How To Start A Website Design Business
Designing websites can be a lucrative way to run your own business remotely. Learn how to start a website design business in this article.
With more and more people reliant on online platforms to bolster their sales, website design is in demand. Web design is much easier than it once was, and there is now more choice in freelance web developers. Accordingly, it is a great time to start a website design business. If you are interested in technology, and have a creative flare for design, this business venture could be your next business. Here’s some tips on how to get started.
As the old saying goes, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. Failing to prepare means being be prepared to fail. As such, it is important that you plan properly from the outset. Creating a document with a broad overview of your intent is a really helpful step to commence your business endeavour. This document may include:
- Income aims
- Potential setup costs
- How you intend to generate setup costs
- Equipment or gear required
- Commercial leasing or office space required
- Initial branding ideas
- What sets you apart from the others, i.e. special design skills
- Your target market, i.e. personal websites for individuals, freelance creatives, large or small businesses, corporations, government sector
- Who else might work in the business with you
- Businesses structure, i.e. company, sole trader, or partnership
- Any other administrative and logistical issues to plan for
It does not matter how many clients you have, without sufficient legal registration, there is no recognised business. It is paramount to ensure you abide by all legal requirements for the purposes of registration. This is important for meeting competition and consumer trading standards, as well as for tax reasons. Firstly, if you do not have one already, you will need to register an ABN. You will then need to determine if you are structuring your business as a sole trader or as a company. If you are trading under any other name as a sole trader other than your own legal name, you must register a business name.
Whether you hope to start a website design business or any other type of service, branding is an integral part of any business. It may be worth considering trademarking your brand. This process is important for two reasons. One being that by checking the trademark of your brand, you can make sure you are not encroaching on somebody else’s intellectual property. In addition, it will assist in protecting your own intellectual property. One thing to remember about trademarks is that they only apply in the country they are registered in. If you are seeking global trademark protection, you will need to do this abroad. Having a strong online presence across social media is also a useful way of proliferating your reach to potential clients.
The right tools
Whilst some people can fall prey to having ‘all the gear and no idea’, having the adequate tools will help you succeed. There are innumerable applications for web design you can source online. It is best practice to ask around and do your research to find the software that works the best for you. Using the right hardware is also of significant importance.
Some of the most important aspects of any business are the legal considerations you must make. Having the requisite legal documents to assist you in this regard is of significant importance. If you are seeking to protect the privacy of your work, Non-disclosure Agreements are a very useful thing to have at your disposal. A Statement Of Work is another useful legal document as part of the contractual part of your work. You are also required by law to have terms and conditions on your own website. Doing great work is one thing, but keeping to task and fulfilling legal obligations is another.
Protecting your interests as well as that of your client is key to maintaining a prosperous and successful business. Unfortunately, you may encounter some challenges along your journey. In web design, much of this can be to do with constant revisions asked by the client. It is very sensible to set in place boundaries from the start to ensure that your clients are aware of the limits of your work before you will commence further fees. Whilst you want to get the product right for the client, you also need to be remunerated appropriately for your time and prevent having your time exploited.
Protect your work
Unfortunately, not all people you encounter are honest. Sometimes, you may incur the risk of having your intellectual property wrongfully exploited. For this reason, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent this.
- Keep changing passwords on shared content with clients in case they do not pay you, or steal your work. Set deadlines, and once the client is happy with the work and all deliverables are given to them, removing access to any shared platforms will help stop wrongful appropriation of your work
- Using watermarks on draft copies of your web design can help protect you from clients taking your work without payment. These watermarks can be removed upon full and final delivery of the content
- Putting in place strong contracts between you and your client will help set the tone from the outset and give you some recourse should either one of the parties breach the agreement
- Being familiar with copyright law is also helpful. Whilst you do not need to know everything, keeping in mind that websites are not ordinarily protected by copyright in and of themselves, rather all of the individual components on the website are protected upon creation instead
Website design is a fantastic way to work, especially with limited overhead costs when you can work from the cloud or remotely. However, it is not without its difficulties, and taking into account the foregoing points will help you no end prior to making that business leap. If are wanting to start a website design business and are unsure about your situation, it may be worthwhile consulting with a business lawyer for advice.
Paul is an intern at Lawpath, and is currently studying a combined Arts/Laws degree with a major in criminology at Macquarie University. Paul has an interest in legal tech, which complements his broader interest in cyber crime/security and the way in which it is changing the world.