Whether you have a degree or professional experience in web design, or you are making a career change, you may have dreamed of setting up your own company for a long time. It’s often said that a pivotal aspect of the ‘American Dream’ is entrepreneurship. The most difficult step is starting your own business is, well, starting it! If you want to start your own web design business, then please follow along closely with the path forward laid out below.
Put a Plan Together
First, you need to choose a name, set up a site yourself and decide what your focus is going to be. Some companies design for all types of businesses while others specialize. You also need to consider your rates and how you are going to charge clients. Before you quit your job or even officially launch your business, you need to have all of this in place. You may want to consider writing a business plan to help you think through the different elements of your business, including marketing and what your brand will be. You may also want to talk to an attorney about how to register your business and what kind of entity you will be for tax purposes.
Get Your Finances in Order
Although your business and personal finances should be separate, you should still work on getting your personal finances in order before launching. While it might not be possible to pay off all your debts, it can help if you pay them down or make a better plan for managing them. For example, you could consolidate your student loans to reduce your monthly expenses. To find out more and better understand your options for consolidation, a guide can help. You may also want to open up a bank account and get a credit card that you use only for business expenses.
Networking can start with colleagues, family and friends, but you will need to branch out beyond that. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce, and look for relevant professional organizations. You can also establish yourself as an expert in web design through posts to social media, guest blogging and offering yourself as a speaker or panelist at events online and offline. Networking should also involve getting to know professionals that you may be able to work with on future projects. For example, you may want to collaborate with a photographer, a content writer or a programmer for some projects. You might also need to find someone who can handle your accounts or a marketing professional.
Web design is a fast-changing field, and you will need to stay on top of trends in order to remain in business. The last thing you want to do is create websites that look dated or use tools that have been superseded by something better. Talk to other designers, read industry material and keep educating yourself about the latest technology and approaches through classes or in other ways.
Plan for Expansion
You don’t ever have to expand beyond a one-person business if you don’t want to, but you should think about what you will do if you find yourself in the enviable position of having more work than you can handle. Do you want to contract work out to other junior designers, or do you want to regularly refer people to another company? Stay open to changing as well. You might decide later you want to take on a partner or employees even if that’s not right for you now.