This week I’m chatting with Jason Gracia about the power of mentorship and creating systems in your web design business.
Jason Gracia started his web design business after being diagnosed with cancer and not knowing how he would support his family and pay the medical bills. He’s the founder of Swyft sites, a done-for-you web design company used by some of the biggest names in coaching from around the world, now a 7-figure business, and is cancer-free. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry and is an author, course creator, coach, and consultant who has had a significant impact on my own business.
3 takeaways from our talk:
- Being a lone wolf in business and not asking for help can ultimately hold you back. Finding a mentor and asking for help can be the catalyst for significant growth.
- Success comes from using proven tools and strategies to create systems that work for you and your business, rather than reinventing the wheel for each client.
- You can share your expertise in unconventional ways when you see a gap in the market. You just have to be willing to take a chance and get help when you need it.
We also chat about:
- Jason’s impact on my business and the gratitude I have for his guidance.
- His unique approach to selling his web design services by eliminating the back-and-forth with clients.
- The obstacles he overcame to start his business in the first place.
Connect with Jason:
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: Hey everyone and welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast. I am thrilled to introduce you to today's guest, Jason Gracia. He has spent over 20 years in web design and personal development space as an author, course creator, coach and consultant. You may have heard me talk about him on recent podcast episodes as someone that really helped me make a pivot in my business and get through a difficult time. So he currently runs Swift Sites, which is a website agency for coaches, which has served over 500 clients and generated multiple seven figures in revenue. And he is just a wonderful, genuine human who I'm so glad to have met. Jason, welcome to the show.
Jason Gracia: Wow, thank you so much.
Shannon Mattern: So just to give a little background, Jason and I met through Josh Hall, but I also think you might have emailed me a couple times, like just responding to my newsletter to like connect and then Josh invited me to this mastermind with both of you and I was like, thank you so much, but I have so much going on. Maybe next time, maybe next time, maybe next time. And I kept for some reason just like not saying yes to this invitation. And finally when I did it was just like the right time and it was life changing. So thank you for that. And
Jason Gracia: All. Okay. So and yeah, right. Tell me your whole life story. So, and I think you know this part of it, but just to kind of carry on as far how we connected, I actually, so I followed you for a long time. I thought you were amazing. And then Josh and I connected and I told Josh, you have got to check out what Shannon's doing. And he is like, yeah, yeah, yeah. So he put it off and I was like, no, really what you're thinking of, she's already doing, you have to. And then then he is like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then after like three months I was like, dude, like go look at what she's doing. And then he finally did that. He is like, oh my god, she's amazing. I was like, I told you so yes, he put it off too. But yeah, I've been following you for a long time and I even told you like I love putting you on while I'm working.
Jason Gracia: You just have this way about you like this soothing voice. I feel like let's get to work, Shannon's with me, get stuff done. So me, I grew up in Milwaukee, single mom, three kids. It, it's one of those we didn't know we were poor but we were like grew up on welfare, electricity, turned off eating ramen and that kind of thing. But it was fine 'cause I didn't know any different. So growing up in that situation I became very independent and very like right from an early age I just took care a lot of things on my own 'cause we didn't really have a choice, right? Mom worked two jobs so we had to, and my brothers at the time when they, we all lived together, they were seven and eight years older. So it's pretty much just Jason a lot of the times having to figure things out, including being up one night when mom had to work late and I didn't know what the exorcist was and I was about six years old and it was on TV and then it scarred me for life.
Jason Gracia: So there were
Jason Gracia: And it's funny just to think back, like back then most people listening probably don't know, but it was Topica Spark list. Like those were the main players as far as email marketing. So it's just funny CompuServe we were using back then, like old school and I remember when I used to log into my spark list account, it was just a list of emails and that was like the top of the line service. So anyway, that's what I did when I was young, learned about business and I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur from being independent and wanting to do things on my own. And then having that business influence, I kind of really early knew I wanna be an entrepreneur. So I went to school at UW Madison for marketing. Started some businesses in, well I actually started businesses throughout high school, throughout college, just these little businesses just to kinda like dip my toe in the water of entrepreneurship.
