There's no nobility in doing it all yourself - Squarespace Designer Jared Gold

Jared Gold Freelance Podcat.png

After leaving college and landing in a job that wasn’t right for him, Jared realised that he didn’t want to spend his whole life working at something he wasn’t passionate about.

He launched a blog, began learning Squarespace, and the rest, as they say, is history. He now runs two Squarespace design companies - Brevity and the cleverly-named WebsiteByTonight.

From giving away a couple of freebie designs to kick off his portfolio to hiring other freelancers and finding ways to scale his business, Jared’s made a lot of progress. Listen to him share some of the biggest lessons he’s learnt a long the way.


Steve Folland: How about we get started with hearing how you got started being freelance?

Jared Gold: So I'm currently 28, almost 29. I graduated college in December of 2012, so I was 22 about to turn 23, and I'd just gotten a degree in information systems and operations management, which sounds a lot fancier than it is. It's just kind of business, kind of IT. And I had my first job out of college, and by the second day, I hated it. I'm like, how am I going to last here? And, have you seen the movie Office Space?

Steve Folland: I haven't.

Jared Gold: Oh, my God. It's an American classic, and there was a line in there where the main character Peter goes, "Every day is the new worst day of my life." It's a comedy, by the way. And that's really how I felt.

Jared Gold: So I had a little bit of a drive to work every day, and so I decided to actually listen to The 4-Hour Workweek on audio book on my drive. It just really rewired a lot of my brain in terms of thinking about, you know, do I really want to work a job that is not for me for 30, 40 years to retire one day when maybe I'm too old to even enjoy it? Right?

Jared Gold: So I was like, okay, this opened the possibility of me maybe doing my own thing, and so I wanted to start a blog to talk about my musings and how all of my life I've been lied to, and then ... So I went to start a blog, and I'm like, "Oh, it's pretty hard." But I was listening to some podcasts at the time, and I heard about this thing, Squarespace. So I tried out Squarespace, and I'm like, "Oh, this is way easier than all the other platforms, and this is fun." So I just kind of went from there, writing on this blog, which I no longer have, I took down years ago, but I enjoyed posting on this blog and customising it.

Jared Gold: When I realised that not everything was doable right in Squarespace to customise exactly how it looked, I decided to teach myself user experience and some HTML and CSS through different sites, and then I reached out to a few local ... one restaurant, one bar, asked to do their websites for free in exchange for portfolio items, and they were happy, so I did that in April and then I got my first paying client in August, and I just figured it would be that easy going forward with that one paying client that went great. It was a girl I knew from college, and from there, I just quit my job and decided to do this thing on my own in August of 2013.

Steve Folland: So you had two things in your portfolio, you had one paid client, and you quit your job?

Jared Gold: Exactly, yeah. I had some money saved up from before. For a while, I thought I was going to be a professional poker player on the Internet, so I was doing that a lot in high school and early college, and so that allowed me to, not save up a life-changing amount of money, but save up a little bit of money to give me the flexibility to say, "You know what? I can't stand this job another day. I maybe have nine months of living expenses with runway." Even though rent in DC is pretty expensive, I wasn't spending that much otherwise. Or, the DC area, rather. I was outside in northern Virginia, and I'm just like, "You know what? I have to do this. I can't walk into this office another day."

Steve Folland: So how did you find your next clients? So the first two, they were freebies. The third, the first paying client, was a friend. How did you grow it from there?

Jared Gold: So it took me like six months or seven months to really figure it out. There's a lot of things I did unsuccessfully. I would say that I spent a lot of time going to different networking events. I had mixed reviews there. I'll tell you one thing I did that worked well is, I stopped doing bar and restaurant websites soon after I started, but there was a bunch of other bars and restaurants in the same area where did that one free website, and so I just walked in off the street and I said, "Hey, I just did a website for your competitor, I'd love to do yours," and that worked out well.

