Web Design is one of the most worthwhile businesses to start because it is a service-based business, there are almost no startup costs, no cost of sales and you can run it from your home.
Almost every business needs a website. New businesses are coming up every other day. You just need to look around and you can find potential customers all around you.
Here are the steps you should take when starting a web design business
1. Learn how to design a website.
A good place to start is WordPress. According to builtwith.com WordPress is currently the top Content Management System (CMS) in the world, with a percentage of 37%, the rest divided among other Content Management Systems and Web Builders.
There’s lots of WordPress tutorials and courses. The best teacher, however, is learning by doing. Get a friend or relative who will allow you to develop their website for free. Then use that opportunity to learn as you build a website for them.
2. Register a Business
Registration can enable you to get businesses from companies that only deal with other businesses. Getting your business registered also gives you some seriousness. Others will be ready to take you seriously and you are likely to grow your business faster.
3. Get a good web hosting company to partner with
For a website to be accessible on the internet, it requires a domain and hosting service.
At least 50% of the web design clients you get will require a hosting service. You should identify a possible hosting company that can give you a commission for every sale you make.
Some Web Designers also choose to offer web hosting as a service. This provides additional income. If you take this path, ensure you learn basic troubleshooting for email and website issues. A short course in security can also be an added advantage.
4. Give good customer service
Always provide an excellent service. Determine to do a good job every time, and give excellent customer service. In case of potential disputes with clients, follow the path of least confrontation/resistance. Maintain professionalism at all times, and where you can’t deliver in good time, inform your customer and provide reasons you cannot deliver on time.
Maintain a good relationship as much as possible, never lose your temper in front of the client. Be very careful with writing emotional/negative emails to customers. Wait until you calm down before addressing the situation.
5. Be professional
If you are not professional, you can lose a lot of time and money. Start every project with a contract that stipulates the terms of reference for the web design project, timelines, costs, inclusions, and exclusions. In case the customer adds work that is not included in the contract, use your judgment in such a way that you don’t ruin your business relationship, while you don’t lose time and money.
Have a system of design and implementation, to make a better output. This is a process that starts from requirements gathering, to design ideas, implementation, and testing.
6. Decide on your niche
Once you have developed a few websites, it is good practice to niche down to one, two, or three types of businesses. You may find that you prefer working with a specific type of business, eg tours, NGO, Law firms, etc because you understand it very well. This shall make turnaround much faster for you, and you will also be able to advice your customer on the best way to approach the project. Interestingly, because of referrals, you may find that most of the customers you get come from niches similar to what you have done.
7. Choose your customer level
Pricing web design services can be very diverse, depending on the clients you have been interacting with. If you go for the low paying customers, then you need to have many to make enough money to run your business and make a profit. If you go after the higher paying customers, it may be harder to close one business, but one of those may be worth 10 of the low paying customers. Either way, it is good practice to work with either, rather than both.
8. Join Forums
Facebook has many professional forums you can join to get answers to questions you might be having in design and development. There are other websites online that are extremely helpful, such as wpbeginner.com, neilpatel.com, and many more.
9. Embrace Growth
What kills most web design businesses is burnout. As a solopreneur, you can find yourself working 24/7 to beat your deadlines, and end up getting tired of designing websites and dealing with clients.
The success of a business depends on the success of every component. These include sales, accounting, marketing, customer service and support, and business planning strategy. Your income cannot go beyond a specific ceiling if you keep doing it alone. Multiply your efforts to multiply your income.
Save a percentage of all your income to enable you to hire staff and grow your business. Do not hire too fast, start with your skills gaps, and what makes the business grow fastest. You can outsource some business operations, such as human resources and finance for a start, and get full-time employees for core business such as Web Design and Development, Sales, and Support.
In today’s business world, pivoting is the key to expanding your potential. There are many more services you can offer your customers other than web design. There’s online marketing, sales funnels, mobile app development, white-label software, SaaS software, and training.
In conclusion, Web Design Business is a splendid opportunity. It’s easy to learn, so long as you have the interest and patience. You can either get customers from your neighbourhood, or the other side of the planet. Keep your customers happy, and they may give you repeat business or send more customers your way. Get new skills all the time. Take at least one hour per day to do relevant short courses. There are lots of free and paid courses online.