Five Questions to Ask Before Launching a Freelance Web Design Business
Commuting, overtime, office politics – there are plenty of drawbacks to office life that mean many of us want to go it alone and work for ourselves. While setting up your own freelance web design business can be incredibly rewarding and give you a sense of achievement that no other job can, it’s not a style of working that’s suitable for everybody and there are a few things you should think about before you take the plunge.
Today we’re going to outline five key questions you should ask yourself before you launch a freelance web design business.
Ah, the freedom to work from home and set your own hours. The perfect opportunity to don pyjamas and catch up on Netflix. You can catch up on work during the evening so it’s no big deal, right? Wrong.
If you think launching your own business means long days and hours of overtime are over then it might not be the best career move for you. The truth is that you’ll probably end up working even more hours than you did in your previous job, particularly when you first launch your business.
While everybody works differently and has a different working pace, it’s imperative to up your productivity and get into a routine as quickly as possible. Trying to juggle every client on your own can be stressful and being disorganised and procrastinating will just add additional stress that you don’t need.
Without clients, you don’t have a business. You might be one of the lucky ones who launches your business with a client base already established but if you’re like the majority and need to start from scratch, you need to have a plan.
Marketing, advertising and networking are all solid ways to attract new clients and it’s well worth putting in the time to build up your online presence. After all, how are clients ever going to find you if you’re invisible online? Get your website and social media channels set up as early as possible and set some time aside to keep them regularly updated with interesting, engaging content that will help your business stand out from the thousands of competitors who are also vying for new clients.
Finding clients is often the trickiest part of running your own business so don’t be disheartened if it takes longer than you hoped, keeping working at it and you’ll be fully booked in no time. Finally, if you’re struggling to attract clients on your own then consider outsourcing websites like Envato Studio.
Whether it’s paying for overheads, filing your taxes or setting monthly budgets, the most intimidating part of running your own business is managing your finances.
You might think working as a freelance web designer is about chasing your dreams and having full creative control over your designs but keeping your head rooted in practicality is extremely important.
You’ll now be fully responsible for filing and paying your own taxes (and National Insurance, if based in an appropriate country), and this isn’t somewhere where there’s room for error. Register as self-employed as soon as possible and keep track of all your incoming and outgoing finances – it’ll make it far easier at the end of the financial year if you have a record of everything.
A helpful tip is to put away money each month to contribute towards your tax bill at the end of the financial year. Being stung with an annual bill when you’re unprepared is never fun, so save throughout the year and you’ll find tax season far less stressful.
We touched on this earlier but setting boundaries is crucial when you work for yourself. Dedication is key as there’s nobody to keep you motivated except yourself. If you know you get tempted to watch TV during the day when you should be working then set yourself up with an office space in your home that’s away from distractions.
Conversely, don’t let yourself work too hard. It can be tempting to keep working late into the night to get work completed but overworking will lead to burnout, which is a freelancer’s nightmare. Try to set specific working hours and do your best not to do too many hours of overtime; taking evenings and weekends off to relax and live your life will leave you fresh and raring to go by Monday morning.
When you own your own business you’re not just taking on the role of web designer, you’ll also quickly discover that you’re the financial controller, account manager, HR department and head of marketing.
While each element of bringing your business to life is important, marketing is something that’s crucial but often neglected. Marketing is a specialism of its own and it takes time, decision and knowledge to build up a marketing strategy to add value to your business and help to bring in new clients.
If you have marketing know-how or are happy to put in the time to learn the ropes then managing this arm of your business can be enjoyable and rewarding. However, if you don’t want to sacrifice a chunk of your time to spend on marketing then consider outsourcing some of the tasks to an expert who can take this responsibility off of your hands. The same goes for sales, advertising and the financial aspects of your organisation.