Jared Gold: And then I also reached out to Squarespace and I got in at the right time, because they were just starting to put together their experts lists called Specialists. And so I reached out to Squarespace, which is obviously the platform I use, and I ask, "Hey, for clients that need help and you want to refer them experts, do you have a list? If so, I'd love to be a part of it." And so they vetted me a little bit and put me on the list, and that was helpful in getting clients as well, and then really it just kind of slowly snowballed through really like a lot of hustle.

Steve Folland: And at that time, were you trading as yourself, Jared Gold? Because it's a great name, by the way. I mean, that sounds strong as itself, but now I know that you don't use your own name. So were you at the time?

Jared Gold: Yeah. So I mean, I was a one-person business. My first business name was Streamline, and I grew tired of that name very quickly, and then I re-branded to the name Brevity, and I liked that name more and people liked that name, and the thought was that I was maybe going to bring on people or open myself up to bringing on people, so I was going under those company names, not my own name.

Steve Folland: And at that point in those first couple of years, bearing in mind that you were inspired by The 4-Hour Workweek, how was your work-life balance at that time?

Jared Gold: Well, I think anyone that is a full-time freelancer can probably attest to this, at the very least, starting out, was the overwhelming amount of time you spend is not doing the work, right? Like maybe 30% of your time is doing work, and the rest of the time is trying to win business, meeting people, networking, meeting prospective referral partners. I wasn't working super, super hard. I've never been like that hard of a worker, so I would say work and life kind of blended together, but actual time I was spending on real work, it was probably like five to six hours a day, but I was doing it every day, and it just kind of blended in. So there was plenty of screwing around because I didn't even know ... It was so early, and it took me a while to figure out exactly what I should and shouldn't be doing in terms of what is an effective use of my time and what is not and how to generate leads and how to organise things.

Jared Gold: So I would say my work-life balance was good, and it all blended together and kind of blurred because when you're self-employed, at least starting out, you don't realise that it's good to form different boundaries and expectations so that you don't burn out.

Steve Folland: What were the things that you figured out that you shouldn't be doing?

Jared Gold: Yeah. I think I spent a lot of time looking at software to improve my processes, looking into like a complex CRM or a complex project management tool, and then I realised that really what I should be focusing on is closing deals. I shouldn't be trying to just network with people for the sake of networking. I shouldn't be going to a networking event just because it's a networking event and there may be a decent turnout. Really, the majority of my time should be trying to maximise the chance of me getting in front of my prospective clients, at least early on, until I got to the point where other bottlenecks might occur. So, you know, if I get enough clients to where then I need to bring on someone or improve my process, then perhaps I go searching for that tool, but I think a lot of people get so bogged down in thinking about the end result of, oh, I need to have the perfect process and all this, that they forget that they really should be prospecting, so finding prospective leads, and then actually working on closing deals.

Steve Folland: So it's just you, but you're trading under a company name, but you've got this idea in your head that actually you'd quite like to bring on other people. When did you eventually figure you would give that a go?

Jared Gold: I sometimes for bigger projects brought in like a graphic designer for like mock ups or for branding or things like that, but that was kind of as needed. I was still doing the work, and then it wasn't really until I started my new company and was decently in, and that's my main focus now, being WebsiteByTonight, and I realised that, you know what? I have a good process here, but I'm the bottleneck in terms of I can only do so much work and I should spend more time, now that I have the process and I think I can find some good people because I know exactly what I need in a person and what I don't need and where to find these people, so I'm going to make a decision to find other people to do the work so that I can spend my time generating more leads and sales and actually strategic business building stuff.

Jared Gold: So I think that's like the trigger, is when you want to grow and you realise that you yourself are the bottleneck of doing the work, and you know what you need to find people to replace you doing the work so you can focus on the more strategic things of growing the business.

Steve Folland: And did that have an impact on ... Well, quite a lot of things actually, financially, for example, like pricing or being able to pay the people you were hiring before you got paid. Like how did you manage to get all of that right? Or maybe you didn't?

