Nathan Minns

Web Designer, Sitebuilder & UX Specialist, Actor, Traveler
Hello! I'm a web designer and traveler (just got back to the USA from Traveling Europe (and a month in a TINY town in Spain). I'm happy to review your website via Loom for free - UX, UI, whatever you need :).
How do you use Loom? Loom is a "free," until today :'(, screen & video recorder.

ย I know Loom is a pretty powerful tool, and I can see some strong potential with it, especially as a web designer, responding to emails, doing website reviews, etc.

How do you use it, or similar products?ย 
I switched to CloupApp when they had a lifetime deal on App Sumo. At the time, they were pretty comparable.

How do I use it? I use it whenever I need to explain something with a visual component.

Video for clients showing them how to XYZ. That's the biggest case for them.ย 

But I also use it forย 
  • tech support - "Hey customer service, this is exactly and specifically the issue."
  • client conversations - "please answer this question about this specific area I'm showing you right here."
  • marketing - I've done custom videos explaining problems on a person's website, but that's never converted

The Trello video I posted yesterday is a CloudApp video.

Why do you ask? Trying to decide if you should pay for it?

Oh wow, Loom isn't free anymore? I recently upgraded to their Pro version anyway, but that's a bummer if there's no longer a free tier!

I use it for aย tonย of stuff; most of it related to asynchronously communicating with a remote team. Walkthroughs, explanations of processes, updates on projects, etc.

As you've seen, I also use it to add a personal touch to email responses from time to time.
Well, Loom is free, but only for 5 minute videos. I already upgraded to record client trainings, but I wanted to gather other ideas to see what else I can do with it!
I love Calendly. Especially when booking times with people across different time zones, it makes scheduling SO easy for me.

Here's my question though: I currently have 3 meeting types: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45 minutes. I feel like I should make some more specialized ones, but I'm not sure what to make.ย 

This isn't big of a problem, and I'd be fine keeping it like this forever, but how do you use Calendly?ย 
I do too & I have the same issue with it. I have two very generic meetings simply called 30-minute meetings and 60-minute meeting where I let the client run the show and set pretty much all of the meeting particulars. Then I have more specialized meetings. For instance, I have:ย 
  • Daily (15-min) Weekly (30-minute) & monthly (1 - hour) SCRUM meetings. Zoom forced upon them.
  • Requirements gathering meeting
  • Consultation 1 hr & integrated with Stripe & Zoom.
  • Product Demonstration (30 min & 1 hr).ย 

In all of my emails, contacts with recruiters, LI, and other places on the web I default to the 30-minute meeting where the customer specifies his need.
If you don't need anything else, don't fix what ain't broke.
I have a ton of event types in Calendly, but mostly only use a few. Major examples:

  • 20 mins
  • 30 mins
  • 45 mins
  • 60 mins
  • Creative Elements recording
  • upside recording
  • Unreal Collective info call
  • Unreal Collective roadmap call

...the rest were specialized for other reasons, podcast sponsor recordings, etc. and are now turned off.
A client just told me that their current hosting provider won't migrate the current site from their old hosting provider to a new hosting provider (Bluehost). I need a developer to transfer a domain from one hosting provider to Bluehost. Is this something someone here could help with? How much would that cost me?
Cloudflare can make it faster if you're ready to deal with any of the issues that Alex is referencing. The issue with changing the domain info is that you have to wait for the new information to spread. W/ Cloudflare, the domain info doesn't change - you just have to update the info in Cloudflare. That takes effect right away as long as you're there to clear the cache a few times.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the #1 issue on the tech side of web development. There are only about 1.3 million effective solutions for any given problem. And the best solution is - well, it depends. ;)
Jay Clouse replied
  ·  1 reply
Buckeye Interactive is looking for our next addition to our fully REMOTE team of 15, a Software Engineer who will lead projects. If you're interested, I'd love for you to apply. And if you would consider forwarding this info to the most talented developer you know, I would be grateful!

Software Engineer at Buckeye Interactive

Feel free to DM me with questions!
Thank you for sharing this!
I'm used to charging per hour, but I've gotten MUCH better and faster at designing websites in the last couple of months, which means that my hourly rate should either ~double, or I need to move towards a more value-based approach (which I don't know how to do consistently).

For example, right now, I take the time I expect it to take and multiply it by my hourly rate. But oftentimes, with what my clients are asking for, that comes out to a number in the low thousands.

How do you charge for your projects?ย 
In a perfect scenario, I sell a roadmapping session/workshop and use that to really develop a plan and measure value. Then I do the value pricing magic.

Typically, I do an hourly estimate based on the required functions. Then I add 25% for project management. Then I add 85% because it's a fixed scope project and I'm eating all of the risks.

Lately, I've bidding like that, but adding in more bells and whistles. What ends up happening is that gets me the real, disappointingly low budget and then I drop the bells and whistles and everyone is happy-ish.
Nathan Minns replied
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I charge project fees, in part because the value-based pricing model has never quite resonated with me. As a writer, I'm fortunate because the AWAI publishes a price survey every year that includes about 75 types of content. I use that as a guideline and modify based on my gut instinct and knowledge of my clients and their expectations of the content.

Likeย Josh Robbs, in my ideal world, I sell a content marketing strategy session and use that to develop a comprehensive plan. The strategy session is also a project fee, but that fee is based on an estimate of hours.
Nothing wrong with charging in the low thousands if that's the type of time you're putting into it, and it's commensurate with the value the client is receiving!

