Welcome to Episode 36 of the Profitable Web Designer Podcast, where we’re committed to helping web designers to stop undercharging, overdelivering, overworking, overworking and create profitable, sustainable web design businesses.
I’m Shannon Mattern, your host and founder of the Web Designer Academy where we teach the business side of running a web design business, and if you wanna make a consistent, full-time income as a web designer but you’re struggling with things like pricing, boundaries, mindset and marketing and you’re EXHAUSTED from going it alone… well, my friend, you’re in the right place.
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In this week’s episode I’m chatting with WDA student Angela Bamford about how she gained the confidence to raise her web design project prices from $1,500 to $10k!
Angela Bamford is the owner of AB Designs, a UK-based web design agency that specializes in helping business owners reach the next level in their business. She left a career as a commercial buyer to start her web design and development business six years ago, and joined the Web Designer Academy in 2022 to learn how to confidently raise her prices while working fewer hours.
3 key lessons from our chat:
- Having a strong why – being around for her 6 year old son – pushed her to keep going despite a rough first 12 months in business.
- Your skills are valuable right now as they are. You’re worth so much more than you think and getting a start on the business end will only allow you to increase your prices as you develop your skills further.
- When the core problem is pricing, you make assumptions about what they can afford before they even object. Stay out of your client’s wallets!
“By saying yes to everyone, I’m closing doors to my ideal client coming in who I want to work with. It’s fine for people to say no, we wouldn’t have been a good fit.” – Angela Bamford
We also talk about how Angela:
- Gave up a high salary career to pursue a web design business with no back up plan because it forced her to go all in rather than use it as a side hustle.
- Actually faced more success with charging higher prices than failure which ultimately grew her confidence to continue.
- Got over her fear of selling by diving into the marketing outreach method taught in the Web Designer Academy to build relationships and help those people by adding value.
Connect with Angela:
PS – Get exclusive insider strategies from the Web Designer Academy and advice from our five-figure month earners on how to make at least $10k every single month as a web designer by adding your name to the WDA waitlist now.
Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer, a podcast for web designers who want to work less and make more money. I'm your host Shannon Mattern, founder of the Web Designer Academy, where we've helped hundreds of web designers stop under charging, overworking, and create profitable, sustainable web design businesses.
Shannon Mattern: Hello and welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast. Today I have so much pleasure bringing you our guest, Angela Bamford. She is the owner of AB Web Designs, a UK based web design agency that specializes in helping business owners reach the next level in their business. She previously worked as a commercial buyer for various well-known stores before retraining as a web designer and developer six years ago. And after five years, she was close to burnout, still not making enough profit. So she joined the Web Designer Academy in 2022 to learn how to confidently raise her prices and work less hours. So Angela, thank you so much for being on the show today.
Angela Bamford: Oh, thanks for having me.
Shannon Mattern: I'm really excited to get to kind of talk to you and dig into your story. So can you tell me like you're working as a commercial buyer and then you just decide like, I'm gonna be a web designer. Tell me about that.
Shannon Mattern: For losing, it's so fun. Why would you want to change that
Angela Bamford: And I, they, what is this internet thing they used to say to me? And so I thought, why don't I do something that I really enjoy? So I had chatted with my husband, he's very supportive, and we decided if I was gonna do it, I needed to do it properly. So I quit my job and enrolled on a full-time course for six months where I learned everything from the ground up. So it was all aspects of web development and web design. So I learned html, css, P H p, Java Script, and amongst that WordPress as well, as well as all the design aspects. And that was it. And that was six years ago. And I absolutely love what I do. I think I've been very lucky in my career that I've had two dream jobs,
Shannon Mattern: And sunglasses. Love it.
Angela Bamford: Sunglasses, yeah. And, and now I do a job that I absolutely love. I love being my own boss. I love not having to answer to anybody else. And that's how I got started. So it was a hobby, but I decided to make a full-time career outta it.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. So you did this training for six, six months and learned everything from the ground up. Like, that just sounds so fun to me. I'm like, ah, that would just be so cool to be able to just do that focus for six months. And then when did you make the transition from like, okay, I've learned all the things to getting clients and working with clients.
