We talk a bit about John’s background in the east coast of Australia as well as contributory factors that led up to his decision to quit his stable government job to run a web design business on his own.
John is at pains to mention two books that led to this decision and they need to be read in order! Both books are by Robert Kiyosaki.
The first book (which I’d read but I didn’t have the heart to tell John I’d not gotten much out of it! ) is Rich Dad Poor Dad. The second is the Cashflow Quadrant. Both books explain how to acquire income generating assets to make money work for you rather than the other way around. I have just ordered the Cashflow Quadrant from Play.com (I’m boycotting Amazon). John made a point of mentioning these two books so I’m definitely going to give Robert Kiyosaki a second chance.
The big switch
Once you have decided to leave your job, the big conundrum is – when? John and I have different experiences of this but we both agreed on one thing: there’s never going to be a perfect time to do it, so “now” is always a good time!
John recalls the horror of leaving a $80,000pa job for life by saying he “crapped his dacks”, which translated from Australian into English means he pooped his pants! Here is some sage advice for those thinking of making the big switch:
- Only leave your full time job when you already have some great clients under your belt
- Only leave your full time job when you’ve cleared your debts and have a substantial amount of money in the bank (maybe 3-5 months of your current salary)
- Only leave your full time job after you have your brand, website, business cards, etc., sorted out
- Try to sort out some part-time work to give yourself a smooth transition
The sudden realisation of having bills and rent to pay with no money coming in drove John to get out there and bang down doors. John didn’t have the luxury I had of a two year smooth transition. While I was able to have clients find me over a period of time, John had to go round local businesses to find work straightaway. But, when something has to get done, it usually gets done.
Now John runs a thriving web design and development business – but that’s not the full story.
As with every other interviewee so far in my Design and Marketing Podcast, John is a designer who is earning passive income. He is forever looking at how he can provide value in a product for which there is demand.
A lot of John’s products came from his “active income” or client work. For example, John created a CMS for an estate agency (realtor) and then sold it as a product to other estate agencies online.
With passive income, it is so important to create a product that there is demand for. If you have been asked to do something by a client, there is a chance that other people in the same industry will want the same thing.
John also sells web design business kits to other web designers and he has had great success doing this. Other than great e-books that explain how to set up a web design business, get clients and make money, these kits contain excellent documentation. In the kits there are:
- Web Design Contracts
- Web Design Proposals
- Business letters (Thank You Letters, Payment Fee Increase Letters, Business Prospecting Letters, etc.)
- Domain Name & Hosting Documents
… and many more. There’s something here for every conceivable web design business process – so that if you’re ever stuck for words in a letter to a client, you can just dip into these documents and copy and paste. John’s background in local and national government helps him to provide and present information that corporations like to see when setting up a project. So they will help you attract those large corporate clients you really want!
Running a web design business
I couldn’t let John go without grabbing a few assorted tips and tricks from his books. John has some really great ideas for managing projects like:
- priority surcharges
- late payment charges
- and adding additional features to projects properly
John emphasises that putting these extra clauses in a contract can save you from a heap of problems in projects and earn you more money!
What you can do
This really has been one of my favorite interviews so far. I urge you to listen to as much of it as possible if you’re running a design business or thinking of doing so. In fact, there’s great advice here for small business owners generally. And, don’t forget to check out John’s stuff at Web Design Business Kits.
By the way, that link and the other links to John’s site are affiliate links, meaning, I will get paid a commission if you decide to purchase any products through those links. If you do, good, if not, still good!
Please if you have any questions for John or myself, leave them in the comments below.