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Making Money Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
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spizzy Offline
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Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
What's up guys.

I just signed up to this website after lurking for a couple months. I am a 3rd year Computer Science student doing a masters degree and want to start my own web design business so I can achieve location independence through passive income.

The web related technologies I have experience with are HTML, CSS (basic, my design skills are terrible - i normally code into a template), PHP, SQL, JSON, XML and very little JS. I've worked with bootstrap before which is what I think would work best for business websites.

The questions I have:
-Would it be better to create a business solution (e.g. inventory system, scheduling system, other management systems) and then sell this to individual businesses for $x/month building passive income through a subscription model OR building websites and charging hosting fees monthly (as well as design fees).

-Assuming I do the latter, should I sell myself as a one man team (i.e. myname.com) or should I create a company (mywebdesigncompany.com) and act like a professional corporation when it's just really me running everything alone.

-What's the best way to find clients -> I was thinking of using google dorks to find people running websites with horrendous themes/frameworks and offering to sort them out. Once I've done this 4-5 times to build a portfolio then look for clients offline.

Any other tips from people in the field (or similar) are greatly appreciated!

Thanks
03-22-2015 11:27 AM
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jamaicabound Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
One trend I've noticed with web design companies these days is it's not enough to do just web design. Most companies are becomming full service web design, SEO, PPC management, social media managment, and even media buying. My sister worked for for Comscore for a while and many media buying companies. She got a new job about a year ago. I just recently learned she's actually working for a "web design" company although it seems web design companies are now also media buying and reporting companies as well. Just thought that was interesting because that's not her background at all but seems everyone wants to be a one stop shop now.
03-22-2015 11:42 AM
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spizzy Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
(03-22-2015 11:42 AM)jamaicabound Wrote:  One trend I've noticed with web design companies these days is it's not enough to do just web design. Most companies are becomming full service web design, SEO, PPC management, social media managment, and even media buying. My sister worked for for Comscore for a while and many media buying companies. She got a new job about a year ago. I just recently learned she's actually working for a "web design" company although it seems web design companies are now also media buying and reporting companies as well. Just thought that was interesting because that's not her background at all but seems everyone wants to be a one stop shop now.

I've actually noticed that too but I don't want to diversify into that stuff really. If anything I'll move to mobile applications (if needed, but bootstrap sort of takes care of this).

I'm sorta thinking web design is too competitive with the rise of wordpress etc everyone and their dog can call themselves a web developer and just click a few buttons to create a website. So I may just have to target businesses that need bespoke solutions or set up my own web based product. I was thinking a gym member management system but I'd need to do some market research first.

Would love to hear from some more experienced people in this industry!
03-22-2015 12:42 PM
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jamaicabound Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
(03-22-2015 12:42 PM)spizzy Wrote:  
(03-22-2015 11:42 AM)jamaicabound Wrote:  One trend I've noticed with web design companies these days is it's not enough to do just web design. Most companies are becomming full service web design, SEO, PPC management, social media managment, and even media buying. My sister worked for for Comscore for a while and many media buying companies. She got a new job about a year ago. I just recently learned she's actually working for a "web design" company although it seems web design companies are now also media buying and reporting companies as well. Just thought that was interesting because that's not her background at all but seems everyone wants to be a one stop shop now.

I've actually noticed that too but I don't want to diversify into that stuff really. If anything I'll move to mobile applications (if needed, but bootstrap sort of takes care of this).

I'm sorta thinking web design is too competitive with the rise of wordpress etc everyone and their dog can call themselves a web developer and just click a few buttons to create a website. So I may just have to target businesses that need bespoke solutions or set up my own web based product. I was thinking a gym member management system but I'd need to do some market research first.

Would love to hear from some more experienced people in this industry!

Yeah that's the probably with being independent and not part of a big company. There's some diamonds in the rough as far as freelancers on craigslist but also like you said with Wordpress any idiot can call themself a web designer. I'd be skeptical to hire a freelancer not knowing the quality of work I''ll be getting. Sure you can look at portfolios or sites someone built but you can only tell so much.