Jason Gracia: And I loved it. Even just the little things I did, I loved it. I remember freshman year I read a book about speed reading and I thought, well everyone hates studying, so what if I could create a program for them and they could learn how to speed read and get their homework done. And half the time, ultimately this is a terrible idea because college kids, I don't wanna learn any of that stuff. But I created this little course, I had a little like workbook, I went door to door and I sold it to people. So my mind was always just thinking of like those kind of ideas. And then April 1st, 2001 is when it all came together. So I've got this background where I love business and entrepreneurship, I love being independent. I don't ever wanna work for anyone. And so I'm in my dad's condo with my stepmom.
Jason Gracia: So he remarried and they have their own website. My dad has a website teaching marketing. My stepmom has a website teaching how to get organized. My older brother Chad had a website on actor acting tips and then my other brother had throwzini.com, he taught people how to throw knives.
Jason Gracia: And so I launched, we were, I remember we were sitting in the condo and I was like, how about motivation? We're like, okay, sounds good. And then we came up with a name and we had a few that we were thinking of. This was way, this is 20 plus years ago. So there was a lot available. And I thought, what about motivation? 1, 2, 3, it was available, I registered it and that's how I got my start in websites. And back then, no c s s, right? No, nothing, no WordPress. I coded this all by hand. Little tr tds and divs and yyy. And I built motivation 1, 2, 3. And that was like I was the guy at two in the morning hunched over my laptop by a little lamp learning everything I could about websites, the early internet, how to grow an audience, how to do all of that.
Jason Gracia: And eventually skip it had a few years, it became the number one motivation website in the world. So I ranked, if you typed in between, you know,
Jason Gracia: But that is how I got kind of my start in business and how I started with websites and it was all motivation. 1, 2, 3 was my learning ground. So that's why I learned a lot. I still have that domain name. I kind of took the site down 'cause I just didn't do anything with it. But I think I'll keep that one. Maybe I'll give it to my kids. Each of my kids can have one of my domain names. So I'll pass that. That'll be my legacy. So that's my beginning, that's how I got started in business and websites.
Shannon Mattern: That is all fascinating. I'm just like sitting here like, oh my gosh, keep going, keep telling this story because that, that's all fascinating. And I'm also seeing like a lot of parallels between like my journey and yours. Like also single mom. Mm-Hmm.
Jason Gracia: And I don't think you're alone. I think that just most people are taught this is the path. Good luck doesn't work for most people. We're not gonna tell you that. We're just gonna tell you get a job, work hard and everything will somehow work out. And we know it's just not the case. Especially today.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So when, when you were launching that in April of 2001, I think I was like still making lattes at the coffee shop at the airport and getting ready
Jason Gracia: So as a little just to, because I wanted to share it with you because I think you'd think this is it's like an interesting aside, doesn't really have to do with where I've got to today and I'll get, I'll do that story. But first while I was building this, it was the side business because I got a job. So I coached gymnastics for 15 or 20 years. And so right outta college I got a marketing management job at a gymnastics academy in town. And so I was kind of in your shoes a little bit. Not so much corporate but more like I was the employee but they had no marketing. It was one of those small businesses where they're like, oh you are marketing so go do your thing. So I could do whatever I wanted. And it turns out through this crazy series of events, I worked as the marketing manager and then they were gonna sell the business.
Jason Gracia: My friend bought one of their locations, they had two locations. My friend buys the location that they're gonna sell and they're gonna actually keep another one. Well my boss at the time was this terrible guy. I won't name names, but he was terrible. And we did not get along. He did not know that my friend when she bought this location named me president of the company. So he comes in all high and mighty 'cause he's gonna fire me because he's like, finally if we're gonna make some changes, I'm selling this location, I'm gonna save the other one and you are out. So he shakes my hand and he's like, sorry, it's just not gonna work. We gotta let you go. And I'm smiling and he is like looking at me like, why are you smiling, Nick? You're getting fired. I was like, ah, I'm sorry it didn't work out but I wish you all the best.
Jason Gracia: And he is like, yeah, yeah, yeah, that sounds great. So I leave, then there's a meeting with the president of the other location. The next day he has it on his schedule that he's gonna meet with the president. And so I walk in and he is like, I, I let you go. And I shook his hand like actually I'm running this other location. So I got fired named president of the company the next day and then his location went out of business and ours is still going today. So I just thought that, I just love that story. Where I got fired, he had no idea I was actually going to take over the company. So I did have that kind of work for someone kind of experience. I had, I was a 25 year old, immature, naive. And overnight 25 of my coworkers became my employees.
