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Back in 1961, a Yale University psychologist conducted a series of experiments on the theory of obedience to authority.
The experiment involves three individuals: one scientist (the authority), and two volunteers (the subjects).
The two volunteers have been told to take part in a scientific study of learning & memorizing, where one plays the role of teacher, while the other plays the role of student.
Both volunteers were taken to separate rooms so that they couldn’t see each other, but they could still communicate with each other through a microphone & speaker.
They were both also given specific instructions and play a game where the teacher will have to read aloud a list of word pairs, like “red pencil”, “blue cup”, “white paper”, etc.
And the student will have to remember the pairs as it’s being read by the teacher.
After every pair in the list is read, the teacher will then read the first word of each pair randomly, and the student will have to answer what’s the second word of the pair.
For instance, if the teacher reads “white” and the student answers “paper”, the student gets to move on to the next word pair.
But if the student answers “pencil”, then it’s a wrong answer and the teacher will have to administer an electric shock as punishment.
This process will be continued until the student gets the answer right.
Every time the student gets the answer wrong, the voltage will ascend from the lowest of 15 volts to the highest level, 450 volts.
In the beginning, It’s just a slight shock that only felt like a tickle.
But, as the student gets more and more incorrect answers, it becomes more painful.
Usually, around 150 volts that the teacher heard the first scream of the student, and he/she will start to feel unsure about continuing the experiment.
This is when the scientist (the authority figure) steps in and instructs the teacher to keep going.
As the voltage keeps increasing, the student becomes wild and struggled fiercely.
Some of them will yell at the microphone and ask the teacher to stop the experiment.
Some of them will beg the teacher to refrain from administering the electric shock.
Some of them will kick the table, pound on the table, and some of them even ended up breaking the table, all in hopes to stop the electric shock.
At this point, the teacher will say: “maybe we should stop the experiment. he/she clearly in pain and want it to stop”.
The scientist will reply, “We don’t care whether he/she likes it or not, you must go on until he/she answered all the word pairs correctly”.
Eventually, the voltage will reach the highest level, and the student went silent with a possibility of passing out due to severe electric shock.
Here’s the thing:
The “student” was a confederate of the scientist.
An actor who pretended to be a volunteer.
There was no electric shock – the student was faking it all along.
The whole point of the experiment is to see how obedience human being is when under the constant pressure of an authority figure/expert, which, in this case, played by the role of a scientist.
This experiment was named “Milgram experiment” after the name of the psychologist who started this experiment, Stanley Milgram.
Milgram devised this experiment to find out how could average people participate in the systematic genocide of European Jews during the occupation of Nazi Germany.
Are they just following the orders (from an authority figure/expert)?
Or, they are accomplices to this horrific event all along?
Here’s what he found out in the first set of the experiment:
65% of the participants (the teacher) administered the final 450-volt shock – while the other 35% of them reached at least 300-volt shock.
Obviously, none of the participants have malicious intent to inflict pain on the student.
But, under constant pressure from the authority figure, they ended up doing things that are not in their best interests – just like those people in Nazi Germany that participate in the Holocaust.
Here’s the scary part: The experiment has been repeated across different locations, different cultures, different times, and the results are pretty much the same.
Now, at this point, you might be thinking: what does this have to do with running a web agency.
Well, the short answer is – YOU want to become “the scientist”.
In the book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, Dr. Robert Cialdini outlined Authority as one of the weapons of influence that you can use to turn a “No” into a “Yes”.
The idea behind it is that people are far more likely to say “yes” to people who are perceived as authority figures or experts in a given field.
You want to be THE authority figure in your field.
If you can do that, people will WANT to work with you, and you’ll be able to attract high-value clients that willing to invest in you and bring you more business in the long run.
That’s the ultimate goal.
However, You can’t become the authority in your areas of expertise overnight.
You need to build up your authority.
To do that, there are a couple of things you can do that will help you achieve the authority you want for your web agency.
The power of the Internet is that you can share your knowledge with the world without any limitation.