If I'm going to drop 10k or 20k on a site which is ridiculous as is, I'm going to do it with a well known well reviewed company. As an independent I think you will need to either work cheap or get some really good word of mouth going
03-22-2015 01:42 PM
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DumbfromBirth Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
Cold call all the potenial leads for businesses in your area. Call 10 buinesses a day until you land a job.

I dont believe Wordpress makes people think they are webdesigners. Sure they can create a basic website but to make it customisable or even learning to use wordpress is a massive headache most people dont want to do. If my code skills were better i would be cold calling and outsourcing right now. Problem is i only know css, html and wordpress.. you probably know enough of the basics to manage the coders. You just need someone to light a fire under your ass.
(This post was last modified: 03-22-2015 05:09 PM by DumbfromBirth.)
03-22-2015 05:03 PM
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Tyler Belfort Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
Your questions are very broad and show you've done little/no research in to what you're actually getting yourself involved in. Regarding the 'web design company':

First of all, you're right. Anyone can call themselves a website designer with no skills - many do.

What not everyone can do is sell.

When businesses use your services do you think they give a flying fuck how many languages you know or where you got your computer science degree from?

Of course not.

What they care about is how you're going to improve their bottom line, build their business and help them solve their pain points.

That could be paying little Jimmy's tuition fees or getting that new mega-yacht they just saw their next door neighbours buy. Every prospect's pain points are different. It's up to you to find them.

That's what so many web design companies don't get. Honestly, it's not hard to stand out with any semblance of sales knowledge in this industry.

With your current mindset you won't be building a business, you'll be creating a decent paying job for yourself. That may be what you want, who knows. But if you want to build a design agency I guarantee you you will use those programming languages you know for less than an hour a week. Seriously.

Your time will be spent on the phone, prospecting, chasing leads, networking, managing deliverables and collecting payments. You'll have employees/outsourcers coding for you because otherwise it's impossible to grow.

If you want to actually build up your agency, it will be far from location independent. Clients will phone you at 11pm with an urgent need and you better be ready to solve it. Last minute meetings will be scheduled to alter wireframes you'd agreed on three weeks prior. Your biggest client will bail last minute and you'll have to fly out and ply him with grey goose martinis and top-flight hookers until he signs on the dotted line.

Obviously if you're freelancing on the job board sites you won't need to do this. You also will just be creating a decent paying job. The difference between a 'company' and a 'freelancer' isn't just the name or legal formation. It all depends on the direction you want to take it and what fits your aspirations and life goals.

As for creating 'a business solution for $x/month' I think you know this is backwards thinking from your comments on research. You mentioned a gym member tracking application. What needs are you solving? There are some major players that have been doing this for many years in that industry, with contacts you won't be able to touch.

What are you bringing to the table that they can't/won't?

I've made some posts on here regarding similar concepts before that you can find in my post history that you may find useful.

Do your research properly, find a problem people are facing then start worrying about how you're going to solve it.
03-22-2015 05:27 PM
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Tyler Belfort Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
Spizzy, what's your PHP like?

I've got a small job for customising a Wordpress plugin. 2 hours work if you know your way around Wordpress. Rate negotiable. PM me if you're interested.
03-23-2015 11:56 AM
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evilhei Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
I started small web design/development company couple of months ago with a friend of mine. Its a part time business that we both do in addition to our day jobs.

In reality we have only done couple of jobs that we have got paid for and its nothing big. We have some bigger deals going on also but first lessons as a entrepreneur, nothing is done until you see the money in your bank account.

We haven't done any marketing yet, just organic traffic from google and word of mouth advertising. I am planning on making some landing page and campaign based on this news http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244175 (Google start punishing the non mobile sites). I hope it creates some opportunity in the market and people start looking for quick ways go convert their old homepage into mobile friendly page.

