41: Website Design – Interview with Isabella Burket from Juicy Design

Today we talk to Isabella Burket from Juicy Design, who runs a web design company in Austria.


Tell us about yourself and your company!

I began my Graphic Design education very early on, having moved out at the age of 14. I studied Media Design at the vocational school for Chemistry, Graphic work and Design in Vienna, Austria. Throughout my study, I worked closely with three different companies. It was a challenge to get a better education, and most importantly some experience, with these agencies due to the fact that they were less involved in the Media Design direction I saw myself moving towards. Upon receiving my degree, I went on to work at two different advertising agencies, which helped me to gain a lot of valuable experience working as a junior art director. Additional to varying life circumstances, I always felt very under-challenged and underworked at these agencies, which drove me to attempt a career as a self-employed graphic designer. Now I operate a successful graphic design business employing a small network of artists and other creatives from Austria, and various other places in the world. Our main focus is on offering custom design solutions at a high niveau.


What tools do you use?

I mainly utilize the Adobe CC collection, and different organizational tools such as Evernote, Skype, Slack, Balsamiq Mockup, and Spotify for concentration! We are always up to date with the latest and greatest applications, thanks to following the latest design and technological trends. We spend a lot of time at our computers.

What would you say makes you stand out from other companies?

What makes us truly stand out is the fact that we custom-cater design solutions for our clients, from the very conception of a product all the way to post-production. We are constantly in contact with our clients and partners and are available almost around the clock, 7 days a week. The degree of quality and precision we focus on injecting into each and every project makes our final product truly stand out amongst the sea of code-monkey copy-paste work much of the industry is being flooded with. I have to admit that I abide by the time-tested cliché of perfectionism that every major company director seems to describe themselves by. I find it very difficult to release a final product to the client unless it is absolutely up to my degree of quality. Fantastic initial communications are also a large part of what has kept the ball rolling, due to the fact that we can come up with a very precise cost analysis for nearly any project, which makes the drop off from conception to actual structuration a breeze. And probably the biggest standout would have to be that we truly are not a faceless corporation (crosses fingers), as I personally visit with almost each and every client within the initial consultation stage, which brings things down to a much more human and personal level which we have found works wonders in all stages of the design process.

How many international customers do you have in comparison to Austrian ones?

Our major clientele is from Austria, with 10-20% of the work coming from Germany and other neighboring European nations.

How many years are you in business? How has the business changed throughout the years?

I have personally been in the Design business since I was 16, having become self-employed and creating Juicy Design at 22. The business has gone more and more in the direction of web/multimedia design and away from print, which seems to be a stifling design sector these days. Every year so far has been more profitable than the last, which is a trend I obviously hope continues. Even small growths are celebrated as I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished myself and am extremely dedicated to making it into a large success in the future.

What was your most interesting project?

The most interesting projects have been those where I had the most impact and influence in all sectors of the Design process, such as workshops, concept art creation and face to face consultation with the customer. Due to the non-disclosure agreement I sign with all major contracts, I have to refrain from naming the company I am currently working with, which has definitely had me working on the most interesting project yet. I am currently working with a team on creating user-interface designs for an internal shop system for one of the biggest furniture companies in Austria. I have also provided design workshops for the team in the topic of UI and User Experience design.

What would you recommend other website designers? How to get started?

I would recommend that they learn and work by doing. If it is not possible to work on real projects, always work on fictional projects, as it gives you far greater experience rather than just focusing on internet and program tutorials. Try and connect with other individuals that work in the industry by going to network meetings, connecting with other workers in the same branch, online networking, etc. And most importantly, always stay up to date with the latest programs and design trends, as these can make or break your entire business.

How do you acquire new customers?

At the moment 90% through recommendations, the rest through social media advertising and freelancer group ads.

Do you use LinkedIn or Xing?

Yes, I used LinkedIn, I think it is a fantastic way of having a free business card for the internet to see.

What is the best business decision you’ve ever made?

It would have to be creating a network, which helped me meet more people and expand my knowledge of design. All the connections I made, as well as the information gathering associated with it amalgamated into the success I have today.

How did you come up with the name of the company?

