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Starting My Own Web Design Business

Anything considered a "hustle" and not necessarily a CENTS-based Fastlane

Davidc

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Hello,

I'm creating this thread to track my progress in starting my own web design business.

I joined this forum last fall and found the thread by @Fox about his web design business. I then joined his FB group and bought his course.

I have gone through the course and have also learned WordPress, HTML and CSS. I've also taken courses on SEO and copy writing. I'm now beginning to look for some clients in order to build my portfolio.

My first priority is to build a portfolio by doing two or three free sites.

I have started looking for new clients by looking at FB pages and Yelp. Virtually all business seem to already have websites.

I'm also looking at existing websites in order to find those that are not very good. But, I'm not exactly sure what I am looking for in that regards and am not confident yet of my ability to do a better job myself.

I've read various sales books and watched some you tube videos. There seems to be a difference of opinion on the value of cold calling/emailing. But, since I don't know of anyone who needs a site, I'll obviously need to start off in that direction.
 
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Fox

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Hello,

I'm creating this thread to track my progress in starting my own web design business.

I joined this forum last fall and found the thread by @Fox about his web design business. I then joined his FB group and bought his course.

I have gone through the course and have also learned WordPress, HTML and CSS. I've also taken courses on SEO and copy writing. I'm now beginning to look for some clients in order to build my portfolio.

My first priority is to build a portfolio by doing two or three free sites.

I have started looking for new clients by looking at FB pages and Yelp. Virtually all business seem to already have websites.

I'm also looking at existing websites in order to find those that are not very good. But, I'm not exactly sure what I am looking for in that regards and am not confident yet of my ability to do a better job myself.

I've read various sales books and watched some you tube videos. There seems to be a difference of opinion on the value of cold calling/emailing. But, since I don't know of anyone who needs a site, I'll obviously need to start off in that direction.

Hey David - good to see you signing up for the forums.

I would start locally with people in Denver and see who might need a site.
Are there any business connections you already have or any businesses you frequent that might need a site?

Look at local connections first and work through any networks you might have or can join. You only need one or two great portfolio sites to use for future sales pitches so start small and local. Use what advantages you have.

Since you are on the course check out the starter course in particular since there is a lot of content on exactly this. If you need more help just tag me and Ill give any feedback I can.
 

NateKruse

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Are you only doing the front end of the websites? With Wordpress, HTML, and CSS I’m guessing you are mostly making informational pages for local businesses.

I’m trying to get a website going for my business. I’ve been doing the Codecademy courses for HTML and CSS. I’m planning on working through to JavaScript and jQuery to develop the backend.

I would like to have the ability for customers to login and change their subscription plans on their own.
 

Fox

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Are you only doing the front end of the websites? With Wordpress, HTML, and CSS I’m guessing you are mostly making informational pages for local businesses.

I’m trying to get a website going for my business. I’ve been doing the Codecademy courses for HTML and CSS. I’m planning on working through to JavaScript and jQuery to develop the backend.

I would like to have the ability for customers to login and change their subscription plans on their own.

Why don't you guys work together and post up if you need any extra help or input? Would that work?
 
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NateKruse

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Why don't you guys work together and post up if you need any extra help or input? Would that work?

I’d be willing to work with David if he would like to develop his portfolio.

@Davidc feel free to message me if you are interested.
 

Davidc

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That sounds like a good idea. Thanks @Fox
That didn't work out with Nate. We had a nice discussion. But what he needs is some kind of eCommerce site, such as Woo commerce or Shopify. That's a little beyond my expertise level at the moment.
 
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Davidc

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That didn't work out with Nate. We had a nice discussion. But what he needs is some kind of eCommerce site, such as Woo commerce or Shopify. That's a little beyond my expertise level at the moment.
Update - I just bought a book called 'Smart Calling', by Art Sobczak. I want to know what I'm doing before I attempt to cold call local businesses. @Fox FB group has given me some ideas on what to look for when evaluating a website. I hope to find some business with bad or outdated sites and pitch my services.
 

Gepi

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Update - I just bought a book called 'Smart Calling', by Art Sobczak. I want to know what I'm doing before I attempt to cold call local businesses. @Fox FB group has given me some ideas on what to look for when evaluating a website. I hope to find some business with bad or outdated sites and pitch my services.
Don't forget that you find a ton of free advise on cold calling online. Buying books is fine but the most important thing is doing it and correct as you go.
 

Davidc

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Update - I just bought a book called 'Smart Calling', by Art Sobczak. I want to know what I'm doing before I attempt to cold call local businesses. @Fox FB group has given me some ideas on what to look for when evaluating a website. I hope to find some business with bad or outdated sites and pitch my services.
I cannot find anyone to build a free site for. I am going to take the advice of some members of @Fox FB group and just build some dummy sites. Then, I will build my site and put them in my portfolio.
 
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I cannot find anyone to build a free site for. I am going to take the advice of some members of @Fox FB group and just build some dummy sites. Then, I will build my site and put them in my portfolio.

Are you buying a domain name and hosting for those dummy sites?
 

Davidc

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I'm purchasing a site for my company and my portfolio page will display pictures of the dummy sites. It will eventually display pictures of the real sites that I create.
 
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Davidc

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I'm purchasing a site for my company and my portfolio page will display pictures of the dummy sites. It will eventually display pictures of the real sites that I create.
 

dmichaelmccann

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Hey @Davidc ,

I'd stay at it a little more before you go build those dummy sites. It can be tough to get those first couple portfolio pieces but being able to show potential clients sites that you built for real businesses will really help with sales later on.