But we do get some random emails from customers that obviously doesn't have the money and they ask something like this: Hi, Im planning a new website for auction site, I need a design and website for that. Can you do it, how much it costs, id like it to be blue? First I was taking my time and answering them and asking for details etc but I stopped after a while since its pointless. You can tell if the customer is for real or not.

Good luck with the business!
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2015 01:38 PM by evilhei.)
03-23-2015 01:37 PM
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
The guy is just finishing college and wants to have a crack at doing his own thing. Let's encourage him to have a go. Everything is a valuable learning experience at that point.

Spizzy: I say start freelancing, try a few different things. Read all about marketing, selling, and charging premium prices for client work. You'll need that all later anyway if you decide to employ others.

As you're freelancing look for particular repeat issues that clients have, and that you're strong at solving. See if you could package it up into a service or process and hire someone else to carry out.

Tyler et al make some great points but don't feel you have to get it all right the first time. It takes years to build up business acumen you should start from where you're at... "dont be 40 until you're 40". Welcome failures as they're the best way to learn... just remember, try to 'fail cheaply'!

Once you have a bit of consistent survival income, move somewhere you really want to go to and have a crack at being location-independent. Even if it doesn't work out the experience will be invaluable.

Everything is a learning process at your age, so just get out there and try your hand at things.
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2015 02:13 PM by RichieP.)
03-23-2015 01:57 PM
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Saladin Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
I'm surprised nobody's linked to this thread-

http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-29744.html

Read through that.

Don't act like a one man team, because an agency will typically command higher rates than one man. One man conveys "freelancer", while a company name conveys "agency".

In terms of lead generation. There are certain businesses that are more willing to spend higher amounts on high quality web design and development. Those are the clients you want to get. Don't waste your time on businesses that are only willing to spend 300$ on a shitty website. You want the businesses that think dropping 10,000$ on a new website is nothing.

If you want some feedback, PM me your portfolio and I'll let you know what I think, how much its worth, etc.

U of Roosh Class of 2420
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2015 04:30 PM by Saladin.)
03-23-2015 04:26 PM
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jamaicabound Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
For anyone looking to start a webdesign business, a good niche, in my opinion or at least something I'm seeking, is not just someone to design something for me but someone to almost be a mentor and teacher. I don't expect someone to turn me into a web design wiz in a few hours but my current site is built on a wordpress platform but with tons of customizations so there's very little I can do by myself without running to my deisgners. In addition to costing money this is a huge headache as my company is in Indian so if I wanna have a confrence call its gotta be at like 2am and if I have a problem with my site at lunchtime nothing can get done until like 11PM when they get in the office.

I've been looking for someone, ideally local, but this could be done over facetime or screensharing. I want someone to build the site but also kind of teach me, a novice, how the various pages interact, how to make changes, etc. Basically I just want a better understanding of how my site works and training on how to do it and use it.

I think this could be a good niche kind of designing and teaching someone who is a novice but has some background and knowledge of wordpress.
03-23-2015 06:23 PM
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fortysix Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
(03-23-2015 04:26 PM)Saladin Wrote:  I'm surprised nobody's linked to this thread-

http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-29744.html

Read through that.

Don't act like a one man team, because an agency will typically command higher rates than one man. One man conveys "freelancer", while a company name conveys "agency".

In terms of lead generation. There are certain businesses that are more willing to spend higher amounts on high quality web design and development. Those are the clients you want to get. Don't waste your time on businesses that are only willing to spend 300$ on a shitty website. You want the businesses that think dropping 10,000$ on a new website is nothing.

If you want some feedback, PM me your portfolio and I'll let you know what I think, how much its worth, etc.

I would like to respectfully disagree with this – I work at a middle sized business and the few times that we have hired an agency to handle any marketing or web-design business have always ended in rip-off fees, and substantial unnecessary delays.

