How to Start a Web Design Business

So you’re ready to break into the wonderful world of web design?

I completely understand why starting a web design business sounds so killer, the benefits are incredible…

Work your own hours doing something you love. Make your own money on your own terms. Fire your boss! Create your life according to your own standards? I can hear you all the way from here… heck yeah, where do I sign up?

how to start a web design businessYou Lucky dog… These days, you dont have to go to school to start a web design business. In fact, there isnt a whole lot of technical knowledge that goes into building web sites anymore, just a few tools that help web designers be more productive. Even expert control of these tools isnt the key to knocking your own web design business out of the park!

What Ive noticed about successful people, in all forms of business, is that they have boatloads of confidence. Confidence, the ability to get things done, and a passion to put themselves and their company OUT there. If you’re worried that you’ll nosedive on your first few web design jobs… you JUST MIGHT. You’ll probably mess up quite a few jobs starting out, but it doesn’t mean a horrible death for your web design company. Just know that everyone makes mistakes, own it, make proper adjustments – and DONT let it stop you. (clients LOVE you when you offer “my bad” discounts and freebies… and they do  come back!)

I know it’s easy to tell you to be bold, but if fear is still stopping you, I’ll tell you a story. When I began cold calling for clients, I was TERRIFIED. I felt like I didnt know what I was talking about, that everyone would hate me and I’d end up just as broke with a side of humiliation. You already know the outcome. I didnt suck. People didn’t even notice that I was nervous and I even got a few jobs!!! Though I drastically underpriced these first jobs and well, they didnt turn out as gorgeous as I’d imagined, I didnt stop. I kept fighting the good fight, without a minute of down time so the fear wouldn’t seep back in. And it got easier. Soon I was selling my own professional web design services,  chatting away with clients, pulling out their best information to help them become more successful online. When I turned my intention on helping others, it became quite enjoyable.

Lucky again! Cold calling is not a requirement. Most communication is done by email. So even if you’re not a born talker, YOU CAN DO This! You’ll build confidence and jobs will come. Just remember to keep it simple and always do your best.

In the weeks to come, I’ll expand on each of these topics that go along with how to start a web design business. For now… the basics.

What Does it Cost to Become a Web Designer?

Im happy to say, not much.  Sure, there’s a ton of art, templates, tools and programs you can buy to get a head start in the business, but if you have very little money to get started, you can still make a great run.

There’s one thing you’ll need to pay for upfront to get started – web hosting. You’ll need a place online to host websites for yourself and your clients. I use HostGator because in my opinion, they run the fastest most dependable servers Ive worked on.

If you already have web hosting, great! If not, I created this video to show you quickly how to get set up. I was able to get you a 25% discount. Plus, I’ll give you my premium wordpress theme for free!

Go to HostGator.com
Use Coupon Code: digitalrenewal for 25% off
Email me with your proof of purchase and I’ll send the theme right away.

In your web design career, if you only use ONE program, it WILL be Adobe Photoshop I use this program every single day in my business and though its quite expensive, its the industry standard for this simple fact. Its the best out there.

You can learn photoshop for free with adobe’s built in guides and tutorials. Youtube is a great place to learn for free. If you need a formal start to finish learning experience, without the expense and hassle of going to school, sign up for Photoshop training at lynda.com. Actually, every software or language you’d ever need to learn for a career as a web designer is right there. Imagine going to college for $25 a month! Its virtually the same education. Lynda wrote many of the textbooks we used in college for print design and her video training is basically everything we learned, at a fraction of the price.

One other expense may be marketing for your business, but if you’re resourceful, getting referrals from current clients and friends, pounding the pavement and using online social networking, you can get quite a few clients just by networking.

Free Web Page Design Software

For professional web designers, diy business owners and bloggers alike,WordPress is where its at. It is the most popular and easy to work with content management system alive. Its free in your web hosting cpanel, and you can install as many websites as you like. Because of its popularity and documentation, any question that you might run into is one google search away from being answered. Clients find it very easy to maintain their websites as well. WordPress is the definition of win/win for a professional web designer.

How To Set Up A Website

The best advice to quickly set up a website is to install a copy of wordpress on your web hosting server and build a site of your very own! Choose a topic you like writing about and go for it. Then do one for a friend, neighbor, your church, a local business and so on!

When you get to a professional web designer level, your work has to look professional, serve a function and be organized. You dont have to be a skilled artist or a programmer in the beginning, in fact, spending too much time learning these things will just slow you down in the real world. Art and programming can be purchased, and you’ll turn your jobs faster, bringing in more cash flow to buy better art, cooler programs and start an advertising budget if you so choose.

Once you have wordpress installed, there are thousands of free themes and plugins to choose from, and for very professional jobs, you can purchase premium wordpress themes with high level functionality built straight into the theme (paid for by the client of course).

Though themes do all the design work for you, problems may arise when simple customizations need to be done to make a website unique. Adding a logo is easy in a premium wordpress theme, most allow you to upload a custom logo. In many other cases, this is where HTML and CSS come in handy. You may need to know how to switch out art, adjust spacing and change background colors. Moving things around in a wordpress theme may look complicated at first, but with practice, it gets easier.

Ive created a WordPress Business Theme specifically for people with limited experience with html and css code. After using other premium themes on client projects, I thought ‘how in the world would someone with little programming skill every be able to set this up?’ So I built something unique, utilizing all of the features of a premium theme, and put it into a format that is dead simple to use. Its something that I would sell to a client for $500. Use it to charge YOUR clients $500 :)
Plus if you do, Im available to answer questions through my contact form, or email me atdigitalrenewal@gmail.com

  • Frank Collins

    Thank you so much for this post.

    • Trisha

      Thanks Frank! Im so glad you found it useful.

  • http://www.herit.co Herit Shah

    Hey trisha, nice article!
    As i was just ’bout to start my own web design company, so i googled for few sites to get more motivation and a push to get clear with my vision and came to this site. You have awesome resource and i am really looking forward to take a look @ them.

    Coming back to point, do provide few links to any sites which you think can be useful to give a boost to me, I hope i will be a successful entrepreneur and be able to perfectly establish my web design business, and the day i get successful i will come back to digitalrenewal.com to share my experience in the long run.

    With Regards,
    Herit Shah

  • http://www.squidoo.com/alexandria-web-design Truman Kirkpatric

    I’m bookmarking this. Thanks for the article.