Key Business Strategies for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur With Joe Kashurba
Today on the show we are joined by Joe Kashurba, an entrepreneur and website designer extraordinaire. Joe started his first business in high school, and went on to become an online marketing consultant with over a decade of experience.
Today he is a nationally award-winning website designer and has worked with clients around the United States and internationally— ranging from tech startups to some of the largest manufacturing and construction companies.
In today’s episode, Joe shares his tips and strategies on what it means to follow your entrepreneurial dream and start your own business. He also dives into the concept of starting a business to learn more about the process, rather than waiting for that next million-dollar idea. So if you are stuck and not sure how to get started on your own company, then this episode is for you!
Key Points From This Episode:
- The most common mistake that business owners make with their website.
- What inspired Joe to start his first company in high school.
- Strategies for finding new clients when starting your own business.
- Why you should always build your business around solving a need in the market place.
- The do’s and don’ts of adding a blog to your company website.
- Finding the balance between form versus functionality in the web design process.
- The biggest mistakes to avoid when building a virtual team of contractors.
- Tips for getting a good return on money spent with Google AdWords.
- Using A/B testing to verify your paid advertising strategies.
- Advice for new entrepreneurs to start their own business.
- And much more!
“It’s not about building what you want, it’s about what need or want is out in the market and how can I meet that?” — Joe Kashurba [0:04:23.1]
“With paid advertising it’s all about testing so we’re testing everything.” — Joe Kashurba [0:19:49.1]
“Find a business and get into it rather than waiting for that next Facebook level idea.” — Joe Kashurba [0:21:10.1]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Joe Kashurba — http://joekashurba.com/
Joe on LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-kashurba-8b664519/
Joe on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/joekashurba
Kashurba Web Design — http://kashurbawebdesign.com/
Skype — https://www.skype.com
Slack — https://slack.com/
Asana — https://asana.com/
Read The Transcript
[0:00:05.7] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Spinning Yarns, the interior design podcast brought to you by rugknots.com, luxurious hand knotted area rugs for your home and clients. Want to offer top quality hand crafted oriental rugs to your customers? Setup your trade account now at rugknots.com/trade and get special discounts on all products.
Now, let’s talk interior design.
[0:00:28.0] DS: Hello everyone. For rugknots.com, I am Deon Smith and you’re listening to the Spinning Yarns Podcast. My guest today is Joe Kashurba, he’s an entrepreneur and website designer extraordinaire.
Joe, welcome to the podcast.
[0:00:37.3] JK: Hey, thanks so much for having me.
[0:00:38.7] DS: To start off right of the back, just to grab everyone’s attention, when you look at a client’s website that have brought you on, what is the one thing that everybody is doing that you immediately — that just immediately makes you cringe? That you just like, “This needs to change right now.”
[0:00:55.1] JK: I think the biggest thing is not having a big phone number on there or not having – not having a clear call to action. Meaning, it’s not clear what somebody that wants to contact that company to buy something or get services from them should do. It shocks me how often I will be on somebody’s website and it’s like I’m trying to find their phone number, I’m trying to find a form to fill out to contact them and I can’t and it shocks me how often I see that.
[0:01:24.0] DS: Yeah, it’s actually something that I’ve noticed too, looking at — when I was doing a lot of interviews as well, you’re trying to find contact information for a lot of websites even big, you know, multimillion dollar sites and there’s no way to contact. So, also a little about yourself; you started young with your first business when you were still in high school. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about that business and where that motivation came for you to really fight through all the difficulties that come with starting your own business?
[0:01:50.4] JK: Yeah, for whatever reason I was always sort of an entrepreneurial-minded person. I remember even when I was little telling my parents that when I grow up I wanted to own a cheese factory. So, you know, even when I was little I was thinking about entrepreneurship and I never did end up starting a cheese factory, but what ended up happening was I had a group of friends in high school who had a band and they were playing at this one local restaurant and I have this idea that I was going to film them playing and then I would sell video tapes of them playing to their parents.