Angela Bamford: So I graduated after six months, and then it was a, I, it hadn't really occurred to me,
Shannon Mattern: I can relate to that.
Angela Bamford: I have to say the work kind of trickled in. You know, I started to get referrals from those two businesses, but it was a real slow trickle to begin with. And there were a lot of times where I thought, what have I done? I've given up a really good career that I could have gone back to, but I've given up a high, high salary, a really good career
Shannon Mattern: So tell me about those first 12 months being tough. What kept you on the path? Why did you choose to continue on instead of going back?
Angela Bamford: Well, I was doing something I loved, I loved both the design and the development side of it. So I love that it enabled me to be creative, because being a buyer isn't, it is a, it can be creative. You have to think about store displays, how your, how your goods are gonna look in the store, but it's not that creative. So I really like that side of it. And the development side really appealed to my analytical brain as well. And so it was because I was doing something I loved and it's because I had my young family as well. If I went back to a full-time job, it would've been really, really difficult. My son was only six and he would've had, he would've been in a lot of wraparound care around school at that time. So it was probably him that kept me going. And also, I am a very determined person and I don't like to fell at anything. So it was just, keep going, keep going, keep going. And then, so yeah, the first 12 months were tough. Then it started to get busier in the next 12 months. Then the referrals started to come in more. But most of my business I was getting was from referrals. Then Covid hit.
Shannon Mattern: Mm-Hmm. Like a defining point in like everybody's life, especially a small business owner. Yeah.
Angela Bamford: Yeah. And I really panicked to begin with and I started to get a lot more inquiries and I was panicking thinking this is, this is could end at any moment with Covid, you know, that people's businesses could be going, they, they could be going out business. So I took on every single piece of work that came my way. I didn't, didn't distinguish between the ones that I would enjoy and the ones I didn't. I just took every single piece of work on and I had so much work. And then it just started snowballing and snowballing because they would then refer me to other people. And I was working most weekends, but hey, it was in Covid. There wasn't much else
Angela Bamford: So I was still having to do a lot of the work myself on them. And I found that I was still working weekends and most of my work was now being a project manager, which I just didn't wanna do. That's not what I signed up for. And it was just, I still wasn't making enough money to earn a decent living outta it. And I couldn't turn away potential clients cause I needed the money. So I, I seemed to be stuck a cycle of burning out, not doing what I wanted to do and still not earning enough money. And I knew that I had to charge more, but I just didn't know how to do it. And then I found you
Angela Bamford: Yeah.
Shannon Mattern: When you said you didn't know how to raise your prices, I wanna like dig into that a little bit. Like what were your thoughts around like what you could charge and what you couldn't charge and all of that?
Angela Bamford: Well, I was doing what I, I now know is a, is a sin and I was, I was putting myself in my client's wallets. I was thinking they can't possibly afford that without having the conversation with them about what they could actually afford. I was making assumptions that they couldn't afford it and that they could only afford a thousand pounds at the most foot website. And I
Shannon Mattern: That's, yeah, I mean it's, we all do it. We all do it and we get out of their wallets and then we raise our prices and then sometimes we get right back into our wallets and we realize we're doing it and we have to get back out. I think for those of us that have that tendency, it's something that we continually get to, like become aware of and then we're like, oh, I was doing that. And then you stop and then you slowly creep back into doing it and then you have to stop yourself again.
Angela Bamford: Definitely sometimes still find myself doing it particularly for past clients that come back to me for additional work and I think, ooh, will they, will they be able to afford that? And I actually have a note above my desk that says, don't put yourself in your client's wallets.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. In the other thing like that we talk about too is just like if someone worked with us five years ago and is coming back five years later, like it would be silly of them to expect the same price. They, they might have that in your mind, but in their mind and they might be surprised that it's changed. But like I would imagine it would make sense to most people that five years later the prices changed.
Angela Bamford: Definitely, it sounds so easy when you say it and I remember that was one of the first things that you said to me and it was a real light bulb moment for me. And as well, their, their businesses have grown as well so they can afford more than they could five years ago.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Yeah. So what was it like for you, like actually the first couple times you made offers with your new prices?
