A few years ago I began offering 1 day build sessions as an alternative to the traditional website design process. The 1 day build is a great option for a client on a budget. It keeps costs down by keeping build time down and by making the process more engaging and collaborative. It’s a great option for you, the designer, because you are done with a small project in just a matter of hours while not compromising your hourly rate. (Goodbye scope creep!)
For me, Beaver Builder has been an absolutely essential part of making that happen. It has helped save hours of build time per project while not sacrificing the control I had hard-coding pages. It’s beautiful, both outside and in (the code it leaves you with is pretty!) and is so much fun to use.
Running 1 day build sessions with my clients has made a huge difference in my business and my lifestyle. I even wrote a book about the process to teach other web designers how to do it. Here’s basically what you need to know about conducting a 1 day build session in WordPress.
The 3 Essentials to Building a WordPress Website in 1 Day
- Skills. Yeah, you need to be good at what you do and be experienced enough to pull off building a site as you normally would. I personally hate 3rd party themes and like building off a basic responsive framework, but that’s just me.
- Communication. You have to be good at communicating and setting expectations with your clients. You have to be clear about the requirements they need to meet in order to qualify for an expedited build process. You also need to be good at orchestrating the collaborative element of a session.
- Beaver Builder. No joke, a killer page builder turned out to be the missing piece for me for so long. Now that I have it, it has really opened up so many possibilities for the people I can help and projects I can take on.
The Backstory: Freelancing is Hard
I have a love/hate relationship with freelance web design.
I love that I can be both creative and analytical. I love that I can work with clients I care about and make a difference in their careers through the work I do. I love the feeling you get at the end of a project when you can just walk away.
I hate the constant shuffle to find work. I hate long projects that drag on forever. I hate never knowing for sure when the next paycheck is coming. I also don’t really like that as we get more experienced and raise our rates, we can more or less price ourselves out of the range of what some of our favorite clients can afford.
The Session: A Win-Win
A few years ago, I developed an alternative method of working with clients that solved a lot of those problems. 1 day build sessions are expedited, collaborative build sessions where a website is built in a day. They have been an absolute game changer. Even though I charge half as much as my starting cost for the “traditional” process, which saves your client money, each project takes 8-10 hours where I KNOW I’m getting paid my ideal hourly rate with little no risk of scope creep.
Here’s what happens when you start building websites in a day:
- You set the expectation that all content, copy and assets should be prepared ahead of time and are a requirement before the session begins. All content BEFORE you do the build? Dream come true, right?
- Dedicated build time assures your client will be ready to immediately give feedback so you won’t be waiting hours, days or even weeks to get the reviews and approval you need to keep the project moving forward.
- The clear understanding that the project is being expedited means your client knows there’s a limit to the number of revisions.
- When a client gets to be this hands on with their project, saves money by meeting certain requirements, and actually pays attention to everything you do along the way, they become your biggest fans. (I even just had a client say if we weren’t already married he thinks we’d make a good couple since we worked so well together – seriously!)
- Scope creep is all but gone. If more time is required, which has only happened to be a few times, your client usually doesn’t have a problem with paying your normal hourly rate to get it done.
- You can get paid a high hourly rate without making compromises.
The Holy Grail: Beaver Builder
I started out doing these builds for photographer clients in a proprietary system called SmugMug. It was great because photographers don’t tend to have a lot of content besides their images, so that kept build time down.
The problem? I love building in WordPress, and wanted to accommodate a wider variety of clients. I had a really hard time getting my build time down. I wanted to be able to turn things around in 8-10 hours for a client that had a small website. I was coming between 12-15 hours consistently and couldn’t do any better.
Since I hate using 3rd party themes and I like building truly custom sites on the back of a responsive framework, I wasn’t willing to compromise on the theme itself. The content build time was where I knew I needed to make massive improvements.
Then along came Beaver Builder. I was able to finally get my build time down to where it needed to be to make my 1 day builds possible. Beaver Builder literally saved me 2 – 5 hours per site.
My clients absolutely love it too. It’s so easy for them to be able to edit their content and create new pages that look amazing.
The best part is, I’m no web design prodigy. Any seasoned web designer can adapt the 1 day session into their offerings, all thanks to Beaver Builder.
Melissa Geissinger is a serial social entrepreneur out of Santa Rosa, CA. She is President & COO of WIMP, Web & Interactive Media Professionals, and principal at New Skin Media. Melissa operates 1DayWebDesigner.com and is the author of a book of the same name. She has a podcast called The Naked Freelancer, owns and operates a coworking space and is the global collaboration partner at Open Coworking.
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