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Tips for running a successful web studio

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Slides from my webinar for WebDesign.Com on 12/15/2010

Slides from my webinar for WebDesign.Com on 12/15/2010

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    Tips for running a successful web studio Tips for running a successful web studio Presentation Transcript

    • Tips for Running a Successful Web Studio @LisaSabinWilson www.ewebscapes.com
    • Lisa Sabin-Wilson: Intro
      • Owner: E.Webscapes Design Studio
      • Designing web sites since 1998
      • Been getting paid since 2002
      • Author: WordPress For Dummies
    • Tools for Success
      • Client Communications
      • Project Management
      • Billing/Invoicing
      • Website Updates
      • Social Media Marketing
    • Tools for Success: Client Communications
      • Plan to keep records of everything
      • Web-based ticket system
        • BaseCamp: http://basecamphq.com
        • Kayako: http:// kayako.com
        • NEW: ColabPress:http://collabpress.org
    • Tools for Success: Invoicing/Billing
      • Payment Gateways
        • PayPal
        • Google Checkout
        • Internet Merchant Accounts (pricey!)
      • Invoicing: Freshbooks.com
        • Professional looking invoices
        • Easy itemization
    • Tools for Success: Web site updates
      • Keeping your web site updated is important in communicating to your clients
      • Maintain an up-to-date portfolio
      • WordPress used as a full Content Management System (CMS) makes it easy
    • Tools for Success: Social Media & Marketing
      • Maintain an active presence in social media:
        • Twitter
        • Facebook
      • Look at marketing opportunities that make sense for your targeted niche
      • Determine your ROI for marketing opportunities and events
    • Building Your Portfolio of Work
      • Prospective clients like to see samples of the work you have previously done
      • Offer free themes and products to build a portfolio and following
      • Be picky – 6 really good pieces of work is better than 10 mediocre pieces of work
      • Don’t display work you’ve done just because you’ve done it – make sure it is a reflection of your best efforts
    • Building Your Portfolio of Work
      • Consider adding case study notes to your portfolio offerings
        • Demonstrates your expertise
        • Good for SEO
        • Chance to show off your passion and excitement for your work
    • Expectation Management
      • Every project has expectations on both sides  Yours and the Clients
      • Client expectations trump yours, every single time.
      • Set expectations from the beginning
      • Do not promise the world because you won’t be able to deliver it
    • Expectation Management: Clients
      • Publish a comprehensive TOS ( http:// ewebscapes.com /terms )
      • Gives potential clients the chance to get a feel for your work and practices
      • WARNING: 99% of people who visit your web site will NOT read your Terms of Service
    • Expectation Management: Clients
      • Consider publishing an FAQ
      • FAQs are living documents born from experience with managing client expectations
      • Answer the questions you think they’re going to ask
      • WARNING: 99% of your clients will NOT read your FAQ!
    • Expectation Management: Clients
      • Clients basic expectations:
        • You will do the work they pay you to do
        • You will meet deadlines
        • You will answer questions
        • You will be available to support them after the project is complete
    • Expectation Management: Yours
      • Your basic project expectations:
        • Your client will tell you exactly what they want and need
        • They will pay you (on time) for the work you do
        • Your client will not stray from the original agreement (??)
      • Reality: Maybe 1 out of 20 projects will go the way you expected it to.
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • No plan ever
      • survives first contact intact
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • For projects, it typically takes me up to 10 instances of communication back and forth with my client before I am ready to quote the project for a price and a timeline.
      • Take your time to get the details right the first time – it’s easier than absorbing the pain and cost later.
    • Setting Expectations Up Front: My Process
      • Client answers some simple, basic questions ( http://ewebscapes.com/order )
      • Back and forth communication takes place to clarify
      • Phone calls with clients are always recorded (important: inform your client they are being recorded)
      • I use Skype with the PrettyMary Call Recorder – stores my client calls as .mp3 files
    • Setting Expectations Up Front: My Process
      • Records of communications including emails, ticket updates and recorded voice calls are kept in individual client files.
      • Keep records of absolutely everything as it relates to the project – you may need it someday!
    • Setting Expectations up Front
      • Basic Web Design requirements:
        • Logo, color scheme, layout and features
      • Clients do not always know what they want, or how to explain it:
        • Ask for examples
        • Ask questions for clarifications
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • Don’t settle for adjectives – count them
      • Client says: “I want it to be classy, trendy and bright – but not too noisy or busy”
      • There are 5 adjectives in the above statement….
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • Classy
      • Trendy
      • Bright
      • Noisy
      • Busy
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • What does classy mean to you?
      • What about noisy, or busy?
      • Adjectives are born from your own personal frame of reference and life experience
      • Your adjectives will not match your clients – so clarify
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • Be sure your client is aware of the project expectations
      • Have them review and agree to your Terms of Service
      • Set terms for deadlines and payments
      • Provide details on what the project will entail (installation, plugins, theme, design, logo, etc)
    • Setting Expectations Up Front
      • Leave your ego at the door – not every request from a client is going to be something that is visually appealing to you.
      • Remember: it’s their site, not yours.
      • The more elitist you are about it – the less projects you will get paid to do.
    • Managing Scope Creep
      • Project expectations = the scope
      • Any request the client makes outside the original scope is something you need to consider
      • Will you do “extras” for free?
      • Or will you bill for them?
      • Let the client know, up front, what your policy is for scope creep so they are aware how you will handle it.
    • What does Scope Creep look like?
      • When you are 3 weeks into a project and the client says soemthing like:
      • “ I saw this web site the other day and they had a Flash video gallery and I thought I’d really like to have that. Can you make sure I have something like that on this site?”
    • What does Scope Creep look like?
      • If the Flash Video Gallery was not something you agreed to in the beginning - - you’re looking at scope creep.
      • You make the decision if it is something you’re willing to do at no extra cost
      • Be aware if they get you to do it once – they will ask for something else
      • Clients will push you as far as you allow – don’t let them push you over the edge!
    • Know Your Limits
      • Starting your business, you probably already have an idea of what you can and cannot do.
      • Know where your strengths are and where your weaknesses lie
      • Consider collaboration to make up for areas where you are weak
    • Competition is not your enemy
      • Not always…
      • Do not isolate yourself from those you perceive to be your competition
      • Competitors can be great contacts and collaborators
      • I collaborate with my competitors all the time
    • The Project is Done. The Client is happy. You’ve been paid. Now what??
    • Closing Projects
      • Consider support agreements for ongoing technical support
      • Ask for a testimonial
      • I use PollDaddy: http://polldaddy.com
      • Follow up in 2 weeks – ask them how its going?
    • Extra Special Touches
      • Keep track of your clients via RSS Feed; stay involved with their online activities
      • Follow your Clients on Twitter
      • Create an e-mail newsletter to provide additional value and keep your clients a part of your community
    • Tips for Running a Successful Web Studio Thank you for your time! @LisaSabinWilson www.ewebscapes.com