14: The Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made in My Side Hustle Journey
Mistakes will happen.
I’ve made plenty of them!
It’s not important if they will happen. The most important thing is how you react when they do happen.
In this episode, I share some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made so far in my journey.
*Some of the links mentioned in this episode* –
When you do fall, just fall forward. That way, when you get up, you’re still a step ahead of where you were before. – Keegan
What’s happening everybody, this is episode number 14 of the Side Hustle to Full Time Web Designer podcast. My name is Keegan Lanier. And today we’re talking about the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my entire side hustle journey. Before we get started, I wanted to take a minute to talk about siteground one of the biggest mistakes I made in the beginning was picking crappy hosting Siteground is awesome, it’s affordable, it’s a great place to get started. And it’s a really good place for developers to you know, you can pick up a good plan for a good price. And you can build as many sites as you want.
So the go big plan, I’m going to or growbig, I’m going to drop that link in the show notes below. You can check it out if you’re interested in doing that. It’s super easy to use. And the support is one of those things, it’s been really good. So some of my clients are living inside of Siteground.
So now, you know, without any further ado, I don’t want to talk about sponsors for the whole episode. But again, we’re talking biggest mistakes I’ve made. And it made sense to have that as the beginning, because one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in this journey was hosting. And I’ll kind of tell you a little bit more about that, where I started and where I’m at today. So the beginning of this journey was was an interesting one, I think I made the same mistake that pretty much everybody’s made. And I had my original site on GoDaddy and it’s made a lasting impression that’s for sure. GoDaddy was terrible, awful support. really crappy back end at that point, like the the management of GoDaddy site was really bad. They’ve changed and fixed up some things but it’s still extremely confusing. There’s just so much going on.
And then after that I moved into Hostgator and Hostgator was okay for a minute did a couple of websites on their support was decent. Setup was very confusing website was terribly designed, but at least it was cPanel and I was getting pretty good with cPanel and I did that I did Hostgator for a few websites maybe maybe a year or two and when I was really getting about the foundation of my process down and then I decided to move on and I found A2 hosting another one that was pretty affordable. I think I spent like $1,000 on three years at a discount and then it was gonna re up at 1500 and I stayed you know, with with A2 for quite a while, built many websites on there.
And then transitioned after that once I finally got a good financial base and I was I was doing pretty good. I built my website over onto Flywheel that heard it you know on David and Tim’s podcast WP the podcast heard heard about WP Engine and consequently or because of that their their other semi similar company which was Flywheel. And I set up my website on Flywheel I noticed immediate massive speed differences. Plus the back end was just really really easy to use really easy to scale up and they had a thing called blueprints which I love. It’s it’s a game changer. If your design a website, you can have a template and website ready to go all the basis there. It’s just silly easy.
So I say all that to say I’ve made the biggest mistake, which is building a house on a shitty Foundation, excuse my language, but I built it on a crappy, crappy host. And that’s just what it was, you know, it was it was a rookie mistake. I made it I learned from it. And hopefully I’m hopefully you won’t make that mistake if you’re in the beginning of your journey. And you have a website that’s on GoDaddy and or something like a Hostgator into Do yourself a favor, reach out to me, I’ve got the link below for siteground jump to siteground. And if you need help with migration, I’ve got resources, I will share them with you. We’ll get your site’s moved over that’s easy to do. But you definitely want to be on some sort of a reputable host. It doesn’t have to be Siteground but I’ve just been on enough of them to know the ones that are good. And Siteground in my opinion is one of the absolute best at the affordable price. They’re not the best. You can pay a whole lot of money to get incredible hosting, but they’re really really good especially for the price.
So the next thing you know moving on from from really bad hosting is not having very detailed contracts or not having everything covered in those contracts. And in the beginning honestly not having contracts at all, which is scary. This is a business. And, uh, you know, not having those contracts really, really hit me hard. You know, we’re a couple times where I had to soak it up, I really had to take in the loss and just do the work, get it right and make the client happy, because I didn’t like properly lay out the deliverables, the expectations and what things were going to look like. And that was my fault, not the clients.
