This Week In Business: Remote Services Edition

The beauty with a website business is that, at least theoretically, you should be able to have a customer anywhere. Note the ‘should’.

In my first year of being full time, all but one of my clients was in Downeast Maine. (And the non-local one I met at a local party through a local friend). I like being in Maine so this was fine with me. But the whole point of an online business is to reach out further than you would in terms of geography. Ideally, I think my lack of remote work made me a bit worried that my skills wouldn’t translate beyond my geographic area.

In addition to making a video on the main page of my site (which a few new clients have told me made them a lot less nervous about contacting me) and otherwise proactively seeking out work, I now have multiple remote accounts, and my first ever client I’ve never met.

I finally set up an Elance profile to be even more proactive about seeking out work.

My friend Dorrie had written me out a bunch of links she had heard on a business radio show a few months ago. The paper has been on my desk since; I had enough work at the time but thought if I was going to reach beyond coastal Maine, this might be the way to do it.

I finally set up an Elance profile a couple weeks ago, if only to have the chance to bid on projects that sounded interesting. I’ve bid on a small one and, since I haven’t heard back yet, I’m guessing I didn’t get it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

I’ve been awarded the bid for my hometown Chamber’s new website.

I put in a bid for the Chamber of Commerce’s website in my hometown of Fort Kent Maine. Months went by (and I checked in a few times) but when I hadn’t heard a few months later, I decided to start taking steps to ensure I’d have enough work through the winter. I set up the Elance profile, beefed up my LinkedIn account, contacted anyone who might have leads for me, and bid on parts of larger projects with friends/colleagues.

These Two Weeks In Business: The Package Edition

It’s been said that hairdressers have the worst hair and the cobbler’s kids are the last to get their shoes. Growing up in a hardware family, we were often the last to get handy people at our house. Good thing my mom is pretty good with powertools!

Well, with web people, this idea translates to sometimes your web professional having a poorly maintained site (while still doing a pretty good job on yours).

While I do keep things up-to-date on my site, the list of little things to improve it end up stacking up until it reaches a breaking point.

Last week, mostly while I was avoiding creating a presentation, I did a lot of work on my own site. It’s not something you’d necessarily notice but mind if I give a little tour?

I created packages and then a chart to help understand them.

If you got to, you’ll notice a bunch of packages for businesses and non-profits starting at $200/month. I’ve asked a few business owners (and maybe they were just too nice to tell me) but they said the prices seemed fair and the packages were easy to understand.That said, if anything with my packages seems off/weird, please comment! If you’ve ever met me (and heck, even if you haven’t), I hope you know I appreciate it when people are honest with me. :^)

Basically, I calculated prices based on my hourly wage, since I know about how long it takes me to do something. Also by pricing monthly, I was hoping to make people understand a lot of this stuff is on-going and is something I am able to maintain/create on a regular basis that’ll add value to the business.

I am all about making things simple to regular people… so I made this handy dandy flow chart.

I was on vacation with my mom, who owns a business, when I showed her my service packages. (Admittedly, this is probably a pretty biased audience to start out with but I thought it was better than nothing!)

“These all look good,” she said, “but how do I know what I need?”

In the hotel room, I immediately began sketching a flow chart. When I got back home to Photoshop, I made the chart below and emailed it to her.

“Oh this is great!” she said.

When my friend Matt told me making an image map is ‘easy’ (i.e. making it so when you click on parts of the chart, it goes to different links), I gave it a shot. And you know what? It was. Now when you click on the package you need, poof!, you are taken to a web page with the package description and, in the future, example clients, testimonials, screenshots, etc.

So you can click on the chart to see it up close… Let me know if you find it easy to follow or if you see any improvements I could make!

My mom wanted to know how she would know what services she needed, because they all sounded good. How about a flow chart? I said. And guess what, it's clickable!

I sent out my monthly newsletter, and got tons more subscribes from it than ever before.

I got an email from my sister about a month ago about blogging software and, since I had practically written up a whole thing for her, I thought I would also send the information in my monthly email newsletter. To see my summary of some ‘free’ blogging technology out there, here’s the archive link to it. ‘You should put this on your website’ my friend Chris said. And I did, along with a way to subscribe to the newsletter. So if you want, you can subscribe on the main page of my site or on the Breaking Even Facebook page.

Need marketing help?