My Process and Fees – How Your Startup Will Succeed


Helping Small Business Entrepreneurs Use The Power Of The Web

How I do web design – from a business perspective.

Hi there,

Are you building a website as part of creating a small business for yourself? Any ‘web designer’ can build a website, but that doesn’t mean they have business know-how to turn you into a business.

So I take a different tack on web development for the small business person who is passionate about bringing their idea to fruition.

What is putting your business onto the web all about?

I view web design not just as building a website, but rather as creating your business. This means any business site that I make incorporates your business concept, your plan (of which I help you build), and your drive to make a difference in the world. This includes an e-marketing and business branding and sales strategy. You can not do any one of these without the others.

In other words, you can not build your website and hope that patrons will come to buy your product or service, just because you put up a website. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. That’s why I work closely with you over time to align your business and personal needs into your site that will attract buyers who are interested in you and your offerings.

One thing I’ve noticed is that most web designers don’t have a business background. They make pretty sites, but are not attuned to the core values and related strategies and markets that your business needs to address. Nor do they tell you about the realistic time period it takes to acquire patrons to your online business. Truth is it takes time, persistence, commitment, and skill. These are things I do well, and provide you with the coaching to become your own expert.

That’s why I take a different approach with my clients, and only work with those who are ready to tackle the challenges of a building a real business. If you just want a nice looking website, I’m not your guy. But if you want to turn your website into a business and be able to tell a story of success someday, then you will want to give my approach some consideration.

What do I charge? How long does it take?

To make this work, you have to meet me in partnership, while acknowledging the actual time you can truly commit to, along with a fair monetary investment to pay me for my time with you. Commitment, time, focus, and SUPPORT are what it takes to craft any idea into a business.

My experience shows that it takes AT LEAST 3 months to get something going. I have worked with many clients and every one of them thought it could be done sooner (lol)! Most of them ended up taking just under a year to get rolling. And no one ever got even close to opening their business in less than three months. So don’t be fooled by your ideals. Certainly, keep your vision strong, but keep your wishful thinking in check.

I charge a monthly fee, with a minimum of 3 months commitment together. Progress can rarely be seen in less than this amount of time. However, you can cancel at any time. Depending on the intensity of the work and the amount of time commitment, my fee can be $1,000 per month for 3 months, or $500 a month for 6 months, or $250 for 12 months. Whichever pace works better for you.

Plus I offer SLIDING SCALE FEES for those struggling monetarily, because I’ve been there and it sucks. We may even be able to find other means of exchange as well, such as trading things of value. And if you are a Social Entrepreneur, you’ll get ‘beyond the call of duty’ support and attention from me because the world needs you! So, don’t let price be the only criteria you consider to get your business going.

Remember regarding time and support, we are not just making you a pretty website. Rather we are forging your business. It takes time to craft and hone your plan before shows signs of potential. It often takes longer than you plan before you are getting a solid flow of activity before you can say “I made it!” Startups are not easy, but you’ll find the process and the outcome very rewarding if you can feel stepping stones of success along the way. That’s why you need someone like me for support, as you will not be able to do it alone.

There’s no magic here.

Well, allow me to take that back. Maybe there is some magic involved. (LOL!) But also, it’s a commitment to hard work, growing your skills, and a promise to yourself to persevere when the going gets tough. But I make it “much” easier for you.

Again, recognize that your online website is ”a business’’, so it takes ongoing attention and planning. Just like anything worth our while, it takes time to gain visibility, gather interest, create a community of followers, sustain a stream of repeating and new patrons, as well as the time to build enough value and brand identity into your idea before people will actually click your ‘buy now’ button.

How do we get there from here?

We work as a team, checking in regularly. In fact, folks see me as much a business coach as a web designer, because I have extended knowledge in strategic business planning, with skills that are far beyond a typical web person’s background or expertise. My coaching skills cover both life and business, because I have never met a person – especially one who’s starting a business, be able to separate his or her personal life from work life – it’s a myth.

We start with an informational interview together, to learn what your business is about, to educate you on the world of online business, and to begin tapping into what your dreams and goals are.

Then we will develop a high level strategy. A map that can help direct our activities along the way. For some, I use a traditional business planning process. For others, we move into a more fluid quick response planning process, which usually works better in today’s fast pace world. This strategy map changes as we get feedback from research, friends and associates, and potential clients, and as we begin to apply what we believe will work to bring your business to life.

We also consider and select different kinds of online tools that will make our partnership and communications together work well. This part is critical to your success. It is not to be taken lightly and requires some training for most to use the tools. But I make it kind of fun and am very patient. Making technology apart of your business, rather than something you hope to avoid as much as possible, will be key in moving yourself more quickly toward your vision.

Once we have a sense of the story of your business, the language for it begins to unfold. This becomes the content that we build your website with, and use to promote your wares into the social media channels. Content is king online because search engines use to decide your value as a company and rate you accordingly, so we have to spend time crafting good descriptions – to tell enjoyable stories, about your enterprise.

All of this takes time; way more than most anticipate when they are just getting started. So your personal patience, along with a good balance between ideal-vision and practical-strategy are ingredients we’ll need to add to the magic elixir that allows you to reach your mission.

Getting to it – Making things logical ‘and’ meaningful.

Often, after this first stage of inquiry, we will use tools that can help to tune your idea.

I use a number of different tools and strategies to make the whole thing work. Which tools you and I use together will depend on your personality, your available time to work on your business, and a consideration for the way you think about things.

There is an art to this part of the process. As I say on my own website, creating a business is as much an art of meaning, as much as it is a science of strategy. I blend both to make it all work for you.

I may ask you to show me sites you like and sites you don’t like, along with your reasons why. Now I begin to build a blend of beautiful aesthetics, good website functionality, and most importantly – craft your virtual business toward healthy growth and performance.

Like any business this whole process is interactive, dynamic, and iterative, and (believe it or not!) actually fun, as we formulate the best path for your success.

Get your startup started! Take initiative by taking the first step.

Often the hardest part, along with committing to a money investment, is just plain getting started. So allow me to give you a bit of incentive by speaking to your future. Over 80% of startups fail. Why? Because those that want it are not willing or able to give what it takes. And because they try to do it on their own. I have so many folks who learned the hard way, and would be happy to have you talk with one or two of them so you can hear their story.

So, if you want your website to function as a business, rather than simply as a fancy online calling card. If you want to make a business that generates a profitable meaningful service to others, then let me know and you and I will setup a no-commitment, no-pressure chat together by phone or Skype to see if we are a match and able to work together.

Mean time …

Ask me to email you MY WEB DESIGN CHECKLIST. It will give you an idea of what’s involved with building a complete business-oriented website. People are always surprised how much goes on behind the virtual curtain of a nice looking and ‘functional’ website that your business uses as a tool. My checklist will give you a sense for that, and that my fee is worth it. I’ll even let you talk with one or two of my existing clients if you like.

So, what do you say? … Shall we get started?


Vic Desotelle
Helping Startup Businesses Use The Power Of The Web