I wanted to communicate the feeling and style of my design into the name somehow, and I associate the term juicy with fresh and energizing ideas. We wanted to appear as modern as possible, as we are always up to date with the latest design trends, so the association with freshness came from there.

How many people are involved in your business?

The core team consists of 4 individuals, but we work together with up to 10 freelancers at a time for larger projects.

How do you stay productive and not get distracted?

That’s a difficult topic and an incredible challenge, especially when one is self-employed and has no set time schedule. The best thing that always works is music, applying time-management techniques such as the pomodoro technique, as well as a few other time-management methods using the computer and phone. I especially enjoy walking my dog, which helps me clear my mind and is a nice change of pace during critical project sequences.

Any books about website design you can recommend?

Unfortunately, I have to say that it seems that not many people use books in the field of design anymore, with information and trends changing so fast that many can barely keep up. Instead, I follow various blogs in the field of Design and read books in my spare time, with my favorite genre being historical non-fiction.

What inspired you to start this business?

In the early days, I was constantly under-challenged and incredibly bored, which was the worst part of any job for me. I wanted to have more responsibility and manage more than just menial graphic design jobs throughout the day. I always enjoyed contact with clients, and the handling of the various phases of design from beginning to end. I thought I would just try it and see where it goes due to the minimal risks involved, and I’m glad I took the plunge as it has paid off quite well. At this point I can never see myself working in an office ever again, as I’ve become so accustomed to managing my own flow of work and client relationships.

What is your daily routine of running your business?

I am a late worker, so I never get up before 9. Late nights are a complete norm as well, as I find myself to be less distracted and most productive during late hours. First thing in the morning I check my emails, to see if any urgent work needs to be done right away. If there is, I jump out of the bed even earlier sometimes to take care of them as quickly as possible. If there’s nothing to do early in the morning, I get up and have a nice breakfast and plan the rest of the work day. I’m very addicted to making lists and planning my week accordingly. Every night before I go to bed I plan for the next day and mark things off in a to-do list fashion.

What are the best and worst parts of running your business?

The best part is most definitely the freedom of being able to manage my own time, choose when and where and who I work with, and also being responsible for myself and not relying on a fixed monthly paycheck, regardless of my performance. The absolute worst part would have to be the management of finances, the higher taxes, and the much higher health insurance costs that are associated with self-employment.

To learn about Isabella’s business please visit Juicy-Design.at.

36: Website Design – Interview with Colton Mathieu from Coco the Bear

Today we feature Colton Mathieu from Coco the Bear who is a Texas-based designer.


Tell us about yourself and your background!

I’m a 25-year-old dude in Texas who loves designing brands, gaming with friends, and spending way too much time in coffee shops. I attained a bachelor’s degree in business from Sam Houston State University and have my own branding and graphic design business.

What service do you offer? Where are you based? How many people are involved?

I’m a one-man team based in Houston, Texas. I offer any design service in the graphic and branding design realm. From the original logo to the complete website, I have the capacity and drive to tackle it all by any means.

What would you say is the best way to acquire and keep customers?

The best way I’ve found to keep clients is to take a vested interest in what their businesses do and who they are. To many people, their business is their baby and I want to treat it as such.


How did you come up with the name “Coco the Bear”?

Funny enough, I was stuck coming up with a name and decided to go back to nicknames I was called as a child. The one that stuck out the most was Coco The Bear that my dad used to call me. Surprisingly, there’s not much else to it.

Do you use Social Media to promote your business?

My main outlet for social media is Instagram. I’ve found a ton of resources and inspiration from other designers on there. Other than that, Facebook and Twitter are feeds that I have but don’t put much time into.

What inspired you to start this business?

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would take things apart and never really put them back together. I liked to see how things were made. Long story short, after high school I ended up going to a university and getting my Bachelors in Business and getting a job in retail. I knew retail wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I decided to fully pursue a career in branding design. Being 25 years old, I figured I’m young enough in my career to go full force towards something I’ll really enjoy. Now, here I am. The end goal for Coco The Bear is to be picked up by an agency and continue to do freelance on the side.

What is your daily routine of running your business?

