What is the step-by-step process to start a web design company?

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Starting a web design business is not an easy task, it requires a certain degree of diligence, persistence, commitment, courage, consistency, and ambition to start working for yourself. Along with the way, which can affect the success and growth of your entrepreneurial venture.

If you are thinking of launching your own design company, follow the steps below before you get started.

1. Find out who your target client is:

It is not enough to add the title "Web Developer" to your LinkedIn profile. If you want your business to be successful, you must know who your target clients are.

Once your niche has been established, make sure that you are communicating this on your portfolio website and other online platforms. As a part of this process, spend some time developing your target client persona (a bio of your target clients).

You must know as much as possible about those clients, such as where do they mostly hang out? How to reach them? What do they need from a website? Etc.

2. Decide what to offer to your clients

Following are some ideas to help you define your speciality when starting a web design business:

  • Offer WordPress maintenance services (core, plugin, theme updates)
  • Design complete website projects for new businesses
  • Focus on a specific type of website design: e-commerce, membership sites, etc.
  • Convert websites from other platforms (such as Drupal, Squarespace, Weebly) to WordPress, or even do PSD to WordPress
  • Focus on redesigns or responsive retrofits
  • Work with customers in specific industries, such as government, small business, B2C, etc.

3. Set your prices

Projects rates are generally higher than hourly rates on big projects because people will not ask you how you are spending your time- it's already planned for and they've already paid for it. Hourly rates set you up for disruptive interactions and the devaluation of your expertise.

You must calculate your ideal hourly rate, even when your customers are never privy to this information. If you want to go freelance full-time for the first time, don't forget to build in the cost of benefits (medical insurance), sick days, and vacation days. Also, don't forget that you should plan to save 20-30% for taxes.

4. Make a presence on social media and get clients

Starting with your existing network by making your intentions clear is one of the best first steps. Publicly post about launching a web design company on social networks and reaching out to friends, family and colleagues who can give referrals to you.

It will be beneficial to create a social media strategy to stay top of mind with your network using some of the theme ideas. LinkedIn is a great source of leads because it has B2B nature. Twitter is the best place to create strength with the web design community. Therefore start interacting with other WordPress professionals and prospective business you are planning to work with. But lists to make it easier to organize your conversation.

5. Business incorporation

At some point, you may find it necessary to incorporate your business — providing some legal protection in the form of separation between personal or business assets. To do this, you will have to fill out some forms and submit payment to your state or country. It will help you to have a good lawyer or accountant on your side.

Regardless of where you're incorporating your business, don't forget to check on local rules and regulations as well as consulting with other businesses in your niche to determine what is required to get started.

6. Business administration

Here are a few tasks you'll have to do as a new web design business owner:

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping: Use an accounting tool such as to send invoices, receive payment, and track all your expenses.
  • Hiring and Management: You may want to outsource smaller projects and administrative tasks to build a process around hiring and management as soon as you start to recognize this requirement. Also, create process documentation for as many things as you can so that even if you are not ready to hire yet, you will be prepared when the time is right.

7. Get your tools in order

You might already be familiar with many of the important web design tools, but at the same time, not all of those tools will be as effective when scaled up and incorporated into a web design enterprise.

In other words, just because something worked for you in the past, doesn't mean that it will continue to work in a professional business environment that you're in now. Therefore consider some excellent tools for web designers and WordPress users.

8. Scale-up, make more money and provide more value

When you are first starting a web design business, you will have to build your way up the ranks. It means taking on a low paying job to build out your portfolio — not exactly glamorous, but something that everyone in your position has had to do.

Once you are more established, you can start thinking about how to build more value into your offerings so that you can make more money.

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