So, I did that, that was my first entrepreneurial endeavor and it was a sort of captive audience because their parents sort of had to buy the video tapes and then after that from that I had this idea of doing a video production business and trying to find clients that needed videography services and things like that and I never ended up getting any video production clients, but I learned how to build a website, to build a website for that business and from that people started contacting me about web design services and that’s how my business ended up becoming a web design business in high school. But it was just that I always had that entrepreneurial mindedness and it sort of never even crossed my mind to not being an entrepreneur.
[0:03:12.7] DS: So, what would you say were some of the strategies that you found worked when you were starting to get clients for your web design that maybe you weren’t doing when you were, you know, trying to do the to find the videography clients.
[0:03:28.4] JK: Well, I think probably the biggest thing was, you know, I think the, you know, one of the big mistakes that entrepreneurs make is they create the business that they want rather – instead of figuring out what there’s a need for and then creating that business and so I think that was probably the biggest thing that I didn’t know anybody that needed video production and videography. I just thought that it would be a cool thing to offer and, you know, I started actually to get some clients once I saw, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. There are people who are contacting me about websites, you know, just because they knew that I built this website for the video production business. So, there must be a need out in the market for web design,” and then it was sort of pivoting towards that where I actually saw that there was a real need and I think that’s such a key thing with entrepreneurship. It’s not about, it’s not about building what you want, it’s about what need or want is out in the market and how can I meet that.
[0:04:28.0] DS: So, speaking about needs and wants; blogs. Everybody wants to start a blog. The sort of blog craze has really, you know, taking the internet by storm and everybody wants to use blogs to get their ranking in Google higher and higher. With customers who want to run on blogs, what are your top three things to definitely do and what are your top three things to never do when you’re adding a blog in your website?
[0:04:54.3] JK: Yeah, so I think the top 3 – let’s say, the top thing not to do, I mean, top three things not to do; number 1 is don’t add — don’t just create a blog for no other purpose than to try to get rankings on search engines so, you know, it used to be that just having a lot of good content was not – just having a lot of content was good for Google. But Google is getting a lot smarter and being able to tell if it’s actually high quality content or not. So, unless you have something high quality to say, I don’t think I would recommend doing it, right? Don’t just do it to have a hundred pages of junkie content on your website. So that would be number one not to do.
Number two would be don’t do a blog if you’re not going to do it consistently or if you going to expect to see some results from it, you know, immediately, right? If you’re going to just post two blogs and then six months are going to go by before you post something else, you’re not going to see much from that in terms of search rankings, in terms of traffic, in terms of any of that. So that would be number two, you know, don’t just post twice and expect some results and then, I think number 3 would be don’t write — and this comes back to what we’re talking about before.
Don’t write what you find is interesting, you have to write what your potential clients or your potential customers are going to find interesting. So, you know, I will give you an example, I work with a lot of web designers and I have another business where I help web designers grow their businesses and I see so many web designer blogs that talk about all of these technical stuff. Like, you know, What Are the Top Three Things to Do With Cascading Style Sheets 3? Or something like that.
[0:06:43.1] DS: Right.
[0:06:38.9] JK: And that might be interesting to a web designer, but the potential client has no idea what you’re talking about. And, so you have to write from that perspective and not from your perspective and so when I write blogs, you know, I feel like other web designers would probably make fun of me for some of the stuff that I write in my blogs because it’s so simplistic and it sounds so basic. But it’s written from the perspective, what would be interesting to the potential client and what they would not know not what a web designer would want to know.
So, that would be the three things not to do and if you switch it around what we will be the things the three things to do, which would be write when you actually have something to say and number 2, do it consistently and, you know, expect that you’re going to have a lot of consistency and do it for a long time to see the results, and number three 3 would be write what would be compelling and interesting and valuable to your clients and to your customers and not to you and your peers.
[0:07:43.0] DS: Right, and what would you think about, do you find that a lot of blog posts that people want to post would be better suited for actual static pages on the website?
