what we call. Sometimes is, uh, sales breath where you’re trying so hard to make the sale that your breath just reeks of. I need your
[00:30:40] Sam Chlebowski: money. Potential client.
[00:30:42] Tristan Parker: that’s important and it’s a very hard thing to do. Um, that takes experiences. Being able to sit there and be prepared to lose that deal to essentially say face and not sound desperate. in the inside you, probably screaming, just really wanting them to say yes.
[00:30:57] Sam Chlebowski: Oh man. Yeah, and it’s, tough, you know, but it’s all about finding that balance and I think ultimately, It’s gonna take some time, but once you do, you’re gonna come out of the better with it. Have processes and systems that allow you to consistently close deals and set those expectations.
[00:31:13] Sam Chlebowski: So thank you so much for chatting here today, This has been an absolutely great chat, and I wanted to wrap it up with just two quick final questions.
[00:31:21] Sam Chlebowski: one is a work, one second one’s a fun one. If people want to know more about you and check out the work that you’re doing, where should they go?
[00:31:30] Tristan Parker: they can visit my agency website, which is tristan parker.co.uk. you can find me on YouTube, which is Tristan Parker. And yeah, pretty much those two places are going to direct you to anywhere else that you need to go. Any other social channel that I exist on will appear on either those places.
[00:31:45] Sam Chlebowski: Amazing stuff and we will put links to both of those things in these show notes. And then my last question for you, Tristan, I see that you have some movie posters behind you. Maybe that was for the book for Ready Player One, but it kind of looks like the movie poster. And then I see you have a picture of the [00:32:00] Joker as well, so I feel comfortable asking this question.
[00:32:02] Sam Chlebowski: Favorite movies or TV shows you’ve seen this year so far?
[00:32:06] Tristan Parker: Favorite movie this year? I’m gonna go with the Super Mario Bros movie.
[00:32:11] Sam Chlebowski: Really?
[00:32:11] Tristan Parker: loved it. There was so much nostalgia in there from my childhood. I, thought it was great.
[00:32:17] Sam Chlebowski: See, I had debated putting that on the other night, but the last thing I heard about that movie was all of this controversy about how like Chris Pratt was one of the characters or something. He wasn’t like Italian and I just
[00:32:29] Sam Chlebowski: hadn’t heard anything about it until then.
[00:32:31] Sam Chlebowski: But I have to watch it now
[00:32:32] Tristan Parker: yeah, watch it. Watch it. I don’t know if it was because I went to the cinema to watch it, having that big screen experience, but certainly this year that’s definitely up there as, as one of the best movies. in terms of TV shows, I dunno if you guys have watched Ted Lasso,
[00:32:46] Sam Chlebowski: Oh yeah.
[00:32:47] Tristan Parker: yeah.
[00:32:47] Tristan Parker: so we’ve just finished that and it was really sad to see it go. But yeah, I absolutely enjoyed watching that as well.
[00:32:53] Sam Chlebowski: No spoilers, man. But what a last episode. And it’s funny too because I think that that TV show in some ways is like the great unifier between the United States and the uk.
[00:33:04] Sam Chlebowski: It’s like our little international handshake
[00:33:06] Tristan Parker: Yeah, and I think it goes a long way to, certainly show you how different it is here in the UK versus how it is in, I think Ted was from Texas. what’s great about it is it’s so crazily British and it really does a very good job of illustrating what it is like here.
[00:33:22] Tristan Parker: and what our football league is like and what football fans are like. yeah, I loved it.
[00:33:26] Sam Chlebowski: I’m sad it’s gone. It’s been, I mean, my wife and I’s favorite show for the last, what, I think four years now. But man, what an awesome ride.
[00:33:34] Sam Chlebowski: So thank you so much, Tristan, for your time. This has been another great episode of designing Growth.
[00:33:41] Sam Chlebowski: If you like the content in this episode, be sure to check out the links that we will put to Tristan’s website as well as his YouTube channel in the show notes. also, if you like this episode, feel free to give us a five star review on Apple or Spotify. All you gotta do is hit the five-star review button.
[00:33:57] Sam Chlebowski: Don’t even have to leave a comment, but if you do, I would love to[00:34:00] see your message, and have you say hi. With that, everybody. My name is Sam Chlebowski, host of the Designing Growth Podcast. Have fun, good luck, and go crush it. See you next week, everybody.