Jared Gold: Well, I'm still work working on it. I will tell you that ... People that read a lot of business books, they probably hear cashflow a lot. So I think it's probably not an instant transition. For example, me, I don't really accept custom website projects anymore through Brevity, my other company. I'm basically just focused on WebsiteByTonight, though Brevity, obviously I don't really have any expenses because I'm doing the work or the overwhelming majority of the work, so that was all profit, but I was trading time for money, and I had to deliver.

Jared Gold: And so I think ... For a while, I was running Brevity and WebsiteByTonight simultaneously and doing all the work, and it was working out well, and as I was using Brevity to pay the bills while I refined WebsiteByTonight's processes and everything, and the money I earned through WebsiteByTonight was just kind of a cherry on top of what I was earning from Brevity, and then I made a decision where I'm like, "You know, I really want to grow WebsiteByTonight. I see a lot of opportunity here in terms of scalability," so then I slowly started not accepting these custom website projects from Brevity.

Jared Gold: So I think it's like a gradual transition. You don't have to make the jump and full leap of faith saying, "All right, that's it. Like I'm just going to hire everyone and hope that the work comes." It can be kind of a more gradual transition into you starting to send the work to other people to make sure you know everything's working out, and then eventually you take your hands off the wheel of actually doing the work, and then focusing your time and energy on lead generation and closing those deals.

Jared Gold: So then once you kind of get that up and running, it works well, and ideally, your margins are built into your service offering. You know, I would probably recommend at least, at the very least, 40% margins on whatever offering you're doing. But you know, ideally, it's at least 50, and you can still find good people to do the work for you, especially on a contract basis, if you can pull off the 50% margins. Obviously you have to close more deals and up the lead generation, but now you have so much more time to do that. There is a leap of faith in terms of if you're investing in marketing, there's definitely some runway needed to figure out what marketing channels work and don't work, and obviously there's some trial and error, and I've definitely sunken some money into things that didn't work, and then I've invested in some things that did work. But overall, I'm trying to keep things pretty lean.

Jared Gold: I think it's important to know, also in terms of doing the math, hey, here's how many deals I need to close based on these margins and my own expenses, and then here's what I'm willing to spend on acquiring a customer overall, because here's the lifetime value of a customer, the LTV. So I think it's kind of like a math game and being like, "Okay, I need to close 10 deals a month, which allows me these margins, and at these margins and these prices, I'm willing to spend this amount of money to acquire a customer in whatever ways that is."

Steve Folland: Yeah. It is such a shift from what you were doing, which is what most of us do, which is selling your time for money, and you're saying it all with such sort of business acumen. I'm sitting here thinking, do you have a mentor at all, or is it all through the business books that you clearly enjoy?

Jared Gold: Well, thank you for the kind words. I don't know if I'd think so highly and myself, but thank you. That's one of the better investments of my time, is when I especially had less to do, I was just running through business books. I don't want to go down a rabbit hole here, but I would argue that the business books were way infinitely cheaper and infinitely more valuable than any of the college classes I ever took. I think people forget just how valuable books are, assuming you read them diligently and they're relevant books and you take notes.

Jared Gold: I've had a few mentors here and there, and those were kind of unofficial through like networking events and me doing some hustling and reaching out and politely asking them thoughtful questions. I've never formally asked someone to be my mentor, but I would say, "It was really nice ..." Shoot a follow up email, "It was really nice meeting you. I really respect the success you've had. Do you mind if I periodically come back to you with some questions as I have them?" And if you take that approach, people would be surprised how many people are willing to actually help them that are super successful. So I've definitely used that, but I've never had a formal mentor, so to speak, but definitely other successful people in business, including some of those founders of those agencies that I've mentioned that do big sales and big websites and all that, that have sent me leads, and they've been willing to lend their ear to me and give me some advice as well.

Jared Gold: I don't think there's any nobility in trying to do it all yourself and just go entirely uphill. I think it makes sense to ask some people who you admire and respect who have been there for periodic help as you have specific questions or take them to lunch or coffee. But I would say, yeah, business books. Business books, as well as trial and error and realising that the books were right, even when I tried other things because I'm hardheaded. Yeah.

