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How to Find Web Design Clients Using Elementor – Alessandro Di Ruscio

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Despite what you may think, web design is still one of the most requested services. Being able to create websites, sales pages, social media assets, is a golden skill to have.

The only problem sits on finding and convincing clients.

Even if there is a lot of demand, there is a lot of offer.

The Web is full of designers with more experience than you, a better portfolio, or lower prices.

In this jungle, how can you get in front of the right web design clients beating a wild competition?

In this article, I’ll show you my technique to find those clients and convince them to work with you, using my favorite website builder: Elementor.

If you want to watch the video version of this post, you can watch it here.

Getting clients is always a complicated matter in every niche, especially in web design, because of the massive competition on the Web.

So what can you do to get ahead of your opponents?

Let’s start with the basics: you need to have a portfolio showing previous works.

Most of the people don’t have anything to show or anything they’re proud to share.

I solved this problem by working for free, but you don’t have to get that extreme. It’s enough to lower your prices in the beginning and reach clients who are right for you.

But where can you find web design clients? Let’s tackle this problem.

Clients are all around you.

Having the possibility to reach the entire world at our fingertips, we usually forget that we can look for clients around us.

I’m sure hypothetical clients surround you, and if you don’t know them, you could ask a connection in common to introduce you.

Maybe you have a friend who goes to a gym that needs a website redesign. Or maybe your mother knows the owner of a restaurant that doesn’t even have a website.

Trust is one of the most potent triggers to start a collaboration, and being introduced by a connection, builds trust straightaway.

Otherwise, look around your city for shops, hotels, bars, and check their websites. Opportunities are all around, and you just need to be a little more open-minded to spot them.

Getting Clients Online

As I said previously, finding private clients online is a lot more difficult because of the vast competition.

That’s why we need to think outside the box.

If you want to build websites as a service, you need to think about who needs a new website or a website rebuilt.

Here’s what I did at the beginning of my career. I’ve joined a few Facebook Pages for online business pitchers. In those groups, new startups launch their web apps, offering lifetime deals for new customers.

I knew many of these startups were formed mostly of developers, and they rarely think about how much design is essential to growing a user base.

My role was to show them how their websites and web apps would look with a great design.

I visited every single website of these startups, and I took note of those that needed a website or a web app redesign.

I discarded the ones that had a stylish or modern look&feel.

Propose a solution

The next thing to do was reaching out via email.

I use different ways to reach my potential clients, and if you want to use a fancier one than email, check this video where I explain how I used video letters instead.

How to Reach Out to Potential Clients — My Bulletproof Technique

Talking about cold emails instead, I guess you’ve already heard about avoiding them cause they don’t work.

Well, it depends on how you use them.

As I said earlier, you need to differentiate from the crowd. The wrong approach is to talk about yourself, how great you are, how good you are in your field, with whom you worked in the past, yadda yadda yadda.

I prefer instead to put the spotlight on the addressee. I highlight my client’s problem, and I propose an immediate solution.

And this is where Elementor comes into play.

In case you’re not familiar with Elementor, it’s one of the best website builders on the market, and it allows you to create a great-looking website within minutes.

You can use one of the hundreds of templates available, and create a sleek page without the slightest design skill.

And this is exactly what I did for my clients. I recreated their homepage with Elementor, and it took me not more than 20 minutes per client.

In my presentation letter, I explained why their website needed a redesign, and I’ve attached the mockup to give them an idea of what they could have.

Why this system works

If you want to outmatch the competition, you need to think long-term. Instead of chasing money immediately, plan your strategy.

1% of people spend time to create something for a hypothetical client, even before getting paid. That shows a significant commitment.

Is this enough to convince all the clients? Obviously not.

But this system gives a better success percentage than doing what everyone else does.

If you don’t know what to write to the clients in your presentation email, you can download 3 distinct emails I used in the past.

These are real case studies that gave me great results.

You can take a look at them, personalize and re-use them.

Download them here.

What about you? How do you reach out to clients and convince them?

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Demonstrating Persistence And Consistency In The New Global Culture by @coachlorimcneil

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by Lori McNeil

There are a few times in a women’s life that make such a substantial impact on them to which they will never forget. Your wedding day. Your first child. Your first love. Your first break up. The list could go on. However, as it relates to business there is one day that no one will forget. The day that the world changed globally. 2020 has begun with some amazing changes in how businesses are showing up for their clients, but more importantly, themselves and their families.

One of the greatest asset’s female entrepreneurs have is utilizing our natural ability to multi-task life into the business world. This new global culture is paying attention more intently than ever before, and women business owners have never been better positioned to lead this new economy.

Two concepts come to the forefront in order to accomplish this: Persistence and Consistency.

