Meet the Guest

Alex Lathery

Alex Lathery

Alex Lathery is a freelance web designer at Blue Collar Builds. Alex builds websites for sweaty startups.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Jonathan:

[00:00:00] Jonathan: Welcome to the web flowers podcast. This week , I'm talking with Alex Lathery. Who's a freelance web designer at Blue Collar Builds. Alex builds websites for sweaty startups, but first, a word of thanks

[00:00:15] Jonathan: Octopus do that's octopus dot D O is a fast and clean site mapper tool.

[00:00:20] Jonathan: Create your website map, add notes, specified page content, and use color schemes to improve your site map design or content planning. That's octopus dot D O.

[00:00:31] Jonathan: Hey Alex. Welcome to Webflowers.

[00:00:34] Alex: Hey, Jonathan. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:36] Jonathan: What's your favorite?

[00:00:38] Alex: So my favorite flower is the Dahlia. And I chose that flower because, so when you asked me that question, it's really not something that I had thought about before in too much detail, but I was, I was looking through them. And I really liked the dahlias because it's kind of got that tuberous structure and it looks a lot different than a lot of the flowers.

[00:00:57] Alex: And it almost has like, More rigid structure to it. And it's kind of puffy if you look at them and that I really liked that about them. And I also really liked the colors that go with those.

[00:01:07] Jonathan: Yeah. I mean, there, there's some really strong reds and purples and stuff, aren't they? Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

[00:01:13] Jonathan: So, so what does that tell me about you as a person? I wonder I'm not sure. I don't think I'm going to examine that in too much detail. Okay. That's brilliant. So I got to know you on the, on the Twitter, as I've met most of my guests, from your sweaty startups niche and I think one of the things that really caught my eye, which I want to talk about a bit later was this idea that you're offering, not just the website, but a whole package around that to really help people grow their businesses. But before we get on to that, can we just talk about sweaty startups? That's a nice little niche.

[00:01:48] Jonathan: Where did he get it from? What is it about you know,

[00:01:52] Alex: Yeah. So I'm going to start by just defining that term because a lot of people, especially in the web design space and maybe in the more tech related space, they're not going to know what that term is. A sweaty startup was a term that was popularized by Mick Huber or at sweaty startup on Twitter. And really what it is is just.

[00:02:12] Alex: home service businesses primarily, but any kind of like blue collar, like you actually get up from your computer screen and you go out and you do some of the stuff that makes the world go round, like landscaping or junk removal or housecleaning. All of these things that we take for granted that happened in every city in the entire world that a lot of times entrepreneurs, they go after these really sexy jobs.

[00:02:36] Alex: like founding a startup um going in to an Ivy league college and trying to go get a job at these major companies where it's like the idea that this guy brought forth was that you can make a really good living and learn a lot that is specific knowledge and valuable skills from doing these more blue collar or like hardworking jobs and managing people to do those jobs for you.

[00:02:59] Alex: So that is what a sweaty startup.

[00:03:02] Jonathan: . Okay. So why did you choose that field for your niche then?

[00:03:06] Alex: Yeah, so it kind of goes back to my journey entrepreneurially. I don't know when I had discovered that term or him, it was a couple of years ago, one to two years ago, and I came across it either on Reddit. They have a pretty strong subreddit, or I came across him on YouTube and I was like, oh, that's really cool.

[00:03:27] Alex: Maybe I should start a sweaty startup. But you know, I never did back. It was back in high school.

[00:03:32] Jonathan: Why not?.

[00:03:33] Alex: I think that really what I was doing was just kind of daydreaming. If you, if you know what I mean, it's like, I saw this, this guy's like, oh, you can make really good money doing this. It's it's way easier than going and competing with these Ivy leaguers to get jobs at big companies or big tech.. And I was like, oh, that's such a cool idea. But at the time, for me, it really wasn't something that was in the cards. I was either in high school, like finishing up high school or just starting college and just background on me. I'm in, I'm in my last year of college as a mechanical engineer.

[00:04:04] Jonathan: Oh, right. Okay. Oh, you're still

[00:04:06] Alex: at college.

[00:04:06] Alex: on a totally different path. Yeah. So I'm, I'm almost done with college.

[00:04:10] Jonathan: Okay. So, so why, why mechanical engineering?