Steve Folland: So you decide to create this second business, WebsiteByTonight, and you've talked about the fact that ... So you're bringing in the sales, other people are doing the work, but the name WebsiteByTonight suggests that there is a specialist. Is the whole thing as in I could get a website within one day? That's what that name suggests. Is that what it is?

Jared Gold: Yeah. That is doable, and it depends on the client. Like you can definitely get a website in one day, really in a matter of like three hours, because we have a few different service offerings, one for $749 and one for $998, and the $749 one gets you about three hours total of screen sharing with a designer, and in that time, if you just need a simple and professional website and you fill out the project brief and content doc we give you already, yeah, you can definitely get a website in three hours or a tiny bit more.

Jared Gold: If you need a little bit more designed polish, then usually it takes a little bit longer. I would say our most common clients, I usually recommend splitting up the screen shares into two separate sessions, and then really the turnaround time is something closer to like a week or a week and a half depending on your availability and what you choose.

Jared Gold: I think the WebsiteByTonight name more so just kind of came to me because it kind of flowed off the tongue. I don't know, it just like, it just came to me in terms of describing the service, and I get a ton of compliments on it, and people really like it because I think it's a little bit more ... It's not so literal. You know, if you need a website by today or tonight or whatever, you can get it, but I think the overall purpose is like, hey, this is kind of an easy button, turnkey type thing to, if you need a website, this is the quickest and easiest way to get it, assuming it's a simple website. And so that was the idea behind it. I don't usually like most names I've ever come up with, but I'm pretty proud of that one.

Steve Folland: What made you choose that product that you're doing? What made you go in that direction?

Jared Gold: I enjoyed doing the custom websites of Brevity, and I enjoyed pushing myself, because I don't even consider myself a creative person, so creative work was really a stretch for me. It really pushed me and was draining. I was enjoying it. But after a while, it kind of takes a toll, and you want to build a business that goes beyond you. I realised that, with Brevity, it was just hard to bring on someone else to do the work that I thought did work as good as me. And I don't mean that like in an arrogant way. I think there are competitors of mine that do work that's as good or better, but it's for like a similar price range, so if I want people that do as good of work, I'm like, "Oh, wait, where are the margins here?" And it's challenging to deliver more customised work for clients in general in whatever capacity you're doing.

Jared Gold: So I came across this guy, Brian Castle, and he has at least one podcast, but the main thing he's known for is productising your business or a productised service. Have you heard of that concept?

Steve Folland: Yeah. Yeah, but go on.

Jared Gold: So that really resonated with me in terms of I wanted to become ... Have you read The E-Myth?

Steve Folland: Funny enough, I'm reading it at the moment.

Jared Gold: Yes. That book is amazing. And so I mean, two books that really changed my mindset where The E-Myth Revisited and Built to Sell. The concept behind The E-Myth is like, if I remember, it's an allegory with a woman who's really stressed out. She opens a pie shop because she's so passionate about pies and she's a great baker, but she's in over her head because she's trying to wear all three hats at once. And really, what she's better at being right now is the practitioner, and there's three hats in a business, the practitioner, the manager, and the business owner.

Jared Gold: So I realised with Brevity, I was really good at being a practitioner and kind of a manager, but I wasn't really ever being a business owner. I wanted to make money irrespective of the time I put in, so I wanted to kind of build that system of leverage, and the only way to do that is to bring on team members and to train them, and the only way to promote yourself in a business, quote unquote, is to bring on other people.

Jared Gold: I actually took Brian's online course, and it was really good, and I'd recommend it. He even matched me in this mastermind with three other people, three other students going through it at the same time, and we have this Slack channel, and we meet virtually once a week. That's been really helpful. But as I progressed through this and changed the mindset of, okay, how do I be a business owner? How do I find other people that can do the work, and my job is to set up the systems?

