Working With My First Offline Client

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offline businessHey there,

Have you heard how popular is working with offline clients getting for Internet Marketers lately?

I think the main reason for this, is because the online market has been getting over saturated with more and more information about the same exact topics.

Like many others, I also had the same excuses for not doing it:

  • It’s not going to suit the internet lifestyle
  • Not enough time to deal with offline clients
  • Can’t be hunting down for clients/prospects
  • Don’t want to deal with government tax regulations

The justifications for not jumping on the offline local businesses area can practically be endless but the rewards are equally possible.

Real Offline Clients Scenario

I tell you I can put up some sort of a YouTube “box” so your visitors can click on it and instantly get subscribed to your YT channel right from your website.

If you’re a blogger, you would be yawning already from that and could easily answer with:

“So? I bet there’s a plugin for that or maybe even a script ready to go from YouTube itself”.

But… if you have zero knowledge on blogging, websites, development, wordpress, etc, the answer could be:

“Really? OMG that’s so freaking cool! How much is that going to cost me?”

See the HUGE difference? 

Landing The First Offline Customer

This was inbound marketing at its best.

I do have an online website where I offer my services along with a business partner of mine. (it’ll remain a secret for you but not for long)

However my client was not sold on that site.

I was asked for a quick interview to review the initial requirements, I said yes and at the end I gave out a card with my website’s URL on it and made a strong call to action on checking out the portfolio’s section.

Next Monday I already had the 50% money paid upfront and off I started working on the site.

Working On First Offline Customer’s Website

The site is about a local politician’s campaign.

I knew I had to register the domain name with a company that was going to update its DNS’s FAST and that company is NameCheap hands down.

For the Content Management System (CMS) I went with WordPress.

At first, I was tempted to use Thesis as the main framework but then I decided to go with the Genesis framework and the Prose Child Theme instead.

I’m more interested in teaching my business partner how the Genesis platform works because we are focusing on that for building sites for offline local businesses for now.

After registering the new domain, I created a new account on our HostGator reseller’s server with our own specification rules and linked the domain and server in under one hour.

Installed wordpress, did the initial configurations and then I started customizing the new website.

Developing Time

The full site was done in one day.

It could have been done in just a few hours but I had to research on stuff that was new to me like adding:

  • a twitter box
  • a facebook like box
  • a youtube subscribe box

Then I had to find out how to center the navigation bar and tweaked a little bit the CSS here and there for final touches.

The Problems…

Unfortunately, I can’t say it all went without bumps.

First of all, we have a list of set costs online.

This is to ensure we don’t end up working for free, which happened to me when I did my first solo site a few years ago.

We charged for a basic package and got paid the 50% in advance to start working but we received information for a bigger site that requires a more expensive package.

I’m highly flexible so instead of whining about the situation, I went to work on the site and then called them to tell them about their ‘mistake’.

They agreed to pay more but then they asked me to ask for the extra money directly to the client.

Bad Outsourcer

The problem here, is that I’m being outsourced so I’m being paid for a person who is providing my service to another entity.

I have zero problems with that but when my outsourcer tells me to charge HIS customer directly when I got the initial payment from my outsourcer, I’m not cool with that.

Particularly when I already have published costs and my outsourcer is asking me to charge more, so prices are not matching at all.

I can’t (and won’t) jeopardize my business like that so I chose not to charge at all and wait until I can meet my outsourcer again and get clear once and for all.

Bad Communication

This is a big issue right now.

I was working with the graphic designer, he sent me a site mock-up first and I created the site to those specifications.

Then I got a header and took me about an hour to find out I could just choose Save For Web from inside Photoshop and export the graphic properly (did I mention I’m not a graphic designer before?)

I even took the initiative to look out for this guy’s social media profiles online (I found two, twitter and youtube) and I just needed facebook.

Then I e-mailed the graphic designer guy to ask for the facebook fan page URL and got the reply “I already sent you the new header”.

I sent EXACT instructions on what I needed about the Facebook URL and I have the impression that my e-mail wasn’t even read…

If You’re Not Interested, Then I’m Not Interested Either

I was willing to provide the work as soon as possible and I even did work that I did not charge for.

In return, I am not getting any feedback, the site is still empty because I haven’t received (yet) the information that goes into each section and this was supposed to be a “create the site as soon as possible” kind of job.

I really hate when I have to work with people that are not really interested in a good outcome from our work together.

I have seen this in many companies but never when I deal with the main interested person, in other words, the person paying for the service/work.

New Experiment

I have seen a lot of local opportunities but not about working with offline local clients directly but about creating listing sites (medical, education, entertainment, etc) that are managed on automated mode.

They sign up, pay for the service and create a listing and if they want to maintain that listing online, they need to cover a monthly recurring fee otherwise, they lose the listing and that’s it.

I am planning to start on a few niches as an experiment and if it works as I’m expecting… boy, this is going to get seriously big.

If it doesn’t, then back to the lab, I don’t mind.

Conclusion

Working with offline clients can give you some money FAST.

It can also lead to lose some personal time and make you feel frustrated when they seem to skip your rules somehow but there is always workarounds for that.

This is obviously not for everyone but even if you don’t have the resources to start your offline company on developing sites, you can always start with a neighbor’s site, a relative’s site or even a friend of yours and do it for a really low starting fee.

You can monetize the hosting if you show them how to use a coupon code that will save them some initial payment money and their e-mail marketing if they are planning to monetize their visitors too.

One hour private consultations can be really expensive, tell them you’re going to show them how to update and maintain their sites for a lot less and offer a slow fee for a monthly consulting if needed.