Angela Bamford: It was scary. I think the first time in particular was scary. I, I practiced quite a lot of my husband actually because saying the numbers out loud and practicing saying the numbers out loud made it a lot easier as well. And I think it is a mental barrier because I was going from, at the time I think I was going from 1500 pounds, sorry, I can't translate that into dollars.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, I love that you have a visual of that. I think one of the most important things we can do whenever we are raising prices is we have to be sold first. If we are not sold first, you'll will not be able to confidently say that price and practicing is one of the best ways to sell yourself. Like when you go through a fake consultation with your husband or
Angela Bamford: Yes, it is, it is. You do need to practice it and you do need to go through it. You're right.
Shannon Mattern: I love that you made the jump from 1500 to 10,000 cause that's a big jump and I think it goes against conventional wisdom in terms of what all of the conventional advice is out there of like, oh, just step your price up a little bit, a little bit, a little bit as you get comfortable. And I don't think there's any wrong way to do it, but I also think that you can, if you go through this process of transforming your belief, you can do that much faster. And so tell me what your experience was like the first few times you presented this new price to clients. Like what was their reaction? Did you get Yes right away? Did you get a no right away? Like what were those first few times like?
Angela Bamford: So the first few times they were actually okay with the price, so I was getting yeses more yeses than nos, which was a surprise to me the first couple of times I did it. And then that again, that gave me the confidence. You know, you said to somebody, is that in, is that in line with what you are thinking? And they go, yeah,
Angela Bamford: Oh wow, I have some seriously on the chart.
Shannon Mattern: What
Shannon Mattern: I love that your thought when you said is that in line with what you're thinking? Yeah. And you're like, oh I've been undercharging. Cuz it can go another way. Sometimes people can be like, oh my gosh, like I'm a fraud. They're gonna think like, you know, it just depends on who you are and what you, for lack of a better word, baggage you're bringing with you
Angela Bamford: So easy now. It seems so simple.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Yeah. Hindsight's always great where you're like, wait, what was I doing for all of this time? I could've been doing this. Yeah. So tell me about a time that someone told you no.
Angela Bamford: So I think that's something that's always worried me as well is what if they say no? The same with marketing as well, which I'm, I'm sure I'll come on to, but it's what, what if they say no and it's so what if they say no, it's not personal. Well it might be personal and if it's personal, I wouldn't have gone on with them anyway. They would, they're not my ideal client. And by saying yes to everyone, I'm closing doors to my ideal client coming in who I want to work with. So it's fine for people to say no, we wouldn't have been a good fit.
Shannon Mattern: I love that. That's such a beautiful, beautiful thought process. And I think it is, like you said in your first year, things were kind of slow and things were kind of rough. And I think if you are kind of shifting into higher prices and you're hearing people say no, you can like make that mean the wrong thing. You can make that mean I'm too expensive or I should lower my prices or things like that. And it's a beautiful way that you're thinking about it is just that like, we're just not a good fit. Like we're not a good fit. And that's, that's okay. I will go find someone that is a good fit.
Angela Bamford: Yeah, definitely.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. One of the other things that you were experiencing when you came to work with us was just like overworking and burnout. I feel like that was like a big thing for you when you came in. What do you think was your biggest struggle with your workload back then?
Angela Bamford: My biggest struggle was, oh, there were a couple. There was not having enough time and there was not earning enough money, but was not having enough time. Also, a, as I mentioned earlier, I, I didn't really like putting myself out there on social media, but I wasn't quite sure what else I should be doing marketing-wise. So I'd say, I'll probably say my biggest struggle was marketing.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. What did you change between, like what does your marketing look like now?
Angela Bamford: So my marketing is I've
Shannon Mattern: You are. You're like, this is my favorite
Angela Bamford: Is outreach and it's something that I'd never considered before. I always thought it was a bit too salesy, a bit too pushy, which isn't me. I think being a commercial buyer as well, I used to have people selling to me all day, all day, but it trained salespeople selling to me and I just thought, oh my God, I can't be that person. But you don't have to be that person. Outreach note, I've, I've done so many websites, I've got so many contacts from having done websites that it's not a case of going out there and having to approach strangers to begin with. It's, it is approaching people that I knew and that's something that you really helped me with the website Academy really helped me with as well is do the outreach. So I actually sent a timetabled outreach into my diary every single day after I've done all my task blocking that I also heard in the Web Designer Academy.