Nowdays, we only hire individual web designers. The #1 pre-req I look for when hiring web designers and marketers is their personal ability to code, and successful prior projects. I screen heavily against any out-sourcing or any sales managers or project managers selling their services – the primary reason for this is time and the amount of information which gets lost in translation. I want someone who can show me changes and can edit design data for me in real time so that I can immediately see results and compare / change as I see fit. Ideally, this person will also come to our office to work, where he will be set up with a comfortable work space & accommodated while he is working. When dealing with an agency, it has usually been my project manager taking notes, which are then passed on to their designers. Its too time consuming, and too costly. Furthermore, dealing with project managers who know less about web design then I do has been pretty annoying.

Bottom-line: Nowadays, I will pay significantly more money to an individual designer / engineer who puts his direct reputation on the line, because I know I am working with someone accountable, and the person that I am speaking to will inevitably be the person making my design. This holds great weight for me. I dont hire agencies.

OP, I encourage you to work as an individual designer, build up your portfolio & personal brand, and always be mindful of ways you can make your contract employer’s life easier. For this, you will be compensated fairly, and will receive substantial referral business.
(This post was last modified: 03-23-2015 07:36 PM by fortysix.)
03-23-2015 07:31 PM
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Saladin Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
(03-23-2015 07:31 PM)se7en Wrote:  
(03-23-2015 04:26 PM)Saladin Wrote:  I'm surprised nobody's linked to this thread-

http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-29744.html

Read through that.

Don't act like a one man team, because an agency will typically command higher rates than one man. One man conveys "freelancer", while a company name conveys "agency".

In terms of lead generation. There are certain businesses that are more willing to spend higher amounts on high quality web design and development. Those are the clients you want to get. Don't waste your time on businesses that are only willing to spend 300$ on a shitty website. You want the businesses that think dropping 10,000$ on a new website is nothing.

If you want some feedback, PM me your portfolio and I'll let you know what I think, how much its worth, etc.

I would like to respectfully disagree with this – I work at a middle sized business and the few times that we have hired an agency to handle any marketing or web-design business have always ended in rip-off fees, and substantial unnecessary delays.

Nowdays, we only hire individual web designers. The #1 pre-req I look for when hiring web designers and marketers is their personal ability to code, and successful prior projects. I screen heavily against any out-sourcing or any sales managers or project managers selling their services – the primary reason for this is time and the amount of information which gets lost in translation. I want someone who can show me changes and can edit design data for me in real time so that I can immediately see results and compare / change as I see fit. Ideally, this person will also come to our office to work, where he will be set up with a comfortable work space & accommodated while he is working. When dealing with an agency, it has usually been my project manager taking notes, which are then passed on to their designers. Its too time consuming, and too costly. Furthermore, dealing with project managers who know less about web design then I do has been pretty annoying.

Bottom-line: Nowadays, I will pay significantly more money to an individual designer / engineer who puts his direct reputation on the line, because I know I am working with someone accountable, and the person that I am speaking to will inevitably be the person making my design. This holds great weight for me. I dont hire agencies.

OP, I encourage you to work as an individual designer, build up your portfolio & personal brand, and always be mindful of ways you can make your contract employer’s life easier. For this, you will be compensated fairly, and will receive substantial referral business.

To be honest, I've heard some pretty bad things about a lot of the agencies out there so I don't doubt your experience. At the same time, it's a bit naive to automatically assume an individual is better to hire than an agency. An agency is ultimately a team, and well functioning teams provide higher quality outputs.

How much did you pay the web developer/designer? Was it hourly or fixed? If the guy came into your office, you probably knew exactly how many hours he was working. Were you paying him 70-100$/hour? Because that's how much OP could get branding himself as a small agency that's done 10 decent projects. That's nothing btw, medium sized agencies usually charge a significant amount more. Most freelance web designers usually charge less.

Additionally, nothing stops OP from providing a high quality experience as an agency, even if its just him.

