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Podcast

Episode 128: How to Build A Six-Figure Website Design Business with Tiffany Tolliver

Mar 18, 2021

In today’s episode, we meet Tiffany Tolliver, owner, CEO, and lead brand designer for an LA-based boutique agency that builds income-generating websites for scaling entrepreneurs. Not only does Tiffany help her clients get tangible results, but she’s also built her business from $250 logos to 5-figure rebranding projects by creating her own lane, staying intentional, and finding consistency in your communication and your results. 

If you’re wondering how to niche down and solidify your place in the industry as a creative so you can sustainably scale your business, Tiffany is breaking it all down. During our conversation, we talk about establishing your expertise, creating repetitive results for clients, learning from bad experiences, and successfully growing a team so you can scale.

Listen on Apple Podcast

You’ll learn:

  • The reason why design businesses don’t tend to be profitable
  • Why you need to create your own lane
  • The process of niching down
  • How to use consistency to attract people to your business
  • The tools to use for your systems and processes

Mentioned in this episode:

Instagram: @theemmaroseagency
Website: https://www.theemmaroseagency.com/

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Episode Transcript

Tiffany Tolliver

where graphic and Web designers tend to make. The mistake is they want to scale too fast. And I think that's across the industry of creatives right now, because I would hate to be starting a business right now because everyone's talking about seven figures and six for your launches and this and this and that that just wasn't as popular as it was like five years ago. So I had no other choice but to kind of put my head down and become really, really good at one thing and always evolve that one thing to meet the needs of my clients.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Mhm,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

mhm,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I Off-Scripters It's your host, Serwaa Adjei-Pellé and welcome to Episode 1 28 of the She's Off Script podcast. This is a show where we hear and learn from women who have created their own unique blueprints for business success. My hope is that you'll hear their stories and translate their dreams into a unique path for yourself.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

In today's episode, we meet Tiffany Tolliver, the founder and CEO of the Camaro's agency, Tiffany's, a rebrand and launch strategist who creates income generating websites that convert for service based entrepreneurs. Five years ago, she was an underpaid director of communications at a salon. She was living with her parents as a single mom and decided to move to L. A to launch her agency.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

At the time, she had no experience, but today she runs a multi six figure agency. During our conversation, Tiffany shares how she creates content to attract clients, how she went about niche ng down to become a re branding strategist. She also goes over the tools, systems and processes she uses to streamline the back end of her business

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

and also talks to us about how she's growing her team and so much more.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Before we hear the rest of Tiffany's episode, I would love it if you could subscribe, rate and review our show on iTunes or anywhere you listen to podcasts. This will help to spread the word about our show so amazing stories like Tiffany's can continue to inspire women looking to launch their own Off-Scripters journeys.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

The She's Off Script podcast also has a membership community to help you launch and grow your business with resources and coaching. Join our boss Off-Scripters community today by going to Serwaa Adjei-Pellé dot com forward slash community.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

