6 Tips You Want to Know Before Starting Your Web Design Business

Photo by Devin Edwards on Unsplash


Starting any business is something of a hit-or-miss process that tends to have a steep learning curve for everyone. Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs can encounter the unexpected when starting a new business.


That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t some common issues and challenges or that you can’t learn from the experiences of others. Here are 6 things people that started their own web design businesses wish they had known going in.


1. Don’t quit your day job – yet


If you are dependent on your web design business to generate income, you need clients. If you don’t already have them, that makes you desperatefor them. The more desperate you are, the more you will be willing to give clients the moon for a pittance.


Clients that don’t want to pay good money for your services can often be the most difficult clients. When you are desperate for clients (and income) you lose your ability to pick and choose which clients you want to work with and which ones you don’t.


While there will always be some level of compromise if you want to eat, the more of a steady client base you build up before you leave your full-time job, the less desperate you will be.


2. Learn how to spot a black hole


There are many ways in which business is like dating. You wouldn’t think much of a person that went on several dates with someone they had zero interest in developing a deeper relationship with.


Just like in the dating world, there are plenty of people in the business world looking to get as much from you as they can without having any intention of giving anything in return.


One way to avoid this is to get them financially invested quickly. An attorney might give a free 10-minute consult just to hear your case, but anything beyond that is going to cost you. This principle should apply to all businesses.


3. Never accept “final payment on completion”


One of the biggest challenges for almost any client based service is getting the active participation of the client. Client participation can include providing content, offering input at various stages and giving periodic approval.


Clients can be wishy-washy, change their minds frequently, drag their heels or stall out at any stage or step of the way, including the very end. Be sure and build in payments for each stage rather than one bulk sum to be paid at the end. Do that, and you may never see a dime.


4. Get religious about creating boundaries


It is hard enough for people to maintain any type of work life balance when they live in an entirely different place from where they work. Many web design businesses, however, are home-based businesses. This makes sense, since you don’t generally need an office to run a web design business and not having a separate office cuts down on overhead.


What it also does, however, is make it almost impossible to stop workingentirely. Web design is a creative endeavor and as such, you need time to find inspiration and recharge your own batteries. Building a business is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to build a solid, successful, long-lasting business, get religious about carving out personal time and adhering to it religiously.


5. Make your peace with sales and marketing


You may have become a web designer because you didn’t want to go into sales. CPAs, attorneys and doctors may have all thought the same thing. In fact, pretty much every small business owner wants to do what they are best at, which might not be sales.


Get over it. If you want to eat, you need clients, if you want clients you have to go out there and get them.When you can afford to hire a sales and marketing department, you might be relieved of the burden of selling your services. Until then, get used to the idea of cold calling, prospecting and becoming an absolute marketing maniac.


6. Find a partner if possible


Some of the most successful companies in the world have been built by partners, not individuals. Think Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the Steves Wozniak and Jobs or Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman (Nike). Not only can having a partner lessen both the work and financial load, but it also gives you someone to celebrate and commiserate with.


While having a partner can be a great thing, it is also important to choose carefully or it can be hell. Good business partnerships also require some of the same disciplines that good marriages do.


There are likely to be any number of issues you and your partner won’t see eye-to-eye on. If you learn to value and respect each other’s opinions and work together to find solutions, your business will just be that much stronger. If you can’t find common ground, however, you may end up in a nasty divorce. One that may end up destroying the business you worked so hard to build.


Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Owning your own business and being your own boss can be heaven or it can be hell. You can work so hard you burn out faster than a birthday candle lit with a blowtorch or become so desperate for clients you actually lose money. The most important thing to remember when starting or building any business is “slow and steady wins the race.”



Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Contact her @JazzyWilliams88


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