HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

Tips on how to build a profitable WordPress business by Lee Blue

  • Here's the thing. The thing is clients don't actually want a website, right? They don't want digital marketing. They don't want the SEO stuff that you're doing. They don't want social media stuff except for one thing. They want the result of having done those things successfully.
  • The reason that it's surprising is one of the big things that I think dramatically changes the picture for everybody is actually raising your prices. Another thing that I say all the time is, let me show you how you can charge like five to 10 times more than you're currently charging without pricing yourself out of the market.
  • I'll ask a lot of questions up front to see if it's a good fit for both of us. If it's not, then that's totally cool.
  • If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.
  • I don't even say I sell things to people. I serve them.
  • But everybody is still selling websites like it's five years ago. That's why the price race is going right down to the bottom.
  • So don't feel like you're stuck because you don't have a portfolio. Don't feel like you have to take on free or cheap clients to build your portfolio.
  • Show up with leadership, and then leadership breeds confidence, and confidence brings that high ticket investment, that chain of events there is really critical.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: Well, welcome back listeners to another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today in the studio, I've got joining me a gentleman by the name of Lee Blue. He is the founder of a company called DoubleStack. Before I get into the more formal part of his introduction and his background, I just want to say that this was a very exciting interview.

Doug: Lee brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm for what he does. I think that if you listen closely, there's a lot of value and a lot of tips, whether you're an entrepreneur, or whether you're running a larger company, or whether you work for somebody else. The tactics that he uses and teaches his clients to increase their sales by moving their price up sometimes by five times, sometimes by as much as 10 times.

Doug: So this might sound like a big grasp and maybe something that's not obtainable, but I just really encourage you to hang in there and have a good listen and then follow up on the show notes when this episode goes live.

Doug: So Lee has spent the last 15 years of his business running a … of his life running a web design agency. The last 10 years he's been deeply involved in the WordPress community. So he speaks at WordCamps and he presents at the Wu Conference. He's worked with hundreds of WordPress developers and freelancers through Cart66, the WordPress eCommerce platform that he founded in 2008.

Doug: I think you'll find his background in technology working for the government in bioterrorism may come to like a bit of a surprise being that he's an entrepreneur helping people like you and me to grow our businesses. So having studied the WordPress community and the economy deeply over the last 10 years, Lee developed the DoubleStack program to equip, say, WordPress operators with tools and the skills and the mindset they need to rise above a saturated marketplace and to really succeed in today's new economy.

Doug: So his students are trained in delivering profitable business development solutions for the advanced technical skills that they have. So he can help them, who implement those concepts for both themselves and their clients. I think that's what's really key. If you listen in close to this, you'll pick up that this is more than just WordPress. This is really about digital marketing and the opportunities to increase, provide more value for our clients to attain a higher billable rate or a higher contract rate and discuss, separate yourself, the, as they say, the wheat from the chaff.

Doug: So I encourage you to sit back, tune in, listen in. I'd like to welcome Lee to the Real Marketing, the Real Fast podcast today. Well Lee, hey, welcome to the Real Marketing Real Fast podcast. I'm super excited to have you share your superpower today with our audience.

Lee Blue: Well, thanks for having me, Doug. I'm really excited to be here and really looking forward to connecting in on all these marketing ideas.

Doug: So do you want to give us just high-level view of kind of, what you do and how you help your clients?

Lee Blue: Yeah, absolutely. So the way that I help people, I tend to work with folks that are web designers, WordPress developers, digital marketers, that type of thing. What I can do is I work with people that have some skills already, right? So they're not brand new to building websites or anything like that, but sometimes, in fact, I'll work with people that have lots of skills, like they have photography skills, videography skills, they can do branding online and offline, build websites, all kinds of things, but they haven't been able to get the number of clients that they need at the prices that they really want or that they're really worth in order to grow the business that they've always wanted. Instead, what they end up doing is most of the time, out of desperation, they tend to lower their prices and get into this price race to the bottom.

Lee Blue: So what I do is I come alongside and say, “Hey, let's fix that. Let's actually change the way that you view yourselves, the way that you view your business, the value of what you deliver, the value of the relationship between you and your clients, so that you actually attract long term, high-value clients that you can keep working with on a recurring basis so that you actually do scale your business to the level that you've always wanted.” So I always say one of the things that I like, if you had to summarize it in quick little sentence, I'd say I can help as WordPress developers or web designers bring in an extra five to $10,000 per month consistently with a workload that you can handle by yourself without having to outsource anything to anybody. So how does that sound?

Doug: That sounds pretty appealing. I'm sure there are lots of people out there in our audience that are listening, thinking, “Yeah, an extra five to $10,000 a month would go a long way to grow my business.”

Lee Blue: Absolutely.

Doug: So what's one of the breakthroughs or major success tactics that you've had to help your clients do this?

Lee Blue: Yeah, that's a really cool question because it's sort of surprising. The reason that it's surprising is one of the big things that I think dramatically changes the picture for everybody is actually raising your prices and like another thing that I say all the time is, let me show you how you can charge like five to 10 times more than you're currently charging without pricing yourself out of the market. When you say a sentence like that, people's eyebrows are raised up a little bit. How do you do that? How can I charge $5,000 when I'm used to charging $500 without pricing myself out of the market? Really, of course, the answer is you have to stop selling technical services and you start selling solutions to like the business problems that people have.

Lee Blue: In fact, one of the things I'll also say a lot is let's stop being like a web design business or a WordPress business and turn yourself into a business consultant and you power the results that you recommend with your online skills.

Lee Blue: So you really have to two stacks of knowledge. The program that I do is called DoubleStack and it's called DoubleStack because there's the business development stack and then there's the tech stack. You show up as that business development consultant and you have the technical chops to pull off your recommendations. So you can do all of these things on your own.