So do not make that mistake, make sure that you’ve got a contract in place. Josh Hall has a business process course that really has some incredible resources has contracts. And I use 17 hats, which is the same thing that he uses are used in his agency. And it just makes contract generation insanely easy. You can use variables just plug in things. And it’s it’s so simple, I love it. And it is a game changer. Whatever you use, make sure you have a contract template, make sure you can update it really easily. And scale those things where you can send a lot if you need if you’re getting a lot of leads, or you’re getting a lot of actual clients.
You know, the next one, number three was doing work without the first payment. That is like the cardinal sin. But again, I mentioned this a few times, maybe in the last week’s episode, I am I like to please people, I want to make sure that the people I’m working with are blown away, right and want to exceed expectations. That’s always been who I am the way I work. And so I like to lay the foundation and go through and make sure that the stuff is right, things are moving ahead. And there’s no there’s gonna be no roadblocks that are caused by me. And sometimes that’s been because I’ve jumped the gun, right? I’ve started doing work, and then all of a sudden stuff falls apart.
Again, go back to your contract, right? You want to make sure that people are good, they’ve signed their contract, they have deliverables. And if they decide to not go with you covered in the contract, oh, maybe they owe you a 10% fee. I don’t know what that is, you can decide you can set your business up however you want. But put something along those lines in your contract. And once they sign the contract, they’ve committed to you right? This is business. So doing work without that first payment is a huge No, no, I don’t do it anymore. Ever, ever, ever, ever. And that’s mainly because your time is your money. And if you’re spending time on projects that don’t ever come to fruition, never go beyond what that 10% deposit or 10% cancellation fee you would be if you decide to go with that that sort of a number.
Another thing is working outside the scope for free, which ties a lot into the to the one before you know you want to deliver on on scope, say be very clear in your contracts and in your proposals. This is what we’re accomplishing. And to go back one step before that is that you really want to make sure that you get the full scope from your client, what do they want? What do they expect? If you don’t fully understand their expectations, your deliverables can never match. And then that means what you’re building will not align with the expectations they have for the project. And they’re going to be disappointed. And they’re not going to leave you a great review and or not work with you again, which is building your reputation in a not so great way. Because if people are going to them saying, hey, do you know anybody who knows websites, they will not refer you because their expectations didn’t align with your deliverables. And that’s the key to success. You want to understand what they’re doing.
And then the fifth, and really final major mistake I made is not setting clear work hours, because it’s it’s been a side hustle. You know, I’ve said I work any night, and weekends. And I burn the candle so bright at both ends for so long. That I’ve gone through phases of burnout, there’s no doubt that’s just that’s just life. We’re all human beings, right? There’s, there’s times that I want to unplug. I mentioned it last week, I just came back from a vacation. And those vacations are really important, right? You need to be able to unwind, you need to be able to detach, you need to be able to recharge your brain and just sometimes veg out. It’s important.
So make sure that you’re setting clear workouts for yourself. clear expectations for email, all of those things, the communication piece, the responses, all of that is so unbelievably important. And so those are really the five things that were some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made during my side hustle journey, and they’re not uncommon to pretty much every person who started as a freelance web designer, a lot of those are very, very standard. So if you made some of those mistakes, don’t feel bad. Do not beat yourself up over it. Just fix them, learn to move forward, fall forward, fix them, and that’s okay. We’re going to fail. We’re going to make mistakes. And again, reiterate that point. When you do fall, just fall forward. That way, when you get up, you’re still a step ahead of where you were before.
It’s cool. It’s no big deal. We’re going to make mistakes. As long as nothing, just supercritical happens, we’ll be just fine. So at the end of the day, this is all just me sharing what I’ve done. What I’ve done is some bonehead rookie mistakes. Hopefully I’ll keep you from making them. And if you do make them It’s okay, we’ll be in the same boat because look, I’m still moving forward. I’m still doing this thing. I’m still picking up clients, and I’m still pushing from side hustle to full time web designer, and I’ve made those mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up.
Well, I hope you have really truly enjoyed this episode. I know I’ve enjoyed making it. It’s always fun being here with you. If you have comments and shares and things to share from mistakes that you’ve made. This again is episode number 14. You can click the link below go to Keegan Linear.com/14. Drop a comment there. Let me know some of the bonehead mistakes you’ve made and how you overcame it. And we’ll continue this conversation. Have an amazing, amazing week, and we will see you in the next episode of the podcast.