Jason Gracia: Which disaster, right? Everyone looked at me like, why would we listen to you? We've been working with you for years now you're in charge. I was terrible at the job. I'll admit that I had like, I was a dictator. I had all these lists, everyone's gotta do things my way and we're gonna do this. And I, I would watch people do their job and then check down what they weren't doing right. Oh my god, it's so bad. And then I, the worst thing is I got a nameplate that said president and I put it on the, my little office door where everyone walked by
Jason Gracia: It was terrible. So that lasted a year, right? So I have this kind of side, like this tangent where I worked as a marketing manager. I took over the company and realized this is not for me, but luckily motivation 1, 2, 3 is making so much money I could quit and go full-time. So I went full-time in 2006 and that's my only income. So that's going well. 2006, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 things are great. And then married 2016 have a baby. Life is amazing. And then as you know, we've got a new house, new wife, new baby. I'm so excited about the future. And then my doctor sends that message. I still remember as I think everyone who gets this note does, I'm sitting at my kitchen table, Megan was in by the cabinets holding Cora in her arms. I'm gonna, okay, I gotta not get into the details 'cause I get so emotional.
Jason Gracia: But the note said from my doctor, call me as soon as you get this, which can never be good news. So all I did was I just looked up at Megan and then she knew, I knew 'cause I had just been in for some tests. So I went upstairs and he said, you have cancer and treatment starts in five days. So like 24 hours ago, life was amazing business, amazing, this perfect baby, amazing wife. And I just was thinking of decades into the future and within 24 hours I was thinking there's a chance I'll be dead in six months. Yeah. Which just rocked my world as you can imagine. So I had to do, do what you gotta do. So I was like, okay, treatment. So radiation, chemotherapy, major surgery in the fall and I beat it. So today, cancer free, knock on wood, my oncologist has cancer cured.
Jason Gracia: We just, just can't say it. But we'll say you're as close as you can get. So I feel like beat that. But in the interim when I was going through that, it was really hard to work. I was not motivated. And so like I just feel like I didn't know I was gonna be around in a few months. I didn't have it in me to write an article about achieving your goals. So I, during that process I kind of, I walked away from motivation 1, 2, 3. I just felt like I can't do this anymore. I'm just worried about, I mean I would rock core at night thinking I just want to see you ride a bike. I just want to see you say your first words. Like that's all I want. I just was not in the mindset to run a business. So I walked away from that and the medical bills wiped us out.
Jason Gracia: 'Cause Anyone who says Oh you got insurance, they don't understand cancer because if you're not working because you're going through radiation and chemo and it's just destroying you really hard to work. And there's still a lot of costs that insurance don't cover. So we were getting in close to having to sell the house and I felt terrible. 'cause Obviously I have this excuse but I, that's just, I don't think you're built that way. I don't think I'm built that way where it doesn't matter what the excuse is, I just felt like it's on me. I am bringing the family down. And so I felt terrible. Like I was ruining the family not bringing in money. We might have to sell the house. What are we gonna do? And then I got an email one day from Bill Simmons from South Carolina. He had come across motivation 1, 2, 3.
Jason Gracia: He loved the website and he said, I need a website. Do you build websites? Well at the time I was making roughly $0. And so I said in my head, no I don't build websites for other people. I build websites just for me to him. I said,
Jason Gracia: So less I can put something together that looks nice but really how do we help this because I gotta knock this outta the park 'cause this is my lifeline. So I learned everything I could about websites that convert, how to book calls through websites, how to build your email list, how to lay it out in a way that actually does something for you instead of just looks pretty. And I did that for a few years. I got first bill and then when the word got out I had a few more clients and then a few more clients. And so I'd say about two to three years I was building these websites and then I realized something which was I am presenting this project to the client like I think most designers do. Whereas in the sense of what do you want? What are you looking for?
Jason Gracia: How can we build your vision? What I realized in my little niche is that I knew how these websites should be laid out and function. And so what would happen is we would spend months going back and forth and I would say, well actually you want the button over here and here's why. And they'd say, okay, let's do that. And then actually you want the hero section to say this and I give my reason. Okay, let's do that. Eventually I was like, this is ridiculous. This is three months when I could've just done this on day one. And that's when I got the right idea for Swift, which was why don't I just scrap all of this back and forth and say this is the website we build for you and this is why. And I started there and that started to work where I realized, oh people come in for a work of art but then when I can make the case for why it's actually a business tool.
