Freelancing as a web designer to earn extra income is a good idea. However, if you honestly want to break the shackles of a nine-to-five job, you should think of starting a full-time business of your own. You won’t have the security of having a job to fall back on should your plans not materialize. But, setting up your own home-based web designing business has gotten a lot less risky today.
You don’t need large infrastructure or a team of other web designers to start your web designing gig. However, you will need to work hard to put a good business plan together. You will be going on a daunting, yet exciting rollercoaster ride. This journey will help you evolve not only as a web designer, but also an entrepreneur.
So, what does it take to have a home-based web designing business as your sole breadwinning profession? Read on to find out.
Find out How Much Will It Cost
You are probably thinking all I need is a computer with internet access and a phone to start my home-based web designing business. As I already have those, why find out how much it will cost.
You needs to get your facts right!
Every business has costs associated with it. Even low-investment business ideas need some investment. You will also need to spend on registering your domain name, setting up and hosting your portfolio website, printing your business cards, flyers or any other stationery, and marketing.
You may also need to buy new web designing-related software. You can, of course, use the free trial period to get acquainted with the desired software. Some web designers tend to hop from one trial to another to put off these expenses.
However, this strategy may not be the best one when working as an independent professional. You need to invest in suitable software as soon as possible.
You will need to set up an online payment processing system to receive payments via credit cards and other online transactions from your clients. You will also need financial management software to manage your expenses.
Finally, you may need to get a few local business permits, pay local taxes or even get insurance. So, talk to a local accountant or tax attorney to find out how much this will cost you. Make sure to cover all your financial commitments before setting up your business.
Set up Your Portfolio Website
Once you have registered your domain name, you will need to set up your portfolio website. Apart from being a point of contact, it can be used to showcase your web designing skills. So, set up a functional and aesthetically-pleasing website.
Make sure to keep the following points in mind:
- Try to adopt a minimalist design. Most people like clean and simple designs.
- Avoid going overboard with fancy coding or bloated animation as it can backfire, resulting in low Web traffic.
- State the services you offer, your charges, and work experience clearly. For example, be clear that customers will have to pay 50% project costs upfront and the rest after completion.
- Be honest when describing your skills and work experience. If possible, share customer reviews on your website.
- Always use high-quality images, videos, and other media.
- Don’t offer your services for free. However, doing charitable web designing work for local NGOs, social clubs, schools or church groups can add value to your portfolio.
- Make sure your website is responsive so that it can work on any digital device.
Set up Finance and Accounting
You may be a passionate web designer who hates numbers. Trust me, most of us do! But, the primary goal of a business is making money. This, in turn, involves knowing your numbers. Setting up your finance and accounting allows you to understand how much you can charge. You don’t want to end up working for peanuts.
You will also need to know how much you need to make every month to stay afloat. As this is going to be your sole income, look after your finance and accounting correctly. First, you need to set up a separate bank account with corresponding debit and credit cards. You should also get financial tracking software to keep a record of your income and expenses.
Streamline your invoicing strategies in advance. Determine the various factors, including invoice creation, payment due dates, late payment charges, and policies, for recovering unpaid dues. You will also need to decide how much you can pay yourself each month after deducting your expenses.
You can either pay yourself a fixed salary or a fixed percentage of your monthly income. You will need to create a strategy to pay taxes. It is better to talk to a tax consultant when setting up your finance and accounting strategies.
Start Networking to Build Your Brand
Web designing is an extremely competitive field. In fact, you will be competing with not only other solopreneurs, but also web designing agencies. So, you will need to sharpen your marketing mindset from the start.
Tell your target audience why they should hire you instead of your competitor and what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is. Start with your professional and personal network of friends, family, professionals, and current or former customers. Tell them about your newfound business. They can help promote your business through word of mouth.
Of course, it will take some time to build your online presence. To quicken the pace of your marketing efforts, consider hiring a digital marketing agency if you have a budget.
The most affordable and effective way to create your online presence is through social media. Create separate social media profiles for your business from the beginning. You can also tap into freelance work platforms such as Freelancer, Behance, Upwork, and Toptal where you can promote your solopreneur profile.
Think of Other Things You Can Offer
You can start with only web designing services. However, once your business gets going, consider offering additional services as well. Most web designing firms provide a package of interrelated services such as logo designing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, and website security services. You will need to offer similar services to compete with them.
As a result, you will need to expand your solopreneur business model into a small team of professionals from respective fields. You can tap into your social network to connect with professionals offering these ancillary services. You can cross promote your services to each other’s client through referrals.
Be careful when branching out though. You shouldn’t lose your focus on your core offerings. Also, make sure you have the necessary groundwork (infrastructure and time management) laid down to work with a team of professionals either under one roof or virtually.
It’s never too late to start a home-based web designing business of your own. You can keep these five tips in mind to hit the ground running. However, take your time to conceptualize, implement and grow your business because it is going to be a challenging journey. If you have any doubts or questions or are struggling to set up your business, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. We will be more than happy to help. Best luck!