[0:07:55.1] JK: Hmm, that’s a good question.
[0:07:56.4] DS: Because, you know, when you think about a blog, it sort of like continuously updating, you know, chronological, you know, write up that you do on your website. But if there’s really good information that you’re putting in to that blog post, wouldn’t it be better suited to just be stuck on a static page that you can find through navigation.
[0:08:17.1] JK: Hmm, I think that’s an interesting point and I actually would say that, I think it’s really important that all the blogs are always going to be accessible, and searchable, and categorized and probably the reality is that the majority, especially when you’re starting out. The majority of views on a particular blog are not going to come out when you first release it, right?
Because, you know, if your just some small business doing a blog, you don’t have a big audience just watching for that. So I actually would think about it more as those blogs, you’re writing those blogs because they’re going to become static pages that they’re going to be categorized and searchable and six months from now somebody comes your website they’re interested in the topic and they find that blog. Or that blog is ranked in search engines and so somebody searches for topic and you show up and so yeah, I would actually think about it less as, sort of a chronological publishing and more as, “I want to have a lot of really good content on my website for down the line when people are interested in it.”
[0:09:22.4] DS: Awesome, so you obviously have a, well maybe you’ve grown to love design because I know this wasn’t your first endeavor into the world of business. But, you know, you do it every day. From start to finish, what is your favorite part of the whole process when you’re taking on a new client and a new website?
[0:09:46.1] JK: Yeah, I definitely love it. It was the kind of thing where, you know, I was always interested in technology, I was always interested in design, and it was just a matter of what exact out – what sort of outlet that would take. I think the thing that I think is so cool is when you actually — actually seeing it come together and the fact that you don’t even know what it’s going to end up being like.
So, you are talking to the client and you’re planning out this website and, you know, when you opened up Photoshop and you start working on designing something you don’t know what’s going to end up, what’s going to end up happening and so it’s pretty cool to then you have this finalized website, or maybe this finalized logo, or something that it looks awesome and it’s really cool and it’s almost this sort of anticipation of what’s going to end up looking like, because I don’t know if that makes sense?
[0:10:34.1] DS: No, it definitely does.
[0:10:40.7] ANNOUNCER: You are listening to Spinning Yarns, the interior design podcast brought to you by rugknots.com. If you are an interior designer looking to grow your business by offering discounted hand knotted rugs to your clients, setup your trade account today at rugknots.com/trade and get exclusive discounts on all of our high quality rugs.
[0:10:58.2] DS: What would you say is the most challenging part of that process for you?
[0:11:02.3] JK: I think one of the challenging parts, which connects up to something we talked about at the very beginning about being able to find the contact information and everything on the website is finding that right balance between design and having it look nice and having it actually serve the purpose that the client wants and trying to get that right balance of sort of, form versus functionality.
[0:11:26.1] DS: So, you started real small selling $300 websites. Now you’re talking about websites in the multi-thousands of dollars. When we’re talking about the teams behind those websites most of the time they’re working from home, they’re remote, they are all across the country possibly even the world depending on, you know, their availability and cost and everything. When it comes to managing a virtual team and building that, what would you say is the most important thing going into that to, you know, so that you have a good foundation of a team and you can start finding the right people for that.
[0:12:07.2] JK: Yeah, so I think the biggest thing, you know, we had kept our entire team virtual and everything like you said and I think that one of the biggest difference between that and maybe physical employees is when somebody is sitting next to you and they’re there all day, you know, you can sort of from, just as the day goes on, tell them, “You know, here’s a different something I want you to work on, let’s work on this,” and that kind of thing. You don’t need to have nearly as much of a plan. But, when you have a virtual employee that might be on a different time zone or something like that, you have to be very, very, clear about this is the part of the project you’re working on or this is your role, and this is what you’re doing and that’s one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they’re trying to bring on contractors or virtual team members is they don’t have a clear picture what exactly that person is doing.