Lee Blue: When you do that, you fundamentally change the nature of the problems that you're solving and that enables you to charge five to sometimes 10 times more than what you were currently charging without pricing yourself out of the market because you end up giving your client the level of success that goes beyond what they could achieve on their own, that goes beyond what they could get from someone else, because you're showing up with leadership. When you bring leadership to the table, that breeds confidence. When there's confidence, there are high ticket investments. So that's the main shift that I was able to make. That's the main breakthrough.

Doug: That's amazing. I've never talked to somebody in your space that's ever articulated that.

Lee Blue: Oh yeah. I definitely think it's a unique approach. It's really a fundamentally different tactic from almost everything that I've ever seen with, especially in the WordPress world where it's open source, the software is free and so people are having a hard time figuring out how can I charge a lot of money for something that's free? Well, you're not charging money for the free stuff. You're charging money for the success, for the results that you're delivering with the free stuff.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: Yeah. So listeners, I mean, if you listen to what Lee's saying, he's talking about, solving all your client's problem. So from a business development point of view, I mean, we, I don't build websites. We do sometimes offer support for our clients and help them to facilitate a WordPress site. At one particular meeting, we went in and we said, “Hey, we're not going to be the lowest cost provider. So if you're just shopping for someone to build your WordPress site that's cheap, we're the wrong guys. We'll help you solve these business problems because this is where you're leaving money on the table.” That was a six-figure contract with a big radio media company. So exactly what you said, it's like solving their problems, show them how they can leverage the skills that you've got to make more money.

Lee Blue: Exactly.

Doug: So what are some of the myths around this? I mean, so that sounds good. Hey, I can make five to 10 times more. So what did the naysayers say with that sort of approach?

Lee Blue: It's surprising that you go out there and you try to offer a different approach to people to how to connect them with their clients and price your business and all that stuff. And of course, some people immediately resonate with it. That's fantastic, let's do it. But then there's another big chunk of folks that are the naysayers. They're like, “Oh, you can't do that. You're overcharging people. I mean, how can you just spin up a quick little website and charge 10 times more than everybody else. How come that's not abusing your clients are gouging them or whatever?”

Lee Blue: Here's the thing. The thing is the clients don't actually want the website, right? They want, or they don't want digital marketing. They don't want the SEO stuff that you're doing. They don't want social media stuff except for one thing. They want the result of having done those things successfully.

Lee Blue: So one of the myths is, hey, what I'm doing it's not really worth. If I'm just using a WordPress theme and I'm not coding anything up from scratch or whatever, then that's not really worth a high-value offer. That's not really an expensive thing. But what I'm saying is that if you … there's no way, there's absolutely no way anyone can stay in business if all they're doing is what I call client hopping and selling these $500 websites. Because you're not allowing yourself the opportunity to actually do what's necessary to get the results that your clients are really counting on you for. Because nobody wants a website, nobody wants just to have a website for no reason.

Lee Blue: What they want is the results that come from that. They want to have more clients, more leads to be more effective at communicating their message, to be able to nurture client relationships, in an automated way so that they've got the ability to leverage their time more effectively.

Lee Blue: So if you can put the tools in place, in fact like the tech stack part of where I really come along to help people. I don't really teach people how to build a website. I give you technical tools that have business-oriented outcomes. Which means things that help you book calls or maybe you can get some email marketing, like some drip campaign or some sales funnels or maybe a little bit of eCommerce into the mix or things that really make a big difference for your clients and you just can't do enough of the things that matter if you're only charging like $500. It doesn't give .. You're not allowing yourself enough time to actually put this stuff in place that matters.

Lee Blue: Then on top of that, if you're not onboarding clients into these ongoing retainers where you can continue to work with them month after month, you're not giving them the level of service they really need. Because even if you deliver a fantastic product, it's the equivalent of giving somebody this Lamborghini, sticking it in their driveway but never putting fuel in the tank. So it never goes anywhere. It doesn't do anything for anybody. It's almost worthless at that point. So you have to have that ongoing relationship. When you do that, what you're going to find is the value of what you're delivering goes way up. The amount that you can charge for that goes way up.

Lee Blue: The biggest myth is that, hey, if I could charge less, I'll win more clients and it'll be better. The reason that's a myth is if you put this low ticket offer or this low ticket price on a high ticket offer, nobody is going to believe that the offer is in fact as high value as you claim. It's, I'll tell you, here's another thing. So have you ever been to New York or something?

Doug: Yeah.

Lee Blue: You see those fake Rolex watches out there, right? So you see this Rolex watch and somebody hands it to you and you're like, “Oh, that looks great. What's the price?” They're like, “Oh, it's 50 bucks.” You immediately are like, “There's no way.” There's no way that's a Rolex for 50 bucks, right?

Doug: That's right.

Lee Blue: But here's the thing, what if it really was a Rolex and someone said it was 50 bucks, you would still think there's no way that's a Rolex watch, right?

Doug: Yeah, absolutely.

Lee Blue: So that's one of the things that will go haywire with your pricing. It's like if you lower your price to the point where there's no way that the client is going to look at what you're offering and say, “This is too incongruent.” I mean, there's just no way that the low price like that, nobody can do all that stuff. There's no way that the Rolex is 50 bucks. So even if it is a Rolex, putting that price tag on it is going to disqualify you and you lose clients. So that's why lowering pricing is just a really bad idea all around because it's not good for you, it's not good for your clients, it doesn't produce the results that your clients really need and then you just end up burning yourself out.

Doug: Well, I guess if you keep your prices like that, then if you do want to scale and build a team, now you've got the margin to have a team because you're solving the business problem. Why work with a variety of vendors who are service providers to us for our clients and they're really good at their technical side. So like you said, let's split up the technical, the DoubleStack, but they're not good at getting clients. So they're happy to have music links. I send them lots of business. So I do it, I do well. So my client's marketing problem, they do what they do well, which is this pure technical, but they obviously have the opportunity to do what you're suggesting and do both sides.