Jason Gracia: They just wanna make sure it works. And so I would, I actually in a lot of success, I thought there'd be a lot of pushback because people wanted something custom never been seen before. But I explained to them how actually if you've got a backbone that's proven, you can just kind of layer on top of that something custom. But underneath you can have a machine that actually helps you grow your business. So that's going and that's going really well. And that was called at the time Savvy Hippo. But then I got the next idea, which brings us to today. So people listening, they're like, oh my god, this guy just get to it. What I realized is I'm spending a lot of time teaching these people how to write good copy and then I'm spending a ton of time taking that copy and plugging it into the page layouts and WordPress.
Jason Gracia: What if there was a way that I could automatically teach them what to write, they could write it on their own and I could click a button that puts it into the WordPress website and I don't have to do any of it. And so that is what I set out. It was a three-year journey where I created what today is swift sites. So my clients actually log into a portal, they choose their colors, they choose their fonts, they upload their images and by following my tutorials they write their copy the right way and then we connect it to a WordPress website through a plugin and the entire website is filled out for them. All of my layouts, all of their content, all of their preferences. And then I have a small team that does the finishing touches and sets up their email marketing, their calendar logistics.
Jason Gracia: But that's where I got to where I could used to serve three to four clients. Every few months I got to where I could take in 20 to 30 clients a month. And so from being diagnosed with cancer, my income for that year, I looked back before we chatted it was around $800 for a year. So there's just couldn't do it. And then I built up, figured out the coaching website that got me to 26,000 and then 80,000. And then I figured out, oh this new model of teaching people, this is the layout we should use that I allowed me to get more clients. So I got up into the a hundred thousand, 200,000. Then I figured out this whole automated where I could build websites faster than ever. That got me to the 500,000, 600,000, 700,000. And so that journey of kind of having these little insights and breakthroughs all starting from this terrible moment in the kitchen got me to where I am today where Swift is doing more money than I ever thought possible.
Jason Gracia: I have an incredible team that fulfills, I just do a lot of the front facing brand and sales, but it's a dream. I never thought I would be doing what I'm doing today, but I am. I feel like I got a gold mine here from putting everything I've learned, everything I've been through into this beautiful little piece of software and this beautiful offer that is super niched, which I'm sure Shannon teaches you anyway, but I'll wrap up my story by saying the only reason this worked is because I chose a specific market to serve. Because when people hear, oh you work with just coaches, it changes everything. Because no longer am I in competition with every other website designer. I am the only one who does what I do. And so I become, if they want a website, it's the obvious natural choice.
Jason Gracia: That's one of the reasons why we went from working with a handful of clients to now we've worked with over 500 clients. 'cause I chose that specific audience and I became the expert and they knew it. So that my friend is how we got from motivation 1, 2, 3 getting fired and then loving, shaking his hand as the president just 'cause he was, I hated that guy. And then
Jason Gracia: I know people say it, but without cancer I wouldn't, of course it'd be nice if I didn't have to have the cancer part of the story, but I don't think I'd be here. I think I'd still be doing what I was always doing. I needed something to completely throw me off course to find the path here and so hated I had to go through that. Still worried it'll come back. That's just part of it. I think I'm always worried. But where I am today is amazing and this is actually the end of it. Kenny as Shannon, you know, so I have Cora, she was there in the beginning then we did, it's another crazy story, but through I V F, we got Penny and we thought kids were done forever because of my cancer treatment. You can't have kids. Like you're done, you're sterile, I am done.
Jason Gracia: We have two kids, this is perfect. And then Megan, my beautiful wonderful wife and I realized my very pregnant wife gives me the news in December that miraculously 10% of people who go through my cancer treatment can have kids again. Well I am that 10%. And so upstairs right now is little Max. He's two and a half years old. But now we are done for sure, no more kids. So I guess to put a pin in that story, max is upstairs hanging out with Mama our little miracle who we never thought was possible. But now we're complete. Okay, I'm done yapping at you. So that's my story.
Shannon Mattern: I find this whole story fascinating. Did you say Max is two and a half years old? Isn't he like two and a half weeks old?
Jason Gracia: Old did I say years? He said years.
Shannon Mattern: Years. I should not have said, I'm like no, he's weeks old.
