Take the First Steps to Start a Web Design Business
Learning website design skills always comes first but, if you feel comfortable as a freelance webmaster, here are some of the other first steps to starting your own web design business.
Some tips and advice for beginners. Starting a web design business involves much more than putting up a website and announcing you’re a designer. Just like any small business, becoming a freelance designer takes hard work and plenty of marketing know-how.
If you know very little about online marketing, then be willing to learn through tutorials, articles and how-to training videos. These are essential to make your web design business a success.
But there are still some other aspects of owning a business that you may not have thought of yet. Let’s explore some must-haves of starting a web design business.
Be Financially Prepared
While starting an online business isn’t near as expensive as opening a local office, there are still a few money matters to consider.
For starters, if you plan to work as a full time designer, you’ll need some capital saved up for setting up a website, promotions, printing and home office supplies.
You’ll also need to have at least several months worth put back for living expenses unless you have another source of income. It may take this long to build a clientele that can support your business.
Hint: Check on a small business loan or opt for a personal loan if you’re low on funds.You might also have a friend or another designer that’s willing to partner with you and supply some of the funds.
Develop a Business Image
Starting a web design business gives you an opportunity to maximize your creativity as a designer. This, of course, starts with your own business and website.
Think of a catchy but professional company name. The logo should be easy to recognize, with a website domain name that’s easy to remember.
Once you come up with a name and logo, have this printed on business cards, letterhead, invoices, etc.
You might do most of your business online, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mail out special offers to clients. You’ll want to include a business card in all thank you cards or holiday cards, sales letters, etc.
Create a Professional Services Contract
Before signing on your first client, create a downloadable contract that your clients can print and sign. It’s easy to create, and will establish guidelines for both you and the client so each will know what to expect.
Network with Other Designers
Build a network with other business owners-graphic designers, Web copywriters, Web hosts, business consultants-anyone who might help you reach potential clients.
Give these folks a stack of your business cards and ask them to recommend you. Speak with other freelance designers and let them know you’re willing to help with any overflow projects if they wish to outsource during busy times.
Find Affordable Marketing Solutions
Use pay-per-click ads, magazine classifieds and online ads to reach potential clients.
Offer free services such as “lookup domain” services and contests to build an e-zine subscriber list.
Your list of past, present and potential clients will become your most valuable asset in your web designing business so treat it with respect.
Bonuses and First Time Offers
Offer low cost special offers for first-time clients, and then let them know about your package deals. You might choose to charge less up front if clients are willing to pay an ongoing monthly fee for regular updates.
You can promote to businesses locally as well as online – there’s no market limit in the world of web development!
Don’t Get Too Excited over the Highs Nor Too Discouraged over the Lows
Another thing to remember when starting a web design business is to keep your cool when things seem to be moving slow. Don’t expect visitors to buy on their first visit to your site.
Build a subscriber list so you can contact them over and over again. This builds trust and gives you multiple opportunities to sell your services. Make yourself readily available by e-mail, instant messaging and phone to answer questions.
Use this simple plan for starting a web design business to reach for your dreams. Keep it simple and don’t be afraid to try new ideas as a website designer. After all, many business owners realize that the best website building tools in the world can’t replace a dependable, skilled designer!