[00:04:14] Alex: So I chose mechanical engineering. That's been. The path that I've been on for a long time. I mean, I've always had an affinity to tinkering with things and sort of being a maker if you want to call it that. And I remember every time people ask me, like, was there like a specific impetus? I always think back to when I watched like the first Ironman movie.

[00:04:34] Alex: And you can see him. He's in that, he's in that cave when he's being captive, and he's like building this iron man suit and that's the stereotypical mechanical engineer answer is that everybody wanted to be like iron man.

[00:04:46] Jonathan: Okay. Okay. So

[00:04:48] Alex: by that. And then I took some engineering courses throughout high school, signed up for mechanical engineering as my major in college.

[00:04:56] Alex: And once I started learning the curriculum, I enjoyed it. So I stuck with it.

[00:04:59] Jonathan: Okay. Okay. And so, so what are you learning in mechanical engineering? What, what, I, I literally have no idea what that means.

[00:05:07] Alex: Yeah. So in general, it's a very broad field. We study and are experts in all things of like the mathematics of motion. So like physics.

[00:05:20] Jonathan: Okay.

[00:05:21] Alex: The mathematics of like how fluids move and how fluids interact. But we also have some expertise in heat transfer being able to quantify how heat and energy transfers between fluids, between solids.

[00:05:34] Alex: And then on top of that, you're also a little bit. Introduced to the ideas of like vibration acoustics, things of that nature. So it's very broad and mechanical engineers can do a lot of different things. Like a lot of them work in the automotive industry on designing cars, doing research and development, or a lot of them work in aviation.

[00:05:58] Alex: I actually have a pretty unique circumstance that I'm in and that I work with diapers. I'm a research and development engineer for baby diapers.

[00:06:06] Jonathan: Really.

[00:06:08] Alex: Yep.

[00:06:09] Jonathan: Well, cause they, they would invent invented for, for, for space travel weren't they originally I think, and yeah, so, so, Okay.

[00:06:16] Jonathan: I have a little bit of a recent experience of, of. Diapers nappies. We call them in England. Cause my, my, my little my little granddaughter is nine months old.

[00:06:24] Jonathan: So I went over a couple of weeks ago and it was changing, changing her nappy and they are substantially different tothey were, to the, to how they were when I was changing my, by my own kids nappies, diapers that's so the technology there is really, really interesting because I remember these great fat things that, that would sort of absorb liquid. And now they're, they've all got gels inside them and all sorts of tech. That's really, really funny.

[00:06:50] Alex: very much. Yeah. And it's funny because like, the things that some of the guys that I have worked with or mentors that I've had at the company have told me. You wouldn't know this, or as an outsider, you wouldn't think this, but diapers are one of the most complex inventions or like products that are for consumers.

[00:07:07] Alex: There's multiple different systems. They've got elastics. They've got the absorbents kind of like you're talking about, they've got like lotions and stuff in there to kind of protect the baby's skin and preserve skin. Yeah. And then as they keep evolving more, it gets more and more complex, like you were saying.

[00:07:22] Alex: So like they've changed so much just in the last they really got commercialized in the fifties,

[00:07:27] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So how, how did you, how did you yeah, I'm not that old. My children were not born in the fifties. But so how did you get into that then?

[00:07:39] Alex: So from college I did three internships basically at this company and I'm from Cincinnati. And so spoiler alert, I work at Proctor and Gamble. Um, their headquarters globally is in Cincinnati, Ohio. And so I had always kind of wanted to work there as I've always kind of wanted to be a mechanical engineer.

[00:08:00] Alex: I was like, well, where do I want to work? I don't really want to do stuff with cars. I'm not really a car guy. I like consumer products. And so it felt like a natural fit. They're headquartered in Cincinnati and I like consumer products. So I tried to get an internship there. I got an internship there and now I'm a diaper guy.

[00:08:16] Jonathan: That's fantastic. That's absolutely brilliant.

[00:08:20] Alex: I love to tell people that about me. Cause it's, they're like, oh, you're an engineer. What are you doing? I'm like, well, I work on diapers.

[00:08:26] Jonathan: Yeah. That's, that's lovely. That's lovely. But you don't have any kids of your own yet.