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I go up to the coffee shop for a couple hours and get some work done. I’ve found it necessary to get out and be social when working for yourself. After my time at the coffee shop, I go home for some lunch, maybe check a few emails and then continue what I left off at.

What are the best and worst parts of running your business?

Best – Delivering a finished part of the project to the client. To know that someone is happy with something you’ve created is invaluable.
Worst – Marketing myself to the public. I don’t enjoy talking about myself or what I’m good at so you can understand how that’s difficult.

What keeps you motivated to keep working on your business?

The prospect of being picked up by a design agency keeps me going. I desperately want to create a portfolio that I can show off and be proud of.

What would you recommend new designers? How to get started?

Just go for it. I spent most of my free time during college at a nearby Starbucks teaching myself Photoshop. Once I understood most of Photoshop’s capabilities, I went onto Illustrator and discovered how much more I was capable of.

You know you’re a designer when …

… you look at an advertisement and can name all the fonts used on it.

Do you have a USP? Why should someone choose you for their design needs?

The reason someone should choose Coco The Bear is because I believe that your brand is something that you should be something to show off. Because of this, I offer unlimited revisions on most of the things I create. I want the client to be extremely satisfied with everything they create.

To learn more about Colton’s design business please visit Cocothebear.com.

18: Interview with Geoff & Laura from West Dorset Websites

Today we’ve talked to Geoff and Laura from Westdorsetwebsites.com who offer web design and SEO services. I run across them when I was reading The Guardian.


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

I run a web design and SEO (search engine optimisation) company along with my wife, Laura. The company is called West Dorset Websites and we specialise in web design and online marketing for micro, small and medium local businesses in West Dorset. We started working together in August 2015 and are based in West Dorset. We have a house in a small village near Dorchester, Dorset which we run our business from.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

We originally met at Oxford Brookes University in 2002 while we were studying print and online publishing. We had our first child in 2004 and got married in 2005 after completing our degrees. Studying, parenting and wedding planning simultaneously was a bit of a whirlwind! For several years I worked in surgical theatres until 2014 when Laura developed a health condition which required me to leave my job to care for her. During this time I started developing websites for myself, friends and relatives and discovered SEO. Suddenly all my previous studies fell into place and I, like most SEOs out there, “fell into” this line of work. As Laura recovered she helped me with more and more of the work taking on all the administrative roles (as well as being my main editor / proofreader!).

What would be your number one tip to improve search engine rankings?

Great content. I’m definitely a believer in the “content is king” principle.

With machine learning and user experience factors playing a larger part in searching, we’re moving to a digital age where it is less necessary to demonstrate to search engines the relevance of your site. Instead the relevance of a website will be judged by the behaviour of the people who use it.

Really, focusing on content is a win-win. If users like it but search engines don’t, then search engines will pick up on this and adjust accordingly. However, no matter how well executed the back-end technical SEO aspects are, if the content isn’t engaging the search engines will kick you down the rankings.

I would also say analytics is essential. If you can’t see where your site is performing well or poorly, how can you expect to improve? It’s like driving blindfolded.

Do you have a Unique Selling Point?

We pride ourselves on being local as the development of local online marketing picks up pace. Additionally, we offer a competitive price that allows smaller businesses to improve their web presence without it costing a fortune.

Do you think that Social Media such as Twitter or Facebook are good marketing tools?

Up to a point. I think if you are using these tools strategically to accomplish specific tasks they can certainly help you. If you are using a ‘hit and hope’ strategy (or ‘post and pray’) then probably not. The tool is only as good as the person using it.

What inspired you to start this business?

Just reading about SEO really. I’ve always been interested in the internet, marketing and web design. I think stumbling on SEO and the way it provides a scientific way of measuring and adjusting creative efforts is brilliant!

It was also exciting realising that there weren’t a great deal of companies locally offering SEO and web design.

What are the best and worst parts of running your business?

The best part is being able to work flexibly, seeing more of your partner and children and deciding what your priorities are that day instead of having them prescribed to you. The worst part is probably the sheer volume of work that is required and the lack of hours in the day. I wish something could be done about that!

Do you also host the websites of your customers? If not can you recommend a webhost?

