We recently connected with Janae Peterson and have shared our conversation below.
Janae, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today To kick things off, we’d love to hear about things you or your brand do that diverge from the industry standard
We spent a lot of time over the years creating a final product on what to offer our clients and how to meet each business owner’s needs, especially when each has their own set of different problems. Other website designers were giving the name a bad rap, and after hearing some of the horror stories – it’s no wonder why.
When you’re a start-up business and a new business owner without funding, it’s easy to decide to take the cheapest route and to cut costs. The issue becomes, when you do this when choosing your website designer, you end up shooting yourself in the foot in the long run. Hiring a cheap website designer, whether that means a friend, your nephew living in his parent’s basement, or a guy who builds websites as a side hustle, you are setting yourself up for potential future headaches.
We have many horror stories to tell of when clients come to us after trying to cut costs, but I’ll only cover a couple short stories here.
We had a woman walk in our office, and had us pull up her website. Her website designer was just some guy who built websites as a side hustle. After pulling up her site, there was bold text in a large font that said, “My house. My rules”. She began to tell us that her website designer struggled to respond to her emails and phone calls. So she started pushing him a little harder about making her website updates quicker than a month later… if at all! He didn’t like being pushed, so he kept her domain, deleted her design, and made a statement by adding “My house. My rules.” Lucky for her, this story had a happy ending. We were able to transfer her domain onto our in-house server, as he only had her site hosting.
Here’s another story – one we hear often. We met with an older lady who owned an orchard. She made the best local jams and jellies and sold them at Farmer Markets and wanted to start selling them online. The issue was – she accidentally let her domain expire. So a third party ended up purchasing it, and told her she can have it back for $8.000. We ended up purchasing a different domain for her, as there was nothing anyone could do. This was the most common story we heard – so we started hosting websites and domains on our own servers, and now our clients don’t have to worry about renewing their domain. We handle all of that for them.
Most website designers will give you your website to manage after they have finished the design. We become an extension of your company, and our included monthly updates allow us to make sure your SEO is kept up with, the updates you are making won’t have a negative impact, and we send out monthly care reports so you can keep up with the health of your website.
Company emails are also included with our website packages – you don’t have to pay extra for them. We also include SSL certificates, firewall and security, make sure your website is running at optimal level on Google PageSpeed, and keep your plugins updated. You are assigned a point of contact, so if you need to contact us – you have someone in our office who is familiar with you and your company. Talk about service!
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
BPetersonDesign was started by my husband and I in Montrose, Colorado in 2008. This happened after we sold our side of partnership in an online costume retailer. We were familiar with how important a high performing website was, competing against other online competitors, how to buy Google Ads, and selling products on multiple platforms — not just our own website (such as eBay, Amazon, and even Wal-Mart). I can’t tell you the amount of times we hired the wrong company, we got tired of that “third party” treatment, and wish we had a company that genuinely cared about our interest and not just saw dollar signs.
When we sold our business, we started BPetersonDesign. It started as a computer repair company as that is what our area needed at the time. As Montrose grew, more businesses moved in and started realizing how important a website (and marketing) was. We knew all about it, and decided to get out of computer repair, and offer what the local businesses in the community desperately needed.
Montrose is a small town, so when one person saw what we could do for their business, they told their friend – and that friend tells their friends. Business owners are friends with other business owners – that’s a fact. So before you know it, our clientele grew and we started polishing our packages so our services and products could perform at optimal level. Montrose is a small town, so we were limited with growing our client base. This is when we decided we needed to expand.
In 2016, our company went nationwide and we hired our first full-time employee, which quickly turned into six. We started targeting business owners around the US, and helped their business grow. Before you knew it, we had over 100 active clients.
In 2019, we had a hotspot of clients in the North Phoenix, Arizona area. My husband and I decided it was time to open a second location near our existing clients, so we took a trip to explore the area and quickly fell in love with Cave Creek. We opened an office in Stagecoach Village during COVID, our employees started working remote, and we became members of the Carefree/Cave Creek Camber of Commerce.
In 2021, BPetersonDesign rebranded. We updated our logo and colors to be more modern, and to stay up with the times. This also led to many internal changes including new processes, a more streamline system for our different departments, and a new website for ourselves.
Today, we are now the company you hire when you’re done playing around with cheap website designers and you are ready to get serious with growing your business. Our packages are priced to target established, small businesses. We are not the company you hire when you’re a start-up company, but can invest in something that will perform and will take serious.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
When you’re a new business owner trying to grow your business, you don’t say no to someone who wants to hire you. The lesson we’ve all learned growing up is “The customer is always right”. So when we were getting our business off the ground, we let the client control us – rather than informing them why we don’t offer that. We were just “kids” back then – doe eyed and bushy tailed. We were big bad entrepreneurs – so our naive selves got “in bed” with some pretty interesting business owners. And I mean, entitled and with lots of money.
It got so bad, they were using up all of our time, requiring half of our team to attend their weekly business meetings, and utilizing us like their full-time employees. And that carrot – oh those dangling carrots that they love to swing in front of our nose. This is when we realized…. this is not why we started this company. This isn’t why they hired our company. We don’t treat anyone better than anyone else just because they have money.
This is when we fired our first client. The customer is not always right.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
Oh, this is a fun question! I think all successful businesses had to pivot at one time or another. Have you ever read the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins? It contrasts good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?
I used to work at our local MLS. It’s a multiple listing service for real estate agents in the area. It’s what all real estate agents use to enter in their listing. After that job, I left to work at a title company – which was my last job before working for BPetersonDesign full-time. My point with that is, that is how I ended up getting a lot of contacts in the real estate industry.
When both my husband and I were now working full time for ourselves at BPetersonDesign, we had a real estate agent call me and ask if I could take pictures of their new listing since I enjoyed photography and was dangerous in Photoshop. We didn’t offer this service, but we could use the extra work so I told her sure, for $50. I was familiar with how many images they could upload into the MLS, so I knew how many images to take.
She was super happy, and all real estate agents know each other. So she started telling other real estate agents, and before you knew it – we created a new department: Real Estate Media. I was now a real estate photographer, and offered home video tours as well. I studied other real estate photographers and other videos. Then we got into drones. We got FAA certified and then offered Drones and Luxury Packages for the high-end homes. Looking back on my very first real estate photoshoot, I can’t believe I would deliver crap like that. It was HORRIBLE! My $50 photoshoot evolved into $250 a shoot for up to 25 images. I then edited home video tours in Adobe Premiere Pro, so got really good at that. We then hired multiple real estate photographers so we could keep up with quick turnaround time.
After we opened our second location in Arizona, we sold our Real Estate Media side of the business. They rebranded and we no longer offer those services as BPetersonDesign.