Lee Blue: Exactly. Yeah, that's a really good point. That's another thing too. I know that what I'm offering in terms of the training and everything is not for everybody because there are some people out there … I'll probably when I talk to someone to see if they're interested in working together on some of these concepts we've been talking about, I'll ask a lot of questions up front to see if it's a good fit for both of us. If it's not, then that's totally cool but I don't want to onboard people into working with me if they don't want to do both things. Because sometimes people do, “Hey, I just want to do all kinds of coding and JavaScript stuff and just really dive deep into the code.”

Lee Blue: I'm like, “Oh that's great. Well, let me refer you to then to maybe like some recruiters that I know that can really put you in an agency where you can just dive as deep into the code as you want. You don't have to worry about anything else because other people do the other stuff.”

Lee Blue: So, connecting him with somebody like you that could refer them work in business, there's definitely a group of people out there where they just want to do a fantastic job for their clients. I don't want to be misleading in any sense that … like thinking that people that aren't doing both things are somehow doing something wrong or bad. But the problem is there are people out there that want to have their own business. They want to run their own show, build their own thing, but they're acting like they are applying for a job at an agency and you look at their website, it looks like their online resume and people that they're trying to attract.

Lee Blue: So you'd say, “Hey, who are you trying to work with? They're like, “Oh, I'd like to work with small local businesses in my area.” Things like that. Like chiropractors, dentists, local restaurants, real estate people, whatever. Then you look at their website and you're like, hey, do they even know what SEO is, or PPC, or CSS? It's just totally incongruent.

Lee Blue: So if you're the person that just wants to do the tech stuff, you need to partner up with, go get a job at an agency or something like that because you're not going to be able to onboard the clients that you want by offering them things that they don't understand. Does that sort of make some sense?

Doug: It does. I have a tendency to get often too much into the tech because I really like it. So I do a lot of work in the email space, so I find myself going down there. It's like you said, the client doesn't really care. They just care about the end result. If we push the button, will I see the cash registering?

Lee Blue: Yeah.

Doug: So how do you help people transition? Because to me, that sounds like a pretty major mind shift. If you've read, what's his name's book, the “Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business”. He talks about not being the technician who's always in there just doing the work. But you have to spend time on business development. So how do you transition people from, “I'm a tech guy.” to, “Well now I need to think, look bigger picture.”

Lee Blue: Yeah, that's the heart of the way that I help is making that fundamental transformation. There are really two points to draw out with regard to making that shift. One is it's not an informational type of a thing in the sense that you're not like learning a new skill, you're not learning how to write better JavaScript code or whatever. It's really more of a transformational thing where you're actually taking an inventory of the skills that you have, the interest that you have, and you really think … If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best. That's the short sentence and there are four things packed into it that are really important.

Lee Blue: First is the intentionality. So let's say, you don't accept every single project that comes across your desk because you can't serve every single client with the same degree of effectiveness. For example, like myself. I work a lot with doctors and people in the healthcare space, especially like functional medicine doctors and chiropractors that really try to get down to like the root cause of issues as opposed to masking them with medicine.

Lee Blue: So if I were to work with a doctor, I've got a lot of experience and knowledge and history that I can apply to that particular field. Whereas if somebody in the automotive industry came to me, I don't know anything about cars and so I can't serve them at the level that I would be able to help like a chiropractor or a doctor or something like that. So the intentionality is this step number one. Again, the sentence is like, how do you intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best?

Lee Blue: Step number two is the pursuit. The pursuit is getting on the offense, right? Don't just rely on like hope marketing where you just sit around and hope really hard somebody comes by, or just only rely on word of mouth referrals, or just something where you're just totally out of control and you're just hoping things work out.

Lee Blue: In Doublestack, we put together an offer and then go out and make the offer to the people that you can serve the best. So pursue them, like be on the offense, like go out to where they are and talk to them. Then that brings into the serving side of things because a lot of times when I talk to folks their number one complaint is I don't have clients, I don't know where to get clients. Getting leads and clients is just my biggest problem.

Lee Blue: Then I'll walk them, I feel like I've got this little four-step process where we uncover where you can find different clients that are in your life or whatever. We can normally uncover like a dozen or more right off the top of our heads and I'm like, “Okay, so why are you not working with these people? What's the problem?” And they're like, “Well, those are my friends. I don't want to high pressure sales on them or whatever and wreck that relationship.” You ever know anybody that's in a, that sells like bags or vitamins or one of those multilevel marketing things?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: Yeah.

Lee Blue: It's like how many times has somebody invited you out to coffee or to dinner, whatever, you think they're your friend, then he comes since it turns out they wanted to tell you bags and then if you don't want the bags and you're not friends anymore. So that's the thing where nobody wants to be that person. Everybody wants to be able to just be nice and be kind. That's where the serving comes in.

Lee Blue: I don't even say I sell things to people. I serve them. Making the difference, the shift from selling to serving. What that means is you don't say, “Hey, your website is trash. Let's build a new website, let me sell you a website.” Instead, you fundamentally understand the problems that your client is going through. Then you take an inventory of your technical skills and think, “Hey, what can I do that's going to solve those problems online?” Then you make an offer and you do it in such a way that you're serving the client like, Hey. This is something that will be helpful to you. If you want to do it, if it's a good fit and you like it and now's a good time, great. If not, maybe later would be fine too, or whatever.” It's just an offer to come alongside and help.

Lee Blue: Then the fourth part is the best part. So intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best. The best goes back to full circle, back to the intentionality part. Like I can work with doctors better than anybody else because I've got 10 years of experience building websites for doctors. Who are the people that you have the advantage of being able to help in a deeper and better way because you understand what they need, you can really empathize with the problems that they have and your particular skill set is really dialed into solving those issues?