With that, let's go off script with website Re brand strategist and CEO of the Emma Rose Agency, Tiffany Tolliver. Tiffany Tolliver. Welcome to She's Off Script. Thank you for being here. Thank you so much for having me. So for any of our listeners who haven't heard of you, could you share who you are and what you do? Yeah. So I am the owner, CEO, lead brand designer for the Emma Rose Agency, which is a boutique agency here in Los Angeles, California, that serves scaling entrepreneurs. We build income generating websites for those individuals. And I've been doing that for the past five years. I feel like you're the definition of building your parachute on the way down. Could you share a little bit of that story with our audience? What was your journey into entrepreneurship like, Yes, I love that. Yeah. So about 5, 6 years ago, I was the director of communications at a high end salon in Washington, D. C. And I always say what that meant was I had a title, but that's about it. I was overworked, underpaid, and I started doing their in salon and social media campaigns, and that involved a little bit of design and involved a little bit of marketing social media, none of which I had done before, professionally. And so after they had a successful launch which I thought was successful, something that they had not done before, which was not thinking about as a five figure launch in 24 hours after I didn't see anything from that, but I don't know, even I got a pat on the back at that point. You know what? I'm done. I am done. Done. So I kind of left there with no clients, no prospects, no nothing. And let me be even more transparent. No really design experience. I did not go to school for this. I was not trained. And when I left my job, I was not building websites. I was telling people that I could, but I could not. So yes, I definitely jumped off that plane without a parachute and built it. And I'm still falling right now. Right now, I do know that you are a single mom. So how did the fact that you are a single mom factor into that decision to make the leap? You know what I think? A lot of the times I get that question a lot of single mothers. Get that question and there's for me. There's no real answer. I mean, it's just a part of my d N A. You know, for the past. My daughter will be 13 years old this year, and it's just something that we do instinctively. I didn't leave my job because I was a single mother, but I did, really, because I knew that I needed to create a legacy for my child. I need to create an income from my child because at that point I was like over drafting on my bank cards. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. I was, you know, filling up gas back in the day. You could have, like, a dollar in your account, but still get a full tank of gas. That was back in the day. I mean, I think there's there's something like, innate in you as a mother, especially as a single mother, that you just do what you need to do for your child or for your Children, and you just do it without thinking. Sometimes I just think it's important to hear that from your perspective, because when I've spoken to some single moms they think I can't do this because it's too much of a risk. It's irresponsible for me to do it yet. What you're saying is this is the time to take that risk because you need to do what you need to do and your corporate job, wasn't it? Yeah, absolutely. And and also I I don't come from a corporate background at all. I wouldn't even consider that corporate. I came from a small business and started my own small business, So I saw how the inner workings I saw how intimate it was. So it's so funny that I now am like a corporate consultant for, like, corporations and and Department of health agencies and stuff like that, because I don't have a corporate background at all. But yes to your point, there's no better time to sacrifice to make decisions for your Children than right now. Like if I had made that move, I don't know where the heck our lives would have been. I definitely wouldn't been sitting here in Los Angeles, California, an apartment and a place that I absolutely love and making the kind of money that I do right now. So as you said. Now you not only run your own successful agency, but you're also teaching others how to build website and graphic design businesses that are profitable. So in your experience, what would you say is the main reason those kinds of design businesses don't tend to be profitable? I think that where graphic and Web designers tend to make the mistake is they want to scale too fast. And I think that's across the industry of creatives right now, because I would hate to be starting a business right now because everyone's talking about seven figures and six for your launches and this and this and that that just wasn't as popular as it was like five years ago. So I had no other choice but to kind of put my head down and become really, really good at one thing and always evolved that one thing to meet the needs of my clients. So the design agencies that I service right now and I call my students is they're so concerned about getting to the $800,000 mark when they haven't even solidified their place in the industry. They haven't even really niche down on their service offerings or niche in in who they want to serve. So that's a really big important part of my program. Bankable brands is that we clear up all the mess and we create their own specific lane, because when you're in your own lane, you can drive as fast or as slow as you want to. You're not worried about the competition on the other side. If you need to slow down, you can. If you need