Chris Evans is a freelancer running Evans Creative, based in Cheshire, UK.
We spoke to him about his work, 20i and – of course – his namesakes…
Hi Chris – what is it that your company does?
Hi all! I am a freelance consultant/website designer, and there isn’t a title for what I do, I guess! I provide social media services, brand management services, website design and SEO – all for small to medium businesses looking to get ahead online. My primary focus is on the local SEO and website design side of things really!
I also have several affiliate websites I run in my “spare time” as and when I can.
How’s business in these uncertain times?
I know a lot of freelancers and businesses are suffering at this time, and initially, at the start of COVID crisis, I took a little hit and things seemed unstable a little.
Still, I am coming out of it much stronger than I went in, and have a waiting list of clients to onboard. So without sounding like I am blowing a trumpet – pretty well!
The freelance life
Have you always been a freelancer? What made you become one?
My story of becoming a freelancer would need a whole blog on its own! Let’s summarise and say I drifted from job to job not enjoying my work at all, never really happy with the work I had.
I launched a sideline business which took off for me and fell into the website design business through that really. I was paying someone to do this for me and decided to try to lower my overheads and teach myself.
Six years later and I am here as Evans Creative doing it for others. Having worked with worldwide brands and small businesses alike I think I have done pretty well for a little freelancer!
You seem open about being a one-person business, does that ever cause you problems?
I have always been open and honest with clients about me being a freelancer and never had anyone complain about it in all honesty.
I work differently to many agencies and freelancers in that I’m very in-tune with what my clients want and need, and offer a very personal service. That’s something my clients seem to favour over anything else.
Have you always worked from home?
Always worked from home or my local coffee shop (Dick’s Bean Bar – highly recommended if you’re ever in Warrington looking for the best cup of coffee!). Keeping my costs down allows me to work with some small businesses that normally would not be able to afford such services.
And those that can afford it allows me more funds for purchases of the fun stuff like some high end PCs – ha!
How do you make use of our web hosting?
I use it for 90% of my work, be it my websites such as Evans Creative or some of the affiliate sites I have running, and also for hosting clients’ websites too. The flexibility and performance are just light years ahead of anything I have used before!
The flexibility and performance are just light years ahead of anything I have used before!Chris Evans
What made you decide to come to 20i?
I am a very “picky” person. When it comes to buying a product or service I research it to within an inch of its life. So when things came to a head with my previous host’s lack of service and performance, I went on the hunt.
One name came up time and time again – 20i – so I thought “let’s give them a shot”. Signed up for the first month, imported a random site – the largest one I had on my server – and instantly saw a HUGE improvement.
Then – I am not ashamed to admit – I tested the customer service out by asking some primary fundamental questions to test their reactions. 10/10 there: signed up and imported all my sites within days based on my experience!
I understand that you’re on our WordPress Unlimited plan. Have you have you ever thought about becoming a Reseller so you also get access to our Linux and Windows platforms too (as well as lots of other bonuses like discounted domains, HostShop etc.)?
Funny enough I am looking into this now – mainly for the discounted domains, but the rest I probably will not use in all honesty. Just how my business is set up seems to work for me.
No problem! What’s the thing you like most about our WordPress hosting?
In the words of Jezza: SPEEEEEEEEEEEED, and performance. It does what I need it to do when I need it to do it.
The added extras which are included are INSANE! So it saves me – and in turn my clients – lots of money, and me lots of time – which right now is pretty much more valuable than money!
What kind of savings have you made?
Like probably close to 50% of my operating costs on this part of my business – and no one can complain at that kind of saving!
Awesome. Did you have any problems when first setting up your hosting with us?
When I moved to 20i from a service provider who shall remain nameless, the only issues I experienced was my lack of technical knowledge.
As mentioned above, I am all fingers and thumbs when it comes to the hosting side. I know the basics but need assistance when it gets too technical.
The 20i team were VERY patient with me and sorted any issues I had caused, even teaching me a few things along the way – and the speed at which the team get back to you knocked my socks off!
As both a web designer and a SEO-person, do you think there’s increasing tension between the two fields? With Google’s recent concentration on performance, does it mean that a designer has to make ‘design sacrifices’?
Oddly I never see this as an issue; there is lots of talk of the updates coming and how it will impact things. In all honestly, I have been designing websites that way since I started.
SEO and website design for me is about taking what you know, mix it with what is required and put the user in the middle and come up with a solution. So many designers and SEOs get stuck on fixating about updates and design features, they forget the be-all and end-all is a user who knows nothing of all this and just wants a simple-to-use system.
Keep the user in mind at all times, and the SEO and design will work, Google will reward that – and most of all, focus on top quality content! I could talk about this all day long but will not bore you!
Keep the user in mind at all times, and the SEO and design will work, Google will reward that.Chris Evans
So, you probably get this a lot, but when I said I was going to get an interview with Chris Evans…well, you know the score. How do you deal with that?!
Firstly – I always start with “Hi I am Chris Evans, no not that one, or that one either…”
Think someone once replied with a comment about loving the owning of my own name ha! I would like to say it’s opened a few doors, but it hasn’t sadly!
Oddly, I chose this name…how? I took my wife’s name when we got married, without really thinking about spending the rest of my life going “No, really, my name’s Chris Evans!”
Thanks Chris – best of luck with your business!
Note: Chris has since rebranded as The Bearded Web Designer.
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What a great and inspiring read.
Enjoyed reading and had a look at the Evans Creative website and it looks really good with an interesting range of services.
Great stuff, thanks.
Thanks for sharing.
It’s always great to hear from business owners, who are doing well in the current climate.
A really enjoyable read.
This quite literally is me, except my last name isn’t Evan’s. Crazy!