Gain Freedom from Website Builds (It’s OK to Let Go)

Gain Freedom from Website Builds (It's OK to Let Go)

How to confidently hand over website builds to your project manager

If I could talk to my pre-Agency Maverick self, I’d say, “Johnny, you don’t have it to do it all. Hire someone and just let it go.” Then I might break out into the Frozen song “Let it Go” and hope for some magic to happen. (That’s what happens when you have a daughter who watches Disney movies on repeat).

It’s been over six years since I decided to go all-in, full-throttle on Johnny Flash Productions. At that time, I was your typical solopreneur.

I had just quit my day job and I thought I could do it all myself. That I should do it all myself, that no one could do it the way I wanted things done for my business. I was still trying to make a name for myself, and I wanted to ensure the name and “brand” I built would be consistent. So I thought I had to have my hands on everything.

But as I grew wiser (thanks to the coaches at Agency Mavericks, or WP Elevation as it was known back then), I realized that I was wrong. I don’t have to be the designer, the coder, the project manager, and the salesperson for my agency to grow and level up. 

I could delegate an essential aspect of my business like managing website builds and STILL come out on top. And I am not ashamed to admit that my team builds websites that look far better than the ones I was involved with.

I just needed a system in place to empower the team to do it.

The story behind Johnny Flash Productions 

Before I get too far in, let me introduce myself. I’m a Coach here at Agency Mavericks and the owner of Johnny Flash Productions, a web design and digital marketing agency outside of Washington D.C. 

In 2015, I decided to quit my day job and focus entirely on Johnny Flash Productions. I discovered Troy and the rest of the amazing team at Agency Mavericks a year later and the coaching I received started to make a huge difference in my business. I implemented everything I learned in courses such as the Blueprint, and haven’t looked back since. 

The benefits of delegating the management of website builds

You might be thinking, website builds are an essential part of your digital marketing business. Why would you hand over such an essential part of the business? Don’t you want to be the face of the business? Aren’t you worried that the work won’t be as “as good” as your own? 

Yes, I thought of that as well. And as proud as I am of the work I’ve done managing our web projects, I have no qualms in admitting that the websites we build now are far better than when I did them. 

As I grew into my role as the owner of Johnny Flash Productions, I learned (and I’m sure you have, as well) that my time is needed elsewhere. So I couldn’t focus solely on keeping up with new trends in web design or UX and UI. In addition, when it comes to managing the projects, I couldn’t be the face and manager for every client. If I tried, I would hold us back because there are only so many hours in a day and it's important to me to spend quality time with my family.

Plus, when you’re the only one meeting with clients, managing expectations, and coordinating the work, you can’t be as strategic with other parts of the business unless you’re a robot. 

I’m not one, and I’m sure you’re not one either.

But when you build a documented process for something essential, you’ll be able to

  1. ensure things are done the way you expect them, 
  2. position the best people in the different roles and elevate the work you deliver.
  3. build greater trust with your team by empowering them with essential responsibilities like project and client management 

Laying down tracks (Building a mindset to let go)

You’ve got to build a mindset where you’re okay with not being the point of contact for every client to get started. I know for me (as well as those I’ve run into as a coach for Mavericks), letting go can be the biggest hurdle. Troy described it as almost a fear-based arrogance. 

It’s easy for us to fall into the trap that “I’m the only one that could manage the client relationship.” Or “I’m the only one that could turn my client’s vision into pixels in the browser.” 

These thoughts are the result of a solopreneur’s fear of relinquishing control.

If you’re nodding along while reading this, you’re not alone. Especially if you’ve built a web design business as I have—building websites is like painting your masterpiece. But trust me, it’s okay to let go. 

Loosening the reigns while documenting the steps in detail

Once you’ve gotten over the fear of relinquishing control, then it’s time to start writing your process. Since my account managers were already managing tickets on the Support Desk, I began by assigning them mini-projects these same clients were requesting. I didn’t want to throw them into the deep end without properly outlining what needed to be done. 

Here's how I documented the management of building a website. (You can apply a similar thought process to any function you want to delegate.)

  1. Document your thought process

Take each project and look at it from a high level. What are the steps that go into building a website?

For us, that was things like:

  • client onboarding
  • a kick-off call
  • creating a site map
  • establishing design direction

and so on. 

Once I mapped out the high-level steps, I broke them down in more detail. The goal was to extract my thought processes and create a detailed document with a checklist.

Today, our website builds have 30 steps at the high level, broken down into more details as you drill down.

  1. Invite them to client calls

As I documented, I also gave my team a heads up. First I would say, “Hey, I’d like you to join me on the weekly calls for X client because you’re going to take the lead on the next project that comes in.” I invited them to client calls, letting them know they would be leading the calls soon. After a few clients, we’d switch positions, and I would be there for support, and they were leading.

  1. Give them permission to ask questions

I used their questions to fill in the gaps in the documentation and gauge how much my team understood the process. From the beginning, I told them, “you need to ask questions as much as possible, like during this first project or two. Because I don't wanna have to keep answering questions five or ten projects in.”

With the steps documented, my team and I had a living breathing documented process to refer to, train the new team members, and update when necessary. 

Discover the power of letting go

These days, I’m spending a lot more time in the sales, marketing, and hiring “departments” since that’s where I’m needed most. So I check in with the project managers to say “hi” and do a bit of strategy from time to time. But, of course, they’re doing their thing, and I couldn’t ask for more. 

In fact, we recently landed a pretty big client (about $10K/month retainer). And while old me would probably want to be super involved, our project manager proves there’s no need for me to be. She is doing a fantastic job managing the team members assigned to the account and communicating regularly with the client.

As you can see, managing the back and forth that goes into every website build doesn’t have to consume your time. Instead, so much growth can happen in your business when you empower your team to take on important responsibilities like managing projects for clients.

So are you ready to elevate your team by letting go of the reins? We can help you make this transition. Let’s jump on a call together, and we’ll map out a game plan for your team. 

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Johnny Flash

Johnny Flash

Johnny Flash (aka John Falke) started Johnny Flash Productions in 2002. He has over 100 monthly clients scattered throughout the U.S. – mostly small businesses, churches and nonprofits and eCommerce sites. He is based in Virginia, USA with his wife and four children. In his spare time, he enjoys snowboarding, playing bass guitar, throwing a football or playing a board game.

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