Lee Blue: Let's say for example, what if in addition to building websites, you can also do photography and you can also do videography and maybe you've got some offline branding skills too, you could do logos and stuff. Well maybe working with like, a local restaurant would be a great market to go after because you can build their website, you could design their menu, you can show pictures of their facility, you can do some videos. You could use your skills that might not apply to a chiropractor but would apply great to local restaurants. So that's the best part.

Lee Blue: So intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best. That's really how you make that shift. Does that make sense?

Doug: Yeah, absolutely. I mean it's so refreshing to hear you speak like this looking at your background. Because when I was looking through your website, I went immediately into the technical side and I assumed that most of what you did was technical training. So it's so encouraging because you look at your affiliate markets, I'm in a mastermind and one of the guys in the mastermind is a single dad. So he's now working with other single dads who are entrepreneurs to help them build their business so they can have that work-life balance of what happens when you're a single dad. So there's to your example of the chiropractor, he's found the niche. People can relate. I mean, he has experience, I couldn't serve that market because I don't know what that's like.

Lee Blue: Exactly. Yeah.

Doug: That's so cool. So do you have a specific example? A case study, a client or somebody that you can share an example of how helped them transition from this is what I was doing to here's what's happened after I've been through the process?

Lee Blue: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I've got more than we could go through. Let me give you a couple of just right off the top of my head. So one guy that I was working with that comes to mind first, his name is Jim and he and I actually were just texting a few minutes ago. He's a really interesting situation because he had never sold a website to anybody before he and I started working together. His wife has a business and he built her website and he's been able to build websites for other friends, like on trade or barter or whatever. He's got good skills. He knows how to do the stuff, but he just couldn't onboard any clients.

Lee Blue: So he and I started working together and really solve that problem by making the shift that we were just talking about from instead of saying, “Hey, let me build you a better website.” He came alongside and said, “Hey, let me solve some of these issues that you have with your business so that you can actually do a better job maybe with the website you already have.” So what we did is, I have a couple of different training sessions that he went through. One was about a methodology for writing proposals, another one was on setting pricing and things like that. I said, “All right Jim, take a look at those lessons and give it a shot.” Because he had a client in line, this coffee roasting business.

Lee Blue: He said, “Okay.” So he took a look at the lesson and sent it my way. Then I was able to then edit the proposal that he was working on and we went back and forth. I probably spent maybe five hours working on it with him over the course of a couple of days. So what he would do is he would send it to me, I would then make edits and then he would apply the techniques. Because it's really important to me that, I mean, I know there's a lot of courses out there where they have the swipe files or these templates that's $25,000 website template, whatever. I hate that stuff because-

Doug: You get those too?

Lee Blue: Yeah, it's everywhere. It's everywhere. You just, you can't be on Facebook without seeing them. But the reason that that grinds my gears is I want people to understand why it's working so that when you're writing an offer, what if it's just for 150 bucks a month to do a little thing? They're like, “I want you to be able to write an offer for that or a proposal for that.” Or what if it's a $25,000 project, I want you to be able to write a proposal for that.

Lee Blue: There's a methodology for doing it and I want to make sure that everyone I work with understands how it works so they can then take these skills, apply it to their business going forward and take the same skills and apply it to their clients business so they can get better success communicating the message that their clients have to their customers.

Lee Blue: So anyway, so I did all this with Jim and I said, “Okay, finally it's all dialed in. Go ahead and share this with your client now.” And he did. I remember it was a Friday afternoon, he texted me back and said, “Well, they accepted the whole thing.” It was an $8,000 contract with a $950 per month retainer on the back end. So it was a huge thing. It was his very first client. I mean, that's a huge win.

Doug: That's a great first client. Yeah, absolutely.

Lee Blue: So yeah, he was obviously really excited and happy about it. A couple of other quick examples, just working with one guy, Charlie. He's, I think he's landed maybe $25,000 in the last six weeks in new business. Prior to working together, he had been at this, he's got some videography and photography skills too, so he can build websites and do all that other stuff. He had some clients in the past because he's been at it for years and he said, “But I just can't. I mean, every time I try to ask somebody to do more stuff to onboard them into some marketing package or whatever. Nobody wants to spend any money on that. It's just impossible.”

Lee Blue: So I walked him through the same concept of how do you actually connecting with clients in a way where you're solving some urgent problems that they have. Tapping into that urgency because it's a big problem. You're changing the nature of the problem that you're solving.

Lee Blue: So I walked him through that process and he was timid about it. He's like, “Well, I guess I'll try.” But he wasn't really feeling a whole lot of confidence in it because he hadn't had any success for so many years. Then he texted me again. I think it was on a Tuesday. He was like, “Well, it worked.” He onboarded a $3,000 project right off the bat. But then, I didn't even know he was doing it, but he went out again on that Friday and had another meeting. He texted me, he's got this great sense of humor, he texted me and the title of the text was, Oops, I did it again.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: That's funny.

Lee Blue: So that was great. So those are just two or we could go on, but it's probably too much.

Doug: I've always found it's great if you're prospecting and making sales calls after you get a win like that. That's the best time to phone your next five prospects in line because your attitude and your energy's in check,

Lee Blue: Yeah, you're really building up some momentum, some confidence and you really begin to change how you view yourself, how you view your work, how you view the value of what you do, how you view the nature of the client. Everything fundamentally changes when you have that momentum going.

Doug: Well I think the toughest sale always, at least for me, is always the one that you need. As you're growing and scaling your business, so wherever stage you're at, whether you're expanding and you need more money for your new team or whatever it is, it's the one that you need that's always the toughest one. It's when people are phoning you when you're already super busy. It's easy to sort through as you said and pick the stuff that really fits what you can do and contribute and help people.

