Going freelance on the side to earn extra money is fine. Starting a business that generates a full-time income is a different story, here are some things to know.
1. Web Design is a Commodity
These days anyone with a Laptop and an internet connection can build websites. with an abundance do-it-yourself platforms gives potential clients too many options and no basis upon which to make the right decisions. The sooner you realise and accept this the easier it will be to break out of the commoditisation trap.
2. You need sales skills
Unless you know how to sell your services, or are willing to sell yourself you will need to find someone to work with who can. The reality is everyone is in sales whether selling products or services or simply applying for jobs.
3. You will have to prospect clients
Finding clients is essential to making sales, relying solely on marketing and word of mouth will not cut it. spreading the word takes time, if you need clients you must go out and find them.
4. Get on the phone
Age old strategies like cold calling still work. insurance companies and banks still rely heavily on closing sales over the phone.
If you are willing to call at least ten clients per day you have increased your leads and spread the word.
unless you are inundated with jobs don't hesitate to get out the phone book and call.
5. Potential clients aren't buying your services
Business owners don't care about how awesome your designs look or how talented you are at coding. What motivates them is generating money. unless your services are going to generate them profits they could care less about what you are selling them.
6. Competition is fierce
Unless you have been living under a rock you would know that everyone has an uncles, best friends, cousins, daughter who can build websites. you are going to need more than just webdesign skills and good creative abilities to get a prospects attention.
having a complete set of services that benefit your clients and a competitive edge should be high priority.
7. Do NOT try to close with a proposal.
Proposals are important for a road map to design work, however should be concluded after your client has agreed to do business with you.
Make sure your client is on board before writing proposals.
8. Do not offer final payment on completion
If you have ever built a website for a client you will know that getting them to give you content for their website is very challenging. Clients often expect you to know their business better than they do and often tell you to just make it good. If you offer final payment on completion you may find yourself waiting a very long time.
9. Find and duplicate good clients
There are many kinds of clients out there but there are exceptional clients that are just better than others. those who pay on time always offer ongoing work never complain about your price and send you a birthday card every year. once you have a client like this do your best to find common characteristics and duplicate these clients.
10. Many hands make light work
Having worked solo for a decade and working in teams. I have come to realise that partnerships generate more clients and more revenues even though partnerships can end badly they are worth the effort to make more money