Many of us dream of working full time on our own design business, either as freelancers or marketplace authors or a combination of both. Success stories like Kriesi selling a million dollars worth or Peerapong earning almost $50K in a month pour fuel on the flames of that dream. But what does it actually take to start your own design business?
David Horn recently answered that question on FreelanceSwitch with a helpful article called 9 Steps to Starting Your Freelance Web Design Business. He takes the mystery – and glamor – out of the process with nine practical and essential things you have to get done in order to succeed. So instead of just spending your lunchtimes at your day job dreaming of having your own business, now you can get started doing tangible things that will actually help you realize your goal.
I don’t want to steal David’s thunder – you really should head over to FreelanceSwitch and read the whole article, which includes valuable lists of resources. But I do want to whet your appetite so you’ll consider making the trip. So here’s a quick summary of the nine things you need to do to get started:
- Calculate start up costs. David has a practical list of costs to consider, including software and equipment.
- Establish your brand. It’s better to carefully consider what you’re going to call your business and how you’re going to present it to the world before you get started. Changing down the track can be difficult.
- Create your own portfolio website. If you have your own business, marketing is a big part of your job. You need to show off what you can do before clients will offer you work.
- Figure out how much to charge. This can be difficult, so the resources David lists are invaluable.
- Develop a sales cycle. This starts with finding good prospects. Your business isn’t just about creating designs – it’s about selling them.
- Organize a routine. Working from home doesn’t have the same structure and dynamics of an office job – it all depends on you. Discovering the optimal routine for each day is helpful.
- Find your community and work it. Social networks are a great way to find support as well as potential clients. Make the most of them.
- Sign up and use learning sites. Stay up to date to remain competitive.
- Get set up with the tools you’ll need. And to help, David lists a bunch of tools you probably don’t realize you’ll need.
Is your dream to work for yourself? As an author or freelancer or both? Which steps of David’s article did you find most helpful? Let us know in the comments.