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Anyone Here Start A Web Design Business?

Khayembii Communique

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I'm interested in starting a web design business as something that I can do pretty much anywhere, with proportional returns to the amount of work put in, so that I can basically be free to work wherever I want, as much as I want and live comfortably.

I've just started looking into this, and have already talked to one person that has done it and am planning on speaking to many more before I actually dive in, but I figured I'd ask here. Has anyone done this?

If so, how did you start? What languages/programs did you know before you started it up? How did you start it? How did you start looking for clients in the very beginning? How did you know what kind of jobs to take? What about tax implications and health care costs, how did you cover those?
 

deadly7

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Originally Posted by JLay87
I'm interested in starting a web design business as something that I can do pretty much anywhere, with proportional returns to the amount of work put in, so that I can basically be free to work wherever I want, as much as I want and live comfortably.

I've just started looking into this, and have already talked to one person that has done it and am planning on speaking to many more before I actually dive in, but I figured I'd ask here. Has anyone done this?

If so, how did you start? What languages/programs did you know before you started it up? How did you start it? How did you start looking for clients in the very beginning? How did you know what kind of jobs to take? What about tax implications and health care costs, how did you cover those?


I can answer the technicals, but web design blows. If you can do anything else, please do it. You will hate your life otherwise. This is a very true, and sad, example of what web design is like for 95+% of clients: http://www.gksoft.com/a/fun/architects.html

Still, if you're determined:
1. Photoshop. Web designers will often be expected to be apt with Photoshop to the point of creating banners, sometimes designing a company logo (ugh), as well as templates and images for the website.
2. Depending on the coding you do, you may find any / all of the following useful: HTML or XHTML-strict as your primary language, I use XHTML-strict almost exclusively for web related activities; Javascript can be useful to know, but not always required -- still it's good to know how to manipulate websites on the client side; PHP/MySQL -- as much as any seasoned programmer will dislike PHP, it's very robust and universally used; Java; Perl for ASP/CGI.
3. Your first clients will be people you see on Craigslist, friends, family, and you'll get by through word-of-mouth. Don't expect it to be lucrative (how many people do you know that need personal websites?) nor fully "professional". Creep every craigslist you can think of -- try to set up a web bot to crawl through and pull the results for you ever X minutes, it will be a good activity after you learn programming. Send out hundreds of e-mails and maybe you'll get lucky. Start off cheap -- you don't have the name to charge big bucks, and there are hundreds of IT kids all over the world that will take ten dollars to pound out a cheap ass website.
 

Khayembii Communique

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I know most of that, which is why I figured web design would be the quickest to start up with lowest capital investment and something that I can do anywhere and as much as I want, in terms of the amount of work I put into it.

Did you start one up, or are you just speaking from experience as a web designer? What other ideas would you recommend with someone that has these skills?
 

gort

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While i was in college I ran a small web design "business" if you want to call it that. It was just me and my buddy basically doing freelance for small shops, etc, putting together little websites for them. Some more complex than others, it was good job experience for me as I got to get my hands dirty doing dynamic web programming which I ended up doing a lot of now for my career.

However, the internet is chock full of imbeciles who consider themselves web designers. You will have an extremely hard time getting any work unless you either:

a) are cheap as hell
b) are talented as hell

Craig's List can be a decent avenue for trying to find work but you will be competing with insanely cheap people from India and the like.
 

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