Jared Gold: I mean, in general, WebsiteByTonight was kind of a side thing that I did to help out a friend who was a solo practitioner. And normally, that kind of work for a web designer is a little bit more on the uninteresting side because it's a smaller budget and it's just like a simple professional website. You can't do that much with it, right? There's not too much in terms of creativity or budget. So I'm just like, "You know what? Why don't you come over and fill out this document of content and answer these few questions, and we'll just do it together?" And it turned out great, so I kept doing that, and so I realised, okay, I could solidify the processes a little more here and I can bring on people. Clearly, I'm filling a niche of doing these simple professional websites in a way that, if they're done in three hours, it's kind of a fun creative sprint.

Jared Gold: So stumbling upon that opportunity of these lower budget folks that are really awesome and just need a simple professional website, and they don't need the full overkill consultative multiple rounds of revision website that a lot of people pitch to them with unnecessary costs and features and time, it was kind of a perfect storm coming into that and realising there was this client segment that was under-served that I could serve combined with finding this productised course that helped me when I was just thinking about, "Hey, I want to become a business owner and not just do the work myself, like I have been for the past number of years." So that was kind of a ... It was a two prong kind of a long answer there, but I hope that clarified it.

Steve Folland: No, that's interesting. And also, so you took an online course, but now I know you teach an online course. So tell me about that. When did that start?

Jared Gold: Sure. So that was my first ... Before I realised that I wanted to build a business out of WebsiteByTonight by, like I said, when I found that friend or that friend reached out to me and just needed a simple website, I'm like, "You know what? This would be good for an online course." And so I thought about all the platforms, and I realised Udemy is like the 800-pound gorilla. There's other platforms to create online courses on, but then I have to like drive traffic to it, and so I realised that I created on Udemy and it could be a way to generate some passive income hopefully. It is a ton of effort to create an online course, and that course is interesting because there's more courses on Squarespace now on Udemy, but there's still not that many. At the time, there was maybe five or six others, and mine was really unique because I didn't cut it in terms of editing. I worked side by side with a real client to build her website, basically using the same process I would use for WebsiteByTonight, and it also saved me a little effort in terms of editing it because I didn't want to edit it.

Jared Gold: So we just did it side by side, and I was hoping people would find it valuable. And so after a ton of trial and error effort, because Udemy is very specific with their QA, making sure every course is high quality, I finally submitted it, and it was approved, and I was so relieved, and then I submitted it and I didn't even put a price on it, because I was just like, "Oh, let's just see if it gets a few sign ups." I woke up the next morning to like 200 sign ups.

Steve Folland: And those were free sign ups?

Jared Gold: Yeah. And so I was like really pissed off at myself, like, "Oh, why didn't I set a price for this?" So, yeah, I eventually set a price to it, and it's still up, and it also ... So people can buy it directly, or they can go to my website and put in their email as kind of a lead magnet, and in exchange, I send them free access to the course. But it took a lot of my soul to create that course without wanting to quit, but I'm glad I did and pretty proud of the outcome. I think it has a 4.1 or 4.2 star rating now and 2,200 students, so a lot of people seem to have found it valuable.

Steve Folland: But you now have over 2,000 people having signed up. We'll take off the 300 who'd never paid. So you've no intention of taking it down, I presume. So actually, that idea of creating a "passive" income has worked.

Jared Gold: Yeah. I mean, it's a little passive. I mean, I've alternated making it paid and free for quite a while, and then Udemy, as good of a platform as it is, does take a pretty high percentage, and they also do a lot of these flash sales, where a course is like 80% off, so I was opting into those for a while. So it is some passive income, but it's usually not as significant as one might think if they just look at a course, a decently priced course with a ton of sign ups.

Jared Gold: I wish that told all the story. Like I'm all for passive income and creating information products in a way that's ... Because that scales so well. It's the fixed upfront time investment, and maybe some costs, and then it scales so well if it sells. I know a lot of people are really invested in that, but to do it well is really, really challenging, and extreme commitment. And so, if anyone's considering that, I would only really consider, hey, are you doing this because you're really passionate about creating a course, or because you think you can just make money doing it?