to speed up, you can, because this is your lane and you drive it. If you're not specific and what you offer, you end up in the sea of designers. You end up in the sea of copywriters. You end up in the sea of of coaches, right? So that's what bankable brands does. Specifically for graphic and Web designers. I heard you talk about staying in your own lane or building a lane for yourself. So how do you establish yourself as an expert within that kind of a creative field? So I think there might be a temptation to offer everything that's creative. Yeah, yeah, I I was doing that at one point, and in the scope. So I was never designed. And there's no problem if anyone is in this point right now. I was never designer to do like flyers, like $50 flyers and you know, But I was a designer who was doing, like, 255 $100 logos and so that can that job can be performed by anybody, right? And so what I knew is that to get in my own lane to create this this this business where I was to go to an X, y and Z, I chose rebranding. So I got specific in the service offerings that I was going to perform. And then what I did was I worked on that again and again and again and again. And I'm not just talking about, like, on the track to raise my price point, but the track to improve my client results. It is very important as a service provider because I am in business only because my clients say so right, and and then, more importantly, I'm only building these sites and these online experiences to serve their clients. So in the in the journey to creating your own lane, not only do you have to be specific about who you're serving and what you're offering? But be specific about the results and be obsessed with the end result that you're bringing to your client and work that out until you can enter a room and someone to be like, Oh my gosh, that's such and such she does X, y and z mm to repeat them until you get the results that will showcase that you are the expert in your field. Absolutely. Yeah. And of course, I call it repetitive results, because what happens is when you're selling something, you want to be able to prove that you've done it for not only just yourself, because you were the first case study when we're selling stuff a lot of the time right or are former corporate experience. But on a lot of times, my clients can't use the names I can't name, drop and say I work for such and such Fortune 500 company Fortune 50 companies. So it's kind of like you got to take my word for what it is while I'm attracting those clients. The repetitive nous of the same type of result is what I am then known for. So that's why I'm so like, zeroed in and so hype about repetitive results as it pertains to creating your own lane as a creative and having a successful business. But what is the process of then? Niche ng down into one specific field? Look like because you said you did everything. How were you able to hone in on rebranding? Yeah, I think I asked myself a series of questions. One. What did I want to be known for, right? What did I want my company to be known for? And what was I really, really good at once? You know, I was doing these Low was I was just starting off our websites. I was doing this and that. What was I good at? Where were the results? There were very few in the beginning. But where were they coming from? Right. And then finally I asked myself What? How can I become from those the answers to those questions? How can I make myself different, right? Because when you are an itching down, you were not doing things from scratch anymore. Everything that's here on the art is here. We're just, you know tweaking it and, you know, transforming it little by little to make it our own. So I would say, when you're creating your niche and you find out what you're good at, what result repetitive results are able to get for people, and then you need to determine how you can you make yourself different. How can you make yourself stand out? Because when I started saying that I was re branding, I didn't hear that a lot. So I'm going for the thing that I never heard a lot about, was it? They're absolutely. But I personally in my creative circle, didn't hear about it once I started seeing people use rebranding all the time I started using. I create income generating websites for service providers so that a plate has been my thing. And I'm getting ready to change it again because I'm hearing income generating too often. And I always wanted to myself and my business new, unique, And it's not that we leave that right. I'm still in my eyes, the best. My company is the best of rebranding for creative entrepreneurs. I am still the best at income generating Web design for creatives, but then there's going to be this thing that I can add on to my resume into my social proof that I can use to generate business in my generate income. Excuse me in my business. Got it? Well, I am going to ask you about how to generate business, right, because once you have consistently defined your knees, you're producing those results. How do you then attract a consistent pipeline of clients? Because there's this trend, especially on Instagram, where you'll get these auto comments of a Do you want a cartoon logo or whatever it is that they're asking? And to me, that does not seem like the best way to get clients. So how would you go about it? Yeah, it's interesting that you said these auto generated because in the cartoon logos, which is a whole different conversational, whole different podcast episode that I can go on and on about that, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I'm just saying in the scope of where I work, that that's