I Built A $200/Month Side Hustle Maintaining WordPress Sites

Jonathan Moore
Founder, PageGuard
$200
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
PageGuard
from Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
started January 2022
$200
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
11.5M
alexa rank
10
followers
7
followers
Discover what tools Jonathan reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Jonathan reccommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on PageGuard? Check out these stories:
I Built A $200/Month Side Hustle Maintaining WordPress Sites

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Jonathan Moore and I started my own little WordPress website maintenance business called PageGuard. The main thing we offer is monthly web maintenance for your WordPress website packaged nicely in three levels of support.

At the moment most of our customers are fellow entrepreneurs running their own business or people running a side hustle of some sort. We are a very new business and as of right now we are bringing in $200/month.

pageguard

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I began my professional web development career back in 2017 as a Website Builder for a company down in Louisiana called Ruby Shore. I worked almost exclusively in WordPress while dabbling in other CMS tools, building websites, and helping our customers elevate their businesses. We built sites ranging from mom-and-pop shops to giant websites for school districts.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you put in the time and can craft a vision for the future, all that’s left is to do is the work.

During my time with Ruby Shore, my wife and I did some moving around testing out where we wanted to live. We did stints in Louisiana, Florida, California, and Colorado and eventually ended up settling in Colorado. In June of 2020, I found a better opportunity as a Senior WordPress Designer at a company called Daxko where I took on more of a leadership role in managing a team of Associate Website Designers. At Daxko I worked on high-priority websites for larger YMCAs and eventually, we built a website for one of the largest YMCAs located in Houston.

During my time at Daxko, my wife and I had our first child, a super cute baby boy in May of 2021. We decided that we did not want to send him to daycare right away and that I would stay home with him and daddy daycare was established. My wife is a Physician’s Assistant at Grace Family Practice and was making more money than me so it was a logical choice for me to stay home. This is when I started ramping up my freelance work with some companies out in California, just working on various website projects when I had time (mostly at night when everyone was asleep).

One day I had a friend reach and he told me that he had a colleague with some website issues and that his websites were completely down. A few days after that I had another person reach out to me with the same issues, their website was down. One of them ended up being some hosting/domain issues and the other was infected with malware. After fixing both of the sites I thought to myself “Ya know, these problems are very avoidable if you keep your website maintained to some degree.” And at that moment the idea for PageGuard was beginning to come into existence.

To this day, both of those people are receiving maintenance from PageGuard and we have helped them keep their websites up to date and functioning properly.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

Coming up with the actual service itself took more time than I had initially realized. I have built two hundred-page websites before, this should be easy, right? Not exactly. I wanted to offer simple solutions for people but also be able to offer more if they wanted more. So it became a balancing act of trying to create that easy, affordable service for anyone to take advantage of but also be flexible to handle larger clients with more needs.

One of the nicer things about the business I run is that the startup costs were relatively small. I just needed a domain, a logo, and some elbow grease. After spending way too much time thinking of a good business name, I finally found a good domain (of course all of the .coms were taken). I then designed a logo which I had to pay for to keep the rights so that was a few bucks as well. All in all, it was about a hundred bucks to get the things I needed to launch the business.

Designing the website was probably the easiest part of all of this. I already had some ideas and mind and wanted to make it super simple and easy for users to digest. The website you see now is very close to the launch version, minus some text changes.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The actual launch of the business was pretty tame. I started posting on all my channels and emailing people I have worked with before to let them know of the new service. My main source of outreach is social media so I created some accounts and started posting and started interacting on Twitter and Facebook. I did get some good feedback about the site itself and the services I offered. Some feedback was pretty harsh and made me reevaluate my pricing structure.

When I launched the website, I had three different packages and three different price points. Not even a couple of days into launch I changed the pricing because I concluded that it was too much and that the value was just not there yet. So the first couple of weeks were spent researching what else was out there and what other companies were doing in terms of offerings. I feel much better at where we sit with pricing and what we offer our customers now. So the launch ended up being a little backward.

Passion will carry you to it, and hard work will carry you through it.

If I could go back I would do way more research beforehand, rather than jumping the gun. I was so pumped to get this off the ground that I probably stumbled a little at launch. I could have prepared a lot more and could have had more things ready.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I think having options is always good for customers. Currently, you can pay twenty-five bucks a month and that will keep your website up to date and running properly. Or you can pay one hundred bucks a month and that gets you much more security efforts and some support hours as well. There is also the option to pay hourly for additional website work if you want that as well. So we cover a good base for people who need help with their website in general.

