3 Tips for starting your own web design consulting business
So you want to start your own web design business. Is it actually something within your grasp? The short answer to that question is a resounding “Yes!” But there are certain things that you’ll need to keep in mind as you get this new company off the ground. Here are just a few of them.
Remember You’re a Consultant
If you’ve been designing websites for other companies, it may be easy to just label yourself as a web designer. But the truth is, with your new business, you’re a business consultant. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, you shouldn’t be selling yourself by the hour; that makes you little better than an employee. You should be creating a business model that is based around results. Your clients want to know exactly what they’re paying for, so set a pricing structure that is clear and concise, and provides you with the pay that your skills deserve.
But it also means that you are in a unique position as the owner of your business. Consulting businesses like yours—regardless of their niche focus—are ideal environments for learning and growing as an entrepreneur. Consulting expert Sam Ovens has said that he believes all entrepreneurs should start out as business consultants, because it provides opportunities to learn about cash flow, marketing, and scaling your business—lessons that are hard to learn on the fly if you’re in a product-based business. So remember that you’re officially a consultant now, and as such, you are poised to learn some of the most important lessons in entrepreneurship from a hands-on perspective.
Consider All Startup Costs
Consulting businesses like yours come with relatively low startup costs, but it’s still important that you consider every potential cost associated with starting this business. You may already have a computer and phone you can use, but some other costs you might want to consider include:
- Buying business cards
- Registering a domain name
- Registering as a business with your state
- Self-employment tax (including paying the half of Social Security tax that your employer would normally pay for)
- Paying for your own health insurance
Carmen Wong Ulrich, author of The Real Cost of Living said, “The biggest costs [of starting your own business] are personal. It’s very difficult to separate your life, especially if you are working from home. Every minute you are not working, you could be. You need to make 20% more, if not more than that, to have the same comfort level you had when on a salary.”
Business ownership comes with a lot of opportunities, but a lot of sacrifices as well. So make sure you know what the costs are before you take the leap.
Have a Portfolio
You should always have samples of your work to show to potential clients. When you’re providing a service that is as visually based as web design, you need to allow your clients to see the kinds of things that you are capable of creating. An online web design portfolio is a great way to do this, as it allows you to easily share the samples with potential clients without having to meet in person. Make sure that you have permission to include any websites you may have designed in previous jobs first. And if you don’t have a lot of stuff to share just yet, consider volunteering to design websites for local organizations or charities. Those few free jobs can go a long ways towards helping you land high-paying clients.
Starting your own web design consultation firm could be the first step to living the life you’ve always dreamed of, and these 3 tips can help you on your way to turning that entrepreneurial dream into a reality.