Most businesses have an expectation that they will be paying an "agency" much more than they'll be paying an individual. Maybe OP can focus on selling fixed price projects. But its a weaker negotiating position as an individual, unless OP is truly excellent at branding himself as an expert. Businesses are automatically going to assume you have very low overhead as an individual.

You could just do both. Have an agency website, and an individual personal branded website.

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(This post was last modified: 03-23-2015 08:30 PM by Saladin.)
03-23-2015 08:28 PM
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fortysix Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
(03-23-2015 08:28 PM)Saladin Wrote:  
(03-23-2015 07:31 PM)se7en Wrote:  
(03-23-2015 04:26 PM)Saladin Wrote:  I'm surprised nobody's linked to this thread-

http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-29744.html

Read through that.

Don't act like a one man team, because an agency will typically command higher rates than one man. One man conveys "freelancer", while a company name conveys "agency".

In terms of lead generation. There are certain businesses that are more willing to spend higher amounts on high quality web design and development. Those are the clients you want to get. Don't waste your time on businesses that are only willing to spend 300$ on a shitty website. You want the businesses that think dropping 10,000$ on a new website is nothing.

If you want some feedback, PM me your portfolio and I'll let you know what I think, how much its worth, etc.

I would like to respectfully disagree with this – I work at a middle sized business and the few times that we have hired an agency to handle any marketing or web-design business have always ended in rip-off fees, and substantial unnecessary delays.

Nowdays, we only hire individual web designers. The #1 pre-req I look for when hiring web designers and marketers is their personal ability to code, and successful prior projects. I screen heavily against any out-sourcing or any sales managers or project managers selling their services – the primary reason for this is time and the amount of information which gets lost in translation. I want someone who can show me changes and can edit design data for me in real time so that I can immediately see results and compare / change as I see fit. Ideally, this person will also come to our office to work, where he will be set up with a comfortable work space & accommodated while he is working. When dealing with an agency, it has usually been my project manager taking notes, which are then passed on to their designers. Its too time consuming, and too costly. Furthermore, dealing with project managers who know less about web design then I do has been pretty annoying.

Bottom-line: Nowadays, I will pay significantly more money to an individual designer / engineer who puts his direct reputation on the line, because I know I am working with someone accountable, and the person that I am speaking to will inevitably be the person making my design. This holds great weight for me. I dont hire agencies.

OP, I encourage you to work as an individual designer, build up your portfolio & personal brand, and always be mindful of ways you can make your contract employer’s life easier. For this, you will be compensated fairly, and will receive substantial referral business.

To be honest, I've heard some pretty bad things about a lot of the agencies out there so I don't doubt your experience. At the same time, it's a bit naive to automatically assume an individual is better to hire than an agency. An agency is ultimately a team, and well functioning teams provide higher quality outputs.

How much did you pay the web developer/designer? Was it hourly or fixed? If the guy came into your office, you probably knew exactly how many hours he was working. Were you paying him 70-100$/hour? Because that's how much OP could get branding himself as a small agency that's done 10 decent projects. That's nothing btw, medium sized agencies usually charge a significant amount more. Most freelance web designers usually charge less.

Additionally, nothing stops OP from providing a high quality experience as an agency, even if its just him.

Most businesses have an expectation that they will be paying an "agency" much more than they'll be paying an individual. Maybe OP can focus on selling fixed price projects. But its a weaker negotiating position as an individual, unless OP is truly excellent at branding himself as an expert. Businesses are automatically going to assume you have very low overhead as an individual.

You could just do both. Have an agency website, and an individual personal branded website.

We have never hired anyone for a very big project, and everything has been @ a fixed rate, with a maximum of $5,000 (started out less, but we saw that there was more work than we anticipated and the end result was 5k - this also included all the typical marketing stuff in addition to site design).