We offer web hosting via ipage.com. I currently use them and find them to be exceptionally good value. I would also recommend Siteground as they have fantastic customer support.

What should you take into account when starting a business?

Whether you are really motivated to do it. It can be very difficult sometimes and if you’re not motivated then you’re unlikely to get anywhere.

If you want to test a marriage start a business. Do you agree?

Like any major life transition, starting a business with your spouse can lead to a number of new situations that could cause tension and disputes. We entered this business quite prepared. As students, we’d worked on team assignments together, as well as previously working part time together at the same call centre, so working together in a professional capacity isn’t completely new territory for us. You have to enjoy each other’s company, and respect your spouse’s skills. We carve out some time each week when we don’t work or discuss the business, and it’s been very important to us that we each have our own roles, so we don’t step on each others’ toes!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Delpino!

To learn more about their company please visit Westdorsetwebsites.com.

17: Interview with David & Elle from Jumpanzee

 Today’s interview is with David and Elle from Jumpanzee who run a design agency.


What kind of business do you run? When did you start it and where is it based?

We run a small design agency that is focused on providing affordable web design/development, branding, & explainer video services for small businesses & startups. We started about 6 months ago in Atlanta, and we are currently based in Fort Myers, Florida (although we have a distributed team located around the globe).

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

My co-founder (Elle) & I are married (we were highschool sweethearts) and both originated from Atlanta, Georgia. Elle graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Atlanta with a Design degree and freelanced as a web designer/developer & graphic designer for years. I graduated from Georgia Tech in Atlanta with a degree in Project Management and managed projects both domestically & in South Africa. We both always had a desire to combine our talents and start a business together which led to us beginning Jumpanzee.


What is the process if somebody wants a website design from Jumpanzee?

The first step would be to get in touch with us, which we try and make as easy as possible (our website, live chat, social media, email, phone, etc.). Once someone reaches out and lets us know what they are looking for (landing page, multi-page website, e-commerce, custom platform, etc.), we will have them complete a short branding questionnaire and possibly have a short phone call which will let us know their design preferences and what content/functionalities need to be included in their website. After that is established, we will create a wireframe and develop a mockup of what their site will look like. The client will give us their feedback which we will incorporate into a finalized mockup. After that, development of the site will begin. Once we are finished, we will submit the website to the client for review/feedback and use those comments to finalize their website. We can also help with migrating the site to their own hosting or they can host it with us. The website will then be live, and they will be open for business!

I’ve seen you have a live chat program (tawk.to) on the site. Has this increased sales?

We cannot say enough good things about Tawk.to. It is free and an absolutely amazing tool for communicating with visitors to our site. We can immediately answer any questions they have about our services/prices/etc. rather than them sending us an email and waiting for a response (which we still try to respond to as fast as possible – usually less than 24 hours). We believe that this has definitely increased sales with visitors having the opportunity to chat with us rather than just leaving our site. Also, it has a mobile app, so we can respond even if we are not near our computers. Sometimes, we just have conversations about the visitor’s business, country they are visiting from, or just what they like about our website. We definitely recommend anyone who has an online business check Tawk.to out.

I like the idea of the explainer videos. Tell us more about them. How much would a customer have to pay for one on average?

Essentially, explainer videos are exactly what the name implies. They are a tool to quickly and effectively explain your company, service, and/or product(s) to your target audience. With the average person having an attention span equivalent to that of a goldfish and hating to read a long block of text, they are perfect for getting the point across in an interesting way. They have been proven to increase conversions by up to 20% and are a wonderful marketing tool. There are a few different formats, but we mostly focus on animated motion graphics which are aesthetically amazing. On average, a customer should expect to pay around $500 for a 30 second video from Jumpanzee (although we can certainly create longer ones and develop scripts for our clients as well).

Do you provide after sales support? From my own and other people’s experience it often happens that a designer or programmer will go AWOL.

We absolutely provide after sales support. We never leave our clients hanging even after completing their project and seek to differentiate ourselves from the numerous “fly by night” companies out there. If someone is having any issues or just needs advice, we strive to be their go-to resource and genuinely want to see their business succeed.

Do you ever reject a project because it doesn’t fit well with your company?