Jason Gracia: Weeks. See I have new parents like I was up at four in the morning. So
Shannon Mattern: I was gonna say, say time has no meaning at this today for you. Right. But
Jason Gracia: Yes, weeks, weeks, weeks, weeks. Yeah. Just weeks. Two and a half weeks old. Perfect little guy.
Shannon Mattern: I find this story fascinating and I wanna like unpack some pieces of this, but the interesting thing when you were telling me about how you were like, haha, I was a dictator at work and I was just like not
Jason Gracia: It was all ego, all of it. I wanted people to respect me and I wanted to show them. And I think I have the same ego probably now, but I feel like just look at what I do and if you think it's good then that's great and if not, then that's fine. Back then I was, I wanted, I was, yeah, my early twenties I wanted to show people how smart I was and it backfired as it should. 'cause That was ridiculous. But I've grown a lot. I've learned a lot. And yeah, little Jason, I think it's because I'm five foot five and so my whole life I have been like the short guy proving himself. Right? Same thing with my dad. Like always wanting to show people this is how smart I am and this is how successful I am going through what I've gone through.
Jason Gracia: I realized I don't need any of that. That's just everyone is as they are and let's accept people and not judge and do the best we can without putting a big old president. I still have the, I have the name nameplate too, which
Shannon Mattern: I can kind of relate to that in a way though because for me I was in a marketing role but I was always like the bridge between marketing and it. So I was like the MarTech person. Mm-Hmm.
Jason Gracia: Yes.
Shannon Mattern: And that like helped. That's a really good yeah me back a lot too because it was just like, I don't need help, I don't need help. I've got this, I'll figure it out on my own. And that persisted a very long time. And I, to kind of bring it back to this story, when Josh invited me to the, the Mastermind before I finally accepted, I was still in this like lone wolf, I don't need help. I've got this. Mm-Hmm
Shannon Mattern: Not getting the outcomes that I wanted. And finally I started just to relent. I was like, I have come to the point of I can no longer do this on my own and I am going to say yes to any offer of support and assistance
Shannon Mattern: Of, and I don't know that it was like of you specifically, but it was just like, what's the catch? You know,
Jason Gracia: Yeah. And I think 99.9% of our experiences, at least online, there is always a catch, right? Like unless you're Alex Hermo, who you already have 50 million in the bank there doesn't anybody, like I always remind people he's got tens of millions of dollars. He doesn't have to sell anything like, but there is usually right? But for me, you know what it is when you say that, I think it's the ego switched from look at me, look how good I am to if I can help you with what I've learned. That kind of gives me that, that fuels me. And I think too, like I wanna help all people. If I can help anyone, I just feel good that I've gone through a ton, then I can share it. And your life is better because of it. But you especially, you didn't know me, I didn't know you, but I had been following you and you were just, you're one of the good people, right?
Jason Gracia: You are caring, you're giving intelligent, successful. If you can't help someone like you, then I we're in trouble, right? Because you are someone who is a giver like always. And so I thought I will do anything because she is just a good person who is in need of help. Let's give her everything I can. And my only kind of secret catch would be if it works, that's gonna feel really good inside that I can help someone on their way
Jason Gracia: I do my own marketing, I do my own this. I did Shannon, my first audio course. I stamped stickers onto the CDs and I was proud of it. So I was there, I remember I was watching Survivor, I bought a stamping machine. So I would print out on my own printer CD labels and then I would stamp it down and I'd be, I'd feel so proud because when I bring this to the post office, I also went to the post office and mailed all my stuff myself. I was so proud because I was like, I got this. If you need a team, you're weak. You don't know how to do what you're doing. I do it all by myself. And man, that ceiling that I built because of that was so thick and so short because I asked for no help. I got no help.
Jason Gracia: And I stayed at the same level for years. So yes, I was a lone wolf and I was so proud of it. And it was just ridiculous. 'cause I was bragging about being ineffective,
Shannon Mattern: Well, I appreciate all of your kind words and everything that you said about me and the reasons why you wanted to help me. And it is working. You helped me make some pivotal decisions and changes in how we like how we enroll into the web. You encouraged me to do sales calls. You were like, Hey, here's what to say on your sales calls so that you feel comfortable on them and that you're getting the right people into the program and helping them make that decision. And I mean, since our first mastermind, I have made more in the last three months than I did in the whole probably six to nine months before that. And that's so important. And it's not about the money. I mean obviously I have bills to pay and things like that, but it's like I have a team, you know, that I've committed to paying them salaries. Mm-Hmm.