BTW - I think you make a great point about him just doing both - market himself as a firm, and then also an individually branded website. OP, +1 to this.
03-23-2015 11:54 PM
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Tyler Belfort Offline
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RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
(03-23-2015 07:31 PM)se7en Wrote:  I would like to respectfully disagree with this – I work at a middle sized business and the few times that we have hired an agency to handle any marketing or web-design business have always ended in rip-off fees, and substantial unnecessary delays.

Nowdays, we only hire individual web designers. The #1 pre-req I look for when hiring web designers and marketers is their personal ability to code, and successful prior projects. I screen heavily against any out-sourcing or any sales managers or project managers selling their services – the primary reason for this is time and the amount of information which gets lost in translation. I want someone who can show me changes and can edit design data for me in real time so that I can immediately see results and compare / change as I see fit. Ideally, this person will also come to our office to work, where he will be set up with a comfortable work space & accommodated while he is working. When dealing with an agency, it has usually been my project manager taking notes, which are then passed on to their designers. Its too time consuming, and too costly. Furthermore, dealing with project managers who know less about web design then I do has been pretty annoying.

Bottom-line: Nowadays, I will pay significantly more money to an individual designer / engineer who puts his direct reputation on the line, because I know I am working with someone accountable, and the person that I am speaking to will inevitably be the person making my design. This holds great weight for me. I dont hire agencies.

OP, I encourage you to work as an individual designer, build up your portfolio & personal brand, and always be mindful of ways you can make your contract employer’s life easier. For this, you will be compensated fairly, and will receive substantial referral business.

Saying you've hired agencies multiple times and it didn't go well is more a reflection of your own ability to screen those you do business with than of the agencies in this entire industry being poor. You also made a number of other generalisations and questionable comments that suggest a lack of knowledge of the industry.

I wouldn't normally comment, but I wouldn't want the guy to make a major life decision based on that post.

What you described above is a freelancer 'yes-man' who will come in and do what you say when you say it. Why not just be an employee? At least they get perks and health insurance.

The value from an agency is the ability to actually apply knowledge to a project that benefits a company's bottom line. Showing the client why keeping CTA colours consistent across the deliverable will increase CVR. Discouraging them from pop-up newsletter opt-ins when they're trying to build an 8-figure brand. Analysing heat-maps to improve page flow and position elements for maximum CTR.

Very few freelancers will bother with this and the companies that matter know that - a freelancer is the same as an employee, just there to take orders and collect their money. There's a reason the blue-chips aren't hiring freelancers from oDesk based on their coding prowess.

Perhaps I've just got a different mindset from experience.

OP, you've got to decide which direction you want to go in and just throw yourself in to it. You'll fail a few times with either one, which is fine.

I didn't mean to destroy your dreams and I hope you didn't get that impression. But from someone who's been around this industry a while, freelancers are just employees. If you want to build a business, that's great, build a firm from the ground up. If you want to be an employee, that's fine too, freelance for a while until you get your bearings.

Either way you're miles ahead of your peers. Just keep learning, networking and working hard and you'll be fine.

Quote:BTW - I think you make a great point about him just doing both - market himself as a firm, and then also an individually branded website. OP, +1 to this.

Building one brand in an industry where you have no possible USP is hard enough, let alone two.

I'd lean towards a firm as you'll have more clout than building a personal brand straight out of college, which I think you will find tough to demonstrate credibility with.

Honestly, it's a minor complication. Just get something up and focus on finding your first clients.
03-24-2015 01:36 AM
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Post: #16
RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
I'll be starting something similar to you spizzy fairly soon. I know html css, wordpress, php and think it would be cool learning off each other. But I am not talking about learning code off each other, more like hustling. If you want to network PM me.

@se7en - You hire a freelancer because you say they do better work but the freelancer is freelancing because he wanted to escape the 9-5. Yet that is exactly what you offer him. What good web designer would want to take that job working in your office with you peering over his shoulder. The pay must be like $200/hr? Can you elaborate please.

