The Podcast Episode with Paul Jarvis
The Real Investment
Awesome seems to fall short when you use the word to describe Paul Jarvis although, of course, he won’t use that word to describe himself. However, all you need to do is just take one look at his accomplishments and you will concede that “awesome” indeed sounds feeble.
Let’s enumerate some of those accomplishment to give you a clearer picture of what Paul has done. If you use the abstract description he uses for himself, he is a web designer, a best-selling author, and a gentleman of adventure.
However, if you use the more concrete description, the ones used by his clients and the people he has worked with, you will hear words, such as genius coder, designer of my dreams, and even the holy trinity of website design.
These are not empty, flashy words because Paul is everything any web designer dreams of becoming. He is a regular contributor for a lot of trusted and popular online publications, like Forbes, INC, Huffington Post, Smashing Magazine, and more. Among his clients are big name companies, such as Yahoo, Mercedes Benz, and Microsoft. He also has a string of bestsellers to his name as well as an online course for freelancers called the The Creative Class. (get 100$ discount, use code: firstweb)
If you’re not impressed, here’s the real whopper: Paul Jarvis’ web design projects start at $9,000 up and never below that budget. What more – he does not accept new projects until mid-May.
Now, you might be wondering already how on earth was he able to do that?
Paul himself is going to tell you how he was able to do that. However, you might be surprised that there is really no magic formula from the Hogwart’s School of Wizardry that brought Paul to where he is right now.
The Road to Success
The quote above was from an article Paul wrote for the Huffington Post entitled, “How to Be Rich as an Artist.” The article was about someone who preaches the illusion that you can get wealthy as you pursue your art. While this is true, this truth – earning millions by churning out bestseller or a hit – only applies to a mere 0.1 percent of artists or even lesser than that.
Paul was speaking from experience when he wrote that.
What people would only see was the glamour or the figures – that he was doing $9,000-worth of projects. What they didn’t see was the process how he got to that place. As Paul himself said, people didn’t see the numerous times he made mistakes, the trial and error phase, and the hard lessons he has learned along the years while freelancing.
Paul started as a freelance designer way back in the 90s working in different industries, making his experience in the business extensive and spanning around or more than a decade. After trying out several industries, he realized that he needed to specialize in a certain industry or a group of audience.
For Paul, that audience were the people who focus on the Internet. The choice is logical – he also has his work tied mostly to the Internet, even the tools he use revolve around it.
Branding and the Target Audience
One of the factors that seem so obvious among the success stories that we have featured here in our podcast series is being able to find your target audience or your specific niche.
This seems to be a no-brainer because not having a target audience is like shooting for the moon and missing it. It becomes a futile effort because it’s like losing your way in a complex labyrinth. The saddest part to this shooting for the moon part is that you won’t land among the stars. Why? Because you are shooting into the vast expanse of space and what you know, no matter how good it is, has its limitations.
Being able to find your target audience will help you save a lot of time, money, and effort into your marketing. It will also be easier for you to know how to reach them. Above all, as Paul mentioned in the interview, focusing on a certain industry or target audience will help you make a name for yourself or, in other words, it helps your personal branding.
Once you identify who your target audience is, you have to know what their pain points are – their needs and wants. If you want to strengthen your personal brand, you have to know those pain points and the unique way how you can solve them. In Paul’s case, his personal brand is that of someone who gets things done.
In fact, this is one thing in common among some of the successful web designers in the industry – being able to solve the problem or meet the need and delivering what is expected. As Paul Jarvis mentioned in the interview, clients do not want and do not care whether you know HTML or use the latest tools, what they care about is you were able to help them fix their problems. And part of that fixing, on Paul’s part, is by teaching his clients how to use the website he has designed for them.
Your Clients, Your Sales Force
Another interesting thing which Paul mentioned in the podcast interview was that despite his experience and expertise, he doesn’t care much about titles and only advertise himself as a web designer. For him, people are looking for what they need and what they need at that moment is a website. Thus, the next thing that they will look for is a web designer.
Moreover, clients will not hire you based solely on the titles you have but because of what you can bring to the table. Then, when they see what you can do anything more that you have to offer will just follow. When they see that you deliver, they become your fans and, eventually, they become your sales force. You don’t even have to tell them to promote you but they do so in order to share you to others.
As Paul has experienced, most of the clients he has are just through word-of-mouth. One client was satisfied so he recommended him to another who has the same need. Paul further added that you don’t even need to promote yourself. Instead his encouragement is just to focus on doing a great job that is valuable to his clients and, at the same time, is also valuable to him. Even the testimonials your clients have of you should focus more on what you have achieved and less on who you are.
Tapping into the Buyer’s Instinct
This is a simple yet sobering truth that every web design professional should remember – People will not open their wallets unless they trust you. In simple terms, they won’t be willing to pay more unless they see the results.
How do you do this?
By constantly behaving towards your clients best interest first. This means that you give them the best solution and not just any solution. This can be achieved by having a discussion with your client and taking the time to listen. It also means being honest whether you are a good fit or not and when you aren’t, you tell them immediately in a professional manner. Whatever business values you have displayed will never go unnoticed.
Another way of generating trust from your clients is to do what you say you would do. So when you say you’re going to deliver the project on that date, be sure that it’s ready on that day. This also sends the message that you value your time and in so doing, they will begin to value your time.
Your clients will just mirror the actions you have shown them.
You have to position yourself in a way where clients see you as an expert and not just another laborer. An expert who is so in-demand that your clients have to wait until before they get booked.
Being able to get to a place where you receive $9000 worth of project offer like Paul is a dream come true. However, like all successes, it’s never an easy ride. There are systems and practices that you need to follow in order to achieve success and Paul Jarvis has an online lecture called The Creative Class. (get 100$ discount, use code: firstweb) which helps you how to be a creative freelancer and make a career as a freelancer who charges more.