just not it. But it's interesting that you said auto generated because a lot of creatives, they're trying to automate their business before they even known for anything right. Automation is great, but you have to use social media how it was meant to be used. Social media was meant to be social, right? And so if you are trying to generate income trying to attract business on a social platform, then you need to engage and you hit the nail on the head. You might not even recognize it. But when you say when you're trying to be consistent and attracting people to your business, the answer is in the question. We have to be consistent. I was in kind of like this hamster wheel of Okay, I need to clients. I need to make this amount of money a month. Great. So I'm talking about myself on social media. I'm showing, you know, transformations. I grab my two clients and then I'm quiet. Then at the end of the month, I'm like, Oh, my goodness, I have to do it again. I have to regenerate all of this energy. All of this excitement, all of this promotion again. And you know that something in motion continues or it's easier to keep in motion than when you stop it, right? And so I think the creatives miss a lot of the consistency part of actually attracting people to their business and to tag along to that. I feel like I'm like, in teacher mode right now. Go ahead. But they miss the the attraction, funnel or whatever you want to call it like they stop at attraction messaging like, Hey, this is what I do. This is what I do it for and they forget the next two steps. Nurture and convert, right? So this is a pathway that people have to come through. Our customers come through in their journey with a specific business. It may happen extremely fast, right? Like some people come to my page now and they're like, I already know I don't want to. I want to work with you, you know, whatever. But then there are some people will stay on my page for six months to a year and really, you know, pay attention to what I have to say. So if I stop with the attraction messaging and I didn't nurture and offer an invitation for people to buy into whatever I'm selling, then I'm not completing the sales funnel. I guess you could call it that is necessary and that nurture part is so important when we are creating kind of like fans, a community, when we're creating, when we're using the attraction messaging and really I don't know, I have this whole framework around it, So it's hard for me to condense it into, like a 32nd. Maybe you do maybe do that because it be good to know. How are you creating content at each of those phases so that we can see what we can mirror from that? Absolutely. So I have to give the credit to my coach, Maya, because she kind of taught me how to do this. In terms of messaging, I'm really graphics, but she's been able to turn on that messaging part the side of my brain. So when I'm attracting clients, I am trying to get their attention. There's so many messages that are going through your ideal clients or prospective clients minds when they're on social media when they're going through their emails. When I listen to podcasts, right, there's so much going on, the client has to say the hero. I just want to know throughout this whole entire process, it is not about us as a as a creative about what we can do for them. That's first right, and so an attraction. Messaging, What I want to do is essentially let me create this illustration. I use this all the time. So my ideal client is across the street, confused, dazed. She's probably dealing with her kids, dealing with her husband, dealing with her business. And she is distracted. She can't see that the light across the street into, you know, having a website or online presence that converts for her is flashing on for her to walk across the street. She's distractive. So me being the business owner, what I have to do is see her, and I have to cross the street to go get her. That's my attraction. So I see you so that messaging that comes out of my mouth is sis, are you okay? I know that you're doing a lot right now. I know that your website has been a point of contention for you. A long time you've been putting it off and putting it off. But you're ready to do X, Y and Z. That's my messaging to her. I can't pull her across the street Are you gonna walk across the street with a stranger? Absolutely not. So you have to attract people to what you have to offer. And so as I'm walking her back across the street safely, right with me holding her hand, that nurture content comes into play. I am letting her know that this is something that is achievable. I'm saying here the mistakes you're making on your website, but this is how we can fix them here. Look, let me tell you about a testimonial or or an experience that one of my clients who had a five figure, six figure launch this is what we did for them, You know what I mean? And all that kind of messaging that supports what I'm selling. And then finally in conversion, we're across the street, were across the street. She's like, You know what? I was a hot mess over there. I'm happy to be over here, but a lot of creators forget the invitation to sell the invitation to work with them. Right? So if I take her across the street and then I leave, she's still gonna be stuck. I have to say to her, You know what we've been through all of this, you know that This is a point of contention. You don't want to be here anymore. I've told you how to do it. You show you've seen examples. Let's work together to make this happen. That probably stems from women in particular being afraid to be to sales E or being afraid to go in for the