A personal journal can help me learn from my mistakes – and maybe – inspiring or helping someone on the way. But I still need to find the time to make it a habit. To occasionally write something down. In the second quarter of this year, we launched our new maintenance studio: SnappStudio, and had one of our most extended quotation phases so far! Thanks to our branding partner Kolos for a new project, we’ve also received a great opportunity. In the end, we also have not one, but two nice surprises!
A very big name in Brussels in the restaurant/catering sector got in touch with us a bit more than one year ago to make some small SEO tweaks to their website. Besides those small tweaks, it never became a real partnership. It was more troubleshooting for their website so they could move on. A few months later they came back to us for another project, a concept website that we also built for them. When the concept site launched, we went our separate ways again.
This year, in the early summer, they called us to let us know that if we still had room in our schedule, they would like us to become their digital partner. They have a round 20 websites that need maintenance and are fully renewing a few of them. So they really need a dedicated agency if they want this to work. As we loved the agency and the work we had done for them in the past, we really felt that we could be a great partner for them.
Not only for new businesses but simply to do some maintenance updates on their sites. But they also need someone who knows something about the digital world, in terms of servers, hosting, emails, and security, … We think together with them and try to find the best, cost-efficient, and long-term solutions for their challenges.
It’s not all fun & games. Also a bit over one year ago, we got contacted by a fashion label. They wanted to grow and take things seriously, so decided to work together with us for the makeover of their Shopify webshop. We’ve created a brand-new design, and rebuilt their Shopify store from the ground up, but I should have seen the red flags from the start.
Right after signing our proposal, their requests went berserk and out-of-scope. Yet they could not understand and send us new requests after new requests. I told them that we would launch the website as promised in our proposal, although we already did a lot of extra work. We’ve launched the webshop for them and they never paid.
Even now, a year and 6 months later, the webshop we’ve built is still online and running. So the quality of our work was there and they’re actually using the work we’ve made. Yet I was too kind to let them away with it and we never saw our money.
Now the best part, in July this year they reached out to us again telling us that they would love working with us again to make some additional tweaks to the website. To me, this proved that they actually were happy with our services and collaboration. Having the guts to come back and ask for more tweaks was one step too far. I’m in full learning process, but working for free is no longer on my list.
I simply thanked them for their request, but we will not be working together again.
As our maintenance services and clients started to increase, we needed to find more ways to support our clients. At the beginning of this year, we had 10 clients on maintenance. Our challenge was to try and double our maintenance clients this year, to have a recurring income with our support. Now we are at 35 clients on maintenance.
Not all sites on our maintenance are of the same size, they also don’t have the same needs. We also keep learning and find better ways to support our clients on performance and security. But our maintenance fee is very low. We simply cannot provide our performance and security updates for the same budget. Therefore, we created maintenance packages so the client could choose which one would best fit their needs.
To maintain a clear and transparent overview of our services and costs, we’ve decided to launch a side business named SnappStudio. Solely focussing on maintenance and smaller website projects that have short deadlines.
During the summer of this year, we’ve got a lot of new requests. One of those new clients was for a big city in Belgium to create a digital platform where citizens could easily find their way around all the summer activities of the city. It’s nice to see our agency grow this way. That we can start working for clients that most people know. We grow with every project we make, but having a big name in your client portfolio makes the growth of our agency a bit easier.
The most important part is clear communication and keeping promises.
More on this topic can be found in our New York Adventure posts, but the next steps in this business are also taken during the summer months. Our US Tax ID is approved and Weichie.com Corporation (Weichie.com Inc.) is officially born! To actually start doing business our next steps are to have it signed with a notary and open a bank account.
As always, I’m excited about my own new episode in our agency journey!