Marketing is a giant web of confusion for me. Currently, I run Facebook Ads here and there to build up my local SEO and brand awareness. I tried a countrywide ad and it was horrible. If I can suggest anything, it would be to build up your brand locally first, then look to extend your reach outward. My local advertisements have been a bit better, even though I haven't pumped too much money into them yet. I am still learning how to market effectively.

One thing I did discover was Canva. Oh my goodness I love Canva. It makes creating marketing material infinitely more fun and much easier. They have thousands of good templates that you can edit and create the perfect video or image. I use it all the time now and am starting to get the hang of creating effective marketing material there. I can’t recommend it enough.

Facebook Ads So Far:

pageguard

There is so much out there now, that your competition will be stiff and constant. But if you can find that one section of the market that you want to appeal to then go for it.

One thing that has worked has been just talking to friends and colleagues. I have had people reach out to me telling me they saw my Facebook post on my account and new people that needed website help. So there is some good potential there.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

As of right now we still have our couple of initial customers and we are trying to reach more potential clients. The main focus now is to build up the brand and reach more people. Our core audience is smaller businesses, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed. Eventually, we would want to branch out of that even more but right now we are comfortable with that niche, especially in the internet age we are in now where anyone can start a business of their own from their house.

We just recently launched a new service, Rapid Revive. This new service is targeted directly at people whose websites are currently down. The idea here is to help people restore their website, for a flat fee, then upsell them to one of our monthly packages to make sure their site never goes down again. We are getting some good traffic to this service, even though we just launched it.

Google Analytics - Page Traffic

pageguard

The long-term goal with PageGuard would be to bring in enough clients so that we can expand the team and create a good oil maintenance machine. I love what I do, and I want to help others pursue their passion while I watch over their websites for them. I am still a stay-at-home dad, working on this in my downtime. I love every second of it, but it is hard to build something from the ground up. But man is it fun.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The biggest thing I have learned is that I need to be open to critique. I ran a small ad on Minds.com once and got some harsh feedback telling me my service was a bad idea. After that, I reevaluated the pricing and restructured it so that my packages had more value to customers. I am very happy with what we offer now.

Something else I have learned, and am still learning, is that Rome was not built in a day. I will get down sometimes because my ads are not bringing in clients or my posts are not getting in engagement. But I am learning to let things sit for a bit and to be patient with it all. A few weeks after launch, I had an old friend reach out to me to see if we could work together. He is a graphic designer that has clients who need website help. So a good opportunity came to me just out of the blue because we are friends on Facebook.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I’ll mention it here again, but Canvahas been a great tool for creating professional-looking marketing material. Sometimes I can craft nice images for ads in a matter of minutes. It has been one of my favorite tools to use so far. I have a pro subscription that runs me about fifteen bucks a month and I get my money's worth.

Another tool I use is Bufferfor posting to multiple social channels at once. The nice thing about Buffer is that I can schedule posts out for the month and it has a calendar view so I can see the entire month of posts. It also lets you customize each post for each platform, so that you can tailor the post to each specific platform. You can post to three channels for free and it has been great.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I don’t do too much of this (the little one takes up most of my time) but one thing I follow that motivates me is The Rock on social media. Now that might sound very millennial of me, but I know that he works hard and puts in the time. He is always working on something new or building up his current brands (a huge fan of his ZOA energy drinks too). He is always pushing hard work and dedication and that keeps me going sometimes.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I think nowadays you have to find a niche that you are passionate about and just go after it. There is so much out there now, that your competition will be stiff and constant. But if you can find that one section of the market that you want to appeal to then go for it. If you want to start a business, one thing I can recommend is to pitch it to friends and family first just to get a reaction. I pitched my idea to my wife and she thought it was a great idea.

One thing I see sometimes is that when people try to start a business they often try to do too much at once. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you put in the time and can craft a vision for the future, all that’s left is to do is the work.

Passion will carry you to it, hard work will carry you through it.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Jonathan Moore, Founder of PageGuard
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

Discover the best strategies of successful business owners

Join our newsletter and receive our handcrafted recap with the best insights shared by founders in Starter Story each week.

Useful, convenient, and free:

Did you know that brands using Klaviyo average a 95x ROI?

Email, SMS, and more — Klaviyo brings your marketing all together, fueling growth without burning through time and resources.

Deliver more relevant email and text messages — powered by your data. Klaviyo helps you turn one-time buyers into repeat customers with all the power of an enterprise solution and none of the complexity.

Join Brumate, Beardbrand, and the 265,000 other businesses using Klaviyo to grow their online sales.

Try Klaviyo for free right now ➜