So, you know, in a web design project for instance I think you have to — step one, is you have to get really clear or what are the phases of the project? There’s the design phase and there’s the development phase where that design is turned into a web page, and then there’s maybe a concept writing phase. You have to plan that out first and then choose one particular phase that you’re going to get a contractor or a virtual person to take care of this one particular phase and so they have a very specific thing that they’re doing. So I think that’s the biggest thing with virtual employees that you have to be really, you know, very clear about they own this particular phase of the project or they own this role in the company and that’s it and it’s very, very clear.
[0:13:42.6] DS: Another thing too with virtual employees is that they aren’t in an office so they can’t talk between each other. How do you keep your virtual employees communicating so that you have synergy throughout the whole process instead of having certain people doing specific things and then once those things gets smashed together they don’t quite link up? How do you prevent, you know, miscommunication from happening so that everybody can really stay on the same page?
[0:14:10.5] JK: Yeah, that’s a really good question and I think the – trying to think of — I was at a conference recently and we’re actually talking about something that was applicable to this and it was about switching from — the discussion was about switching from a centralized model to a distributed model and basically a centralized model would be where nobody, none of those people talk to each other they only talk to you and that’s not a good thing, right? If, you know, you want as quickly as possible not have that where just each of those people only talks to you and then you have to relay everything. That’s not a good place to be in.
You want to actually connect up those contractors and virtual team members and everything so things can — so that they can have direct connections with each other instead of with you. That’s so critical and so there’s a whole lot of different software that can help you do that whether that’s — you can do it on Skype, you can do it on Slack, we do it with a project management software called, Asana. Where the project lives in that Asana Software and every team, all the team members that need to be involved in it have access to that project in Asana. So they can all communicate with each other and assign task to each other and everything and so I think the biggest thing is simply that you deliberately setup those connections between the team members and have that distributed model rather than a centralized model where you’re expecting everything to come through you.
[0:15:42.9] DS: Wow, that’s a really great way that you just described that because working in one of those environments myself, you did just described how it is very distributed but I’d never really put that word to what it is. It’s very interesting, it’s a very good perspective.
Everybody wants to advertise with Google using Google AdWords, but finding the right people to advertise to and then making sure that the money that you’re spending is going to the right traffic can be really hard. What are some of your tips for getting a good return on that money that you’re spending in Google AdWords.
[0:16:17.1] JK: So, the first one is, you know, AdWords makes it really easy to just sort of signup for an account and choose some keywords and be off to the races. But you shouldn’t do that. So, the way Google actually sets up Google AdWords is if you do all of the default settings, it will be easy to setup but it’s almost guaranteed to not work and it will just eat a bunch of your money and the biggest thing is that with AdWords you pick what keywords you want your ad to show up for. And, it only show up when somebody clicks on your ads. But by default Google actually shows your ads for all kinds of keywords that you don’t pick that it thinks might be relevant.
So, for web designers if you go in and say, “I want to show up for web design as my keyword,” it will show your ad when people search for “interior designers" and when people search for “web design jobs” and all kinds of other stuff that’s not at all related to, you know, those people are not your clients. So, you have to actually go in and change some settings and change how the keywords or dealt with it in everything. The technical term is, instead of using broad match keywords where when it’s broad Google can show you ad for keywords that it thinks are related to your keywords, you want to have exact match keywords where you basically turn off Google’s ability to show your ad for all kinds of things that it thinks are related to your ads and so that’s sort of the first thing.
Just to understand that you really have to know what you’re doing or have a professional doing it and the default settings are not – are not the good ones and your almost – it’s almost impossible for you to have success with AdWords if you just use the default settings.
[0:17:58.8] DS: Yeah, definitely a keyword phrases is something that when I was first learning about Google AdWords. Like I knew keywords it’s a very abnormal word but then that phrases at the end of the keyword phrases you have to really wrap your brain around specific search terms that people are actually trying to search for and that’s also part of a building, you know, what I totally forgot the word? Like a customer profile.