'in the face of death.. everything is funny'
(This post was last modified: 03-24-2015 07:29 AM by Alche.)
03-24-2015 07:28 AM
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fortysix Offline
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Post: #17
RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
^ perhaps the projects Im talking about are smaller, but I still stand by my opinion. I have a preference for working with individuals. I find the work gets done faster, and communication to be easier.
03-24-2015 10:20 AM
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spizzy Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
I've only just seen this as I've been travelling for the last 2 days and didn't expect such an overwhelming response. First of all I'd like to thank everyone who responded to this thread, I really do appreciate everyone's comments.

(03-22-2015 05:27 PM)Tyler Belfort Wrote:  Your questions are very broad and show you've done little/no research in to what you're actually getting yourself involved in. Regarding the 'web design company':

First of all, you're right. Anyone can call themselves a website designer with no skills - many do.

What not everyone can do is sell.

When businesses use your services do you think they give a flying fuck how many languages you know or where you got your computer science degree from?

Of course not.

What they care about is how you're going to improve their bottom line, build their business and help them solve their pain points.

That could be paying little Jimmy's tuition fees or getting that new mega-yacht they just saw their next door neighbours buy. Every prospect's pain points are different. It's up to you to find them.

That's what so many web design companies don't get. Honestly, it's not hard to stand out with any semblance of sales knowledge in this industry.

With your current mindset you won't be building a business, you'll be creating a decent paying job for yourself. That may be what you want, who knows. But if you want to build a design agency I guarantee you you will use those programming languages you know for less than an hour a week. Seriously.

Your time will be spent on the phone, prospecting, chasing leads, networking, managing deliverables and collecting payments. You'll have employees/outsourcers coding for you because otherwise it's impossible to grow.

If you want to actually build up your agency, it will be far from location independent. Clients will phone you at 11pm with an urgent need and you better be ready to solve it. Last minute meetings will be scheduled to alter wireframes you'd agreed on three weeks prior. Your biggest client will bail last minute and you'll have to fly out and ply him with grey goose martinis and top-flight hookers until he signs on the dotted line.

Obviously if you're freelancing on the job board sites you won't need to do this. You also will just be creating a decent paying job. The difference between a 'company' and a 'freelancer' isn't just the name or legal formation. It all depends on the direction you want to take it and what fits your aspirations and life goals.

As for creating 'a business solution for $x/month' I think you know this is backwards thinking from your comments on research. You mentioned a gym member tracking application. What needs are you solving? There are some major players that have been doing this for many years in that industry, with contacts you won't be able to touch.

What are you bringing to the table that they can't/won't?

I've made some posts on here regarding similar concepts before that you can find in my post history that you may find useful.

Do your research properly, find a problem people are facing then start worrying about how you're going to solve it.

You're completely right Tyler, I have done little research on the web development company aspect of things. I guess I framed this question wrong. What I should of asked was "how would I best monetize the skillset I have?" pertaining to my web dev skills and I guess that's just 1 possible solution of many.

Everything you stated is completely true with sales being a large component of a business (something I have no experience with), and I completely underestimated this. Your post helped me realize that a lot of my companies value comes from sales and ensuring my client understands the value of my product. I'll really have to work on my portfolio so my work speaks for itself if i decide to go this route.

Regarding your WP plugin - I'm well versed in PHP but have never worked with wordpress so don't want to mess you around. Thanks for trying to help me out though!

PS: I've come across your site before and subscribed. Looking forward to your case studies!

(03-23-2015 01:37 PM)evilhei Wrote:  I started small web design/development company couple of months ago with a friend of mine. Its a part time business that we both do in addition to our day jobs.

In reality we have only done couple of jobs that we have got paid for and its nothing big. We have some bigger deals going on also but first lessons as a entrepreneur, nothing is done until you see the money in your bank account.

We haven't done any marketing yet, just organic traffic from google and word of mouth advertising. I am planning on making some landing page and campaign based on this news http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244175 (Google start punishing the non mobile sites). I hope it creates some opportunity in the market and people start looking for quick ways go convert their old homepage into mobile friendly page.