Angela Bamford: So every morning I have an hour of marketing scheduled in for outreach and I follow up on emails or I send a brand new email to somebody. I also do a lot of outreach on LinkedIn as well. Linkedin is a platform that's really working for me for marketing. So I spent half an hour on LinkedIn connecting with people or messaging people, et cetera. And, and to begin with, when I started doing the marketing, it was only outrage. It was really quite scary, you know, having to press send on my first email. I remember doing that thinking, oh, I can't believe I'm doing this. It feels a little bit icky, but once you've done it for a couple of weeks, it's, it's absolutely fine. And if they say no, it doesn't matter because you didn't have their business anyway. So you haven't lost anything.
Shannon Mattern: I love that you think that one. Go ahead.
Angela Bamford: No, sorry. It's, yeah, it's, and I think that's something that, you know, to begin with those like, what did they say? No, what did they say? No, and it doesn't matter. I haven't got their business. So if they say yes now, great. If they don't ever answer my email, I haven't lost anything. At least I've tried.
Shannon Mattern: Yes, yes. And like, it's so interesting that you brought up, you know, when you were at your day job and being sold to all the time and just, you know, tra like however people are training salespeople to just
Shannon Mattern: Call and call right back and leave an email, like send an email and send a follow up and a follow up and a thought like, and you know, just hammer you, and we do teach outreach and we do teach like sending emails and we teach following up and things like that. But I just remember like there was a distinct difference and, and I'm curious if you experienced this too, between people I would respond to that reached out to me to sell something to me and other people that would reach out to me to sell something and respond to me. And it was the ones that were for me trying to add value to my life, like helping, educating, connecting, not asking for my time or anything like that. Or can we hop on a quick call or whatever. I'm like, no, I'm so busy we cannot
Shannon Mattern: But it was the ones that would like invite me to a lunch and learn or, and you know, there were just, there were so many different things that people did to like develop a relationship that when it was like, time for we need a new database provider. Like, oh, I'm like, oh yeah, this guy, he is been connecting with me for the past year. Let me reach out to them and see if they wanna throw their hat in the ring for this. And I feel like we are so afraid of being perceived as the person that we were annoyed by
Angela Bamford: Yes, definitely. I think it, it's not about being, it's about building personal relationships Yeah. As well with people, not personal, but just relationships with people. So always try and add value. I don't go straight in with Sal's straight away is just about connections. I think we can get, I think running our own businesses as well, we can become quite isolated. Yeah. And most of us work from home as well and only see the same four walls. And I think with Covid as well,
Shannon Mattern: And you know like as you were saying that, I kind of had this realization that if you think you're selling a website, it is going to be harder for you to market yourself because it's a whole different way of thinking when you understand what you're really selling, when you really truly internalize that I am creating a tool for them to create the other things that they want in their life and their business. And here's how I do it and here's why that's so valuable and here's why we're better collaborating together than you trying to do it on your own. And just that like internal shift, it shifts your pricing. Sure. But it also just shifts the way that you connect with people because you're just like, I have something that can add value to your life and business. Instead of, I'm trying to sell you a website. Do you want a website? You know,
Angela Bamford: Like, yeah,
Shannon Mattern: So tell me, you found the Web Designer Academy in 2022, is that right?
Angela Bamford: Yes.
Shannon Mattern: Do you remember how you found us?
Angela Bamford: I think, I think you were talking on a summit.
Shannon Mattern: Well probably I,
Angela Bamford: I've talk on a couple of summits, so I've been kind semi you a little bit
Angela Bamford: Not fully, not fully stalled, but
Shannon Mattern: Like stalking me.
Angela Bamford: No, yeah. If you appeared on a on a summit I'd I'd think it was. Oh, okay. Yeah, she's good. Yeah.
Shannon Mattern: So what made you decide to ultimately join us?
Angela Bamford: I was stuck in my business. I was stuck charging what I was charging and I, I couldn't seem to get above that and I think I just need, I needed some help to do that. I knew that I needed to start appealing to different people as well and I wasn't quite sure how to do that. A different type of client, I mean appealing to. And I just, I knew that I needed some help with it. And when I came to one of your seminars, did you call them
Shannon Mattern: Mm-Hmm.