Lee Blue: Definitely.

Doug: So what do you see coming down the pipe? What are you most excited about maybe technology-wise, or WordPress wise, or your business development?

Lee Blue: Yeah. I'm really excited about a lot of things. One of the things that I'm, I guess if I had to pick the thing I'm the most excited about is, again, I primarily work with people that are building websites and online, I really call it the online presence because it's more than just a website. Of course, there are lots of things going online.

Lee Blue: But the thing that I'm so excited about, is I've been doing this for like almost 17 years now. When I first got started I had a super-duper technical job actually. I actually was doing bioterrorism surveillance for the United States government. I had a computer science degree I got out of college, that's what I was working on. And it was … do you remember back when anthrax and the bird flu and everything was a big thing?

Doug: Yeah.

Lee Blue: Well that's when I had this job. My job was to crunch numbers. Basically what I was doing was analyzing the emergency medical reports that came out of hospitals and stuff all up and down the East Coast to try to figure out if there's some sort of a health anomaly going on.

Lee Blue: For example, if New York City, everybody's coming down with some sort of weird respiratory thing, well, maybe that's a problem that we need to trigger some sort of an alert. So I was doing that and in the process of getting into that work, I began to think, wouldn't it be great if I could also run my own business and do more like web design stuff. But I had those super strong technical skills and there was no such thing as WordPress, or any easy way to build websites like Wix, or Weebly, or Squarespace. None of those things existed.

Lee Blue: So in order to get online at all you had to have some really strong technical skills. That was what I would call phase one of the WordPress world or whatever before it existed. Well, phase two, I think there are three phases, and the third one I think is the most exciting and I'll get to that just a second. Phase two was, well WordPress came around and I was getting work from ad agencies at this point cause I made the shift out of working for the government to working for myself, building websites and so forth. I would get clients from ad agencies and people that would do direct mail campaigns and stuff, and they wanted like a website that corresponded with their offline marketing campaigns.

Lee Blue: In particular, we worked a lot with college applications, people trying to get students to go to college. So they would paper mail them an application to apply for the college. In addition, in that packet would be, “Hey, if you want to apply online, go here with a special code or whatever and a little code.” Then now your application is partially filled out based on the stuff they know about you already. So it makes it easier to fill out the app.

Doug: So using pearls I guess?

Lee Blue: Yeah, pretty much. Just a little, basically combining what they knew from their offline mail file to put it inside the web app. So that was really cool. The ad agencies couldn't do that themselves so they hired me to outsource that more complicated stuff.

Doug: That's cool.

Lee Blue: So, but then what happened was, this big shift came and version three of the web development world emerged, which was it's pretty easy to do really complicated stuff now. E-commerce is a thing that's, you've just put a plug in on and next thing, you're selling stuff and it's secure and it's safe. All PCI compliance, which was another thing that I dove deep into a few years ago to make sure that credit card payments were secure. Well, that's easy now too. And securing your website, hosting your website, all the things that used to be complicated are now pretty easy or at least they're significantly better than they were before. And we've ushered in this third era of being a web developer, which is you can do a ton of things all on your own.

Lee Blue: So the initial inclination would be to think, “Oh well my job has gone now, the ad agencies, they don't need me anymore because they can do multi-page forums, eCommerce, and everything on their own without having to write any code.” But the truth is you can too. You can do all of that same stuff all on your own without having to have the overhead of an entire ad agency. So while the ad agency might be charging 30 or 50 grand, you can come in and charge 15 or 20 grand and still make a great living, give yourself a huge opportunity to really do awesome work and deliver a much better outcome than in terms of the return on investment, than working with this huge ad agency.

Lee Blue: That's why I think it's the most exciting time to be in this space because you can do so much stuff on your own. You can, I would say probably even five years ago it would've been really difficult to do both the business development and the tech stack all together in one person. Like we talked about in the beginning, if you want to make an extra five to 10 grand per month consistently with the workload that you can handle on your own, now is the time to actually be able to do that. Because like you can learn how to do the business development. I can show you how that part works.

Lee Blue: Then I'll show you how you can put the tech skills together to be able to implement the things that result in those types of outcomes that you're going to be delivering to your clients. You can do it all on yourself, all by yourself.

Lee Blue: The way that it usually works, for example, is I generally suggest people sell a website for about $5,000 and that brings … It can range, obviously you scope it based on what the client really needs, what the project's all about. But as for a target, shoot for about a $5,000 build-out, which includes the website, some email stuff, their social media, Facebook, whatever they need to do. All the things online, building it out up front, five grand for that. And then try to get a retainer for about $850 per month. And that's, what that looks like is if you've got an hourly rate of about 85 bucks an hour, see if you can arrange for about 10 hours per month with that, work working with that client. What that looks like is you're talking about two or three hours per week.

Lee Blue: You're like Monday morning from like 9:00 to 11:30 for four weeks in the month, that adds up to about 10 hours. So you're not asking them to hire you to want like full time or anything like that. It's just a little bit of time so that you can give yourself the opportunity to really dial stuff in and keep things going.

Lee Blue: So if you're … you mentioned that you do a lot with email, well then you would know that those aren't static things. You have to see where in my email automation workflow are people falling off? How can I tweak that? What can I add to make branching logic to really get the right information to the right people at the right time, and really up those conversion rates? I mean, you have to look at that stuff from time to time. So it is too with everything. With landing pages and all other kinds of things that go on, you have to be there tending to that stuff for a little bit.

Lee Blue: If you can do that for about 10 hours per month, now you're making 850 per month off of that retainer. So you've got this $5,000 side on the front end, you've got this, 850 per month retainer on the backend. So over the course of a year, that's over … that's like, what's that? $10,200 just on the retainer. So now you've got this $15,000 annual client and if you want to get an extra five grand a month coming in, that's four clients over the whole year. Which is a workload that you can do on your own without having to outsource it to anyone else and you're only working two and a half billable hours a day other than after the billed out part, the retainer's only two and a half billable hours? What if you wanted to work five, right? Now you're up to six figures, and you can do that on your own.