[00:08:31] Alex: Not yet I'm married. I just got married in September. So no kids yet.

[00:08:35] Jonathan: yeah, yeah. Yeah. I thought, well, I said, well done. I think I meant congratulations.

[00:08:40] Alex: Thank you. I know what you meant.

[00:08:44] Jonathan: So okay. So why, why are you wasting your time building websites? Haven't you got enough to do with, with the fluid mechanics?

[00:08:52] Alex: Yeah. So I think this is a very common characteristic of entrepreneurial people. I can never really just be sitting there bored and I'm in my last year of university and my workload is not that high. I'm pretty much done with college. And because of the field that I chose to go into, like working with research and development, product development.

[00:09:18] Alex: On diaper specifically. I didn't really feel like getting any kind of specialized degree in a certain field of mechanical engineering because I've always more gravitated towards designing products research and development, and also the tech side of things. I really like to program, I've done a little bit of programming throughout my curriculum as an engineer and I've always kind of just dabbled in it as I've gone through high school and college.

[00:09:44] Alex: And so the story of how I started in Webflow and with web design goes back to the start of the COVID lockdowns.

[00:09:52] Jonathan: yeah.

[00:09:53] Alex: I was working in my internship, I was trying to learn some kind of skills that would help to differentiate me versus some of the other candidates. And I started to look into programming because like I said, I always kind of had an affinity for it.

[00:10:08] Alex: And I saw the value that it would provide. for thecompany and for me and the position that I was in within the company. So when we got sent home, I had a ton of time on my hands, like probably a lot of people. And so I just started learning how to program data science, actually through Python and very quickly, I was like, this is boring.

[00:10:31] Alex: Ah, this is boring. I mean, I, I'm one of those people that for me to learn something, I it's really beneficial for me to be able to apply it directly in my life in front of me. And so when I was learning data science, I had nothing to apply it to, but I still wanted to learn to code. So I was like, well, I want to learn to make websites because you always have something that you can apply it to.

[00:10:53] Alex: You can just go and build a website for just about anything that you want.

[00:10:56] Jonathan: Yeah.

[00:10:57] Alex: And so I then pivoted to starting to learn . The fundamentals of web design through programming, like learning, HTML, learning CSS, and learning the basics of JavaScript. And somewhere along that I spent like one to 2, 3, 4 months just kind of learning that, playing around with it.

[00:11:14] Alex: And then I was like, well, I've also always wanted to start a business. And I had mentioned before that, like even back in high school, I was watching these podcasts and YouTube videos of people starting businesses. And I was like, well, I've always wanted to start a business. I've never actually done it.

[00:11:29] Alex: And so I was like, why don't I try to start a business with this web design stuff just on the side for fun. And that's when I pivoted from learning just how to code a website to like, why don't I learn one of these builders, like WordPress, like Webflow and try to turn it into a business. And so I did some research on the alternatives and I went with Webflow and that's what started me on my Webflow journey.

[00:11:55] Jonathan: It's great. Isn't it?

[00:11:56] Alex: Yeah, it's, it's absolutely fantastic. And I given that period of where I was looking at all these different builders I built a website for my sister-in-law on WordPress, and it was incredibly frustrating. Like I, I had so many issues cause I, she, she wanted to just a little photography portfolio website.

[00:12:15] Alex: That was, I was just doing it for her for free, for fun. And she didn't really want to pay anything for it because she was just starting up a photography business.

[00:12:23] Jonathan: Yeah.

[00:12:24] Alex: And so I was like, I like build out the website on WordPress and I tried to export it to a relatively cheap hosting site. And I had so many problems just in that process of like plugins, where like you have to upgrade to the paid version to export your site or to do this function, to do this function.

[00:12:42] Alex: And there were like 20 different roadblocks. This is insane. I just want to, I just want to build a website and publish it. And that's what Webflow allows you to do. You build the website and you almost one click publish

[00:12:54] Jonathan: well, I mean, it is, I think it's really interesting that some people claim that Webflow is really expensive, you know, 12 or $16 a month for the CMS. And I've just. Really, I mean, okay. It's not as cheap as some, but it's, it's the same prices as Squarespace or Wix in effect. And you can do magic with Webflow that you can't do with, with, with Wix or Squarespace.

