Adapting to these strange times

I have used RW to make a living from home since RW3

I can’t say I have made a fortune … but I get by. I love Rapidweaver.

My vague plan for 2019/ 2020 was to aim a little higher re clients and target companies that had $$$. This worked to a certain extent. I found I had to turn down some low paying gigs because I find they take just as much time as the well paid ones.
When potential clients didnt want to pay my $ I would usually direct them to S Space. (as in the shape … I dont want this post to show in Google )

Soooo… Along comes the world change in March. My 3 fabulous $$$ jobs either canceled or postponed. I get no calls for anything.
In the last few days I have had some calls for small sites / non profit. etc.

I am no longer free to turn ANYTHING down ! But in some cases I almost feel that they wd be better off with something other than Me & Rapidweaver … I looked at S Space’s website and prices and portfolio and I sort of feel I can’t compete!

Having had a speel that I used … as to why don’t use me use S Space.
I now need to convince clients to use me and Rapidweaver instead!

But at the same time I dont want to tie myself into loads of work for no $.

I’m rambling … but am guessing some of you are in the same boat/storm.

It’s unprecedented. Lots of us are in a similar position. The order book is empty. It’s scary.

It seems probable this crisis is going to continue for many more months and the world is going to emerge a very different place on the other side. It’s impossible to just “flick a switch” and return to how things were. The economic damage is unlike anything seen before. Sadly a lot of companies won’t survive this. And this is already becoming apparent where I live.

There is an ever-growing list of RapidWeaver alternatives. You have to view each one as a different “tool”. Most experts would say that you have different tools for different jobs. Some tools are better at something, compared to others.

With this in mind, perhaps consider SS as something else in your toolkit and a service you could offer clients who want it. So rather than looking at SS as a direct threat to your business, maybe do like others are and offer SS consultancy or tutoring as a new service, alongside your RapidWeaver offerings? You never know until you try it, but you might like SS and feel it is a good tool to fit a certain clientele.

If on your website you listed RapidWeaver and a couple of other “big name” publishing platforms you can work with, I imagine this would look quite favourable to potential clients. It shows you know your stuff and can adapt readily to client needs.

Do like I’m doing in the meantime and try to pickup whatever work you can, even if it’s free gigs or small projects you only ask a donation for at the end. You might end-up doing the work at a loss. But if you get a positive testimonial or review at the end, that in itself can be valuable for winning new jobs in future.

This fallow period is also a good opportunity to skill-up. Consider learning a new programming language or other skills that might help your business thrive going forwards. Find new ways of doing things.

As a final note, remember that some of the most influential companies and entrepreneurs started during difficult times. Think Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, to name a few. Business is a dog-eat-dog world. It’s possible to launch something great off other’s misfortunes. Covid could be an opportunity to solve lots of world problems and make something good out of a bad situation.

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Thanks Will. Yes you have really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to re think things.

These are crazy times.

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Terrific, upbeat answer. I think that is one of the reasons you are one of the best around. Thanks.

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I soooo agree !

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This reply might come across as gloating, but it’s 100% not. Due to the nature of the thread I thought it worth sharing the way I work, generate work and how busy I am right now.

When my local lockdown was announced I had some new clients booked in for work, some of these cancelled. I was expecting hard time ahead but I was wrong. Two of those that cancelled rebooked saying it was kneejerk, but they slipped in my work schedule as by then I was booked solid.

I don’t chase, or even accept high paying work. I avoid if I can accepting work on “misson-critical” websites, by this I mean sites from which the client earns directly or indirectly their sole income. I took this decision at the start as I didn’t need the stress!

On average my sites cost about €600-1200. A client can get a site from me for as little as €200, if they use one of my templates and if they have their content 100% ready to go.

I see the money I make building websites as a bonus, my real interest is the hosting cost: I host almost all the sites I build, and it’s this that makes me my regular income. I charge on average €30 a month for hosting. Not cheap, but as my sites are cheap people don’t mind: Everyone is getting used to paying a monthly fee for things so my approach fits with the present times.

On top of hosting I charge a monthly fee to update/maintain client sites. The sales pitch is easy: "For €30 you get hosting, but if you increase that to €60 you also get one hour of dev time per month. Increase the monthly to €120 and you get three hours and free hosting. Many clients opt for this, so it keeps me in regular work and a regular income.

I average a two or three new clients a month. At the moment, since lockdown, I have seven new clients waiting for me to build their sites.

Why? Because initially I’m cheap, I make no bones about that. But also because for the last few years I have built a substantial mailing list of potential clients all over Europe and I send them a news letter ever fortnight. This lists runs about 100k, and before anyone asks, it’s fully GDPR compliant. “How can that be?” you ask. Go and actually read the regs I reply :wink:

In the last few weeks I’m getting on average three emails/calls from potential clients a day, all desperate to get their websites “sorted”, as they all admit it’s something they’ve neglected for a long time. Some are in touch saying their site is old and they realise that when things return to normal they need to massively up their game to stay in business, and they know a website is key to this.

Of these people calling me many are time-wasters, but some are genuine and most of those I’ve converted to new clients.

They are contacting me because they’ve got used to my fortnightly newsletters, can remember the name of my business (newsletters are all about brand awareness) and so decided to give me a shot.

As I said at the top, I’m not gloating here, I’m just trying to show a different way to do things that means you are not always 100% reliant on new client work for income, and that no matter how many in the RW HATE newsletters, when done consistently and when done right, they work.

I know this won’t much help you now, but if you are going to use this time as Will suggested, to “skill-up” maybe use it to rethink the way you operate and market your business, it might pay dividends the next time a hiccup to the economy comes along.

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