I prefer to bill on a project basis. And throwing math and science out the window, the first question I askย myselfย is, "What would make me excited to take this project on and work on it?"

Sometimes I don't like a project much. I'll price it higher so that I can get excited about it, or I won't do it.

But in any case, I don't want to everย dreadย doing the project because it's not funย andย I don't feel like I'm earning enough from it.

So, I start there and then dig deeper into my expected "input" of time and effort, and often I multiply that by the value I typically put on my own hours. I sent an email recently to our challenge group โ€“ I made a little spreadsheet to do an estimate of hours on the high end, low end, and average as a way of estimating.
Nathan Minns replied
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Hello all!ย 

I used to manage VAs for my last job, and I'd love to see how I can leverage them for my current freelancing, if at all. I'm running Blue Drop Design, which just landed two new clients as a result of networking.ย 

I wish I could get a more steady stream of clients coming my way, and I'd like to get to the point where people are coming to me (like what happened with these two new clients), and I'm not chasing down people to do or re-do their website.ย 

Do you think a VA can help me get there? Even to get a list of people who are looking for a freelancer may be helpful. How do you use virtual assistants?ย 
I've never worked with a VA, but I hope to do so in the future! From the research I've done here and there, I know that some VAs take on more business development roles than others, so it might depend on who you hire.ย 

I'm looking forward to hearing from others with more direct experience!
Heyย Nathan Minns, my virtual assistant helps me with recurring tasks โ€“ scheduling some of my content, helping me do some research and outreach to podcasts...

If there's an aspect of your prospecting that is recurring that you could basically script and hand off, then I think it could work.

But if you're landing clients because of networking, that's tough to "outsource" because it most likely worked because those people felt that they knew you and trusted you. You can't really outsource that.

It may actually be more useful/profitable (if you find yourself good at networking and landing clients) that you hire help to outsource the delivery of the work, and you spend your time selling it.
Nathan Minns replied
  ·  4 replies
TL;DR: Should I brand myself as a small agency or freelancer?

For a long time, I thought that I would be taken more seriously if I used "we" and "team" in my marketing materials for web design through Blue Drop Design. I felt I would be able to charge more.ย 

Now that I'm more confident in my own abilities (I'm a full-time web designer at a company now as well), I feel that I should own that it's just me working on projects, and charge for my time/expertise because my services are worth it, not because a "team" of a couple of my friends will be helping out. Maybe it should be "Hi, I'm Nathan, a web designer," instead of "Hi, we're a web design agency."

At the same time, sometimes I feel that I work too much on my own website, instead of going out and networking.

Do you think that I should make the Blue Drop Design site more personable, or does it matter?ย 
I am a single-person team, and I introduce myself as such with pride. It works with the clients I work with (mostly founders themselves).

Naval said something about this: He likes to work with individuals and not an entity, because of the accountability factor. If I find the link to the podcast episode, I will add it here.
I also used we for years, but recently switched to "I" to personalize my services. I have members on my team that say, "I offer these services through Black Spot Design" instead of "We offer these services at Black Spot Design."
It's funny how we all have ideas and experiences to share, that help us understand things from different perspectives. Let me give a different perspective on this topic than some of the others here.

Freelancing has it's place, and I love this community here. But I would feel better if I were dealing with a member of a team, rather than an individual free agent mercenary.ย  Even if the team is a group of freelancers who work together, having more than one person working on a project has advantages.

Here's why, I've seem so many great ideas and great projects come to a unexpected end because they were the work of one person.ย  That person put their heart and soul into a project, but something changed in their life.ย  Maybe they got a great job offer, maybe they had a child, maybe they had a family member with a medical issue, or even a medical issue themselves.ย  And now that one person needs to move on, and the project dies.ย 

But that's not always the sad ending to the story.ย  If you create a collective of like minded individuals, even if it is a group of freelancers that work together as a team, I really think you can have the best of both worlds.

I've seen both sides of this issue illustrated with open source software communities. I've seen very cool open source projects die because the original creator has something change in their life, and they need to move on. ย 
On the other hand I've seen projects where one person has an idea and builds something, others contribute and collaborate.ย  Now when the creator of the project needs to move on, the project doesn't die.

Just something to think about.

I've heard a lot of people jump on the Personal Capital train.

Has anyone used Personal Captial and Mint? Which do you like better and why?ย 
I use Personal Capital lightly for budgeting and easily tracking my expenses; lately and quickbooks self employed has made strides in personal expense reporting though so Iโ€™ve been using that more since I use it for my business anyway!
Jamie Richards replied
  ·  1 reply

I've been a freelance web designer for the last 5-ish years, working through Blue Drop Design, all starting from when I created my acting website in 2015 (you can watch my mime performances there too - they're pretty intense though, be warned.). Since then, I've had a variety of freelance jobs, traveling around Europe, and now I'm a full-time web designer at Buckeye Interactive (fully remote), and I'm a freelance web designer after work! I also love traveling, so ask me about it!

For fun, here's what my first ever website looked like :).ย 
Oh my gosh these mime performances are exactly what I didn't even KNOW that I needed today! This is amazing haha.

Man, I forgot about the wayback machine too. I'm trying to find an old version of my site now'veย come a LONG way in your own web design!
Nathan Minns replied
  ·  3 replies
You are sharing old websites, the oldest one of mine I can find on archive is from January 1999 ....

Sorry, I'm a geek, can't help myself, here's my tech site from 1999 talking about Y2k
Nathan Minns replied
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