Here's a few ideas that I'd suggest you try if you haven't already:

Ask your family, friends, and acquaintances if they know anyone that needs a free website for their business.

Join a few facebook business groups in your area, for example I would search "New Jersey business", and post up a message saying you are just starting off with web design and are looking to do 1-2 free websites for group members. You also could just make a public facebook post saying the above and ask your friends and family to share it with anyone they think could be a good fit. Change the visibility of the post to global so you can get as many eyes on it as possible.

You could also try to prospect local businesses in person. Search up some places online that you think you could help, and if they have a terrible website or no website at all, walk in and offer to build them one for free. For a free website this will work way better than doing cold calls as the business owner will see that you took the time to come in and make this offer personally.
 

Maxboost

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Hey @Davidc ,

I'd stay at it a little more before you go build those dummy sites. It can be tough to get those first couple portfolio pieces but being able to show potential clients sites that you built for real businesses will really help with sales later on.

Here's a few ideas that I'd suggest you try if you haven't already:

Ask your family, friends, and acquaintances if they know anyone that needs a free website for their business.

Join a few facebook business groups in your area, for example I would search "New Jersey business", and post up a message saying you are just starting off with web design and are looking to do 1-2 free websites for group members. You also could just make a public facebook post saying the above and ask your friends and family to share it with anyone they think could be a good fit. Change the visibility of the post to global so you can get as many eyes on it as possible.

You could also try to prospect local businesses in person. Search up some places online that you think you could help, and if they have a terrible website or no website at all, walk in and offer to build them one for free. For a free website this will work way better than doing cold calls as the business owner will see that you took the time to come in and make this offer personally.

The problem with free websites is that I built 3 free sites for small business owners that went AWOL on me. Very frustrating and a waste of time. When its time to pay up, these owners back out of the cost of yearly web hosting which is only 50$/year through namescheap.
 
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Davidc

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Hey @Davidc ,

I'd stay at it a little more before you go build those dummy sites. It can be tough to get those first couple portfolio pieces but being able to show potential clients sites that you built for real businesses will really help with sales later on.

Here's a few ideas that I'd suggest you try if you haven't already:

Ask your family, friends, and acquaintances if they know anyone that needs a free website for their business.

Join a few facebook business groups in your area, for example I would search "New Jersey business", and post up a message saying you are just starting off with web design and are looking to do 1-2 free websites for group members. You also could just make a public facebook post saying the above and ask your friends and family to share it with anyone they think could be a good fit. Change the visibility of the post to global so you can get as many eyes on it as possible.

You could also try to prospect local businesses in person. Search up some places online that you think you could help, and if they have a terrible website or no website at all, walk in and offer to build them one for free. For a free website this will work way better than doing cold calls as the business owner will see that you took the time to come in and make this offer personally.
Thanks for the advice, Michael !
 

Davidc

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The problem with free websites is that I built 3 free sites for small business owners that went AWOL on me. Very frustrating and a waste of time. When its time to pay up, these owners back out of the cost of yearly web hosting which is only 50$/year through namescheap.
I can understand your frustration. Thanks for the input.
 

BlackMagician

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I cannot find anyone to build a free site for. I am going to take the advice of some members of @Fox FB group and just build some dummy sites. Then, I will build my site and put them in my portfolio.

5280housecleaning.com | Deeper, Nicer, Greener, Cleaner
http://www.sbaglobal.com/L
Denver Freightways Express | Transportation Logistics Company

SR International - International Freight Forwarding Services :: Home

Why not contact them? They seriously need some good sites. We can find many more website like these in your local. Search.
 
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Davidc

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Thanks !

How exactly did you find these ?
The sites definitely need changes. I'm just wondering if these three examples are too complex for my first site which would be free.
 

BlackMagician

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Thanks !

How exactly did you find these ?
The sites definitely need changes. I'm just wondering if these three examples are too complex for my first site which would be free.
Yes they are complex and difficult. Too many pages. You shouldn't do it for free. You can target them later when you have more experience.

search- "logistics services denver" "cleaning services denver" just change the industry. Try to go micro niche. Like cleaning service for office, or homecare etc.

Build free websites which is of 1-2 pages. Not more. it will goof up your time.

I recommend to do free sites for people you know before you do it for others.
 

Burton

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Looking forward to see your progress. I have one suggestion, you can also look for businesses which have not any website. It might sounds strange but I have already found quite a lot here in my country. And of course enjoy your time here.
 
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therealmark

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I'm excited for you. Web development is an exciting business to be in. As someone who built a software development company here is my two cents about getting started:

1. Don't ever work for free. Even if you have to spend all day / night trying to learn how to get something done. Even if you end up making $2 an hour because you spend 90% of your time learning.

Don't de-value yourself. There are plenty of smart business owners that will gladly pay you a thousand dollars to build a small website for their business because they know it would cost them five thousand from a local shop.

2. Don't be afraid because you don't know how to do something. When you are working in web development you will always face problems that you have to learn how to solve. That's why this business is so exciting. It's always changing. The larger the projects the more complex the problems.

3. If you want to have a web development business embrace the fact that you need to sell websites before you can build them. You will spend at least half of your time working leads and meeting people. Build yourself a website. Make some brochures. Sit down and make a list of local businesses that need help with their websites. Go to these businesses in person and start talking. Be honest that you are just getting started and need to build a portfolio. Offer to help them.

The fact that you are in the portfolio stage will resinate with some people because they will interpret that to mean that you will go the extra mile because you plan to use this to gain more work.

To recap: Don't work for free. Don't be afraid of what you don't know. Get out there and start selling.

I wish you the best in your endeavor!
 

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