How to start your web design business

You have made the decision to work for yourself. But what do you need to do at the beginning to get setup? Share your experiences, questions and advice in the comments below.

Later today myself, Marcus Lillington and Andy Clarke will record the first episode of season 12 of the Boagworld Show. In this first episode we look at building your web design career. But in episode 2 we focus in on the main topic – building your own web design business.

Episode 2 will look at the subject of setting up your business. What do you do in those first few weeks? Where should you focus your efforts? After all you only have so many hours in the day!

This is pertinent to me as I have just gone through this process. But Headscape alumni Chris Sanderson will also be joining us as he has just done a similar thing.

So what do you want to know on this topic? Or if you have done it yourself, what advice do you have. Share your fears, questions, experiences and advice in the comments below.

  • Hi,
    First I want to thank you for opening such a topic :) It is of great interest for me as I am exactly at that point.
    I guess the biggest question would be: how do you build your portfolio? Everyone wants to see what experience you have. I am in the point where I know how to do stuff but I don’t have a portfolio.
    Everything seems so huge and I don’t have a clear plan. What to learn first? I want to know Javascript, I want to know Bootstrap…I want to master CSS3 ..but also Sass :)
    And I want to know all of that before turning into a grandma :))
    It is overwhelming.

  • I’ve been trying to do this for years! I’m a developer, so don’t do any of the design stuff myself, but I’ve been trying to get something more than freelance and contract work. To try and build an actual company. Finding clients seems to be the sticking point. If I bridge that gap it’s then figuring out hiring other freelancers. I’ve never managed to figure it out. Hopefully your podcast will give me a clue. Subscribed :)

    • Hey Stuart! I’m on the opposite side of the fence, perhaps a team up could be in order.

      • I’m game. Feel free to email me, stuart at :)

  • Miguel Ángel Pérez

    I would like to know:

    On marketing:
    – How do you land your first client?

    On billing:
    – How should go about extracting project requirements?
    – How do you estimate large projects?
    – How do you price projects in a way that works for everyone? Are there alternatives to hourly billing have have been proven to work well?

    On teams:
    – How do you go from a single contractor, where you name is your brand, to a team?
    – What are some good ways to work with other contractors?

    On the backend:
    – What exactly do you need to start as far as law and accounting stuff? Icky things we don’t know about.

  • Hi Paul, Great topic. I’m 3.5 years in now and would be keen to know…. does it ever get any easier? :) Seriously, I would be very keen to hear yours and Marcus’s thoughts in regards to how you start to grow a team (ultimately for stability and in order to land larger projects). I feel that the right way to do this is very patiently and incrementally, although perhaps that’s totally wrong! and I’m letting my own naturally cautious nature dictate this. I now have a non-exec Strategy Director on board as a minority shareholder in the company, which has no doubt professionalised our processes and approach but has not as yet seen a tangible increase in agency profile. Kindest regards Simon

  • I’ve been trying this for a while, but I can’t do it myself. I hired web designers and developers to work as a unified team to
    achieve a common set of project goals.