Starting Your Own Web Design Agency – Tips To Help You Get Started and Thrive
If you have ever wanted to be your own boss or own a successful business, you should consider starting a web design agency. Becoming a freelance web designer who owns a web design agency is very enticing, but it can be difficult to succeed in a very competitive market. There will also be a lot of things you will need to handle on your own unless you decide to hire someone. To get started, here are some tips to help you out.
Adjust Your Perception of Work
If you are hired as a web designer for a business, your only focus will be on completing the projects handed to you. Freelancers, on the other hand, are always setting new goals, finding new clients, and trying to make as much money as they can for each project they complete.
As the boss, things will change. You will be required to work on new tasks and take on new responsibilities. You will be required to handle everything from accounting and taxes to finding clients. Even when your business becomes large enough that you can employ people to help you with some of these tasks and responsibilities, you will still be required to handle many of the core business responsibilities.
You will also find yourself dealing with web design less often and instead focusing on managerial tasks that are crucial to the business.
Find Your Niche
Specialisation is immensely important for fields such as web design when there are so many niches to choose from. You need to know your strengths and find niches where those strengths will be utilised to serve your clients best. The best niche is where you can create websites that stand out and that make clients proud to refer you to their friends and partners. These websites are typically the most expensive ones and should be something you should be going for all the time as a web design agency.
Your niche is what you want to be known for so people who need work in that specific niche know you are the person to come to for that kind of work. If you create high-quality work in that niche, you can also guarantee repeat work from similar clients. Because you will already love the niche, you will be able to create work that you can proudly add to your portfolio for even more work in the future.
Learn How to Handle Finances
Learning how to handle finances is one of the most important things to learn when starting a web design agency. As an agency owner, you need to find out if you can afford to be an independent entity. You will need to calculate start-up costs, the amount of work you have before getting started, running costs and other estimates that affect your business.
You also need to crunch the numbers to see how many clients you can bring in and how much you will be making in a given period, whether weekly or monthly. Be realistic with these two estimates because they will help you have a clearer picture before you get started.
Lastly, think about how you will charge for your services. The two main models are charging hourly and charging per project. In both cases, you need to know how much you need to make per hour of work to remain afloat.
Be a Great Communicator
Becoming a great communicator takes just as much work as learning to become a great web designer. Many creative people are passionate about their work and not so much about communicating with others. When running a web design agency, you will need to come out of your creative shell and talk to clients, partners, and other parties.
Communication makes you reliable in the eyes of your clients. Communicating delays and expectations makes you trustworthy. Great communication skills are also very important in business negotiations. You want to listen to your clients to know what they need while setting expectations clearly and firmly. Being a great communicator will help clients see things from your point of view and reduce friction in areas such as price and deadline negotiations.
Work with Partners
If you cannot afford to hire people to work for you, the next best thing is forging strong partnerships. These partners should be people who can complement your skills and services. For example, you might be a great designer but not a great writer. You can team up with a writer for a project. You should also consider outsourcing some of the tasks you are not able to complete yourself. After all, the only thing required is meeting client expectations and delivering the best results possible.
Transitioning into Leadership and Management
Once your web agency becomes large enough, you will shift from tasks that are directly related to web design to a managerial role. Your job at that point will be ensuring the success of your business which encompasses everything from finding clients, to long-term thinking and planning to solving complex business problems to ensure the success and longevity of your agency.
Business leaders who already have a business degree can benefit from completing a master’s or doctorate. After completing a master’s degree, it’s advisable to complete a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree as there are numerous benefits to doing so. This advanced degree is tailored for business executives who want to become better problem solvers and leaders for the businesses they are in charge of. It also makes you a better business leader, which is especially important for businesses that are growing and hiring.
Additionally, completing a DBA arms you with the skills you need to formulate practical solutions to complex problems in your web design agency. While you can complete an in-person DBA, you already have a web agency to run, so consider an online programme. An institution like Aston University has an online DBA programme tailored for business executives and leaders wishing to take their businesses and careers to the next level.
Starting and running a web design agency is challenging, especially at a time when there is so much competition in the field. If you can find a great niche for your business, learn how to communicate and work with others, and be prepared to transition into a managerial role, you should be able to have a thriving web design agency business.
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.