Jason Gracia: I gave just a few pointers and tips, but it was you,
Shannon Mattern: They were pivotal.
Jason Gracia: You
Shannon Mattern: I took action. I will take credit for taking action. I will take credit for that. You're amazing. But
Jason Gracia: When it comes to that, it's amazing.
Shannon Mattern: And
Jason Gracia: I think like any good coach,
Shannon Mattern: You guided me through it and encouraged me through it.
Jason Gracia: And I th like, I think this is in every experience because I, yeah, I was a gymnastics coach for years. Giving something to someone and then seeing them run with it, it's like the best you get it right? 'cause You have students too. Yes. It's like the best feeling. So to know that I figured a few things out, I could hand them to you, you grabbed it and you just ran. That is it. For the rest of my life, that's gonna be what fills me up is to be able to see people progress and achieve and do all these amazing things. I'm like the springboard and I think I used to wanna be the spotlight, but now I wanna be the springboard I just want to give people here is that launch and you go do your thing, you're gonna be amazing at it. I think when I was younger I wanted to be amazing and now I just want to be that spark that sends you on your way and then you let your own fire. And I will stand in the back. I'm happy to do it and applaud. But that's what fills me up. And I'm sure you're the same way with your students. Like you, there's just nothing like that. Being able to help someone improve.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Because otherwise if, I don't know, that is what drives me because there are easier things to do to make a living
Shannon Mattern: One of the things that I got to do in terms of you helping me kind of make these shifts and walking me through like the process that you do on sales calls and things was I got to see behind the scenes of swift sites and how that whole thing works. And I was like, okay, wait, this is fascinating. Tell me how you did this. How did you build this? How did this come up? And I know you shared a little bit about it, but for our geeks listening to this
Shannon Mattern: You know, of course you have trade secrets and whatnot, but can you just share a little bit more about the process that you went through of figuring out how to solve the problem of I am having to do all of this manual work to mm-hmm
Jason Gracia: So it's funny 'cause it, it ties right into what we just talked about. So my mindset at the time was I mapped out this website, like the ideal coaching website. Here's the homepage, all this like all the schematics, right? Homepage about page blog, contact page, services page. Here's what we should say, here's how we should say it. I'd have all the blueprints. And then what I realized was, oh, I could build a piece of software where somehow people could just fill that out in a form where they could almost, like if I just created a Google doc, they could fill out homepage, hero section, put in your headline, they type their headline. But then I realized, ah, but I need to coach them through it. So I need audio. So it's probably not just a simple form, but maybe it could be where they click a tutorial, there's boxes where they could type in their information.
Jason Gracia: So that's like I started, okay, so I've got a tutorial and then I have boxes, but I need to save that in a way that I can easily access it. So now maybe I need, like I need to code some kind of piece of software. So I thought I could do it myself. Even not that many years ago, which I am not a software developer at all. So I looked at all these tools online, how to create code. Your own software wasted six months. And that's one of my first, I can't do this, I have to hire someone. So I hired a developer who is unbelievable. I came into his life at just the right time when he didn't have a lot of money. So he didn't charge me much because he would do it for anything. Sorry, Rob and I would give him an idea.
Jason Gracia: I'd say, okay, so what I would love is if people could enter information and then it would be in a place where I could easily copy and paste it into a website. He's like, okay, we can do that. And he built that. And then I said, what I would really love next is if there could be an audio tutorial where then people could listen and I could walk them through what to write. And so he built that. So now we have where people log in, they listen to a little tutorial and then they enter their information. And so I just kept doing that. So then I said, you know what would be great is if I could create color schemes and they could click on the color schemes and we could have a dynamic mockup right below that changes based on their color schemes so they could see how their colors will be used.
Jason Gracia: He's like, okay, I'll do it. Then he built that and this thing just kept growing over three years. Where I would get these ideas of, oh what about this? And then he would digitally roll his eyes at me and then say,
Jason Gracia: There about page is done. And so I just kept iterating on that, this beautiful little piece of software where a coach could show up with nothing, follow my instructions, enter in all their information, and then I'd have it all in the best. Like it's all laid out the right way. I know all their colors, their fonts, their logo, I have all their images. It's all given to me. And I think as I say that, the biggest thing, I think one of that changed my business was when I did websites before I waited on the client. So my business stalled when someone didn't get me their content with Swift. I don't pay attention to that client for one second until everything is done. So what I do is I say, okay, welcome to our program. You're gonna go into this software and enter in everything we need, but you're not gonna hear from us until you're done.
