Running A Web Design Business From Home

In order to run a successful web design business from home you need ability, dedication and a good business sense. But it’s not impossible. You can do it!

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I’ve just published my second e-book Running A Web Design Business.

How to run a web design business from home

It’s not easy to explain everything I’ve learned in the last few years but here are some main tips:

  • The first thing and last thing you need to concentrate on is your site. You need to work on your main site almost everyday. The site needs a great looking portfolio. With a portfolio less is more, in my opinion – better to show 5 or 6 really great examples of your work than many average ones.
  • You also need to create a blog. You will get much more work through a great blog than with a fantastic looking portfolio. Because a good blog will bring in targeted traffic to your site, whereas a fantastic portfolio will only interest a very few people – and most of them will be other web designers!
  • Once you start getting clients you need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. Concentrate on well-paying high quality clients so you can bring in recurring revenue and avoid wasting time on people with small budgets.
  • Encourage your clients to use email so you have a record of everything. Detail exactly the expected scope and remuneration of a project so that both parties know what is happening and benefit from the execution of the job.
  • Expand into offering greater services for your clients only when you are sure you can perform them. And make sure you are charging the premium rates for these services as they are being completed to the highest standard: compete in terms of quality; never compete on price.
  • Specialise into areas you enjoy and create systems and packages of services you can supply to multiple clients. Document and iterate these systems as much as you can as this will save you time and facilitate outsourcing.

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Why did I write the e-book?

As always, I was getting a lot of emails from folks who wanted to set up their own design business and had questions about it, and from people who had started a business but wanted to expand. The questions lead to emails, the emails lead to blog posts, the blog posts lead to an e-book.

Sounds simple. Although the whole process took a little less than a year!

So, what’s in the e-book?

Everything you’ll need to know to set up and run and web design company. Wait, that’s a bit of a boast! Let me explain.

A few years ago I was commuting on an underground train to do very menial work in boring offices. In fact, my sense of professional self-worth was very low.

Now, I’ve been working from home for the last three years making money from my own clients designing websites.

I’m not going to say it was easy. But it isn’t prohibitively difficult either. You can do it!

You need hardware, software, back-up; you’ll need to start a proper company with accounts; you’ll need to find clients – not just any clients but the quality clients that are going to give you repeat business; you’ll need to bill them properly and the right amount; you’ll need to know what to tell a client and what not to tell a client; you’ll need to know how to diversify and specialize; and a lot more besides.

Also, I surveyed over 35 independent designers to ask them their take on getting clients, billing, equipment, etc., so that I was sure what worked for me, worked for others as well. The results are in the e-book.

Here’s the video from the sales page – I’d be interested to hear what you think.

Feedback from those who’ve bought it

I have been absolutely delighted by the feedback that I’ve got about the e-book so far. One of my subscribers, Tia Azulay, wrote to me to say:

“I’ve just bought and read your book and I wanted to say thank you! It covers several things that I know already, but many of which I haven’t put into practice yet, and I’m so grateful for the nudge to focus on them again. It also contains really useful links.

However, the best thing about it is that it is feels enabling and empowering – the honesty and joy of your own journey in design really shines through and it has re-energized me.”

And another subscriber, Edward Craig, said:

“I have been in the website design and hosting business for over ten years and in the first 10-minutes with your book I was shocked at how many things I’d missed.”

I’m really grateful for all the positive messages.

How well is it selling?

So far I have only offered it at a discounted price to my subscribers and it has been selling much better than my last e-book How To Get Clients. I will publish all the sales figures on or around July 1st – the half year point that I have set passive income targets for.

Why is it selling better? Possibly because this is more specific to web design business owners and How To Get Clients was more general, I don’t know. Both e-books are the same number of words, the same price point and of the same high quality (in my humble opinion!)

What do you think?

Is this a good idea for a premium e-book? Do you think I’m wrong to be asking for money for this?

What would prompt you to buy this or is there anything that would ward you off purchasing it?

I’m always keen to hear your comments about this, and everything else!

Comments

  1. says

    Fantastic work Rob! I am positive this e-Book is going to be a huge success, and I wish you all the best with it!

    Any up and coming web designer will be well served with this handy resource in his or her “bookshelf” ie. a folder on their computer called bookshelf… ;-)

    • says

      Thank you so much, Brendon, I’ve been getting some positive feedback so far and I can’t wait to see how the affiliates get on. I will let you (and everyone) know! :)

  2. Nika says

    Interesting E-book Rob. Good luck. For sure it will be a hit since web designing is really trending nowadays. You’ve picked the right topic! :D

  3. says

    Do you show the same portfolio to all potential clients? Or do you send different portfolios depending on what you anticipate they might be looking for?

    • says

      Good question, Laila, what I mean is a web designer (or print designer) will have an online portfolio with just a few examples of their work. But, yes, if a potential client wants to know if I have other specific examples that would be more relevant to them I will gladly show them. If I meet with clients or sent stuff to clients what I show them depends on the client, yes, definitely. :)

  4. Danai Panagiwtopoulou says

    I’ve been a freelance web designer for 3 years now (currently working at http://www.peopleperhour.com) and what i’ve noticed, while discussing with other freelancers too, is that the most crucial thing to do to help your client list get larger is to build a great portofolio! It’s the first thing the client sees and notices about you. I really liked your post. It’s very helpful!

  5. Mark says

    Do you recommend Bluehost for hosting your clients sites? I am wondering if I should be getting a reseller account when I am starting up or just one of their regular accounts (especially when I don’t know the amount of clients I will have)?

    • says

      Hi, Mark. Yes, I’m sure Bluehost would be fine for that. No need to get a reseller account straightaway – just upgrade when you need it. It will be good experience moving your site from shared to reseller. I don’t think the numbers of clients you have would be too important initially – just the standard reseller account would be fine.