Publishing articles can help position yourself as an expert in your field by providing quality content for the reader to consume and learn from.
This will also increase your credibility (as well as your agency) by displaying proof of expertise.
We want to share practical knowledge and it must be valuable to our readers and helpful to their lives.
For example, if you want to write about WordPress development, it’s best not only to provide information about it.
But also give them actionable tips on how to get started with WordPress development for individuals who are new to this field.
With the plethora of information available online, both informational and misleading.
We want to provide only concrete tips and well-known methods of things we should do and why we do them. This will help guide our audience to make the right decision on what’s best for them.
In short, we want to be seen as an expert in the industry.
Additionally, writers are often perceived as having more expertise than those who don’t write about their field of study or experience.
By publishing your work online, you can really be seen as an authoritative source of help in your field.
And when clients or potential clients see you as an expert, it allows you to charge more.
However, writing articles is only half the battle.
It takes MUCH more than writing articles to build your authority status.
The point of hosting workshops and meetups is to share our knowledge with other people and keep them updated on what’s going on in the industry they’re interested in.
This is an excellent way to build your authority status.
It’s also an opportunity for you to give more value to people and make connections with like-minded individuals with who you can work in the future.
We make it a point to teach something valuable to others while having fun at the same time.
We also want to show our human side and make it personal by sharing our own stories of failures and successes.
Most people think that workshops and meetups are only available for large audiences or those that are somehow connected to you from the get-go.
But we know that’s not true and often a big mistake some people make.
All workshops are held with the primary goal of educating or to educate-to share knowledge and experience.
To host a workshop effectively, we need to have a proper plan and strategy.
We need to put our hearts and our soul into preparing a workshop.
So that we can give people good value by providing the resources and help they need to get started.
If we can do that and talk to them after the end and discover that they wanted more help, then we know we might have the opportunity to work with them in the future.
In short, we want to understand our audience’s needs and help them achieve their goals and more.
We are here to help them succeed, not just to make money.
No matter the industry, one of the most effective ways to build your authority status is by creating online courses.
Creating online courses will help you create a nurturing community of people interested in what you have to say and provide value back to them.
It also provides an opportunity for creating additional income by selling it.
Online courses are also one of the best marketing tools you can use to attract new clients and build authority. It leverages the power of creating value for both the teacher and the learners.
By creating a free course, you can teach skills you have mastered and show them off to potential clients who find your course helpful.
By doing this, you are more likely to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and a sought-after expert.
This will definitely make you stand out and get more recognition in the industry, giving you more business.
The key to creating successful courses is to choose topics that have already been trending on social media channels or online forums.
Don’t just look at what’s hot now. Make sure you’re also planning for future trends and listening to your audience as well.
You will need excellent content if you want your course to be successful.
If you’re able to provide excellent insights into an issue that people are struggling with, it will position you as an expert in your field and build your brand.
It’s also an excellent way to build a loyal audience, which in turn may help position you as an authority in that industry.
In short, your online course should show off your expertise clearly and effectively while providing value to your learner.
As an expert, you will be able to attract more clients and have the freedom and means to create new tools, experiences, or products.
As the thought leader and industry expert, you will become the center of your industry.
Pay It Forward is the idea of reciprocating kindness without expecting anything in return.
The idea started with the film “Pay It Forward”, where a character’s acts of kindness are multiplied threefold, and the process continues.
A business tactic that pays it forward starts by performing a service for someone who cannot afford to pay you and do it without expecting anything in return.
For instance, a nonprofit organization might want someone to help them revamp and manage their website but cannot pay for the work financially.
Instead of making them pay for your services, you may offer to do it for free.
This way, they get a fresh new website. You get to promote your business and build your reputation as a valuable service provider.
This is essentially the “pay it forward” philosophy.
Our focus is to help people in need without expecting anything in return.
We intentionally choose to do this because doing this is also a way of building up our reputation far and wide.
This will eventually lead to new clients and new opportunities if many people know and trust us.
This is how we grow as our web agency.
