8 Tips for Running a Web Design Business Part Time with SiteSwan
8 Tips for Running a Web Design Business Part Time with SiteSwan

8 Tips for Running a Web Design Business Part-Time

October 7, 2020

One of the things that makes web design such an attractive industry to be in, and such an intriguing business to start, is that it does not need to be run with a full-time commitment. Many people who offer web design do it on the side as a source of supplemental income. You don’t have to devote 40 hours a week to bring in substantial revenue when you can earn $500 - $1,000+ from each site you sell, plus residual monthly income. If you are running it efficiently, a web design business can be profitably maintained with part-time hours. Here are 8 tips to help you do that:

1. Designate Specific Days and Times to Focus on Your Business

One of the biggest truths in business is that you get out of your business what you put into it. If you’re going to start a business part-time, make sure that you firmly commit to actually spending time on it. It doesn’t have to be full-time hours, but it has to be consistent, focused, and at a time that you’ll be productive. For example: if you have a day job that you get out earlier on some days, use the afternoon to focus on your web design business. Weekends are generally great too – when you consider that lots of local businesses are open and available to discuss their website and marketing needs on Saturdays and Sundays. Skip the expensive social lunch gathering with co-workers, and use your lunch hour to prospect and make phone calls, and always be on the lookout for who could be your next (or first) client. Once you have a schedule down, you won’t have to feel like you’re carving out time to work, and if you have to stop what you’re doing while in the middle of something, you’ll know exactly when you can pick up where you left off, which is very good for productivity.

2. Use Your Time Wisely

Offering websites to small businesses requires multiple responsibilities. The two biggest ones that you’ll need to focus on are design and sales. The tasks associated with selling websites are more sensitive to time of day than that of designing sites. After all, most small businesses aren’t open 24 hours a day, so you need to make sure you’re approaching them (either by phone or in person) during their open hours. This is why most web designers who are operating their business part time, tend to use any free time during the workday hours to focus on sales. Building and designing the sites, on the other hand, can be done any time of day or night, with really no time restrictions because all it requires is you to be in front of your computer. Keep in mind, though, that you’re most efficient when you’re awake and alert, so try to avoid burning the midnight oil too much. Here’s a quick reference on best times of days to do essential business tasks:

  • Prospecting (deciding which businesses to reach out to - using the Local Prospecting Tool): Anytime day or night.
  • Sales (in-person and on the phone): during normal business hours (generally 9am - 7pm)
  • Sales follow-ups (email, text, cell phone, Facebook Messenger, etc.): during waking hours (generally 8am - 9pm)
  • Designing: Anytime day or night.
  • Accounting: Anytime day or night.
  • Marketing: Depending on the type, a lot of it can be done anytime day or night.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Let’s face the facts: no matter how much time you devote to website sales, and how much preparation you’ve done, you’re probably not going to sell 100 websites in your first month. Any new business, regardless of the industry it’s in, needs time to establish itself, find its footing, and grow at a reasonable pace. Blasting off like a rocket ship is virtually unheard of, and not very sustainable, so make sure you don’t set your expectations too high. Your first few months will likely be spent familiarizing yourself with the process of building and selling websites, making connections, and establishing the brand in the community. Business owners who are operating under less self-imposed pressure tend to grow more steadily, healthily, and efficiently. Especially if you’re only doing this part-time to start, you won’t even be able to handle taking on a huge number of clients in your first months. You’ll want to take extra time to ensure that your first 5 clients are onboarded with kid gloves so that you establish a positive reputation for yourself. Remember, you’re charging a setup fee and a monthly fee on each site, so even selling one site in your first 3 months can put your business in the black. In fact, selling just 4 sites in your first year can put you into profitability. Success doesn’t like to be rushed!

