If someone was going to really pressure me to recommend a hot home-based business for now and the future, there’s one I’d have to list. That’s web design! It seems everyone wants/needs to get a website up. For those who have started creating sites for yourself, family, and friends and become intrigued with the idea of actually making money doing something you really enjoy, web design might be the perfect home business for you.
Jennifer Czawlytko, author of the eBook, “A Bizy’s Guide To Creating Success In Web Design” took time out of her busy schedule to talk about her business of web designing.
Jennifer has been my web designer for several years. I first met her in an online chat that I used to host on AOL several years ago. A couple of years into designing my site myself, I was in desperate need of finding a designer. Because Jennifer wasn’t shy about the business she ran, I knew exactly who I was going to ask to take this job.
I know you’ll learn so much from Jennifer’s past experience and the tips she has to offer.
Q: Jen, what makes web design the right business for you?
Jen: I have always had a creative side that I primarily saved for my off time (doing crafts, helping the PTA, etc.). I never really knew how to use my creativity to succeed in my work life until I started working on the computers at my children’s schools. As I explain in my eBook, I started with desktop publishing and eventually discovered web design. Here was a business where I could be creative on a daily basis and make money. It is important to note though, while I can make a good income with this business, the benefits of running this business go far beyond financial. I am a naturally shy person, but web designing has allowed me to do something that I love, something that can make a difference for so many people, and most importantly, something that has allowed me to believe in myself. As a Mom I have always told my children that they have to believe in themselves. Now I can teach them by example. For me, that makes this the right business.
Q: For the Moms thinking about starting a web design business, would this be a good business for them to start from home? And why?
Jen: Definitely, if they have creative talents and can project a solid business image, this is an ideal business to run from home. In my eBook I cover not only the skills you need for this business, but also talk about personalities. It is important for the budding entrepreneur to know that this type of business is not for everyone. For example, you won’t make money overnight and you won’t have the benefit of someone else’s product to sell. Web design is a business where you are selling your skills, your only “product samples” are things that YOU create. That may sound scary, but remember the benefits … YOU create your own success, YOU manage your own schedule and workload, and YOU reap all the benefits. I love being able to attend all my boys’ school events, being able to work at 1 AM if one of my boys isn’t feeling well during the day, deciding when I want to take a vacation, etc.
Q: Has this business always been easy? Did you ever think about giving up?
Jen: Has anyone ever actually answered yes to that first question and no to the second one? LOL I truly believe any business you start is going to have its tough times and there will be times you feel like giving up. So no, it hasn’t always been easy, and yes, I have considered giving up, many times. But it isn’t important if you have times like that; what is important is how you handle them and grow from them. The first “problem” that arises will always be the toughest one because you are more vulnerable in the beginning. But if you learn from each bad experience, you will prevent future mistakes and you will be stronger for it. In my eBook, I present some of the problems I have faced so that others can learn from my experiences as well as their own.
Q: Do you have to know everything there is to know just to get started?
Jen: No, that is one of the wonderful things about web design, there is always something new to learn. You can start out offering the most basic services and work your way up as you learn new techniques and strategies. In my eBook, while I do not explain or teach the reader web design skills, I do explain what the different skills are and new ones to keep an eye on in the future. The Internet is a constantly growing and changing environment for those who design it and those who surf it, so you can really dig out your own little niche tailored to what you know and what you are willing to learn.
Q: Is a web design business expensive to start and manage?
Jen: If you already have a computer then you have the biggest expense out of the way. I started with the basics: a computer, printer, HTML editing software, graphics editing software, and lots of free learning resources. I did not take any college courses or pay for any online courses, most of my learning came from a few books I picked up (like Laura LeMay’s “Teach Yourself Web Design in 21 Days”), free online tutorials, and viewing the HTML coding from other web sites. As your business grows you can add other equipment and upgrade your current equipment. In the beginning I made a rule that I would not purchase anything new for my business unless I had the money in my business account. My account started out with $100 of my personal money, which I have since repaid myself, and I have never had to violate my rule. I had to make some sacrifices, like not buying the “best” programs when I started, not using the more expensive forms of advertising, or borrowing my friend’s scanner until I could buy my own, but I wanted my business to pay for itself and it has.
Q: What has been your biggest struggle with marketing your business and how did you overcome it?
Jen: My shyness. Online I can talk to anyone and can project a great image. But offline I am incredibly shy and introverted. A lot of that stems from low self-esteem and a general belief that everyone is better than me. I have made great strides in this area as my business has grown, but in the beginning it was very difficult to overcome. I was able to get around it by focusing my marketing on techniques which did not involve me being placed face-to-face with potential clients. My marketing was primarily accomplished online. As I mention in the marketing sections of my eBook, this might not work for everyone, but it was what I had to do to feel confident enough to speak with my potential clients.
Q: Any last words of advice?
Jen: Know your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner and have a good support network around you. Many times you will find that your strengths can be utilized in unusual ways to compensate for your weakness in other areas. Your family, friends, and business colleagues can help you determine if you are overly concerned about weaknesses you may have. We are always our own worst critics anyway. If you aren’t finding enough support in your current circles then go out and find new ones, because starting a business is hard and you need truly supportive people around you. In my eBook, I have tried to lay out both the pros and cons of starting a web design business, but only you can make the decision on if it is the right type of business for you. Weigh the pros and cons, then balance them with your own strengths, weaknesses, and the advice of your friends to make the right decision for you. Regardless of your decision I wish you well and hope you achieve all you hope to in life. Good Luck!’
Recommended Books on Starting a Web Design Business:
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Web Designer (Starting Your Career)
- The Designer’s Web Handbook: What You Need to Know to Create for the Web
- The Strategic Web Designer: How to Confidently Navigate the Web Design Process
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Web Designer (Starting Your Career)
- How to Start a Home-Based Web Design Business, 4th (Home-Based Business Series)
- The Designer’s Guide To Marketing And Pricing: How To Win Clients And What To Charge Them
- How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Web Site Design Business: With Companion CD – ROM
Liz Folger is the founder of http://www.bizymoms.com . Bizymoms.com is the leading online resource for work-from-home ideas. The site offers home-based business start-up kits, online classes, e-books, chats and enthusiastic support for moms who want to have it all a family and a career. Visit http://www.bizymoms.com for more information.