One of the great aspects of starting your own web design business is that you can tailor it to fit your vision. Work with who you want, when you want, and set your own pricing. Sounds pretty ideal, right?
But what if you don’t have a clear vision of what your business should be? If that sounds like your situation, you’re not alone.
Figuring out what you want often takes time. In my case, it took several years of freelancing before I realized the path I wanted to take. And even then, things shift as the industry continues to evolve. Nothing is set in stone.
If you’ve yet to find that vision, you’re in the right place. Let’s look at some ways to better understand who you are and what you want out of web design.
Work with a Variety of Clients and Project Types
Not everyone starts out with a niche. But in an industry teeming with specialization, it’s easy to feel left behind without one.
However, there’s no reason to despair. In reality, you’re in an enviable position. It’s an opportunity to explore what’s out there, build your portfolio, and acquire valuable experience.
Since you’re not weighed down by a particular path, use this time wisely. Commit to working with a variety of different clients and types of projects.
This is often an effective way to get to know yourself. By covering the gamut of projects, you’ll find out which tools and technologies you enjoy working with. And it’s also a chance to learn which industries and price ranges work best with your business.
You should still have some basic guidelines, of course. For instance, it’s important to work with reputable clients who will compensate you fairly. A healthy screening process is always recommended.
The goal is to put yourself out there and absorb knowledge like a sponge. That’s the first critical step in building a vision.
Take Stock of Previous Projects
Each project is a learning experience. Therefore, the more you have under your belt, the better! Take some time to periodically revisit what you’ve learned.
When you look back, you’ll likely see that not every experience will have been a positive one. But those negative projects tend to be some of the most valuable. You can recognize missteps and figure out how to avoid them the next time around.
In addition, you’ll have a great idea of the things you don’t like. Whether it’s a finicky content management system (CMS) or a client who’s constantly changing their mind, these are important things to know.
Next, think about the positive experiences. What did they have in common? Perhaps they brought out your creativity or offered some exciting challenges.
This is when you can start to steer your business towards the places you want to go. Even if you don’t have a definitive vision just yet, you’ll be well on your way.
Web design changes year-by-year, day-by-day. Design trends come and go, as do the techniques we use for building websites. Just as important, client needs and expectations evolve.
That likely means your business will need to keep pace. After all, it can be nearly impossible to keep doing the same old thing while continuing to thrive.
As such, don’t be afraid to redefine your vision. Maybe you’ve settled on a particular type of project or technology you want to work with. That’s great – but don’t let it prevent you from branching out into other areas of interest.
Back when I started out as a web designer, I hand-coded HTML and created page layouts with tables. We may get a good laugh out of that now, because so much has changed. However, it’s unlikely that I’d still be in this profession without having kept up with the times.
Being steadfast in your vision is one thing. Being unable or unwilling to make the necessary adjustments is another. Sometimes, the writing is on the wall. Be attentive enough to read it.
Your Business, Your Way
Defining a vision for your web design business can bring about an entirely new level of focus. Instead of taking whatever comes along, you can look for projects with specific goals in mind.
This allows you to avoid the things you don’t want to do. Even better, it will help to establish you as an expert within your niche. You’ll have a detailed understanding of how to get things done. This is a huge benefit of specialization.
If you haven’t reached that point just yet – don’t worry. The journey takes time and will be filled with peaks and valleys. Besides, figuring it all out is part of the fun!