The Man Who Runs an Unlimited Design Service All By Himself

What you need to know so you can go big on your own too

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Less talk, more action. He is proving one person can accomplish a lot on their own. Like a business that has grown to high six-figures in just a few short years. So, it’s time to put our talk aside and get started.

Brett Williams runs DesignJoy, an unlimited design service that specializes in product design and Webflow development. All by himself.

I recently discovered his business during an AMA (ask me anything) session on Indie Hackers, a community for developers building projects that generate revenue to gain financial independence or creative freedom.

How does he manage the workload?

With 30+ clients each expecting unlimited design work on a subscription basis, you can imagine the workload could be a killer. Yet he’s created a workflow that meets his needs — using low-code automation solutions.

Tools like IFTTT, Airtable, Trello, Memberstack, and Webflow have been glued together to make sense of the madness of an unlimited service. What used to be a massive undertaking can now be accomplished in a weekend by someone that isn’t even technical.

How does he set expectations so client requests don’t eat him alive?

That was my question as well. I love the concept yet know that “unlimited” is a scary word for most people. I know to be successful he must have devised a way to wow clients while adding just enough friction so he can keep pace. Especially as a one-person operation.

The beauty of an unlimited service is in its simplicity. Subscribers can budget for a need that typically varies wildly in fees charged throughout the year.

Given this is an accelerated service, he doesn’t do a lot of discovery or prototyping. Most of his clientele are bootstrapped or pre-revenue businesses interested in building an attractive web presence on a budget.

He has a ton of experience designing “quite literally hundreds of products” through DesignJoy alone and he has worked in this space for many years. So, this comes with some big benefits:

I can often afford to jump straight to high fidelity with minimal revisions simply because of my speed. It’s not the ideal design process, but it has worked in creating some pretty dang successful products.

The process does have a small bit of friction baked into it. It’s minimal yet quite effective for the number of clients currently subscribed.

Clients can only have one active request at a time, which makes managing 30+ clients easier. When a user [within Trello] adds a card to that column, I have an IFTTT workflow set up to add it to Airtable to pull in all the important information. That’s what I work from since all the requests are all in one place, as opposed to dozens of different Trello boards. As for the login area, my site is built on Webflow. I use Memberstack for subscription management and the customer portal.

From there he works in two-day sprints. Most requests can be completed in 1–2 days and, if he needs more time, he sets expectations with the client so they know what to expect.

There you have it folks, clear communication for the win. We love to over-think things and imagine worst-case scenarios. I’ve done it and so have you. This leads to analysis paralysis and kills time that could have been used to create massive value for the right customers.

And massive value is right. As of the publish date of the AMA, Brett was generating more than $50k in MRR (monthly recurring revenue). Again, all by himself, with a bit of low-code automation and a healthy dose of grit and common sense.

The beauty of an unlimited service is in its simplicity. Subscribers can budget for a need that typically varies wildly in fees charged throughout the year.

If that isn’t attractive enough on its own for you, his operating expenses are less than $5k per year. His profit margin is insane. There is so much room for experimentation and further refinement.

How would I take this business to the next level?

When asked if he plans to hire employees, he expressed no interest in going that route. The one-man operation suits him well, currently.

But that got me thinking about:

  • How many more clients can he handle?

  • What can he do to ensure he doesn’t overwhelm himself?

  • How does staying a solopreneur affect his future?

So, armed with those questions, I would consider three things to help take the business to the next level. Visit my new website to read the rest of the article.

Can this solopreneur hit seven figures per year? What would you explore?

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