But we do get some random emails from customers that obviously doesn't have the money and they ask something like this: Hi, Im planning a new website for auction site, I need a design and website for that. Can you do it, how much it costs, id like it to be blue? First I was taking my time and answering them and asking for details etc but I stopped after a while since its pointless. You can tell if the customer is for real or not.

Good luck with the business!

I actually read this news 2 days ago from a different site. That's a great selling point - don't know if i'll have a good enough portfolio ready by then but if I do I'm gonna give that a shot. Thank you evilhei.


(03-23-2015 01:57 PM)RichieP Wrote:  The guy is just finishing college and wants to have a crack at doing his own thing. Let's encourage him to have a go. Everything is a valuable learning experience at that point.

Spizzy: I say start freelancing, try a few different things. Read all about marketing, selling, and charging premium prices for client work. You'll need that all later anyway if you decide to employ others.

As you're freelancing look for particular repeat issues that clients have, and that you're strong at solving. See if you could package it up into a service or process and hire someone else to carry out.

Tyler et al make some great points but don't feel you have to get it all right the first time. It takes years to build up business acumen you should start from where you're at... "dont be 40 until you're 40". Welcome failures as they're the best way to learn... just remember, try to 'fail cheaply'!

Once you have a bit of consistent survival income, move somewhere you really want to go to and have a crack at being location-independent. Even if it doesn't work out the experience will be invaluable.

Everything is a learning process at your age, so just get out there and try your hand at things.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement Richie. I think your advice is spot on with regards to freelancing. I think i should find a few clients on freelancing websites even if they do tend to be more demanding. That'll allow me to build a portfolio which I can use . I'm also going to try and provide a solution which is easily replicable like you stated - maybe a template/theme which I can customize within a couple of hours or maybe a small sub-system which I can re-sell.

(03-23-2015 04:26 PM)Saladin Wrote:  I'm surprised nobody's linked to this thread-

http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-29744.html

Read through that.

Don't act like a one man team, because an agency will typically command higher rates than one man. One man conveys "freelancer", while a company name conveys "agency".

In terms of lead generation. There are certain businesses that are more willing to spend higher amounts on high quality web design and development. Those are the clients you want to get. Don't waste your time on businesses that are only willing to spend 300$ on a shitty website. You want the businesses that think dropping 10,000$ on a new website is nothing.

If you want some feedback, PM me your portfolio and I'll let you know what I think, how much its worth, etc.

Thanks for linking that Saladin, I'm gonna take a look at that.

I think you're right in the sense that the end goal is to frame myself as a business but for now I think I'll have to build up my portfolio through freelancing since right now I've only got a couple of projects to show. I'll PM you one so you can let me know what you think of my work.

My action plan is as follows:
-Work on building a portfolio for myself. This will contain freelancing projects and side projects if I have no work. Try to build a network of designers as well since this is my weak point so I can just outsource this.
-As I work for more businesses and have enough . I will brand myself mainly for smaller size projects and once I have freelanced for enough businesses transition into a firm since that's where I can make serious coin.



(03-24-2015 07:28 AM)Alche Wrote:  I'll be starting something similar to you spizzy fairly soon. I know html css, wordpress, php and think it would be cool learning off each other. But I am not talking about learning code off each other, more like hustling. If you want to network PM me.

@se7en - You hire a freelancer because you say they do better work but the freelancer is freelancing because he wanted to escape the 9-5. Yet that is exactly what you offer him. What good web designer would want to take that job working in your office with you peering over his shoulder. The pay must be like $200/hr? Can you elaborate please.

Always looking to network with like minded people, gonna PM you!
03-24-2015 03:19 PM
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NickKelly Offline
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Post: #19
RE: Any advice for someone setting up their own web design company
Please give me advice on my first website! I am moderately hopeful Smile Can you please review my website and tell me what you think: http://under-the-open-sky.com
12-07-2018 02:06 PM
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