This Husband-Wife Duo Started A $1.2M/Year Web Design Business
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi there, My name is Nirmal Gyanwali, and I am the founder of Nirmal Web Studio based in Sydney, Australia.
We help time-poor business owners and marketing managers build, maintain, and optimize their websites and execute their ideas so they can achieve their business goals.
After spending over a decade in senior corporate roles, from web designer to senior executive positions, I started my WordPress agency with my wife, Saba, in 2015.
Since then, we have been providing bespoke WordPress solutions from SMEs to popular and reputed brands such as the University of Oxford, UTS, UNSW, Transport NSW, The Star, The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, amongst many other large brands.
We have gradually grown from 2 people to 25 global teams aligned with our purpose and vision in these last five years. And the team currently helps more than 100 clients to grow their business and achieve their online goals.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I discovered my passion for the web industry when I was 18 years old; that’s when I started building websites for businesses.
Learning is a life-long journey, and we strongly believe in constantly improving everything we do.
I worked for digital agencies for over a decade as a website developer, and I realized there were numerous players in the online space. Unfortunately, businesses on budgets were often allured by web developers offering attractive low prices, many of which left their clients with half-completed projects due to inexperience and poor project management.
I wanted to utilize my years of industry experience and help those businesses. So I founded my own boutique agency with my wife in 2015 – hence Nirmal Web Studio was born.
Learning is a life-long journey, and we strongly believe in constantly improving everything we do.
We literally started the business with zero investment. As I had a long experience in the industry, the only asset that required us to take off was a laptop and the willingness to take risks.
Take us through the process of designing your initial product.
As we are playing on the B2B and high-end market, the essential thing to win the client and maintain the trust is to offer top-notch services. And that is only possible when you have an A-team aligned with values and purpose.
The foremost thing we did when we came up with the idea of starting the business was to build a team (we call it the NWS family) aligned with our core values and vision. And initially, that was the most challenging part for me as being a technical person, and it was easy to get attracted to the technical stuff and look at everything in binary.
In those initial days, I was more focused on finding talented technical people who could solve complex problems and deliver quality products. However, along the way, I realized having technically skilled people in the team is not the only solution to go to the next level. We needed more than that. The major issues were around setting the culture of teamwork and growth. We needed leaders and people that care about people, not just technology and skills. So we started focusing on building a leadership team that could fill the gap.
One of the values that we always believed in was “continuous improvement”. So that’s what we focused on initially on every part of the business, from hiring to project management, the process to client acquisition. And we still live with those values day-to-day with everything we do.
Describe the process of launching the business.
As our main offering was website development, the first thing we needed to start our business was to build a website for our company. I already had a website from my name nirmal.com.au as a freelance web developer. And that was getting good traction on Google and getting some inquiries from time to time. So I thought, why not utilize the resources we already have to get things moving. And that’s what we did.
That is still our leading brand and helped us a lot in many ways to acquire new clients and build a reputed brand. Our focus was not just to acquire new clients but to serve them above and beyond, so we don’t have to keep looking for new clients, and as a result, we get new referrals from satisfied clients. With that in mind, we learned a lot from our initial clients and refined our services, approaching every step to do better and focusing on the ideal fit (rather than trying to make everyone happy).
At the same time, our team kept focusing on an inbound strategy to build the reputation and get the word out in the market. That is still our primary marketing strategy to acquire new clients.
Also, as we decided to expand our dev resources to Kathmandu, Nepal, we flew multiple times in the initial days to set up an office, hire and train the team.
We used to meet our team 2-3 times a year before COVID.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
From the beginning, we primarily focused on inbound channels to grow the business. SEO has been the main channel as we have in-depth knowledge in technical SEO and website stuff.
Having a website with clear messaging and target customers in mind is the key strategy in SEO. Unfortunately, many people focus on the SEO itself, diluting the key messaging and what you can do to solve your customer’s pain point. We primarily focused on the audience and kept improving along the way.
And we continuously share our experiences on our blogs that help our ideal customers in different ways. That allows us to build trust for our customers.
Recently, we have published an ebook to help our customers optimize their websites for speed. The loading time has been one of the critical factors to increase conversions and improve sales.
Along with SEO, we are active on LinkedIn. That has been really helpful to build a reputation for us. As we play in the B2B side and LinkedIn is the main channel marketing teams use to get the brand out there and build their professional connections.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Since the beginning, we have been profitable as we bootstrapped ourselves and put a lot of our own effort to get to this point. And as many businesses do, we tried to serve different audiences with different services and learned from those experiences.
As we strongly believe in continuous improvement, we have been refining our services, offering, and processes from time to time. We review everything we do at Nirmal Web Studio every quarter with our leadership team and reflect on it.
Last year, we decided to focus more on WordPress retainer services to help our existing clients get the most value out of their investment. Now, we work as an extension of their internal team so they can entirely rely on our team for all technical needs and focus on their priorities.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Learning is a life-long journey, and we strongly believe in constantly improving everything we do. The most exciting and helpful thing we did last year was starting a weekly leadership meeting. That helped all our departments and teams to be on the same page and learn from each other.
That has changed the whole game in many ways. We run for 90 mins with our strict plan and process, which is helping tremendously to improve and grow in multiple areas for everyone.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
As we are WordPress developers, we definitely use WordPress for all our marketing tools and websites. For project management, we use Zoho, Jira and Trello with our internal team and clients to collaborate.
And for documentation and communication, we are on Google Workspace.
And our marketing and sales team has been using PipeDrive CRM from the initial days.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I am an avid book reader. I believe I learned most of the things in my life from books. I read 30-40 books per year.
I choose a book by looking at what part I am struggling with in my life or what is the next thing I want to improve. And I pick a few books in that genre and try to master the skill or build a habit so I can improve. So the goal has always been in continuous improvement.
Some of the books that I loved from my initial days of starting the business to now are The E Myth, Good to Great, Start with Why, The Tribal Leadership, Legacy, Leadership and Self Deception, Dare to Lead and so on.
I usually don’t follow podcasts or any blogs or Social Media. I love distraction-free learning and getting into the depth of one topic and mastering it. I find reading books an active learning process, and I get time to pause, think, reflect and write notes.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Just get started. As Plato said, a good start is half the battle. No one is perfect; there is nothing such as a perfect time. But, you will learn along the way. That’s what life is all about (at least if that is what you believe in).
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are always on the lookout for good developers, marketing, and sales teams. Please see open vacancies here.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
WP Creative has provided an update on their business!
7 months ago, we followed up with WP Creative to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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