Why my "free service" failed.

Hey indiehackers,

I wanted to make an affordable web design service for bootstrapped startups. My value props was that I was in the top 1% of designers, and was used to working with very large companies (I hardly work for less than 10K for any client)

Read this post for more clarity - https://www.indiehackers.com/post/after-scaling-to-six-figures-as-a-designer-im-starting-my-own-design-service-for-indie-hackers-ee023e5537

I thought my design service would be super popular since I was providing a large amount of value while undercutting most if not all my competitors. This business plan was only sustainable if I spend less than 2 hours on every website I make.

Clearly this approach isnt too scalable as I realized that smaller clients have greater difficulty paying 2K than larger clients have paying 20K. Yep.

This is primarily because the investment is too high of a percentage of their monthly revenue, and they are just not willing to invest in design. Hence, they kept requesting me to hop in video calls, set up slack, make a hour tracking system, etc before even paying a single dollar.

This would be something I'd be okay with if it were a larger client, but spending so much time just for one small client is definitely not worth it.

In conclusion, I need to rethink my strategy to perhaps automate the onboarding and only spend a limited amount of time on each client to make this design service possible.

Right now, I'm already working with 3 large clients, one NFT collection and doing a few design consultancy work for a YC startup, so I don't have too much time to invest. I will definitely try to relaunch my service with a more sustainable business plan (and perhaps even a website).

I'm not expecting anyone to read this, but if you are genuinely interested to see how this goes you can follow me on Indiehackers as I'll be posting weekly.

Portfolio: https://www.ayushsoni.io/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ayushsoni_io

  1. 2

    Hi @ayushsoni!

    I've read your previous article and I'm really inspired by your efforts!

    If you succeed in automating some processes I think it's going to be very significant, because one person can do only so much communication before they realize they have no time for their main tasks!

    Good luck!

    1. 2

      thanks for your support!

  2. 1

    Hey there my names is Veeraj! Would you be interested in joining our early stage but quickly growing startup? We are in search for technical co-founder!

    1. 1

      We could hop on a call and talk!

      1. 1

        Btw I don't usually just straight up ask like this, but your work seems extremely impressive and your ability to be straight with yourself and analyze your business is really something we are looking for! Message me on twitter https://twitter.com/VeerajMehta3 (I might just message you there)

        1. 1

          hey! just sent you a dm on twitter

  3. 1

    Perhaps next time charge right off the bat. Charge your hourly rate but only give a quarter.

    See Gaps: $40 SEO audits as an example.

    This kind of thing brings in revenue and keeps you sane with your time.

    1. 1

      I plan to charge $1500 for web design, $1500 for webflow, and $2500 for a full website (design + dev)

      This is undercutting literally every other competitor while providing the quality for which I usually charge over 15K usd. The way it works is that I only spend 2-3 hours working on this which allows me to keep my hourly rate and quality high at the same time.

      I plan to make a website when im free and give out my prices there itself.

      1. 1

        I dont get it, you're planning to spend 2-3 hours on a website and that will keep the quality high ?

        1. 1

          most of design is strategizing. I've been able to condense a lot of thinking over the years and have structured a way I can provide top quality work in the lowest time possible.

          This isn't something I've been able to achieve overnight, and I plan to use my design sprint strategy into my productized service.

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