[0:18:23.7] JK: Yup, like a client avatar or buyer persona or something.
[0:18:27.3] DS: Buyer persona, that’s what it is.
[0:18:28.1] JK: The other thing related to that when you’re saying trying to pick keyword phrases and everything is that I think a lot of people, whether it’s on Google or on Facebook ads or something like that, a lot of times people are overly concerned with like the cost per click and merely what matters is the, you know, whether you’re actually generating customers or not. The cost per click doesn’t really matter and so sometimes you could choose the some keywords that are very good and get a little cost for click but they are not the right people. So, I think you just have to focus your attention figuring out, “Of the people that would actually buy what would they search?” And as long as you’re in front of those people the cost per click doesn’t matter that much.
[0:19:10.5] JK: Right, also have you — one of the techniques that I’ve used in the past and one of the techniques that I know a few other people that I’ve work with in the past do is they will do A/B testing with Google Ads where they’ll buy maybe like a $10 dollar campaign with, you know, certain demographics on the same keyword and then similar keywords on a different campaign for like $10 bucks with a different demographic and then see which one comes back the most hits and see which one really, you know, turns over and really converts really well. Is that a viable — is that something that you found works well?
[0:19:48.0] JK: Yeah, with paid advertising it’s all about testing so we’re testing everything. We’re making sure a conversion tracking is setup so we actually know when somebody converts, whether that’s them buying or then filling in a form, we know where they’re coming from. You know, what ad, what campaign, what keyword? We are looking at whether they’re on a mobile device, whether on their computer. We’re split testing headlines on the landing page, we’re testing it all of those different stages and I think when – if anybody is going in to go do paid advertising, you know, I think the key thing is to expect that there’s going to be a testing phase where you’re testing all these different things and it’s not necessarily you’re even profitable at that point, you’re just testing to figure out what works and so you want to go in with enough of a budget to do that testing and everything. So, yeah, absolutely we’re testing all kinds of different stuff.
[0:20:42.0] DS: Great. Alright, one last question for you; What advise do you have for young people who want to be their own boss and they want to, you know, quit the job working down at a Pizza Hut and they want to, you know, go into business for themselves, and start their own business? What are the – what’s one thing or a few things that you would tell them to help them out?
[0:21:04.0] JK: See my go to advice on that is always that if you want to get in to business you just need to – you find a business and get into it rather than waiting for that next Facebook-level idea. I hear a lot from people who were entrepreneurial-minded that, you know, they are always trying to think of this great idea that nobody in the universe has ever done anything similar too and then, you know, they come up with an idea and then they find it 10 years ago somebody tried that and it didn’t work. So they bagged that idea and then try to look for some other idea. They never actually get in to business.
I’ve been in business for years and learned so much from just being in business and I’ve tried so many different other startup companies and things but you have to go through that. You have to learn about business and marketing, and sales, and all of this. So, don’t look for that greatest idea ever today because if you’ve never started a business you probably don’t want that great idea yet. You want to get in to business, start learning about business, and then go from there.
[0:22:04.5] DS: Joe Kashurba, thank you so much. If listeners are interested you can find Joe at Kashurbawebdesign.com. You can also just search him, Joe Kashurba and it will show up all over Google based out of Pittsburgh, I believe?
[0:22:20.2] JK: Yup.
[0:22:21.1] DS: Great. And, there should be a nice big phone number on your website for people to contact you, right?
[0:22:25.3] JK: Exactly, exactly.
[0:22:25.4] DS: Yeah, definitely. Joe, thank you so much for coming on the Spinning Yarns Podcast I hope you have a great day.
[0:22:34.5] JK: Thanks so much for having me, you too.
[0:22:36.4] DS: Alright, thank you so much.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:22:39.0] ANNOUNCER: You’ve been listening to Spinning Yarns, the interior design podcast brought to you by RugKnots.com, suppliers of the finest quality oriental rugs. To open your trade account today, simply visit RugKnots.com/trade.
Until next time, thanks for listening.