Just like with any other business entity, building a career in web design means planning, researching and strategizing before implementation. You need to know what you are getting into, as well as what kind of competition you are bound to find. This is besides the fact that you also need to know how to charge right, as well as what skills you need in order to dominate the market.
Specializing in one web design related skill is a viable option to take. However, this will limit your market substantially. Although that is not necessarily a bad thing, combining several skills to drive your web design business is always a welcome idea. For instance, having some CSS skills in combination with the knowhow of a good CMS platform like WordPress or Joomla, or even Drupal, can open up your opportunities.
All said, there is a specific way of planning and strategizing a web design business venture so as to maximize the rate of success of your business. Below is a guiding outline:
Create a Business Plan
If you want to succeed, start by mapping out what it is you seek to create, as well as the goals you seek to achieve. In this business plan, factor in your starting budget/capital, your financial projections, success goal posts along the way and the specific market you want to serve.
Upon completion of the business plan, you need to start acting. Focus on following your business plan strictly, only making alterations to improve your chances of success as you interact with the market. In order to further optimize your chances of success, follow the top reviews and comments made in web design forums. These will offer you great insights on the pitfalls that you may encounter along the way.
When starting out, you will literary have nothing to show as your sample work. In order to market your services effectively, consider offering a few clients free web design services in return for a testimonial, with an added advantage of a sample site to your name. Once you get enough samples, start charging your projected rates. However, note that you should request your clients to buy domain and hosting themselves. Don't take the loss. You might even consider recommending domain and hosting from a site where you are an affiliate thus earning yourself a commission.
Be a Smart Admin
Finally, as you get to work, learn how to easily administer your clients' websites. Make sure that you are able to take the different metrics from your client sites while also ensuring they are on a good host with fast servers for their success. Then use these metrics to tweak and tune the websites for better visibility and more traffic. This move on its own will set you apart from the many other web designers out there and your clients will trust you more. This means more references for you.
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