I didn’t know it at the time, but setting up WordPress on RobCubbon.com in 2005 was a life changing moment.
I know people are going to think that:
- ‘This guy’s lying. “Life changing” – what is this guy on about?’ I’m not lying. It was life changing!
- ‘This guy did it in 2005 – it’s 2012 now and it’s not the same.’ It is the same. You can do it now!
- ‘I can’t do this, I can’t make a success of my own business, I’m not good enough to do web design.’ That’s what I thought. I was wrong. You can do it!
It is perfectly possible for anyone to set up a blog and use it to generate leads for a business even today!
But what’s so good about all this? Why am I so insufferably evangelical about WordPress? Good question. Here’s why…
Many people might think that running your own business means working 24/7 and being tied to your computer. Well, sometimes it does!
But when you work from home you’re free to do what you want, when you want. If it’s a nice day you can just go off somewhere (the countryside, a museum, a nice restaurant) and miss the weekend crowds. And you can make the decision in the morning and just do it – much more fun than having everything planned.
It’s not only the freedom of deed – being an entrepreneur frees your mind. When you are a small part of a big machine (as can happen in large organisations) there is a tendency to pass off difficult work to other departments when you’re not entirely sure how to do it. However, when you’re running the business you can’t do that and you have to think creatively to solve problems.
And let’s not forget there’s the freedom of location as well. When you run a web design business you can work from anywhere – all you need is an internet connection and a laptop. Now that you’re location independent you can leverage geo-arbitrage. This means earning in a strong currency (pounds, dollars) whilst living somewhere with a low cost-of-living. (This isn’t something I’ve realised to it’s full potential yet. But, stay tuned!)
Greater quality of design work
Once you set up your own design business, you’re the boss. That means nobody looks over your shoulder saying, “err, could you make it zing!” And, you don’t get the senior designer to pass all your work. You only have the client to worry about.
No doubts whatsoever, I’m a ten times better designer since I became the “senior designer” (read: only designer). I became the accountant, receptionist and marketing department, as well – you get the idea.
Working for other people stripped me of confidence to take on large design jobs. Confidence returns when you’re pushed into the deep-end professionally and you – somehow – manage to stay afloat.
Greater quality of service
Another thing I really love about running my own web design business is that it makes it easier to provide a quality service for my clients. An independent web designer is lean, flexible and economical when compared to a big organisation.
Why? Hiring a single web designer to do your website is better than a large web company because:
- There is only one person doing the design, the development, the SEO, the marketing, the social media strategy, the business cards, or whatever the client wants. This means consistency of look and message can be easily maintained across all aspects of the design.
- Allied to the above point, there is no disconnect between the client and the end product. The brief doesn’t get passed between account managers, designers and others.
- A great relationship. There can be an “Us and Them” relationship between client and creatives in large design companies which isn’t helpful. This never occurs when a designer communicates directly and properly with the client.
- It can save you time. You can brief a website into a web designer and they’ll draw a contract for you to sign straightaway. After that, a fully functioning website can be up and running within a few days or weeks.
- It can save you money. Obviously, as there are no account managers, accountants, receptionist, or whatever else to pay, an independent web designer with low overheads can offer an extremely competitive price.
- It’s good for the environment. The traditional model of work – millions of people travelling independently to the office for two hours each day – is extremely harmful in terms of stress and congestion, not to mention, wasteful in terms of fossil-fuel.
It really is a win-win situation. I push myself to better serve my clients by completing projects I find challenging, this makes me a better web designer, which brings me to the attention of larger clients, who give me even more challenging projects, which makes me an even better web designer … and so on.
Plus my experience of marketing myself online and running an online business enables me to advise my clients about how to grow their websites and businesses.
Better for the future
And, lastly, I think running my own web design business has put me in a better and more secure position for the future.
When you are constantly required to provide the most effective and up-to-date marketing solutions by a dynamic clientele, you naturally develop very useful skills and expertise. I feel that I am better informed and able to deliver more successful projects than I was a few years ago, simply because the experience of creating the best possible websites has been so useful.
What you can do!
Anyone can learn web design and run a web design business from home. You don’t need to give up work and take out a huge loan from the bank (as if you could! ) But you can start in your spare time as I did.
If you are currently running a web design business or something similar – what do you love about it? Do you agree with me?