Jared Gold: I wish I was more passionate when I was making the course. Like, I liked it. It was a good challenge, and I had some enjoyment, but I think you need a certain level of passion to really knock it out of the park and to be super committed and resilient during all the challenges of actually making it.

Steve Folland: It's interesting hearing what you said there about the numbers. So, actually, because if you see that 2,000 people have taken your course, that makes you think, "Oh, then I will take that course, because that's a very high number. Must be very popular, must be very good." I'm not saying it isn't, by the way, but of course it doesn't mean that they all pay that amount. There were flash sales, there were times when it was free, but I'm just thinking if somebody was putting out a course, actually, that's not a bad sort of tactic in that you get the numbers up and then it kind of helps to market itself because it's proven to be popular, especially because that people do rate it. It's not like ... You know, if they bought or got given the course for free and then it was rubbish, then they would rate it low. Right?

Jared Gold: Exactly, yeah. Like that's kind of the standard in marketing now, is reviews are really important, and because they're so important, people are willing to give discounts or free access in exchange for, ideally, honest reviews. Like I didn't give my course to anyone and say, "Hey, sign up and give this a five stars." I would maybe say, "Here's discounted access or ..." and this is way early on, I haven't done this anytime soon, but give someone free access and say, "Hey, if you get value from it, I'd greatly appreciate a positive review."

Jared Gold: I think that's just kind of the standard, and I think people need to expect that, but social proof is so valuable now. With sites like Amazon, you automatically gravitate towards reviews because you see that other people are doing it. That's how the human brain is wired, and so if you're just getting started with some sort of like online, like an eCommerce thing or an online product or an online course, it's really important that when you launch, you have a strategy to let people know about it and ideally give people free or cheap access in order to ... and ask them for a positive review if that was their experience, and that really gets the fire going because it's hard. If you just launch a product or a course, the last thing you want is for, you worked all this time on this and super hard, only to have total crickets when you launch.

Steve Folland: So with WebsiteByTonight, just to go back a few steps, you hire freelancers to do the websites, as in you don't have permanent staff, right?

Jared Gold: Correct. Yeah. And that really allows me to have a better pool of people. I want to have a bigger pool of people because I try to match people to the designers that are best for them based on like their personality type and aesthetic taste, and then it just allows me to keep costs low because I don't think there's any benefit in necessarily hiring staff for this model versus contractors. And especially with creatives, a lot of people like being freelancers because it allows them to take on different projects of all kinds and be their own boss. So it allows you to get really good talent at a good rate that doesn't have a ton of overhead. And then to be honest, it is really draining ... It's already draining doing creative work, but it's really draining doing creative work in front of someone while talking to them on a screen share, so hiring someone full-time, doing screen share websites for eight hours a day, I don't know anyone that can survive that.

Jared Gold: So you need to have a good pool of people to rotate, and my designers really enjoy doing one or two of these a week, and it keeps their week fresh, but it doesn't burn them out because they're not doing it the eight hours a day. I think even if I wanted full-time staff, I don't even think I'd be able to get it. Like in terms of a full-time person designing websites over screen share, I think it would just be too taxing.

Steve Folland: When it comes to the other tasks in your business, do you hire help in other ways, other than the actual building the websites?

Jared Gold: Yeah. I've hired some designers to create external marketing collateral. I hired a marketing person to create a certain kind of marketing plan for me. I hired an ops person to help me create some processes, and in the meantime, also do a little bit of research. Yeah. So I've brought on other people. I think it's kind of hard to figure out exactly when you need to bring someone on because it's kind of hard to forecast consistent growth to your business, unless it's happened the past like two or three months in a row. So I think that's a challenge, is not only knowing when to bring someone on, but what exactly that role entails, and if it's one role or two roles or three roles, because if it's two or three roles in one, it's really hard to find that perfect person, and then knowing exactly what you need that person to do and committing to training them and committing to also keeping an eye on them and make sure they're doing good work.