 

Persistence is Power

Persistence in its simplest terms is sustained action. Action creates movement. Momentum moves mountains. That movement is powerful. Alongside of that power comes influence. One of the purest emotions is influence because no one knows just how deep their influence goes. Because of that there is a sustained humility that often comes with persistency. Every entrepreneur knows the importance of influence and women take that emotion to heart in every moment.

For persistence to gain traction and momentum one must first show up. Remembering next to never give up. Accepting the fact that laziness is nothing more than manifested excuses and the end result of persistency is in how it blesses others, is a great leveling and positioning tool. Operating in the global culture demands for sustained action. This action fuels consistency.

 

Consistency Carries the Control

Showing up and pushing through challenges (there are always challenges along the way) is the fruit of persistence. In other words, is consistency lets others know your serious. The rhyme and reason for your consistency is your own. Whether you show up once a month, once a week, or once a day is not as important as just showing up. Consistency is like visiting your great grandmothers house knowing that each time you do she has hot, homemade cookies ready for you to devour.

Consistency says that you value other people enough to give of your time for them. As others see the value you bring, they will reciprocate. This is where the control is. Not a control as in power but a control that brings people into alignment. That alignment allows for relationships to grow and prosper.

 

The Voice Of Reason And Truth

The new global culture is screaming for authenticity and honesty from all four directions. What sets a person apart from another is their calling card. The stronger your foundation is, the easier it is to maintain the momentum of persistence.

 

Allow consistency to be your calling card.

Would you like to learn how to maintain persistence or create consistency? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

 

 

International Educator, Speaker, Author, and Business Coach, Lori helps entrepreneurs and organizations focus on foundational tools needed for sustained success. As a Curriculum Designer and Business Professor, Lori has helped grow hundreds of organizations organically to build a true, long-lasting purpose. Lori has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, & various regional markets. She has authored / co-authored several books and works globally to support literacy, cancer research, young entrepreneurship, and military programs. Helping raise over three million dollars for literacy, Lori was awarded the Lifetime Presidential Service Award for her work. For more info visit www.lorimcneil.com.

The post Demonstrating Persistence And Consistency In The New Global Culture by @coachlorimcneil appeared first on She Owns It.



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How to Make Sense of the PPP Loan Program for VC-Backed Startups

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There is so much confusion and misinformation out there about the government sponsored “payroll protection plan” loans to companies that the heads of every small business CEO in the country must be spinning. We have been advising a lot of entrepreneurs so I thought I’d “open source” some of the advice I have been sharing.

I am not claiming to be the world expert on this. But I have been in close contact with the NVCA, many of the major law firms and many of the major VC firms. Along with my partner Stuart Lander, who runs operations at Upfront and is a former lawyer, we have scoured through, debated and helped scores of companies make this determination. So my only goal is to give you insights into the conversations we’ve been having in case you don’t have the same access or advice.

I am not a lawyer nor can you use my advice for the basis for your application but I’d rather provide more public information to help you have the right conversations so please take this posting for what it is (and accept that I may have typos or inaccuracies, which I will amend if pointed out).

Am I eligible for the PPP Loan?

If your US-based business is adversely affected by Covid-19 such that you would need to lay off employees imminently and having access to capital would enable you to keep more employees on the payroll then you might be eligible. You need to:

  • study the rules,
  • make sure that you don’t violate the “affiliate rule” (more later),
  • consult with your Company Counsel,
  • consult with your board and investors and then make your own determination.

If you do apply you must certify that your information and application are true and honest.

Who is this program for and why does it exist?

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security) Act provides $2 trillion to businesses and individuals affective by Covid-19.

$350 billion of this money is dedicated to small businesses under a loan program called the PPP (payroll protection plan). This money is administered by the SBA (small business administration) and is obtained through an approved bank who reviews your application.

The goal of the program is in the name — payroll protection. The US government believes that keeping more workers employed, even if they’re not immediately productive due to WFH (work from home) or loss of revenue is better than all of these employees being laid off, where they will likely seek relief via unemployment insurance claims. There were 10 million claims in the past 2 weeks alone, the largest 2-week request in history. The government believes that it not only is better keeping employees in jobs where possible but also in helping these businesses remain solvent.

Am I ineligible since I’m VC-backed?

There is nothing in the rules that state that VC-backed businesses are ineligible. There are certainly some people who are publicly saying that VC-backed businesses shouldn’t take government money. There are some business people who think this is ethically wrong for a VC-backed business with a highly-educated founder and there are also likely to be some populist outcries that the money should have been reserved for Main Street workers and not tech workers.

This is a matter of opinion or belief system but not a matter of legislation or policy. The program is designed to keep employees on the payroll so ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether you are a worthy recipient and to weigh the benefit to your company and your employees against the potential perception the market may (or may not) have in the future.