Lee Blue: Then if you want to scale beyond that, then fantastic. But now you can do it in a way where you're not just rolling the dice where you're like, “Oh man, I could bring on a copywriter or I could bring on someone to do whatever.” Whatever the other skills are that you want to bring on. You don't have to be like, “Man, I hope I land another project next month or otherwise, what am I going to do?” You've got this recurring income.

Lee Blue: So now you're maybe, maybe you're making 8K per month, maybe you're making 10K a month, 12K, whatever, and you're like, “Hey, it's time to bring someone on. Well, you can do that with the confidence knowing that next month you're also going to be making the same as you did the previous month because you've got that reliable recurring revenue coming in as opposed to just rolling the dice on landing big projects every once in a while.

Lee Blue: I don't think that you could have done that five or six years ago in the same, at least not in the same way that you can today because everything is there for you. All the tools are just sitting right there, but nobody's putting them together in this high-value way. So that's the thing.

Doug: Yeah, I agree. I talk to people and they have all these tools, so they have the WordPress site, they have all the social media sites. Most of them are lots of the Click Funnels, Leadpages, and they use Unbounce. So they've got this whole plethora of tools and they don't understand how to use any of them, but because of the ads, or the Facebook, or the whatever groups there're in with the email marketing, they've signed up thinking this is the next thing and every month they're paying, but they're not using them. So like you said if you can put all those pieces together and you become their backend to do all that, you're helping them in a big way. Because right now that money's just going out the door and it's not producing anything.

Lee Blue: Oh, absolutely. That's the whole thing. To your point there, if you go and say to somebody, “Hey, let me build you a sales funnel.” Or, “Hey, let me build you a website.” Or, “Let's do email marketing.” They're immediately going to say, “Hey, I'm already doing that and it's not working. This is trash. I don't want to do it anymore.”

Lee Blue: So you can't connect in with clients like that. But if you said something more like, “Hey, do you feel like … are you connecting with enough clients? Are you getting the leads that you need? Are you burning yourself out? Do you feel like you're just, every day you go to bed, unable to sleep because you're thinking about all this stuff you didn't do yesterday and now you're trying to figure out, “Well tomorrow good grief, I've got to climb an even higher mountain.” and you're just feeling like you're burning yourself out, ineffective use of your time, all the stuff that you have. Is it working for you? Do you want to solve that problem?” Then, of course, everyone says, “Yes.” I mean, but do you see how there's a fundamental change?

Doug: Sure.

Lee Blue: Because you're still going to use the same tools. There's no magic tool that nobody knows about. It's not like you and I are sitting over here and we know the secret sauce to rank everybody number one on Google, but no one else. There's no such thing as that. But there is such a thing is how do you actually take the tools that are out there because they're really, really nice tools that weren't available just a few years ago. But everybody is still selling websites like it's five years ago. That's why the price race is just, everybody's going right down to the bottom.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Doug: Well, to your point of the retainer, I mean, the way I think of a website is once you launch the website, that's when the work begins.

Lee Blue: Yeah, exactly.

Doug: Because I have a site, but I have no information now. I have no metrics. I need traffic, I need to be able to test stuff. I need to see where people are visiting, how they're using the site, what they're signing up for. Then I need to start tweaking it to … I think if it is tuning a car. If you want the car to run at top performance, you've got to make sure the mechanics tweaking it. So maybe it's adjusting the shocks or is it adjusting the exhaust or it's whatever it is, you've got to keep tweaking the thing if you want maximum performance and building a website and going, “I'm done, I've arrived.” It's a little disappointing.

Lee Blue: Exactly. That's a really good point.

Doug: So what's some of the bad advice you hear out there around this?

Lee Blue: Oh yeah. The bad advice is, well, there's a couple of areas. I continue to fall back on the pricing because one of the things that I see all the time is this downward pressure on price, especially when it comes to building websites. Because I mean all the way to like zero. I've seen ads on Facebook where people will build you a Facebook … for a WordPress website for $50, or on craigslist, if you've ever looked at that for web developers or web designers, whatever on Craig's list, which for whatever reason that I never even thought to look there until a couple of months ago. But there're offers on there like, “Hey, 100 bucks, I'll build you a website.” Or what if you … like my daughter takes piano lessons. She's actually an amazing pianist.

Lee Blue: She's 15, but she's taking lessons to become a piano teacher. So it's a unique type of lesson. It's piano lessons for teaching piano rather than just playing it. But anyway, her piano teacher, she knows that Kendall's dad is a digital marketer or a web designer, can he build me a better website or whatever.

Lee Blue: So we talked, it was, “You don't need a $5,000 website.” Just go over to Wix, put up a couple of web pages and a contact form and your phone number and just start with that and it's free. How about that? So what doesn't work is when people say, “Hey, why don't you just lower your price and get more clients in the door because your price is lower?” Or here's another thing, how about people that say, “Hey, I can't go out and start making an offer yet because I don't have a portfolio. I don't have clients. I don't have a portfolio of work to show.” You don't need a portfolio.

Lee Blue: I can tell you right now, I've done this for about 17, 16, 17 years and I can tell you, I think I've landed one client over all that time because of my portfolio of work and my website. It was a guy in California, I'm in Virginia and he just happened to be Googling around for a WordPress plugin developer who could do this particular skill set that I happened to be able to do and had blogged about. He found me and I built him a couple of plugins and it was a great relationship, great guy. But I mean, out of all of that time, one client came in because of my portfolio.

