I bought a website @stellarlogodesign.com just about a year ago from a design team in India. I paid $125 basically to get the domain name. The website itself needed a makeover. My plan was to redesign the website and start hustling for logo design and web design work. I redesigned the website fairly quickly and felt good about the project. Well, the more I delved into it the more unanswered questions arose. I wanted to have it “live” by March of this year. That didn’t happen due to lack of education and know how on my part.
The first thing I had to figure out was hosting. Quality hosting that is. I’ve been with Godaddy for about 10 years, minus a year where I moved everything to Bluehost. Bluehost was a train wreck, so back to Godaddy. However, now I wanted to sell hosting along with my websites and Godaddy can be a bit problematic. So, I found Cloudways managed cloud hosting and couldn’t be happier. Okay, one issued solved and onto the next.
Next, was brushing up on SEO. I was familiar with white hat SEO tactics, but it had been a few years since doing any homework with it. I took a quality class on Udemy and put myself up to speed with it. SEO is tricky and not easy. I read a book on the subject a few years ago and the author said “It’s Google’s world and we’re just living in it.” Nothing could be truer. Google writes the playbook and rule book and does so secretly. Not an easy game to play when you don’t know for sure how to play and what the rules are. You just have to find the people who have had success with SEO and that are willing to teach you their tricks. And there’s a million of them. The couple of guys I follow seem to on point.
After my SEO class I took some coding classes on Udemy. I’ve always struggled with coding, but I have to have a solid grasp on the basics to make it as a web designer. Having that foundation of the basics will help me find the answers to the more complex issues I’ll inevitably will run into. I feel good about my coding and incorporated some custom coding into Stellar Logo Design.
About this time the home selling season was kicking in and I was getting busy at work. I became discouraged at this point because the next task was to write the content. I approach all my websites as a story. I just couldn’t figure out the narrative for this website. Sometimes I can write content really well and many times not so much. So, during the summer I shelved Stellar Logo Design.
That didn’t mean I stopped. I moved onto my photography website- RCRdigital.com. I was shooting a lot of clean houses here in Vegas and building an awesome portfolio. So, I switched gears and gave my real estate photography website the makeover it desperately needed. I had hastily built the one I was using when I moved here to Las Vegas. I just had so much to do that I couldn’t spend a lot of time on designing a new website. I never liked that website, but it was all I had because I had to remove myself completely from my California presence. I spent a couple of months redoing it and went live about 4 weeks ago. It still needs some work, but I’m happier with it now.
My end game is to leave my job and become independent once again. I could go head first into real estate photography. I have 2 years of shooting in Vegas under my belt. So why not? Well, I just don’t trust the Las Vegas real estate market. Probably because I don’t know it well enough outside of ERA. When I went solo in California I thought I knew all there was to know about real estate in the Bay Area. How wrong I was! I don’t want to repeat the same mistake.
So, before I go solo I want to have a supplemental income. The only other skill I have that is marketable is graphic design. Unfortunately, graphic design and web design are tough to market. My plan is to spread a far and wide net trying to find “my people”. That is, clients who get my aesthetics and I can easily work with. I’ve got a couple of regulars that have stuck with me over the years. One client goes as far back as when I lived in Denver. The others are from California. I want to outsource most of the heavy lifting and just do the light edits and revisions. I’ll need to find designers on my end that I can work with as well. I’ve found several labor pools of graphic designers abroad. I’ll cast a net far and wide in that direction as well. I’m confident that I can overcome any shortcomings any designer I hire has. I’ll have to weed out the ones that struggle with what I ask of them and find the ones that handle my given tasks well. I’ve already, over the past year, worked with several and have a pretty clear idea on how I’ll approach this.
Next, and final task is marketing. My goal is to be making a solid income by March of next year. That’s only 1 year off of my previous deadline. I don’t think that’s too bad. I have from now and then to figure out how I’m going to market this little venture. I’m leery of falling into a PPC money pit. So, I’ll try to figure out how to best cast my net. Facebook ads are an option, but I’ve tried those in the past with no such luck. I really want to got the direct marketing route through snail mail and email. That’s a dying avenue as well. But, I know it and have had success with it in the past.
I’ve come a long way over the past year. I still have a long way to go. Let’s see how I’m doing this time next year!