One thing that is clear. If you plan to lay off employees and if the PPP Loan will help you to keep more people on your payroll and you ultimately believe that getting through the next couple of months will enable you to productively employ these people on your own dime in the future — this is precisely the policy goal of the US Government. Perception is not equal to policy or legislation. If you want to be perceived well in the future then make sure that your grounds for applying are sound and that you’re truly preserving jobs.

If the US Government didn’t want to support VC-backed businesses they easily could have excluded them and they knowingly did not.

I am hearing from all of my peers that everybody’s applying — shouldn’t I?

The short answer is “no.” Applying for a government loan that was created to serve US small businesses and employees in the times of an economic crisis is not something you should do just because all of your peers are telling you that you should. It is not “free money.” You should apply if your business is in duress, if the loan can help you preserve jobs, if you qualify and if you’re supported by your board and your investors.

Do I need to repay the loan?

You might. It depends. Below lists how the loan program is calculated. If you maintain your employment level at your current rate much of this loan can be forgiven but it’s likely that a portion of it will not be. If you do massive layoffs (RIFs) you can assume that you will need to repay your loan since the intent of the loan is to protect jobs.

Do I need to rush my application?

One of the most unfortunate aspects of the legislation is that it states that applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis. That means that every business who believes it qualifies is rushing in its applications, which doesn’t leave much time for reasoned discussions with your relevant stakeholders on whether or not you should and it means that banks and lawyers are being forced to rush things. I get that in a crisis the government needs to act quickly and fix things later. But this FIFO approach has created undue urgency. So sadly you do need to rush things if you want to improve your chances of being approved.

Why is there so much confusion about whether banks accept applications?

Banks have a difficult task. They don’t want to hand out loans and later learn they gave money to fraudsters. They have regulations that dictate things like KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti money-laundering) and other regulations designed to avoid abuse of our financial institutions. As a result, many banks are only taking applications from existing customers and in some cases only customers who have existing credit arrangements. Additionally, some Main Street banks aren’t able to process VC-backed applications because they are designed to handle individual owned, local businesses.

The two primary banks that service the VC industry are SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) and FRB (First Republic Bank) and both understand the intricacies of VC-backed businesses and are more easily able to assist you.

Everybody is talking about the “Affiliate Rule” — what is that?

Ok. Now things get complicated.

Step 1 is deciding “am I qualified for a loan under the rules” and step 2 is determining whether or not you can validly apply based on something called the “affiliate rule.” It’s complicated but essentially if a SINGLE VC can veto certain actions that are approved by the board then you violate the Affiliate Rule (or if a single firm owns > 50%). There is a lot of chatter about companies that own > 20%. This is completely unrelated to the Affiliate Rule. The application form states that any > 20% owners must disclose certain information in the application process so it often gets confused as being related. It is not. The NVCA (National Venture Capital Association) Guidelines are below.

Am I free and clear as long as no investor owns more than 20% of my company?

No. This is another misconception. The 20% threshold has nothing whatsoever to do with eligibility. It simply determines whether you have to provide additional information.

So to be clear, if a company owns 8% of your company but has negative blocking rights as outlined above in the NVCA guidelines, you are ineligible for the program unless you modify your legal governing documents.

How do I amend my legal documents so that the Affiliate Rule doesn’t stop me from applying for a loan?

For starters you will require investor consent to amend your governing documents and since some of these terms were negotiated to protect shareholder rights they may approve the changes and they may not.

I have found that it is easier to get VCs to amend the governing documents when there are several VC investors such that none has the overwhelming majority ownership relative to others. This is because the affiliate rule is only tripped if one single firm has blocking rights. Therefore you can amend the governing documents to a “simple majority of the preferred shareholders” can block one of the known affiliate rules rather than a single firm. I have found VCs to work collaboratively on these to help entrepreneurs in this time of need.

It’s slightly harder if you’ve only done an A-round and therefore have just one VC around the table who owns more than a majority of the preferred stock. In this instance they would need to give up the right entirely. If your company is in dire straits (let’s say you’re a transportation company or a hospitality company) then you’re likely to find an amenable investor. If you’re in a company where the investor views your application as more of a “gray area” then you may not easily receive consent for changes.

Finally, there are several discussions about how to “get around” the Affiliate Rule. Please be careful because having a “side agreement” (verbal or written) to “spring back” to the old agreement in the future is tantamount to fraud. You can expressly mention that the governing docs are only valid for the period of the loan but I believe this may open you up to the SBA second guessing the validity of your loan on a “look back basis” (meaning in the future they come back and state that you violated the rules).

If you’re going to amend, then amend. If you’re playing games — don’t apply.

When the $350 billion is fully invested will more be made available?