Yes, we sometimes reject projects that don’t fit well with what our company provides. We believe it is in our best interest as well as the potential client’s best interests to do so. If it is not something we 100% believe that we are the best resource to deliver, we let them know. We never pretend to be able to handle every project that is presented to us as we believe in only taking work that we are confident in delivering amazing results for.

Are there any blogs, podcasts or Facebook Groups about entrepreneurship you follow closely?

Our free time is certainly limited, so we try and select a few media sources that we believe provide excellent content, advice, etc. and stick to those. Our favorite podcasts that we regularly listen to are the Tim Ferriss Show (which has some amazing interviews), the Tropical MBA & Startup. For fun, we also listen to Serial. The only Facebook Group we follow religiously & try to participate in is Groove Learning which is an absolutely fantastic group of helpful entrepreneurs.

Do you read any discussion forums about business?

I don’t know if it’s considered a “discussion forum, but we do spend a decent amount of time on Reddit. The subreddits that have been the most helpful for us (both in providing useful case studies, advice, etc. as well as leading to actual clients) are r/entrepreneurs, r/smallbusiness, & r/startups. These are great for seeing what issues others are dealing with in their own businesses/startups and how they are solving them.

Any books about entrepreneurship you can recommend?

There are a lot of great books out there, but here are my top four right now.

i. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – This book is singlehandedly responsible for opening up our eyes to the possibility of a location independent lifestyle business. With our love of travel, this book really hit home and inspired us to finally start having serious conversations about starting a business.

ii. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau – I actually just finished this a few days ago. It had some excellent examples of people starting businesses on a budget. While it does not necessarily have a ton of detailed & concrete instructions on building your own business, it is still a great (and quick) read.

iii. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – I am currently in the process of reading this. This is probably the #1 book recommended to me and really focuses on the lean process of testing for startups & businesses. It has already given us some great ideas & processes for Jumpanzee.

iv. From Zero to One by Peter Thiel – I am also in the process of reading this one. It’s always a great idea to hear what Peter Thiel has to say, and this book really challenges the way to approach innovation, technology, & the future for startups (or really any business).

What tools do you use to run your business?

While some of these change on a week-to-week basis (as we test to see which best fit our needs), our current list comprises of: Slack, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Analytics, Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & LinkedIn mostly), Skype, Tawk.to, Grasshopper, Trello, & WordPress (although I’m sure we are forgetting some).

Do you have a Unique Selling Point?

Our USP is our ability to deliver extremely high-quality work for affordable prices in a very personable manner. We work closely with our clients to put them at ease as the process of design & development is usually foreign and stressful for them to deal with when they would rather focus on the day-to-day aspects of running their business. In line with this, we have positioned ourselves as a one-stop shop for their creative needs with bundled services as our clients usually have multiple requirements.

How many people are involved in your business?

In the last week, we have actually added 2 additional members to our team which brings us up to 13. Our team includes graphic designers, web designers, web developers, video producers, a social media manager, a sales manager, and Elle & I. Currently, our team is located in the US, Canada, South Africa, Romania, Portugal, & the Philippines.

How do you stay productive and not get distracted?

The number one tool/process we use for remaining productive is time blocking. At the end of the day, we plan out what specific tasks need to be accomplished the next day. We then take those tasks and divide them into short time blocks (one task per block). Each block is purposely set to be shorter than we believe we can complete the task in, so we remain driven & focuses. We also have short breaks in between blocks to “recharge”. Overall, this has been a very success process for us.

Do you use WordPress? Any plugins you can recommend?

Yes, we often build websites for our clients on the WordPress platform. There are plenty of plugins that we use depending on the build and our clients’ needs, but we definitely have some favorite go-to plugins that we always install. The first is the iThemes Security plugin which is a quick and effective way to secure your WordPress site. We also use the Yoast SEO plugin to help with on-page optimization. The red-light/green-light guide and real time analysis tools are user-friendly and make optimizing content much easier. Finally, we cannot say enough good things about the Duplicator plugin by Life in the Grid. This has become an essential plugin for our build process and makes migrating WordPress websites from the testing server to the client’s server a breeze.

If you are interested to learn more about David and Elle’s company please visit Jumpanzee.com.