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5 Smart Strategies for Building Your Web Design Business

written by: sherisaid•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 8/23/2010

Building a sustainable freelance web design business can seem like an impossible task. Many web developers are shocked to find technical skill just isn't enough. To compete and earn business in a competitive market, you have to find smart strategies for building your web design business.

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    Freelance isn't Freefall: Smart Strategies for Building Your Web Design Business

    Getting started as a freelance web developer can be terrifying at first. Until you have a steady stream of clients, you often find yourself in times of feast or famine. While holding your breath as you wait for the next payment, struggling to finish a big project before the car payment is due, wondering if the money will ever roll in, a steady paycheck can start to look pretty appealing, and you can develop an air of desperation. The answer to your nail-biting dilemma is multiple clients and simultaneous projects in various stages of completion. Before you wind up working too hard for too little money, or worse, not working at all, think about these smart strategies for building your web design business:

    1. Don't compromise. It's easy to fall into the more-for-less trap. After all, there are a million job opportunities on the boards for people willing to build complex systems for peanuts. If you need groceries, any work can be pretty appealing, but consider the inherent trap. The sheer number of hours you have to put in to make survival money is staggering if you accept slave wages, leaving you with no time to find something better. The reputation that you build is one of cheap labor, so why would anyone offer you more, and anyone who wants to pay peanuts will treat you like a monkey. You are certain to be abused as the project grows in scope but the money remains the same. Stay strong.

    2. Be confident. When talking to a client, muster your confidence and speak with authority. Customers can smell desperation. Prepare for the conversation, sell with confidence, and sound authoritative.

    3. Sell your existing customers. Consider every contact the opportunity to at least plant a seed for new business. Suggest features that might benefit the business, ask for his ideas, tell him about your business plans for the future.

    4. Market yourself. Grow your influence and potential customer base with social marketing, blogging about business related subjects, attending face-to-face networking opportunities, public speaking, and press releases. Collect an opt-in email list on your web site and email a newsletter. By extending your influence, you extend your potential client base. Don't forget family and friends. Everybody knows somebody who needs a web site. Make sure they know what you do.

    5. Ask for referrals. If you do a good job for the customer, he'll be only too happy to respond by recommending your service.

    Don't get discouraged. The work is out there for everyone willing to go for it. It takes time and constant attention, but the rewards of successful freelancing are innumerable. Working smarter by using smart strategies for building your web design business to attract a customer base and establish your brand is the road to freelance success.