Today we’d like to introduce you to Max Pete.
Max, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
When I was in high school I wanted to be a music producer and go to Full Sail to study music production. However, my Mum definitely was not having it and wanted me to get a college degree and then do music production afterward if I still wanted. Because of all of the sacrifices my Mum made for me my whole life, I decided that I would get my degree to make her happy. I applied to one state school (San Francisco State University) and made a decision that if I didn’t get in there, I would do the community college route. But, I got into SFSU and started my college career.
While I was up at state, music was still a big passion of mine even though I wasn’t pursuing it as a degree. The Summer of my freshmen year I started Googling “Music Labels Bay Area” and found a small record label by Oakland that seemed cool. I reached out and asked if I could come in one day a week and do whatever they needed. They were happy with the free work, and I was happy to get some experience in the music industry.
From there, I ended up interning at a few more music/entertainment places in the Bay Area and also an online blog DJBooth, where I ended up running the music submissions and met and became good friends with Isaiah Rashad, who is now signed to TDE (Top Daw Entertainment) alongside Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, SZA, etc. I also got to intern at Warner Music Group in NYC which really opened my eyes into this business.
I really loved working behind the scenes in the music industry which fueled my passion for working in music. I eventually landed a full-time position in Philadelphia at a music agency and then came back to SF to work at a record label as a project manager. That job lasted about a year and was my last full-time job before jumping into freelancing.
At my last full-time job, a co-worker and I realized that the artists that we were working with didn’t have websites, but our team was too small to pay a developer a bunch of money to design 15+ websites for our artists. We discovered Squarespace and found a theme that worked for everyone, which we just plugged in new information for each person. While doing this, I quickly realized that I could turn this into a business, and got in my mind that I wanted to get out of the 9-5 and try freelancing.
That was back in 2016, and I am still freelancing to this day. While music is definitely still a huge passion of mine, I have also expanded my services to help small businesses, restaurants, entrepreneurs, etc. I offer website design + training (Squarespace/Shopify) and digital marketing, primarily in advertising with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, and YouTube.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has definitely not been smooth, I don’t think I know any freelancers/entrepreneurs who have not had a hard time in this. When I got into freelancing I thought that I would be doing designing and the actual work all day long and be so happy that I wouldn’t need to do anything else, but I was dead wrong. The actual “work” aka website design, setting up ads, etc. is about 25% of what I do on a daily basis. The rest is business development, meeting clients, sending invoices and keeping track of invoices (Shout out to AND CO for being the best software out there), and just general business tasks.
When you are freelancing, you essentially have to run every single department (unless you outsource it) and it quickly becomes overwhelming and exhausting. My first year I had no idea what quarterly taxes were or even how to properly keep track of leads.
Also, the biggest struggle that I face and a lot of my peers is simply the fact of having enough clients to keep busy and getting the bills paid. The biggest wake-up call was realizing that I was not guaranteed a paycheck every two weeks, so really going out and finding clients was a struggle at first and there are still definitely slow months now. Luckily, I have been able to build up a bigger referral network.
Luckily, I had a lot of mentors and people who I looked up to in this field who have helped me along the way.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a freelancer who specializes in website design (Squarespace/Shopify) and digital marketing, with a focus in advertising. I have been in the digital marketing field for 7+ years and have been designing websites in Squarespace for 2+ years now.
I am most proud of staying in business for almost 2 years now, to be honest. When I first started freelancing I knew nothing about it or what it took to run a business, so just being here being able to work for myself and have the clients that I do have is really what I am most proud of.
I have been able to work with a lot of clients solely based on my communication, not even the work that I produce. I have heard countless stories from clients who have worked with previous designers that completely ghost them while they are in the middle of a project. I have made it a priority to stay on top of my communication and always answer my client’s emails, just to give them the peace of mind that they can get ahold of me if they need to.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Definitely being born with one hand. For those that know me, I have coined the term and named myself The One Hand Wonder Man. It has helped me stand out of the pack as well.
But in all seriousness, I have had to learn at a young age on how to adapt to certain situations and make the best of it. My Mum always pushed me to “figure it out” so that is what I have been doing all my life. From learning how to play baseball to tieing my shoes, and to running a business, everything has been a learning process from the jump, and not giving up if it gets too difficult.
- Website Design starts at $2,500 and up
- Hourly Consultation rate is $95
- Website: www.maxpete.co
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: onehandwonderman
- Facebook: max.pete
- Twitter: @max_pete
- Other: www.linkedin.com/in/maxpete