Angela Bamford: That was what you said in that seminar just really, really spoke to me and I thought, oh my god, that is me. She, she has described in me that's exactly where I am in my business and exactly what I need help with.
Shannon Mattern: I think it's really interesting that I think back on what you said earlier where you're like, oh, I took, like, I spent six months learning web design from the ground up and at the end I was like, oh, okay, I know how to do this but I don't know how to run a business. And I felt, found myself in a, in a similar place in the very beginning where I'm like, oh, I've spent all this time, it wasn't structured a structured class like yours, but I spent all this time learning on the job and solving business problems with figuring out the tech and all the things. And when I decided to strike out on my own, I was like, okay, now what? Like how do I get clients? Like I don't even know how. And yes, the skills are valuable, we need the skills to be able to actually like do the thing, but just as valuable if not more valuable is the skill of running a business and the skill of getting clients and the skill of sales and marketing and the skill of being able to like, manage your mind around the transformations of pricing and all of those things.
Shannon Mattern: And one of the things that I hear a lot when people are contemplating working with us is that they're like, oh, I really wanna focus on improving my skills before I do any of this. And I'm just like, oh, this is where you need to be because your skills are so valuable as they are right now. They're worth so much more than you think they are. You're good enough and you're going to get paid as you develop your skills. And so I was thinking about that just in conversations that I've had recently. Like I wish I could like somehow get through to people that like
Angela Bamford: Yeah. That's what often think it's a, a, a male female thing as well. Most male dev website developers I meet will fake it, you know? Oh yeah, yeah. I could do that. Yeah. Yeah. Whereas women are like, oh, I dunno, I dunno if I can do that. And they'll want to learn it before they start charging for it. Whereas men seem to be able to go, you know, confidently say they can do it even if they can't and will learn while they're doing it.
Shannon Mattern: I totally agree with you. That has been my experience just even in like in meeting other colleagues in, you know, the, I absolutely wholeheartedly agree with you that like women put a lot of pressure on themselves to already have everything and
Angela Bamford: Yeah,
Shannon Mattern: It's just how the society is and how they've made, how, like the constructs are and how we've been made to feel and think and believe and we can just decide we're not playing by those rules anymore.
Angela Bamford: Yes.
Shannon Mattern: And just be like, I would love to do that for you. I would love to, while I'm doing your project, dig into color theory and play around with that with you and your project and like really do some applied learning and get paid for it instead of like solo learning, hoping that I'm good enough to get paid for it.
Angela Bamford: Yes.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, yeah. No, I'm very
Angela Bamford: Yeah, yes, that's, yeah, I'm, I'm the same. But there is, there is definitely a difference. If you look at most larger, I say larger inverted commerce web agencies, they're, they're run by men and they're not larger. Just give the impression that they're larger, you know, most of the time it, it's just one person and they outsource to SEO specialists, they outsource to developers, they outsource to copywriters, but they give the impression that they are a large agency when they're not. And you, they're all they're know, know, I can't think of one that I've found that's run by a woman. They're all run by men.
Shannon Mattern: If any, any women, women are out there listening that run these large agencies. We'd love to have you on the podcast. I just had Rob Howard on the podcast from Master WP and he runs his own web design agency and he like, I can't wait for his episode to come out. I don't know if it's coming out before yours or after yours, but the conversation with him around this topic specifically was so good that I'm like, okay, I'm not just imagining this, like here he is telling me that like, yes. Like that is how it is that men are more able, more able, easily able to command higher prices simply because they choose to command higher
Angela Bamford: Prices. They do, they sell themselves.
Shannon Mattern: And that the perception and, and I think also, this is probably a whole nother podcast episode, but almost every, like I would say, nine out of 10 women that come to work with us in the Web Designer Academy, when they describe their ideal client, their ideal client is also a woman. Yeah. And in talking to Rob, he basically validated my premise, and I don't know, we both could be wrong, my premise that like men do not see women's, like women in web design their contributions as valuable as men. And that we maybe have to really go hard on, not hard, but just like we have to prove our value more then a guy saying the same price, they just be like, oh, you're a dude. Yep, sure. If it's a woman, it's like, oh, well tell me what I'm gonna get from that. What's my return on investment?
