Entrepreneurship is a basic component of the American Dream: the small business owner who thrives despite all odds. And in the field of Web design, the odds are numerous. But going solo can be financially rewarding as well as internally satisfying.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for graphic designers is $47,640. As a freelance web designer, you have the potential to earn more than those working for design firms or companies. However, actual salaries vary based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, and a variety of other factors.
Seven Tips for Web Design Business Success
Many design entrepreneurs begin their careers as in-house designers at a company. If you’re interested in breaking out or starting a business right out of school, this checklist can help you get started.
1. Take inventory. Before putting your Web design plans into action, ask yourself whether you’ve got what it takes to start your own business. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s website has a list of questions for potential entrepreneurs. Though it’s exciting to be your own boss, you need to be very dedicated to ensure that you put enough time into your business to make it succeed.
2. Target your Web design niche. Not only are there several different careers that fall under the umbrella of Web design—such as Web graphic design, interactive media design, and user interface design—there are also different market segments you can target with your design business.
3. Get the right training. Web designers generally need some level of Web design education—a certificate or associate’s degree may be sufficient if you have enough experience under your belt, but a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree can be an enormous benefit if your goal is to start your own business.
4. Invest in the proper equipment. Although you don’t need a ton of expensive equipment to get started in the Web design field, you do need to invest in some basics: an Internet connection, a sufficiently powerful computer, and appropriate design software.
5. Cultivate a business mindset. Running a Web-design business is similar to operating any other type of small business. You’ll need patience and great communication skills to work with a variety of clients and the creativity to address design problems in a way that meets the client’s needs.
6. Take care of the practical details. Do you have an appropriate home office space or another workspace? Do you need a business license to operate as a freelance Web designer? Have you written a business plan to define your goals in a concrete way? You’ll need this for any business loan you take out.
7. Grow your business. Once you’ve gotten started, you’ll need to make sure you can maintain a steady flow of clients and income. Common ways to drum up clients include networking, traditional marketing, and word of mouth.