Jason Gracia: And then when you're done, we'll build your site. Which for me changed everything because before I was nagging them constantly, like, Betty, I need you to send over your about page copy. We're kind of waiting on this. We and I couldn't take on new projects 'cause what if Betty showed up with all her stuff? So then I gotta put the new client on the back burner, but this way I don't move a muscle until they have all of their content done. Colors chosen pictures, formatted the right way, logo uploaded, fonts chosen, we don't move, we don't do anything. And that's how we're able to build websites in a week. Whereas before it took three to six months because I was waiting and waiting and waiting. So I don't know if that answers your question how you wanted it to, but the idea was I kept thinking, how can we optimize this?
Jason Gracia: And then I'd go to my developer and say, can we build this in? And he said yes. And we just kept building this thing out because anything that I did more than once, I wanted to automate or optimize. So if I have to tell something, like I said the same thing to two clients, I gotta stop doing that. There's gotta be a one way so I can say it to all clients and now we have it. It's like if paint by numbers fill in the blank software where you log in, you follow my instructions, you click a button, you schedule your build, we push some buttons, it's all in WordPress and then my team makes it look pretty. But like I said, I don't know if that exam answers your question exactly, but that was my drive. Like how do we optimize and automate anything that's repetitive and how do we get away from waiting on clients? Because that was my, like the bane of my existence was I'm sitting here staring at my computer ready to work and you are not doing any of the work. And so I just stopped doing it and I don't wait for anyone to do anything. Now
Shannon Mattern: That's the brilliant piece of this, like one, it's like a productized service and it's very, very valuable because there's strategy baked into all of it. You know, I think that that's mm-hmm the piece where you know, you're like you have removed your manual labor but you're selling your intellectual property in a completely different way than anybody else's selling it. It's like you're like, this is my strategy for coach websites. I have productized it. The value comes from me developing this system for you to launch your website. That converts, that's proven and you've packaged that up and you're reselling it. So it's like, yes, their outcome is a website that they can use to go on to book clients and do their coaching practice. But like you've packaged up your IP in just a really unique way that other people do with like online courses or like, let me, like this is what I did was let me create package up my IP in a course that teaches you how to build your own website.
Shannon Mattern: And I had this thing called Site a Snap. I don't know if you
Jason Gracia: Yep.
Shannon Mattern: We talk a lot about boundaries and I give people scripts to Compe. Like we don't wait on clients in the Web Designer Academy either, but not the level that you're not waiting on clients
Jason Gracia: Yeah, if they're not ready to to go, we're not ready. Yep, that's exactly it. We're not ready to go. And I you bring up such a good point because what I used to think selling websites was, was the pretty picture. Yeah. And then what I realized was in the end, if you can do it right, it's the result. So a coach will say, wait, I get the same homepage layout as all the other coaches. And I'd say, that's exactly what you get because that's exactly what you want. And then I would tell them on the call, and this is why every pixel is there by design based on the visitor behavior, it's science and psychology, why that button's there. And so why would I put it anywhere else except the place it gets clicked. If you go to a template, if you do Squarespace, if you do Wix, you're not gonna get that.
Jason Gracia: They don't know the ins and outs of the website like I do. I know where people look. I know where they read, I know where they click. And that's why you want your website to look this way with your beautiful colors and fonts laid right on top. So I learned how to sell what you said, the ip, they want my template at the end. Whereas in the beginning, if you say it's a template, they'd be like, oh, I don't want a template website. So I tell them, well that's not what this is. This is an optimized machine to help you get the result you're after. And so I was able to get rid of all that manual labor and sell even more. 'cause I learned in the end, they want people to pay them to hire them as a coach. Well you need this machine.