[00:13:23] Jonathan: So, yeah, I think it's really interesting. I started with, with WordPress as well and I mean, I remember 10 years ago I was doing stuff with Joomla. And that was, that was all because I wanted to be open source and all the rest of it. But of course, then you get hacked because you're not keeping up to date with the, with various security updates and all the rest of it.

[00:13:45] Jonathan: And, and I'm just like, just, I think that was about the same time that I decided to throw out my windows machine. Cause it kept giving me all sorts of grief and I went over to Chromebooks. But yeah, it's a funny, it's a funny thing. Okay. Right. We're gonna need to take a break now. But when we come back, we'll talk about how y'all not just building websites, but helping clients to to, to sell.

[00:14:09] Jonathan: So we'll be back after this.

[00:14:12] Jonathan: Octopus do that's octopus dot D O is a lightning fast visual site map builder. Build your website structure in real time, using the content brick method and rapidly share it to collaborate with your team or clients. Start prototyping websites, instantly.

[00:14:30] Jonathan: to Webflowers. I'm Jonathan Holden. This week, I'm talking with Alex Lathery who's a freelance web designer at Blue Collar Builds. So before the break we were talking about you being a, a diaper mechanic. Now I just want to talk about how you've moved from not just building Webflow websites, but I want you to talk about that whole thing of supporting clients, because I think it's something that, you know, once, once you've got a client, it seems a bit silly not to keep supporting them.

[00:15:02] Jonathan: And one of the things I find fascinating about your, your rates is that you charge a monthly retainer. So the web build is free in effect, is this right? But then you pay They pay you a few hundred dollars a month to build a website and keep things up to date and SEO and other bits and pieces. So I'm really interested in why you chose that model, how you came across that model.

[00:15:31] Jonathan: Cause most people would say, no, you charge five grand for the website or 10 grand for the website and then they're on their own or something. So tell us about that.

[00:15:39] Alex: Yeah, so it has a lot to do with the niche that I am serving. By nature I'm serving people who are trying to start up a new business, and that can be very chaotic at times. And you, unless you're a startup where you have access to all this kind of funding, you're just bootstrapping it by yourself. And a lot of times, you know, you're just taking money left over from your nine to five and trying to build something for yourself.

[00:16:04] Alex: And so these guys don't have, you know, 3, 4, 5, 10 grand to drop on just a website for their business, because they've got so much else that they're trying to bootstrap. And so it also really helps that given that I have had like five internships throughout my college career. I have the money saved up and I also am married.

[00:16:23] Alex: So that helps as well, but I don't need the money. A lot of web developers, like that's their paycheck and they rely on that. So they need to have that money kind of upfront. Whereas I'm able to offer something that, you know, I take a hit in the short-term where it's like, I'm not getting all that money and I'm doing all this work.

[00:16:43] Alex: But in the long-term it helps out my clients a lot with just being able to just, Hey, just write off the expense every month. And they get the website and they can start building and growing that business and seeing cashflow come in on their side to then pay off their website, as it goes, it's almost like the same way that consumers, you know, you can go out and spend a thousand dollars on a new appliance or you can finance it.

[00:17:05] Alex: It's a similar idea to that. And so that's the offering that I kind of stumbled upon actually just with talking with one of the bigger space figures in that space, he jumped me on a call and he was like, Hey dude, like what's up with this website stuff. I really liked your sites. And he was talking about like, how much would it cost?

[00:17:25] Alex: Cause he wanted to do one with me and he's like, have you ever considered doing a pricing model like this? Because a lot of us guys in this space like we, we really like just a monthly expense because it's just a business expense versus having to fork up like two, three, $4,000 right. Upfront for our website.

[00:17:43] Alex: So I was like, I gave it some thought it made a lot of sense and I was able to do it given that I'm not reliant on this Webflow stuff for my primary income.

[00:17:52] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So but, but this, this is, is a permanent thing. So they have to keep paying or is it, is it for two years or is there a contract there or how does that work?

[00:18:04] Alex: Yep. So it's definitely in flux . It's a new thing for me, so I'm still tweaking it and there's probably going to be multiple different options that they're allowed to do in the future because there still will be people that are like, Hey I have the money and I just want to pay right now. And then I want that monthly retainer to be like much lower.

