The Internet has increased exponentially the number of businesses that you can start from the comfort of your home. But just because you have the skills necessary to get the job done, it’s not a given that you have the business acumen needed to make a financial success of your venture. For all those web designers out there who are looking to make more than a buck or two with the talent you know you possess, here’s how you can set up a profitable home-based design business:
• Make your work talk for you: It’s better to practice than to preach, and so the best thing to do is to let your work, rather than your tongue, do the talking. The first step towards getting your clients to trust that you’re the best person for the job is to get them to see a sample of your work, and the best way to do this is to make your own website a reflection of your skills. People who stop by your pages must be impressed with what you have to offer just by looking at the way you’ve designed your site.
• Show that you’re available: To do this, you need to register with online companies that allow you to promote your services as a web designer. Set up your profile so that your rates, terms of service, previous designs, referrals from clients, and any other aspect relevant to your work are prominently displayed and that new clients can easily contact you, either over the phone or through email.
• Be accommodating: The customer is king, and this is why you need to be as accommodating as you can without compromising on your time and profits. The thing with the perfect web design is that you need to work till it becomes perfect. You need to understand that what’s good in your eyes may not look the same in your clients’, and your job at the end of the day is to satisfy them. So work on any number of revisions, but make sure you focus on your clients’ needs so that you get it done faster.
• Work, work, work: If you’re a beginner, it’s best to take on as many jobs as you can, even if the pay’s not good. This is the only way you’re going to be able to enhance your portfolio and impress new clients who will be willing to pay more once they know you’re good at your job. Testimonials from old clients also help in boosting your popularity. Besides the positive feedback displayed online, you’re also bound to get word-of-mouth referrals if you’re both good at your job and polite and approachable with your clients.
• Minimize pro bono work: You may have helped out family and friends before you launched your business as a professional venture, but you must draw the line somewhere when asked to design for free. For one, it eats into your schedule and leaves you with less time to focus on your clients’ needs. For another, you could be earning good money in the time you’re pleasing your near and dear. Be firm but polite in your refusals – they must realize that you are a professional and that it’s not fair to demand your services just because you work from home.
This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of web design school. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: email@example.com.