Jason Gracia: You don't need a work of art, you need a machine. And we are the ones who build that machine for you. That changed everything. It changed everything. And yeah, that's why we could scale. That's why we could help so many coaches that approach to it. But it all hinged. I was worried, like I'll tell you, I thought when they realize the layouts are the same, I don't know if anyone's gonna want this. And then I learned how to sell it and I was like, oh, okay. When you go to a brain surgeon, you don't want them to use a brand new set of tools that they created that day. You want them to use. Like let's use the tools that have been proven here. And that's what I realized, oh yes, what we want. We don't wanna remake the car, we've made cars. They just want a nice exterior.
Jason Gracia: They just want it to look their color and their fonts. Well that that's custom. That's gonna look just how you want it. But what you want under the hood, you want a machine that has been proven to work time and time again. And when I knew that worked, I was good to go. I could sell these websites so much easier and we could get them done so much faster. Our turnaround time sometimes is 24 to 48 hours for an entire website. Email marketing scheduling included, which I didn't know that was possible. But when you optimize your systems, it's crazy what you can do.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I could ask you a million more questions about this, but we do have to wrap up. 'cause I know we both have a hard stop. But I just wanna say, I'm gonna make that last three minutes required. Listening for every Web Designer Academy student who needs the mindset shift of why it's like imperative for them to believe that their intellectual property is valuable and that working from a quote unquote template to stop thinking of it as a template and to lean into it being like, you've already built out your proven strategy. Now you're just reusing it over and over and to stop thinking about it. Like you just downloaded it off of who knows where and you're installing it and spinning it up for someone.
Jason Gracia: So here's the, everyone can steal this if it helps you. Here's how I pitch it. Templates, Squarespace, Wix, Kajabi, they all bring these names to me like I'm checking these out. So what I say is Kajabi and Squarespace and Wix are knives. I'm a chef. And that's the difference, right? That's what I'm selling. I'm selling my expertise. I'm not selling the tool. Any 15 year old can throw together a website. Those are just knives. You need a chef. And that they look at me like, okay, I get it. This isn't Kajabi versus Swift. This is a website that actually works versus one that just sits there and does nothing. So that analogy worked for me. You guys can all steal it. You guys are not knives. You're all chefs and people will pay for the chef. That's the key. Knives are interchangeable. I just use WordPress 'cause that's what I chose. But that's not what I'm selling. We're not selling that. We're selling what's in your head and what you built into what you do. So that was an unlock for me too. Clients would look at me and go, okay, this is now I get what I'm buying. Got it. And then away we go. So chefs, we're all chefs here.
Shannon Mattern: That is the perfect place to wrap up this interview. Jason, we're gonna definitely have to have a part two because I could talk to you for five more hours about all of this stuff. Can you let everyone know where they can connect with you and learn more about you?
Jason Gracia: Yeah, definitely. SWYFT sites. So S W Y F T, SS I T E s, https://swyftsites.com. Anyone here? Yeah, if you're interested in the model, go to my website and just look at how I do what I do. You can go to like, there's not that many pages, but you can get a pretty clear picture of, oh, I see how he's presenting it, how he's pitching it, how he's welcoming people in. And if you want go through my funnel, just fill out like you are a client, just do dummy information so you can see everything that happens on the backend. You can, as Russell Brunson would say, you can funnel hack me. Go to my website and go through it all. And, and hopefully you can learn quite a few strategies of how I was able to go from zero up to, we've made several million dollars several millions of dollars now with Swift. So go copy everything I'm doing if you find it useful.
Shannon Mattern: Amazing. Thank you so much for being here. I'll link all of that up in the show notes and we'll see everyone back here next week. Thank you, Jason.
Jason Gracia: All right. Thanks so much, Shannon. It was great.
Shannon Mattern: If you are ready to finally stop undercharging and overdelivering, if you're ready to take back control of your time and book more high paying clients you love and make more money as a web designer than you ever thought possible, then book a zero pressure discovery call with me today. All you gotta do is go to https://webdesigneracademy.com/call, choose one of the available time slots, fill out the intake form, and we'll meet on Zoom to talk about your goals and what's really in the way of you reaching them. And if it looks like I can help you inside the Web Designer Academy, we can talk more about what that looks like. It is super chill. There's zero obligation to say yes to working with us. If you book a call with me, it is simply a chance for you to learn more about how we can specifically help you, you personally, with your unique skills, personality, and experience to create a highly profitable, sustainable web design business and create the freedom, flexibility, financial independence, and fulfillment that you started this business for in the first place. So just go to https://webdesigneracademy.com/call, and I can't wait to talk to you more about your web design business.
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