Lee Blue: So don't waste time on that. If you have a portfolio, show it. If you've got testimonials, share them. But if you don't, that's not a roadblock to saying, to being able to go out and have your … we literally just talked about Jim. His very first client. He has no portfolio, no testimonials, no anything. His first client was an $8,000 client because he's solving the problem that his client had.

Lee Blue: So don't feel like you're stuck because you don't have, a portfolio. Don't feel like you have to take on free or cheap clients to build your portfolio. Because that's going to burn you out and you're not going to get the results you're looking for, you're not going to be able to get your clients the results that they're counting on you for, because you're going to be racing through everything because you're not making any money. So don't do that stuff.

Doug: That's great. That's great advice. I mean, I don't have a portfolio, I discourage people from having a portfolio because it says your clients don't care about what you've done for somebody else. They just really care can you solve my problem? So my portfolio normally is, I have a blank piece of paper and a pen. I go ask questions to figure out where the problems are and then if I can help them, I'll say, “I can help you and here's how.” If I can't, I'll say, “Go over there. They can help you.” Like you said, go get a free Wix site, go set up a single landing page with Leadpages. You don't need to have 100 pages of content. But yeah, that's really cool. So love that point. You don't need a portfolio.

Doug: I actually did an experiment. I launched a new C corporation in Nevada and I ran it for about 14 months with no website. I actually sold my first contract before I had set up the emails. I had registered a domain, presented to somebody, signed a contract, I got my information, went and opened a bank account because they had already mailed me the check. So now I had a corporate account and then cashed the check. So I think you're right. I mean it really depends on your relationship and can you solve their problem? They don't really care about, well I don't know. Maybe they do.

Doug: I just, I like your style. I think it makes a lot of sense for people that are listeners. If you guys are listening to the ideas of spending like you said, hours and hours and hours building a portfolio of free stuff to show your clients, a big huge stack of stuff that you've done before. Who cares? Just show them that you can solve their problem.

Lee Blue: Exactly. Yeah, totally. Another side point on that with the portfolio thing is a lot of times like we talked about earlier in the conversation how if you can show up with leadership, and then leadership breeds confidence, and confidence brings that high ticket investment, that chain of events there is really critical. But portfolios, that doesn't really add to that sequence because people will be like, “Oh well, maybe they did it for them, but will it work for me?”

Lee Blue: So in your client's eyes, they're trying to connect the dots. If I hire this particular person to work with me, will I get the same results as those other people? That's a much weaker argument than actually telling them how you're actually going to get the results for them like you were just saying.

Doug: Yeah or you may show them clients that are too large and they think, “Well I can't afford him because look at all the clients they work with.” Or too small, they never have done anything really big. So they probably don't have the experience.

Lee Blue: Exactly. Yeah. They're not talking to me, is basically what the idea is.

Doug: Well I'm just totally blown away that listening to your background from the tech work that you did with the government, your transition and your energy and your focus, and how you've moved your business and now you're helping other people leverage and grow their business. I think it's just so cool.

Lee Blue: Cool. Thanks so much.

Doug: So Lee, two questions and I'll let you get back to helping your clients, serving your clients like you said not selling them stuff. Who's one guest you think I should have on my podcast?

Lee Blue: Well, one of the first people that I talked to years ago when I was really trying, because as we were talking about before like I started out working at the government doing all this tech stuff. Then I had this big phase where I was heavy into eCommerce and we launched this eCommerce platform with, a lot of emphasis on like PCI compliance, credit card payment, security, and everything. I was trying to figure out how do I get that business off the ground? How can I tell the story of what we've got here with this payment platform to connecting with clients especially in the WordPress world? The guy that I connected in with, his name is Chris Lema and he gave me this tip, I mean he gave me a lot of the tips.

Lee Blue: He's a really smart guy. He's really engaging to listen to. But the big tip that he gave to me really focused on the benefits rather than the features. That lesson that he taught me, I've taken and I use it all the time. It's a really important aspect of communicating your message because nobody cares about the features until they buy into the benefits first. I used to do Jiu-Jitsu for a long time. This quick little story really illustrates the point.

Lee Blue: For the longest time … I have an older brother, he and I had been watching those old like this, I don't know if you've ever watched a super old UFC fight, where there was no weight classes, no time zones or you just fight until somebody gives up. You ever seen any of that stuff?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Doug: No I haven't.

Lee Blue: It was crazy.

Doug: But crazy, yeah.

Lee Blue: It really was. Well, there's this family out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Gracie family. They were relatively about my size. About 180 pounds, 5'10”, whatever. They were just like they would just say, “Anybody can come and fight me, whoever wins, wins, right? There are no rules, no rounds, no weight classes. Let's just do it.”

Lee Blue: Then little, I would consider myself to be relatively small compared to like football players, basketball players, these huge giant fighter guys. But every single time, this guy Royce Gracie would be just crushing these giants. This was like back in like 1995 or something like that's a long time ago. I thought to myself, “Well, if they ever teach how to do that anywhere near where I live, where I don't have to go to Brazil to figure it out, then I'm going to go.”

Lee Blue: So it turned out that maybe, I don't know, maybe 10 years ago or something, they opened up one of these gyms or whatever, just down the street from my house and they were teaching Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. I was like, I cannot believe it. This is crazy.

Doug: That's so cool.

Lee Blue: So I got up and I was working from home. It was my lunch break. I drove to the gym and said, “Hey, I'm interested in signing up. Can you tell me about what's going on?” Of course, you get there and on the wall, it's this guy that was the instructor. There are pictures and trophies of him winning all this stuff. I mean he's clearly this Ninja black belt guy.

Lee Blue: Then nobody else was there. It was just him because it was like lunchtime, most of the classes happen at night after work and everything. So he invites me in, he's talking to me about everything, telling me all these awesome stories, gives me this little private lesson and I'm super jazzed up about it, right? Because I'm buying into the benefits really heavy because I'm seeing all the trophies and this private lesson. Everything is great.