Once you’ve built up your reputation as THE authority in the industry, you’ll be starting to get attract and retain better clients.
This is when the fun part comes to play.
As I’ve mentioned before, profitability is one of the key components for solo web agencies to grow without scaling as fast as possible.
If you want to have a nice stable business model that gives you high profitability opportunities, you need to have a high ROI pricing model.
The focus here is to provide value to your clients, provide them a high ROI value, and create a great product.
So, the question is how to price your services correctly so that you can achieve the highest ROI.
But, before that…
One of the most common denominators in the web development industry is that:-
Most newbies tend to make the mistake of pricing themselves based on what other people are charging without understanding its logic.
A newbie freelancer saw an agency advertise a $500 website package on Facebook – thinking that this is the market price. They should follow the same as well.
That is one of the main reasons why there are many more failed freelancers than successful ones.
Just because someone charges $500 for a website – doesn’t mean you should do the same.
The thing is, we have to rely on our most precious assets (time & attention) to put food on the table.
Meaning that our time & attention cannot and should not be downgraded to a mere commodity.
It should mean something when we trade away our most prized assets.
We should be at least able to get back the worth of what we’re trading away for.
It shouldn’t be tramped, compared, or even ignored.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, how rich you are – we all have the same amount of time, and we should pay close attention to where and how we spent our time.
This is even more important for us because we relied on it for survival.
The more we focus on things that don’t bring in any value means the less we focus on things that actually matter.
This is why charging $500 for a website doesn’t work
You might think that it only takes you 1 – 2 days to build a simple 5-page website, and $500 for a 1 to 2 day’s work wasn’t that bad, right?
Think about it for a second…
If you want to earn $4,000 per month using this model, you’ll need to build at least 8 websites per month.
That would be 100+ websites per year!
Do you really want to build hundreds of websites in a year?
How many of those turned out to be bad clients that sucked the energy out of you?
I couldn’t imagine it!
Even a mere 10% of it would have killed me.
When it comes to projects, it’s the bad clients YOU AVOID that matter most. It’s even more important than finding great clients.
Plus, if you’re selling it cheap, all you will attract is cheapskate, and working with cheapskate is no fun at all.
Believe it or not:
The market will pay you whatever you want if you’re a trustworthy expert.
In other words, you’re THE ONE who decides how much you want to charge.
But – that doesn’t mean you should charge as much as possible.
There must be a balance between what you like to earn and what you can deliver.
Any “Tom, Dick, and Harry” can quote a $100,000 project.
Only a real pro can deliver the result in a $100,000 value.
Just make sure you’re getting the underlying reasons right.
Don’t charge more because you’re out to “get rich quick.”
Charge more, because you’re legitimately worth it.
This is why it’s super important to know how much you’re worth.
Mainly, you must know your weekly and hourly rates.
Calculation for your weekly & hourly rate:
If $4,000 is all you need to sustain yourself every month, then…
$4,000 / 4 weeks = $1,000 per week (this is your weekly rate).
Next, let’s say you can only work 20 hours per week.
$1,000 / 20 hours = $50 per hour (this is your hourly rate).
How do you estimate a project cost?
Let’s say a project needed 12 weeks to complete:
The trick here is to have at least one project at a time.
Because if you can do that, then you’re going to break even. And when the second project came in, it would be pure profits.
It’s THAT simple.
It’s not rocket science.
There is really no need to over-complicate it.
Nearly every freelancer relies on one income source that pays the bills and puts food on the table.
What happens if that source ceases to exist?
If the market becomes over-saturated, then it can be challenging to get enough work to make ends meet.
You’ve got a major problem on your hands and no way of covering the expenses you have.
This is why you can’t count on one income stream.
You need to diversify your income to make sure your business doesn’t turn up dry when projects are scarce.
Being a One Coder Agency is all about options.
You have to create different types of products or services and offer more variety in your revenue stream.
Developers who have their own products are the crème de la crème.
Producing and selling your creation is one of the best ways to diversify your income as a One Coder Agency.