4. Think Long-Term

If you’re looking to start a business with residual income, like web design offers, then you probably haven’t succumb to the mindset of getting rich quick. Remember: every “overnight success” story usually leaves out the years of planning and preparation that led up to that night. Plus, time flies when you’re having fun – and web design is a lot fun – so your success might feel like it happened overnight anyway! But either way, you should always have your sights set on the long-term. Keep your eyes down the road, and focus on the future. Every single client you take on, no matter how long it takes you to acquire them, is likely to be with you for a very long time, paying you month after month, year after year, for their website services. And since there is generally very little maintenance required on your part for each of your web design clients, you won’t get bogged down managing each client. As soon as you land one client, you can easily focus your energy on taking on the next one. The business model that SiteSwan revolves around is focused on scalability, and the long-term residuals from lots of customers – not just a handful. You have the tools to grow and expand.

5. Hire Help

While working part-time means you have limited hours to devote to your business, it doesn’t mean that you have to be doing all the work yourself. You can multiply your productivity by using your part-time hours to manage people who you hire. Almost any salesperson can sell a website to a small business who desperately needs one, and many will work on a commission-only incentive. That means you only pay for their performance. Since you’re charging an upfront fee plus a monthly fee for each site, you can offer a percentage of the upfront fee to the salesperson for each site they bring in.

But don’t think you’re limited to just hiring a salesperson, because designers can be very affordable to hire as well. Now, building out a demo site to show to a customer is something you would do yourself in a minute or two on SiteSwan, but when it comes time to complete the rest of the site content and make updates to colors or imagery, that can take a couple of hours. So, if you hire someone to do that for you, it frees you up to focus on the more important tasks. Designers will often agree to be paid on a per-project basis, which, if the site is already sold, making it a risk-free investment.

6. Don’t Bite off More than You Can Chew

It might be tempting for you to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes across your plate. However, especially when you’re only devoting part-time hours to this business, it’s important you’re focused on the ideal client and delivering only the services that you feel comfortable offering. Remember, simple, informational, lead-generating sites for small businesses are exactly what the SiteSwan platform was designed for. Focus on privately-owned businesses who can make quick decisions, and those whose needs do not extend into advanced e-commerce sites or complex configurations. If someone's looking to build the next Amazon.com, for example, that's not the type of client you want. The perfect client is a typical business that needs about 5 pages of content, a primary call to action, an attractive and effective design, and reliable hosting with friendly, responsive customer support. Get laser-focused on what you’re offering and don’t take on any work that falls outside of what you are certain you can deliver quickly.

7. Get Started Right Away

Devoting part-time hours means that you don’t have time to waste. As soon as you make the decision to get started, follow through with it and always be prepared to take the next step. Getting your business off the ground will take time, so don’t hesitate to start doing. Do something – anything – so long as you’re moving forward. You cannot expect your clients to come to you, and you should not wait for things to happen in your business without you making them happen. When you start a web design business using SiteSwan, we offer you step-by-step instructions for getting your marketing site off the ground, begin prospecting right away, and assembling your collateral to start selling right away. Also, our weekly Getting Started webinars are designed to help you do just that – get started right away.

8. Use the Right Web Design Software

Starting a web design business part-time is totally doable, but there’s a big “if”: if you’re using the right software. SiteSwan gives you everything you need to start, grow, and run a web design business without any prior experience or knowledge. If you come to the table with sales or design experience – great! But our interactive training, ongoing support, vast array of marketing resources, and intuitive controls built around scalability, are designed to make anyone feel like they have everything they need to start building and selling websites for small businesses immediately. If you’re trying to launch a web design business part-time, you need to make sure you have the right system so that you can get up to speed quickly, and not waste your first couple months trying to figure out the technology. SiteSwan is simple, affordable, and even has features like Prospecting and Client Billing built in – so everything from finding potential clients, to pitching them, to building the site, to hosting and maintaining the site, to charging them for it, is done right from within the SiteSwan dashboard.

Just because you want to start a business, don’t feel like it has to be a full-time commitment. The idea of making web design a full-time business is a choice you can make down the line, and starting off part-time is totally doable, and frankly, quite logical. If you’re not ready to quit your day job or jump in with two feet, then wade into the waters of SiteSwan, follow our suggestions, and have fun selling websites to small businesses part-time, on your time, when you want, and how you want. We’re committed to helping you enjoy starting a web design business with SiteSwan!
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