Lee Blue: Then he's like, okay so I sign up, I get my Gi and everything so I can come back. Well, the next day I come back in for the lesson and now everything is totally different because all the other guys are there. They're in their Gis that haven't been washed in ages and there's this totally different smell of the place. People are standing on your neck, twisting your arm like their pretzels, it hurts. But those are the actual features of how do you learn how to fight like this.

Lee Blue: So if he had started with the features and said, “Hey, come into the gym, let these heavy stinky guys break your ribs, sit on your chest, stand on your face.” I'd be like, “No, I'm not doing it. There's no way.” Nobody in their right mind would ever do that because you haven't bought into the benefits first, right? You have to buy into, if I go through all these features, if I endure the pain of all these details, then I'm going to come out the other side like Royce Gracie where I can just like defeat giants at my normal size.

Lee Blue: So that's the lesson that I thought Chris really taught me really well with the whole idea of first you have to get into the benefits and then people are willing to invest in themselves by really digging into the features. So anyway a bit of a short story I guess for why I think Chris would be a really cool person for you to talk to.

Doug: Oh, that's awesome. But I mean, it also expands for our listeners the advantage of features, not benefits. I mean, this is no different than anyone going to the gym or once you get there and you realize how much pain there is to get to the program. You may have reconsidered, but you're now you're already in.

Lee Blue: Exactly. Yeah, you're right.

Doug: I bought in because I wanted to do X and to say, “Oh, well someone forgot to tell me that I was going to have to do all these things to get there.”

Lee Blue: Yeah.

Doug: So where can people reach you? Learn more about what you're doing, connect with you?

Lee Blue: Sure. Yeah. So the best way to get a hold of me is you can head on over to my website, which is doublestack.net. On there you'll find a couple of things I've got. In the footer of the website, I've got links to my podcast. You'll also see a link. I've got a public Facebook group, it's called Building High-Value WordPress Sites. If you want to join that, then every Tuesday at two o'clock eastern we get together for like a live session and it's free. We just talk about this the whole concept of really serving your clients with the types of technical skills that you have so that you can drive the business results and outcomes that they're really counting on people to deliver.

Lee Blue: So we talk about that. It's relatively a big group and there are hundreds of people in it, so we can't really get super-duper specific in terms of exactly how you can dial in your specific marketing. But it's still a really cool place to join and be a part of a community of folks who are all like-minded, who really want to do more than just crank out websites for cheap prices. They really want to actually make a difference with their work and connecting with their clients in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Lee Blue: So that's really cool. If it sounds like this is the work that you want to be doing, you want to start implementing some of the concepts that Doug and I were talking about here today, then I actually offer a free phone call for 45 minutes and we can really dive into it.

Lee Blue: So if you feel like you want to level things up to the point where you're taking your tech skills and you're adding that business development stack to it so that you can really pack a really strong punch when it comes to the outcomes that you can deliver, well, we can talk about that and really dial in your marketing and your pricing and really figure out, what offers should you be making. We can talk about that stuff. It's totally free. It's 45 minutes.

Lee Blue: Then if at the end of that conversation you want to keep things going and you want my help implementing the things that we've talked about during the call, we can see if maybe the DoubleStack program is a good fit for you. If not, that's totally cool too, but at least you've got this new perspective, this new direction and you can really, take that and make a difference not only for yourself but for your clients too.

Doug: Well that's really cool. And by your energy level and the rate that you speak, I think you're going to give it an hour's worth of value out of a 45-minute call with you.

Lee Blue: Thanks.

Doug: Lots of times I listen to podcasts and I put them at 1.5 to listen to them because people talk a bit slow. But I really appreciate your energy and just a shout out. So tell us a bit about your podcast then we'll let you let you go back to work.

Lee Blue: Sure. So the podcast is a pretty much a replay of what we do in the Facebook group. So we talk about things like how do you raise your prices without pricing yourself out of the market? How do you write proposals that tap into urgency and scarcity, which is something that's overlooked when it comes to selling websites? Because there really is no urgency because most people already have a website. There really is no scarcity because everybody can build a website. Well, how do you fix that? Or we talk about things like, should I put my prices on my website? What does that mean if I do and what does it mean if I don't?

Lee Blue: So we answer questions along those lines to try to help the people get pointed in the right direction because it really is, it's a fundamentally new approach to connecting in with clients. So that's what we talk about in the podcast. That's what we talk about in the Facebook group. If that sounds like something that you're interested in, I'd love to introduce myself to you, meet you, and have you be part of the group.

Doug: Well that's really cool. I'm super stoked to see that you're a new podcaster. As you said, you're 10 episodes in. So I would suggest listeners head over there and download the download an episode or two in iTunes. I'll make sure we transcribe the notes so you can follow up with Lee. Put the links down there. I know he's also an on Twitter and on LinkedIn because I've connected with them there as well so I'd encourage you to the same. So thanks again Lee for sharing with us and just providing so much value.

Lee Blue: Well, thanks so much, Doug. It's been great. I'm really excited about it.

Doug: Well, there you go listeners. There's another episode of Real Marketing Real Fast. Today's pace was a little bit faster. I liked the pace that we went through. There was a ton of information here, so you may need to slow the podcast down so you can take some good notes and implement that. So stay tuned for our next episode. I look forward to serving you soon.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

[just click to tweet]

HOW TO BUILD A PROFITABLE WORDPRESS BUSINESS

If I had to distill it down to one sentence, it would be, let me show you how to intentionally pursue the clients you can serve the best.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Get in touch with Lee:

Find out more about Lee and DoubleStack:

Links to other related podcasts and or blog posts:

7 ESSENTIAL PILLARS TO LAUNCH YOUR APP OR PRODUCT

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE AND BOOST SALES