Becoming a web designer means having one of those jobs that offers the ability to freelance, have flexible hours, and otherwise work for the best boss ever – yourself.
But while freelancing definitely has its benefits, it can also cap the amount of work you take on and, ultimately, the amount of money you actually make from your jobs. If you’re really serious about making your freelance or self-employed gig pay up, it may be time to consider going from doing the odd job here and there to building an actual business from your skills. Using the right tools, it’s possible to go from self-employed web designer to a self-sufficient business with just a few months of hard work.
While working from home may be convenient, it doesn’t always present the most professional image for prospective clients. Looking into the availability of office space can seriously increase your professional image, so clients are more likely to take you seriously. While you may not think you can afford to lease a space right away, you can start with space sharing – sharing a common office space with other small businesses. You’ll pay only for the time and scheduling you use and can otherwise save your money for other startup costs you’ll require. Then, as you start to increase revenue, you can think about having a dedicated office space made available.
You might be running a one-man show for a while, which means you won’t have assistants, administrative professionals or extra hands to lighten the load. Still, you definitely don’t want to miss out on opportunities simply because you can’t get to the phone. That’s where professional office services, like answer phone and online chat, come in handy. They’ll help lessen the burden of communication as you build your business, making sure there’s always a live person to talk to clients, even if you’re away from your desk or working on other projects. It’s an excellent way to keep potential leads in-house and avoid losing out to your competition.
Stand out from the rest as you go from being just another freelance graphic designer to an actual business by building your brand. Going by just your name was fine for smaller jobs, but as you branch out and take on more professional work, it’s important that your business look the part. A catchy name, logo, website and marketing materials will all help propel you out of freelance territory firmly into big-time business mode. It can also help you become more recognizable to potential clients looking for graphic design work, so it’s worth the time and the money. Luckily, a logo should be pretty easy – you’re a graphic designer after all.
Finally, the last step in going from freelancer and one-man show to viable business is the ability to generate leads. Whether you cold-call businesses, check your online response rate, or check with past customers, your leads will be the lifeblood of your new company. In fact, at first you may spend more time marketing than you do designing, but that work will help lay the foundation for a long and healthy life for your brand new business opportunity. From big clients to side jobs, every lead adds up to success.
While it takes plenty of hard work, capital and time to go from a small operation to a viable business, you’ll find that all your hard work pays you back again and again. As you make the leap from freelancer to business owner, the payoff will be even greater with new opportunities, skills and customer service experience as you improve and expand.