It’s not easy to create a product – but If done right, you might even be able to turn it into a passive income stream.
Find your niche!
Every developer has their own specialty.
The products you create are an extension of your brand, making them unique and memorable to position yourself as a sought-after specialist in the market.
If you’re still not feeling confident about taking this route, create a product that falls within the services you offer as part of your agency service package.
Just start by:
1) Brainstorm a niche idea for your product
2) Check out the competition
3) Create an outline of the structure of your product
4) Build a prototype
5) Polish it up
6) Start promoting!
Chances are you might not be successful the first time, and that’s ok.
Heck, you might not even be able to make a full-time living out of product creation, and that’s ok too.
But, as long as it’s profitable and allows you to comfortably support your web agency – that’s all that matters.
So, instead of spending so much time doing business development activities such as hunting down leads, pitching, or following up with prospects.
Build a product.
Suppose you’re knowledgeable in any specific field (like WordPress development, SEO, website optimization).
Why not use this expertise to build an educational curriculum?
Producing your own online course can be time-consuming, but it could pay for itself many times over.
You can use an existing course as the starting point, or you can create one from scratch, depending on what you’re more comfortable with.
If you’re going to make your own, then the first step is figuring out what information people need and how they’ll get that information from the course.
The next step is figuring out who your audience is and how to reach them – so that they know about this opportunity and are excited about signing up when it launches!
Start small with something you can offer in 3-4 hours, like a 90-min video course.
Then, work on expanding your product to make it more significant and reach out to willing buyers.
Once the product is complete, marketing it will be the key to success.
Develop a marketing plan that will help you reach your audience.
Avoid creating a course that doesn’t fit into your buyer personas or target their needs.
Try to create valuable courses. You can even consider lowering your price to make it more affordable for your audience.
Try to provide different ways for your audience to interact with you, such as live classes, recorded seminars, and online forums where followers can ask questions about the topic at any time.
Just focus on creating content that gives your audience as much value as possible.
Finally, keep in mind that there is a lot of competition in this area, so make sure you come up with ways of making yourself stand out from the crowd.
The good thing about having your own online course is that It will bring in extra revenue that saves you the trouble of having to find a new freelance project every time.
Web agencies can be contracted for a set period of time, usually monthly or yearly.
During this period, you only work on projects assigned by the client as per the contract agreement.
This type of work is excellent if you are looking for a more steady paycheck and don’t want to have to find new projects all the time.
A good example would be a project that has been completed but needs constant maintenance and updates to make sure it can run smoothly.
Some clients prefer to have their projects assigned to you on a retainer basis.
It’s a beautiful arrangement to work on projects that require ongoing maintenance and patches.
This kind of project will put a steady amount of income in your pocket but is challenging as it will require you to stay on top of the changes and invested in the work long-term.
Still, it’s a great way to diversifying your income.
Because if the market starts over-saturating and you’re not getting enough work, you will get some financial security while waiting for better times.
If you are uncertain whether you could earn an income based on the number of hours you spend working each week, this is your best option.
Your expertise is valuable!
Along with the experience you’ve accumulated in your field, teaching workshops will help you build a brand and find more business opportunities.
You don’t need to take on freelance work all day long to generate an income.
You also have options when it comes to teaching workshops or giving lectures!
While working on projects can be rewarding, some people might not enjoy engaging in this type of work long-term due to irregular pay and lack of stability.
Teaching workshops can be an excellent alternative as they:
Simply put, the more ventures you have outside of your typical freelance work, the more opportunities will come your way.
The only drawback is that it might be challenging to find someone who would be willing to hire you regularly – especially if you’re a newbie.
This is why it’s essential to build up your authority status.
Look for ways of teaching workshops (for free) by connecting with event organizers and sharing your expertise in the form of lectures and keynotes at conference events or meetups.
Once you’ve accumulated enough experience and have demonstrated your expertise, you can start applying to teach at a wide range of venues like:
These are the best ways to diversify your income as One Coder Agency.
You make money by creating something those people want – without engaging in the hard physical work.
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