Starting your own web design business can seem as simple as creating your own website and advertising, but there is far more to it than that. Before you even think of drawing in clients, you must have the basics in place.
You must start off with a business plan that is workable and realistic. You need to identify your target market based on the skill-set you possess, and your ability to fulfill the projects that may come your way. You need to think about whether larger projects are the best to start with considering that starting your own web design business may mean your finances are in limbo for a while. A longer project may mean you have to wait longer to get paid, unless you can organize staged payments. You must also consider whether to aim for a niche market that suits your particular abilities, or identify the services most sought-after by clients, and tailor your skills to fit the bill.
- BUSINESS ACUMEN
Around half of all businesses fail within the first five years. Just because you do not have a shop or rented office or any stock does not mean you are not running a small business. Starting your own web design business makes you every bit as susceptible to failure as the next person if your business head is not screwed on right. You must know how to deal with clients, accountants, bankers, and know how to keep your business records in good order. Time-management and conflict resolution are required skills, and you must be able to cope with stresses and deadlines. The right temperament is crucial.
- WEB TOOLS AUTHORING
Web designers must be able to create a simple web page by coding in HTML, but you need to find the web authoring tools that best suit the way you work, and the requirements of your operating system. Starting your own web design business without the correct tools for the job is jumping the gun.
- GRAPHIC & COPY RIGHT ISSUES
You need to remember that images and graphics cannot just be culled off the internet and used without thought. This could cause you to be in breach of copyright laws and lead to possibly costly legal trouble. If you are not prepared to shell out on royalty payments for images, you must have a ready source of free-to-use images, such as iStockPhoto, Royalty Free Photos, or Photos.com.
- GRAPHIC DESIGN TOOLS
As images and graphics play such an important part in web design, when starting your own web design business you must have suitable graphics editing software. This should be fit for purpose in that you must be able to create the effects you want whilst not being fazed by a host of applications that are too complex or unnecessary for your personal needs. Adobe Photoshop may be in this latter category, and it is expensive, so you could look around for an open source option instead.
- LEGAL & BUSINESS ISSUES
This takes in such matters as drawing up contracts for your various projects that cover both parties, to managing your accounts. Starting your own web design business without getting your paperwork in order leaves you open to all sorts of legal and financial shenanigans further down the line. If this is an area you are unsure about, you are better off paying lawyers and accountants to cover these jobs. It is a false economy to skimp on these, go the do-it-yourself route, and find you overlooked something essential. Remember also that you should form a legal business entity to protect yourself and create the most tax-efficient situation for yourself.