Nobody knows for sure. There are lots of discussions about the need for more stimulus and the lasting effects of the Coronavirus, etc. Ultimately whether there is a further SBA stimulus will depend on whether it was deemed effective, whether the crisis is longer-lasting and deeper than expected and whether handing more money to small businesses is deemed politically acceptable.

I’m getting so much conflicting advice, whom should I listen to?

Ultimately it is up to you to make the determination if the PPP Loan program is meant for you. You should have a discussion with your legal counsel first. You should discuss with your board second. You should discuss it with your investors third. If you are convinced after this that you are eligible and worthy, then the only remaining thing before applying is to decide how the markets will judge your actions in the future. If you saved jobs, saved your company and are a productive member of our economy and if you feel that this program played an important role in helping you succeed and you didn’t have other options that were as immediately able to help — you can at least sleep better at night believing that this SBA Program met its intended goal.


How to Make Sense of the PPP Loan Program for VC-Backed Startups was originally published in Both Sides of the Table on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.



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Four Ways to Successfully Lead a Remote Workforce

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Written by Larry Prince, CEO of PrinceLeadershipTM. A version of this article originally appeared in New Jersey Business magazine. 

The current health crisis has thrown our world into disorder. No longer can teams stroll into work ready to interact, exchange ideas and take care of business. We’re leading our businesses through uncharted territory. By now, most of you have set your employees to work remotely.

Let’s explore best practices to make remote work function as seamlessly as possible.

Knowing that companies already do this successfully should make you confident that your company and your employees will adapt to these changes. The key is to prepare your people for a smooth transition, by adhering to four leadership practices.

4 Tips for Leading a Remote Workforce

1. Be present: Keep in mind that your people are socially removed from their peers. So, check in frequently. The idea is to be a source of comfort and business focus—and not to micromanage. Set up a consistent phone or video chat schedule with each person and as a team.

Learn how they are doing. Ask—what they need to be successful, while not in the office. Ask—their input, to develop new ideas and solutions enabling business to move forward. Think through how best to coach each person individually.

Here is what the CEO of a home health company did to facilitate the process. “I set up morning huddles with my management team. Connecting each day at the same time will keep us focused, allow me to know what is going on with my people and provide them an opportunity to share with each other.”

2. Reinforce the organization’s purpose: Companies with a strong sense of purpose are sustainable companies and tend to weather uncertain times.

Reinforce your organization’s values, goals and core mission and how this purpose supports your people, your community, your customers and your business. This will ground your people and team in what is most important—a common cause aligned to achieve specific and measurable goals.

Doing so helps to set priorities and make better business decisions—and to keep your culture in motion.

A director of retail store sales addressed the issue with his staff by reviewing their mission and values. The exercise reinforced for them that the community needs them and the products they provide. He added, “We bring value. Rather than taking a passive position, we are now actively engaging our customers online.”

EO members, visit the #EOTogether site for the latest webinars and resources from the EO community. We’re in this together. 

3. Clarify roles and expectations: Your people are now working under unfamiliar conditions—and removed from their colleagues. Ensure that they’re absolutely clear about their role, responsibilities and expectations, since you are not with them each day in person.

Standardize expectations by developing and communicating guidelines for working remotely. Also, review and update workflow processes.

A director of operations for a charitable organization offered this analysis: “I recognized that working remotely is throwing off my people’s focus. We regrouped and spent extra time ensuring each person is absolutely clear of what to do, why it’s important and how to do it from home. The details matter—and process matters.”

4. Support employee connectivity and communications: Create ways for employees to connect with each other. For example, set up commitment partners—teams of at least two people who are responsible for specific actions and problems to solve. Each team reports back to their peer teams with practices they have learned along the way. This will elevate teamwork and lessen the sense of isolation.

In addition, set up clear communications channels between employees and with management—create the why, what, how and when to keep each other informed. This is another way of maintaining your culture and maximizing employee productivity and satisfaction.

The COO of a health care company devised this solution with the help of his consultant. Since they are categorized as an essential business, they created three teams: Team A and B rotate days in the office and team C, about half their workforce, will work exclusively from home. This provides a blend of what is right for the community, their employees and for the business.

Along the transition path, learn what is working and what needs adjustment. This will strengthen your chance of making it through to the other side. By following these four proven practices, you are helping your people, your community and your business achieve transitional success.

Don’t be surprised at some future point to find yourself a stronger organization.

Larry Prince is the CEO of PrinceLeadership, a New Jersey-based business consultancy that works with middle market companies to create growth and sustainability. You can reach him by emailing: larry@princeleadership.com.

The post Four Ways to Successfully Lead a Remote Workforce appeared first on Octane Blog – The official blog of the Entrepreneurs' Organization.



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