ask, asking for what it is that they want. So they spend so much time doing the other two phases because they're comfortable doing that. But once you get to the point where, as you say you are ready to convert, you're going in for the ask. I think the conversation then people often have is how much am I charging? You mentioned that you were at a phase where you were doing to 50 logos or $500 websites, whatever it is. How did you get to the point where now you're doing five figure websites higher than that? How did you get to that point? So I think with a lot of work, so right, So I'll go back to stay to something I said earlier about being known. For one thing, I think in creating your own lane, you get to control a lot of things right because I am one of the best in rebranding for service based entrepreneurs, creating income generating websites that actually convert like there's one thing to have a website, but it's another to actually make money consistently from your websites, and I back that up with testimonials, right? I back that up with real world results, examples and also I'm connecting at all times, something that is deeper than the website. I'm connecting to any emotion, right? So that trifecta of things, I think has allowed me to scale intentionally to this. I didn't just go from $250 logos to $30,000 website. It is a process that takes intentionality and patients to get there. Things that I know creatives are not the very best at right. So I'm probably not the best to talk about pricing strategy because I do believe the price is the price. But I also believe when we say the price is the price is that we're committed to having an experience and selling an experience that's going to be transformational to our clients, making sure that at every point that we get better, we offer better results to our client, a better experience to our client. So if you're looking to raise your prices, I would I would behoove you to look at your experience and say, Is this a five figure experience? Are my clients getting five figure plus results? What's the potential ROI? And how long does it take from our clients to get their right? Because we have to justify or face the objections that our clients may have surrounding our prices? Speaking of experience, that might be another area where creatives dropped the ball because you're focused on creating it, whatever it is. Yet, once you make the sale, what is the experience looking like? So how were you able to streamline the experience while also offering what you know, top class websites and and rebranding? Yeah, So it came from a very, very, very bad client experience and a lot of the things that I have in my business right now, like a line items in my contracts and the way that I do business right now have come from experience in which I learned from not the the glamorous, you know, stuff that we post on instagram but from the nitty ingredient from that honest client feedback that. Look, I was expecting something, but I really didn't get it. So I started to look at my systems and my processes and automation and stuff after a client said that to me. And she's like, I didn't enjoy this experience that was like, three years ago, Just just to be completely clear, I'm always I'm always improving, though, right? There's always something to improve in the process, right? And so what I did was I address those things communication for graphic designers and something that we struggle with across the board in the industry. And it's something that's automatically tagged onto us. Like my graphic designer just up and left. I can't find her. She took my money and she ran like No, sis, we're not going to be doing that. So I start. I created a client portal that's, you know, specific to each client. They get a custom board that maps out every single phase of the project to make sure that they understand that one I'm here for until we get to this phase for I'm accountable and responsible for everything. So there's checklist not only for my clients, but for me as well to make sure that I'm delivering on what I say that I'm going to deliver on as much as possible. Now, I'm just in a very busy season in my business right now, but that you know that portal, those systems, those processes have helped me maintain my experience and uploading my experience while I'm actually doing the thing building the websites, creating the brands. What tools specifically are you using for portals and dashboards? Yeah, so mainly for client facing. I used Trello and I'm integrating now to internally ClickUp because I'm growing my team. And so that's another thing that they don't really tell you about. Having a multi six figure business scale in the seven figures is that you're not going to do it by yourself. That was my next question. That was my next question. We had Tatiana O'Hara on the show as well, talking to us about how to build a team. And so I definitely want to know how you're going about scaling with the team, but go ahead and finish your tools that we can go to that so Trello, for client facing, internal is going to be ClickUp. I use Dubsado for invoicing in contracts, and then I use a plethora of other things as I'm scaling my team. So, like Slack, what's the other things? I think Slack. Miro, gosh. Oh my godness, it's M-I-R-O. If you're like a processing person, you'd like to see flow charts, and I'm just having to map out every single step in my business so that someone else can come behind me, take responsibility for it and know exactly how I want things done. Miro. Because I'm a visual person, right? It allows me to kind of chart that out in a way that is like I am in