Jared Gold: So I've brought on these people with different levels of success, and they've all been awesome people. It's just like, I'm new to all this. I'm still figuring out what I should bring people on for and what I shouldn't, and what those roles entail. Before, I thought I could bring on like a lead generation and sales person all in once, and then what I realised is like those are two separate skills, and I should just hire a sales assistant down the road to replace me, and I should do the marketing for now until I have a decent budget, and then I bring on a marketing person. So it's tough to figure out the right balance of when to bring people on and what that looks like.

Steve Folland: And then when it comes to all the finances and things like that, you do all that yourself?

Jared Gold: Yeah, I do have an accountant. I would send out all my own invoices before, but now I have a simple checkout process through a hidden page on my website that I send clients to, and so they just select the package, hit checkout, enter their card info, and they're sent an automatic receipt, and I receive that deposit via Stripe into my bank account pretty quickly, maybe in a matter of days, so now I don't manually send out invoices, which if you're doing a high volume of work, it's really exhausting sending out invoices as well as sending out proposals. Even if you have the right tools, it's just not really stuff you want to do. So I eliminated the invoice process because I didn't think it was adding much value, and I just had a hidden page with different packages where a client can check out and pay when they're ready. So I send those out, but I do have an accountant to deal with my taxes at the end of the year and maybe be a business therapist throughout the year if needed.

Steve Folland: Yeah, so even when it would have been an invoicing situation, you still went for the click a button thing, which also would have meant that you would have got deposits upfront and avoided lots of issues that way as well.

Jared Gold: Exactly. Yeah. I only take payment in full up front, and you'd be surprised when you ask for that how many people are good with it. I think what helps is, when you have different sources of credibility, and I say, let's say you're up to 30 minutes into your first screen share and it's just not working out, you're welcome to end the session and request a refund. And knock on wood, I've never had to give a refund at some point after 90 of these WebsiteByTonight projects. I'm sure at some point I'll have to, but I do a really heavy job qualifying the leads upfront. I don't allow anyone to just go on my site and purchase. They have to book a call, which right now every time is through me. Down the road, it'd ideally be with like a sales assistant. But then I really heavily qualify the prospect and let them know exactly what they're getting and what they're not getting, and confirming that they're the kind of fit.

Jared Gold: I think with that super lead qualification process, I haven't had to give any refunds, and people are really ... They know exactly what they're getting, and so they are comfortable paying in full up front, and I think that makes life easier because then I can, once I get that up front, I can instantly pay my contractors the second the work is done and launched, and so I get paid quickly, they get paid quickly, and the client gets to take ownership of the site immediately, and I don't have to chase him or her down for invoices.

Steve Folland: If you could tell your younger self one thing about being freelance, what would that be?

Jared Gold: I would say get used to figuring out marketing and sale. I mean, I don't know if I can pick one thing. I think a few big ideas is like get used to figuring out marketing and sales, because you can't just do the work forever and you're not going to want to. And then the other thing is try to think of ways to bring on other people, as opposed to doing everything yourself. Get out of your own way. If I had to pick two things, that's what I'd say.

Steve Folland: Nice. Yeah. It's interesting because you say you know you won't want to do this forever, and I think that's because you make it sound like you came at freelancing from a position of not wanting to be stuck in that cubicle, of like wanting to do your own thing, pushing yourself and testing yourself and stuff, as in it wasn't from a place of, "I'm a passionate, creative designer, and I just want to design."

Jared Gold: Exactly.

Steve Folland: It was, you came at it from the lifestyle side of things, and then realised ... Well, this is what it seems to me from speaking to you. You came at it from lifestyle, and then realised, actually, you really enjoyed the business bit of it, and combining the two.

Jared Gold: That's a great summary. That's exactly right.

Steve Folland: Jared, thank you so much, and all the best being freelance.

Jared Gold: Thanks so much. Keep up the good work.