Shannon Mattern: Like, all of those things that we teach you how to do in the program, but like, would you have to learn this if you weren't a woman? I don't know.
Angela Bamford: Oh, I think confidence, having more confidence in myself and my abilities. I feel that I can, I remember just before I started I was talking to a potential new developer that I was going to be outsourcing to and he was mansplaining to me some technical stuff. And you, you don't need to, you don't need to tell me this
Angela Bamford: I think I, I learned a lot from the community as well. Little bits and pieces that I picked up of, you know, the tech that people use, plugins that, that I'm WordPress, I've decided to concentrate solely on WordPress, but plugins that people use and the, yeah, the camaraderie I think on the calls and in the Facebook group as well. That's definitely something I'm going to miss.
Shannon Mattern: That is one of those like unexpected delights
Angela Bamford: Yes.
Shannon Mattern: Of creating this program that like, I didn't mean for it to happen. It wasn't like part of the plan and it like happened organically that it's like having, I remember my first job, well some of my college jobs, but then my very first corporate job, I was in the marketing department and we were just all the best of friends. We had such a good time you could just get up and walk over to someone else's desk and ask them for help. And I never experienced that again after that job. And then just the community that we have created here is like that. It's like you can go and if you're struggling or if you're stuck, you can just basically like tap someone on the shoulder and say, Hey, can you help me out with this? Yeah. And nobody is like, you should already know that, or No, I don't. If I help you then you'll take all my clients. Or like there's, it's nothing like that.
Angela Bamford: No life already. Everyone's so helpful and just everybody shares their proposal templates, what they look like. There's not a, you know, everybody was lovely in it. Really lovely and helpful and supportive. I think another unexpected delight I had was finding out more about my personality as well with the personality tests, drilling down into those and what they mean. And that helped me, not just with my career and my job, it helped me with my personal relationships as well that I suddenly realized, oh,
Shannon Mattern: That person
Angela Bamford: And I get it now and we're never gonna be friends and, and I understand. Yeah. I say it helped me with my relationships as well.
Shannon Mattern: Oh, I love that. I love that. One of the things that like just made me so happy about your experience when we were talking about your graduating, you're taking the option to graduate, which was that like, you are just like, I go to the gym in the middle of the day, I have my time back. And that you seem to really kind of have a handle on getting to be in charge of when you're working and when you're not working and how you're living your life. Yeah,
Angela Bamford: That's definitely right. So I'm, I'm working a lot less hours than I used to.
Shannon Mattern: Beautiful. Okay, so I'm gonna ask you the last question that I ask everybody that comes on the podcast and that is, what belief about yourself did you have to change to get where you are today?
Angela Bamford: I had, I had to, the one belief was what I was worth and it is personal when you run your own business, my belief was, was what I was personally worth to other people or my services were worth to other people. So I definitely had to change that.
Shannon Mattern: Ah, so good. I could talk to you for another three hours about all of this stuff, but we have to wrap up the show. So can you tell everyone where they can go to connect with you?
Angela Bamford: Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn. That's where I hang out most of the time now, Dave. So you can also find me on Instagram and at ab web Designs uk. But LinkedIn is my jam now. I was very scared of it to begin with, but I absolutely love it now and I'm embracing it. And you can find me on LinkedIn, Angela Banford.
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well thank you so, so much for being here. It was a delight to get to talk to you and yeah, we'll link up all of those links in the show notes for everyone. So thank you so much.
Angela Bamford: Thank you, Shannon. Thank you for inviting me. It's been great.
Shannon Mattern: Thank you. Hey, so if you're ready to stop undercharging and overworking, if you wanna take back control of your time, work only with the dreamiest of clients and make more money as a web designer than you ever thought possible, get started now by going to https://webdesigneracademy.com and joining our wait list. We'll send you exclusive teachings from the current Web Designer Academy so you can start applying our concepts now. And you'll be first to know when enrollment opens up again, so that you can work with us to completely transform your web design business.
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