[00:18:21] Alex: So it's going to be multiple options depending on the types of clients, but. It is in perpetuity. At least for the contract with have them be say like, you have to at least pay this for 12 months. So I at least get the money back that I've invested time-wise into the site. And then depending on the needs of the client, it would then drop to something more like reasonable, because Webflow allows you to not have tons of maintenance, like other builders would have.

[00:18:47] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's true. That's, that's very true. And yet you're also offering additional services. So I think, I think the one that the, the Tweet that caught my eye first was around Google maps. And Google My Business is that changed its name recently. I seem to think it

[00:19:05] Alex: it has, it has, I don't know what it's called now, but I saw an article that it changed.

[00:19:09] Jonathan: Yeah. I can't remember what it's called now. Anyway, I'll, I'll look it up and we'll put it in the show notes. So we'll just talk about Google My Business. Cause as soon as that's what we know it's called why, why do you care about, about putting things like that for your clients? Why can't they just get on and do it themselves

[00:19:23] Alex: So when I started out trying to freelance as a Webflow developer, a lot of the stuff that you'll see, like in the business, Twitter space or the money Twitter space is that. You can't just be an email marketer or you can't just be a website builder. You have to do something that differentiates you from your competitors and from the sea of everybody out there.

[00:19:48] Alex: And we see that definitely right now with Webflow, everybody, it seems like on Twitter wants to be a Webflow developer now they're

[00:19:56] Jonathan: It feels like that, but I feel that that might just be the Webflow bubble that we're in. I mean,

[00:20:01] Alex: very true. But everybody that you see that comes into the space. If you pay attention to their bios, you go to their portfolio websites. It says, I will build you a website that earns you money.

[00:20:14] Alex: And from the perspective of a business owner, they see that. And they're like, how does your website earn me money?

[00:20:23] Jonathan: Yeah.

[00:20:24] Alex: And it is our job as an entrepreneur to tell them how it earns them money and to provide. Additional services that actually do earn the money because a website in and of itself will not earn a company money. It can convert leads. It can be a meeting ground for people to find them, but there are a lot of things that go into making it an effective tool that a lot of people just are kind of ignoring when they try to sell themselves as a web developer or as a website builder.

[00:20:56] Jonathan: Yeah,

[00:20:58] Alex: With my niche. What's really important for them is getting targeted, local leads. You do that through Google My Business . Like I call it just with local SEO and that's like trying to be the biggest player in your small pond. So if you were in a cleaning business in Cincinnati, Ohio, you're going to be the cleaning business for Cincinnati.

[00:21:20] Alex: Yeah. Or for even smaller than that, like a sub town, like Coleraine Ohio. And that allows you to get to the top of the search and it allows you to get targeted customers who will, who are where you are, where you're providing services and who want what you are offering. And so for me, as a developer, being able to add those services on is super enticing.

[00:21:47] Alex: Business owner, because a lot of that stuff takes a lot of time to learn as well. And if I can say, I will give you a website and all those you a CRM to manage your clients and to manage your employees and to manage bookings. And I'll show you how to win with Google My Business to get local leads coming in.

[00:22:08] Alex: And I will show you how to. Optimize your Google, my business profile, and I'll do your local SEO on the website. Like you start to see this value stack that makes it way more than just going to somebody who's on Twitter, who says I'm a Webflow developer. And so it allows me to provide highly specialized services for people who need it.

[00:22:29] Alex: And that differentiates me in a lot of ways.

[00:22:33] Jonathan: Have you, have you found that the people are coming to you are looking at two or three different agencies to, to build their websites or are they pretty much persuaded already? Once they've, once they've arrived with you.

[00:22:47] Alex: so it depends on the type of person. So for example, the bigger guy who was coming to me, who damned me, and he was like, Hey, what's up with this workflow stuff. I want to see what you're up with. He was on one end of the spectrum where he has a successful business for window cleaning. And he's already had a site for that bill.

[00:23:06] Alex: He's tested out multiple different either agencies or softwares to build out his site and he wasn't happy with certain aspects of it. And so then he came to me to say like, what can you do? Because it's more on the customer end. Whereas a lot of the solutions for the small business space are like very, very templated and very big.

