Starting a Web Design Business
(Montreal, Canada )
start web design business
Hi, my name is Laurent Granier and I run BGL I.T. a home based company and I'm making Web site for the small companies. I started this because I wanted freedom and to be able to go scuba diving during the day and as often as I could.
Like many people, I'm surfing the Internet since over a decade and I still see Web sites that looks like the ones made ten years ago. What people don’t realize is that a Web site is a representation of their business, so a bad Web site can cause more harm than benefit. The rule is simple… you better have a small good looking Web site with some basic marketing, than an ugly web site that makes you look bad because it'll turn the customers away. So not only you lose potential customers, but you also have people saying bad things about you.
Some may say it takes a lot of skills and it’s complicated to make good Web sites. Sometimes yes, sometimes not. What you want to go after are the small companies like libraries, print shops, professionals, local businesses etc… Many of them have an ugly Web site and never realized they’re losing customers because of that.
Some knows, but they think that a good web site cost 5 to 10 dollars. Most of them don’t need a big Web site and lots of technology so you can propose them to use a template. There are many benefits from that:
- they save lots of money because the design and structure are already made
- all the original files are provided to you in the package
- you don't need lots of skills to modify the templates
- it can be done quickly
However, you have to be honest and tell them that you’re using a template and don't worry, you won't look like an amateur. In fact, you'll be surprised on how many will be happy about that! A good template ranges between $60 and $99 US only. Then you had your fees and that’s it, you can deliver a good web site and make your customers happy.
It’s easy to make between $500 to $1,000 per web site this way. What you need to get started: You really don't need much. First you need an Internet connection and if you’re reading this, you certainly have one already. Second you need an editing software like Dreamweaver and you don't need the latest version 4 (version 3 is fine and you can get it for cheaper) and that’s it!
The Web site business is like cars… you can offer additional services and make extra money. For example, having a good looking web site is one thing, but if people can't find it, then it’s useless.
So you can learn SEO (search engine optimization) and the basic Web Marketing skills and make more money by offering the Marketing services. And don't forget, your customers will need to host their web site somewhere. So you can get a reseller account with main providers like SITE5 (www.site5.com) and offer Web hosting and get additional incomes every month. Good companies like Site5 have a free tech support and will be more than glad to help you start your Web hosting business. And remember, all this can be done from your home!
The tough part is to keep a good working schedule. Some will work only few hours a week, others will work even more than they did before. It’s up to you to find what suits the best for you. Another pitfall is Web hosting, make sure to choose a very good Web hosting company offering a reseller program because you don't want to get a phone call at 2am from an unhappy customer because his Web site and emails are no longer working.
Companies like Site5 and Host Gator offers a reseller program starting around $20/month and you can host unlimited Web sites (check for the hard disk space and monthly bandwidth). So you can easily host 50 small Web sites at $7/month each and pay less than $30 dollars for your reseller account. Do the math, it’s $320 a month for almost nothing to do. Add this to the Web site you've made and the marketing services and you have here a very good income :o)
Starting my own business gave me the freedom I was looking for, allowed me to make happy people and some customers are even now friends. And the best of all, I'm making good money. What can I ask for more? There are plenty of small companies who will be more than pleased to have someone like you knocking on their door, so don't wait and go for it!