love. So that's what I'm using right now. Good. That's always good to know behind the scenes. And I have this graphic I I think I put on Instagram where it's like an iceberg where you see the top of what people show you on social media and the bottom of the iceberg as far as what they're doing to be successful in their business is immense. and you already have systems you're working on growing that, and it's important for people to realize that it's not just the surface level stuff they see on Instagram. There's so much more going on so much. And you don't even realize until sometimes you're at the point where you are hiring someone for your business, that you are doing all of these little things to get a client. Even just for Onboarding, right? Like I sent out my Q Q two Q three openings. My calendar openings today, actually, and I had to chart that out for an assistant, and I just didn't realize all of the little things that went into just opening up your list and having calendar set up and all that other kind of stuff. But I'm excited to be growing my team right now. So how are you going about growing your team in order to scale? And why did you think that was even essential? Yeah, it's definitely essential because my new coach, James Simpson, he very abruptly told me when I didn't know him. Mind you back in October. Uh, I'm bottlenecking my business in a lot of different ways. Back in October. Being fully transparent, I wanted to quit my business. I didn't want to do it anymore. I was frustrated. I was overworked. The money was fine, but I just was overwhelmed. I was like, I can really make this amount of money at a corporate job and just leave work at home. And so I came to the retreat by my coach, Maya, and I was just ready to Kiki. I was just ready to have fun with my friends, my master, my sisters and called today. But what happened was she access a question and we did mission vision values, and I kind of uncovered that my mission was to help entrepreneurs specifically, women of color show up better online. And as I began to think about it and and shame so abruptly told me that you're not doing a very good job at that because you can only influence about 15, maybe 20 women in a year. How much of an impact is that, really? And because they're doing that, that's your cat, because you're doing everything in your business. You want to have your hand in every single thing you feel like. This can only happen with you, and that's the wrong way to think about it, right? So that opened my mind up completely to the agency model that I'm building out right now. And it's just imperative that I have team members who can do the things that I'm doing right now that I don't really do very well. Actually, I just do it because it's a part of the process. They free up my time so that I can do what only I can do. MM. And it's important to have people like that in your circle of influence who can tell you like it is. And it sounds like you're also receptive to hearing that from them. Yes, I have two coaches. I never thought that I would have to, because I was like, I can only listen to one person, but my coaches are great. They mesh well. Very, very, very well. And if anyone is like thinking about getting coaching, just do it. I and I'm gonna tell you. I hired the wrong coach at first, right back in my business. I was scaling to my first six figures. I hired the wrong person did she offered me some transformation absolutely. But sometimes that's what happens right in business. You don't get it right the first time, but that doesn't mean it up. So if I would have given up and if I would have written off coaches, I would never found my. I would have never found James, which are two very important people. That helped me see way beyond what I have in front of me as the CEO and the entrepreneur. Because basically, I'm at the ground level and there are the bird's eye view saying, Tiffany, if you want this, go left, go right and just having their voices around me is so, so important as scaling entrepreneur. Oh, that's phenomenal to hear because you can't do it alone not only in your business, but also from a CEO perspective. You need a board of directors is what I like to call them. You need people who are going to see the things that you have blind spots for, and it's just amazing to see someone at your level who is so balanced in their approach to growing their businesses. And I think it's really going to benefit the audience listening to this today. So for anyone who now is so excited about what you offer as far as education for growing their own creative businesses. How can we get in touch with you and follow you online? Yeah. So I'm on Instagram at the Emma Rose agency, and that's also my website emmaroseagency (dot) com. I stay in my d m. So I'm not that that service provider who's like no dm, I believe in communicating with my people. So if you have a question, feel free to slide right in. Oh, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Tiffany. You're welcome. Thank you so much for having me. Hi, Off-Scripters. I'm so glad you made it to the end of this episode. If you enjoy listening to our show, please pay it forward by sharing us with your network. Between episodes you can find me on instagram are handle is at She's Off Script or you can catch up on past episodes at She's Off Script dot com. See you on the next one

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I'm Serwaa, your new business strategist.

I’m a digital business strategy expert, headstrong high achiever, mom of two girls and wife to a strapping African man.

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