[00:23:27] Alex: Especially in terms of the design of the website. But then on the other end of the spectrum, like a lot of the people that will come through are people that follow those bigger spaces who are like, Hey, you can start a sweaty startup or a window cleaning business, or a house cleaning business for little money and it can be life-changing for you and for your.

[00:23:45] Alex: And so they'll see those tweets and they're like, this is what I want to do. And because I'm in with some of those guys, I have built websites for some of those guys, and I've kind of networked in that space. They're like, okay, there's this one guy who does websites in this space. So then they come to me very fresh.

[00:24:02] Alex: And I'm sure that they're aware of certain services, like a lot of the very, very productized ones out there. Relatively cheap. Like you can just go on next door or not next door. Nice job. And it'll just basically build you a template website or they'll go and use some of the builders like Wix or Squarespace and just buy a template and they'll do something like that.

[00:24:24] Alex: But I think that in general, people see the value in having a little bit more of a customized design and it makes people like it more, they're proud of their business more and it differentiates them from everybody else who has the same template.

[00:24:38] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and, but it is so much more than just the templates, isn't it? I mean, ultimately if the website works and it looks sort of, okay. If it's not being found by anybody, you know, discoverability is the biggest thing for a website. If nobody's finding my website, isn't it. What it looks like or how brilliant it is or what the animations are.

[00:25:00] Jonathan: And I, and I think that's something that we sometimes forget when we're, we're playing with Webflow because we can do so much of it can be so pixel perfect. I mean, you know, in the animations and not the whole thing. Well, yeah, but you've got to get that website in front of people and that doesn't come from Webflow.

[00:25:15] Jonathan: I mean, it does to a certain extent, well, no, it doesn't. It comes from putting the content in to my float and the content into, as you say, Google, my business and all of those other places that that the client. Are going to be finding the swimming pools that you're building or the, the, the cleaner or the, the nanny or whoever it is that that's the service that you're looking for.

[00:25:38] Jonathan: Of course, that, that good quality website does bring with it a certain amount of trust that you can see you know, whenever I'm looking for gas fitter or, or a carpenter for, for my house that I have in the UK. And I need something fixing you go to some websites and you just think, how, how, how would you expect me to want to work with you if that's the quality of your website?

[00:26:03] Jonathan: And of course I'm biased because I know how easy it is to make a web flow website or a decent website. But Yeah. it's it's an interesting one. It definitely is.

[00:26:13] Alex: Yeah. I actually have a story that I like to tell about that and about the trust. One of the first guys that I worked with was I made a post in the subreddit for the sweaty startups, where I was like, Hey, I am new to this web development space. Like I want to start a web development agency or I want to freelance and I need one to two clients.

[00:26:36] Alex: I'll do it for free. And I just want a testimonial and I want to be able to build my skills with you. And so somebody had messaged me and it was a, another college student down in Texas and he had started a website for his company. He was doing junk. And he was just starting out, like, didn't even have a truck to remove the junk that he was supposed to go and haul from people's homes.

[00:26:59] Alex: And his website was one that I think he built in WordPress. And it was exactly like you said, you, you could tell that it, it was like somebody who has never built a website before. And he knew that, and that's why he had asked me to basically make him a whole new one.

[00:27:14] Alex: Um, and after I had made him a new one, it looked like a very, very high end brand because I spent so much time getting it perfect because it was like the first one and I wanted it to be a good testimonial project.

[00:27:27] Alex: And when we launched that site, he was able to get a lot of traction for him to get like a couple of jobs started to work his way up to actually being able to buy. Just a little truck for him to do some of that junk removal. And a lot of that was in part because of the, the local SEO that we added on his Google, my business on his site.

[00:27:45] Alex: And just the trust that we can build through the look and appeal of the site.

[00:27:49] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And that, and that's the thing, isn't it, you know, you're actually changing somebody's life there and that's, that's gotta be an amazing feeling that, you know, you're helping people put food on the table and so much more because you know what, a sweaty startup isn't goint to stay sweaty for forever.

[00:28:09] Jonathan: It's going to grow and change into a good quality business. Most of these people are are looking to hire other, other people to do the, the, the, the sweat while they're running the business and, and having that attitude to, to the quality of the website, to the quality of the, the way that you're getting your leads.

