There were more than 861 million active websites at the end of November 2013, a Netcraft survey reports.It is an increase of more than 355,000 websitesfrom the month before.That’s a huge market ofpotential customers wanting to have a website created for them. Organizing your Web design business and getting out in front of people is your goal if you want a portion of that market. The following suggestions focus your time on the tasks to create a successful business:
Organize your physical environment. If you’ve been working on the dining room table, it’s time to set up a home office. Set aside space in your house or apartment that’s just for work. Keep out all of the other distractions such as TV and game systems. When you’re in that space, it’s just for work.
Are you in the freelance business because you want to dictate your own schedule? You can still do that and set aside specific times for working. When are the best times for design work? Administrative work? Sales calls? All of those tasks must be completed, so find the best times to do each.
Selling Yourself Every Day
Tuts+ reminds you that you need to sell your services every day. There are so many Web designers that it’s a commodity. People need a reason why you’re a better option than one of the other thousands of designers. Create a sales cycle for yourself that you work each day. Choose the right social networking sites for your business and build a presence there. Start a blog and focus on a particular niche in which you can become an expert. Make contacts in forums and networking events. Get your name out as a guest blogger on technical sites. Sign up for Google+ Authorship, says Maximize Social Business, so your name will come up in searches when people look for a particular topic.
Find the Tools That Save Time
Look for tools that help you complete routine tasks and save you time. You don’t want to be coding your customer’s websites until 3am every day. The cloud-based tool Hootsuite organizes all of your social networking sites into one interface. Manage all of your marketing efforts with one dashboard so you don’t have to spend time on each individual website. Track all of the time you work for a client with Office Time. Break down the time for the client and create reports on how your time is spent. Make sure that you get paid for all of the time you worked. Get your invoices out on time with tools such as Quickbooks invoicing. Your cash flow depends on customer payments. Send accurate electronic invoices and follow up on payments. Track late payments and send reminders. This software automates those tasks so you’re not spending hours reconciling your time on invoices.
Get Your Legal Documents in Order
The Small Business Administration has resources to help you organize your legal, tax and business documents. Developing a Statement of Work (SOW) for your customers to review and approve will reduce the risk of mid-project changes. Detail what you will be doing for them and make sure they understand what they are getting. This is also the document to come back to if there are any customer issues with the final product.