Web Designers Don’t Know Business: Starting a web design business depends significantly on having the proper knowledge and resources. To help you get started, we’ve developed this e-book. It’s free to download and contains over 100 pages of tips and tricks to get your business off the ground.
And if you want an even bigger head start, sign up for The Hub by GoDaddy Pro. Registration is free, and with this platform, you will save a lot of time managing all the clients you will get.
Table of Contents
How to start a Web Designers Don’t Know Business
1. Set up your Work Environment
- Get ready to start your own web design business by setting up your work environment.
- Create your workspace that allows for work-life balance
- Entrepreneurs know that the struggle for work-life balance is accurate.
To minimize this struggle, create a dividing line between work and the rest of your life, starting with a dedicated space that allows you to work without interruption. Then, set and enforce boundaries, including rules, to ensure your area remains intact and you have time to work.
Make space for your home office—whether an entire room or just a desk in the corner—and set boundaries around others who use it.
Work with other residents, such as your family or colleagues, to establish working hours guidelines, including how to manage or avoid disruptions.
Stock your station with office supplies, so you’ll never run out of printer paper, labels, folders, or other consumables you regularly rely on for your work.
Find just a few stores where you can consolidate business purchases and set up accounts that earn rewards or discounts.
Realize how many hours you can reasonably work while maintaining productivity, protecting time with friends and family, and continuing to pursue your hobbies, sports, or other outdoor activities.
- Consider how best to adapt to the pace and be more productive daily.
- You know your emergency plan
- Power or internet outages are a crisis for those who work at home.
Know where you can park for a few hours, with available Wi-Fi and table space.
Two to three local coffee shops at varying distances, as a power outage may extend further than your neighborhood
- Nearest library (confirm open days/hours)
- Coworking spaces (confirm open days/hours and fees)
Invest in solid and capable hardware and software
You’re a web professional, so it’s essential to consider the right tools for creating graphics, editing photos, and documenting your work:
- Buy the best computer you can afford.
- Get an external monitor, printer, and scanner.
- Consider purchasing a dedicated camera if you are taking photos on client sites.
Find out how you will continue to work if your computer crashes, such as keeping a second computer for backup.
Find out what software you will need. If you’re not sure, many of them offer 30-day free trials. The first candidate on your list should be Adobe Creative Cloud.
For subscription services, find out what tariff level you need. For example, GoDaddy Pro Sites offers packages of specific features for managing larger groups of sites.
Don’t forget the ongoing costs of other cloud applications such as accounting software, video calling, and remote computer access.
Have a Bulletproof Backup Strategy – Web Designers Don’t Know Business
Don’t compromise on reliable security and backup plans for your computers and office. Having these systems in place will help you sleep at night.
Choose to back up your files remotely to OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or another provider.
Decide if you want a full computer backup to an external server; add that to your hardware budget.
Keep simplicity and scale in mind when choosing technology, look for tech solutions that offer the features and capabilities you’ll need later. Keep in mind:
- Simplified workflows.
- Look for tools that minimize the number of steps per task.
- Product trials.
- Take the time to work on the technique before you commit.
- You are scaling with success.
- The more successful you are, the more projects you will have to manage.
Transfer of ownership. For example, you can pay your clients’ web hosting costs or other fees. Find out how you will transfer ownership if costs must remain passed on to the client.
Be Financially Responsible – Web Designers Don’t Know Business
Be diligent about your business accounting and client billing information right from the start.
Use the accounting/accounting tool. Ensure the solution you choose easily creates professional invoices, automatically tracks expenses, and allows recurring invoices and costs.
You don’t want this information to make sure you get paid. However, you’ll also like this data for future projects, plus income/expense estimates and forecasts.
If that’s not your wheelhouse, don’t be afraid to ask for help with small business expense planning.
Even if you’re comfortable with your work, consider investing a few hours of consultation with a financial professional to create your chart of accounts and accounting structure.
What about Taxes?
Consider a long-term relationship with a tax professional who can manage your taxes and answer questions about your financial system.
Get a standalone business credit card. Buy what you need through your business (and save money using pre-tax dollars), including hardware, software, Internet services, cell phones, and office supplies. Points remain added up. Plus, it can help you deal with unexpected expenses that throw a spanner in your budget.
You know precisely how you will get paid
Before doing any billable work, write down the details of the request and receipt of money.
Define your invoicing processes and policies, including invoicing, delivery, and due dates based on billing dates.
Be clear about how you will accept payments, including checks, credit cards, and online systems such as PayPal or Stripe.
Set expectations for advances, late payment penalties, and consequences when invoices go unpaid.
Know how you will pay yourself. Will you receive a fixed salary on a regular schedule or an asynchronous payment based on income?
Consider using payroll, where a small monthly cost lets someone else take care of transferring money between accounts, ever-changing tax laws, and filing government forms correctly.
2. Build a Support Team
Now that you have your initial space, processes, and tools, it’s time to surround yourself with a community for support.
Find your beeps
Even if you work alone in your small office, look for ways to interact and engage with others on the web and in the business community.
Look for local meetups or other networking groups for freelancers and web professionals, such as meetups for WordPress users, designers, and developers.
Join online web design and development communities through Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media channels.
Be active in online and in-person discussions to let people know you care about what they have to say or solve problems.
Join community groups such as your local chamber of commerce, a service organization such as Rotary, or a small business owner networking group.
Pro Tip: Join online or in-person communities of your neighbors, alumni, or attendees in your current hobbies or outside interests. The people you meet in these communities may need your services or know someone who does.
Work with a Mentor
Whether fresh out of college or transitioning into high school, jumping into a new technology-based career can be both exciting and intimidating.
Mentoring works for everyone to build confidence, improve skills and set achievable goals.
When transitioning from employee to freelancer, a mentor who has already made the transition can impart wisdom gained only through experience.
Build your extended all-Star Team
Build a circle of known and trusted “power partners” who provide complementary services that work in sync with yours. You will all benefit without cannibalizing work or clients.
For example, you can work with local partners specializing in information technology (IT), search engine optimization (SEO), online advertising, social media, photography, video, or any other service area outside your comfort zone.
You can also create a list of virtual partners, including hosting providers, domain registrars, photo libraries, or third-party software solutions to integrate into the websites you build for your clients.
Consider how and when you can Outsource
As the leader of your business—even if it’s a one-person business—you must continue to prioritize and delegate.
You will never be able to do everything yourself if you want to learn, grow and expand your business.
Outsource tasks that don’t require your technical or creative skills—including taxes, accounting, data entry, and anything else you don’t enjoy.
To showcase your expertise, consider specializing based on the types of clients you take on or the projects you do.
Specializations could focus on a market space, a geographic area, or a specific type of websites, such as eCommerce or membership management. Communicate your place in your materials.
Your sweet spot is the intersection of your skills and passions.
It is where you want to spend most of your time, so if an activity is out of place, consider delegating, automating, or removing it from your to-do list.
The benefit of devoting all your time to your best work is that the quality of work tends to be higher, the results for your clients tend to be better, and you tend to be happier – which is good for avoiding burnout.
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