It all comes down to the relation you have with that specific first client of yours, just remember that your time is valuable so be very strict to decide to whom you’re offering it for free or for low fees.

Your Turn

Do you have any experience working with offline clients and doing website work?

I don’t care if you had to use WordPress or even did a lousy work with HTML/CSS, the important thing is that you’re not scared of building a site for someone else, so have you done it?

Even better, have you charged for it?

Let me know in the comments down below!

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13 Responses to Working With My First Offline Client

  1. Cararta
    Twitter:
    April 5, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    ok. Sounds like a lot of work.
    I have this plugin that is great for a person setting up WP sites like you are talking about doing.
    You can get it on skipper works. You create a site like you want…install all the plugins, SEO, edit categories etc. whatever it is you do,
    then you install this plug in….leave this site inplace as a template and when you need a new site do a backup, install a raw WP on new site , install this plugin and “restore” your template site to it.
    All you have to do is change header, site title, etc add content and personalization and you are in business.
    eg: could create a “restaurant” site , a Plumbers site etc. this can move sites from domain to domain (I have done) everything arrives working
    can also use to move site from server to server…
    has ftp support, automatic backups to where ever (like free Amazon 3 5gig account)

    don’t know if this will help, but think if you are going into
    Site Development for the local this would
    work great.
    C.
    P.S. you better stop dancing and go to bed if you are doing your thing in the morning.
    Cararta recently posted..Backup Creator the WordPress ClonerMy Profile

    • Sergio Félix April 5, 2012 at 12:09 am #

      Hey Carolyn,

      I’m actually fed up on castles in the air.

      Do what you are recommending and I’m going to help you. ;-)

  2. Daniel Sumner
    Twitter:
    April 5, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Hey Sergio,

    Well done on the contact it looks like you are making some money and gaining experience on the side as well. Excellent news!

    I have experience of working with external clients, however they are all my friends so I don’t make any money. I usually receive things in return such as VIP tickets and all expenses paid days at the football. It works for me :-)

    I was also going to suggest a WP cloaking script or plugin, but it looks like Carolyn has it covered.

    Cheers man

    Dan
    Daniel Sumner recently posted..6 Super Cool Ways to Speed up Your BlogMy Profile

    • Sergio Félix April 5, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      Hey Dan,

      Well sponsored VIP football tickets would work for me as well!

      Thanks for reminding me about the cloaking, I forgot to include some affiliate links here.

      I will update you on this guy’s site because I have this feeling that it is not over yet.

      Take care and have a fantastic day my friend! ;-)

  3. Linda
    Twitter:
    April 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Good for you for trying something different.

    I built my dad’s music site a few years ago. I got a template and did all the graphic stuff myself,html, etc. Took me quite a while but to this day I am still getting compliments on it (I made it in 2005 or something like that). I might possibly have another designer job in the near future. I heard that someone was interested, but I have yet to hear the details, so not sure what is going to happen there.

    I have since been making my own new site and I have been working wayyyyyyyyyy too long on it – my body aches from sitting too long and staying up too late. Looking forward to getting back outside (I did a little yesterday) and into my garden :)

    Anyway – everything will turn out fine for you in the end. Anyone expecting a fully functional website in a day really needs to have more patience :)

    Linda
    Linda recently posted..How to Convert a Blogger Blog to WordPress – #5 Video for Barry’s ChallengeMy Profile

    • Sergio Félix April 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      Hey Linda,

      I think I saw the site.

      I believe I even heard a few songs from your dad (I can’t really tell though because that was some time ago) but anyway, if it takes you too long to do the site, it is only worth it if you’re learning how to create them.

      If you can do it fast, then you can totally have that as a skill (and a paid one!) because you’d be an expert!

      You’re right about patience, some clients never understand that.

      Take care and please let me know if I can help you out in any way for a revamp for your dad’s site. ;-)

  4. Cararta
    Twitter:
    April 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Was going to try to do the theme change tonight, but very bad storm so dsl is up and down (what you get when you live so far in the woods that cell phones don’t work!),

    I have some interesting information on setting up Locals that I can share, so don’t go buying programs!

    Tomorrow is Mow day according to the Farmers Almanac “mow to retard growth” which I am going to do because Michael (a neighbor) mowed three days ago and it is at least 6 inches tall….like it was fertilized instead of mowed!

    Later
    C
    Cararta recently posted..Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet: Further Research Is NeededMy Profile

    • Sergio Félix April 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      One justification for one thing, is fine Carolyn.

      Two for the same thing? Not good my friend.

      I’m checking up on you tomorrow to keep you accountable.

  5. Jens P. Berget
    Twitter:
    April 9, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Hi Sergio,

    I have a similar experience as you do, in fact all my clients right now are offline clients.

    And I believe that this is where I’ll be earning the money. They all want to be online and they all want to at the top of google, but they haven’t got a clue about what to do :)

    I started out charging by the hour, but I’ve ended up charging by the project. It’s so much easier.

    The communication is hard, since this type of technology is brand new to them.

    I can’t wait to learn more about your experience.
    Jens P. Berget recently posted..Free Kindle Books – How To Find ThemMy Profile

    • Sergio Félix April 9, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Hey Jens,

      I agree with you that charging by the project is way easier.

      For communication with non-tech people, less is always more. Never refer to features by their name.

      i.e.
      If you’re installing a plug-in, say that you are adding more functionality that will allow them to have X and Y on their site. Nothing else.

      Saying more will only lead to confusion.

      I have a few tips on how to get more customers without even going out of your home, will share them in a future post, thanks for stopping by Jens and have a great start of week! ;-)

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