[00:28:28] Jonathan: To the quality of the leads as well. That's, that's really good. That's really interesting. Yeah. That you can just you're changing people's lives. And that for me is, is is just wonderful. Yeah. Brilliant.

[00:28:38] Alex: Yep. And that's, that's one of the driving factors of why I really enjoy doing it. And why. I've spent all this time and stuck with it is because I really like just getting to interact with people and hear their stories and get to help them, like a lot of these small business owners. Like it's almost like their baby, that small business is like their

[00:28:57] Jonathan: It is absolutely.

[00:28:59] Alex: and they take so much pride in the work that they do and, and what they're trying to build. And it's just so cool to be able to help them along on that journey and get to be a little bit of a part of that.

[00:29:08] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's brilliant. That's brilliant. So, what's what have you got any top tips for people who are new to web flow? Maybe thinking about trying to find their niche anything you like, what, what advice would you give to people from where you are?

[00:29:23] Alex: Yeah. So I just wrote a Twitter thread about this recently, and it was probably the biggest thing that has changed in what I was doing when I started out versus what I'm doing now. You really have to. Put those value adds to differentiate yourself from just being a website builder. I kind of had alluded to in my Twitter thread that it seems like everybody that comes into the web design space is like "I build awesome websites for startups".

[00:29:52] Alex: And what I had said in the thread was why would someone come to you being a newcomer who is just going to build their own website as a startup versus somebody who's out there with four or five years of experience who isn't really that much more expensive than you are? And a lot of guys come into the space and I came into this space where it's like, Hey, I just, I build websites and nobody wanted me to build their website.

[00:30:19] Alex: Yeah. I had no social proof. I was very green and I had nothing special to offer them besides being able to build them a website, which almost anybody with a computer can learn how to do nowadays within just a couple of months, even it's like, you really need to start. And everybody says this, but nobody follows this advice.

[00:30:40] Alex: You really do need to find a new. And that can be whatever you want. It doesn't, it can even be startups, but you have to find something that makes you unique. And that's the big part is just really finding things of like, okay, they do need a website, all businesses need a website if they want to be relevant, but what other problems do they have that I can apply my technical skillset or my creative skillset towards that provide tremendous value to them that nobody else can do.

[00:31:09] Alex: And that puts you in a category of one to where you're being compared to nothing else. Because for example, with me, it's like, who else can I go to, to get a custom website that is fast, responsive, and they'll show me how to manage my Google My Business, to win in local SEO. And they'll get me set up with a CRM to manage my clients, my bookings, and to do online quoting and.

[00:31:36] Jonathan: And they're not charging

[00:31:37] Alex: up front.

[00:31:37] Alex: Of these ancillary offers and they're not charging upfront. That's a, a lot more of a sell to somebody who's starting a business than just, Hey, I'll build you your website for $2,000. Yeah, that's it. So if you're starting out, get creative with it and think about what you can do to really differentiate yourself.

[00:31:56] Alex: And I add on with that, don't get attached to anything. I have changed my offer. So many times, and it's almost like the same joke of like web developers will say, my portfolio website will never be finished because as creatives and whatnot, we like to change it every five seconds. And that's just kind of the way that we are it's the same with your offer and you'll try things and you will get traction on some ideas.

[00:32:22] Alex: You will get no traction on others don't get attached to it. Just keep iterating and experimenting and try to find what works as you go and build your business. And if you do that, you will eventually iterate to something that works and that can be scaled over time. And that's how you see people where they are now with 5, 6, 7 figure web design agencies.

[00:32:46] Jonathan: Yeah, yeah, indeed. One day, one day. We'll get there, Alex. Thank you so much for your time. It's been lovely talking to you. Hope our listeners have something to think about while they're working in Webflow. If you've got a question for Alex or in general for the Webflowers' Podcast, go to webflowerspodcast.com and hit the appropriate button.

[00:33:04] Jonathan: Once again, thank you, Alex. And we'll see you next time..

[00:33:08] Alex: thanks, Jonathan.

[00:33:11] Jonathan: That's the end of series, one of the Webflowers podcast. It's been quite a learning curve for me, but I think we're getting there. You don't want to miss what I got planned for series two out in the new year. So please don't forget to subscribe. See you soon.

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